(write-up by Gene Hamilton from BetterRide.com)
I just got back from the most fun weekend of racing that I have had in years. The G3 series rocks. For those of you not familiar with the series it consists of three gravity races on one weekend. The Sol Vista stop included two downhill races and a mostly downhill super-d. Sol Vista's short, fun and flowing trails were perfect for this format.
Sol Vista's trails were designed and built by pro downhill racers Steve Wentz, TJ Sharp and Mike Moga. They are easily the best downhill trails in Colorado. The two downhills feature an excellent mix of features. Both trails have big, well made jumps (20-35 foot gaps) that can be hit at race speed, rough rooty and rocky sections, natural turns, bermed turns and high speed pinner sections. The super-d was a little tighter with great corners and without the big gaps but flowed great and was really challenging to ride fast.
The whole weekend seemed more like a vacation riding with your bros than a race.
With all three trails open for practice when not being raced on everyone was having a blast getting their ride on. Despite the causal atmosphere it was a race with Big Prize Money on the line and some big name races in the house. Australians Chris Kovarik and former Junior World Champion Ben Cory and New Zealand's Justin Leov lead the over seas contingent while Claire Buchar traveled all the way from Whistler, BC for the race. The usual suspects of American pros were on hand as was a motley crew of old guys in the Vet-pro Jedi-Master class. The future of American downhill was well represented also with a big field of fast juniors.
Fridays practice was fun for all with the exception of Justin Leov. Just weeks before heading to the World Championships he snapped his handlebars in the whoops section and broke his collarbone. I hope he recovers quickly and comes out even stronger next year.
The racing started on Saturday with a downhill on course number one followed by the super-d in the afternoon. The racing was exciting and made even more so by accurate, immediate timing! That right, the evil chip timing is done and we are back to having your time on display when you cross the finish line. This gave everyone (not just the pros) a chance to taste the glory of sitting on the BetterRide.net Hot Seat throughout the weekend.
The racing was exciting all weekend with and I don't have time to report on all the classes but I will give you some highlights before reporting on the pro men and women. Teddy Benge won the overall in the 14 and under class by a whooping 27 seconds over friend and training partner Madison "Maddog" Baily. Another racer who ran away with his class was BetterRide coached Naish Ulmer who won Jr. ex by 21 seconds. The semi pro class was decided by .01 of a second with Taylor Hatton taking the winner over Mike Kreger. After a disappointing first downhill run Dan Weinman came back to win the Jedi-master class with a fast Super-D and a strong second DH.
The pro classes raced first on downhill track # 1 with Chris Kovarik and Claire Buchar taking home first place finishes by big margins on the short course. The first two of the many mechanicals that played into the overalls were a flat rear tire suffered by Chris Boice and Jackie Harmony managed a third despite a dropped chain.
1 (1) *** KOVARIK Chris Intense cycles/Black 2:00.72
2 VANDINE Christopher Poison Spider 2:04.71
3 WENTZ Steven Turner/Fox 2:04.94
4 OLSEN Todd Recycle Ski & Sport 2:04.99
5 SHARP TJ Yeti Cycles/Fox Raci 2:05.81
6 LEONARD Kain Maxxis/Shimano 2:06.12 Gunnison CO
7 CAMP David Big Crank 2:08.16
8 FISHER Matthew Turner/The Fix 2:08.29
9 ZIEGMAN David Big Crank Racing 2:08.53 Denver CO
10 WILDERMAN Cody Team Totally Wired 2:09.68
1 BUCHAR Claire SRAM/Specialized 2:17.
2 MYKLAK Lisa LeeLikesBikes/Morewo 2:23.04
3 HARMONY Jacqueline Brodie Bikes/Bike an 2:23.91
4 HIPPELY Abigail Maverick 2:25.63
5 ELWORTHY Sarah Pedal the Peaks 2:29.37
The three race combined format ensured that there was still some exciting racing to come and that could be so upsets. The Super-d was the longest race of the weekend and therefore the place where some big time gaps could be gained or lost. Kovarik won the Super-d and was starting to look like a shoe-in for the overall while Chris VanDine's hopes looked crushed do to a rear flat. Lisa Myklak won the pro women's class with Abby Hippely taking second making for a near 3 way tie for the overall heading into Sunday.
1 (1) *** KOVARIK Chris Intense cycles/Black 4:27.87
2 LEONARD Kain Maxxis/Shimano 4:35.31
3 OLSEN Todd Recycle Ski & Sport 4:37.98
4 HARMONY Dante Brodie Bikes/Bike an 4:40.60
5 BOICE Chris Fox Racing Shox/Yeti 4:42.60
6 VANDINE Christopher Poison Spider 4:43.02
7 FISHER Matthew Turner/The Fix 4:43.65
8 CORY Ben Big Crank Racing 4:44.63
9 BUELL Brian RotecCycles 4:45.18
10 CAMP David Big Crank 4:45.93
1 MYKLAK Lisa LeeLikesBikes/Morewo 5:08.14
2 HIPPELY Abigail Maverick 5:11.89
3 BUCHAR Claire SRAM/Specialized 5:14.06
4 HARMONY Jacqueline Brodie Bikes/Bike an 5:21.28
5 OLSEN Julie Recycle Ski and Spor 5:35.92
After a rainy night the clouds parted and the track started drying up as Sundays practice got under way. Local favorite and front runner in the overall Lisa Myklak rolled into the finish way off the pace after an unknown set back took her out of the running. Claire Buchar wrapped up the overall with her second big win of the weekend. Watching the men's final run the drama began to unfold when Kane Leonard came down pumping the track with no chain and current overall leader Chris Kovarik finished off the pace with a front flat. Chris VanDine made up for yesterday's flat tire by winning a tight race further shaking up the overall. In the end Todd Olsen won the overall by .07 over Kain Leonard while Kovarik's flat dropped him to third. Todd walked away with the biggest pay check of his pro career, $1,500 for his efforts.
Dh 1 super d dh 2
1 OLSEN Todd Recycle Ski & Sport 9:03.27 M 2:04.99 4:37.98 2:20.30
2 LEONARD Kain 9:03.34 +0.07 Pro M 2:06.12 4:35.31 2:21.91
3 KOVARIK Chris Intense cycles/Black 9:05.08 +1.81 M 2:00.72 4:27.87 2:36.49
4 VANDINE Christopher Poison Spider 9:06.77 +3.50 2:04.71 4:43.02 2:19.04
5 CAMP David Big Crank 9:14.32 +11.05 2:08.16 4:45.93 2:20.23
6 WENTZ Steven Turner/Fox 9:14.73 +11.46 2:04.94 4:49.50 2:20.29
7 SHARP TJ Yeti Cycles/Fox Raci 9:15.78 +12.51 2:05.81 4:48.81 2:21.16
8 WILDERMAN Cody Team Totally Wired 9:19.26 +15.99 2:09.68 4:46.57 2:23.01
9 FISHER Matthew Turner/The Fix 9:20.33 +17.06M 2:08.29 4:43.65 2:28.39
10 HARMONY Dante Brodie Bikes/Bike an 9:25.29 +22.02 2:21.09 4:40.60 2:23.60
1 BUCHAR Claire SRAM/Specialized 10:07.20 Pro W 2:17.60 5:14.06 2:35.54
2 HARMONY Jacqueline Brodie Bikes/ 10:24.77 +17.57 2:23.91 5:21.28 2: 39.58
3 HIPPELY Abigail Maverick 10:25.51 +18.31 2:25.63 5:11.89 2:47.99
4 ELWORTHY Sarah Pedal the Peaks10:53.63 +46.43 2:29.37 5:43.00 2:41.26
5 YEATON Carolyn 11:14.22 +1:07.02 2:46.88 5:37.17 2:50.17
Overall this was a great event for racers and spectators alike. Let's hope this is just the beginning of mountain bike racing's return to glory.
7529 S. Turkey Creek Rd
Morrison, CO 80465
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Thread: G3 Downhill Race at Sol Vista