With the world cup schedule rolling into North America it was time for me to start ramping up my preparation and getting up to some local races. What better place than Ski Bowl Oregon for the North West Cup #4 stop. So i loaded up the sprinter with all of the goodies I might need as well as a few good buddies. Christian Wright jumped in to hitch a ride up north on his way to the Jumpship contest in Victoria, B.C. and I was planning on heading over to do some racing, coaching, and training in Whistler. Everything seemed to just fall into place when my good friend and professional white water Kayaking buddy from home said he wanted to jump in on the voyage as well. So we went ahead and built up a bunk system for the van and set off.
A quick stop off at the factory and we were on the road up towards Bend Oregon to pick up my new race wheels. Some coffee in the morning and some interesting roadside travelers we finally arrived in Ski Bowl to check out the track and get our sweet Unique Sports Co. Pit set up. The course looked like it was going to be really fast and ULTRA rough. I was happy to have bolted on some fresh wheels and Hutchinson tires for practice and my Commencal Supreme DH with the Double barrel on the back was going to get a good workout in the high speed rock gardens
First day of practice went off without a hitch with me and Christian pounding out a few solid laps each while Marcio and Steve manned the team pits. Now it was time to head down to Portland for the night for some good food and to catch up with some old friends.
Saturday Practice was time to really turn up the speed and the weather forecast was really starting to turn bleak so I was eyeing up some alternate wet weather lines towards the end of the day. All of the sudden disaster struck when i got crossed up over a big rooted turn and flew OTB into the new woods section. I immediately knew something was wrong when I felt a stinging pain shoot out from the small of my back. I nursed down to the bottom and did some self triage. It turned out that I hit a rock under the loam with my kidney and gave it a pretty bad bruising. I wasn’t sure if i would be able to race on Sunday so I quickly hit the Advil Bottle and tried to rest up going into Sundays final.
Woke up on Sunday to not only a rainy track but excruciating pain in my back. I couldn’t even put on my own shoes first thing in the morning. I waited out practice and headed up for my qualifying run just to see if I could make a run down the track. I came down the hill with a terrible qualifier but i think forcing myself to ride it out may have helped loosen things up a bit so I planned out how to race my final.
A few hours break and the rain held off and let the track dry out just enough to where I felt comfortable letting it hang out a little bit on the rock sections. I came out of the last woods and bit my lower lip as hard as I could for the long sprint to the finish and somehow came across the line with a time 20 seconds faster than my quali as well as holding down the hotseat for nearly 10 riders. I was finally knocked back to 9th place overall when the dust settled and I don’t think I have ever finished a race run in that much pain but at the end of the day I was still pretty happy with my run. Big thanks to Unique Sports Co. and everyone for the support and hopefully I’ll be healed up for the next one in Whistler! Check out the video coverage on pinkbike: http://www.pinkbike.com/video/264911/’ I’ll have some more pictures shortly.