Today was the first official pro pump track practice. Rad.
7 a.m.: I woke up excited to practice and qualify for dual slalom. Practice was fun as always. That course is a treat, plus it was great to get out there and see the old crew. I figured I’d duck out of pump track duties to qualify, but there was just too much pump track work, so I watched Cat 1 qualifying with a shovel in my hand. All good. I’m here, and I’m saving the world.
I spent most of the day sweeping the pro pump track, watering the pro pump track, talking about the pro pump track, sweeping the pro pump track, watering the pro pump track and talking about the pro pump track. I did a couple interviews, which was cool, and I ripped a few laps, which was even cooler. The track is dialed: blue grooved and super fast.
Pro practice was like a typical backyard pump session, but way, Way, WAY faster (with crazy lines). Characters include: Brendan Fairclough, Mich Ropelato, Jill Kintner, Fionn Griffiths, Jared Graves, Chris Boice, Aaron Gwin, Carter Holland, Lee McCormack, you know, all the big names. Mitch was looking very fast; I’ll post video when I get a chance.
Brian Lopes showed up later in the day. He asked me what the fast lines are. I told him. He took a look around. He took a few runs. He put together a quick and super-smooth run, then he went somewhere to rest. Brian says the track is tricky and fun. My life cycle is complete.
It’s really interesting to see all these top riders operate; it almost seems like the younger you are, the more practice you do. Experienced guys like Hannah and Lopes get it figured out quickly then go somewhere to rest.
Midnight: Writing this report, hoping I can practice DH after tomorrow’s pro pump qualifiers, but ready to do everything I can to get (and keep) the track dialed for Saturday’s pro pump finals.
BTW: This is the World Pump Track Championships. I called it.