Mountain Bike Nationals is a jam packed week full of surprises. When you’re in the middle of the mountains of West Virginia, at Snowshoe resort, rain becomes a regular. The week started off with some awesome runs with my friends to get relaxed and in the groove of things. On Monday, downhill practice started off with getting to know the lines on the course. There were several big moves on the course to get comfortable on, along with some technical rock gardens. Overall, it was a fantastic course with lots of line options. After downhill practice that day, I got to get some time on the Dual Slalom track and make a few runs to familiarize myself with it. Tuesday was a rough day, as I went down in a rock garden and had deep bruising in my leg. The remainder of the week went well with practice and I had gotten my leg to stop bothering me. Then, on Thursday it was Dual slalom qualifying. Every rider had to take a run on the blue course, and then one run on the red course. I wasn’t sure where I would finish in qualifying as this was only my second Dual Slalom race. I was shocked and also excited when I had found out I qualified 1st. On Friday the rain rolled in and there was a huge debate on whether Dual Slalom finals would be that afternoon or postponed until the next day. So USAC called for a riders meeting and we all took a vote on when to have finals. So, we all decided that finals would be that afternoon. The course was very slick and muddy. On my last practice run down, I took a bad fall (photo above) in a berm which resurfaced my bruised leg. I was having trouble with a lot of pain and was about to quit. Then I remembered to when I was 8 years old watching Danny Way live at the XGames. Danny took a huge fall and was dealing with several injuries, but went back to the top and did another run and won the silver medal. I decided I was going to go back to the top and and give it my all. In between heats I Couldn’t stop thinking about Danny and how determined he was and how the desire to win was more than the pain. I wanted to win, I kept going and kept racing my way through, round after round. Then, I was sitting in the gate for the final 2, and I was able to put down 2 clean runs and take the top spot in the Junior Dual Slalom Championship. The remainder of the weekend was downhill practice and qualifying. I was having more pain in my leg and pushed through qualifying to finish 7th. The track was nasty and relentless. Finally, It was Sunday, and it was time for finals. I was on a great run until the finish line was almost in view. I started to slide and clipped my handlebars on a tree and had on of the longest crashes I’ve ever had. After walking back up and getting my bike, I came down to the finish in 9th place. The entire week was an awesome experience, the people you meet, ride with, and just have a friendly chat with gives me a feeling of being at home with cycling. One thing I have learned throughout my years of racing is no matter which discipline you race, whether its road racing or downhill racing… Every discipline takes training, hard work, and dedication. I am very thankful for the opportunities that my family and sponsors have given me, and look forward to next year for more great racing!
To say the least, the Beech Mtn Pro GRT didn’t quite go to plan. The course was different from any other that I have raced. The race course had sections where it was all or nothing, full on or off, which made for an awesome course. If you have ever raced at Beech Mtn then you probably have heard of the curse.. Every race at Beech it rains, My dad and I predicted rain weeks before the race, and laughed about it when we were right as it poured down rain the entire weekend. Practice day was feeling good, had some good lines dialed and was running them smoothly. The day of qualifying the rain continued to come down and the mud started to show. I decided that given the mud, it was best to just relax in qualifying and be safe for finals the following day. My qualifying run started off pretty wild when in the first turn I immediately felt the bike uncontrollably slide around underneath me. I decided to just relax and play it safe. I seeded 8th with a conservative run and decided to embrace the mud. The next day was turning out to be a rather nice day, and before I knew it, it was time for finals. Unfortunately, I clipped a pedal on a rock and went down. I got up and continued on a decent run, where I would place 9th. I learned a lot this weekend and hoped to apply it to the next races to come. Also, a huge thanks to all the photos that Jay Shultz and GoJamMedia captured over the weekend!
For my first Pro GRT I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got there. First thing early Thursday morning was track walk. Max Morgan helped me get all my lines figured out and was giving me great pointers on how to ride the course sections. My first practice run down, went rather well considering the very difficult course, I instantly hit most of my lines, apart from a few moves. The course was pretty rough, loose and almost unpredictable. The first day went great and we headed back to the hotel to relax. Friday morning was rather a shock as I quickly realized it had rained quite alot through the night. We got to the track and put a mud tire on the front and I went up for my first run. My first practice run was survival all the way down, it was slick, the rocks were wet and the mud was deep. That day I did a few more runs and the track was drying out more and more as the day went on. Practice continued on until it was time for seeding runs, All the pro men, pro women, and junior x went to the top of the mountain for their seeding run. When it was my turn to take my run I was unsure on how I would do as this was my very first Pro GRT race. As my run started, it was going great, I was hitting all of my lines perfect. I got towards the bottom to a rock garden and I got off of my line and went into a hole and went down pretty hard, I got up as quickly as possible and continued my run as best as I could. I got to the bottom to realize that even with my crash I still qualified in 6th place. My left shoulder and left thigh were hurting pretty bad at this point so me and my Dad packed everything up and left for the hotel, I didn’t realize what was happening as my Dad looks at me and says “You’re going to hate me”. We stopped in the grocery store to get 60lbs of ice to go back and take an ice bath. My Dad knew just how to fix me up, and Saturday morning after a few practice runs I was feeling fresh and ready to race. My race run went smooth despite hitting a tree with my handlebars, and I came down and sat in the hot seat until i got knocked off by Steven Walton and Nik Nestoroff to finish with a third place. The weekend was an absolute blast, I meet more and more rad people every time I go to a race. If it wasn’t for my family and all of my sponsors, I would not be able to get to these races. Also, if it wasn’t for My Dads awesome mechanic work getting my bike dialed after every run and keeping me going, as well as Max Morgan for giving me tips throughout the race weekend and helping me keep my head in the right place, I would not have had the weekend I had. So, Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am at. Kona Bikes Shimano Fox Royal Racing 7Protection
Race #1 Started off rather panicky, first practice run down hit a rock and broke a chain guide. Thanks to E*Thirteen I threw another one on and kept rolling. Practice went well for all racers, it was a great experience getting to race with the pros from around the world. Also, thanks to Kona Bikes, Shimano, and Fox for helping me to get an unbelievable race machine ready for the 2017 season. I want to take a minute to thank every person who has helped me get to where I’m at, from sponsors and family to my coach/Dad. My Dad has put countless hours into preparation for these races, bike setup, making sure we have all the tools and parts we need, and most importantly pushing me on the road bike and in the gym. My dad has guided me into getting faster and stronger he has been behind me pushing me every step of the way. I was very nervous and unsure where would finish in the Pro category. Practice sunday morning went great, did a few runs to go over my lines and make sure I had the course dialed. After practice the pre race nervousness set in as it normally does. Sitting in the start line waiting for my turn to “go to war” with the clock is the highest adrenaline rush I’ve ever experienced. Now, sitting on the start gate with my heart racing, waiting for the timer to count down thinking about the first lines in the course. “5, 4, 3” and off I went… My Run went well, despite a few sections, I got down to the bottom not expecting to have a good time, but instead got called for the hot seat for the fastest time of the day. I stayed in the hot seat for quite some time as more and more riders came down. I got knocked off the hot seat by some of the biggest names in the business, and was super stoked to be only a few seconds off of the times of the fastest guys from around the world. Again, if it wasn’t for the awesome support from Kona, Fox, Shimano, and my family I would not be where I am at today. This race was an awesome experience, and I can’t wait for the Windrock Pro GRT.
Waking up Saturday morning was rough. Sleeping in the back of your car is not always the most efficient way to sleep, but that was my only option to be able to attend the event. In fact it was my first time at this event, as well as my first road trip by myself. Anyways, Saturday morning was warm for this time of the year, breakfast was fired up and I was soon on my way to registration for the Super D. I then decided to peddle to the top of the super D course with a few friends, Will Washam, Caroline Washam, and Matt Meadows. From there on, practice began! Once to the top for my race run, the pre-race nervousness started setting in. My run went great and I ended up with the win. A great day of racing and riding with lots of great people. Saturday was the grand opening of Piney Mtn. Bike Lounge, a new bike shop in Greenville, SC. Saturday night everyone met up at the shop to have drinks and talk about bikes, racing, and the good times that had happened that day. There were a few of us out on the shops new pumptrack, built by Henry Khare, who has done a fantastic job of building and maintaining this pumptrack. By the end of the night there wasn’t a single rollar on that pumptrack that hadn’t been jumped. Late Saturday night, The cold weather came in and made it a rough night. Sunday morning was very cold. It’s a strange feeling when you know you have to race down courses that you’ve never ridden as fast as you can. Registration soon opened and I was on my way to the first stage. Stage 1 went smooth. I went as fast as i could go without knowing the course, I got to the bottom and headed for stage 2. Stage 2 went better than stage 1, I was feeling confident and excited. Stage 3 was the same course as the Super D so I was prepared for stage 3 and I ended up getting the win for the Enduro as well. The Cranksgiving weekend is truly a one of a kind event. A huge hanks to everyone who helped get me here! Kona Bicycles Royal Racing 7 protection Fox Suspension
Massanutten Resort in VA held the 1st. race for the Maxxis East Coast Gravity Series. First day of practice started off slow with a busted rear wheel, luckily my mechanic/Dad (Evan St.Clair) was there at the Kona tent to put a new wheel on, dial the bike back in and get us riding again. Massanutten has a wide variety of lines to choose from in their, “Yee Ha” race. Lots of different line choices to choose from. Practice day was good, had a couple minor changes in bike setup and dialing in tire pressure and we were ready for race day on Sunday. Then, about 7 P.M. on Saturday night, the rain settled in to stay until noon on Sunday. Practice that morning was eventful to say the least. Unfortunately riders were crashing and having bike trouble with the slick rocks and roots that the course was throwing at everyone. When it came down to the starting of the races, the sun came out and made the rest of the day awesome. All riders besides a couple made it down the mountain safely and very fast. My run went well despite a few miscalculated corners, came down with a time of 3:33.85, 0.19 seconds off the top spot. Massanutten was a fun race with a very fun course, I am looking forward to the race there in September. A big thanks to everyone who helped get me where I am today. Kona Bicycles Royal Racing Seven Protection
This trip out to Bellingham Washington was awesome. I got to meet people who were happy whether they were digging on a trail or riding their bike. The dirt was unbelievable, it was never to wet even in the rain, and never to dry when the sun was out for days on end. The people who have built these trails have truly done an amazing job. They spend years getting these trails perfect. They all just want to build trail, ride bikes and have a great time. The atmosphere and the vibe you get from people is like no other. Whether you’re a top pro, or just someone who enjoys riding as a hobby, you are immediately accepted right into the community with open arms. While I was out there, I stayed with Brad Walton, Most have said, “The best tour guide there is.” And they weren’t exaggerating, the trails we went on were amazing and all were reachable by riding out of your driveway. Brad helped me get a video together to sum up my trip to Bham. I had the time of my life and am looking forward to my next visit! Kona Bikes Royal Racing Seven Protection