Photos by: Quinton Spaulding

Report by: Quinton Spaulding

From Vegas to Aspen! It has got to be one of the most scenic desert drives in the world, and then as you get closer to Snowmass, it gets greener, oh yeah and a lot ritzier!!

I observed a sign immediately behind all of these trinkets which read “ABSOLUTELY NO SOLICITING”!! Well that did not stop any of these vendors. There were about seven different vehicles with their trunks open ready to stash their goods and hightail it out of there should the authorities arrive. These people live on the edge, just like us mountain bike racers really!

A chairlift is always such a wonderful sight to see. For gravity racers it is a prelude of what’s to come…excitement, tons of fun and sometimes a little pain. The chairlift in this picture was a brand new six seater high speed lift, and the folks at Snowmass used the gravity racers as guinea pig’s to test it for the very first time…it was GREAT! This also added an additional 700 vertical feet to the DH course making it the most high speed course thus far this year!

It is normally on the track that we struggle with off-cambers, well at this event it was in the pits. We had to keep our traction to the max and focus on not twisting an ankle on the downward slope. However, It still made for a very cool pit area being that it surrounded the Mountain Cross course, allowing us to have front row seating to all the exciting 4X racing!

If you don’t believe me about the “off-cambers” please observe the tent poles and then compare their attitude to the Aspen Trees in the background…getting level ground was work. Just a little fact I learned about Aspen trees this year – they are one of the largest living organism’s on the planet! Now I found this to be an extremely interesting fact, seen as that they are just trees – but all joined at the roots!

Since the first National this year, we have built enough wheels for the entire Peloton of the Tour De France. We are serious about going fast in the rough and like our wheels to roll true whilst doing it. I would like to take this opportunity to give a “Special Thanks” to Sun Ringle for having patience with us, and supplying us with everything we need to get our job done!

Unfortunately my camera failed me during the 4X events at Snowmass…for this I apologize, our riders faired very well though!! Once again Melissa Buhl was unstoppable, (which has become a theme for her this year)and she won the Elite Ladies convincingly!

Logan Binggeli had a horrific crash during one of his heats and ended up 7th overall in the Elite Men. Luckily he did not get hurt too bad, but raced the Downhill with a very stiff neck.

There were 12 consistent World Cup racers in the top twenty at Snowmass, and this event scored huge UCI points. KHS rider Logan Binggeli had a good finish, he took 18th place overall, gaining more experience and speed every time he competes.

Matt Johnston who came in strong from his 9th place finish at the Deer Valley National was looking fast and had a good qualifier. It just wasn’t his day though, he crashed in the second to last turn and came down covered in dirt, he still placed 32nd with his crash in a field of 49 racers.

It was to be a similar fate for Keith Mott, not a crash but a mechanical. He flatted in the woods and had to roll it to the finish line for a 36th place finish. Keith was back for his first race from a recent injury (dislocated thumb) and was still looking strong on this rough, fast course. Mott also qualified well.

I felt very good during practice and qualified well too, unfortunately I strained a hamstring during my qualifier and did not start in the final. Just a couple weeks off should take care of it.

Top 20 Elite Men

1 AARON GWIN Morongo Valley Yeti Fox 274107 4:05.47 200
2 JUSTIN LEOV Christchurch Yeti Fox Factory Team 1747 4:05.61 186
3 SAM BLENKINSOP Wanganui Yeti Fox Factory Team 19881028 4:09.49 174
4 CODY WARREN El Cajon Specialized / Decline Team Ame 160802 4:12.98 164
5 JONTY NEETHLING Somerset West Oakley / Morewood 19860717 4:19.08 156
6 DAVID CAMP Boulder Big Crank Racing 186468 4:22.59 150
7 TREVYN NEWPHER Snowshoe 9.8/Snowshoe/Marin 189058 4:24.79 144
8 DAVID ZIEGMAN Denver Yeti 111812 4:25.35 140
9 KAIN LEONARD Gunnison Crested Butte Academy/TLD/Maxx 173480 4:25.84 136
10 CURTIS KEENE Fremont Specialized / Decline Team Ame 112383 4:27.04 132
11 HEIKKI HALL Durango E13 117452 4:27.77 130
12 PHILIP WHEELER Boulder The Fix 169103 4:30.75 128
13 RYAN SUTTON Gunnison Me 81116 4:30.78 126
14 DOUG EWER Denver Big Crank Racing 182791 4:31.00 124
15 MATT FISHER Boulder TheFixBikes.com 113183 4:32.17 122
16 CHRIS SHEWMAKE Centennial Sol Vista Bike Park 212815 4:32.78 120
17 CHRISTOPHER HERNDON Etowah Specialized / Decline Team Ame 96111 4:32.87 118
18 LOGAN BINGGELI Saint George KHS BICYCLES 213148 4:33.01 116
19 NATHANIEL HILLS Dillon MafiaRacing.com 201161 4:34.19 114
20 ZACH GRIFFITH Littleton Zach Griffith 192979 4:34.23 112

This photo was taken by a monkey from a long distance without a zoom lens – sorry about the quality!

Melissa “KILLED” the women’s field by a whopping 15 seconds, I have to be honest on this one it was a forgone conclusion by racers and fans alike that she would take the win.

Top 5 Elite Women

1 MELISSA BUHL Chandler KHS BICYCLES 75536 4:56.92 200
2 RACHEL BAUER Aspen Team Dead Bros 261979 5:12.02 186
3 DARIAN HARVEY Durango Sobe Cannondale 195177 5:22.39 174
4 STEPHANIE HATALSKY Gunnison Crested Butte Academy 230263 6:20.20 164
5 LISA REINHARD Phoenix Ampd Racing 157921 6:32.67 156

Everywhere we go we have people in uniform paying special attention to us, making sure that in a time of need they are there for us – THANK YOU!

Next it is off to Vermont for the USA Cycling National Championships where we expect to come home with multiple titles.

All the best,

Q.

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