Jun 21, 2011

The weak ends. How Ashland Super-D inspired me, and crushed me.

     I made it to Ashland again this year. Last year was an introduction to a new riding style for me. I came away wanting to expand my riding. It's the urge to be progressing. To learn something new. I have to admit that doing 100's has kind of become stale. I still love it, but I needed a new challenge. I guess that is why they call it the Ashland Mountain Challenge. 
       This year I went out with a different bike, a full face helmet and more time in the air than ever before. I prepared by riding pumptracks and venturing to the Shenandoah Valley for long descents. Still I knew that I was less then sharp for an event that required more than bike handling skills. Being hit twice by cars, almost exactly two months apart and a team switch kept me off the bike more than desired. Still...What could I do?
        I went, I hammered, I took my game up another notch. Hit my first 20ft gaps, led people through sections that I needed a lead on last year, rode a train with 10-15 guys with world class pedigree. I tried to be smooth in the corners, I tried to follow the lines of former world champions. I asked Abigail Hippley to lead me into those big gaps in front of these bike aces. She nailed all eight, I cased (but cleared) three while she got cheers for doing what no one else would. I followed her through the last three gaps, including a creek gap. I'll take that.

 Mount Shasta in the background.

 That guy in the blue...Ross Milan. He won the 4x national championships last year, works for Yeti, and is a super guy.

 We turned the Santa-Cruz van into a post race dance club.
 Sport-truck waiting to pounce. Now that I think about it, it kind of reminds me of Ross.
 Waiting for the Santa-Cruz van to turn around and bring me my computer. Thanks Abby and Ariel!