Jagger Bucy gets an unexpected ocean view during his race run (Cat 3 Men 11-14).
This winter has been a rough one in the Pacific Northwest. With the majority of the NW Cup’s competitors hailing from the doorstep of the Cascades, they aren’t strangers to wet rides and plenty of rain. But this year was just more! More rain, more snow, and more days off the bike. So the outlook for a dry stretch of riding days combined with the launch of the racing season had riders in high spirits and the dirt didn’t stop flying all weekend long.
Nate Bowman makes fast work of an unwieldy section of trail at the end of the freshly reopened Falcon Punch. (Cat 1 Men 19-29). "Falcon Punch hasn't been used for five years, but we dug it up and did a little berm work to it. It's probably where the race was won or lost. One run riders could be ripping through it and the next time it would be like they were dragging a wagon." Scott Tucker, Event Organizer.
In many ways, the trails at Port Angels are like old friends ready to pick up where things left off last season. There’s a reason these trails have become familiar to so many riders and it’s all thanks to the NW Cup which is celebrating its ten year anniversary this season. “Ten years ago I wouldn’t have expected just how strong the mountain biking community really is.” Says Casey Northern, one of the event's organizers, “I get compliments all over town about how friendly and well behaved everyone is when they come to the races. It makes me proud that these are the people we get to bring to the area. I just hope people continue to have as much fun racing as we do putting them on!”
Keeping with the warm wishes for the start of a milestone season, the weather was on point and the sun shone on a fast and mucky course that hosted over 450 racers over the weekend. To see how things played out, keep reading and then check the full results here.
Despite being right at home on the fast and mucky track, Magnus Manson had a rough seeding run on Saturday that placed him well at the end of the pack (Pro Men).
Conditions during Saturday's practice were unseasonably good and the sun was shining warmly. There's not much more you can ask for, except for a good showing on race day to take a spot on the podium like Parker Huntingford did (Cat 3 Men 11-14).
To be fast you must be confident, controlled, and ready to dodge any low hanging branches in your path.
Cat 2 racers started out with the classic White Knuckle followed up by the tight and twisty Motoguzzi before wrapping things up on the long straightaways on Cake Walk. Cory Yalowicki (Cat 2 Men 30-39).
Tegan Cruz (Cat 2 Men 0-14).
Ten truckloads of material brought this very well received new berm into existence. Perhaps the steep walls and buttery smooth surface were too inviting though, as a number of riders washed out just feet from the finish line.
Laura Delong was quickly coming to terms with her move to Cat 1 this season during practice, but a spill on Sunday set things back just a bit (Cat 1 Women 0-19).
Jut over 450 racers descended on Dry Hill in what's easily one of the largest kick-off weekends for the NW Cup. "Ten years ago I thought at some point it might plateau. But it didn't, it just keeps getting better!" - Casey Northern, Event Organizer.
The weekend's six Uhauls collected a nice patina of Dry Hill grime from constant racer shuttles.
On home turf and riding fast, Luke Strobel looked primed to follow up his top seeding time with a win the next day. But in the face of steep competition, Strobel was pushed back a few podium steps to take fourth (Pro Men).
Just a few feet from the Uhaul drop-off is the crowd favorite road gap. If you ask nice enough and cheer loudly, you'll likely get a good show.
This one-footer was especially well executed. Enjoy.
As usual, sunlight at Port Angels translates into a vicious fight between inky shadows and glaring burst of light. Nic Rodgers (Pro Men).
Transition Racing riders Matt Orlando and Jake Grob get in one last practice run before seeding starts. At the end of the weekend, Orlando took sixteenth and Grob eighth (Pro Men)
Blake Bunting followed up his tidy sixth place seeding run to take spot number three on the podium (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Lucas Cruz remained comfortable at the front of the pack and maintained his lead both days. His winning time on Sunday was 2:45.74 (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Scott Tucker is equally at home on a bike, motorcycle, or at the helm of a race organization. "It's really been ten years of bliss putting on the NW Cup. It's great to have the first stop of 2017 in the books and a turn out of 451 racers just seems kind of crazy."
New mom, Jaime Rees, was just finding her pace again after a crash in March. She didn't seem out of sorts though, as she took home second place (Pro Women).
Kaytlin Melvin made her NW Cup Pro debut over the weekend and held her own against a fast group of ladies to take third (Pro Women).
Australian racer, Danielle Beecroft was right at home on the fast and mucky course. Beecroft laid down a seeding time of 3:08.69 (Pro Women).
Forrest Riesco was poised to have set the fastest seeding time, but he came up .8 seconds behind that of Luke Strobel (Pro Men).
Luke Strobel puts the finish berm to good use to lay down a seeding time of 2:41.67(Pro Men).
With practice done, cold beers and hot showers are next up on the list as the sun fades to the horizon.
Not one to let the Easter Holiday go uncelebrated, Colette Butorajac's ride was sporting a little extra bling on Sunday (Cat 3 Women 40+).
Race mornings have their own unique pace. Kitting up, late scrambles, and various little rituals.
Aaron Sixsmith overcooks the turn at the end of his practice run (Cat 2 Men 15-1 .
Sierra Semsak catches air on Muffin Top on her way to the top of the podium (Cat 3 Women 0-10).
This rooty section on Motoguzzi continues to mature better with each race pulling back more dirt to reveal the jumble below. Brandon Porter (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
Natsha Weiss' first race was a success, ending with a top podium finish (Cat 3 Women 19-39).
Motoguzzi is a succession of tight, frequently loose, turns linked together by a narrow corridor. Anthony Barlow (Cat 2 Men 40-49).
Travis Holman opts for the traditional stump drop on Motoguzzi, though plenty of riders took the heavily rutted bypass (Cat 2 Men 30-39).
Young shredder from the north - Jackson Goldstone kept things low and fast to take the win.
Anthony Marsicano heads into the top of the course above the road gap (Cat 1 Men 19-29).
The sun eventually burned back the clouds for the second wave of Cat 2 racers. Cam Gibb (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).
No stranger from the podium, Sarah Olsen put in a good start to the season with a second place finish (Cat 1 Women 0-29).
As any good heckler will tell you, animal masks are well worth the limited visibility and enclosing plastic.
Kendall McLean closed the gap from his fourth place seeding run to take second, less than a second behind Cruz (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Ethan Shandro pace was interrupted by this fast slide out on Falcon Punch (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
A regular face at the Cascadia Dirt Cup enduro series, we hope to see more of Layton Meyers at the NW Cup this year (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Kerstin Holster overtook Karen O'Connel on race day to finish fourth (Pro Women).
Danielle Beercroft pulled further ahead of the pack, ending with a several second lead and a time of 3:04.26(Pro Women).
Falcon Punch isn't a technical trail, but the many shallow turns and unexpected root placement can be a speed killer. Evolving ruts and a few bomb holes only added to the mix. Jake Grob (Pro Men).
Jason Eiswald completes the customary bomb down Upper Pro (Pro Men).
Carson Eiswald held his spot at third with a time just 0.16 back from first (Pro Men).
Forrest Riesco exits out of Falcon Punch to maintain his position in second (Pro Men).
"Today was good... obviously, the run could be better, but a win is a win." A somewhat circumspect Magnus Manson on cutting a full minute off his seeding time to take the win Sunday (Pro Men).
A well-stocked raffle and giveaway pile led to some strong anticipation as each new digit was read.
Juniors Podium: Lucas Cruz, Kendall McLean, Blake Bunting, Ben Wallace, and Declan Erving.
Pro Women Podium: Danielle Beecroft, Jaime Rees (and daughter), Kaytlin Melvin, Kerstin Holster, and Karen O'Connell.
Pro Men Podium: Magnus Manson, Forrest Riesco, Carson Eiswald, Luke Strobel, and Colin Grant (Pro Men)
Fesh off a win, Magnus plans to forgo conventional accommodations in the future. "I'm really excited to come back and get away from the hotel life and try exploring in the van and be able to hang out more at races." #livingthedream
@Mtbmaniatv was on site to bring viewers a fresh recap. Check out their video to see some of the runs.