By: Kerstin Holster May 15 – 17, 2015 BEEP BEEP BEEP!! My strikingly loud alarm clock went off at 4am from across the room. It was one of those moments where you jump out of bed so fast you don’t remember how you get to the other side of the room. Rye and I sleepily got up, chowed down some breakfast, slurped our coffee, hoisted the bikes on top of my Subaru wrx and sped away before the sun came up. Leaving Corvallis, Oregon behind for a 6-hour trek to Port Angeles, Washington all in hopes to be in that number one podium position two days from now. We pulled into the parking lot of Dry Hill about 10am right as practice was starting for the Category 1 classes. We ate a quick bite of bananas & granola and up we went into the u-haul to the top of track. Butterflies and nerves in my stomach, all from excitement of how this new track was going to be! As I put my 100% goggles over my eyes I took a deep breath, grabbed my grips and started my decent. The track was slick on Friday, lots of rocks and the berms didn’t seem to want to hold, and you really had to trust your tires. There was a few times that I almost lost control but I held it together with only a few really close calls. After 6 runs down the hill, I was loving the track. Steep, technical and it was a test to me as a rider. Saturday was when I really realized how awesome the course was. I ended up taking 7 runs down the hill and really started attacking corners and dialing in my lines. It was very warm on the hill about 65 degrees’ I am so glad I had my Royal enduro jersey on since it was so light and breathable. By the end of practice I felt confident about all of my lines aside from one jump towards the middle of the track. We watched seeding and pro qualifiers after practice and wow it was incredible. I couldn’t believe how fast the men and women were going down this track. I tried picking up a few lines in spots I had problems from the pros and watched with awe & inspiration in my eyes. I cannot wait to encourage someone like they motivate me. Sunday morning came around Andy, Justin, Wood, Rye and I sat around the table and ate some bacon, eggs and toast. We stretched and hustled around to get the rental house cleaned and packed before we left for the track. Let me tell you right now, Justin and Andy are some of the best cooks! I learned a lot from them this weekend of how important nutrition, stretching and sharpened focus could really help determine your results. We got to Dry Hill in time to put in some practice laps; the course was absolutely in perfect condition. The morning dew had helped retain some moisture in the dirt, it was tacky and rolling very fast. I felt really good about my lines and after I came down the hill, I was ready to race. Waiting up at the starting line for the timer to go off, I breathed in deeply and exhaled, repeated this process three times and off I went. One phrase kept repeating through my head “smooth is fast… smooth is fast.. Smooth is fast.” I barely heard the crowd yelling, I had tunnel vision, my heart was pounding as I pushed my riding abilities. It didn’t feel like long and I was on the final stretch I threw my shifter into second to last gear and sprinted hard giving the bike every last bit of energy I had left. I ended up in 4th place, we had a blast this race round; it couldn’t have been more fun. Great people surrounded me, we had great food and the riding was incredible, I can’t wait for the next race! My goals for training until the next race in Mt. Hood June 19-21, 2015 are to practice doing sharp corners that lead to jumps, carrying my speed and continuing to work on body positioning and form. I want to thank #Hi-5bikes, for all the support they have given me this season. Thank you to my sponsors #raceface, #ride100%, #royalracing, #thegravitycartel, #fox, and #7protection. And another big thank you to our awesome photographer Ruandy Albiseruz check him out on his website: http://www.ralbisurez.com/ or his instagram: @pnwroo , twitter: @ralbisurez , facebook: Ruandy Albiseruz
April 26 at Port Angeles, WA for the UCI Pro GRT NW Cup #1, I entered the competitive realm of Category 1 Women’s racers.
Friday was a breeze, it was a light fun atmosphere and the trails were spectacular! The Pro/Cat 1 course was tacky, fast, smooth and with the weather it called for an awesome day! I got a lot of practice in and felt really good about the course, it was a bit out of my comfort zone but that is why I changed classes to push my personal limits.
Saturday rolled around and after a long cold night of camping we managed to rally into the U-Haul and head up Dry Hill for practice.
The moment I got into the thick of the trail I realized how tough race day would be. Little baby head sized rocks started creeping out of their dirt casings; holes were starting to develop in off camber turns and the waterfall. Oh the waterfall had started claiming victims with its gnarliness and I was one of them. That afternoon was full of spectators walking the course; I must have a very quiet bike and quick reactions because I missed a lot of the walkers by a hair.
I was on my descent down the waterfall section when a couple of younger course walkers dislodged a huge tree limb that within a second was in smack dab inline with my front tire. There was no jumping, swerving, there was only bracing for impact and praying that I would make it through.
Nope! I hit it dead on and went flying over my handlebars, the bike caught up with me and we rolled together down the hill. I landed in front of Bryn Atkinson; he very kindly helped me up and helped me gather my nerves, which turned a bad situation to a positive learning experiance! After that run I decided to do another to clear the trail another time before race day. Sunday, race day!
We get to the track early to get a parking spot; we warm up, stretch and crawl back into the dark U-Haul to get a practice run in. It was dewy and the trail was torn up! I put a fast run in, following the lines I had picked on Saturday. 10:20am rolled around and it was my time on the line. I was nervous, excited and felt a tension that I had not felt in any other racing class. I positioned myself at the starting line, waited for the beep beep beep boop, and off I went. I went as fast as I could while managing to stay in control but out of my comfort zone. There are so many turns, rocks and technical spots on this course that it is hard to remember every detail.
I squared off my corners, pumped everything that I could, and had to remind myself to breathe as I pushed my limits. I blasted through the top section and attacked the next dark forest section. As I rounded the corner for the waterfall section you can hear the crowd roaring! I could not condemn the heckling crowd more; they were massive and could not be completely ignored. GO GO GO!!! YEAHH!!! WOOHOO!! GET OFF YOUR BRAKES!! HUCK ITT!!! Passing this ginormous crowd was one of the highlights of my day.
I gave it my all sprinting to the very last moment. Unfortunately I did not make the hot seat, although my ego was bruised I came out with a very positive feeling about my move to Category 1. I made it down unscathed on one of the gnarliest courses I have ever done. I placed 13th out of 19 incredibly fast women from all over the region. Competitors from British Columbia, Washington, and California. Some of which placed mid pack Pro-women times, looking back I feel very positive about the start of the season. I now know what times and results I need to be producing to get to the next level. This is a brand new start for me and I cannot wait to attend the rest of the NW Cup racing series this season. I cannot thank Hi-5 Bikes enough for believing and supporting me this season. Thank you to ride100%, royal racing, 7 Protection, The Gravity Cartel, my awesome partner Rye and the amazing friends who have helped me to be where I am today.
There is nothing that describes a good time like hanging out with your buddies around a campfire roasting weenies and smores. Chatting about the way you bombed into that slick berm, and railing it like a moto rig with a two wheel drift.. or the way you didn’t quite hit the drop with enough speed which resulted in bars to your chest and a face full of dirt at least in my case..
Traveling out to Bend, Oregon has become a winter & spring weekend destination for us. The dirt soaks up so much moisture that by the time the rain hits the ground, to railing berms, the dirt is pristine. Soft but not too soft, tacky but not enough to cling onto your tire, and loose where you want it to be.
We started out Saturday morning, after a hot roast of campfire coffee, some eggs and sausage we made the ascend up Storm King in the Deschutes National Forest. The dirt was so perfect calling it “Hero Dirt “ wouldn’t have done it injustice. From Storm King we worked over to Funner and no wonder why they call it that. It was flowy, technical and had some pretty good rock drops. One that I decided to go a bit front heavy on and dropped myself onto the forgiving dirt. Mouth & eyes full of dirt and with a couple of bruises later I was still begging for more descent down this trail.
After some well deserved lunch and refreshments we met up at the top of Wanoga snow park lot and headed up Tiddlywinks. We worked through patches of snow, ice and down trees at first then rounded off to the top of the trail leaving the beautiful sights of Mt. Bachelor behind us. Through the trees and around rocks and logs we made it to the best part of the trail, the descend part (in my opinion).