Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Team Geronimo at Colorado State Champs - Telluride

Brian Buell's Race report:

I packed up my bags, hitched the trailer up and got the wheels turning towards Telluride Mountain Resort for the 2012 Colorado State Championships. This small mountain town situated in the southwest corner of Colorado has played host to a World Cup and has been a mainstay on the Mountain States Cup circuit the past decade. The surrounding mountains tower above the historical mining town of Telluride, this place really is special and sometimes the views can even be distracting while trying to navigate down the course. The mountain has created a good system of trails in its developing bike park and the 2002 World Cup track still remains, but has seen quite a few facelifts throughout the years.

Two years have passed since I was last here and the track has since received some changes. The rocks in the landing of the road gap were to my delight removed and smooth rocks put in there place to provide an easy landing platform. Momentum Trail Concepts last year developed the bottom of the track with big berms, added track sections and time with steep chutes and tight turns. The weekend started out with some soaking rain that tacked up the riding surface creating hero dirt to end the day Friday. The rest of the weekend called for afternoon showers which could really shake things up if we were to race in the peanut butter.

There was once again a time trial Super D race that I chose to enter in for a bit of fun and practice towards the Big Mountain Enduro series later this year. There were a ton of dusty bermed turns and short sprints between to set the riders apart. It was a fun track to ride and I was excited to see if I could repeat my 1st place performance from last week. I had a great top section going and was riding well until I traversed across the open ski slope. I was looking ahead towards the entrance of the trees and then the off camber trail fell away beneath my wheels sending me sliding head first over the flesh searing rocks. After dusting myself off I hopped back on my bike with bars twisted 10 degrees to the left and rode hard the rest of the way to a 6th place finish only 4 seconds off the box and 10 from the win. As disappointing and painful as the race was I was stoked to see Teddy come across the line and finish 4th place overall less than a second off of 3rd.

Sunday morning rolled around and the aches from the previous evenings activities fallowed me up for my qualifying run. The rain had held off and the track was rough, fast and dry. I put together a clean qualifying run and ended up seeding in 2nd place .2 out of 1st. I knew I had to open it up throughout the turns and minimize mistakes for my final as I was tired from pedaling too hard out of every turn. Telluride local boy Jess rode very well in his first timed run since Angel Fire to seed 5th and Teddy who had been right on my tail seeded into 7th. With some good rides, we were looking at the possibility of 3 riders in the top 5, but first the Cat 1 15-18 junior riders were about to drop in. Both Roy and Tyler had crashed in their seeding runs and Roy was the first to cross the line and into the hot seat. He held the top position until Tyler crossed the line .05 ahead. Overall, Tyler would finish in 5th and Roy in 6th place. Congratulations to Roy who finished 2nd overall in the MSC Cat 1 15-18.

It was time to head back up the hill for my final run. In 2010 I had qualified 1st and was primed for a great finish and I ended up blowing my bead off the rim and awarded myself with an overnight stay in the Hospital. This thought had crossed my mind once or twice but I knew all I can do is ride and the rest will sort itself out. After congratulating the young junior rider who seeded 1st behind me, I set out of the gate far more focused and was riding exceptionally faster in the top section. I was riding loose, drifting past some of the spectators as I entered into the trees that took me down two years ago. I let out a little celebratory cheer as I smoothly rode past my old crash zone and blitzed into the rocks. I rode a slightly higher line than in practice and avoided many of the bigger rocks, but just as I thought I was in the clear, the all too familiar sound of the bead blowing off the tire rang true through the trees like a shotgun blast. At least this time I was still upright, body intact and ready to ride another day even though my day was done due to my rim losing the battle with a very sharp rock. Teddy had a safe run but left a little too much in the tank and finished 13th overall. Jess who had been gaining speed all weekend was looking for the podium but just fell short in 4th place overall, .8 off of the box.

It was another great weekend of riding and racing on some great tracks in arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. There were some close calls and disappointment on my part with my DNF and fall in the Super D. The junior riders continued to impress and show their willingness to push themselves faster each weekend. Michael took this weekend off the rehab from a few bicycle get offs and to train for the upcoming Big Mountain Enduro Series races. Lear has been ripping it up in British Columbia, visiting Banshee headquarters and shredding hard in front of the camera. Thanks to all of our great sponsors for allowing us to perform at our highest potential and helping us reach our goals.

Ride On!


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