OAKRIDGE, OREGON, September 26, 2015. Day 3 took racers to a new network of trails closer to Oakridge, Oregon. Not only were the trails a progression from the rather untouched trails of the fist two days, but the stages progressed from rainy and cold to dry and loose throughout the day. “Today’s trails were incredible; I think the best day so far of all three, mainly because there was a huge diversity in what we rode.” John ‘Fuzzy’ Mylne describes Day 3, “we rode everything from super dank, wet loamy trails on the west side of town to the dry, loose, and driftin’ trails on the east side, and everything in the middle. There were steeps, off-camber, exposure – everything was there today, we got a little mix of everything.”
Craig Harvey echoed Fuzzy’s take on the day, “the conditions were a little bit different on Stage 1 and 2, they were a little bit wetter and then we moved over to a different mountain for the rest of the day and it was a little bit dryer. [The trails] were a little bit more developed than in the previous two days but they were still challenging. It was nice to have a mix of conditions and the wetter stuff was great. The dryer stuff today was a little bit more similar to where I come from down in California. It was all phenomenal.”
“I’m loving [the event], it’s a great time, everyone gets along great, and the meals are great. The organizers are putting together a great event.” – Craig Harvey
Even though the volunteers were out in the varying weather conditions all day, it would seem that nothing could dampen their excitement for the race or their ingenuity. “Today was really cold but it went really fast. It’s pretty crazy to be sitting in the middle of the woods with nobody around you in the freezing cold. I made myself a tent shelter, I made it out of my clothes and my bike.” Jessica Crump, who has been on timing for the event, describes her less than comfortable morning in the woods, “the times were still good though, everyone was stoked and screaming at the end of the finish, they were sticking around to ride out with their friends.”
“Watching the video I was thinking about how incredible it is, what we have done over the last three days is amazing. Today in particular, we almost had three different riding conditions in that one same day. We went from rainy and greasy gnarly to loose and sketchy to loam, fast and just crazy. It was quite the day.” – Brian Valverde Regional Sales Manager, Shimano America
While racers shuttled to Stage 1, the event team set up the new base camp at Tire Dog Ranch – a beautiful expanse of land surround by a thick forest and rustically decorated with everything from tailgates to wandering chickens. After Stage 15 racers made a stop at Brewer’s Union Local 180 pub before pedalling to their new ‘home’ for the next two nights. “It was such a nice little touch to be able to hang out there with everyone sitting in chairs, talking about the day,” said Brian. “Everyone had their challenges and their victories and it was great, we all had a big beer in our hands and it’s some of the best times of mountain biking is that time right there – coming fresh off the trail and just being able to talk about your experience and everyone has a different take on it.”
The intimate size of the race, at sixty-six racers, has lead to a unique, fun, and friendly event. Alex ‘Krunk’ McGuinnis is enjoying the camp vibes, “I think that with [blind] racing it’s really fun at the finish line because everybody gets to share stories about the goofy stuff they got themselves into and most people aren’t surprised that everyone behind them and in front of them did the same thing so it’s great to share that with the people you are trying to beat down the hill. Comradery, moral, everything is on an all-time high right now – a lot of laughs, a lot of high-fives, people sharing transfers and stories. It’s really social. It’s really fun!”
William ‘Wild Bill’ Roussel knew that he wanted to be involved with the race when he started to talking to Race Organizer, Nick Gibson, about this event over a year ago, “it really intrigued me that we would have potentially the opportunity to do something this big in Oregon. I mean really, a four-day event, the logistics of that are amazingly challenging and the fact that they pulled a group of people together to get this done in an area like this, in Oakridge, is incredible.”
“It was Oakridge, it was his event, and the people who are behind this. . . I had to be a part of that.” – William ‘Wild Bill’ Roussel
With all the love in the air it is hard to believe there is an actual race going on, especially one with $16000 worth of prize money on the line ($5000 for 1st, $2000 for 2nd, and $1000 for 3rd in both Pro Men and Pro Women’s categories). Rosara Joseph nearly doubled her lead on Rachel Walker after yesterday’s stages, and is going into the final day with a nearly a 5 minute cushion. Aaron Bradford also widened his lead over Geoff Kabush to maintain the top step in Pro Men. Alex McGuinnis had fell back to 5th place opening up the 3rd step for Nick Hardin.
The 4th, and final day on Sunday will included a morning shuttle to Stage 16 followed by 6000 feet of descending with only 3000 feet of climbing.