Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Matej Charvat reporting from IXS Leogang.

Another week, another race. We traveled to Leogang (IXS European Cup) right from Val di Sole (with a little training break in Livigno Bikepark). Training went well, track is not my favorite…but I felt good on it. It was fun to ride some jumps…
The rain came on Saturday, right before the seeding run. I did a steady run with not much pedaling and I ended up on 26th with really little gap to top10.
Unfortunately I had some technical problems with a rear shock in my racerun and I also did two big mistakes which almost took me down. I crossed the line with 10sec better time than the qualis, but I took the same place – 26th, 4sec to top10 in really stack field.
I will try to do my best next weekend with an advance of a home crowd - IXS European Cup - Spicak (CZE).
PS: Dont forget to like my social media pages, where I'm trying to keep the timeline alive and to update some good stuff from my racing. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Team Geronimo at Trestle Gravity Series #1

This year Team Geronimo is proud to announce that we are partnering with Trestle Bike Park and will be attending all series races. This past weekend a the full roster of junior riders, Michael and myself descended upon the dusty, dry trails of Trestle Mountain Bike Park at Winter Park Mountain to compete in series race weekend #1. This place has always been good to Team Geronimo with multiple victories and podium appearances from past Crankworx, Mountain States Cup and Colorado Freeride Festival series races, so its always a pleasure coming back to this mountain. This race series provides riders with great bang for your buck as we race both Saturday and Sunday on separate tracks while still getting ample ride time on the mountains other awesome trails. Saturdays race featured an Air DH inspired run down an A Line style track called Rainmaker and Sundays track was held on the traditional Trestle DH course. All members of TG are very familiar with these tracks and were confident going into the weekend.

Saturday - Rainmaker

In past years this race has always been one of the most physically demanding tracks I've ever raced due to its nature. Its chalked full of jumps and bermed turns, but in-between its a flat out sprint, and with the extremely dry, dusty conditions and a bit of a headwind, it may have been the toughest one yet! The Pro men started first and Michael was first to drop and from my vantage point from the start he was on a mission putting some serious power down on his flat pedals. Lately he has been putting in 100+ mile work weeks coaching for Single Track Mountain Bike Adventures out of Boulder, and riding with some of the best up and coming riders in Colorado, and its showing as he came down finishing with a solid 4th place, only .6 off of 3rd place and a podium. I've had some great results here in the past including winning the Air DH last year at the Colorado Freeride Festival, so I was confident coming into this race, even if it was blind. Due to some managerial duties I was delayed and didn't get an inspection run and found myself on the starting line trying to remember the track for past years. With what seemed like a strong headwind and endless peddling, but few mistakes and I managed to take home the victory and my 2nd one in a row on this track. Michael and I both were rocking our Banshee Rune's which were the perfect weapon of choice. The Juniors where next on course digging deep as they were riding their Banshee Legends which may have been slightly too much bike for the course, but it was extremely valuable experience on the bike and they had fun getting one heck of a workout. Roy Benge ended up 5th, just off podium pace and Tanner made a few mistakes finishing 8th on the day. Team Geronimo's newest team member Dylan Gressett, who the weekend before took the win in Steamboat, fallowed up his previous weeks performance with a 2nd place on the day in the 14 and under category while shredding his Banshee Rune. Tyler Spence opted to sit this one out as he was battling a bug, but would make some noise come Sundays race on the Trestle DH. 

Sunday - Trestle DH

This track has been used and abused over the years during many different events including national UCI sanctioned downhill's, collegiate races and endures and offers riders a good variety of terrain. The aforementioned dusty and dry conditions added to the difficulty of the track as turns were getting blown to pieces and the overall condition more ruff by the rider as it deteriorated making for some great racing. Michael and I decided to utilize this race 4 plus minute affair as an opportunity to train for the World Series Enduro Series that will be taking place on this track later this year by riding our Rune's equipped with 160mm of travel. Not really sure how this was going to turn out I rolled up to the starting line, first rider of the day and was looking to start the day off right. I rode a very clean run only pushing it in a spot or two and was very happy with the outcome. I watched as only one rider was able to best my time and ended up 2nd place overall on the day and very stoked on how everything worked out with the bike. Michael found himself on the right side of the bubble this time 4 seconds off my time but on the box mere tenths in front of the 4th place rider. He wasn't extremely pleased with his run, but was very happy with the result and how his bike performed. Tyler Spence put on possibly the run of his young career placing 2nd in the Junior 15-18 category as a 15 year old and younger brother of the two Spence brothers, making for some good friendly competition between the two brothers. Tanner made some mistakes but had a fun run good enough for 7th just in front of teammate Roy Benge who unfortunately caught his 30 second man and had to make a pass, but not after being held up in traffic for long enough to be outside of contention for a podium finish in 8th overall. Dyland Gressett was the final TG rider off and to his credit made it down the hill after getting sick, literally at the starting line. He had been fighting a bug all week but was so determined to race that he pushed through and impressed all of us with a 7th place result while also sustaining a mechanical. 

It was a great weekend up at Winter Park shredding Trestle Mountain Bike Park as the sun was shining all weekend and the trails were prime. Michael and I rebounded from a tough last weekend and the Juniors continue to gain valuable starts while prepping for National Championships in Angel Fire later this year. Team Geronimo would like to thank Banshee Bikes for rocket fast steeds, POC for keeping our bodies mint, Kelty for putting a roof over our heads, Shimano for moving us forward at an incredible rate of speed, Stan's No Tubes for the peace of mind and no snakebites and the many others who help support Team Geronimo. This coming weekend we will be taking ourselves to a place held forever in Mountain Biking lore and where this two wheeled business was started, Crested Butte for the 2nd stop of the Big Mountain Enduro Series and we look forward to flying our flags and representing to the best of our abilities. 

Buell's beaten by man in terrible shorts

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Team Geronimo at Big Mountain Enduro #1 Angel Fire


Finally, the first stop of the Big Mountain Enduro series has arrived. Its been a month since our last event and due to an injury that has plagued me for the last month I was unable to make my race start up in Oregon for the first round of the NAET National series. During the 6 hour drive from Carbondale to the small resort town of Angel Fire located 30 minutes outside of Taos, I had ice on my paw the whole ride in anticipation of a tough weekend ahead. A little rain greeted us as we rolled into camp late thursday evening which was a much welcomed due to insanely dry conditions. This event consists of 5 stage races, 1 backcountry stage Saturday and 4 bike park stages Sunday. Friday morning a group of us shuttled to the bottom of the South Boundary trail and decided to ride up to the start 6.5 miles straight up in order to get a better look at lines. From the top down the trail starts in a lush aspen grove meadow with a flat 5 minute sprint on a moderate grade. After 10 lung busting minutes the trail get loose with tight switchbacks and gnarly rock sections that are always on the hunt for a rear mech to munch on. As always line choice and holding speed out of the corners is key but in the long run how hard you can giver er up top and maintain all the way down is ultimately going to determine the fastest rider. Overall, we were looking at around 20 minutes from start to finish come race day. My hand managed to make it through the ride, but I gave it a rest the remainder of the day in anticipation of the long weekend of racing ahead.  

Saturday Stage 1

Saturday came about with a 6am wake up call and a 7am shuttle load which meant proper preparation had to happen Friday evening and coffee had to be on the fire immediately after stepping out of our Kelty tents. Like a bunch of kids headed to summer camp, there was huge anticipation to board the shuttle and when the trailer pulled up there was a mad rush to get about 70 bikes on and riders into the buses. The trailer only made it a mile up the road to Garcia Park when a wood railing snapped in half sending Michael's Rune to the bottom of the pile. Slightly discouraged Michael and I decided to ride out the remanding 6 miles of road before the 4 mile transfer stage that starts at Garcia Park, and we were awarded with a great warmup and as we rounded the last bend before the start line expecting to be first off the line, but to my surprise about 30 riders utilized a shortcut they were asked to not use. This was a disappointment as I had to spend more than 30 minutes waiting for my start and by that point my legs had stiffened. The initial sprint was extremely tiring right out of the gate and it took me longer than expected to gain my 2nd wind, but once we hit the steeps I was letting it hang out, but after all of the technical sections of the track I could just about smell the finish when "the rock" punctured my tire sending me walking down and out on the day and in dead last after a very promising run. Michael had a very similar day and sustained a mechanical on his run and had to make a trail side adjustment all the while loosing valuable time in the process. He has reason to believe that the trailer incident had a little bit to do with it. Jess had a clean run and slotted into the top 20 aboard his Spitfire setting himself up for a good weekend. Heartbroken that a lot of effort was all for not I moved on and hit the trails of Angel Fire to learn stages 2-5 and getting a jump on the day ahead. Trying to navigate the tracks was a chore due to poor marking, and after 2 runs of absolutely the roughest terrain I've ever encountered on my Rune, my injured hand had enough and needed to call it a day. Jess and Michael would later tip me off about what to expect on race day, I wasn't too confident I would make it more than a run or two but would give it my all regardless while trying to salvage the weekend. Bike work and ice rounded out the evening as an enchanting sunset lit up the sky while we wound down before hitting the sack with anticipation of a BIG day ahead.

Sunday Stages 2-5

At least we were able to sleep in a bit before heading up to the lifts for a 10 O clock stage start. The BME crew had their hands full with a 1000 starts throughout the day and we as racers had over 30 minutes of racing on some of the roughest terrain on the planet ahead, so there was a lot of uncertainty in the air as both race promoters and racers all might have had their doubts while trying t foreshadow the days events. Michael and Jess both kept their runs consistent on stage 2, Jess did have a bobble on the bottom of the longest and arguably most physical stage of the day that cost him some time and stage ranking positions. I tried to assist my hand with some ace bandage, but after passing my 30 second man and setting a decent pace I was loosing strength. I went to adjust my hand on a road and a rock literally ripped the bike out of my weakened grasp sending me hurdling the bars and running it out on my feet but greatly disrupting my focus. I would fallow my 30 second man most of the rest of the way down and finish with a throbbing paw and confidence shaken. Time to regroup, rehydrate, ice and a little vitamin I before heading back out there for stage 3. Sans ace bandage my hand felt stronger without the slight constriction and I ended up running a clean yet conservative run which was good enough for a top 20 time and hope that I would actually be able to finish out the day. Michael and Jess again had clean runs on a track that wasn't as physical but was still very rough, tight and technical while ending on the bottom of the dual slalom. With minimal time to rest before stage 4 it was right back to the top as we looked forward to dropping straight onto the world cup downhill course. Higher speeds allowed us to skip over the rocks which smoothed things out a bit, but it was very tough to hold on over those big hits that are usually reserved for downhill bikes. Michael and Jess again would ride a good race as they kept it consistent during the day up to this point as other riders were dropping like fly's with mechanicals, flats and a few injuries. I was on a good run when trail tape had been broken sending me down the wrong run, I would later request a re-run due to the confusion and was granted but not thrilled as I was not really looking forward to riding that DH section again. I was sandwiched into the amateur starting list and was allotted a 2 minute gap and ended up having a great run even though I binned it within sight of the finish line, but it would still be good enough for a 9th place and only seconds off 5th. The 5th and final stage was held on a brand new flow trail and was extremely loose. I had yet to ride this track so I was extremely conservative and on the brakes a lot trying to minimize mistakes before connecting to a tight single track through the trees with some pitchy ups. The bottom was very physical and ended in tight fashion through the trees. I was extremely pleased to make it through the day and to have a clean run while Michael and Jess put down performances good enough for 25th and 20th overall out of 46 riders. I scored some valuable overall series points, but due to my flat on stage 1 I was well behind for the weekend in 45th.

We were stoked on the event and look forward to the second stop of the BME in Crested Butte next weekend, but in the meantime we will attend the first stop of the Trestle Mountain Bike DH Series this weekend. Thank you all so much to our awesome sponsors for your continued support of Team Geronimo, we look forward to a summer of racing and riding at some amazing locations throughout the Western United States.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Matej Charvat at the Val di Sole World Cup DH


My first really big race of the year took place in Val di Sole and yeah, it was a World cup.
The track was wild and crazy again, but luckily I didn't have any bad falls during practice. I managed to qualify in 50th spot, was in 17th place at first split and had a section to improve on in the second half of the course... that gave me a good feeling.

I started pretty confidently in my final run, trying to save some energy in the upper half of the track so I could shave some time at the bottom. Unfortunately, I started to have some problems with my rear brake about half way down. I was loosing pressure and I had to pump the lever a few times before each turn to be able to slow down! It was a bit scary and I had to back off to finish the run without a crash.

I finished in 65th place, which is not what I wanted, but I will do my best to improve next time!

I'm in Livigno right now doing some training and I'm moving to Leogang tomorrow for the first round of IXS European Cup.

Thanks for your support!

PS: Dont forget to like my FB Fanpage, where I'm trying to keep the timeline alive and to update some good stuff from my racing. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Banshee/Trident Rider Kip Shortreed Race Update

A couple weeks before the first race of the Oregon Enduro Series and North America Enduro Tour a friend that was planning on going asked if I wanted to join him. I figured it would be a fun thing to do so I went along. The format was a lot different than the DH races that I'm used to with only having one practice lap on the trails that I was racing the next day. After day one of racing I realized I didn't quite have the level of fitness needed for Enduro racing. Most of the stages had a huge amount of pedaling and I was not ready for it at all. At the end of the weekend I ended up 46th which I wasn't too happy about. I won't be able to get to any more Enduro races this year but next year I plan to go again and this time I will be ready for it!

Next up was the first BC cup of the season, the infamous Kamloops 'Race the Ranch'. I have raced there multiple times and the course hasn't changed much over the years so I mostly knew what to expect - some little jumps, lots of pedaling and a steep bit. In practice I was having way more fun than I thought I would but once the race came around I remembered the pain that track brings! I finished 15th which was mid-pack, I was hoping to do better but I still have the rest of the season to step it up.

Next race for me will be the BC Cup DH at Sun Peaks. Last year I had a big crash there that put me in hospital for four days and off the bike for two months! Now I need to conquer that course the way I know I can!