Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Mad Haderer takes Port Angeles

Sea Otter was over and it was a quick trip home to stop by work then off to meet up with the Harmonys and the boys up at Unique in Oregon so Steve and I jumped in the van and headed up to Central Point. Got in right around breakfast time and rearranged some seats and bikes and we caravan-ed with the DeathStar North towards Port Angeles. A whole bunch of the big guns from Sea Otter decided to come up to the venue as well. The Syndicate, Brendan, Steve Smith, Team Yeti, Norco, KHS, DRD Intense, Mick Hannah, and Trek World Racing were all on the same road as us to ride the first real DH of the year. Long day of driving and a camp out in the local Walmart parking lot and we were at the venue ready for a course walk.

Steve the Official Pit Wolf.
Track was a good mix of everything the northwest had to offer. Some highspeed slick rock and turns up top with some rooty rutted turns in the middle that we have raced on before going on to a whole new wooded section with lots of fresh loam and BIG holes. They finished up the track with another new steep and loose section nicknamed the  "Chunder Dome" and with waist high braking and suspension bumps the name fit quite well. the team had just bolted up some of our new rear shocks from Cane Creek so it was time to do some tuning and testing on the first day of muddy practice. Put on the fresh new IXS Pants and hopped in the first shuttle truck for afternoon practice. The track rode fairly slow with the early morning rain so it was going to be a struggle to keep speed up. After a few practice runs it was time for some good old fashion BBQ for dinner. The motley crew headed out to the Blue Flame BBQ joint in town and was fed entirely too much dead animal. Back to the deathstar for the nights rest going into seeding day on Saturday.

Saturday morning woke to some light showers overnight which actually helped keep the track from getting to sticky but made it a bit slick. We all decided to go with dry tires and the Hutchinson Barracuda was the tire of choice for the weekend. A few clicks and turns on the Double Barrels and the bikes felt great. Now it was just time to keep speed up and try to stay out of the holes that were growing bigger every run. I hoped in the truck to grab one last practice run before seeding when near the top the truck started to shake and move and before we all knew it the Uhaul van started to roll. Being inside of the box we really had to reference to what was going on other than the floor was now at nearly a 45 degree angle I felt as though i was going to flip over and land on top of Mick Hannah who was now below me. After the were finally let out of the truck we could tell that the driver must have been facebooking while driving and slid us off the side of the raised shuttle road and had it not been for all the logging recently done on Dry Hill we might have kept rolling down the side of the mountain. After this little incident the track didnt seem at all scary anymore. Seeding runs came around and lets just say I did my best impression of a full motion Sunny Bono and smacked right into a tree coming to a stop. Ran a time somewhere in the top half but knew I had a LOT more to take off for finals the next day.

Finals day. Woke up early to find the whole hill Socked in completely with fog as well as a fair amount of rain which turned the already scary fast top section into a small stream and extremely slick at speed. We are allowed one practice run on race day with nearly 500 racers going off that day it became a day of HURRY up and WAIT. Sitting around the pits for about 5 hours before finals really took a bit of a toll on me and i dont think i was really ready for my race run. Finally it was time to ride and headed up the hill just in time to roll into the gate. Set off on my run and just couldn't quite get my rhythm in the first few turns. I tried to get things back under control but after about half the run I was still struggling to ride smooth. Overbraking in turns and having some very interesting encounters with roots it was probably my worst race run in memory without coming off the bike. Finished in the same second and my qualifier with a whole lot of disappointment on my mind.  All and all it was a good learning race for me and gave me some new fire to spend alot more time just on my DH bike. On to the next one. Stay tuned for some new bike news!

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