April
29

Ranch Style Recap

Photos credited to www.devonbaletphoto.com
Casey Groves getting freakin' nuts!

Casey Groves getting freakin' nuts!

Man, you know it was a good weekend when you are only getting around to writing the recap on Wednesday. Although I did party it up a bit I actually kept the lid on the antics but I rode a ton, had more fun than I’ve had in a long time and pretty much wore myself out physically and mentally.

I’m finally feeling a bit more like myself today so I am finally going to get this done! First, I want to say that the guys at Grassroots Cycles did a stellar job. No one will confuse the Ranch Style with Crankworx (which may actually be a good thing) but they can sure put on a great time.

The weekend kicked on Thursday with Grassroots hosting shuttle runs at the Lunch Loop trails. The new extension to Free Lunch (the only one way, mountain bike only DH specific trail on public land in the USA) just got done and while it was not officially “open” the yellow caution tape wasn’t up so it may have gotten ridden a few times…not that I would know anything about that!

The weather was awesome and I got four shuttle runs in. If you have ever ridden at the Lunch Loop trails in Grand Junction, CO then you know that even a shuttle run involves some pedaling so I was pretty wiped out after that. Practice for the slopestyle comp was on Friday so I went home to get some rest.

Friday was a great day for practice with just a slight tail wind to contend with. If you have seen the video I posted last week then you know that there is a lot of air time on that trail and the wind can be a factor. I got a lot of good runs in but had a problem with overshooting the landings a bit. I seem to have figured out the whole “popping off the lip” thing and needed to dial down my speed to make up for the extra loft I was able to get out of my hips (I’ll be writing more on how to use the swing to understand this skill better in the near future).

Overshooting big jumps can be a bit scary – a couple of times I went about 50 feet over the 40 foot gap and pretty much missed the transition. Luckily I train for all aspects of riding so flat landing a huge huck was rough but I was actually able to keep control and not crash. Yeah deadlifts and swings!

The weather was not too cooperative on Saturday for the Dual Slalom race with huge wind gusts, cloudy skies and a threat of rain all day. I did not race in that event and tried instead to hide from the nastiness. I was beginning to wonder is the slopestyle would be aby good on Sunday as I scampered home to get out of the freak snow storm that got unleashed around 7 that night.

My fears were totally unfounded – Sunday was awesome! The snow had melted off and packed in the slopestyle course making for some great traction and solid lips. It warmed up a bit but not too much – it seemed as if the big biker in the sky had decided to water the track down for us and flip on the air conditioning. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

The comp went off great. I figured out how to slow down and stopped overshooting everything so I was pretty happy. I know that I am no pro but I felt pretty good and even got an X Up over the 40 foot gap. Getting cheered on your way down a jump jam trail is a pretty amazing feeling and I can see why those crazy dudes get so amped up and throw down so huge in those things.

 Tyler McCaul winning best trick

Tyler McCaul winning best trick

After I rode in the amateur class the pros showed us how it is really done. Tail whips and back flips abounded. Tyler McCaul ripped a tail whip off over the 40 foot gap and another crazy BMX kid (how the hell do they ride with such tight pants?) busted out a backflip over the 40 footer as well. Casey Groves won the event but only rode through half of it – he got too amped and tried a backflip-tailwhip and blew himself up.

 Casey after blowing himself up

Casey after blowing himself up

I actually got 3rd in the Ams Class which was pretty surprising since for most of the comp people knew me as “not Jeff”, as in “here comes Jeff…no, wait, that’s not Jeff”. They finally figured out who I was and MTB Strength Training Systems got some props as I came flying by towards the end.

I won a sweet Dakine Apex bag, some Kyle Strait knee pads (I swear it just worked out that way), some Dakine shorts and gloves and another white t-shirt, this one from local company MRP. All in all I am super stoked on the weekend and the turn out for the comp. Next year should be even bigger and better. Now if I can just fully recover before then!

There is a great write up and more sweet pics at http://www.mountainflyer.com/news.cfm?itemid=195. Be sure to check it out!

-James Wilson-

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson