Monday, October 19, 2009

Diablo Race #5 (Vernon, NJ)

Nick and I headed to Diablo for the last race of the season this weekend. The weather forecast didn't look good - with rain and snow possible. Despite the cold, we made the best of our time and competed both days in both the Giant Slalom and Downhill races.

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We walked the course on Saturday after our Giant Slalom runs to find a very interesting course. The upper section included several tabletop jumps and fast berms. That was followed by two sections of rock gardens that zapped speed and required heavy pedaling. The lower rock garden was steep, slippery, and super-technical. Once out of the upper area, the course ran into the familiar lower shoots seen in three of the previous races. That area seemed like a breeze after navigating the tricky rock gardens above. The race finish was again in the grass field - this time was by far the most slippery that it has been all summer, evidenced by several wash-outs on its off-camber left turn.

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It seemed like the key would be constant pedaling through the rock gardens followed by some controlled sliding through rest of the course. The racers had two runs to put together a winning time, which was nice since the chance of slipping off course seemed especially high.

In my first race run, I went slightly off-course on a corner in the lower rock garden. In my second run I corrected that mishap and gained six seconds on my previous time. It was good enough for second that day, second for the DH overall, and even second in the combined (slalom & DH) overall points.

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The prize package at Diablo was truly impressive. Each of eight classes was showered with goodies from Jamis, Shimano, JBL Audio, Scott, and Diablo's cash purse. I walked away with a bevy of gear, including a 2010 Dakar Bam 1 frame!