GT Bikes and I recently attended Pro GRT national round #4 in Winter Park, Colorado, at the 2010 Crankworx festival. With slopestyle happening right out our race pit and by far the biggest crowd we’ve had all season, it was bound to be an awesome event.
We arrived in Winterpark ready for training early Wednesday morning. I hopped off the lift ready to walk the track only to find out this would be the longest track walk I’d ever taken. It was almost like 3 courses tied together in to one extremely brutal six and a half minute track. The top was nice and steep with plenty of rocks and slick roots to keep you on edge, rain or shine. The middle of the track was a little flatter with long fire roads and rough high speed sections through the woods, while the bottom of the track tied into the super-d race course. This was the tough part. The super-d section of the track was about two minutes of extremely tiring root and rock sections that had no flow or just the slightest bit of pitch to keep you rolling. After that, we dropped out onto a high speed single track and sprinted our way down to the finish line in the race pit area. I was definitely excited to get on my Fury and see what I could do.
Practice all week was for the most part dry, with a few showers at night, keeping the track fresh. My runs were going good with a consistent increase of speed every run down the hill. With a sufficient amount of runs under my belt and my line choices finally dialed, I was excited to put together a good qualifying run. Because the track was so physical, my plan was to have the best run possible while still conserving my energy for finals later that day. My run went pretty well as I carried good speed all the way down the mountain. After all the racers were down, I realized I had qualified in second position. I was happy with my result and anxious for finals.
We had a good six hours before our race runs, so I got a chance to relax and get some food in me. During the wait for finals that seemed like forever, the blue skies and eighty degree weather soon turned into dark clouds and some light showers. Finally I was headed up the mountain to get warmed up. The showers continued while the first of the pro racers took off. Just about three quarters of the way through the start list the skies unleashed and pissed down on the top ten qualifiers up top. The course slowly got muddier and muddier as the rain kept getting worse and worse. I was finally in the gate and ready to go, with my mudflap and tear-offs ready for the worst. My run was going decent as I started to trust my tires on the completely new, loose and slow rolling track. I started gaining speed until I got into the roots and was skipped around and struggled to see out of my goggles. Finally I came across an open section with an opportunity to pull a tear-off, and regain my sight. I continued to give it my all through to the finish line. I crossed in fifth place, and would eventually be bumped off the podium by Logan Binggeli into sixth. It turned out that the low qualifying riders got to race on a tacky moist track giving them the upper hand on race times, but I was still happy with my run, posting a good time on the track that seemed never ending. This turned out to be an awesome race for Myself and GT Bikes with plenty of surprises and good times. Also a big congratulations goes to junior support racer Jake Payne for killing it on his GT DHi in CAT 1 expert and bringing a third place back home to So. Cal. Look for GT Bikes at Crankworx Whistler August 7th thru 15th. I would like to thank all my sponsors for their continued support.