Sea Otter Adventure 2010: Day 10

Pump track maintenance, pro pump track qualifying and other radness.

I am beat. Let’s keep this quick:

– I got up early and prepped the pump track for pro qualifiers. The track got punished yesterday, but it’s wearing in well and getting super fast. The edges of the track are painted flourescent orange. The paint says, “Hey Bucko, you’re not in your back yard any more!”

– We had a fun warmup session with lots of cool, fast people. Most of the big dogs were absent because they were focusing on DS and/or DH. Too bad; we need to schedule this differently next year.

– Qualifiers ran just like the race will: Roll in from a platform, ride one un-timed lap to gain speed, then rip two timed laps. That makes one run. Do another run. Your fastest run counts. It’s a cool format because it encourages racers to really go for it.

– It was so rad and surreal to put on a number plate for a pump track race. A lot of people came to me — with racers milling about, crowd gathering, announcer hyping — and said, “Dude, can you believe this?” It was pretty rad. I already said that. Rad.

– A lot of very good riders made mistakes in their runs. Ripping with your bros is one thing; racing for money is another. The fastest riders were also the smoothest. Or is it the other way around?

– Top qualifier Mitch Ropelato rolled two laps 15.44 seconds, which averages out to more than 20 mph. Rad. Did I already say that?

Here are the top 20 again:

Mitch Ropelato
Brendan Fairclough
Troy Brosnan
Kamil Tatarkovic
Bernard Kerr
Blake Carney
Evan Turpen
Jacob Hyde
Barry Nobles
Jake Kinney
Michael Hoenisch
JD Swanquen
Jason Carroll
Logan Binggeli
Alaine Lanusse
Austin Aldrich
Josh Hubbard
Mikey Haderer
Ryan Prtigrew
George Fowler

In other news, my man Lars from Trail Head Cyclery and I rode the DH course. It’s pretty much the same as always. Jumps up top, a berm, a table, a traverse, more jumps, a dusty chicane, the log drop, a wide open descent into a rolling climb, a steep drop into a defunct berm, a bumpy traverse, a hip jump onto the road, off camber around the hill then deal with a bunch of small obstacles as you lay down the power to the line.

Moisture is a problem this year. While most of the track is dusty, springs and sinkholes are making the track bumpy and slow. How can a track this flat and non-rocky be so rough? I’m rolling the new Enduro, but wishing I had a full-on DH bike.

As it got dark, we swept, watered and painted the pro pump track again. It’s dialed and ready for tomorrow’s finals.

Also tomorrow: I’m teaching a pump clinic for NorCal high school mountain bike league directors/coaches/riders. I’m the national high school MTB skills guru, and this will be my first teaching experience with this crew. Should be rad.

— Lee

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