The last weekend of racing was going down at the Angel Fire bike park in New Mexico. Saturday was all about the Gravity Games while Sunday was the last race of the Fire Five race series. For Saturday, I registered for the Chainless Ziggy race and the Long Jump competition.
The chain was removed from my Canfield Balance (it was due to be replaced anyhow), rear derailleur was zap-strapped to the frame and I took some practice runs to get use to it. It’s been a few years since I’ve ridden chainless and I had forgotten how much I absolutely love it! Not just because I finally have an excuse to not pedal, but rather that there’s an instant switch in my brain that allows me leave the brakes open more easily.
We were all gathered at the top for the race. I stood beside my bike, ready to run and jump on to get a strong start (it’s been a while since my CX days) but it turns out everyone had to start on the bike, no running allowed. Oh well. I got the count down, did my best Flinstone impression and got pumping. I had practiced chainless on flat pedals, but I opted to race on my HT T-1 enduro pedals. Without any chain tension it’s tricky to race with flats, luckily the comfort of these clips gave me the confidence to go hard. I managed to pull off the win for this race, what a great way to start the weekend.
Later in the afternoon was the Long Jump competition. There was a hill to give us a run in, and then a wooden jump would give us some boost. We did three rounds, each round needed to be an improvement, otherwise you were pulled. People were getting creative with finding different ways to try and eek out a couple more inches of boost. The results finally came in, and for the women’s field, my girl Kristine took the win by 3′ with a 21′ long jump.
Sunday morning was looking to be a beautiful day for racing. The final Fire Five race was a classic: Chillen, Fo Sho, World Cup. It’s long, fast, rough, and has worthy features for a DH course. I didn’t get much practice on the course because they weekend was busy, but I’ve raced this course many, many times, just a lap or two to scout out any changes was all I needed.
There was a start gate to lean against and they used hand timing. I got the five second count down and had a clean start. There were a few crazy moments on the trail but nothing that ever got out of control. I was feeling good and hit all of my lines. Angel Fire had gotten a lot of rain earlier in the week which was great for the dirt, but made it run slow. It was hard to air some doubles because the track didn’t run as fast as it did in June for the Pro GRT race. Nearing the last few sections my stomach was starting to feel sick, but I held on, there wasn’t much track left. I sent the finish line jump as far as I could and then just had to negotiate the high speed off camber corners into the finish area.
There was no clock at the bottom, we wouldn’t know our results for a couple hours, but I know I had a good run. Regardless, this was my last race of the 2017 season! It’s been a long seven months of road trips across the country (14,000 miles worth), always loading and unloading a car, sleeping in a car, renting condos, dealing with scary motels at midnight in the middle of nowhere…I’m ready for a break. It’s been great though, seeing friends from all across the country and getting to race on the best gear around. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me in so many different ways.
I’m excited to put a focus back on training in the gym and eagerly wait for the 2018 race dates and locations to be announced!