Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Team Geronimo race report - Crushing the Canyons

Tunes from the nearby concert further entertained those gathered at finish. Photo  Mike Schirf//Enduro Cup
Brian Buell reports once again on his experience racing the NAET series race at Canyons Resort near Park City, Utah. It was a one day race with 3 stages and some good un-timed transfers in-between. He was the only member of Team Geronimo in attendance and was utilizing the event as a tune up for the upcoming Enduro World Series event in Winter Park. He wound up finishing in 14th place overall against some world class competition, but wasn't satisfied as he had some major mistakes and didn't ride to his full potential.  
Fallow the signs and get your tickets to a great event, thanks Dan Roper and crew.  Photo Mike Schirf//Enduro Cup
Friday
Feeling a bit worn out from the previous weekend I rolled into Canyons Resort looking forward to racing at a new venue. The mountain is laid out in an interesting format, multiple lifts are utilized to get to the start of all of the stages, or if your Mike West, you frown upon this and ride your way to the top. The trails were dry, the vegetation was tall and on one of the stages there were vertical rocks set in the trail, axle hight just waiting to take you out. It took me a second to adjust to the terrain, but I managed a few laps on each trail and called it once I was unable to hold onto my bars. They weren't the most technical, nor the longest runs, but all of the stages were extremely physical with lots of sprinting. I put some fresh rubber on for the next day and awaited a 8:30am mass start to the top of the first stage the next morning.
Rider Brian Buell with his trusty steed the Banshee Rune.  Photo Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com

Saturday
With nearly 50 strong at the start line we started riding up the first un-timed stage which was a good 30 minute effort to the start of the first timed stage. I was one of the only riders who opted to wear a full face helmet due to the amount of peddling, but I felt that the tracks warranted full protection at race pace and I would deal with it on the climbs. I waited an hour up at the start as I was near the end of the start list, but by this time my muscles had relaxed and I felt sleepy. I tried to fight this feeling but I never really got into my run, combined with a mechanical I finished 15th on the stage and was looking from the outside in. 
Brian mixing it up on the 3rd row wearing his POC Cortex full face helmet.  Photo Mike Schirf//Enduro Cup
I was pretty determined to make time up on stage 2 and after another liaison climb to the top and fixing my mechanical I was the last pro rider down. The tight nature of the trails proved difficult, lots of riders had issues seeing where they were going or were caught by surprise by a 180 degree hairpin turn. I kept it clean, but was still slightly off the pace in 11th place. The liaison stages were quite enjoyable, and the last one of the day was a long peddle through thick aspen tree forests. 
Devon captures Brian taking the high line on the final stage.  Photo Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com
The last stage was a mix of DH inspired steeps which ran back into the first timed stage. I enjoyed the top and kept it clean, but ran out of gas at the bottom. Another 15th place, but a fun weekend of racing. It was very low key, but the Enduro Cup Series put on a great show and all the riders kept a very quick pace. Disappointed with my result, I look forward to the next weekend and the Enduro World Series in Winter Park.
Riders hang up their bikes and head to the beer tent after a great day of racing.  Photo Mike Schirf//Enduro Cup
Check out some media from the event: 

Thank you so much to our wonderful sponsors and Team Geronimo supporters for your continued support.
Ride On!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Team Geronimo at Master the Mass Enduro

Its been a wicked busy month of racing and traveling (locally thank goodness). The tracks have been tough and physical, week in week out, so naturally the body is starting to tire a little, but I must push on and find as much recovery time as possible because this train isn't slowing down anytime soon!


Master The Mass is a really great event, and due to its low key nature the racing vibe is very relaxed and fun. Snowmass is literally just down the road from where I live, about 30 minutes, so it was really nice to make a day trip each day and sleep in my own bed each night. The temperatures have been nuclear, so trail rides throughout the week leading up to the race were took in the early AM, and the rest of the day I was able to rest and recovery from the previous weekends racing in Keystone. I missed out on this race last year as I was chasing the East Coast World Cup scene, but I wasn't going to miss out on this very unique event that utilizes both an interesting race/scoring format. There were 4 stages of racing(Uber D, Cross Country, Chainless, Downhill) that was comprised over 3 days and the scoring was based upon your percentage behind the leader after each run, then combined for the overall. In my opinion it was one of the most challenging and fun events I've ever been apart of and the point system worked out great rewarding riders for their strengths and creating an even playing field. Here's how it all went down.


Stage 1 - Uber D

I arrived Friday and met with Dylan and Tyler to get up on the hill and inspect the 9 mile long Uber D course that we would be racing later that afternoon. The Uber D utilizes many trails on the mountain and starts above 11,000ft at the top of Elk Camp Lift. Vapor Trail starts it off and is an interesting mix of machine build trail up top and natural down near mid mountain where it ends. A quick sprint past the Elk Camp Gondola and onto the flow trail, Valhalla for a few minutes. It turns onto Government Trail which is one of the most popular trails in the region as it traverses the Aspen mountains. There are a few mean pitchy uphills but we were rewarded with descending down the insanely fast Anaerobic Nightmare Trail through the aspen trees and onto Tom Blake Trail where the fun continues until you cross Owl Creek Rd and hope onto Highline Trail. A lung busting scrub brush hillside traverse awaits, until finally the trail ends on a tight descent and through the finish line on Cemetery Rd. With 3,500ft of vertical drop, we were looking forward to this after riding it in full once, but knew it might be the hardest race course we've encountered this year due to the shear length of it all. 

I felt great out of the gate as the DH style Vapor track greatly suites my style, but as soon as I made my way through Valhalla and onto Government I was starting to feel weak. Too much sprinting up top left me gasping for air on the ascents and it took me a while to regain form towards the bottom. A few tricky turns had me concerned and I ended up braking when I shouldn't have. I tried to make up for my mistakes towards the bottom on Highline, but I was ruined by that point. I mustered up enough strength to sprint hard across the line, but a 9th place left me searching for lost time along the way. Bike setup and strategy would be addressed before the Cross Country the next morning. Tyler unfortunately broke his chain mid way through the race, he ran and kicked his way never giving up all the way to the line in 20th position. Dylan had a great run and placed 1st in his category. Worn out we headed home knowing it wasn't going to get any easier the next morning in the Cross Country stage.



Stage 2 - Cross Country

Up and at em early, but a slight delay had us lined up for a mass start at 10am. I was situated next to a few lycra clad, leg shaven high posters and wasn't quite sure what to think of the whole situation. I knew that I wouldn't be close to the strongest rider in the bunch, so once the gun sounded I positioned myself right behind the fast boys and tried to hold on. The pace was manageable until we reached the first set of switchbacks above Elk Camp gondola and then the pace really picked up. Into the fresh cut single track forest we all went and I was left mid pack wondering when my 2nd wind would arrive. Low and behold I started making moves about 10 minutes into the race and spent the majority of the time trying desperately to keep a high cadence with my 38 tooth chainring setup. I had multiple riders in my sights throughout, but could not pull them in on any of the climbs and as we traversed the hillside towards Spider Sabich the overgrown vegetation made looking ahead and turns tough to gauge. I was able to hold off a rider behind me long enough to hook into an old DH track which brought riders back to the base and finish line. It was a quick 7 miles and still had plenty of descending, but some of the climbs were sustained and quite rugged. I found myself once again in 9th place, but the damage was done as I was 11 percent behind first place. It was respectable, but my goal is to become more multi dimensional and a threat at these events in years to come. Tyler Moved his way up into 11th with a strong effort and Dylan kept it together for a 3rd place finish. The promoters might as well of read my mind, the last two events were hard on the peddles, time to take the chain off for the next stage.

Stage 2 Results:  http://www.aspensnowmass.com/-/media/Events/MASTER/2013_MoM_Stage2_Results.pdf



I'm extremely fond of chainless racing and the thought of creating a Chainless World Series has even crossed my mind. In my opinion there is no better way to judge a riders skill than to take off the chain, and let gravity do all the work. I've raced chainless on Valhalla before and let me tell you it is tough. The turns by this point were blown, the course very dry and the jumps take a certain skill set to stay low over, so its a real challenge and one mistake can be really detrimental. I pride myself on turning technique and exit speed, and work everyday to continue to improve. My background with gated racing goes great with a jump track as well. After a few laps to help fill the voids of some important pieces of track it was time again to race. It was comical to watch bicyclists run alongside and sidesaddle their steeds, many of the bunch are not runners. A good running start is pretty important as speed going into the first straight were slow going, but once in the trees it was non-stop all the way to the bottom. The amount of focus left me with a sore neck and a bit of a headache, but after 9 minutes of turning and burning and almost catching my 30 second man I crossed to line in 1st place. Tyler showcased his skills in the Amateur Men category and made the podium with 3rd place. Dylan once again kept it consistent upon his Banshee Rune and into 2nd for another podium. A long day came to an end with a great social gathering at the Base with bar food and friends. I had put myself in the position that if I did well the fallowing day in the DH I could possibly score a podium overall position.


Stage 3 Results:  

Stage 4 - Downhill

I put the big Maxxis High Roller 2 meats back on in anticipation of the next stage, and probably the one I was most excited about, the National Downhill track. I've been racing in Snowmass for 9 years and actually took my first downhill victory here in 2004. I've had many other podiums and victories on this track, so I was looking forward to giving it a go on the smaller trail bike. The high speed top half of the track was taken out, so we were in reality only racing about 70 percent of the original course, but after the start line, it was full on right into the dark forest. We were graced with overnight rain however and the track that is usually known for, and potentially even famed for being one of the most blown out loose tracks out there, it was actually tacky and held great traction. The lack of trail maintenance left racers crossing their fingers while plowing down the rough track through thick mountain cabbage, but after a few practice runs in the morning a few lines started to burn in. I felt absolutely terrible the first lap down as perhaps I was used to a faster speed while navigating the trail, but 2 more practice laps left me feeling prime and ready to give it a good go. Its always fun to get loose on the trail bike and I got a little out of my comfort zone while on my race run, but all in all had a very clean run and bested much of the competition by a large margin and enough for another race win. Tyler went on a flyer and won his race by over 7 seconds! Dylan raced a tight one but settled for a well earned 2nd place, but was definitely looking to end the weekend with a victory.

Stage 4 Results: http://www.aspensnowmass.com/-/media/Events/MASTER/2013_MoM__Stage4%20RESULTS.pdf

Stage 3-4 photos:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151718747692042.1073741839.106030702041&type=1

Overall
In the end I worked my way from 9th to 4th overall, just a few points outside of 3rd. With his misfortunes, Tyler still put in a 10th place result. Dylan took the top overall honors in the Junior category with some seriously consistent and strong riding.

Overall impressions of the race weekend were good, the trails were rad, the competition stiff and the body sore. However, because it was there, and I need to continue to work on my fitness, I managed a Rim Trail ride in fallowing the event. Thank you all very much for your continued support of myself and Team Geronimo.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kip Shortreed - Race Update

After a few weeks off I had time to rest, ride lots do some filming with friends in Whistler that are working on a new video, it was time to race again.


Coming into Canada Cup and BC Cup #2 at Sun Peaks was a lot more nerve wracking then most other races for me as last year that was where my season ended after I crashed and lacerated my liver putting me out for 2 months. After walking the course with my teammate Forrest and seeing the new sections and few changes to the course, including changing up the section where I crashed I was ready and excited to ride. The course was one of the fastest I have raced with people hitting over 90km\h. I was feeling good during practice, scaring myself a bit with the speed of some sections but having a blast. My race run didn't go so great, I went off track in a turn near the top and lower down I burped my tire and had to ride carefully so I wouldn't loose my tire or slide out and ended up 32nd. I was stoked for Forrest who ended up taking the win with a competitive field. I its also worth mentioning that we walked the course with the winner of the pro women Micayla Gatto so it's probably safe to say that walking with me strongly influenced their wins ;-)


National Champs at Panorama was the next weekend I have raced there a few times before, this year a few improvements had been made to make the course more technical, faster and have more line choice. It took a couple runs to get my bike set up for how fast and technical it was and to get used to the dust and dirt, but once I felt better with that I was good to go. All was going well until just before seeding when the friend I was traveling with had a big crash and ended up having to go to the hospital, so for my seeding run I had to do my best to stay focused on my riding and have a clean run down. I seeded in the lower half of the pack but knowing I took it easy in seeding gave me confidence I could put down a good time in my race run. Race day, my friend had been let out of the hospital the night before and was ok other then cuts and bruises. With my mind clear from everything else I knew I could put down a good run and do better then I have been so far in the season. I went hard and managed to only have a couple minor mistakes that didn't feel like they cost me much, I felt I could have been faster but a clean run is great to have. I ended up 17th which is one of my best results of the season and I am hoping to keep improving as the season goes on.


Kip Shortreed

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When the Megavalanche goes bad! (warning, entertaining content inside as well as google translation from Italian)

Michele from Weekend wheels sent me the folloign email and blog post..

'Please don't laugh too much ;-)

http://weekendwheels.it/rider-report-megavalanche-day-4/

After the 14th place in the qualy it's was a delusion to finish the Mega in that way...'

At the bottom of this comically traslated Italian blog post (thanks to Google for the entertainment factor) you can find a video that shows just what went wrong!

Better luck next year Michele!

RIDER REPORT: Megavalanche - DAY 4

We, the big day is finally here ... I'm still dented from the blow outlet in qualifying (short put online the entire video of the qualification commented) and I'm quite anxious about the departure from the glacier, but the satisfaction of rushing in the final "A" is so great, especially considering the level that will be there.
The alarm, as always, is going on soon: 6 hours. I make a modest breakfast, partly because the stomach - oddly enough - it's nice to be close ... anxiety ... I tell myself I'm leaving alone in the direction of arrival eggs ... and there's the usual mega row ... I reach his friend Giorgio Righi, the chattering Time passes more quickly and above all we digress a little ...
Arrived at the Pic Blanc, at 3,330 meters above sea level, the view that one enjoys is to stay out of breath (as well as for the view, the breath is missing for the altitude ...).
P1030536
In an instant, it's time to be deployed: I have a row G, practically half shortly after deployment but in my grill I access one of the last because of the weather did in qualifying. I have to start all over then a tight angle on the left, the worst part. In fact, it's all in counter: we must be able to take the right otherwise you will inevitably be drawn to the left side of the track.
We are three hundred, but we do not fight against the Persians at Thermopylae as, but against us to stay upright and not overwhelm each other ...
Here comes the helicopter and salt anxiety ... I turn on my faithful Helmetcam, quick turn 360 ° and away the helmet on your head ... I focus ... the tactic is clear: I have to survive the first wall, taking me slowly on the right without being overwhelmed ... and then give up the brakes, as far as possible. It rings out - amid the noise of the helicopter blades - the unmistakable music of DJ Camacho: "Alarm System .... El fatal rhythm ... The bomb ..." ... They get up the skirts ... parties!
Childbirth very cautious, looking - as planned - to take me to the right: the tactic works for a moment, but the counter weights inesorabilemente wins, I will spin the bike and I fall ...
Practically my race ends here, because what happens next is literally a charnel house ... I try to get on my feet, but I am overwhelmed from behind .... I do not understand anything ... even for a moment I lose the bike, but after a few meters I find myself practically the handlebars at hand ... I extract the fatigue from under a tangle metal, I get back up for a second, but they take me under again ... with the bike in hand slide ass for the track, taking my time to those before me ... I'm completely at the mercy of events ...
I finally manage to get up, I realize that the handlebar is completely wrong ... but the tragedy is that I find it sliced ​​the front brake cable, most likely when the bike has remained tangled under. I try to straighten the steering wheel but I can not, at the time not realizing that it would be useless even if I had succeeded, left me all the way down on the snow and then the next along the hillside with no front brake, would be tantamount to suicide ...
With sadness in his eyes I look at the last rider down and sadly I turn off the Helmet.
But it can not end cos' I say ... in a burst of pride I do not do so for won ... I still want to finish the Mega ... as I said, get off without brake would be suicide, so the only option I have is to go back on foot the track ... the pendeza is monstrous, every four steps forward one is because back slide ... and especially every four steps I have to stop, I'm out of breath ... I almost want to cry in despair and fatigue ... "fortunately" the same fate befell a Spanish guy in the ... force us to each other tells me: "never Mega" ....
After 20 'and a crazy hard, I can finally reach the cable car, take it and I also take the plant after ... I stop to adjust the handlebar and I decide to follow on the route of the race at the slope which leads then to the Allemond ... others are waiting for me there to go directly to the house and get there by asphalt is an idea that does not even take into consideration, I want to cross the finish line at all costs, even if it meant coming in last.
I put then uphill at a brisk pace (at the bottom are cool, I was regularly in the race at this point I would have been half boiled ...) even though I realize that the saddle is broken ... the brow start to pray ... there are traits fast and full of brake bumps ... get off with only the rear brake is a gamble, but it does not matter, I have to do ... play wildcard here and there ... every time I meet other unlucky like me (so to speak, at least at that point they are arrived by bike and not with the help of an installation).
In the forest, in tight bends and steep (video below, I've done some idiot commenting on the way down, but it was really hard and at some point I almost really), life-threatening, but I still undaunted ... until finally I get there the bridge finale ... Sprinto against myself as if I were still in the race and cut the finish line in one hour and 24 '.... I finished the Mega ... of course, I "cheated" but I really wanted to finish it in the saddle after the bitterness of what happened on the glacier ...
At the finish I find that even at Ale BASINI it went wrong, it was done pretty much the whole race without chain breaking on the glacier (when it was in an excellent position) coming before me, however, about 4 '... while George finished 96th, the first of Italian (great!!) ... he was smarter than me, started two rows behind but always on the left ... in the video - as I slide overwhelmed by those behind - you see (minute 2:07) that he crosses the racing track bike in hand in a successful attempt to bring the right ... the Mega is also this, to be quick and ready for any eventuality ...
I finish 299th out of 307 arrived ....
Okay, it definitely takes a lot of skill and hair to deal with the first wall of the glacier, but without a little luck, you do not go anywhere .... I'll try again next year, because this is and remains without a doubt the most fascinating race and beautiful in the world!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Forrest Riesco - Race reports from Canada Cup, and National Champs

The last two weekends have been very exciting for me to say the least, on July 7th I won my first Canada Cup as a elite at the second round of the Canada Cup series at Sun Peaks!! The following weekend I placed 7th at the Canadian National Championships in Panorama! The Sun Peaks course was very wide open, fast and long. Some racers were reaching speeds of over 90km/h down the straight sections of the track. After the first day of practice on Saturday the track got very rough and huge braking bumps formed. It was one of the most fun tracks I've ever raced. I ended up getting a little crazy on some sections but I had a clean run all the way down with no real mistakes. I was the seventh to last rider down the mountain so I took the hot seat as soon as I crossed the line and held it till the end. Winning a National race was a huge goal of mine coming into this season and to finally take the overall fastest time at such a big race is a very cool feeling!!
I stayed up in the Interior of BC between the two races and did some cross country riding in Revelstoke. Then I was off to Panorama!

The course at Panorama for Canadian Championships was similar to Sun Peaks as it was dusty with lots of braking bumps, it wasn't as fast as Sun Peaks though and was almost two minutes shorter. We had Friday practice and then seeding runs on Saturday. I put in a good smooth seeding run and placed 6th. For race day I knew I could shave off a few seconds, though the track was so much rougher and looser then the day before that the race times were very close to the seeding times. I placed 7th overall with a solid run. Considering all of Canada's top racers were there I was very happy to place how I did and be able to compete with them at that level.

I will be up in Whistler quite a bit within the next few weeks training and riding. Then I will possibly be attending the Silver Star BC Cup, then the Mont Saint Anne World Cup in August. The Canadian Open/Canada Cup #3 at Crankworx will be the deciding race for the National team and how I place there will most likely determine what the rest of my season will look like.
Cheers!!

Forrest Riesco

Matej Charvat - National Champ 2013



Czech National Champs was one of the important races for me this season. It was also one of the goals to achieve.
The race came back to Spindleruv Mlyn after two years, where is one of the best tracks in our country, at least the gnarliest one.



I arrived straight from Crankworx EU (about 1500km) so I skipped the training on Friday. Nothing to worry about, as it was raining almost whole day anyway.
I did a trackwalk, and a few runs right after on the Saturday and was ready to race.



I was feeling really confident the whole time aboard my Banshee Legend with slightly rised Spank cockpit for the steep track. I simply knew that I could win it when I was in the start hut if I put a solid run together. I really enjoyed the ride until half way down the track when I started to think too much about not messing it up, and not crashing. I slowed down a bit to keep the things safe and made it to the finish with the fastest time!

It is pretty good to get the title again after two years of bad luck (crash and injury).
This result was also important, because it simply is my flight ticket to PMB – World Champs!!!

Guys from my team also did solid job. Stanley finished 4th with injured knee and Simon, my brother is still improving – 11th place this week for him.








Thursday, July 11, 2013

Big Mountain Enduro #3 - Team Geronimo Kicking Butt in Keystone

Big Mountain Enduro #3 - Keystone
Brian letting it roll down a step chute on stage 5.  Photo: Eddie Clark//eddieclarkmedia.com
This past weekends 3rd stop of the Big Mountain Enduro at Keystone Resort was also the 2nd round of the NAET(North American Enduro Tour) and with it came a riders list full of heavy hitters from all over North America, and some International riders as well. Instead of arriving early, I utilized my 4th of July holiday to tie up some loose ends before loading up Thursday afternoon and hitting the road. Keystone is a bit of a local mountain for me and I've had some of my best race results to date on the rough and ragged bike park. After speaking with some riders whom pre-rode on Thursday, I was happy with my decision to sit the day out as other riders were beat and bikes already broken. Instead I spent the afternoon prepping for a very long weekend and enjoyed some amazing fireworks over Lake Dillon. 
Keystone is fast, plaid speed fast.  Photo: Holly Turner//http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
Training Day
The anticipation to get on the hill was almost too much as I was bouncing off the walls like a little kid in anticipation for this long weekend of racing, and unnaturally I was ready and on the lift at 10 on the dot. Like Crested Butte the week before, Keystone wold feature 6 stages and 1 on the mountain transfer stage. That's where the similarities end as Keystone is a whole different beast in comparison to CB in that the bike park for one boasts a thousand more vert and is considerably rougher. We set out doing all of the runs in race order and it took most the day to fully complete all stages. It was going to be very tough to remember all of the courses to a T, but past experience has taught me to take extra mental notes at all intersections as its nearly impossible to deceiver signs while riding at 100%. Speaking of riding at 100%, that is what you have to do in order to be competitive at these events, the level of riding is insanely high due to the grand diversity of the overall competition. Even though the lifts were open until 7, I called it quits early, dropped my bike off to my boy in Blue, Tyler West at Shimano for some pampering and hit up the 6pm riders meeting. The BME race promoters have done an exceptional job learning on the fly and had a giant task ahead of them this weekend and they enlisted all riders to help keep it fair and to ride the trail. Team Geronimo is committed to keeping to the trail, never negating a turn and has the best interest of continuing this awesome format while keeping the National Forest Service happy as these events are all permitted. With the bikes dialed in, it was time to grub out and find my Kelty tent for the night as an early morning and an intense day of racing was on deck.  
Team Mechanic John Hartmann dialing in Michael's ride. Photo: Holly Turner//http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
Stage 1 - Girl Scout
While I was dreaming of enduro glory the skies opened up and left the mountain soaking wet. A 9am start didn't leave much time for the tracks to dry and as I hit the first turn of Girl Scout I nearly lost it but regained control and carried on. This slick top layer didn't do much for my confidence as I navigated the wide open peddle driven top part of the track cautiously. Once I hit Eye Of The Tiger I finally found a rhythm, but the damage had been done up top and I lost a lot of time thinking about the moisture laden trail and had to put in a large effort to retain a 10th place on the stage. It was the longest stage of the weekend at 14 plus minutes long and proved to be very physical as it combined all types of terrain for one fun top to bottom run. Jess rode looking for a solid start to the weekend and finished in 23rd. Michael navigated through some traffic and managed an impressive top 20 slotting into 18th. With stage 1 in the books, we were all looking forward to stage 2 as it should highlight our DH background.
Brian eyeing the finish line on Stage 1. Photo: John Hartmann//Hartworks

Stage 1 Results: 
Stage 2 - Cowboy Up
I've been racing out of this start house since 2004 and the first section of this stage Cowboy Up is classic Keystone with its tight bermed turns through the forest and then it opens up to a mean rock garden in the middle of the ski run. I've always navigated this section with ease and during practice blitzed it without issues so when it came time to race I was fired up to give it another go. I felt great through the tree's leading into the rocks, I got a little too excited to put on a show for the photogs and spectators jumping into the rocks and as I exited I heard the noise no racer ever wants to, hisssssssss. I quickly jumped off as my wheel sealed with single digit PSI, put a CO2 to it, but it did not hold and I was forced into taking tools and tubes out just to get down the hill. Weekend overall hopes smashed, not pleased with myself, I tried to keep up a positive attitude and focused on individual stage finishes instead. This stage utilized some of the fastest portions of trail down Loggers Way and was also super technical with some tight squeezes in Punk Rocks. Overall the stage was 11 plus minutes and one of the gnarliest courses out there. Michael slipped back in a tightly contested field finishing 23rd and Jess opened it back up utilizing his DH ninja skills for a solid 17th. 
Jess getting gnarly in the Cowboy Up rockgarden. Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Stage 2 Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Stage2.pdf

Stage 3 - Mosquito Coast 

By this time in the day the temps had risen and the tracks were well beyond dry again, which I think we all enjoy growing up racing in these conditions. I was fuming still after stage 2 and finally saw my time from stage 1 and wasn't that impressed, so I was out for a result on stage 3. After collecting myself and getting nourished I was back atop the start of Milky Way near the end of the pack. I honestly do not mind starting near the rear as the vibe is generally very laid back, and once out on the trail I start hunting for my 30 second man. As soon as I see dust still sitting in the air or a jersey in the distance I find an 11th gear and go. I passed 2 riders on my way to a 5th place and was pleased with my effort after crossing the finish line. This stage was in some ways similar to stage 1 as it was very physical, it spent more time on the open ski slopes with too many traverses to count, but it was a blast to ride as it ended with the infamous tight and twisty Wild Thing section. Jess was feeling the last too stages and was slightly on the other side of the bubble of riders but still cracked the top 30 in 28th. Michael put in another strong top 20 effort and rode hard for another 18th place spot, making two on the day. It was a tough day, enduro racing is full of ups and downs, a bit of a mental roller coaster. I wanted to carry a strong end of the day into Sunday in hopes that I could capitalize on my momentum as I was learning to loosen up and let go. 
Michael navigating some of the loose keystone dirt. Photo: N Ontiveros//bigmountainenduro.com
Stage 3 Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Stage3.pdf

Day 1 Video Recap: http://vimeo.com/69819021
Stage 4 - Paid-In-Full
I utilized the extra hour of practice time Sunday to get a warm up run in on Stage 5, its a full on DH affair and a better way to wake up than coffee(I know some will differ, but Cafe does not do it for me it turns out). Back up to the top and again slotted in towards the back of the pack I found myself behind Oregon ripper Matt Slaven. The track utilized the same top section of Cowboy Up and to prevent future mishaps like I had the previous day I put some big Maxxis 3C DH casing tires on and gave it another go. I didn't feel as on fire as the previous day, but I managed to make it through unscathed and carried on to some of the fastest sections of the mountain. Paid-In-Full is full on wide open ski run point and shoot fun, and a little unnerving but I was having the time of my life on it and started hunting down the purple polyester of Slaven ahead. Matt and I managed a few passes as I rode his tail towards the end and once safe he opened it up for me to carry on and into the finish below for another satisfying 5th place finish. I want to extend some well wishes to Matt as he recovers from a gun shot wound after being mugged in Santa Cruz, makes you grateful for everyday, especially ones spent on the bike. Michael didn't start the stage too well with a crash on the Cowboy Up rocks smashing his wrist/hand, but managed to hold on for an impressive 26th. Jess found his mojo and rode well as he was finally getting up to speed on his freshly built Banshee Rune and sprinted across the line into 10th.
Brian taking the smooth line and keeping air in the tires. Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com

Cowboy Up Video:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151752580616410&set=vb.264434926409&type=2&theater
Stage 4 Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Stage4.pdf
Stage 5 - Milky Way
After I got my breath back I knew that if I could squeeze another run in on stage 5 it would prove greatly beneficial. I set up my Fox Suspension slightly stiffer for it sit higher in the travel for some of the gnarly steep, tight and twisty bits that encapsulated this short three and a half minute track. It was much shorter than all other stages and I was trying to treat it more like a DH race as I set my sights on a stage victory. Michael and I went off back to back and we were greeted my dad cheering us both on up top which added more fuel to the fire. Its always rad to have my family at the races, their support of me and my brothers racing has been huge as we definitely wouldn't be in the same position we are now. I was drifting corners and feeling pinned while navigating some awesome sections chalked full of jumps, drops and gnarly steeps. I crossed the line and let out a holler as I was stoked on my run. I learned that I managed to crack the top 3 finishing in 2nd place and peddled the transfer stage motivated to end the weekend on a high note. Michael finished in 21st but the times were so tight and a second either which way meant lots of places gained or lost. Jess was a stones throw away from a top ten and finished in 16th with another good result. My good buddy whom I've been racing against in juniors since the beginning, Joey Schusler finished 1st once again and was on fire holding onto the top spot going into the last stage. 
Brian committed dropping in on the steeps on stage 5. Photo: N Ontiveros//bigmountainenduro.com
Stage 5 Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Stage5.pdf
Stage 6 - Eye of the Tiger
The "spirit of enduro" is a phrase that has been widely utilized and has many different meaning depending on who you talk to. To me the "spirit" means, if someone needs help or assistance and you have the resources to help then going out of your way to do so is in the "spirit" of enduro. I was one of the last to the top of the transfer after helping one of my fellow riders fix his flat tire he sustained in stage 5 and once again lined up behind my brother looking to smash the final race of the weekend. It started at the start of the trail, Eye of the Tiger which was a rider favorite because of the tight and flowing natural terrain which wound through the dense pines. I utilized the knowledge gained in stage 1 which shared this trail and had an exceptional run hucking to flat all the way to the finish and a 4th overall for the stage. Michael put together a personal best 13th place ending his weekend on a high note. Jess was pushing hard, but unfortunately punctured, but he still gave it a good effort until the bitter end. 
Jess focused and looking forward to crossing the finish line. Photo: Eddie Clark//eddieclarkmedia.com
Stage 6 Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Stage6.pdf

Overall Results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_KeystoneResults_Final.pdf

Day 2 Video Recap: http://vimeo.com/70005476
Brian's Take
These Big Mountain Enduro races are possibly the most physically demanding, bike beating and mentally straining races out there and I've definitely learned a lot every weekend. There is so much that has to go into successful overall outcome. Bike setup, mental/physical prep and course inspection are key, if you aren't confident with all of these its tough keeping it all together for a full weekend and a combined full seasons worth of DH. I'm still trying to find what works for me, for example if possible its important for me to take a practice run, just to get warmed up and confident in going 100 percent once the countdown hits zero. Also, I believe a certain degree of luck has to be on your side. If I negated stage 2 from all competitors and added up total times I would have been top 5, so I'm happy with how I'm riding and my fitness is coming along. Looking forward to Master The Mass this weekend in Snowmass, nice to have a race in my backyard! 
Brian on a burner and a 2nd place on stage 5. Photo: N Ontiveros//bigmountainenduro.com
Michael's Take
After leaving Crested Butte the week before feeling like I had left a lot on the table when the weekend was over. I was extra focused and excited to step up my game and give it everything I had in Keystone!
Training for me this Season has been going very well! I’m healthy, injury free, and I’ve been putting in between 60-100 technical miles a week while coaching with the SMBA youth development team in Boulder Colorado. I’m feeling stronger and more confident then ever, with both my fitness and technical skills continuing to improve to new heights as the season progresses forward. At Crested Butte 2 weeks ago I was feeling a little bit overtrained from the intensity of my training. So after the super physical and intense weekend of racing down there, I decided to take advantage of the holiday break from coaching/training and focus on recovery leading into Keystone. This plan payed off well, and I felt super strong throughout the 2 days of racing in Keystone and was able put together some very clean and fast runs. I was pretty happy with 5 out of 6 of my stages, despite a couple of minor bobbles, and my Shimano/FOX equipped Banshee Rune ran flawlessly over the combined 1hr of racing!  I was able to finish the weekend with a personal best 13th on stage 6 and a 14th place overall on the weekend. I’m pretty pumped to have cracked into the top 15 among the very talented, group of competitors that made up the pro field of stop #2 NEAT (National Enduro Tour) / Big Mountain Enduro #3 race field!
Michael put in consistant runs and finished a strong 14th overall. Photo: Holly Turner//http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
I know I still have a lot of room for further personal development and improvement this season and going into future seasons in this relatively new format of racing, I look forward to continue working my way up the ranks even more as my training and fitness continues to progress. I’m having a blast at these races and look forward to continue with the solid momentum gained from this past weekend!
Buell brothers post race catching their breath. Photo: Holly Turner//http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
Jess's Take
Keystone was rad!!!
Jess had a solid weekend but a puncture ended his hopes of a top 15 overall. Photo: Holly Turner// http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
Conclusion
With a week long hiatus in-between the NAET race, Team Geronimo will take their talents to Snowmass and compete to be the Master of the Mass in a one off event that includes chinless downhill, downhill, enduro, XC races to crown its overall champion. Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for your continued support of Team Geronimo, we are extremely grateful for you are the foundation to our success!
Ride On! Photo: Holly Turner//http://hollyturne6.wix.com/hmtfoto#!portfolio/c1han
Additional Media: 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Going Big In The Butte... Team Geronimo style!

Brian Buell sending it on stage 2 on route to 2nd place photo: Nicholas Ontiveros//bigmountainenduro.com
The 2nd stage of the Big Mountain Enduro is a wrap from Crested Butte! 
The Kelty Compound is home to Team Geronimo for the weekend with the Butte looming in the background  Photo: Daniel Dunn//www.danieldunnphoto.com/
Brian Buell brings you Team Geronimo's race report steaming fresh from this past weekend, enjoy!
The POC Trebec lids are always a point of interest and with the white on white is a blank canvas to highlight our other great sponsors  Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Race Prep
Michael and I rolled out from Nederland early Thursday and got to the Butte with enough time to squeeze in a run on all six stages. We gained a lot of experience in series race 1 at Angel Fire and knew that pre-riding is incredibly beneficial to having a successful weekend, so we buckled down and made sure that we had each track memorized by the weekend. The conditions were incredibly dry and dusty, which made for very loose tracks and tricky traction control.

A blurry Brian rides through a field of mountain cabbage and wildflowers  Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Check out the BME day 1 video: http://vimeo.com/69403642 
Stage 1 - Luge
A great track to start the weekend out on, it was very mellow and had great flow down the 1,000 vertical from atop the Red Lady lift. It was a joy to ride, but come race time it was a full on 5 minute plus sprint to the finish. With 5 more stages to go I put in a strong yet conservative effort, but was blown away by the times the top men laid down, it was time to forget about conserving energy and to go 100 percent moving forward as I quickly put myself behind the 8 ball, 14 seconds back in 19th place. Jess Pedersen put down a nearly identical run finishing in 21st. Michael who is very confident on flat peddles finished 32nd. Michael and I were hit pretty hard by wind and dual ply DH tires definitely didn't help. 
Jess railing one of the many turns on Luge  Photo: Daniel Dunn//www.danieldunnphoto.com

Stage 1 results: http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/assets/files/BME_CB_Stage1_Results.pdf
Stage 2 - Timeline
The most fun track of the six was flat out with loose berm blasting and big jump boosting! Michael and I both opted to keep the big Maxxis meats on for this as the extra traction control allowed for more confidence to let it rip. Being so far back already I took some extra risks and ended up finishing 2nd on the stage and 3 tenths off the stage win. This provided me with some extra incentive to perform heading into the final stage of the day. Jess wasn't too satisfied with his 22nd, but knew there was room for improvement and was confident more time on the bike would allow him trust his equipment and instincts. Michael had a solid run going, but had an incredibly unfortunate mechanical stopped him in his tracks ending any hope of a good overall finish as he slotted into 41st on the stage.
Brian sending it on route to a 2nd place on stage 2 in front of a small group of spectators  Photo: Eddie Clark//eddie@eddieclarkmedia.com
Stage 3 - Westside BC XC
I added the BC XC to the name of this track because that's exactly what is was, back country cross country. Many of the XC oriented riders were frothing at the mouth for this 12 plus minute trail that would have most riders in the hurt locker the whole time. It was a great trail to ride, especially if it were with family and friends and a potential picnic in the middle, but this stage was not in the spirit of enduro. With a spot of ginger chew tucked into my cheek to prevent cottonmouth due to the dry conditions I absolutely labored my way to a 14th place finish 48 seconds back from race stage crusher Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski. The trail had it all, and you had to ride smart as to not overcook the turns in the heavily wooded forest, but it was a constant sprint out of turns with a massive go at it in the open at the bottom. Michael fallowed in behind me and rode a strong race, but as was seen this stage completely turned things upside-down in the results and landed him into 30th. Jess was putting the power down, maybe too much as he snapped a chain, but probably put in one of the best efforts from anyone on the day , he kicked and ran his way to the finish never giving up, but very much out of any respectable overall time for the weekend coming in 54th and dead last. 
Michael navigating the boulder fields on Westside during stage 3  Photo: Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com
Stage 4 - Columbine
Check out the BME day 2 video here: http://vimeo.com/69456988
A good nights rest re-charged all of our batteries as we looked forward to the final day of racing ahead. This stage required a small transfer ride from the the Red Lady to the top of Painter Boy lift. Another physically demanding track and a tad heavy on rotating cranks, Columbine featured a high speed double track that bleed off into single track that paralleled the hillside full of wildflowers and aspen groves. I vowed to put out max effort as I wanted to scratch and claw my way into the top 10 overall after finishing 11th on day 1. I utilized my 30 second man as a rabbit and focused in on catching him and never letting up throughout the whole 8 minute plus stage. My efforts were rewarded with a top 10 time on the stage, much closer to them leg shave'n fellers with an 8th place finish. Still 16 seconds behind stage winnerJeremy Horgan-Kobelski. Michael again choose to fallow me pushing himself hard for a 23rd place finish. This stage was extremely tricky with lots of tight turns and shelf cut sections. Jess opted out of the stage as he wanted to focus on strong stage 5-6 finishes. 
Brian digging deep tongue out 2/3 the way through a stage 4 full of wildflowers  Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Stage 5 - Frequency
With the peddle party over it was time to focus in on pinning it once again with two more bike park style stages remaining. Frequency was a mix of stages 1 and 2. It was a very fun 6 minute track with plenty of rhythm sections, good terrain and a ton of loose berms. I channeled my inner mountain cross racer and prepared an all out assault, opting for a foot out flat out style of riding that at least left me feeling like I had not taken it too easy. A few missed peddle strokes out of turns however and a small mechanical left me sucking air and 1 second off the top step in the 4th place spot. Jess had a solid run but never could put it into overdrive slotting him into 16th, while Michael kept it consistent once again earning him the 25 cent piece finish. 
Michael utilizing a banked turn on stage 5 to get some momentum moving forward  Photo: Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com
Stage 6 - Avery DH
We all have some history on this track as it once served as the DH course for the now bygone Mountain States Cup Series. I've won seeding runs and have podium finishes on this course, so I was excited to relive some of my downhill glory days racing at this familiar venue. Truth be told, this National Forest approved race course never really warranted a full on DH bike, so it was interesting to see how racing my 6 inch Banshee Rune was going to compare. In the end I believe the trail bike to be better suited to the majority of the trail, but it did get loose in a few sections that required some commitment. With a top 5 finish out of reach I had nothing to lose, so I went for the stage win and succeeded with a commanding 5 second margin over 2nd place. It was a great way to finish the weekend by besting some of the top overall finishers by 15 plus seconds on a 4 minute track. Michael once again kept it consistent in his finishing position, 22nd, but was far from clean as he completely blew off course and had to bulldoze through the cabbage and came to a complete stop in order to re-enter the track. Jess finished the final stage in 30th and is setting his sights on a bit of redemption at Keystone. 
Brian on his way to a massive 5 second margin victory on stage 6  Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Michael's Take

"This weekends event in Crested Butte was definitely a sweet event! Racing 6 stages over three days is both extremely fun and extremely difficult. Your almost guaranteed to have an awesome time as the days are made up of all day racing and riding super fun trails. Doing well however is a constant challenge, keeping yourself and your equipment running at 100% through this much punishment is a major feat, Consistency is key! I was unfortunately not able to find consistency this weekend. I did have an excellent time, and felt moments of brilliance. I know I was on pace for some strong stage results throughout the weekend but wasn’t able to put all the pieces together when it counted. I’m constantly learning how to better approach this new format of racing and am really looking forward to some redemption next weekend in Keystone!"
Michael staying low over a small log drop at the top of the stage 6 DH track  Photo: Daniel Dunn//danieldunnphoto.com
Jess's Take 
"It was another fun weekend of racing the BME series. Stop #2 for the series was none other than Crested Butte where literally thousands of wildflowers line the trails. Crested Butte is known for its dry and dusty conditions and this weekend was no exception with the serious lack of rain this season. It took me a little bit to get used to the dusty trails and get up to speed but after a day of practice I was getting there. The first two stages on Saturday went well for me and I stayed consistent with  21st and 22nd place finishes and was still getting up to speed. I had three more trails to learn in between my race runs. I took a couple more practice runs and it was time to head up for Stage 3. Stage 3 was the longest stage of the weekend and about a quarter of the way down my race run I snapped my chain pedaling out of a corner. I knew my weekend was done but I continued to kick and run my way down the track. I ended up about 6min out of contention for the overall of the weekend. This was  a major bummer but I decided to focus my energy on the last two stages trying to break into the top twenty and earn stage points to go towards the series overall. I had a solid run on stage 5 and ended up 15th earning some valuable points towards the overall. In all it was a super fun weekend riding bikes, racing, hanging out with good friends and taking in the amazing views of Crested Butte. That's why we do it!"
Jess absolutely shredding his Spitfire on stage 5  Photo: Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com

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Brian taking a short brake while floating in air before setting his sights on blowing up yet another berm  Photo: Devon Balet//devonbaletphoto.com
Thank you all so much for your continued support of Team Geronimo! We look forward to continuing to support and represent all of our amazing supporters this holiday weekend in Keystone for the 3rd round of the Big Mountain Enduro Series/2nd round of the NAET Series. Its going to be an amazing weekend and we are really looking forward to it. Have a fantastic 4th everyone!
Ride On!