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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brad Delzer wrangling a line through "the turn" on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 40+).
The inside line was quicker. But maintaining momentum was no easy task.
As always, this turn was ready and waiting to take casualties. Josh Roeter (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
A few pockets of Fireweed remained in full bloom.
Devon Sims catching air and casting shadows (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
Matt Orlando had an unlucky weekend, with setbacks during seeding and a tree crash during the race (Pro Men).
Scott Kemp railing on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 30-39). Kemp finished almost five seconds up Sunday.
Mathew Sterling (Cat 2 Men 0-14), Chris Shalbot, and Jason Provis (Cat 2 Men 30-39).
Zackary Knudson stuffing a fast line into the berm (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
Alec Watts had his best Pro NW Cup finish, coming in seventh (Pro Men).
Kole Wetherell starting into P.B.R. (Pro Men).
Ian Robinson battling the last bit of tech before the boardwalk (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
No kneepads here. Carson Eiswald took his second first place finish this season (Cat 1 Men 19-29).
Bryan Connolly (Cat 1 Men 40+).
Alex Wynakos putting P.B.R.'s new step-down to good use (Cat 1 Men 19-29).
Britney White put in the fastest pro women time over the weekend (Pro Women).
Ezra Northern (Cat 2 Men 0-14).
Luke Strobel (Pro Men) soaring through P.B.R.
Spencer Brewer (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
Nate Cheyne powering through one last lap before seedings began (Cat 1 Men 19-29).
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 ).
Cutting through the powder. Kole Wetherell (Pro Men).
Lucas Chalcraft sending it for the people (Pro Men).
Demetri Triantafillou navigating the roots on the stump drop (Pro Men). Triantafillou came in fourth for seeding.
Cameron Hoefer (Pro Men).
Kasper Dean (Pro Men).
Jake Grob came in fifth for seeding (Pro Men).
Luke Strobel making his single crown work through the boulders, earning him the fastest seeding time (Pro Men).
One finished Rainier beer - official start line of the NW Cup chainless race.
Kent Billingsley fast out of the gates on Rock Crusher (Pro Men).
Andrew Flaschenriem (Pro Men).
Bryan Crum keeping things low and fast (Pro Men).
Jake Grob (Pro Men).
Demetri Triantafillou (Pro Men).
Just making the transition.
Luke Strobel finished fastest, and put his $100 winnings on tab for any of the other chainless competitors (Pro Men).
With just an hour to send three categories down the same trail, the line started forming early.
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).
Ricky Castro burning turns (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).
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.
Steve Eaton (Cat 2 Men 30-39).
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.
Kjersti Christiansen leaping over the chunder inside the turn (Pro Women).
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).
A bit of cloud cover rolled in just before Cat 3 riders started racing.
Lichen It is chock full of bridges and boardwalks. Lorant Domokos (Cat 3 Men 19-39).
Michael Whitley headed for second (Cat 3 Men 19-39).
Wyatt McKenzie (Cat 3 Men 0-14).
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).
Agnes Sauvage (Cat 3 Women Open).
Susan Walsh sporting horns and riding fast (Cat 3 Women Open). Walsh rode to the top of the podium.
Nyla Stephens on upper Lichen It (Cat 3 Women 0-18 ).
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.
Racers lineup and hangout as the courses change.
Riding under Old Glory. Zackary Knudson finished second (Cat 2 Men 19-29).
The sun decided to come back for most of the remaining racers.
Chris Shalbot jumping to a clean line, narrowly missing a massive brake bump in the process (Cat 2 Men 30-39).
Darren Larson dominated his class with an almost 15 second lead (Cat 2 Men 40-49).
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).
Michael Duft goes down after losing control on the stump drop (Cat 2 Men 50+).
Bruce Bibbins riding to first (Cat 2 Men 50+).
Photography isn't without perils. Chris McFarland narrowly avoids a bike collision, only to fall off the embankment. Francois Desplanches (Cat 2 Men 50+).
Will Jacobson (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).
Ruandy Albisurez recovers after clipping a tree (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ). Mathew Sterling (Cat 2 Men 0-14).
Joanie Maynard (Cat 2 Women Open).
Aly Maggard speeding through the bottom of the course on her way to third (Cat 2 Women Open).
Andrea Johnson (Cat 2 Women Open).
Dylan Bibbins clearing tables on P.B.R. (Cat 1 Men 19-29).
An unexpected issue with shipping saw Chris Canfield racing on a 1999 pre Canfield Brothers' prototype (Cat 1 Men 30-39).
Andrew Frink holding the outside line on this progressively dustier turn (Cat 1 Men 30-39).
Hannah Johnson (Cat 1 Women Open).
Linnea Rooke was sporting a bandage during the weekend (Cat 1 Women Open). Despite the impediment, Rooke placed second.
Austin Lancaster (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Samuel Stevenson starts into the final section of tech on Slingshot Wookie (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Bailey Villalovos taking the more traditional inside line around this tree (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Ian Robinson (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).
Finding fast lines. Benjamin Van Veen and Josh Gibb (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ). Gibb finished in first and Van Veen took third.
Kjersti Christiansen came in second, roughly 1.5 second back (Pro Women).
Lauren Heitzman (Pro Women).
Stevens Pass treated Britney White well again. She last raced here in 2013, taking the win then too (Pro Women).
Luke Carrol (Pro Men).
Kole Wetherell finished ninth, his best Pro Finish to date. (Pro Men).
Galen Carter (Pro Men).
Steve Meza (Pro Men).
Weston Potter headed to the finish line, his first NW Cup Pro Win (Pro Men).
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.
Luke Strobel coming in a bit slower than his seeding time and landing him in third (Pro Men).
Junior Men Podium: Josh Gibb, Jason Eiswald, Benjamin Van Veen, Bailey Villalovos, and Harry Head.
Pro Women Podium: Britney White, Kjersti Christiansen, Lauren Heitzman, and Shelby Reilly (not pictured).
A camo congregation on the Pro Men Podium: Weston Potter, Demetri Triantafillou, Luke Strobel, Kevin Littlefield, and Kent Billingsley