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

If you are interested in any of the images for further usage please contact the appropriate link:


Please check out these other race report write ups and share:

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!

No comments: