Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Forrest Riesco at Canada Cup Rd.1

This past weekend I placed 4th at the first round of the Canada Cup series in Quebec!  I was very happy with my result as it was my first national race as an Elite.
I had a little over-the-bars crash first day of practice on Friday, and tweaked my wrist.  It was an annoying little injury, but I taped it up and was able to go for two runs Saturday.   I also found a Ergo grip, the ones with the extra palm support, which cushioned my wrist and made it possible to ride.
I put down a solid race run Sunday and surpassed my goal of a top five finish.  My placing got me UCI points towards racing more World Cups as well as gaining me points to work towards qualifying for World Championships at the end of the season.
My new Banshee Legend was awesome the whole weekend.  Had lots of good comments on the colour and how "sick" it looked. 

I am off to Fort William, Scotland next week for the first round of the World Cup series, then I'm headed to Val di Sole, Italy for the second World Cup.  Can't even explain how excited I am!  It will be amazing to ride those WC tracks, and I am very stoked to have this opportunity. 

Here is a short video by Vincent Allard of the race weekend.  There are a few shots of me in it (24 sec, 1:11), including the podium at the

Team Geronimo at Ranchstyle Dual Slalom

The ranch is situated on private landowners property and the slope style and dual slalom are both rider built. The venue is situated about 25 minutes above Grand Junction on Little Park road and the courses are incorporated within the scrub brush high alpine desert to make both of the slope style and dual one of a kind. Once we returned to our Kelty tent city we cooked up some serious race fuel in preparation for the always exhausting slalom race to come. 

Teammate Jess Pedersen joined us for the dual and between the both of us, over the past 3 years we have accumulated podium finishes every year and were looking to do that once again. The course was pretty much the same minus some minor changes, so I was pretty confident going into qualifying. The aggressive trail riding style mixed with some rhythm that makes up the course in around 50 seconds suites all of our riding styles and we were ready to give it a go, especially since the track was packed and pretty tacky compared to past years. 

I was one of the first riders to line up for our 1 run qualifier that I have held top spot of the past 2 seasons and I was looking to make it a 3rd. I snapped out of the gate and navigated the tight turns and berms letting it go towards the end taking a few chances and ultimately one too many as I boxed the 2nd to last berm overcooking it and punching my hand hard into a tree. I quickly got up and finished but once I took me glove off my throbbing hand I discovered a very deep gash below my knuckle on my middle finger of my left hand. A big thanks to Jamie at Shimano for coming to rescue by playing temporary medic until the EMT's finally found me and got me cleaned up. 

My day was done as I was on my way down to the ER as Jess and Michael were finishing up with qualifying. Jess set himself up well qualifying in 2nd and Michael kept it smooth but made some mistakes and qualified in the back of the pack. As the X Rays came back negative Michael got knocked out in the first run by eventual race winner and while I was getting stitched up Jess was knocking rider after rider off on his way to the final. Splinted and bandaged I arrived just in time to watch Jess roll through the finish aboard his Rampant .05 of a second from winning it all as he finished 2nd place on the day in an insanely close finish. 

Overall it was another successful Ranchstyle for Team Geronimo with Jess picking up the slack and Michael representing well in my absence. I was extremely bummed to have been sidelined, but feel very fortunate that I will be returning and competing soon as the first of the NAET Enduro Series and Oregon Enduro series kicks off in Hood River next weekend. In the meantime, its time to recover, then put it into high gear and continue to improve our fitness levels as an onslaught of Enduro racing will be upon us soon. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fire & Ice

Last winter was an unusally long and snowy one. Still in April all of the surrounding mountains
were covered with snow. Despite that fact Martin came up with a "good" idea:
Riding with our bikes up a well known mountain near Graz, stay for the night
in a tent and head for the downhill the next morning!
Martin H. was also crazy enough to join us. ;-)

We knew that the weather was going to be bad - about minus 2°, tense fog and snowfall ...
We were all surprised how much snow there was on this mountain (1445 m a.s.l.).
30" of snow everywhere and we had the 6th of April!

After riding up and some fooling around on a kind of ski slope we searched for a good place
to put up our tent. Martin was eager to build a igloo, so we shoveld like crazy, good thing was
it kept us warm. Meanwhile we tried to start a fire, which took us a long time because
of the snowfall. After hours of digging we compared our nearly finished igloo with our tent ...
the tent looked much more comfortably!

The night wasn´t that cold as feared (because my sleeping bag is only good for about +5°),
anyhow we got up before 6 o´clock, slipping in our cold clothes and frozen shoes.

The bikes were covered with ice, the brakes and the suspension needed some time
till they worked properly.

The downhill was great, a nice singletrack and the cold snow had a good grip.

If you ask yourself why are our backpacks so small?: There is a cablecar on this mountain,
so we transportated the big parts with it.

All in all it was a real good trip, something you will remember for a long time!

Words and pictures from Horst Gamsj├Ąger. You should check out his blog Silly lines for some epic riding stories!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Team Geronimo at the 2013 Ranchstyle LTR Enduro

A week of wet and rainy weather dampened the desert dirt and made for some awesome riding this year for Ranchstyle. Grand Junction is home to some of the best trails in Colorado and I was excited to sample a classic that has somehow eluded me, The Ribbon Trail. This high speed slickrock ribbon of trail dropped us down below of Little Park Rd where we would climb up to and connect to the Gunny Loop Trail. Before the weekend even started I felt satisfied finally checking that trail off my list, but I'll be back as it was a blast. 

Once Up on the Gunny Loop it was time to get into "race mode" and pay attention during our pre-ride. The track starts at the Little Park parking lot and descends 700 feet over 4 miles to the valley floor and is littered with single and double track with some seriously fun downs and lung busting uphill climbs near the finish line. I felt strong over the 11 miles of total riding for the day and looked forward to the fallowing mornings Live Train Race Enduro. It was Michael's first day back on the bike and out of the snow, so he was stoked to get the tires rolling once again and is looking forward to the season. 

An early morning beckoned as we rolled up to the line for a 9am start, but the sun was shinning and all competitors were ready to ride. This event is a local, smaller regional event, but with some heavy hitting competition, this would sure be a great early season test and great training opportunity to build upon. After watching "Rad" Ross Schnell blast off in front of me I had some serious motivation to give it my all, but after sprinting off the line in 1 minute intervals I found my rear tire drifting off the trail and I came to a complete stop. After re-starting I tried to pace myself for the grueling uphill climbs that loomed near the finish, but after 13 minutes of sustained riding I didn't quite have enough towards the back stretch and faded in the last few minutes, crossing the line with a time of 16 minutes and change feeling a little out of sorts and out of shape (In comparison to Schnell who crushed the field with a sub 15 minute time), but finishing in 5th place. Michael was rolling flat pedals and still getting time in on the bike and spent the race enjoying his ride and testing bike setup as he came down in 12th place. We both thoroughly enjoyed the racing but realized that we have some room for improvement in the fitness department so we spent an additional 20 miles riding Lunch Loops with Ross as he guided us and friends around his local rides. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Team Geronimo's Brian Buell at the Enduro Cup in Moab

 As soon as the schedule was announced I circled the event thinking that the Enduro Cup in Moab would be a great early season test for myself and my bike. I actually committed to the full 3 race series in anticipation of the Canyons Enduro that is apart of the NAET series and another venue that is TBD. Since coming back from NZ I haven't gotten as much ride time as I would have liked due to a lengthy winter that dumped snow on me so I went into this race knowing that I may be at a slight disadvantage due to the lack of saddle time, but I would treat it as a training weekend and also a great opportunity to gauge myself against the rest of the competition.

Team Geronimo's mechanic John Hartmann and I made our way out from Carbondale Colorado to the dry, sandy desert of Moab, Utah. Moab is definitely a major mountain bike destination that I have been to a lot, but I was extremely excited to be riding trails that I have yet to explore. The race took place up Gemini Bridges Road and there was a grand looking start/finish line and rider village that greeted us Friday afternoon. I came out a day early to do a pre-ride on the different segments to see what the fallowing day had in store and after riding at a party pace I realized that it was going to be a very physical race day. The race course was broken up into 4 race stages and 9 stages in total counting transfer roads and connector trails. The course started at the Magnificent 7 trailhead and would take races along Upper and Lower Bull Run that overlooked massive canyons and slick rock playgrounds. The terrain was very undulating with a lot of steep pitchy climbs. This portion of the trail composed segment 1 and 2, section 3 was Arth's Corner that started at another small trail hub that also encompassed the start of Great Escape and segment 4. In general all timed segments were between 1.5-2 miles long, but they were extremely rough and tough on mind, body and bike. 

A crack of the dawn shotgun 7:30 start saw us off and up the first transfer road to Bull Run and the first timed segment. Being from a gravity background, rubbing elbows with the likes of JHK, Ross Schnell and many other shaved legged high posters I felt a bit out of my element as we party paced in a large peloton. I knew that strategy was going to play a role in how my performance would shake out, but I wasn't set on one going into the race so I changed it on the fly depending on how I was feeling. After racing a strong first stage I shook out the legs and started stage 2 almost immediately after as I was feeling good. The second stage was more anaerobic and since racers had the choice of when they would like to go I made a full recovery before lining up for stage 3. Stage 3 was tough, but I had enough in the tank to really go for it on stage 4 and the final race segment. The majority of the trails required a strong focus on vision, looking ahead was key as trying to ride em at 100% was tough proposition. It was a balancing act for me trying to keep it pinned but still on the trail as the slickrock was flanked on both sides by tire grabbing sand. It was a very unique race and something that I've never really been apart of before. The vibe like most enduro's was very laid back, but once I heard that starting beep it was full on for around a total of 25 minutes of combined race time in just under 7 miles. 

I never really found my rhythm and was still testing some bike setup, but I was incredibly consistent posting a 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th in the 4 stages for a respectable 9th Place overall in a pretty stacked field of extremely talented riders and a former Olympian.