We're back to Beech Mountain Resort for the second round of the their three race series. If the summer is any indication of what their winter is gonna be the Beech staff is already feeling the stoke. Once again the region was forecast to continue to build on the record amount of rain it's had this season. The slogan "It Ain't Beech without Rain" would again stick for what seemed like the 20th time in a row. Note: Not sure what's goin on in the corn field as you make your way up Beech Mtn Pkwy...kinda scary.
This sight is much different than a year ago, no more lift barn. Just on the other side, construction has begun on a "bar" for those that need some beverage relief during their winter or summer fun. Eric Vest (GROM Racing) gets one of the first runs of Saturday morning practice in on the rock just under the lift. The sun was out.... would it last long? NOT!
The Clancy (shown) and brother Aiden of the Clan they call Loorham were stoked on their new Giant Glory rigs. Hmmm, I wonder who their fav WC rider might be? Any guesses? Should be quite obvious.
Saturday morning meant play time and what a better rider than Eric Vest (GROM Racing) to boss around and say, "Again!"...... "Again!"....."Again!" I don't think he minded one bit. Anytime bud!
"Practice Time? Take it Easy? Neah..... I'm gonna pin it run after run after run." Max Morgan (Team BGB-MK) wouldn't have it any other way. 24/7 he’s got it pinned.
Local Boone resident and Rocky Knob Bike Park trail boss Kristian Jackson has been spending lots of time on the weekends at Beech pounding lap after lap. Saturday practice would be no different, but where'd he go for race day? Daddy duty maybe?
Young gun and newbie GROM Racing rider Josh Rogers, is making his way up and up. He took the top spot in the Juniors category that had a podium filled with black and gold GROM jerseys. Still waiting for you to put up or shut up on that smack you've been talking Josh! BRING IT!
Haven't seen Cody Phillips (Santa Cruz/X-Fusion) since May at ETSU. He was single crowning it on a 6 inch Nomad all weekend, but pinning it nonetheless taking 7th in Cat 1 18-29.
Now you see me, Now you don’t!
As expected the weather didn't hold out. The fog, or I guess it would be clouds as this is the High Country, moved in and with it came the moisture. Although it didn't rain, you'd be surprised how much the clouds actually stick to some tangible, including the course. Conditions changed in about 20 minutes after the sun went bye-bye, so much you'd had thought it rained with nothing actually falling from the sky.
As soon as the fog came in, it would just as soon disappear..... well kinda. Conditions changed what seemed like every 10 minutes, typical of Beech.
This photogs Fav of the weekend as this rider enters the woods in the afternoon fog. Fog can sure make things interesting for everybody, riders and photographers. I am sure riders mind a bit more than I do.
Going for 5-0 in the past two years (from what I can remember)...... would Geritt Beytagh (Royal/Urge/Trek) keep the King of the Mountain crown?
Where's the Pink and Purple Shorts? If you're gonna make a fashion statement Brandon Blakely (Team BGB-MK), you need to ride with those pink and purple shorts. (You'll see those later in the podium pic)
Little "Shrimper" aka Bergen Khare just about ran me over at the entry coming into the upper woods. He was killing it all weekend. Keep that boy a pedaling Shrimper! He's gonna be a beast in a few years and for sure will be tossing that bike around with the best of them.
Two Hucks and Thud….. Max Morgan (Team BGB-MK) had been owning the upper woods. He hucked one roller, then a rock drop trying to double some roots and rock steps, or was it triple, and then……….THUD, he went down hard. Scary sounds as it happened and as he got the wind knocked out of him. No one was around except him and me. All was A-OK and the saving grace, he got a good shot out of the before.
You get some style from Dan Ennis once and you begin to expect again and again. That's not negotiable Dan! Dan took the 7th spot in Pro Men.
Throughout the day the fog came….. and the fog went out. As the hour glass burned on to the end the day, it got thicker and thicker and thicker. I am sure it was a struggle for rider to see in the open slope, much less the canopy sections. Look real close, there is a rider in that soup. (Note: this is the raw image..... it's not post-processed)
All that fog that we saw on Saturday didn’t go anywhere overnight. It sticks to the ground and the sticks like glue. Conditions were as greazzzzzy as if it rained. Tires packed up, it was slipping and sliding on the open slope, and it was challenge to keep things upright on all the mud coated rocks.
With a break between his duties with factory team Yeti-Fox Racing at MSA and World's in a couple of weeks, it was good to see Jay Fesperman back on his old stomping ground. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a clean race run, but was able to throw this whip over the hip for a good photo opp.
The Ground Proxmity Warning System in an airliner comes to mind we I see Mike Thomas (SEI Racing) doubling the jump out of the woods. "Pull Up..... Beep, Beep..... Pull Up"
Michael Kane (GROM Racing/Specialized) spent a birthday weekend on top of the Junior's podium just behind his teammate Josh Rogers. One up from that, he's also got his learners permit..... should we all be scared now or what? Those in the Greenville, SC area.... BE WARNED! Happy Birthday Bro!
We are still looking for someone to de-throne the KING! Geritt makes it 5 and 0 in recent years. This is call to anyone up for the challenge? I think at this point Geritt probably wants to give the crown away..... well then again, maybe not.
1st Geritt Beytagh (Royal Racing, Urge, Trek Bicycles): 02:12.68
2nd Brandon Blakely (Team Billy Goat Bikes, Mountain Khakis, Devinci): 02:18.29
3rd Max Morgan (Team Billy Goat Bikes, Mountain Khakis, Devinci): 02:24.75
4th Mike Thomas (SEI Racing): 02:25.39
5th Eric Vest (GROM Racing): 02:25.61
Next up, the series finale September 27 and 28, 2013. (Look for some additional race info in about a week). With the way the weather has been, maybe we’ll see some snow at the last round? Also, somebody please come out and give Geritt a run for his money! The King's reign MUST end! (all in good fun my friend)Full Results via USA CyclingSponsored By:Giant Bicyclesthe North FaceMagic CyclesBeech Mountain ResortSixSixOneCane CreekSmith OpticsOne IndustriesDakineGoJaMMedia