Race Re-Cap: NW Cup Round 5 - Stevens Pass, Washington

Aug 5, 2015 at 14:05
by Eric Ashley  
2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Lucas Chalcraft racing down Slingshot Wookie on Sunday (Pro Men).

Stevens Pass Bike Park hosts round five of the NW Cup with full sun during Saturday’s practice and challenging dusty trails all weekend long. The only lift-accessed mountain biking in Washington is a bastion of granite that invites racers to push their speeds and do their best to hold on. A struggle the season's scarce rainfall only heightened with lots of moon dust and blown-out turns.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Maxwell Suffin getting the wheels up during Saturday's practice (Cat 2 Men 0-14).

Still, for the 279 racers who came out, the racing was fast, fun, and at times furious. Falls and crashes were widespread pre-race and during. Including a frightening crash and course hold during the Pro Mens race. Unlike previous venues, Stevens Pass has a two course format with Cat 3 racers on one course. While everybody else attacks Slingshot Wookie to lower P.B.R. This gives Cat 2 riders a welcome chance to see how their times stack up against the field. But despite the trail crews repairs throughout the season, the added traffic quickly began to take a toll on the trail. Not to mention adding a few more traffic jams — particularly the cue for race-morning practice.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Top - A dash of color across the mountain. Bottom - Josh Gibb on lower Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

The Cat 3 course followed Lichen It to Luvin It. Lichen It sports a latticework of bridges strung between tricky turns and unusual roots and rocks. The irregular terrain makes carrying speed difficult until riders reached Luvin It. But once there, it was a quick dash to the finish line along the flow intermixed with tech.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Brynn Bassett (Cat 3 Women 0-18 ).

Quite the opposite, Slingshot Wookie is a lot of tech with few flowy safe harbors. The high-speed trail has it all with rooty turns, chundery straight aways, and rim dingers and pedal bashers everywhere. The major grievance from racers was "the turn" a benign looking 180° corner at the very end of Slingshot Wookie that has all the right rocks in all the wrong places. Even the quickest of lines was a fight to maintain speed while dragging the bike completely through and unto P.B.R.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Peter Szensai laying down dusty tracks (Cat 3 Men 40-49).

P.B.R. is the park's advanced flow/jump trail and the course joins it right above the iconic wall ride. In the past, riders would speed through a series of jumps before diving into a steep chunky chicane and than exiting onto more jumps. Stevens Pass started a reroute to remove the chunk about two weeks before the race. The trail crew has things open and running in time, and P.B.R. now follows a smoother loop with a new table and two additional step downs — more in keeping with the rest of the trail.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Andi Zolton sampling the goods on the Cat 3 course (Cat 2 Women Open). Zolton placed second.

Saturday's seeding runs ran smoothly with many racers putting in their fastest times of the weekend. Luke Strobel, Kent Billingsley, and Kevin Littlefield put in the fastest seeding times for Pro Men. While Britney White (Pro Women) and Josh Gibb (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ) lead their categories. An additional win for Strobel in the evening's chainless race down Rock Crusher strengthened the outlook that he would be inline for his third first-place finish of the season on Sunday.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Talon Northern leading a group of groms through the berms on Luvin It (Cat 3 Men 0-14).

Sunday's conditions offered cooler weather and even a little cloud cover for the Cat 3 racers. On scene was a group of girls from Kat Sweet's newly formed Sweetlines Junior Racing team ready to rip the trails. Chris Canfield (Cat 1 Men 30-39), brought along a piece of history by riding a pre Canfield Brothers 1999 prototype. Trevor Altizer's (Pro Men) crashed on upper Slingshot Wookie during his race run. The crash left him unconscious for 30 seconds and he was stretcher-boarded off course, but was fortunately released with nothing more severe than a concussion and soreness.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Michelle Macartney (Cat 3 Women Open).

Race results: Josh Gibb held onto his lead, Jason Eiswald moved into second, and Benjamin Van Veen edged out Bailey Villalovs to take third (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ). Lauren Heitzman moved into third, Kjersti Christiansen maintained second, and Britney White finished first (Pro Women). Unexpectedly, Luke Strobel lost ground and came in third, Demetri Triantafillou moved up two places to take second, and Weston Potter knocked off over nine seconds to claim the win — his first NW Cup Pro win. Check out the full results here.

The NW Cup will return to Stevens Pass Bike Park for the series' finals September 11-13.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Brad Delzer wrangling a line through "the turn" on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 40+).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  The inside line was quicker. But maintaining momentum was no easy task.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  As always, this turn was ready and waiting to take casualties. Josh Roeter (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  A few pockets of Fireweed remained in full bloom.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Devon Sims catching air and casting shadows (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Matt Orlando had an unlucky weekend, with setbacks during seeding and a tree crash during the race (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Scott Kemp railing on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 30-39). Kemp finished almost five seconds up Sunday.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Mathew Sterling (Cat 2 Men 0-14), Chris Shalbot, and Jason Provis (Cat 2 Men 30-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Zackary Knudson stuffing a fast line into the berm (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Alec Watts had his best Pro NW Cup finish, coming in seventh (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kole Wetherell starting into P.B.R. (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Ian Robinson battling the last bit of tech before the boardwalk (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  No kneepads here. Carson Eiswald took his second first place finish this season (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Bryan Connolly (Cat 1 Men 40+).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Alex Wynakos putting P.B.R.'s new step-down to good use (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Britney White put in the fastest pro women time over the weekend (Pro Women).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Ezra Northern (Cat 2 Men 0-14).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Luke Strobel (Pro Men) soaring through P.B.R.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Spencer Brewer (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Nate Cheyne powering through one last lap before seedings began (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Jason Eiswald put in the fourth fastest time during seeding. During his race run he shaved off almost seven seconds landing him in second (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Cutting through the powder. Kole Wetherell (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Lucas Chalcraft sending it for the people (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Demetri Triantafillou navigating the roots on the stump drop (Pro Men). Triantafillou came in fourth for seeding.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Cameron Hoefer (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kasper Dean (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Jake Grob came in fifth for seeding (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Luke Strobel making his single crown work through the boulders, earning him the fastest seeding time (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  One finished Rainier beer - official start line of the NW Cup chainless race.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kent Billingsley fast out of the gates on Rock Crusher (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Andrew Flaschenriem (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Bryan Crum keeping things low and fast (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Jake Grob (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Demetri Triantafillou (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Just making the transition.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Luke Strobel finished fastest, and put his $100 winnings on tab for any of the other chainless competitors (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  With just an hour to send three categories down the same trail, the line started forming early.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Morning practice. Jesse Ransavage's race run got him onto the NW Cup podium for the first time, with a third place finish (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Ricky Castro burning turns (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Trevor Altizer was knocked out during his race run and was stretcher boarded off the course (Pro Men). Fortunately he was released with only a concussion.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Steve Eaton (Cat 2 Men 30-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Weston Potter getting a good start to the day (Pro Men). Potter picked up the pace, trimming more than nine seconds to finish in first.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kjersti Christiansen leaping over the chunder inside the turn (Pro Women).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Left - Demetri Triantafillou solidly connecting with a rock during practice (Pro Men). Right - Junior Women's National Champ Kaytlin Melvin followed up her win in Mammoth with a NW Cup win (Cat 1 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  A bit of cloud cover rolled in just before Cat 3 riders started racing.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Lichen It is chock full of bridges and boardwalks. Lorant Domokos (Cat 3 Men 19-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Michael Whitley headed for second (Cat 3 Men 19-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Wyatt McKenzie (Cat 3 Men 0-14).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kyle Strom crossing an intricately transformed boulder field, a reminder of just how much work the trail builders put into the park (Cat 3 Men 0-14).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Agnes Sauvage (Cat 3 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Susan Walsh sporting horns and riding fast (Cat 3 Women Open). Walsh rode to the top of the podium.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Nyla Stephens on upper Lichen It (Cat 3 Women 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
   Riley Amsbry (Cat 3 Women 0-18 ) and Kat Sweet. Amsbry raced for the newly formed Sweetlines Junior Racing team. This was the team's debut race, just two weeks after starting up.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Racers lineup and hangout as the courses change.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Riding under Old Glory. Zackary Knudson finished second (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  The sun decided to come back for most of the remaining racers.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Chris Shalbot jumping to a clean line, narrowly missing a massive brake bump in the process (Cat 2 Men 30-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Darren Larson dominated his class with an almost 15 second lead (Cat 2 Men 40-49).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  With how rough Slingshot Wookie is, it's easy to forget that it's a relatively short trail. Travis Blue (Cat 2 Men 40-49).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Michael Duft goes down after losing control on the stump drop (Cat 2 Men 50+).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Bruce Bibbins riding to first (Cat 2 Men 50+).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Photography isn't without perils. Chris McFarland narrowly avoids a bike collision, only to fall off the embankment. Francois Desplanches (Cat 2 Men 50+).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Will Jacobson (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Ruandy Albisurez recovers after clipping a tree (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ). Mathew Sterling (Cat 2 Men 0-14).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Joanie Maynard (Cat 2 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Aly Maggard speeding through the bottom of the course on her way to third (Cat 2 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Andrea Johnson (Cat 2 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Dylan Bibbins clearing tables on P.B.R. (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  An unexpected issue with shipping saw Chris Canfield racing on a 1999 pre Canfield Brothers' prototype (Cat 1 Men 30-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Andrew Frink holding the outside line on this progressively dustier turn (Cat 1 Men 30-39).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Hannah Johnson (Cat 1 Women Open).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Linnea Rooke was sporting a bandage during the weekend (Cat 1 Women Open). Despite the impediment, Rooke placed second.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Austin Lancaster (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Samuel Stevenson starts into the final section of tech on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Bailey Villalovos taking the more traditional inside line around this tree (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Ian Robinson (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Finding fast lines. Benjamin Van Veen and Josh Gibb (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ). Gibb finished in first and Van Veen took third.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kjersti Christiansen came in second, roughly 1.5 second back (Pro Women).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Lauren Heitzman (Pro Women).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Stevens Pass treated Britney White well again. She last raced here in 2013, taking the win then too (Pro Women).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Luke Carrol (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kole Wetherell finished ninth, his best Pro Finish to date. (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Galen Carter (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Steve Meza (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Weston Potter headed to the finish line, his first NW Cup Pro Win (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Kent Billingsley and Demetri Triantafillou (Pro Men). Billingsley's time was a second and change slower than his seeding run. Triantafillou moved up the field from fourth to second with a five second decrease in time.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Luke Strobel coming in a bit slower than his seeding time and landing him in third (Pro Men).

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Junior Men Podium: Josh Gibb, Jason Eiswald, Benjamin Van Veen, Bailey Villalovos, and Harry Head.

2015 NW Cup 5 at Stevens Pass.
  Pro Women Podium: Britney White, Kjersti Christiansen, Lauren Heitzman, and Shelby Reilly (not pictured).

Weston Potter Demetri Triantafillou Luke Strobel Kevin Littlefield and Kent Billingsley Pro Men .
  A camo congregation on the Pro Men Podium: Weston Potter, Demetri Triantafillou, Luke Strobel, Kevin Littlefield, and Kent Billingsley

Video from the Steven's Pass crew:
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19 Comments

  • + 7
 super great coverage! you covered every cat evenly and showed how fun the NW cups really are. always look forward to these articles! great work! tup
  • + 2
 Seriously! Take notes CES...
  • + 5
 Very well done Eric; tons of great shots! If anyone's interested, here's a quick edit of some of my video from race day: www.pinkbike.com/video/417967

Cheers,
Jules
  • + 5
 Congrats to all the racers but I can't stop staring at that baby blue Evil.
  • + 6
 Wow. Dialed coverage Eric.
  • + 1
 Agreed, great coverage! How did one person manage to get all those angles? Must have been running all over the place like a mad man, thanks!
  • + 2
 i can vouch, he is running everywhere. He climbs trees too!
  • + 1
 He was home digging trails the day before too. Nice work Eric.
  • + 2
 Nice coverage Eric & great race NW Cup & Stevens Pass.
My last Mt. Bike race was way back in 1995. This race was so fun I'll definitely be back.
  • + 5
 Camo Podium
  • + 2
 Did you just post every racer there? I like all the amateur shots BTW....
  • + 2
 I figure almost 1/3 of the racers appeared in the article.
  • + 1
 Ya thanks for posting me! Makes me more pump to race again!!!
  • + 2
 Eric, great pictures and recap of the racing.
  • + 1
 nicely done race report and pics !
  • + 1
 Killer coverage, props for that! Also some killer images too
  • + 1
 Ill be there for Finals...
  • + 1
 Your best work ever EA.....great coverage!
  • + 1
 Atta girl Brit!

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