Neko Mullaly's Downhill Southeast (DHSE) series has been a great kickstart to the season. This year's course was a an improvement upon an already ripping track, with berms and jumps added throughout.
Ruprecht and I left Richmond on Friday afternoon to find the gate closed at the entrance to our camping spot from last season. With Bailey Mountain slated as the third stop of the series last year, I suppose the entrance was closed until the first day of Spring - which was coincidentally that weekend. Despite the closure, I found a suitable lot to park for the night and sleep in the car.
The next morning I woke early and headed to Bailey to walk the course with Angelo before shuttles began. The ground was frozen, but Angelo and I knew it would quickly thaw into a layer of mud. For most of the amateur practice that was the case, but eventually the sun dried the ground and traction began to improve. After watching the pros slay the dry course, I formulated a few line changes in the case of suitable conditions the next day.
As luck would have it, the trails maintained their traction for race day and two practice runs cemented those strategies. As far as my run was concerned, I was happy with my performance aside from one line choice that led me to stop and reset on one of the berms. The short course suited my [lack of] fitness level, and I made it to the finish line with a time of 2:36 - enough to place 11th (of 65 riders) in the amateur category.
I intended to film some of the pros from above (with the Phantom), but I was distracted by a dead battery in my Fiesta and missed my opportunity. To add insult to injury, I loaded footage from pro practice only to realize I'd been shooting in the time-lapse mode by accident!
Arriving home later that night, I quickly unpacked from the race and repacked for the next trip - backpacking in Zion National Park!
As luck would have it, Pinkbike chose a photo of me in their race recap - purple pants and all!
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