- Bike Checks
#USDH is strong in the PNW with a loaded field of racers no matter what the weather.
It’s not common to be able to go out for breakfast with your friends on race day, but that’s exactly what a couple of us did! Waffles, coffee, and bacon keep a Squid energized. After a pleasant pre-race meal and catch-up, it was back to business. Camera gear was accounted for and packed, helmets were bagged and kits were assembled, it was time to go racin’! The parking area under the power lines was cramped and creative at best, and the muddy driveway through was bordering on treacherous. But the sun was shining (for the moment) and racers were excited to get the day underway.
As usual, the rain started to plop down in heavy drops as shuttles began to take the Elite and Junior riders to the top for practice and everyone was holding out for it to stop. It did not. I sat getting soaked to the saturation point, and riders were coming by resembling mud flaps more than riders on bikes. It was a slog for everyone. The ever-growing puddles meant the mud was at least thinning out and traction was improving, marginally. It was at least warm, and the rain never really fell harder than a steady drop...drop-drop...drop...drop-drop…
Finals got underway with Junior Men. The young guns whipped by covered in mud spray and doing their best to see out of trashed goggles. The Elite Women faced nearly identical conditions and dropped into a fast-eroding track after 39 Juniors tore it apart. Times were tight in both categories, and thankfully anyone with a slow run said it was due more to the conditions than crashes. As Elite Men started dropping in, we were greeted by our fair weather friend, the sun…and it continued to shine until they finished. The race had the fastest riding of the weekend, as the rain had abated, the ruts were deep and a lot of the loose mud had been scraped away.
With three winners from the afternoon crowned, stories of “I WAS SO SIDEWAYS” and “…dude, I almost crashed like three times…!” were regaled, and congratulations were dolled out. Everyone was hungry and seeking warmth, resulting in the venue clearing out faster than you could say, “tear off!” The drive home saw a big ol’ rainbow arch across Port Angeles, which seemed like a fitting end to a rad weekend racing in the mud.
The PNW delivered despite not one Bigfoot sighting. See you at the U.S. Open!
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