Race Report: Kim Finch – Nationals, Sol Vista Bike Park, Granby CO 07/17/09

Editorial by David Sanderson

Team racer extraordinaire Kim Finch qualified for Nationals this year, so a support squad formed and we were off to beautiful Colorado!  I’ll let Kim re-tell the story from here…

I finally qualified for the US Cycling Nationals, to be held at Sol Vista Bike Park in Granby, Colorado! I was so excited when I got that email! This was what I had been working towards all season! We make our arrangements and before you know we are off to the airport! With entourage & Ellsworth Truth in tow we are off. Want to know how special I felt? Well, I have my person bike technician, Tony, personal engineer, David & my personal photographer, Tim! Now how lucky can one girl get! We arrive in Denver, CO obtain our car and head out!

We are all starving so we find what appears to be the hot little local restaurant, called Jack & Grill. It was very good! Then off to the venue! With all my copilots fallen asleep, but it was okay, there was just awesome scenery everywhere! We headed straight to venue for check in & to get a the overview of the event. All the usual vendors were there to help as needed. Saw several SRC racers and chatted with some DH pro ladies that I knew! We hit the condo, checked in & Tony got right to putting my bike together! We enjoyed hanging out that evening. Elevation was approximately 8,200 feet.

Up early Friday morning for breakfast and off to the venue. The guys rented some nice DH bikes and went off to play. I rode in the hills to adjust to the elevation and found a very fun little single track that I kept playing on and a couple good little hill climbs to warm up! We rejoined for lunch as race time was @ 3:00pm. The weather was perfect, on the high 70’s. Just prior to start time some cloud cover rolled in which made it even nicer! “Racers to staging!” I hear the announcement and I am off to the start line.

My crew also takes a break to cheer me on @ the start. I have four women in my group & come to find out they live in areas that are at least 7,000ft elevation. For the first line is a very large very steep climb on the fire road. I live through the climb wondering when there would be an oxygen stand! Then a left turn pass the 4X stating line and I hear Brittney from SRC yelling for me! After a bit more fire road, the climb cuts into the trees! From this point I am completely thrilled that is was going to be a nice mix. Into the trees, I should say FOREST, with a technical climbing of single track up over rock gardens, roots and some soft dirt areas. Then hit a bit of a fire road which gave me a chance to recover. I seem to be breathing somewhat normal by now, I was surprised!

Then back into the forest for more single track! I passed several women and a few men along the way! I was having some much fun at one point I forgot this was a race! Half way through the course we merge again with the main course and then I have the advance men passing, but everyone was very cool! The one main obstacle was coming in fast on a a downhill single track that there seemed to be a lot of spectators at. Once I saw it I understood why everyone was watching there..it was carnage! As I came around this steep rutted corner one of the photo guys yelled out about the rut. I of course gave my thoughts on this rut as soon as I saw it and the photographer thought my comment was hilarious! Once I made it to the turn and rut, I thought it faster to slide down this carnage drop of silt then to tumble OTB! This is just what I did, of course at that very moment I watch two men come down, one came down on wheels and the other came down..well lets say a little different! I hop back on & hit the single track! This single track is full of banking turns and sweeping corners! This is my favorite part! This is why I torture myself on those climbs!

About 2-3 miles to go & I hear the guys cheering me on and they are all taking photos! I was excited! I had no crashes and everything was working perfect! Through another bunch of trees and I can see the finish area. I hit it with all that I had left! I crossed the finish line and I had done it! I didn’t even care where I placed I came to Nationals & completed without a single problem!

Times got posted really late, but I came in 2nd place, 20minutes behind first! I cleaned the other two riders by a least 27 minutes and when checking times later I beat the times of all the ladies in 30-39 CAT3 and even a couple in 20-29 CAT3, so needless to say I was thrilled! Funny thing is that I was not tired, I felt I could ride a bit more. That would be related to continued use of “Sport Legs‘! I did get to play on the DH trail with the guys on Saturday and I tell you this is a place that has to go down on the “MUST RIDE AGAIN” list of places to ride!  Well, that’s all for now! We’ll see you at the races! Thanks to all of our sponsors!

– Kim

Race Report: Kim Finch – Golden State DH Series Race 3 July 12th, 2009

Editorial by David Sanderson, As Team MtnBikeRiders prepares for the Golden State Series Finale at Mammoth Mountain this coming weekend, we found that Kim’s report from race #3 had gone missing.  So I dug through the archives and found it. The following is Kim Finch’s race report from #3 of the Golden State series, better late than never…

Well, another trip to Fontana for the SRC racing Golden State Championship Series presented by Rock Shox. To say it was HOT is an understatement. We decided to do a late afternoon practice on Saturday and I got in a few runs and found the course very silty & soft. The G-out and off camber turn, I would have to say, was the hardest for me so I decided to take it slow and safe. I also had in the back of my mind the fact that the very next weekend I was racing X-C Nationals in Colorado.

Practice was intense and I noticed even Moe had taken a few soil samples. We arrived Sunday to find most of the team already present. Tony was covering the camera shots and making sure my bike was good to go.

Got in a practice run to see if any changes had been made with Traci, my competition. The silty corner was worse then the day before and I expected it to be worse by my race run. Also there was the rock garden that was new to me on this course. I didn’t clear it the first time so made a couple more attempts at it to try to build the confidence. This race was a two run format which meant I got to torment myself twice in the same day! First run was clean on top and I was excited. I really would like this course if it had been during the winter series. Hit the G-Out pretty good and stayed low on the silty corner. Had to toe dab a couple of times but made it through. However once over the top I had the Pro line to hit the next section..This was not good for me. I stopped and realigned myself, I did not want to OTB on the first run or even the second run! Cleared the next couple of rock gardens but came to the last one before the straight away & I froze. I had to jump off and run down it. Now of course I was kicking myself about this act of being chicken. I cleared the remaining and lower rock garden even the little roller/dropper I have never liked all season. Went for a little rest and talking to myself the whole time about the jump off the bike trick and then back to the top for run number two.

OK I am going to nail this! Started off clean, clearing the upper section and even the silt corner, popped up over the top and had my line! Now by this time team members & friends have lined themselves at the rock section I was still not confident on. I knew I could do it and told myself has I hear my name being yelled “off the brakes” “you can do it” “just do it”! So be it!! I did it! Adrenaline racing like crazy & exhausted, I race for the finish line! I cross to the happy faces of friends and David Buckle saying good job! I waited for Traci to cross and then hugs! She crashed but seemed OK! I took 1st place and was excited about it! I want to thank Tony for helping me with practice, bike tuning and just be there for me! I also want to give a big thanks to team sponsors, Evomo, Hoss, Serfas, Ice Toolz, Ergon and Sportlegs! Now it’s off to Colorado!