Monday, April 14, 2008

Rabbit Valley Rampage

The 2008 mountain states cup has officially kicked off for the season. The first event in the series was held on the weekend of april 12-13 in the beautiful area known as Rabbit Valley. It's about seventeen miles from the mountain bike mecca of Fruita, CO, and has some spectacular trails. The area has long been responsibly used by four wheel enthusiasts, hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers, but for the weekend it was all bicycles.
The team and I pulled into Rabbit Valley around four o'clock friday under cloudy skies. The wind was blowing and sand was everywhere, but everyone was still happy to be there. The race is definetly the excuse, but the ride is why we go to these places, and ride we did. The first thing after camp was established was grab the bikes and hit the time trial course, my designated venue for saturday's race. It wasn't too long, about 5.5 miles, but the route opens with a challenging climb. I knew I needed to get some rest and eat for the ride tomorrow.
The next morning I was up and riding before the first cup of coffee was brewed. I pedaled a few miles to where I felt warm and then hammered out some sprints. After a cup of joe, I was ready to rock and went to the start line. That's when I found out that there is no sport single speed class. There was no label before any single speed class, it was just men 19-29 single speed. I had been pitted against some of the stiffest competition in the msc, and start time was now 12 noon. The race was awesome, I had a great lungbusting ride through a fun trail network and found out how much a 29" wheel helps. All the 29ers passed me up, and I ended up with an eleventh place finish. I don't feel bad about it, the top finish was a hair over seventeen minutes compared to my twenty-three. These guys are incredibly strong, and I'm not one to give up. Me and my roadbike are getting aquainted rather well, and have even become good friends despite our rough start.
After the races were over, I had found my finish, decided to start packing some smaller gears for the races(a 36x18 doesn't cut it on the climbs), and decided that the V29 will be a single speed. The team and I decided at this point that a little ride would do us good, and went out the xc course, known as the west rim trail. The ride was so good that when we saw the signs saying short loop and long loop, we just couldn't pass up the full circle and headed out on the 18 mile course. Sometime after dark, we rolled into camp under a bright half moon and clear skies, bound for food. We went to Fruita, 17 miles east, and found a mexican restaurant and gorged ourselves on spicy salsa and fish.
The next day, we rode the xc course again, this time with Devon lugging thirty pounds of camera gear on his Scirocco. We got some action shots of the racers and had a rock fight. The rocks won, and we headed back to the base camp. The awards wrapped up with the pro classes having a reportedly $2000 split among them, not a bad deal for doing what they love so much. The weekend was a blast, I learned a bit about the world of single speed racing, and we had fun cruising the desert. The next race will be held on Colorado soil once again, in Nathrop. We hope to see all the Dead Bros/Banshee friends out there, and maybe even meet a few more. Keep your eyes out, we'll be under the Banshee banner. pedal on pedalers, Linden Carlson