Race Report: Hub-a-Palooza

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March brings better weather, and for many years running that means starting the race season at Beacon Hill.  With DH races on Saturday and Sunday, and Enduro Sunday morning; as well as a schedule designed to make it possible to race every event, this is one heck of a way to kick off the year.

Ready to take hit the road.

Ready to take hit the road.

For 2015 racers were greeted with amazing weather, tacky soil, and 3 classic courses.  Mix in a good supply of beer from Iron Horse Brewing, a bunch of sweet 30ft jumps scattered around the hill to session, and a free place to camp at the bottom of the hill and it was an amazing weekend.  The Hi-5 pro team had some solid representation, with Corey Craig racing DH, Nate Hoch racing Enduro, and Jon Allyn doing double duty with his first Enduro.  Check out what each of them had to say below:

Kole Wetherell getting a bit rowdy after a bobble in his run.

Kole Wetherell getting a bit rowdy after a bobble in his run.

Jon Allyn- 

Beacon has always been one of my favorite venues in Washington, low stress, lots of riding, and an awesome track. This year I decided to go all out and race both races and the enduro. Saturday’s course was more of a downhill pump track, with the “Hollywood section” and I think that course suits my riding a style a bit better. I was able to pull off a 5th on the day, and only 3 seconds off the win. Beacon always has some tight racing. Sunday was my first enduro, and man was that a wake up call, fitness, fitness, fitness. I enjoyed the format of enduro race and the climbing to each stage wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. It was pretty nice being able to ride your bike for a whole three stages though, compared to DH where the runs are under 5 mins. I only pre-rode the stages 2 and 3 so I rode the first stage blind.  All three of the stages I tried to pedal as much as possible and just see where I ended up, and I realized you need to sprint the whole time. I finished 2nd to last in the pro category.  After the enduro I was pretty dead for the final DH but it was my favorite track of the weekend and after a quick couple practice sessions I was able to put together a solid race run. I felt my run was on pace with the top guys besides not pedaling as hard in a few sections, in the end I finished 13th but less than 7 seconds off the win.  In the end my legs were dead, 26 miles of riding and 4000 vert, I’d say it was one kick ass weekend.

Jon ready to race.  First endurbro.

Jon ready to race. First endurbro.

Corey Craig-

This was the first time I had been to beacon in 3 years. This place is like 3 minutes from town, and has some of the raddest natural rock features that are so much fun to ride. I felt pretty good about the course during practice on Saturday. It had rained a little that night so in the morning we had some pretty amazing conditions. But by the time pros dropped it the course was pretty hammered and the wind had dried out a lot of the course, making the corners pretty loose and gravely. The first corner were you start to pick up speed, I lost my front end and had to go around the next double, loosing all my speed for the next section.  I finished 10th. Just 5 seconds back from 1st. The next day I felt a lot more comfortable on the Sunday course.  I felt like it was a course that I could ride fast. I had a pretty good race run without to many mistakes. I finished 9th and 6 seconds down from 1st.

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Nate Hoch-

After some honestly shit luck for the last few seasons of DH, with fluke crashes and injuries coming on times when I felt on pace, this season I decided to set down the DH bike and focus 100% on Enduro.  With a bit of grad school weight still hanging on my already large frame, I knew this season was going to be all about building and prep.  With that in mind, 100 mile, 10k climbing weeks have been the norm.  Beacon is a great race to get things started, and it was so refreshing to camp, ride, hit jumps, and not take things too seriously.  With some fast locals, Charlie Sponsel, and Neil Strobel in attendance I knew that I wanted to set a realistic goal.  I thought about a minute back from the win would be a pretty good result, and so I got myself ready and charged.  

The Beacon enduro race is not the biggest day, 10.1 miles and 1700 ft of climbing, but what it lacks in vert it makes up for in some flat pedaling.  Make no mistakes, this race is a challenge.  My bike and body both felt tip top though, and things went pretty well.  Stage 1 was about 2 minutes of no brakes corners, followed by 30 seconds of climbing, and finishing through a high speed rocky traverse.  This went pretty well for me, pedaling solidly throughout.  Stage 2 was the meat of the course, 8 minutes of rocks, corners, pedaling, and pumping.  I was most stoked on this stage as I was able to pedal 90% of it at the level I’d like.  Finally, stage 3 was next to the down hill track and was a shorty filled with rocks and corners.  This one went smoothly as well.  

Enduro can be tricky because the difference between the win and everyone else can be so large.  In that way, it can be hard to see if you are making progress.  So it is wonderful when courses are the same for years in a row because you can check you times.  With stages 1 and 2 being the same as last year, I was able to see that I took 8 seconds off my stage 1 time , and 33 seconds off my stage 2 time.  In the end I was left feeling like I left a little speed on course, but was pleased with a result 1:01 off the win, good for 8th place out of 18 pro men. That and getting to ride with Jon and hit jumps made for a rad weekend.  Here’s to more riding and achieving more goals!

That’s a wrap, hopefully we will see everyone out at the next event!  Huge thanks to Hi-5 Bikes, Banshee Bikes, Race Face, 100%, Royal Racing, Fox Racing Shox, Industry 9, and all the locals who helped throw such and amazing weekend!



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