The 3rd stop on the 2012 Mountain States Cup came to my home valley to Snowmass Mountain. Since I can remember there has been a race every year at Snowmass dating back to 2004 when I started racing. I've been living in this valley on and off throughout the summers the past 5 years, but it would be the first time I slept in my own bed on a race weekend, which was awesome!
Snowmass: Home Sweet Home - Brian Buell
Snowmass is well known for their flat out fast downhill course, and this year it was no different. There has also been some recent trail development at Snowmass with the addition of a new A Line inspired jump trail that is a blast to ride. While at registration I was talked into racing the Super D race dubbed the Uber D, that went from the top of the mountain and would include the new trail called Valhalla. At 5.5 miles long, and close to 3,000 vertical drop you sure get your moneys worth. Before the start of the Uber D, some of the pro riders wanted to race chainless. We all took a vote, nobody voted against it, so we broke out the chain breaker and pocketed them. Momentum and exit speed would be my biggest concern as there are hundreds of turns on the track. It was a long run of pumping even the smallest bump in order to keep speed, but I must have done something right because after 17 minutes of riding as efficiently as possible I came away with a 42 second victory.
There was another Super D race the following morning that Pro rider Teddy Benge competed in. He avenged a tough Uber D run the day before, put his chain back on and pedaled his way onto the podium for a tough 3rd place podium finish.
The Downhill course had burned in throughout the weekend and was starting to get rough as moto bumps, ruts and giant bomb holes developed in many of the dry and dusty berm turns. The top of the track had been straightened out compared to recent years so speeds were high almost touching the 50mph mark. Seeding runs Sunday morning saw some guys go for it and blow up due to the rough track conditions. Teddy, Michael and I took it easy with Michael and Teddy slotting into mid pack and myself finishing 2nd while holding back a little and making sure I had my lines down.
The Juniors started out the day of racing by upping their game and riding hard for some impressive finishes. Tanner Spence battled through the pain of a swollen and bruised hand on his way to an 8th place finish. Younger brother Tyler had his best ride and result to date by finishing 4th, just two-seconds off of the podium. Roy Benge has been putting in the work, fresh off of racing at National Championships in North Carolina and the experience helped him finish on the podium for the 2nd straight race in 3rd less than a second from the top step.
Michael was the first to leave the start just ahead of Teddy, but just as he was getting up to speed his day ended quickly as his rear tire sustained an inch-long puncture, so he was forced to ease it down slowly to the finish. Teddy would improve upon his qualifying time and rode smoothly to an 18th place finish. I decided to gamble and run lower pressure in my tires so I could stick to the ground as much as possible on the high speed sections. This tactic paid off as I had a great top section and hit all my lines while navigating through the rough, rowdy and relentless course. Not even a mechanical near the finish could slow me down enough as I finished in 1st place 2 seconds up.
It was an incredibly enjoyable race weekend as the tracks were fun, the weather beautiful and being home for the first time in 2 months made for a very relaxed weekend. Thank you to all that made this weekend great. The team will once again prepare, pack and head 4 hours southwest to Telluride, Colorado for the last round of the Mountain States Cup and Colorado State Championships.