Report by Eddie Clark
(Aug 7/8, 2010) Keystone, Colo—The Keystone Revival, which was the sixth stop of the Mountain States Cup series, signified a return of racing at Keystone Ski Resort, and also served as the Colorado State Mountain Bike Championships for cross country, short track, super D, and downhill disciplines. With a surplus of fun and challenging trails, most racers were quick to admit they were happy to be racing at Keystone again.
Starting in cool weather Saturday morning, the cross country racers had a neutral rolling start from the River Run base area over to the Snake River Clinic. Once past the clinic, racers had a very long steep dirt road climb to sort out the pecking order of their field. After a fair bit of climbing the course entered some buff singletrack for more climbing before a long downhill back to the base area. Pros and Cat 1’s completed two laps on this course for a total of 3800 feet of climbing over roughly 20 miles.
In the Pro Men’s cross country race, several of the local young guns set a blistering pace up the initial climb. “I was on my limit getting dropped on the first lap… so I hung in there, and on the second lap I felt a lot stronger and was able to make it back”, described race winner Jay Henry of Tokyo Joes. Like Henry, Mafia strongman Jake Wells used the second lap to launch himself up to a very respectable second place finish.
A much smaller field contested the Pro Women’s race which saw Erin Huck, also of Tokyo Joes, slowly catch back up to leading lady Judy Freeman. Freeman was unable to match the pace being set by Huck through the second lap, but still finished in second while Huck took top honors. “It was a big climbing course, but one of the nice things about all the climbing here is there’s some really fun singletrack that you get to ride back down”, noted Freeman on her post-race quest to refuel.
Also on tap for Saturdays’ racing was the super downhill race, which featured 2000 feet of descending over 6 miles of singletrack and fire road. A late 5:30pm start ensured racers were able to get in plenty of practice time on the course. Starting just below the top of Keystone Mountain, racers had a mass Le Mans style start. After a 50 meter uphill run, racers mounted their bikes and tore into downhill singletrack. Team Yetis' Ross Milan grabbed the hole shot, and also had a backup contingent of Camillo Sanchez and Joey Schusler covering his wheel. However, like a cheetah stalking its prey, Maverick Bikes' Mike West methodically picked off the leading competitors one at a time until he was alone at the front to claim another super D victory.
Sundays racing consisted of short track and the crowd favorite for the weekend, downhill. Short track racers got their heart rates up first on an oval loop around the Sage Brush employee housing condos near the Keystone Mountain base area. Mitchell Hoke of Tokyo Joes took a flyer at the start which saw him off the front and by himself for the remainder of the race. Second place Colin Cares came close but didn’t quite catch Hoke, who was riding into the finish on a leaking rear tire to claim victory. Pro Women’s short track racing saw Erin Huck once again take top honors while Freeman, and Kelley Cullen of Honey Stinger respectively rounded out the podium.
Rounding out a fun weekend of great weather and great riding, the downhillers took to the start gate on Sunday afternoon. The downhill course dropped a little over 2000 feet in just 3 miles. What Keystone lacks in steep grade, it makes up for in high speed sections and tricky rock gardens. No stranger to high speeds and tricky challenges, Team Geronimos' Brian Buell scorched the course to claim his first Pro Men’s Colorado State Championship. Pro Women’s racing saw Vixen Racings’ Jacqueline Harmony take over a minute out of her competitors to claim the State Championship.
On a more somber note, it’s becoming obvious that Bigfoot Productions, the organization which runs the Mountain States Cup, will eventually have to figure out what to do with the 500 pound gorilla in their room. The venerable 500 pound gorilla is the noticeable drop in racer and fan attendance at this years’ MSC events. Notably, many professionals were in Europe for World Cup racing, and a contingent of gravity racers are givin ‘er up at Whistler for Crankworx this week, but that does not make up for a whole season. Is it the economy, large race fees, lack of sponsorship, or all of the above? Whichever the case may be, hopefully the folks running this series will safely navigate these challenging times. In the meantime, get out and race, or at least show up to support the racers and organizers who dedicate so much to this grand sport.
For more results, see Mountain States Cup.