The Devils Slide Race

Good morning. I have a tinge of a headache coming on. I have my bedroom window open for fresh air and I know that spring is here and summer is on it’s way. I feel pretty good despite the extreme punishment that I put my body through this weekend. See photos!

Lewiston Idaho was hot, very hot. I spoke to the race director and they do not see snow all winter. This was apparent as we experienced blooming flowers and trees. So yea, it was the perfect ticket for a summer preview with temps in the 80s.

We were there for the Devils Slide Mountain Bike Race. The course is a perfect tune up for the Sea Otter Classic with dry dusty conditions. There is one big climb and one technical (and steep) downhill section called the Devils Slide. The rest of the course is technical twisty single-track and equestrian    trails. The start finish included a steep climb that some riders had to walk.

I love this race! This year I won expert overall and placed 3rd with the pros. My friends faired well as well with Garland taking 3rd in (I think) with his 1st expert race. His son did a great job just starting out racing the same course as the big guns and taking top honors.  Ross got second in sport with both his daughters taking top honors in junior expert and beginner.

My race was a short 3 laps and there was no way to tell the difference between the pros and us experts so I was confused on what strategy to use. I settled on just starting strong and hanging with the front runners pace. This would hopefully put me in the win for experts since there were about 5 pros.

Earlier I tried to sign up as open class which would of put me with the pros but the organizer did away with that opportunity and combined the expert and pro race into a 3 lap slugfest. So with that I raced and finished with the leaders in 3rd but actually 1st in expert.

At the start myself and two others quickly hammered out front and establishing a dominant pace (photo). At the top of  the first climb we had minutes on every one else and it was apparent this was the podium group.

On the decent I grabbed the wheel of the Leperrier Bikes (Spokane) and had to overcome a fear of descending that I picked up since my crash in a past race (Whiteface Mtn Race in upstate NY). Adding to my confidence was my customized and rebuilt fork from Hippietech Suspension. I descended with speed and found myself wheel to wheel with the top two leaders after lap 1.

As the second lap heated up i found myself struggling to stay on the wheel of the front runner.  Soon he slowed down and realized I had just survived a “move”.  So as the big climb started I spun away from the other two. For just moments I thought I should attack and see if I could stay away.

I did not have enough confidence and kept spinning (a relative thing because we were hauling ass).  Soon the caught back on and followed me the entire second lap.

Going up the start/finish climb I saw that I opened another gap so i kept it steady passing up on another opportunity to attack.  I thought that if I could just spin up the climb with the same zest I could attack on the top and go for it.

I was out of opportunities because my consistent conservative speed allowed the two pros to get back on my wheel.  I did not know this until I was on the climb.  I looked back to see if I was in position to attack and saw that they were right on my heels. I went into defensive mode and allowed them to pass.  I grabbed a wheel and waited for the attack.

It came on top and I was too liberal and let them head down the slide ahead of me.  Looking back I should of followed the leader and not let the guy in second stay between us. The worst scenario came to past as the second place guy went slow and the leader attacked on the technical single-track.

By the time I could go around the leader has 200 feet on us and I bombed up the final climbs in a heavy duty gear.  I totally gave it everything I had only getting to within 100 feet. After that in a headwind the guy in my draft shot past me and blocked me at my every attempt to pass him back.

The finish was all single-track and he was successful in keeping me out of a second place.  Oh well, I was expert and I definitely won the race in my division.  I would of like to be given the chance to have duked it out with the leader though, I just did not play my cards right.

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