Thankfully, after one practice run I was already starting to feel a bit better about things. The first three ingredients of Shore riding are rocks, roots, and mud (in no particular order), so I think I felt more at home there than I would on any given dry dusty trail. To break up the technical bits there were quite a few wide open fast sections, the occasional wooden ramp, and one small river. Well, it may have been more like a creek, but it was big enough that there was a beautifully built bridge going over it (that we had to ride underneath) for all of the XC riders. No chance of staying dry on this course!
With a little bit of looking and a little bit of speed, there was some good flow to be found. And as the sun continued to shine and the course slowly but surely started to dry up, it just got faster and faster. This course was all about finding your lines and making them, as there weren’t many major obstacles to deal with. About half way down the course was the “big gay rock”, a long smooth rock face that was off-camber (of course) and wet (why would it be dry?). After a few brave souls had broken it in (taken the slime off the rock), it was actually quite grippy and doable, but still a very exciting place to watch!
The other “obstacle” was a wooden double A-frame structure which was at that awkward inbetween stage. If you came at it with a half-decent amount of speed you would probably land somewhere on the up-ramp of the second A-frame, bounce off that and continue on down the trail. Not the smoothest way to do it, but it did the trick. Instead, some of the fast guys were doubling it, and even with all their speed and pop I saw a lot of casing going on. Good on them for going for it though!
When it came time for race run, I think it was a tough course for pretty much everyone. Lots of crashes and flats, but still lots and lots of muddy smiles at the bottom of the course. The west coast was once again well represented, with Cove rider Andrew Mitchell winning Men’s Elite, Ewan Fafard coming in 5th, Dan Skogland placing 6th, and Jeff Bryson in 11th. In the Women’s Elite category I came away very happy with a 1st, while Miranda Miller finished 2nd in Elite and 1st in Junior while Kim Huard rounded out the top 3.
Once again, thanks so much to the guys at Devinci for keeping my bike running smoothly all weekend, and I also want to say a quick thank you to Obsession: Bikes in North Van for making sure my bike was race ready for this trip! Danice and the rest of the Pinkbike.com/Devinci DH team are proudly supported by
-DT Swiss Wheel Sets
-MRP Chain Guides
-Chromag Bars and Stems
-Troy Lee Designs Canada
-Gravity Components Cranks and Posts