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2008-08-10 - Crankworx Garbanzo DH

Oh my what a day! I woke this morning, and while it wasn't raining, I could see it had rained some more over night. The ground was damp, and all I could think of was In Deep and the slickest of slick mud like last year.

I was on the chair for 10am, and managed to get in a really good practice run from the top of Garbanzo. The entire course was in surprisingly good shape. In Deep was much like yesterday, thick slippery mud, but the Telonix tires were hooking up and working well.

I wanted to ride my bike, so I went off and did a bunch of fun laps in the park with some buddies before getting some lunch and prepping for my race run.

Racing started at around 12 noon, and a racer left every minute from then on. I finally left the start gate at around 5:15pm ... the 315th racer down the course. I cruised out of the start gate, I knew it was going to be a long race, and wasting energy wasn't going to earn a good result. This plan lasted all of 30 seconds until I heard Danielle Baker shouting, "PEDAL BITCH!" in the flat on Original Sin. And pedal I did. Original Sin was tricky this year, the mud was thickening and had inconsistent traction. I quickly realized I needed be loose on the bike and had to ride the rooty sections conservatively. I made my way down Blue Velvet and into the dreaded In Deep. I nailed In Deep ... I felt great through all the tough sections. While I know I could have made up tons of time, I didn't unclip and hit all my lines. Sections of In Deep were thrashed, there were deep ruts, there were rocks that had been pulled out of the trail, there were new roots being exposed, the trail was very challenging to ride. I exited In Deep and pedalled up to Duffman. The bridges on Duffman looked to be deathly slippery. You could see where riders had skidded off the ladders, so I gingerly made my way down the top section. I knew I could open it up from here on down, and I did just that ... braaaaap. Saving my energy up top was paying off, I felt great. I sprinted the long climb out on Golden Triangle and hauled into World Cup Single Track. As I got lower on the course the trails got drier and drier. In Ho Chi Min one corner would be wet and greasy and the next would be dry, loose and dusty. I felt good through Ho Chi Min though, I read the trail well, and felt good through the tough combination corners. Then the long sprints across both the traverses to Monkey Hands. I love Monkey Hands, and felt great all the way to the finish. I crossed the line stoked with my run, especially since I struggled last year. I managed the course in 15 minutes and 39 seconds, which was good enough for 25th place of 80 Pro Men. I was extremely pleased with my result.

2008 Crankworx Garbanzo DH results

The starting tent at the top of the Garbanzo Chair ... cold and foggy

The top of Original Sin - roots and mud

Leaving the top and heading into Original Sin - Photo by Danielle Baker

On my race run coming into the finish area

On my race run over the finish line jump ... home safe and sound!

One of the coolest parts of this race were the spectators. There were spectators along the entire length of the course and were surprisingly loud. Every time I passed a group of spectators I felt suddenly energized and turned my riding up a notch. This was the crowd that had gathered at the bottom of the course:

Gee Atherton crossing the finish on his way to taking 1st Place in a time of 14 minutes 20 seconds!

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