The MSC gravity season kicks off with some hot action in the high deserts of Colorado.
Race report and images by Devon Balet
(May 15 and 16, 2010) NATHROP, Colo.— After the week ending with rain and snow, the spirits were still high and energy to match the elevation. The official start of the Mountain States Cup gravity series found racers on a private ranch in the high deserts of Colorado. The ranch is opened up to the public once a year for the Chalk Creek Stampede, this being it’s tenth year.
The ranch is like a gravity riders dream. Two different mountain cross courses, a dual slalom course, and dirt jump lines galore. The beauty with how the Nathrop ranch is set up, it allows for TONS of racing in a short weekend. With two mountain cross courses, the lower classes on the “east coast” course can race while the big dogs practice on the “west coast” course. And let’s not forget about the amazing views from mother nature that we got to enjoy all weekend long.
Saturday brought mostly cloudy skies with a distant threat of snow and or rain. Thankfully the clouds did nothing more than make for interesting backgrounds. The dual slalom races, slow to start, quickly heated up and the course was lined with horns and megaphones. Racers like Shawn Neer took advantage of the downtime to do a little fancy bike riding, tossing massive doubles into a hairpin turn. The crowd was cheering on any racer pushing the limits of their riding.
The young ripping groms, or young racers, were in no shortage this weekend. With teams like Team Geronimo Banshee, Secret Cycling and Mojo Wheels all boasting a healthy junior development team the future of our sport is look strong, fast and full of life. These young shredders will soon be the pros, and you had better be on your best game to the races because many of the junior expert racers are laying down race times that would put them in the top twenty in the pro class right now.
Sunday opened up with a clear but chilly morning, which quickly became a typical beautiful May Colorado day. Clear blue skies with temperatures floating in the high 60s and not a cloud in the sky. The nature of the beast with mountain cross racing is the fact that it is a slow and timely process to seat racers, or build the brackets for racing. Typically each racer takes a solo run down the course to set a qualifying time, which is then used to build race brackets. But those are the days of the past! Big Foot Productions math master mind Tom Neer, built a system to not only speed up the seating process, but also give racers more time racing. What a concept!
Under the new system every racer gets at least three races. Your place in each race is given a point value. After each race your name is placed into a random drawing to choose who you race against, and your points determine starting position. After all three seating races are over, brackets are built based off your points. Not everyone moves on, only 32 racers per bracket. From there it is racing as normal. The top two move on, the other two load up their bikes on the trailer.
The new racing format made for fast and exciting action! The gate was dropping every thirty seconds with a new race. As a spectator I couldn’t believe the racing was over when the last pro main final blasted down the course. Petr Hanak was like a red blur showing everyone why his is still in the top of his gate racing game.
The best part of the weekend? The fact there was no weather for the racing was pretty sweet. But even better was the fact that the racing was complete by 4pm on Sunday, a very uncommon thing when gate racing is involved. Well over 150 racers got more runs in this past weekend than what is normally seen at a three to four day race. This new racing format is only in testing right now, but I for see this format being common place in US gate racing very soon.
For complete results, please visit Mountain States Cup
For additional photos, please contact Devon Balet Photography