Last weekend was the 3rd annual Hood River Super D race at Post Canyon. This race happens to be the kickoff to the 4 race Oregon Super D series and is also a part of the recently formed North American Enduro Tour (N.A.E.T.). And the turn-out this year was the best yet. I heard there were close to 300 racers there to challenge themselves on the 7 mile long post canyon trail and as always the vibe was serious-fun. It didn’t hurt that on this weekend fell 2 of our approximately 8 days of not rain for this month. But that’s another subject.
The course in a nutshell; Technical ridge lines and fast flowy sweepers. 3,000′ descent 400′ climbing. Starts on a ridge line with amazing views of mt Hood (when clear) picks up quite a bit of speed and then about a mile of rocky yet flowy sweepers. That gives way to the steep rock/rooty and seemingly always wet 1/4 mile of trail that then rewards you with a couple miles of, yes, more gorgeous sweepers. Carved rich coffee brown line set in lush greenery. Little hateful power climb. More sweepers to ridgeline. Little climb. More ridge line stuff but this time high speed flowy and in the trees. Last mile was a tight twisty creekside trail that I think you’d have to be a local to feel the flow on.
After battling some serious Portland traffic I got to Hood river at about 5:30 Friday evening and had just enough time to meet up with my friend Brian Happ and completely cake my bike with some thick, gooey, trail fudge. Fudge! It was nasty. Demoralizing. As in I think I forgot how to ride my bike gross mud. I’m a freak but I hate riding in mud. I can race in it fine but I don’t enjoy it. I ran into Kenny Burt and Olivier Bock close to the bottom of the hill and Olivier (the local) tried to cheer me up talking about how fast conditions can change there if it stopped raining. Yeah Right I thought. He was right though…Totally called it. At the bottom of the hill I met back up with Brian and he described to me “the funnest crash he’d ever had”. It sounded kinda like that scene in “the Matrix” where Keanu takes the pill, wakes up to reality, and is flushed down the tube. Only this was a 35 foot long mud tube.
After spending a solid hour washing our bikes the next morning we headed back up for some more practice. It wasn’t raining and the wind was blowing pretty hard and that course dried out faster than (insert something that dries out really fast and is funny). Olivier was right! Well it didn’t dry up into dust. Let’s say it dried up to perfect tacky dirt. Really nice stuff with just the perfect amount of moisture. Did a run on both the Nomad/Totem and the Blur Lt/Revelation and guess what I found out. Little bike was definitely gonna be the ticket for this weekend. Earlier Sneaky Nick Gibson (watch out for this guy this year) was trying to take advantage of my puffed up head by telling me that if I had the power to push the bigger bike it would definitely give me the advantage. Oh I wanted to believe it but there is just enough climbing on the course to negate the upper rough & fast parts of the course.
So I went with the Blur LTc for the race day bike. That bike is a race weapon! When you stomp on the pedals it snaps forward. When you want it to carve corners it asks “how tight”. And when you shout in your own head “oh god save me I’ve really F-d up this time”, it hears you and spreads the butter on without making a big deal of it. It even lets you take the credit for it later on when you’re talking about what a sweet,creative, line you took through that rock garden. Purely a hypothetical situation mind you.
Sunday was the race day. Did I mention there were quite a few folks there to race? Yes I did. Makes me so happy to see how many people are digging this kind of event. There were around 50 dudes in the Cat 2 19-34 alone and almost 40 women showed up to race. That’s cool. My buddy Matthew Slaven (Kona Factory team) and honorary local (Portland) went off the line first as the safe bet for the win…Even in my own head. I went off the line second and during the race there were times I reflected on all the fast folks also currently on the course either in front of me or behind me somewhere. Somewhere back there were Nick Gibson, Timmy Evans, Kenny Burt, Karim Amir (Kona Factory rider who made the trip over from France for the race), Ryan Condrashoff, Jamie Goldman, & Scott Fellers to name a few.
My race was pretty uneventful. Hit all my lines…Mostly. Pedaled HARD on the climbs and mostly just tried to keep flowing from one corner to the next. It wasn’t until I heard some cowbells in the last mile of the course that my spidey sense got twigged. Someones timing was off. I couldn’t even see those people with the cowbells yet. About ten seconds went by and I heard them again. Right next to me! Ooohhh! Ooooh! A few more corners went by and I caught a glimpse of Slaven darting through the trees. Then I lost site of him and I was across the finish line. That’s when I knew I’d had a good run.
Slaven had had a time sink crash when he lost his bike in the creek for a bit. He was also tired from a busy weekend of filming with the Kona crew. The price to pay for being a rockstar I guess. I was in the hotseat and I knew there were some fast rider still to come down. I ended up keeping the hotseat with a 21:48. Timmy Evans was second at 22:22 with Nick Gibson hot on his heels at 22:28. Slaven and Teammate Karim were 4 and 5 with 22:49 and 22:52 respectively.
The Pro Women were; Alice Pennington Portland ripper with a 26:52 Lizzy English had a pretty hard crash that left her with some impressive scrapes and a bike that would only pedal in the hardest gear. She had to run the climbs but still hung on for second with 27:38 (not bad!). Lindsey Voreis came in third with a 29:37 and April Graham 29:53 and Cassandra Stann with a 30:33 rounded out 4th and 5th respectively.
Go here for the full results
Well that gets the Oregon Super D series going. I highly recommend this series for anyone who has a mountain bike and likes to ride it on cool trails. The series promoters have found some of the best stuff in Oregon (which is some good stuff) to race on. Thanks for putting on such a cool event!
Next in this series is the OR SD # 2 in Bend–Be there…