2016 KMC Chain Winter Series, Race Weekend #1

First, lets express wishes to the racer, who had to be airlifted off the mountain, for a speedy and full recovery.

well, that is one way to slow down the competit a teammate

Rocks fall hard on this mountain, the evidence is all around. Great slabs of granite, some with sharp angular edges, others with softly rounded faces, are everywhere. Some might take exception to the use of that word - softly - for there is certainly nothing soft about these rocks. It is one of those ironic twists of the lexicon that "soft" and "rock" should ever be used together.

Riders also fall hard on this mountain, and it is no surprise that the first, the rocks, are often the cause of the second, the falling rider. What is surprising is that falling, or crashing really, does not happen more often. The DH guys, in particular, are constantly on the edge, riding that fine line separating control from chaos. You hear it in their exclamations as they rumble past, you hear it in the solid "thwack" of a missed line, you hear it in the smooth bite of tread and a perfect passing. Study, read, watch and learn, these are all methods of preparation, but when the wheels begin their spin, and speed picks up it is not so easy to distinguish between the realm of control, the other of chaos. As likely as not each run down the mountain sees a racer waver across the line, one moment in complete control, the next slipping into chaos. Once that happens, recovery may be equal parts luck and skill. Only once, on Saturday morning, did I see a racer run out of both luck and skill. A "thud" delivered with something less than grace, spectators rush over with the usual question, pick up the riders' bike, proffer a hand to help him up. The response "I saw that happening" - we always see our mistakes as they happen. Too late. No harm done, though, and there will be another run to correct the problem.

Before this years' Winter Series is complete I hope to make it out on a Sunday for the actual DH race, this weekend, though, Saturday's practice runs would have to do - and the XC race earlier in the morning. Of course. 

Congratulations to the days' XC winners: 
Rotem Ishay, Pro Men
Nikki Peterson, Pro Women
Eric Bierman, Veteran Pro
Turner Conway, Expert Men U18
Rafael De La Rosa, Expert Men 19-29
Curtis Keene, Expert Men 30-39
Ken Smith, Expert Men 40-49
Mark Milam, Expert Men 50-59
Jonathan Livesay, Expert Men 60+
Micah Mason, Open Women
Blake Wray, Sport Men U18
Blake Mastrangelo, Sport Men 19-29
Tim Gonsalves, Sport Men 30-39
Michael Nasco, Sport Men 40-49
Todd Hunsaker, Sport Men 50-59
Rich Fersch, Sport Men 60+
Alexa Lopez, Sport Women U34
Isabelle Thompson, Sport Women 35+
Luke Phillips, Beginner Men 9-10
Raulito Gutierrez, Beginner Men 11-12
Jake Hubbard, Beginner Men 13-15
Vance Chavez, Beginner Men 16-18
Sullivon Van Way, Beginner Men 19-29
Corey Mouton, Beginner Men 30-39
Jason Suarez, Beginner Men 40-49
Darron Manky, Beginner Men 50-59
Shelby Kawell, Beginner Women U18
Dixie Owens, Beginner Women U34
Zak Kroepel, Over 200 Club

Of the, more than, nine hundred photos from the day, one hundred twelve made it into the Flickr album. You can check them by clicking the link. If you don't see what, or who, you are looking for in the album just let me know and I will search the rest. If you see a photo you like, feel free to download it (credit where credit due, of course). You can also contact me via email and I will gladly send a full size jpeg file of the image. As usual, I don't charge for photos, but do appreciate it when someone purchases a copy of the annual. By the way, you will notice I switched from shooting in color, to B/W - once the sky became that flat, dull grey, it equally affected the lighting down below, thus the switch. Until next time, good riding.

He recovered from that