Photos by: Quinton Spaulding

Report by: Quinton Spaulding

Angel Fire New Mexico certainly is a beautiful place. It is a quaint town in an extremely picturesque valley surrounded by some huge mountains, mountains that still had snow caps upon our arrival last week Wednesday.

It felt like summer on the first practice day, we had clear blue skies and perfectly dry dirt. This all changed drastically Friday morning right before Downhill practice…It snowed and rained all day, the winds were fierce and did not let off for even a minute.

The winds were so strong that we had to remove the canopy’s from our tents to avoid them being totally destroyed. There were many EZ-UP tents mangled in the winds at Angel Fire and it took a lot of KHS muscle to avoid serious damage to our tents and trailer… unfortunately the same could not be said for the Cannondale Team trailer.

Once practice is done it is imperative to wash and tune your bike, whether it is snowing or not…obviously it was snowing at this time making bike maintenance just that much more challenging. We do however always try to come prepared for all scenarios…we are professionals and “professionals” get the job done…right??

Early Saturday morning brought some more cold and windy conditions. The snow and rain did subside somewhat, just enough for our afternoon DH practice session. As the day went on the weather improved tremendously, this was a huge bonus for the 4X racing that was scheduled to take place later that evening.

Shimano had their full setup in Angel Fire, this was great to see.

The YETI team is a huge “fan favorite” at the Mountain State Cup Series races, however, the KHS Factory crew did out perform them in the Downhill at this event…we were rather proud!

Fox Racing Shox were also present and ready to help those in need.

Saturday evenings 4X was another highlight for the KHS Factory Team. Melissa Buhl went unchallenged to take the win after qualifying 1st earlier that day. Buhl is on a huge winning streak, and extremely tough to beat at this point in time.

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There were two 4X events at Angel Fire, the first was the MSC series 4X race and then Sunday afternoon it was the throw down for the US National Championship. Melissa went on to capture the 4X National Championship title for KHS in fine form, there wasn’t another girl in sight when she crossed the finish line.

Binggeli raced well in both 4X events Saturday and Sunday, however, he expected to do a little better in the 4X as did I, but his gate starts were just not on form this past weekend. Binggeli made it to the round of 16.

This track is a past World Cup 4X track. It boasts some huge double jumps and a very acute drop in elevation, which leads down to a high speed rhythm section and then charges to the finish line.

YETI racer TJ Sharp had a horrific crash bringing all 4X racing to a standstill Saturday evening. Fortunately he walked away with some fractured ribs and a concussion…believe me he was fortunate it could have been way worse!

I mentioned in a past race report that we would eventually get to bring the big rigs out!! If the United States ever wants to be highly competitive on the World Cup Downhill Circuit then we need to stop removing the mountain out of mountain biking. There are simply not enough real downhill race tracks on our National circuit. Angel Fire Resort is the “REAL DEAL”, they have a PRO schedule, a PRO race track and people that really care about where our sport is headed!!

Sunday morning through Monday evening brought us absolute perfect weather. The track had dried out perfectly, the sun was shining and it was go time!

Imagine this terrain frozen over with ice, and then riding down in the rain, wind and snow!

KHS Factory Racer Matt Johnston had the best finish in the Mens Pro Downhill for KHS. Johnston finished a very respectable 12th place. This has eliminated any doubts about his previous ankle injury slowing him down. Johnston is a local at the DEER VALLEY RESORT so I expect him to do very well at stop # 4 on the NMBS calender.

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Melissa Buhl went on to win the Downhill event grabbing another podium for KHS with a convincing 38 second gap over her next competitor. This is three doubles on a trot for Buhl…Melissa and her equipment are totally dialed!!!

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Logan Binggeli had a top twenty finish amongst a stacked field. Binggeli is still coming of age, he pushes himself hard and expects to be on the podium at every race. It is only a matter of time before he is a threat at every event he enters.

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KHS Vet Pro racer Chuck Valenzuela also got on the podium this past weekend capturing the 4th step on the wood.

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I had disappointing qualifying and race runs at Angel Fire on a track that I normally perform well on. This track had more rocks than you could “shake a stick at”!! I will be back and ready to lay it down in Deer Valley, Utah.

A HUGE thanks to our sponsors who help us achieve the goals we set our sights on…THANK YOU!!

The KHS Crew will be in Fontana California this coming weekend for round number 3 of the California State Championship series. Please stay tuned for more updates and photos as they become available.

All the best,