Fontana City Nationals Race Report: Kim “Champ” Finch

*Editorial: Here’s the much anticipated race report from Team Rider, Kim Finch.

Nationals are always a big event. We rolled in very early Saturday morning to Fontana and as expected Vendor Row is packed. With numerous events about to unfold, I hit the registration table got to get David, Tony & I registered. Back to the truck and gear up for practice. Ran in to teammates RL “Boss” & Moe “The Moe”. We all headed to the top of the mountain. Sport & Beginner had early morning practice time, which was great! The shuttle line was really short which always seems rare.

I was able to get in 5 practice runs before 11:00am! The course was not too technical, but the winds on Saturday were so strong they were blowing me off my lines. The swooping “S” banked turns were so much fun! There were some ruts that seem to cut across the course in a manner that could cause some problems, but was able to find my lines and felt really good about the practice. Afterward we were off to eat at Jose’s Tacos nearby.

Sunday we get to Fontana, check in, set up base and wait! The up side this morning there was “NO” wind! Practice time was a bit later in the morning. I cruised around and ran into the rest of the team! Talked with Nancy Harris who had been approved to race in the Sport Category with Traci Adams and I. I was very excited about this, as Nancy has spent a lot of her time coaching and helping me over the past year, so really thought it would be fun to see how I finish my time compared to hers! I was able to get in two practice runs however, it was not as clean as I had hoped. The drop, hard left in to the “S” turns I kept washing out, once hitting the ground and one a near miss. I was determined to get this section cleared as I had cleared it all runs the prior day. I hiked back up to the turn above it until I nailed it! Upon completing it, I called it a day until race run. Weather was getting hotter but the winds seem to be nothing more then a breeze at the top of the hill.

Race run: Sport women were the first down the mountain today which is kind of cool as I didn’t have to wait out those pre-race jitters. I followed behind Traci; the count down began with the last BEEP I was off! First section clean pulled each line as I planed. Had to toe dab right, left turn due to slide off line and caught a bit of the rut at the bottom. I headed to the rock drop I was struggling with earlier that had and clean the rocks but had to again put a foot down at the apex of the left hand turn. This was not good for me as I lost my momentum to start the “S” banking turns. Stood up on the pedals and hit it as hard as I could. Swept the turns clean, even got a little air off the last “G” out. Hit the bottom and headed for the lower rock garden. Took the new line I had just learned earlier that was a straight shot to the bottom. Was clean & I felt pretty fast over all. I could hear Wes cheering as I went through the lower section. Thanks Wes!

Over all I had a lot of fun! Nancy & Traci were waiting for me at the finish line! Nancy took 1st time 2:58, I got 2nd time 3:20 & Traci took 3rd time 3:22. As you can see was a really close race. I was very excited to finish close to Nancy and thrilled to see that Traci’s training is paying off! Thanks to all the support of our sponsors and all my teammates! Was a great weekend of fun and looking forward to Santa Yenz & Woodward West!

Another Season Ends-By Kim “Champ” Finch

Kim has to be our most prolific racer on the team. She has earned more awards in her racing career than any of us could ever imagine earning. So it brings me great pleasure to share her 2009 race season. The Race Team is very proud of her and her accomplishments.

Well here we are with another racing season at its end. This has been an awesome year of racing & riding. The SRC awards, which was held on Sunday, 12-13-2009, and was as always a lot of fun! I had a chance to visit with everyone and chat about the up & coming 2010 season. I had a great 2009 season with XC, Super D & Downhill.

Downhill racing was new to me this year and with the help of Tony, Nancy & Roger, I made it through the season with only one injury! I made some great new friends, Traci & Lala in the downhill races.

Being part of Team has been a great experience as well. The support that I received from everyone was great. The team first seemed to be just a bunch of people that love to ride and turned into a family! What a great time I had with all of them. Each person on the team seemed to improve as the season went on. Priscilla was a lot of fun to ride with and is a great support during our training. We’re constantly pushing each other to improve all the time. Also is very nice to have a lady to ride with!

My goal this year when I started the season was to qualify for Nationals and be able to attend. I have raced several years but this goal had alluded me. I race several events and was thrilled when I received the email telling me I had qualified! We quickly made arrangements and before I knew it off to Colorado!

The race course was unbelievable! I even forgot I was racing I was enjoying the views and the most wonderful technical single-track course I have ever raced on! I finished the race with the sheer joy of being there and crossing the finish line, then to my surprised I had placed 2nd in XC Cat 3 Women 40-49! I did it!

I raced all season at Fontana, Woodward & Mammoth. It was a great experience to not only do XC & Supper D, but now adding the downhill!

The Southridge awards for overalls completed and I placed 1st in XC, Super D & Downhill! The US Kenda Cup Series, which included, Bonelli Park, Sagebrush, & Santa Yenz, for the West, I took first in overalls for this series. I entered the Triple Crown Series: Bonelli Park, Mt SAC & our home course of Fontana, allowing me to finish 1st in overalls.

Each race I entered was able to place at least in the top five. This was also my own personal guideline for moving out of CAT 3 division. Our team did fantastically well all season long and we all made some new friends along the way. For myself I am moving from CAT 3/beginner to CAT 2/sport category in all race disciplines. I am hoping to have as much fun is this category as I have in the pervious years. Our team sponsors have been good to us this year and the goodies have been a nice treat. Everyone’s support both on & off the racecourse has been fantastic.

I am looking forward to the next season and marking my calendar!

Happy New year to everyone and we’ll see you on the trails!

Woodward West – Kim’s Race Report

Arrived Saturday morning to just some AWESOME weather. Got bikes off loaded, gear up & catch shuttle truck to the top of the hill. I see the same smiling faces and warm welcome we have come to expect from the SRC crew! Now it’s time to see what Donny has put together for us. Start line is at the top of a ramp, well there is a little nerves there but I did it before. Climb up to the top, hold my breathe and we’re off!

First practice run of the day. Little rock garden at top is pretty rough, jagged edges. I can hear my tire hit dead on. Couple “S” turns to a small drop that are a soft. Quick right and sharp left clear the top portion. Then came the real fun nice banking turns which I threw down my “Sam Hill” style, couple table tops I roll over. Another rock garden with nice smooth line. Few more banking turns and head for finish line. Much to my surprise and given speed I launch off what I thought would be a roller little hill! There I am in the “AIR” instant prayers going out to land on both wheels safely! I did it. First practice under my belt and all was safe! Put down couple more runs then ran in to our team member “The MOE” and Joe “J-SIZZLE”! Always nice to see all that show up at the races.

Headed over to the camp ground area to see who all was there and as always all the familiar faces were there. Traci & I chatted for a while and Nancy was there as well! Roger, Nancy’s husband even gave me a few pointers after following me on one of my practice runs. Traci & I head up for some more runs! See is getting faster, if she ever decided to pedal I am going to be in trouble!

After practice, we over headed to hotel for a shower & then out for dinner. Is always fun hangin’ out with friends! We talked about what line to take, how we felt about the course as well as catching up with each other.

Race day: Good (free) breakfast at the hotel with the team and Roy, our little camera bug. Lots of tea, couple of “Sport Legs,” pack up and off we go. Check over the bikes and hit the shuttle truck. Take couple practice runs to see the changes and man was the top loose. Major dust bowl! Manage to get in two practice runs before the call of “Race Runs” by Steve, SRC driver we all love!

Chatted with Traci as her nerves were on the edge and get her to relax. Joe was still talking about the first rock garden..but by the time lineup came he seemed to have set his mind. Tony was very calm which I thinks helps the whole team and Moe stood over things like he was “The Boss”!

Plug in the iPod, Climb up the ramp, Donny starts his count down and I was calm! Was kind of strange most of the time I get anxious but I was very calm almost excited. I told myself to run slowly through the dusty “S” turns at the top and then have fun through the rest! This is what I did on both first and second runs. After first run, and yes I got a little air out of that last jump..landed it to the sound of my cheering teammates!! It was an awesome time of racing and friends! I had so much fun on this course it felt more like a fun ride with friends then a race. My combined times placed me 8 seconds ahead of Traci for first place! YEAH!!

Thanks for all the team support! I want to through a big shout of thanks to Serfas Optics for the sunglasses as I rode my race with shade & clarity! They were awesome glasses! Also big thanks to KHS, Hoss, Evomo, Ergon & Bike Big hugs and thanks to our own little photo bug ROY!

Race Report: Kim Finch US Kenda Cup Series- Santa Ynez

RL Policar-As always, Kim Finch never disappoints.

Santa Yenz Classic is part of the US Kenda Cup Series, which is another fun XC race. We arrived Saturday morning for registration and had a chance to pre-ride the course. It was just around 9 mile course. The weather has windy on Saturday and on the ridge line had me feeling like I was riding at 45 degree angle but it was nice & sunny! Pre-ride was good and had a lot of fun. We watch a little DH races on Saturday and then we hit the Jacuzzi to rehab the legs..OK, you got me, it was just for the fun of it.

Sunday race day was very cold in the morning when arrived at the venue. Saw a lot of familiar faces which is always fun. By race time the wind had died down and the skies had cleared. The course was dry and dusty, some loose area but more over was very solid! I hop in line just in time to start the race. I hadn’t heard the staging call so I went out not knowing even who was in my class. All Beginner Women left on the same start. Quick pass the campers and cheering crowd. Quick climb and across the vineyard, and yes the grape vines were starting to sprout. We drop down & across the road to the first climb which a switch back climb that at the corners were steep, a lot of racers were hiking and made it an obstacle course of bodies.

From here out the crowd started to thin out. The downhill single track was fast & fun. I love the swooping corners. There really only about three major climbs the rest were casual but most all of the course climbs & downhill were single track! Far more fun then the usual fire or double wide road. I honestly didn’t know were I was as I finished the race but once results were posted I came in 2nd place, with a finish time was 58:30! This pushed me up in the US Kenda Cup standings to 2nd place out of 15 riders! I would like to thank all of our sponsors for there continued support and am looking forward to the next race!

US Kenda Cup

Shimano Winter Series #3: Kim Finch

We are finished with the third race in the SRC winter series! The weather was cold and wet both Saturday & Sunday. I chose to run the Super D race and the Downhill race this week and let the XC race to Priscilla, David & Eric.

Saturday morning we headed up to the top for some practice on the DH course, Donny has split the course this week and I must say when I saw it from the bottom I was glad that I was not running the course line that I could see from the asphalt road. We ran into Roger from “The Path Bike Shop” he joked as he told me that the the line I saw was for the Super D course. Gotta love Roger & Nancy! I laughed and head up!

First run down I was nervous, top section was pretty sweet with sweeping turns then came up what I called the Water Fall, stumbled through and then hiked right back up and found a sweet line right down the middle. I was pretty comfortable as long as I kept some speed. Then a few turns later and there is was “The Rut”! Wide and deep and on the right hand side of the turn, I was told later to keep my speed up and stay high. But not matter how much I tried, the back wheel was like a RUT Magnet! So I decided at that point that no matter how many times I tried it I would just let the wheel slide in and continue to pedal out of it. That worked on race run! Then I came up on the “Saddle.” OK let’s be honest I never made it up that section! The upper rock garden continued to give me problems and the wet rocks made me extremely nervous! I rolled so slowly through that section even on my race run I could have walked down faster!! HAHA! From this point I found a hard right turn that I LOVED! Tony the “Wizard” called it my Sam Hill corner. The straight away from there that merged with the expert run was slick, by my last practice run (3rd) I found it to be best described as a Slip-N-Slide. The rain made it so slick and I went sliding!!

Super D race was “WET” “COLD” and the wind started to blow! We are all at the top waiting for Donny and begging for the wind to stop. There was talk of snow up there! MoeJoe & JoeJoe were up at the top and they were being very manly! Braving the cold! However, I was huddled behind a rock formation with David’s jacket, trying to stay out of the wind. Of course it was funny because one of the young racers that was there was doing the same thing as I was. Shortly after David thought it was not a bad Idea and joined us. The Super D course was very fun! It took us backwards of the XC course which is the 3 “B”s I like to refer to them as. It’s strange going the opposite direction of a course you climb all the time. I noticed on the start there was a boulder on the trail, I had to ask myself where that came from!

Of course it was there all the time but it just looked so different! I had a blast blazing down the trail. I did find quickly that my brakes didn’t want to work through the first couple turns but I dragged them slightly and they dried out quickly! There was only one other woman racing this one and she was in the Pros. The course really was fun even though it rained the entire time and mud was spiting at me from my own bike!

1st Place Super D

DH race well what can I say! I was cold and nervous. I was still not comfortable with the wet terrain. RL, Moe, Joe & Tony were all at the top chatting and having fun! I did find another rider that was even more nervous then myself & Lala, her name was Tracy. She was so sweet, Lala & I made jokes to try to calm her. Finally start time. Count down…1 I’m off. My top turns are perfect, I hit the “WaterFall” just as I planed it and I was thrilled. Came to “The Rut”and again tire slide into the rut but by now was harder to pedal out of. I hit the saddle, still don’t have enough speed to make it to the top and start down the rock garden, I am toe tapping my way down. I am good over the next little section, and came around the last rock on my right to clear and then FLASH a camera goes off! I almost ran him over! The only reason I didn’t was because he moved since there was no way I was going to change my line! I hit my Sam Hill corner and then off the straight away. I hear David as I go past him! I am almost home! I shoot the rest pretty well and across the road. I hit the “GAS” pedal to head into the lower rock garden! I hit the top, clean, then the middle rock section clean, little bobble but nothing that threw me off line or even made me nervous. Of course it helps that I always vision Joe laying right in my line area from a previous crash! Thanks Joe!

Then one little last rock section to clear….I took the wrong line, I felt my tire slide of the rock and I get bucked. Not off the bike but I remember my hands on the handle bars and my stomach was where my butt should be on the seat! Something clipped my ankle and I could feel pain but the cheer of the crowd that I didn’t crash..or maybe they were disappointed…but either way I headed for the wall! I didn’t stand and pedal it out, but I did mash it while in the saddle to the finish line. There I find Joe High 5ing and Moe who looks a little dazed! We wait and cheer the rest of the riders and team member RL as they cross the finish line!

All in all the Team was once again a huge support and everyone did great!!! Thanks to everyone for their support!

1st place DH

Southridge Winter Series Race Report: Kim Finch

RL Policar-Kim Finch is one of our most talented racers on the team. She’s was the Triple Crown Champ for XC and also won a number of Championships for 2008 at Southridge. With that in mind, I present to you Kim Finch’s race report.

Well, a fresh new season has begun with the Fontana Winter Series! This season appears to start off with as much fun and excitement as last season ended. I always love riding in Southridge’s races because it is always challenging and the people such as Donny & his crew are fantastic!
Well, this year I am trying to string all three races together but for this first race I went with the XC race and my first downhill race. The wind was the MAJOR challenge for the XC race. The course was cut short for this race as Donny was still working out permits which he will have resolved next race. So thinking I would get a break on a short course and can then try my hand at DH practice I heard the announcement “2 LAPS”! Man I really didn’t want to hear that as that front section has majority of the climbs and now I had to do it twice?

Well, hanging out at the start line is always fun to chat with those around you as it helps me stay calm. Always answer questions about my “Ellsworth PINK Truth”and all the PINK I can handle! The wind was cold and I wanted to just get moving! Then before long Donny is counting down, and were all off in a large group! The first turn up my fellow riding gets cut off and down she goes..I swerve and cut around the two downed riders give a quick yell then kept going. The course was much nicer due to all rain we had which in itself was fantastic except for the wind! I made it through the first lap with no problems. RL was there with my water & Priscilla was there cheering me on. When it came to the second lap I noticed how much traffic the course had. At one point Eric “The Animal” Hunner passed me only to yell back and tell me to come on, while waiving his “GUNS” forward for me to catch him. The single track sections had been really cleaned up by Donny and his crew which made them that much more exciting to see if I could go faster. I finished my 2nd lap to see Priscilla cheering me along! I took 2nd place

Off one bike and then onto my Ellsworth Moment to try my hand at the downhill course for practice. Wow, now there are two different rides! Tony was at the top to meet me & help guide me through my first attempt. The wind at the top was brutal. I made it through the first few turns and even the little rock droppers then a left turn that lead into a dropper/roller that had an off camber right turn…well let’s say Kim did not make the turn very graceful.

As a matter of fact I rolled down the hill further then my bike did! Got up dusted off listened to Tony’s pointers on that turn and headed for the bottom. Now the lower rock garden…well first try..NOPE..second practice run YES!! I was so excited I made it without killing myself. This section always scared me even as a spectator. My second practice I decided that the turn was not going to get me..but the funny thing was two turns earlier I didn’t lean right or the wind got me off line and over I went!! Pride and dust really nothing more.

Race Day: Hanging out up at the top with RL, Tony, Moe & Joe seemed like forever. We chatted with all those we knew and we talked about the course. I personally got tips from Tony as well as John Seacor who races against Tony in their category. They both told me to find the line which would be grooved due to all the prior racers and stick to it! This was very helpful for me as I was a ball of nerves by this time. I talked to myself and thought of different rides I had done and how points on this course was just like riding the trails! This also was a huge help for me. I made it through the whole course and the lower rock garden without a crash. I got to the famous “WALL” used my Gravidity Dropper to pop my seat up and peddled like a mad woman right into the head wind!! I pulled 2nd place! I was thrilled!
I want to thank to the whole team for all the support and the food we shared on Saturday! The whole team did an awesome job! Next race I will join up with Joe & Moe for the Super D race as well!
C-ya at the races

Southridge Race Report: Kim Finch

This is actually the first time Sponsored Racer, Kim Finch had submitted a race report. Kim is well rounded racer that does XC, Super D and even Downhill. It’s really fun to watch her put some hurt on her competition. Read what she has to share about her race experience from the Triple Crown Series.

It’s almost sad to see the end of another season. This Southridge Racing Challenge was even more exciting with the addition of being the third race of the Triple Crown Series combined. I spent a lot of time of the bike in the prior weeks to this race. I find that out of all the races I have entered the Southridge course is the most technical. It may not be the longest race course, but it is the most exciting! The climbs are grueling and I feel like they will never end, but just at that very moment here comes the “Single Track”! I love this single track I find it almost rejuvenating and ready for the next climb! I would like to thank our sponsor Ergon for the awesome grips. They made a world of difference! I love them!

While waiting on the start line with Priscilla I could feel the anxiety growing. We chatted with all the ladies on the line. We could cheer as we saw Eric “Animal” take off from the start. Joe was in the group behind us all of us that just seemed to want to get on the course! All the ladies were fun to talk with about what they expect of the course or were they had trouble. Pricilla’s group moved forward and off she went! GO GIRL! Then finally after what seemed like hours our group was off and running.

The course starts quickly to short climbs and a quick little single track. Then it is “The Road” climb. Joe and I were working each other for help and encouragement. Joe is a great motivator even when he is taping his own limits! We cheered each other on through almost every climb. Priscilla was doing great she had a rider down on a very sandy section but she recovered quickly.

I managed to finish with my best time ever on this course 1:01:48 however, I placed third, but I was thrilled with the finish. This was also great because I finished the Triple Crown for the Colorful JERSEY. Let me tell you it match my bike perfect! After a quick bit and relaxation I headed back up the mountain with Moe for the Super-D race. I was the only woman in my group but there was one Pro Lady & one Sport Lady. Both of them very nice and fun to chat with. The course was fun. It started with three climb right away then down my favorite single track! Was a little chewed up after all the X-C races had been through numerous laps, but it never lets me down on the excitement level. Always testing my bike handling skills! I finished the race & took 1st place! Moe did very well and was glad to see him at the finish line as this was his first race!

Like thank RL for doing such a great job keeping all of us encouraged, fed & hydrated. He is doing and awesome job!