This year's Hidden Gem of the North Race was a smashing success. With nearly triple the amount of riders from the first year we can't wait to see what next year will bring!
Like last year there was a rowdy downhill and a super fun enduro but this year instead of a Whip-off they held a Dual Slalom on the brand new Slalom track and I think it is going to be a new crowd favorite.
The infamous road gap, a favorite amongst riders and spectators both. This thing is 35 ft from take off to the sweet spot of the landing, which by no means is a small gap.
We got up to Bayfield on day 0, which was all about the media boy's & volunteers hanging out, riding bikes and preparing for the big weekend ahead. Which of course meant going to Dalou's to get pizza, then going out and getting some night shots.
After a solid 6 hours of sleep things started rolling, first day of racing meant setting up registration, making sure the courses are taped properly, getting shuttles for downhill running and making sure timing equipment would work smoothly.
The first event of the day, downhill on the original Hidden Gem trail, Chillasaurusrex. Everything from 120mm trail bikes to full on 200mm downhill bikes could be found out shuttling around trying to learn the fastest lines on the track
We saw a lot of carnage both in practice and in the race runs, so much that almost 20% of riders originally signed up to race didn't even get to put down one race lap.
Ryan Pancratz moments before a super gnarly crash on the whale tail.
Taco in a bag for everyone off the tailgate before the race.
Let's get this show on the road!
The 2016 Pro DH Podium consisted of Peter Gustafson in 1st, Jacob Jodan rippled down the hill and right into Second. Finally only 0:00.4 behind was Jeremiah Johnston in third.
Warren Bartholomew was the the big winner in the AM class followed by Nicholas Barry in second and Erik Gulick (above) in third.
Madeline Treuer had an epic weekend taking home not only the Women's Open Downhill win but also the Women's Open Slalom win and on top of all of that she has also won our $100 cash prize for best dressed rider on course for rocking her "party" suit.
Dual Slalom was by far the most intense racing we saw all weekend! Two riders going head to head on a brand new track? It doesn't get much better.
After many rounds of Slalom and a few crashes, Peter Gustafson again came out on top winning himself a brand new Bontrager Lithos Mips Helmet. Jeremiah Johnston was hot on his heels with a second and Baylor Litsey into third. In our Women's Open Madeline Treuer took the win and Mikayla Connell went into second at her first ever mountain bike event!
Enduro Day! A wet morning had everyone feeling a little groggy but once the riders started cruising up the hill and the excitement of racing started to build things became a lot more interesting!2016 Hidden Gem of the North Enduro
The Groms were killing it on Sunday. So much so that John Henry-Morrison(first photo) ended up in 2nd place right above his dad in the AM class!
The 2016 Hidden Gem of the North Pro Category Winner Reijer Den Hertog sending the wood step down on B.F.R.
Adam Fairbanks, clearly hurting on the transfers. The AM class raced 4 stages riding each of the trails that the gem has to offer with Baylor Litsey taking home the win, John-Henry Morrison in 2nd and his dad John Morrison in a close 3rd. Nicole Pedrick took our Open Women's win in her fist ever enduro mountain bike race!
Due to the sheer level of gnar in stage 5 Max Fierek (Course designer, builder and event host) decided it would be a Pro category only stage. It was in fact such an intense & skill testing decent that only 4 riders dared to enter the Pro category. Peter Gustafson (day 1's Champion), Reijer Den Hertog from Trek Bicycles, Sam Olson (XC madman) and Devon Johnson (last year's AM winner in Downhill).
Even the spectators struggled to make it down the newest "trail" but we aren't entirely sure that this mad scientist creation of dirt, sand & rock can really qualify as a trail.
Reijer Foot out flat out down the face.
The rain in the early morning made the bridges on the hiking trail unbelievably slippery. Some went for the ride it and pray method while others like Sam Olson decided to CX run it.
After 5 stages the Pro field was neck and neck but ultimately Reijer Den Hertog came out on top winning himself a sweet set of Crankbrothers wheels! Peter Gustafson into 2nd, Sam Olson in 3rd and Devon Johnson in 4th.
A crazy weekend of racing, exploring, making new friends and bike shenanigans the Hidden Gem is wrapped up for year and we can't wait to see what new trails and adventures await us next year. We just want to say thanks to everyone involved in building, promoting, photo's videos and all the other behind the scenes things that need to be handled in order to put on an event like this. But also a big shout out to everyone who came out to hang out, race and ride!
More Photos can be found here and on the Hidden Gem's Facebook page.pinkbike.com/u/NionixMedia/album/2nd-Annual-Hidden-Gem-Racefacebook.com/thehiddengemofthenorth