weather conditions at race time could not have been better: sunny with gentle southerly breezes and temperatures in the low 60's. the rain from a couple of nights previous did wonders to squelch the trail dust and consolidate the parcours.
being as i am on injured reserve this week with a deep contusion to my right calf sustained last week when i hit the deck while pre-riding with Jen, we took the opportunity to do a bit more of a "casual" ride into the middle of nowhere and give support to all of our peeps who were racing today. so, without further adieu...
the LiveTrainRace.com encampment was a hive of activity. notice the varying techniques of race preparation exhibited here: Mike is all about business right now and ya better not interrupt him getting the groove on. notice that no one is bothering to talk to him.
Mike's younger compatriot is taking a somewhat more "relaxed" approach to the morning, however.
the local papparazzi dropped in to ride along with Kristy for a firsthand glimpse at the often overlooked but oh-so-important work done by the soigneur of a well-organized team.
that means it's time for us to ride out in front of the herd before they launch and find a nice place way out in the middle of the desert to post up, get some good action images, and haze the cowbells for a couple of hours.
and here they come...
about 5 km down the road we made our first stop. the parcours has climbed gradually up to this point and this stretch has a lot of deep sand that will be making some of the riders feel significant discomfort.
selection process at work: the eventual race winner is leading an elite field up the Kokopelli's, including reigning single speed world champion Ross Schnell (2nd rider, #46), Travis Brown, Jay Henry, Brad Bingham (in blue at left of the bunch... making one of his patented "power surges" when the crunch is going down) among others.
and only 45 km of high desert trails left to go from here, folks.
Brad brought home 7th place honors for the day. an impressive finish time was set as well, right in there with some of the fastest mountain bike guys in the u.s.
also riding to a high finish placing and bringing honors home to Routt county was Kelly Boniface. in keeping with the ways of a great champion, she even manages a very sincere smile while suffering mightily (and all the while looking quite fresh and fashionable).
you know, one of those people who makes it look easy...
there goes the Mike Driver livetrainrace freight train express. don't blink or ya miss it.
looking for the perfect spot out on Western Rim. this is about 2/3 of the way through the race course. i liked this area because the huge boulders looked like they were marching down the hill and over the cliff like giant lemmings. the trail just snakes through the middle of all the rocks and along the edge of the cliff. it's a pretty good drop to the bottom, too.
eventually, these giant rocks will end up in the Gulf of Baja. they are on their way right now as you are reading this.
looks like just the place for motivating some tired racers who might be passing by.
today's Roadrunner & Coyote cartoon hour has been brought to you by:
Jay Henry chasing the two leaders who just went by. Jay faded to 9th overall by the finish. i thought he was looking about half-cracked at this point, not really taking the best line here and again when he went by. some days are like that.
when i get a digital scanner one of these years i will be posting up a lot of images of the Colorado MTB racing scene way back in the day. i'm pretty sure that i have one of me and Jay slugging it out in a sport-class (cat. III mtb) race from about 1990 or so.
Ross Schnell mackin the porn-star moustache on the Western Rim. congrats to Ross on his 4th place finish today. this guy loves to ride his bike and he lets everone know it. he was yelling all kinds of stuff when he went past, but i couldn't hear any of it because Jen was thrashing the cowbell so damn loud. he was smiling, however.
super-Brad on his way to the finish. we got to watch him pass a couple of guys from about a half mile away across the canyon right after this photo was taken.
little blue dot on the left... chasing the little white dot on the right.
hooo, boy. nothin like a flat or 3 to mess up an otherwise good day of racing.
best clear your junk off the trail, because Kelly will squash it down.
wanna arm wrestle this guy? me neither.
and that's all from Rabbit Valley, Colorado, folks. come on out for the next edition of the race, or maybe just do some nice, casual riding here in the desert between now and then.
final word from our friend Pat West: "see ya next year!"
p.s. be sure to check out Jen's follow-up to this post.