Any day the sun is out as you get to hill is going to be a day of high morale. A light breeze was keeping the bugs at bay, squids properly cooled, and the track dry at the 2017 U.S. Open in Mountain Creek, New Jersey. The speeds were immediately a notch above where they left off a day before, and the riding looked the part. When riders stopped track-side, they were regaling tales which involved a lot more upbeat phrasing and exciting line choices, clearly hyped on the improved conditions and track. The already deep ruts started to firm up and the grass corners were burned out, treaded strips of brown hinted at the fast lines, but a few riders stuck out a foot and cozied up to the tape for that extra advantage. -by Zach Faulkner
Qualifying was modified to Seeding as the number of riders in all categories are deep, but didn’t warrant cutting people out – better to run a slightly bigger race than leave out people during the return of this prestigious event. The vibe on the hill and in the pits has been top notch, and coupled together with the sun being out, there was a much-needed improvement in rider's spirits after a gloomy Friday practice day. As the lines became more and more beat up, the riders rose to the occasion and really started to up the ante. The timed afternoon runs saw some serious attempts at mock race runs during Seeding, which gave a little sneak peek into what is in store for Finals in both Open Women and Men. There's going to be some heavy racing, and the money on the line is going to be won through smart and tenacious riding.
Seeing the actual number of riders in attendance today during Seeding was wholly encouraging, showing that the US DH race scene is on the upswing once again. Big numbers in the AMs, a solid showing the Women’s categories, and more groms on 26’s than a YouTube comment section proves that people want to race - they are into the competition, it’s just about making it worth their while. Fun runs after the timed events, food and drinks at the finish, and a Red Bull DJ truck are surefire ways to make sure families and friends will also show up to watch the action. After all, spectators are half the fun of a race!
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