Southridge Winter Series #5 – Joe’s Race Report

The weekend started early on ALL counts for me.  On Friday I headed to Fontana to pre-ride the DH & Super D course.  With only two races left, I am currently in good standings with the overall points for the Winter Series in both – Super D & DH.  I wanted to be prepared for what the weekend has to offer.  Unfortunately on Friday, the Super D was not marked and only the DH was available for practice.  I did a few practice runs with some of the regular racers.

 

Saturday: The day started way too early for me.  I got up at 4:30 am to watch our teammate Eric Hunner race in the Warrior’s Society Counting Coup annual race. This is a 44 mile trip through the Santa Ana Mtns.  I headed up the Skyline trail (Corona, CA) to a point called Beeks. 

IMG_9402 by you.

Top of Skyline /Beeks with Neil Adams.

 

IMG_1033 by you.

               Eric “The Animal” Hunner

Through here the racers will pass and a perfect spot to take photos.  This was also a check point for the race.  Reaching the top was just past 5am, in the low 40s. Needless to say, very cold…  There were at least 250 participants. Truly amazing seeing these guys/gals grind up th mountain.  After seeing the last one pass I headed home and got ready for Southridge.

 

Super D – Currently 2nd in overall points, I wanted to do well in the race.  Not being able to pre-ride on Friday I headed up to the starting point to get an idea of how the course will be.  With a few added climbs, the course was basically the same as WS #4. This was good as I was familiar with it.  I practiced the new section several times and felt comfortable with it.  In the end I ended up finishing 5th place in my class.

IMG_19471 by you.

               Picture by Dino Brown

 

Sunday: I was back early in the morning to practice DH.  By now the course would have changed from Friday and Saturday’s practice runs. Determined to better than my last race and overcome my fears, I walked-through and rode certain sections repeatedly.  As RL mentioned in his Race Report, there was a steep section.  During practice, I was not able to ride this. I have to admit I was scared, although the line that everyone was taking seemed very easy.  Also there was the lower rock garden where I OTB’d in January.  There was a faster, more efficient line that everyone was taking, but it required you to take the outside line, dropping down to more rocks.

 

During practice I tried to go over it but could not get myself to do it; I would stop at the peak of this rock. I watched teammates Moe & Kim do it with ease.  This section was easy but it’s definitely hard trying to go through a section where you have crashed…  It plays big tricks in your head.  Finishing the practice, there were two sections I didn’t do (that I needed to).  Just like previous DH races in this Winter Series, once race time came I rode the sections where I hesitated. I was banking on that again.

DH 3-8-09 603 by you.

               Picture by Chris “Sharky” Gattas

Race time – Through the tight turns of the top section, I felt good going through them.  Approaching the steep drop into G-out, I trusted my instincts and rode it all the way down. I don’t think I was going as fast as the others but I felt good and flowed through this part. Though a series of more turns (some off camber) I was feeling good.  Into the long stretch towards the lower rock garden I see Moe up ahead.  As we go into the lower rock garden, I caught up to Moe and was on his heels. He takes the outside line (the one that I was scared to go over) and I follow him – smooth.  Everything was happening so fast but that sigh of relief you can never forget.  The section that follows next has two paths as there is a boulder in the middle. Moe takes the right and I take the left; we exit out at the same time elbow-to-elbow…  I got bounced to a rock but fortunately recovered. Now it was on to the infamous “wall”.  Moe was ahead and was slowly getting farther away; at the same time I was gassing… Getting closer to the Finish Line a rider passes both Moe and I.  As he approaches the first left into the tape, he crashes.  Moe and I pass him up and onto the Finish Line.

 

IMG_36271 by you.

               Picture by Dino Brown

 

Although I didn’t place, by far this was one of the most exciting race runs for me.  Not only did I feel like I had a clean run, at the same time I conquered some of my fears.  Rubbing elbows with The Moe was awesome!  I felt like I was at a roller derby J

 

I’m looking forward to the last race of the Winter Series in two weeks.  It has been a long series… but a memorable one.

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