Queens of Dirt Women’s Weekend

QOD women’s weekend was off the hook!
Most of the Supremes had the great honor of supporting one of the best women’s clinics put on (in my opinion) in the country; the Queens of Dirt Women’s weekend. This team of rad ladies, being led by Kirsten Jenson, Leah Kiviat, and Javon Smith brought in 9 of the best coaches to elevate women and junior girls’ skills and confidence on their mountain bikes.

 

Kirsten & Leah taking 2nd place at the 2016 BC Bike Race

 

Kirsten and Leah are two local Bellingham heroes that took on the 6-day long BC Bike Race as a duo and took the second place spot for the overall. These full time mothers took a private coaching lesson from the famous Angi Weston, experienced an explosion of progression in their riding, and thought “why not get other ladies to join in on the fun”?

 

Angi Weston demonstrating some jumping technique to her crew of ladies

 

This last QOD event was the 4th year of the QOD women’s weekend and it has grown from 16 participants to 46 women and 10 juniors.

 

Amanda displays proper stance, cornering, and braking technique

Javon is a local trail builder and advocate that helps design and lead new trails that get put in on the mountain by the QOD. Javon is an IMBA certified coach that that is an incredible mentor for junior girls and force of nature on a bike. Mountain biking is her passion but building the trails we ride are equally important. She works closely as a trail leader for WMBC and has received extensive training through organizations such as the North Shore Mountain Bike Association, Outdoor Stewardship Institute, and Pacific Crest Trail Skills College

 

Javon working with some rad juniors

 

Leah, Javon, and Kirsten’s community involvement doesn’t end with an annual skills clinic- they have created and manage a local all-women’s race team out of Bellingham, WA. Besides wanting to represent a team at the BC Bike Race, and being moms of girls, they “also wanted to try and get more girls into the sport and into racing. We feel it provides girls with a positive self image and sense of empowerment in a male dominated sport”.

 

 

Junior girls are a big focus of the team and they are currently crushing it. The QOD provide scholarships for clinic entry and a bike rental to anyone in need. They work hard at reaching out to and offering support to the future women riders moving up through the ranks.

 

Amanda coached a group of women with Ladies All Ride coach Lindsey Richter.

 

This year the QOD asked the Kona Supremes to act as sweeps for the head coaches and whatever else the clinic weekend needed. Of course we were down and very excited about having a hand in inspiring women to send it or work on cornering or even the basics of breaking and shifting.

 

QOD covered skills and techniques from basic braking to cornering to jumps and drops

 

We watched breakthroughs and huge smiles all weekend. Women are tough as nails and so eager to get better on their bikes. Each rider has a story and a reason why they ride. Some of those stories are a little heavier than others but the common theme is clear: Riding bikes is badass and riding bikes heals.

 

Brooky B practices some skinny riding skills

 

The QOD know how to party and we wouldn’t miss another clinic for the world. I caught up with Kirsten to ask her what her favorite part of the weekend was and I think it sums up well the reason why no one should miss out. “The excitement women express when they do something they didn’t think they could do and juniors seeing so many strong and powerful women on bikes, lots of incredible role models for them.

Thanks, QOD!

Love,
The Kona Supremes

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without an after party with a goldsprint race!

 

 

 

Things to look out for from the QOD:
QOD Helping lead July 9 CDC Chuckanut Enduro preride with She Spokes

End of August and through December women and junior girls series of QOD cyclocross clinics as part of cascade cross series

 

HUGE thanks to Bryce Barry for her amazing photos and for the generous amount of time spent shooting, organizing, and helping with the event. You can check out her work at brycebarry.com and on instagram: @brycebarry_ & facebook: @brycebarryphotography

Down Time

SNAP!!
That’s the sound of your finger connecting with a rock and breaking into a bunch of little pieces. That’s the sound of your first race of the year, screeching to a halt. That’s the sound of all the training miles and gym hours going out the window.

Headed to the ER in Spokane, WA

I was 10 seconds in to The People’s Enduro in Spokane, WA, I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and had a flask of Malibu in my pack, and my right ring finger was a crumpled mess. In a moment of shock and adrenaline, I pulled my finger straight and was overwhelmed with so much pain I almost threw up. I hiked back up to the medic, and was soon splinted and walking down the mountain, headed to the ER. Soon I would find out my finger was so annihilated I would need pins placed in it, and the hand specialist told me it would be 2-3 months before I could mountain bike again. I sat on a bench in the middle of Seattle and openly sobbed after I received that news.

 

Many hours spent on the trainer

 

 

 

Biking is my life. It’s my transportation, my recreation, my fitness, my therapy, my social circle. I had never broken a bone before, or had any injury worse than bumps and bruises. 2 months would be the longest I had been off the mountain bike in years. I thought my recovery time would be unbearable and isolating, but as it turns out, there are lots of things you can do besides biking!

Bulky casts make great beer koozies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started walking the 2.5 miles to and from work every day. Whatever had been bothering me when I left the house or the office would melt away as I blasted tunes and marched through the streets of Seattle. I went to Goodwill and found a 3000-piece puzzle to keep me busy (I’m about 2/3 of the way done with it as of right now). I found ways to see my friends off the bike, spent quality time with my cat, read a whole pile of books, and did some traveling around the US. I texted my teammates when I was feeling bummed out, and went to hang with them in Bellingham whenever I could. I learned how to get through my daily life with just my left hand and arm (sorry to anyone that had to read my handwriting!).

 

First race back at the Sturdy Dirty Enduro! Photo: Chris McFarland

Time flew by, and after a few weeks on the trainer, I graduated to one-handed fixed gear rides along Lake Washington. At 6 weeks, the pins were out of my hand and I took myself on some epic road rides, so excited to ride again that I did 250 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing in a week! I just got on the mountain bike a week ago, and I’ve found that my right hand and arm are fairly weak, and my finger hurts if I send it or ride too aggressively. I am a bit gun-shy of steep rooty sections that I used to rip down with confidence. I am scared to crash, and I am questioning my skills. But it gets better with every ride. I am told by friends and teammates that I will be back in fighting shape in no time.

 

Getting sendy at Wednesday Night Worlds in Seattle

 

This was not how I envisioned my first season racing the pro category with the Kona Supremes. But I like to think that everything happens for a reason. The mandatory 2-month break from shredding gave me a chance to slow down and enjoy life in Seattle, and create some great new habits like spending a few minutes on my puzzle and reading every night before bed to relax and get a better night of sleep. It also gave me some perspective that there is life outside of biking, and the world does not end if you take a break from pedaling.

– Delia

Photos: Jerry Gamez

 

Sturdy Dirty 2017 Race Report

Delia Massey not having any fun at all.
Photo: Chris McFarland

 

Saturday June 6th, 2017 the weather cleared up just in time for the annual Sturdy Dirty race, aka ‘the best race of the year’. The Kona Supremes, minus Brooky B, pulled up to Tiger Mt. smiling from ear to ear; the stoke was already high. Over 200 women signed up for this all women’s race event. Not to mention that most of the husbands/partners/and supporters of these racers came dressed to impress. By the time the first wave of racers left the parking lot we had already seen a banana suit, a princess costume, half-naked cowboys, and an 80’s disco man.

The climb up the Master Link trail went by fast with all the encouragement from the other ladies as well as a few sighting of hecklers along the way. Emerging form the woods and entering the road you could hear the faint sound of music in the distance. The steep climb became easier the closer we got to sounds of the party taking place at the summit. It was all worth it for that adult snow cone.

Hannah B getting really excited for those pineapple skewers provided at the summit. Photos: Chris McFarland

 

Stage 1: East Tiger Summit was the perfect trail to get all the race jitters out; it was fast, flowy, and fun! It was also just the right length, not too short and not too long. Not to mention that you start out the day with a killer view of Mt. Rainer.

 

Between stage 1 and stage 2: Beer provided by man in leopard suit named “Jaguar”.

 

Stage 2: Off The Grid (OTG) trail features lots of roots, rocks, and punchy climbs. Dropper post is key on this trail. This is the longest trail in the race so encouragement from hecklers was much appreciated to keep up the stamina.

 

Between stage 2 and stage 3: Ribs and fireball.

 

Stage 3: Everyone’s nemesis; Joy Ride and Fully Ridged. These trails consist of tight corners, awkward roots, and one particular climb that seems like it lasts forever. Riding these two trails well requires focus and patience. Thankfully we were waved out of the starting gate by beautiful men in pink princess gowns in order to boost our confidence.

 

Between stage 3 and stage 4: Jell-O shots and brownies.

 

Stage 4: Legend/Mega Fauna. Depending on which category you were racing this is where the course started to differ. This stage is short and fast, with big berms, and a few rock drops. Most of us agree that this is one of our favorite trails on Tiger Mt. Pro and expert class raced Legend straight into Mega Fuana while sport and beginner class just raced Legend.

 

Between stage 4 and stage 5: Tequila shots prepared by man in gorilla suit.

Mickey and Steph at the bottom of stage 4 before heading back to the after party.

 

Stage 5: PREDATOR. If this trail doesn’t get you hyped then the men cashing you down it in ass-less chaps sure will. This trail offers a little bit of everything, from gnarly root lines to steep rock gardens, making it the most difficult trail on the mountain. But non the less, that didn’t stop our very own Hannah B from getting in the fastest run, landing her in first place for the pro category. In order words, she was the fastest woman on the whole mountain!

Amanda and Hannah crushing some of the classic roots and corners of Tiger. Photo: Patrick M

Hannah B snagging the top spot on the podium for Pro.
Photo: Chris Mcfarland

 

Dance off: The Sturdy Dirty team and sponsors sure know how to throw a good party! Complete with beer, burritos, raffle, and a dance off. Supremes pulled off first in the dance battle against Liv and Juliana. Naturally our moves consisted of dropping it low, shaking booty, and spraying beer on the crowd (Amanda). If there is one thing the Kona Supremes can do, it’s light up the party!

Huge thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this awesome day possible, you rock! See you all in Capital Forest for the next CDC race!

-The Supremes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn and the Process

Last summer I bought my first full suspension bike after I demoed a Kona Process 134. I fell in love after the first ride! I was giggling and squealing like never before. A friend treated me to a local gem of a trail I had never seen before; a trail that was outside of the realm of what I thought mountain biking was, but I just charged it because the Process 134 inspired the confidence I needed.  From that ride on, I was sold on this bike because it showed me that I could do anything. Making this purchase has changed my life and its been a crazy year on “cocoa the bike”

Brooklyn and Cocoa the Process

Now I’m upgrading bikes. I’ve sold my Process 134 for a Process 153 so I can charge harder and send it bigger no matter where I ride. I’ll be trading in the Shimano Deore brakes for the more powerful stopping power of the SRAM Guide R brakes and a Sektor fork for the Yari Solo Air. The 153’s 1X11 drivetrain along with the wider rims and tires is also a major upgrade from the 2015 Process 134 I was on before. The 153 likes bigger lines, is much more stable and loves to charge. I love how at home it feels on the steeps and has no problem with bigger hits and senders. I’m really excited about all the trouble my new Process 153 will get me into this summer and next year.  -Brooklyn

Photo: Paul Kelly

The Kona Supremes Hood River CDC Race Report

This race took place in Hood River, Oregon in a riding area called Post Canyon. Post Canyon has beautiful views of Adams and Mt. Hood, and trails bump up against vineyards and apple orchards. The trail building style is amazing and has a great variety for beginners and experts.
Hood River offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the PNW

The Kona Supremes Tiger Mountain CDC race report.

In very non-PNW fashion, the sun came out for our first Cascadia Dirt Cup race of the season at Tiger Mountain. It started the season off proper with at least 4000 feet of climbing for sport class, 5000 for expert and pro, and around 25 miles of riding.

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Stage 1 was a pedal to the summit for Off The Grid. It’s one of the longest stages, and had all elements; flowy bermimage3s, rock gardens, root sections, and taxing climbs. Amanda and Hannah’s strategy was to ride smooth, consistently, and to maintain a solid pace throughout the whole run to avoid making mistakes due to tiredness.

“Putting down a smooth run on Off the Grid wasn’t my absolute fastest pace, but I felt playful and had way more fun.” -Amanda

Stage 2 started back at the top and was another long pedal-y stage called Preston. It was full of long, fast switchbacks with some high-speed rock sections. Despite being such a long, burly stage, the stoke level was high. Amanda suffered a flat tire from a torn sidewall about half way down losing some time having to ride her rim to the finish.

Stage 3 took us to Joyride and Fully Rigid for an awkward, rooty, turny stage. Delia is currently on the injured reserve and played time-keeper at the end of this stage and heckled flawlessly.

Stage 4 ran on the new trails, Legend and Megafauna. It was the shortest stage, but wasn’t short on steeps and loose berms.

Final Stage 5 for the expert and pro classes was Predator. Climbing back to the top was brutal after already climbing close timage4o 4000 feet. Dropping near the end of the pack and after a super long day meant a loose, exhausting, but incredibly fun descent to the bottom.

“I was so tired by the time we got to predator, it became more important to just ride clean than it did to ride fast and pinned” –H

Despite a flat on stage 2, Amanda still crushed the other stages for a solid finish. Brooklyn and Mickey raced smooth and landed in top 10 for sport. Stephanie took 3rd place in sport and Hannah took 2nd in pro. Delia took the title for world’s best time-keeper, and we can’t wait to see her back on the bike soon!

Our next race is in Hood River, Oregon on May 20th. Follow us on Instagram, facebook, and the blog for updates on our upcoming plans, events, and adventures!

2016 Fall Women’s Clinics – Basic Bike Maintenance

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Last week started off the first of our 2016 fall Kona women’s clinics with a basic bike maintenance course. The big storm made for some great weather for hunkering down in the shop and working on bikes. We worked on a variety of techniques in the clinic, covering things from flat-tire fixes to chain maintenance and more essential repair skills.

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Our very own Kona Bike Shop mechanic, Miles, led the clinic and encouraged the ladies to try all of the techniques that he taught. Photo by Gloria Goñi-Mcater

 

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Amanda shows Jamie how to efficiently remove her rear wheel, an important first step in a rear flat-fix. Photo by Gloria Goñi-Mcater
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Steph and Haley taking tires off rims like pros. Photo by Gloria Goñi-Mcater
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Brooklyn demonstrates proper tire installation after a successful flat-fix. Photo by Gloria Goñi-Mcater

 

We have two more clinics coming up this fall. On November 9th and 10th we are having a 2-part suspension clinic ($75 per person). The 9th will be a suspension theory lecture explaining the basic parts of your fork and shock, how it works, and how to adjust it perfectly for you. The 10th is a hands-on clinic to learn how to and perform a lower fork service, (normally around $100 total) and we will include the seals for you in the clinic!)
The last clinic will be a drivetrain maintenance and cable & housing replacement clinic ($60 per person). We will go over how to remove and clean the drivetrain to prolong the life of your bike and components during the wet and gritty winter months. Space is limited for both of these clinics, so sign up soon! The deadline for the suspension class is Nov. 1st to allow time to order the proper seals for everyone. Register in the bike shop or via email at hannah@konabikes.com. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Hannah Bergemann Crushes the Chuckanut Enduro

chucks enduro

 

The 2nd to last stop for the CDC Enduro series landed in my backyard Bellingham trails in the Chuckanut Mountains. I was especially excited about this race because I am very familiar with the trails in the course and it’s so close. The Chuckanuts are typically known for being wet, rooty, and loamy but… the weeks prior to the race saw little rain and high temps, which caused the trails to be insanely loose and the dirt to resemble moon dust.

Despite rough conditions and hundreds of racers flying down the trails, they were still a blast to race on! The first climb up Fragrance Lake Trail brought us to the summit for stage 1 on Upper Ridge Trail. Upper Ridge’s name is fitting as it meanders along a ridgeline with exposure on both sides. Lots of rough root sections and rock rolls make it a fairly technical trail, but it lacks the steepness of Lower Ridge Trail. After finishing stage 1, a quick transfer around Middle Ridge Trail brought us to the top of Lower Ridge for stage 2. Lower Ridge displays the same technical rocks and roots that Upper Ridge has, but also exhibits a fair amount of steep sections and tight corners. It also has decent exposure on the rider’s right side that shows awesome views of Baker in spots.

After finishing stage 2, we transferred up Salal Trail and Huckleberry Trail to the start of Raptor Ridge for Stage 3. Raptor is a hiking as well as a biking trail, so it’s full of tight switchbacks and long, leg-burning pedal sections. Being the trail I had ridden the least, this was the most challenging trail for me and a very different style than I’m used to. In a tight tree section in the middle of the trail, I clipped a bar and spilled into the bushes. Luckily, I got up unharmed and still managed a decent time for that stage, but I was definitely a little shaken up.

The final transfer brought us along North Lost Lake Trail where we could see Lost Lake between the trees down below us on the left, then we took a sharp right hand turn up Rock Trail. Rock Trail is a steep hiking trail that displays some of the amazing, giant sandstone boulders of the Chuckanuts. Did I mention it’s also ferociously steep and involves carrying your bike up many flights of stairs to get back to the summit. Once back at the top for the final stage, we were all exhausted, with the longest and most demanding stage yet to come. Although the Double Down and Double Black Diamond stage was easily the longest and most technical stage of the day, it was definitely my favorite! It starts off with a fast downhill section that leads into some wide switchbacks. Being so dry and blown out, it was fun to fly around the corners kicking up dust in all directions. The trail is full of fast, root-filled sections that are much more intimidating in the wet. After finishing Double Down and crossing a road, you head into Double Black Diamond, which starts off with a rough entrance to a root drop. Another rock drop follows shortly after with a sizable rut in the landing. Most of the corners on this trail were full of ruts, dust, or both, so it was challenging to ride fast and stay in control at the same time. I reached the bottom with my legs on fire, aching hands, and a huge grin on my face.

After turning in my timing chip, I was stoked to see a first place time in the expert category, and only a few seconds behind the pro ladies! Home-trail knowledge and hard work definitely paid off, and I’m already excited for the final race at Tiger Mountain next month!

Huge, ginormous thanks to Kona Bicycle Co, The Kona Bike Shop, Stoked Roasters, Dakine, 2nd Wind Sports, The Dirty Harlots MTB Race Team, Dirty Fingers Bike Shop, and all my friends and family for all the help and continued support!

-Hannah

chucks enduro podium

HANNAH BERGEMAN AND AMANDA BRYAN RACE THE STURDY DIRTY, PART 2.

Hannah & Amanda went down to Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, WA for the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, and answered some questions for us about the event and their experience. Part one was here, with Amanda’s answers. Below are Amanda’s questions and Hannah’s answers.

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Photo Credit Colin Meagher

 

A: The Sturdy Dirty was your first all women’s enduro, correct? How was the experience compared to the races you participate in like the CDC? 

H: Yeah! It was such a cool experience to race with so many ladies! Racing and riding with other girls really motivates me to try new features and ride harder. The entire event was so rad; the volunteers, the aid stations, the race course… I’m already excited for next year!

A: What was your favorite stage and why? How did the weather conditions change the way you rode the trail? 

H: My favorite stage ended up being the final stage called Predator. It’s considered one of the toughest trails at Tiger because of its consistently steep grade, slick roots, and chunky rock gardens. I managed to have a solid run despite the slick conditions, and the hecklers yelling at the bottom (wearing fairly revealing costumes in the pouring rain) were awesome!

A: How do you handle race day nerves if any at all? 

H: I will often watch some of my favorite biking videos the night before a race to get stoked. Having a teammate to ride the whole race with definitely helped with nerves! Being a female only race helps take away some of the competitive edge that usually comes with racing.

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Photo Credit Chris McFarland

A:  What bike did you race and why? 

H: My Process 111! The 29” wheels help me maintain speed and roll through gnarly sections with confidence. The short travel helps with climbing efficiency, and the Kona Process geometry makes this bike so playful and fun to ride! It’s hard to ride this bike without wanting to hit every little jump and root on the trail that I can find.

 

A: What is your favorite piece of gear? 

H: For this race, I was grateful for my Dakine pads because I took quite a few slams and walked away without any injuries. My mountain hardware jacket kept me dry in the mud and rain. I recently got a High Above hip pack that I’m super stoked about, and it was awesome to race in!

 

A: Care to share what your favorite trail side snacks are during race day? Did you get down on any waffles at one of the aid stations during the race?

H: The aid stations at the Sturdy were pro and served everything from waffles, to jello shots, to chicken wings. I think my IMG_7548favorite was the s’mores station and the tacos at the end!

Hannah Bergeman and Amanda Bryan Race the Sturdy Dirty, Part 1.

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Hannah & Amanda went down to Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, WA for the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, and answered some questions for us about the event and their experience. Below are Hannah’s questions and Amanda’s answers. Part two coming soon will be, you guessed it! Amanda’s questions with Hannah’s answers.

H:  You raced the sturdy last year at Tiger Mountain, how was it different? Better or worse than last year’s event?

A: Going into last year’s race I didn’t really know anyone with the exception of the faces I recognized from attending a pre-ride and a trail day. I think that contributed to the massive amount of anxiety I had going into the race. After the race last year, I left with a pocket full of phone numbers of ladies to ride with which turned into a solid crew to shred within the Seattle area. Having friends to catch up with and a teammate to ride with made this year’s event a lot more fun.

H: Last year you also raced Beginner class, and this year switched to Expert. What inspired that decision? How was racing Expert in comparison to the Beginner category?

A: I registered for the beginner category because I’d never raced before and I had no grasp on where I was in terms of riding ability. I ended up winning beginner -which was super exciting, with plans of racing Sport the following year. The move to Bellingham, WA is what inspired the decision to skip Sport and move into Expert. I love the trails on Tiger and I know them quite well and wanted to make sure that if I travelled the two hours South for the race, I would be able to ride all the trails. Sport cuts out riding all of the new trail called Predator and that’s my favorite one!

H: Do you plan to do any more races this season? Enduro? CX? Cross-country? What races?

 A: I do! I’ll be signing up for a couple more XC races to torture myself. I have a few enduros that I would like to check out like the Capitol Forest and Tiger Mountain Enduro, that is a part of the CDC series and I am really looking forward to the CX season this year with plans of racing the entire MFG series in Seattle.

H: Conditions were absolutely nasty this year for the Sturdy, how did you combat/handle the conditions and weather?

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Photo courtesy of Chris McFarland

A: It was such a sloppy day on the mountain. My main goal was to just survive. All the ladies were in such good spirits though and it was fun to see all the women covered in mud, laughing and having a good time. I felt pretty badass just being on the mountain and being surrounded by stoke even with the gnarly weather.

H: You rode the Process 111 at the Sturdy, why did you choose that bike, and how did it perform for you?

A: I picked it because that Process 111 is so fast! It climbs well and just rips on the down. Having the bigger wheel was awesome in the wet when I didn’t want to leave the muddy ground and had to roll over stuff. It was the perfect weapon for the day except the grittiness took its toll on my drive train.

H: Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions to ensure a good race?

A: My pre-race ritual is to talk positively to myself. I have to remind myself that I am capable and as prepared as I can be. Self-love is key to being successful at anything you do but I think when it comes to racing bikes, it’s easy to start doubting yourself and your ability. The night before, when I can’t sleep, I just replay videos of myself accomplishing a new feature or just a really good rip with friends. Leading up to the race I just shower myself with internal thoughts of love and positive mantras. Being calm and sure results in a good and safe time on the course for me.

H: What was your favorite stage of the race and why?

A: PREDATOR! Coming off of all the other stages, I had to laugh about the conditions and loose riding. I was having a hard day on the trails just trying to holIMG_7541d on and keep the bike upright; along with everyone else, of course. Predator was the last and most technical stage and I was starting to dread it a bit. When I was at the top preparing to drop in, I told myself to be aggressive and breathe. They said go and I put down my most solid run down Predator ever. Near the bottom, Predator has a rock exit that shoots you across the road to the lower half and that’s where everyone watches and cheers. Coming over the top and down that rock and hearing all the “fans” going wild made me emotional! It was so awesome to see how many people came out to support such a great event for the ladies. I still get excited thinking about it.

H: Are you going to let me beat you next year or what??

A: Haha, oh man! I think the weather and knowledge of the trails played out in my favor on this one. We should set up a bet for the next one!