All right, I finally had a minute to sit down and write a blog report on last weekends race, The Cat Scratch.
I and two other intermediate level VIHSS riders ( Joel and Nootka) scrambled our stuff together in one truck and made our way over on the ferry mid day Saturday. We hit the same ferry as fellow WCR members Pee dee and A-dub so, we all chilled out and talked bikes. We headed off the ferry and straight up to Squamish to the race site so we could put in at least one loop before the day was done.
We met up with Ryan Dey and the 6 of us went out to see what was in store for us this year at the Scratch. I was feelin' good right away. Ryan and I were having fun rat racing a bit, but, I was probably pushing it a bit too much for a pre-ride. Usually I just want to scope out lines and make sure I know all the fast lines, but sometimes it's just too hard to go slow when you're having fun! We all came back from one loop thinking, ohh man, it's going to be fun tomorrow, but it is definitely still technical. 3 of us did a quick tire change. I wanted to try out a new tire to see what it was like. I headed back out for a quick test. About 5 minutes a hit a set of rocks wrong and it instantly shot me into a tree and I slammed my front end into it. Pretty lucky I didn't break my wrist on this, but man was it sore. That was enough for the day, we packed up and headed for a nice dinner at our Motel. We devoured the meal then headed up to the room to rest and think about the race. I gave the guys some tips on racing, and what I do for preperation. I'm not sure if they were listening, but I told them anyways!
We woke up rejuvenated and ready to race! we headed to W.S. for a quick breaky then headed to the race. When we arrived there was a decent number of racers that made it out. 126 in fact( twice the amount of racers as last year.)Great to see! I was definitely aching from the crash, but I knew the adrenaline would kick in soon and I would feel nothing but concentration and maybe some nervousness.
Everyone lined up in their respective classes. Waiting patiently we sat there, for it seemed an eternity, for the organizers to get the race started. They made their course changes and now were ready to get things on the way. Ed Alder and crew blew the horn and the 11 of us pros rocketed into the first corner. Kevin Dyck pulled the holeshot and lead the way into the endurocross section. Following closely was Geoff Nelson, Ricky Russell and Anothonee Gibbs(I'll talk more about these 3 shortly). I was in 5th and was ready to make something happen right away. I knew Wilson, Dey, Hett, and the rest would be right behind.
We hit the first smaller technical hill climb. We had scouted out the best lines here the day before so I knew which way to go. I saw K.Dyck stuck on a nasty root in the center, Gibbs was to the left pushing for a sec. so I took the right line and made it up clean. As did Russell just ahead of me. Nelson was already up and couldn’t see him at this point.
Myself and Russell were full out trying to catch Geoff. I could tell he was a little pumped up, but as was I. We hit some bigger climbs and he was on the gas just flat out roosting the sh%t out of me, I was loving it! I was trying every line he wasn’t taking to try to make a pass, but he would just come out ahead. About half way through the loop we could see Geoff about 10 seconds ahead, so we were still close. Heading into the slash endurocross about two-thirds of the way throught the loop I looked back and Gibbs and Wilson were only about 45 seconds behind us. I knew I had to keep it pinned or else a handful of pro’s would catch me. We finished the first lap with Geoff 10 seconds ahead of Russell and I right on his rear tire at the check. The others were not too far behind.
Finally, Russell pulled over and let me by. Which sometimes isn’t the best thing if two guys are very similar in speed. You can really put the pressure on the guy ahead and cause him to make mistakes. Especially on this course. We kept it pinned for the 2nd lap, but this is where the Nelson DOMINATION kicks in. Geoff, being an amazing technical rider had gapped us by 4 minutes after 2 laps. Russell and I were still glued together after the 2nd loop was done. Wilson was still right there and Dey was starting to get into his groove and was on a charge to the front.
We hit the third lap with Russell and I still battling. about a third of the way through way this loop I let him by because he was pushing me for sure. I stayed on him for half of the lap until I made a bad error on a hill and had to push for 15 seconds. I lost sight of him now and was trying to get back into my groove. I was settled into a good 3rd place position at this point and continued to do so on the 4th lap. So was Russell as he started to open up a minute plus lead on me now. Nelson was just on a whole other level and kept the hammer down and was running 32 minute lap times, where we were up at around 34-35 minutes.
On the 5th lap I was starting to make some mistakes and getting worked on a few hills. I had looked down and noticed the tire I had put on the day prior was just destroyed already. I thought to myself, “should of put the trials tire on!” 3 or 4 hills I got stuck on and it definitely started to drain me. I kept the wheels rolling but at the slash EX section I looked back and saw Dey was now only 30 seconds behind me. He kept charging and caught me and Kind of ran over my bike while I was picking it up and he made the pass for 3rd (don’t worry we are friends ) . I knew that was it for trying to catch him. Dey seems to always pick it up further into the race. He is definitely abull, an Ironman most would say. I was hoping we would be done after this lap. But, when I came in I still had 8 minutes left, out for a sixth we went. Actually Russell had had enough and was waiting to time out. So I was back into 3rd. Nelson was way out in front by 10 minutes atleast, Dey in 2nd , Myself, then Al Wilson, the only other to go for a 6th loop.
I said to myself , “ just ride smart, make it up everything and you’ll make it through and finish third”. I did just this, even though my pace was way off from the start of the race. I had a few small bobbles this lap but I kept it on two wheels and came into finish excited, excited for the race to finally be over! That was a tough one! I took my helmet off relaxed a sec., talked with the No limits Crew, then Wilson came him. Only a few minutes behind me and a solid 4th place in a decent sized pro field. I was stoked for him. 36 years old, and has only one masters race under his belt, and he was up there with best of us!
All and all it was a fun race. A race like this is one you like more a few days later, you’re so sore and tired at the end that you really feel like you never want to ride again, but, a few days later you think, “that was a wicked race!”
So, of course Nelson took a very convincing first place. With Bobby away in Vegas, it gave Geoff a chance to really step it up and lay a smack down on the rest of us. Dey was 2nd with a very impressive race, I was a decent 3rd, Wilson a solid 4th, Russell held onto 5th, K.Dyck finished for a well deserved 6th and Demoulin placed well and finished 7th not too far behind Dyck.
For those of you who don’t know who Ricky Russell is, He is one of the fasted off road racers from Washington State. He has even won a WORCS round in the pro 2 class. Hopefully Himself, Gibbs, shepard, and other fellow Americans come up to Canada for some more races. This one was pretty technical. These guys fly in more open terrain.
I would like to the thank everyone involved with putting this race on. A lot of hard work went into this years Cat Scratch. Great job guys. A big thanks to David Norona for pumping up the race and doing his part in making not just racing , but our riding areas more credible.
Well, that’s about it,,,,, wait no, I forgot…. I had some friends at the race cheering for me and after the race we decided to head just north towards Whistler for a walk around a lake. This walk around a lake turned into a full on 8 km hike. I know , what was I thinking, I just raced for 4 hours. I was doing it for a girl, that’s understandable right!?
Anyways, that’s it for this week. I’m heading up to Campbell River tomorrow to Help Bob with some arrowing and trail maintenance for this weekends race, The C.M. Katoom. Can’t wait for this one! Love this riding area, LOVE IT!
Until next week, May out!