Rider Interviews & DH Action - Killington Pro GRT 1

Riders got their slip and slide on down the root and rut-infested track, embracing the less-than-steep pitch of Vermont.

Today at the Pro GRT was a lot better than expected, on all fronts.  We woke up to sunshine and a light breeze, I ate a breakfast burrito on the chairlift, the track dried out, and the lines got rutted and wild very quickly.  Anything that was a puddle or bog yesterday was a deep rut (or four) by this afternoon.  The roots got greasy with each passing rider and the on-trail flora quickly became mulch as anticipated. With the track being relatively easy, it was difficult to gauge where time could be found. Momentum was a key piece to the puzzle, as was not braking…at all.  From the pit chatter, it sounds like riders barely used their brakes and the real game is about what trail undulations are “jump” versus “pump” and vice versa.

Technical abilities on a bike will be favored this weekend, as raw power and speed aren’t a big factor on the rather flat and slick track.  The riders who can read the ground the best and anticipate where sneaky traction can be had will be the ones who have a leg up on the competition.  Times will be tight in Seeding. It will be very interesting to see who has the endurance and memory to have a clean run, top to bottom.

Aiden Casner landed the coveted #69, but it's got a 0 leading it, which means he cant run it upsidedown.

The day's first blood, Tanner Stephen getting a little wild with a knife.

Tanner Draws First Blood

Tire choice was a big question on the day, which never did quite get answered either.
First rider on track today!  Aiden Casner wasted no time getting into it today.
There are a lot of conflicting messages here.
Coffee is king, Josh Hanson providing Jason Schroeder with the necessary caffeine dose for the morning.

A little take-home from West Virginia or some secret shock goods?

Frida Helena Ronning on track with George Ryan on the lift watching on.

George Ryan knows that when you see the guy with the camera, you send it a little extra.

The track builders came correct and threw down some fresh chicken wire on all the wood for today.
From the dark out into the brightest of bright light!

It was a day of high contrast, with super harsh shadows and intensely bright highlights.

The chair parallels the track for most of the way up, so it's easy to socialize all day.
The track was drying out more and more each run, so much so the berms started to peel apart.

Blasting between patches of shadow, Jason Schroeder keeping it fast and low.

He needed some winning over, but by the end of the day Wiley Kaupas was digging the classic VT conditions.

The ruts came out early and only grew in size and number.
Moto or MTB?  The speeds were high here and picking a line was crucial.
The tire ridges were like little mountains when you were down low all day like I was.

The Colorado sender, Austin Hackett-Klaube made it East for a bit of a riding and racing adventure.Austin Hackett-Klaube

Spotlit for some style, Kiran MacKinnon looks way ahead into the shade to see what's next.Kiran MacKinnon

Rocking a DH/TR hybrid, Logan Binggeli seemed happy with his choice, never changing bikes.Logan Binggeli

Ella Skalwold hammers a deep left as Aiden Casner looks on wondering if he should do the same.

Steeze vs.

Dylan Conte

Bruce Klein

David Kahn, eyes ahead and trying to remember which very similar-to-all-the-other-ones section is up ahead.

Ekking out a bit of style, Mauricio Estrada dives into the rut-fest.
Shane Leslie might be covering the brake here, but he said he barely pulled them all day - this track is about keeping speed up, not assessing braking zones.
Derailleur dragging.

Shane Leslie

Enduro National Champ, Seamus Powell, getting some descending training in this weekend, racing the DH on his trail bike.Seamus Powell

All the way over with the team from California, Emily Gacad is figuring out the unique conditions.

Gapping up high and to the outside, Jason Schroeder takes the bigger option over the awkward fade-away.
Steve Estabrook scrubbing over the fade-away.  This section had a lot of different lines.
Opting for the straight-down-the-middle approach, Kiran MacKinnon carried big speed here.
Dak Norton gapped down the middle - no wrong way to go here really.

This dude was shredding, but not having a number sheet, he'll remain known for the moment - rumor has it, he could be from down south?

The view off the course is quite nice here at Killington.

That's some serious focus shooting from the eyes of Mauricio Estrada.

Fast and low with Demetri Triantafillou.
...oh, really low!

[click] oh, that's a shoe coming unclipped...

Demetri Triantafillou

oooooh shi-
Wow.  What a save!

There is an outside left, which Fride Helena Ronning is eyeing up, and a rough straight through holes. Frida aimed for the rut on the left (and didn't run me over).

Frida Helena Ronning

Local shredder Jordan Newth knows these trails almost too well perhaps!

Jordan Newth

Party trains were trucking down the course late in practice. Here Josh Rogers leads out the Fun Express.

Tanner Stephens testing the grip of the chicken wire with a little nose press on one of the stream crossing bridges.

Was it even a day of DH practice if there wasn't a tear-off shot?

There are gaps everywhere if you're willing to pull up hard enough. Tanner Stephens gives this triple a whirl.


Angelina Polermo took a more methodical approach to the day, having a look at the degrading spots and keeping track of where the fast lines were developing.

Angelina Polermo

Max Morgan knows how to keep a bike looking fresh.
No half measures with Max Morgan, who is still healing and here wrenching for Kiran MacKinnon.

Max Morgan

He's no slouch with a camera, but Wiley Kaupas is still much happier between the tape.

Wiley Kaupas

Cole Suetos, Steve Walton, and Jarod Hason were out for some party laps after practice.



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