As mentioned in last weekend's post, this passed weekend brought the infamous Keyesville Classic, and thus the start of some proper all mountain racing for the 2014 season. Here's Team SCXF's take on the event.
After racing the Fontana ProXCT the weekend prior, with some of the fastest racers in the world, I was excited to head down to Keyesville with the team to do a more low-key event. Additionally, the All-Mountain format, consisting of short track, downhill, and cross-country races all done on the same bike, made it a perfect event to try out my new Santa Cruz Tallboy 2.
Short Track went well, and I managed to finish 6th in a strong, deep field full of many of our state's fastest endurance riders. Next up was the downhill, held on a fun, fast course with a couple technical rocky sections. I was stoked to race, and felt like I had the perfect bike for the event while many of my all-mountain competitors were at a disadvantage on hardtails. Unfortunately, it was not to be and I flatted my rear tire during my race run. Although I was angry to have lost my chance at a high result in the all-mountain category, I was still excited for the XC the next day.
XC went smoothly, and while I was unable to match Tony's strength that day, I was happy to ride consistently into 5th place. I was also impressed by the Tallboy's ability to hang with short travel hard tails in a XC event after feeling so comfortable in the downhill the day before. I am learning more and more that this bike is capable of a lot more than meets the eye.
Big thanks to Tony's amazing family for hosting us, and to all our sponsors for keeping us rolling. As always, stoked on what's to come!
Tony's been shredding nonstop down in SLO and it showed at Keyesville with his 2nd place in the XC and 4th in All Mountain Overall! Here's his take on the race:
Colby, Will, and I signed up for the all-mountain category and had the opportunity to race the Short Track and Super-D on Saturday, the day before the big Cross Country race. The Short Track was first, but unfortunately I had some bike-fit issues and ended up coming in towards the back. Luckily Will was having a solid race, and was up there duking it out with the top guys.
The Super-D was held later in the day, and although most of the course was very smooth, there were a couple sections that we had to pay close attention to line choice. Specifically, there was a pretty technical rock garden and a rock chute called the snake pit. Not having a big bike, my goal was to just make it down with a smooth run and be able to race the Cross Country the next day without any injuries. Luckily, my highball and X-Fusion suspension handled the course like a champ, and I came across the line in 8th overall which included the DH-only guys. Not bad Hardtail 29er!
The next day was the Cross Country race, and I was eager to have a good race after my problems in the Short Track the day prior. The three-lap race started out fast, with team manager Colby Pastore getting some photo time in while taking the whole-shot. Once the first climb came around, teammate Will Curtis and I started to gradually move up into the top 5. Jason Siegle and Eric Bostrom had a gap on us, but we kept a solid pace going to make sure it didn't get any bigger. After the first lap, Bostrom had a flat, Jason was riding away, and I found myself in 2nd with Will, Charles Jenkins, and another guy in pursuit. Being a shorter race, I kept the hammer down and tried to stay away from everybody and maybe make time up on Siegle.
I was able to keep my 2nd position, but I couldn't catch the leader. I felt pretty solid and I am looking forward to the Sea Otter and the Whisky 50 in the month to come! Congrats to Will for snagging 5th, Colby for finishing, and friend Mike Zanetti for killing it on his first race back from his injury! Finally a few words from Team Manager Colby.
Last weekend the boys and I headed down to the 26th annual Keyesville Classic to contest the All Mountain Category. This race is pretty cool because they require you to race the Short Track, Downhill, and XC all on the same bike. For this year I chose my Tallboy 2 with a 120 fork and a dropper post for a bit of an advantage in the DH but kept my WTB Nano tires and Easton EC90XC wheels on to keep it light and fast for the short track and XC.
The STXC was pretty uneventful for me. I had some added energy towards the end when I saw Tony's high-viz helmet off in the distance and was determined to catch him. I was bummed to hear he had a bit of a mechanical, but stoked that he was at the front of the race with Will before that.
The DH was next, I was pretty comfortable with the course. I was hoping to take things up a notch this year and take a pretty aggressive line through the snake pit but ended up going with the standard rut line. After waiting at the top for what seemed like hours for the Pro Men we lined up, Will started ahead of me on his Tallboy and Tony started right behind me on his Highball, so naturally the Sh*t talking was pretty good in the start shoot. The course was pretty tame for the most part, it was separated with two areas that added some difficulty. First was a bit of a rock garden that was maybe 100 yards long and for some reason the 3 of us could never repeat the same line, right as you exited the rocky bit you entered the infamous "Snake Pit" which is a rocky shoot about handlebar width and you basically just ride this rut and hope for the best. Race run I unfortunately got a little cocky on an exit corner and lost all my speed for that portion of the course. I still ended up 6th overall in the DH including the DH only guys, I think I finished 2nd out of the All Mountain guys behind Anthony Medaglia who absolutely ripped it on his SRAM equipped Santa Cruz TRC.
The XC is really what everyone was focused on this weekend, the course is pretty challenging and has some pretty steep rollers. We rolled up to the venue only to find out that they were going to start the race earlier and left us with little to no warm up. After some pre-race drama my epic warm up of riding to the start from the car was a huge success. I ended up starting the day in 6th overall with my STXC and DH results combined. The whistle went off and I found myself sitting in 3rd going into the first corner of the start area, we hit the first roller and all of a sudden I was in 2nd, heading into the first descent I found myself leading the race into the first main climb. I wasn't really sure why everyone was going so slow at the start until 1/4 of the way up the first sustained climb when all of that work basically caught up with me. My lack of warm up left my muscles tight. Once I recovered from my holeshot hero start I found myself towards the back, at that point I just set a pace and held it there the whole race picking riders off as I went. The tallboy was so much fun out there, most guys would be on the brakes down the short descents into the punchy climbs but my bike allowed me to rip down everything and use my momentum to get up most of the climbs. I ended up about 15th, not overly stoked about the placing but once I got into my pace I was really happy with how I was riding overall.
HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Tony's grandparents for taking such great care of us, they absolutely spoiled us with dinner and a great place to stay every night, our annual post race Hooters dinner was cancelled due to Will being a sour puss but there is always next year.
I am pretty excited to go into Sea Otter and get some last minute conditioning under my belt before Tony and I head out to Arizona to race the Whiskey 50!
Until Sea Otter!