The 2018 U.S. Open of Mountain Biking - Track Walk

Founded in 1954, Killington Mountain has expanded into the largest ski in the Eastern US and one of the premier mountain bike parks in the country. The mountain has been given the nickname, “Beast of the East” and with a 3,050ft vertical drop, it’s a fitting one. For 2018 the US Open moved up into the Green Mountains after a well-received rebirth in 2017 in New Jersey. With the change in venue comes new terrain, a gondola, and a stunning view…when the clouds aren’t kicking around. The track that the USO crew has come up with is no joke, with a healthy mix of rough rock gardens and big jumps, to fresh-cut steeps and fast singletrack. There will be a test of skill and fitness for all racers, which will undoubtedly produce some wicked racing. We walked the track with some friends, including current National Champ, Samantha Soriano. It was a light-hearted trek and we managed to beat the afternoon rain, which was a plus. It’s a really long track, so dig into the stacked track walk!

The view looking up hides the DH track, which traverses across to looker's right. It's a long one!

Dylan Conte in audio

Freshly crown Women's National Champ, Samantha Soriano signing up for the big show.

Open categories keep things simple on the race plate table.
More chips than a bag of Doritos.

Registration was in full swing, with timing chps getting handed out like candy at Halloween.

Luca Cometti in audio

Gaetan Vige cracking wise and getting registered for the week ahead.

Made it! Jason Schroeder, Demetri Triantafillou, and Warren Kniss rolled up in style.

What's the band's name?

Proper number board decoration by Jason Schroeder.
A van full of speed!

Jason Schroeder in audio

From the start gate you can see the finish...allllll the way down there.

The view from the first turn is both daunting and picturesque (if the clouds lift).

The opening salvo of rocks and rough are a small shock and wild way to get things going.

The opening pitch it steep and rocky, giving a lot of cause for pause right from the get-go.
Granite, so much granite.

Dylan Lemar in audio

Puzzling, Ross Soriano considers the off-camber into the first quick woods.

Ross Soriano in audio

Loamburger?
Warren Kniss is trying a new foraged raw vegan diet. Looks tastey.

Warren Kniss in audio

So fresh! Only a few tires have been down the track for a course preview or two, and it's only going to get more turned out.
The first woods are a rowdy start to things!
The course is hot-out-of-the-oven fresh.
Vermont has seen a bit of rain recently, the flora is looking lush.

There are a countable number of berms on track, and they all look like they could hold a train.

There is a lot to puzzle out and views to enjoy, not sure which Demetri Triantafillou is gesturing towards.
So like, pull up.

Wyn Masters was on track putting together a course preview, before even walking the track...which was no small feat.

Blind booters are the new Kashima. Pro Tip: aim for that chair on the right.

It was hard to see much off the hill, which is a shame as Killington has one of the best views going.

Demetri, Warren, and Jason consider one of the man maybe-hucks on track.

Demetri Triantafillou in audio

The US Open track is a great testing ground for tire inserts. Just saying.
Classic bar-check and visualization by Ross Soriano in the Rock Garden of Confusion.

The woods up top are tight and rough, running through one of the oldest sections of trail on the hill.

Why is it the Rock Garden of Confusion?

For one, it's really rough and hard to see the line.

And for two, it looks like this for 70 feet with multiple insides and outsides.

There is a little standing water on course, but it's managable.
The ruts are going to form fast and deep, so creative lines could be a big play this weekend.
Big jumps for the win! Warren is fired up.
Big and lofty out to rider's left? Or step-up scrub on the right?

If it was cloudy and moody, but no one took a photo, was it really cloudy and moody? (Spot the gondola!)

Ski slope, fire road, wide woods, and fresh steeps, it's all in attendance from top to bottom.

One of the gnarlier blind rolls around, which begs to be hucked, but might not send well - we will see!
Huck to flat competition will be at noon on Friday.
Loamtreat!
Track Walk was full of laughter and shenanigans, replete with a brief Steve Irwin moment.
Loamlipper... that is some rough chop.
Soft and fresh, like a proper chocolate chip cookie.
Reminance of a different event lurking in the weeds.
The potential for ruts is endless and roost is going to be equally as plentiful.

The weather moved in around 2pm and looks to be here for the duration unfortunately.

You know it is steep when...Samantha hanging on!

Samantha Soriano in audio

Jason suggesting, Warren considering...inside or outside into the compression?

The finger roots hiding just under foot will make for interesting riding if the wet weather really comes out to play.

Connor Fearon points to where he is going to roost squids.

Gap-to-fluff. There are a lot of moves on track that could provide air time through otherwise rough sections.

Anthony Paulson testing the traction in the open and finding the limit.
The horseshoe at the bottom is off-camber, fast, and has an uphill water bar running through the beginning. The track is unrelenting all the way to the end. This section drops into a literal rock pile.

Winning the footware game, Sam Soriano braved the white-wrecking brown pow in fresh kicks.

Connor once again suggesting a move which would be quite impressive for meer mortals.

A proper finish line.

CJ in audio

The reigning US Open Men's champ, Neko Mulally is stoked for the days ahead.

Neko Mulally in audio

 

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