View of the river from the campsite. Sometimes going cheap pays off.
Jayme Poelker and I headed down early Saturday morning to get some practice runs in before the race on Sunday. The drive down was pretty gloomy and pretty much rained the whole time, making me a little nervous about the camping set up. But, as we made it into Hood River the rain let up and turned to mostly sunny skies. Sweet. After we set up camp at a very sweet camping spot just up the hill from the race staging area, we headed down to catch the shuttle for some practice runs.
The course was just as I remembered it from a couple years ago when Fluidride held an event on the same trail. Basically you could explain the course conditions in three words. Duffy, pine needley, flowy. Definitely a positive change from the rain soaked trails in Capitol Forest at the time. Jayme and I each took 4 runs for practice, which ended up being between 25 and 30 miles of trail riding for the day. Even though I was probably more wore out than I should be for a race I had no regrets.
After practice we made it back to camp massively starving only to find that I forgot to bring a pan to cook the chili and and sausages for chili dogs in. So we had to make a quick jaunt down to the nearest town of Parkdale. After searching all 3 stores in this sweet little town we finally found a pack of 3 non stick pans with a half inch of dust on them that would do the trick. Made it back to camp and after some grub and time spent chillin by the river we called it a day.
View from Parkdale.
Sunday morning we made it back down to the race to get a shuttle up and it looked like the overall registration had picked up a bit, adding some more numbers to the registration list. It was still on the small side with only about 40 racers altogether, which is surprising since that course is so fun. As I made it up for the first stage I was surprisingly not very nervous, which is different than usual for me. Probably because the expectations were low and I just wanted to have some fun.
The first stage was a section of trail that was just over 2 minutes long and basically a full on sprint fest from the start. I made a couple mistakes on this stage which cost me some time over the other pro riders. I think I was over ten seconds back from second place after the first stage, so I knew I needed to keep it together for stage 2. Stage 2 was definitely my favorite part of the race as it was a lot longer and had a better flow to it. Being able to ride at my own pace to stage 2 was pretty awesome and allowed some time to relax after the first stage. My strategy for the 2nd stage was to be a little risky on the downhills to make up a little time, and to pedal as hard as possible on the last long bit of flattish rolling trail. My strategy seemed to pay off as I ended up recovering some of that lost time from stage 1 and placed second in the pro category and second overall for the day! Jayme ended up representing GL6 racing like a champ, winning his class, which was also very cool! (I believe Cat 2 19-39)?
The killer Daimondback Sortie after its first enduro race.
On the way back we stopped by a very awesome on the honor system fruit stand just out of Hood River. This place sells all the fruit they grow right there as well as a ton of different unpasteurized juices and ciders. There are no employees, you just write down everything you take in a notebook at the front of the store and leave cash in a box. Very cool place to check out if you're ever in the area.
Drapers fruit stand.
This was a very great weekend to start off the enduro season. Killer weather, fun trails, and a good time camping with friends. Definitely looking forward to more!