Monday, August 23, 2010
Dirty Bird (Boone, NC)
Finally the bus was up and running again this weekend. It was a good thing too, with ten people coming on this trip to North Carolina.
The event this time was the Dirty Bird DH Race near Boone, NC. It's the first time I've been to this event and I was thoroughly impressed with the great job all of the organizers/riders did this weekend. It was a grassroots race on a former ski resort called Hawksnest. The resort remains in business because of their zipline in summer months and tubing park in the winter. The ski lifts, however, are not in use anymore, so the organizers of the event provided shuttles for the riders all weekend long. It was obvious to see that the event was made possible by a lot of personal sacrifice and effort. The trails were cut by hand and even the trail builders are not allowed to ride the course much other than during scheduled events.
This year they cut two brand new trails for the race. One was designated for the Pro class and the other for Intro/Amateur. I signed up for Pro since I figured that course would be more fun. It was short and sweet - featuring two rock gardens, some very slippery roots, a fast section of slalom-style berms, and three mandatory jumps (two step-downs and a double). The amateur course was no joke either, but the Pro side seemed like a bit more fun.
We met Greg Wittwer's brother, James, at the event since he attends Appalachian State University and had a great time hanging out with him at our campsite. Nat and Sean (and I) knew another friend in the area, Katie (aka Squirrel), and she drove to the event to hang out and show Nat and Sean around downtown Boone.
The rain moved in on Saturday afternoon and we hid in the bus until it passed. After that we headed to Boone to eat and buy more supplies (beer & food). We returned to the resort, started a campfire, and relaxed a bit before heading to bed. The next morning we walked to course to inspect its condition and then I got in a couple practice runs before the race began. My race run went well, with no real slip ups despite the muddy conditions. The main rock garden was the favorite spot to spectate, and our group got to see some dicey runs on the slick and bumpy section.
After the race we packed up the bus and headed for a local swimming spot that Katie knew of. It was an excellent way to cap off the weekend and the drive afterwards felt effortless, especially when compared to last week's drive to Vermont.