Graves wins Deer Valley 4X, gets doused by water balloons
Deer Valley, UT (July 8 and 9) – The Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team drove to Deer Valley expecting the fourth race in the national mountain bike series. They found a sweet downhill, a BMX race and the World Championships of Single Slalom (or something like that — it was pretty loosely organized).
This is a press release written by me, Lee McCormack
First the downhill. Deer Valley’s course is technical, with tight woods and scary rocks. Dry weather meant lots of dust, a chewed-up surface and a serious beat-down: “When riders got through the big rocks they were just holding on, totally haggard,” said team manager Damion Smith.
This sort of thing suits Jared Graves just fine, and he rocked a clean run to place fifth — just five seconds behind winner Greg Minnaar. Justin Leov explored some areas without his bike, and those excursions knocked him back to 15th. The old man Rich Houseman (28) did his normal top-20 thing. Young TJ Sharp qualified 13th — sweet! — but he struggled in the final and wound up 49th.
Now the mountain cross, aka BMX. Organizers originally planned to hold both dual slalom and mountain cross at the Deer Valley venue. Construction plans and who-know-what-else changed all that. Dual slalom was cancelled, and mountain cross was moved to Rad Canyon BMX 45 minutes away.
“It was definitely different, battling traffic through Salt Lake City then running the pit out of the back of the truck,” said Smith. The track was long and pedally, and it separated the very strong from the not-so-strong. Spectators were virtually nonexistent, and racers were few. With only 20 pro men qualifying, racing started with the round of 16.
Graves qualified first. He’s a BMX fool who also used to be a top Australian cross country racer; few racers are fitter than he. Houseman, also a fool who happens to like BMX, qualified fifth. Once racing started, Graves got ridiculous gates then pulled everyone like like a nitro-burning funny car. He won the final by several bike lengths. Houseman got knocked out of the semis, but he won the consolation round in a very Houseman way: “He used the House Power,” said Smith. “He has an office job [at SponsorHouse], yet he still comes out and stomps everyone down the last straight.”
OK, time for the World Championships of Single Slalom. Some guys from Big Crank, Turner-Wahoos and Littermag.com decided to hold an old-school grass slalom. They found a ski run, placed some flags, set up timers and told some kids. By Saturday afternoon they had almost $1,000 in cash and donated prizes, something like 100 spectators and more than 50 racers.
There were three classes: Dudes, Chicks and Groms. The winning Dudes donated their schwag to the Groms, who were as stoked as everyone else. The format was one run only. Graves messed up his run but went back up for another one anyway. “When he came back down, the water balloons came out, and he got doused,” said Smith. “It was good fun.”
Next weekend: Graves and Leov will “take a break” at the Mountain States Cup in Snowmass, CO. The rest of the team is heading to Sonoma, CA for the national championships. “Houseman really wants the championship, and this might be his last year racing,” said Smith. “We’re going there to support our boy.”
Look for Clay Porter’s video report on www.yeticycles.com
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