Well, what can I say? Giant, algae-covered, limestone rocks along a creek in the mountains of the southwestern edge of the Cumberland Plateau can tend to get a bit slippery. An understatement? Maybe I was a little sadistic when I chose to set the sections here but I had been thinking about this area for over a year. I have ridden here myself three times and it always seemed like the perfect setting for an event. It is epic. But, I had never been there after it had been raining nearly continuous for three weeks.
Really, it wasn’t that bad. Most of the rocks were sticky. There were just a few in rather strategic locations that had a little less grip. Actually, it was kind of funny to watch. It was significantly more treacherous to get around the loop than to ride the sections. You just had to be careful and pay attention to where you put you foot or tire. But isn’t that what trials is all about?
I really did work hard to set the sections so that they were challenging but not impossible. Also, I wanted to stay away from the tendency to make the Pro sections just plain scary. I was going for super technical sections. Maybe the traction issues just took it too far. Well, at least it didn’t rain.
With the indispensable assistance of Doug White, we got creative with the section arrangements. For instance, Section One combined all four classes with splits for each. I worried a little that this might create a traffic jam but, on the other hand, it allowed every class to watch each other ride. I don’t like the typical segregation of Beginner/Sport from Expert/Pro because they often don’t get to see each other ride much. In addition, the big, combined Section One was the most accessible to spectators who therefore got see all skill levels. The rest of the sections were split typically with the exception of Beginner/Sport Section 3 – Expert Section 4 which we set on a hillside with lots of off-camber, root-infested lines. I wanted to remind people that they were riding bicycles after all. This also gave us the bonus of having a Pro-only section: Imagine a big, 20-30 foot diameter semi-circle with two huge rocks on one side, a boulder on the other and a six-inch deep creek running down the middle. The best was Tom McNeal’s “wall-ride.” You really had to be there!
So, I hope everyone had a good time even though the scores were a bit high. I think we had a pretty good turnout with 33 competitors. I was a bit surprised there weren’t more Expert riders but I suppose it’s just a matter of time until the gaggle of Sport riders move up. I was impressed that we had a total of nine Pro riders and even moreso when most of them had to cross half the country to get here. Finally, I’m a bit afraid my reputation for setting difficult sections was why we only had six Beginners. I promise to tone it down a bit next year.
Thanks a lot to everyone for coming out. I love putting on this event and look forward to doing for many years to come. Maybe one day you all will be ready for it! B^D
A huge thanks to everyone that helped me do this event: Mom and Dad; Dan, Bub, Charlie, Catherine and Alex from the Trials Training Center; Guy from Red Bull; Mark from Murfreesboro Outdoor and Bike; Jed from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports; Tim at Trialsin USA; all of the checkers and others that kept things moving; and, last, but far from least, my wife, Carrie, for all of her support.
See you all next time!
|3||Ryder Okumura||Coust USA, Maxxis, Lake, S||56||0|
|4||Duncan Kopp-Richardson||Echo USA, Trialsin USA||58||0|
|5||Andy Listes||Rudy Project||60||0|
|1||Ryan Cecil||Biltmore Estate||15||7|
|2||Chris Pitts||Webcyclery, Maxxis||54||0|
|3||Tom McNeal||Trialsin USA||55||0|
|3||Chuck Sherman||Mycle’s Cycles||18||3|
|5||Greg Thompson||Northeast Bikes||28||0|
|10||Ben Jones||West Chester Cyclery||47||0|
|1||Chuck Sherman||Mycle’s Cycles||15||5|
|5||Ben Jones||West Chester Cyclery||58||0|
|3||Matthew Vogel||ACR Products, Inc.||56||0|
|1||Martin Vogel||ACR Products, Inc.||45||0|