The US Pro GRT's first stop was in Boulder City, NV at Bootleg Canyon. The infamous Brent Thompson trails are still going strong with the Race Course coming down Snakeback to Kavorkian and finishing with Diva. Dante and Jackie of Team Harmony have had an interesting off-season with a lot of work and not very much bike riding through the winter but now that the duo are both riding brand new Pivot Firebirds and Phoenixes, they are very excited to see what they can accomplish this race season. Reaper Madness is their first major race of the season and only their second weekend on the Phoenix downhill bikes. Having broken in the Phoenixes at South Mountain in Phoenix AZ, they thought they were pretty well set up for the demanding terrain at Bootleg Canyon.
The turn out at the event this weekend was more than many expected and hopefully really good for the promoters (Yea, Downhill Mike!), the town and the local bike shop (Yea, All Mountain Cyclery!). All three parking lots were packed with spectators and racers all weekend long. There were about 300 racers and an all time high in most classes of number of entrants. In Dante's class there were about 50 Elite men and in Jackie's class there were 10 Elite women. The Wicked Wiener was a definite “go to” for their delicious Sonora Dogs and Portabella Dogs, many more fantastic dogs and plenty of drinks to keep everyone hydrated on such a hot weekend.
Friday was insanely hot but Saturday and Sunday were pretty much as good as it gets for the trails out at Bootleg Canyon. Dante and Jackie were both really impressed by the new Royal racing gear and how cool it kept them. It was also funny seeing everyone's face when they realized who was behind the new kits. There was a little bit of suspension tuning done by some good friends in the pits and they were both up to race pace without any hesitation. Dante and Jackie had the chance to use a Free Lap timer system courtesy of Gene Hamilton and laid down good practice times in preparation for their seeding and race runs.
During qualifications Dante had a hard time focusing on the task at hand and rode straight off the trail catching all the action on his Go Pro. Even though his quali run was blown by the off-course excursion, he still regained his speed for the bottom of the course. Jackie had a somewhat similar qualification run with one slide out and a few bobbles, but of course she was still the fastest woman on the hill.
Race day was much more successful for Team Harmony. Jackie crushed the women's field by 44 seconds and Dante took nearly 30 seconds off his qualification run for a 21st place finish. Jackie found herself to be very comfortable on the Phoenix and was able to flow through the technical race course with ease and confidence to boot. Dante is super excited about his large Phoenix which seems to suit him much better than the medium frames he has ridden in the past. Once all the Pro GRT racing was over with, Team Harmony could focus on the big race of the weekend; the chainless race! The chainless race runs are more difficult and more fun at the same time. Riders need to look farther ahead and focus more on maintaining momentum. Once again Jackie took the win, this time by over a minute and Dante came in a solid fourth-place both with clean runs. If this weekend is any indication of things to come, then be on the lookout for a bunch more podiums from Team Harmony.
Dante and Jackie finished the weekend out with zero mechanicals and zero injuries. Anytime you can walk away from Bootleg Canyon saying that, then it is sure to have been a good time!
A huge thanks to all of our sponsors: Pivot Bikes, Schwalbe Tires, Royal Racing, Angelfire Bike Park, Gnar Gnar Tours, GROAZ, Smith Optics, 5.10, MRP, Crank Brothers, Ecosphere, Better Ride, Ambaya Gold, Formula, Deity, Urge, MJT Designs, TRD, Marzocchi, AMC, ACoS.