national championships.

So National Champs have come and gone.

I hate to write a negative blog and bag on a bike park but I hated Sol Vista. My first impression of the place was ewwwww. There has been so much hype about Sol Vista and I was pretty bummed after I walked the track. All of the attention was put into building three big jumps (more on that later) and they just forgot about the rest of the track...

My impression never changed over the course of the weekend...I mean the scene was good, the pits were great, there were loads of people but in general the place is flat and boring....It is not the kind of park that gets me stoked on riding. At most bike parks you cant keep me off the other bike park trails when practice is over but I had little interest in riding the park at Sol Vista.

As far as racing is concerned, I was definitely out of my element on the race was flat, dusty, straight and jumpy. As much as I hated the place, I learned loads and I am definitely a better rider coming out of it. I got loose in the sand, plowed some rocks, pedaled and redefined my preconceptions about big jumps. I never felt fast the whole weekend...just didn’t feel the mojo. I struggled on the course every day in practice, I just could not get my flow. I tried my best because I think that being a well rounded rider and being able to perform at a high level on any track is so important and even through I didn’t come out on top I am happy with how the weekend went.

So our track was a Pro Only course...the upper bit of the course was sandy with little rocks littered about, there was a sandbox to sandbox step-down (looked like the beach), a sandbox to sandbox hip (the beach again?) and then a little road gap and then it was on to the big jumps. They were the biggest mountain bike jumps on a DH course I have ever seen...fucking massive. Three doubles all in the 40 ft. range. You pedal at them as hard as you can at about 30 mph and just go for it. I have never jumped a jump and had time to be like whoa the landing is a long way away. I was pretty scared of them, I mean I have never jumped doubles that size before. Lots of the boys were struggling with them. Lisa Myklak, the DJ queen, led the way and set the bar for the ladies being the first to jump them. I think It is so crazy how focused I was going into those jumps...100% focused, 100% committed, 100% confident. I don’t know if I have ever been that focused on my bike...especially in a race. . I pedaled harder then I have ever pedaled before...If you crashed on those would not be good. I only hit 2 of the 3 but I was super stoked on it. Only 2 girls hit all 3 (Lisa Myklak and Jackie Harmony) and I think that maybe 3 or 4 girls hit two. The 3rd one was just under 50 feet (with the option to go up to 90 ft...pretty massive!. Yah so the jumps were cool and I think it boosted the level of riding for the women...I don’t think most people thought the women would try and jump them. It was pretty cool to see that progression just in one weekend.

Yah so anyway, in terms of learning it was a great weekend. I managed to squeeze onto the box with a 5th place finish. Considering how slow I felt on the course its not so bad...I knew I wasn’t riding well.

I am in the middle of Nebraska on my way to Quebec for the next two World Cups (Monte Saint Anne and Bromont), so freaking excited. Everyone has been telling me how sick the courses are and how they are totally my style so I am looking forward to it. I am feeling strong, confident and ready to shred...

Congrats to our new DH national champs Aaron Gwin and Melissa Buhl & our new 4X national champs Jill Kintner and Mitch Repletto!

Katie Holden