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Clemson University Race Report

By Kip Otterness

This weekend I attended an awesome race down in Clemson, SC. The week coming up to the race I was both super nervous and excited. This race was my first as an A racer and I knew that the top guys in this category were darn fast and I was fearful of embarassing myself due to the fact that the location for the event is known around the area as a place with massive jumps. I fully admit and accept the fact that I am pretty bad at jumping and the little speed that I actually gain on raceruns is purely generated from completing tight turns well. The day began with a short downhill course. The idea was that racers combined the best two of their three timed runs. Thankfully I managed to absolutely butcher my first two runs, the first run I blindly tried to gap a rockgarden which landed me on a very rough line bringing me into a near standstill on a 40 second track. The second run I dropped my chain, out of the second ring to the first ring. Overcompensating for the decreased power I cranked so hard that I overshot the first gap jump on the course. This landed me in the middle of a berm rendering my turning skills useless and shooting me out of the berm with zero exit speed. While waiting for the B and C racers to complete their second runs I decided to check out where I went wrong in my original rock garden gap failure. Turns out I completely hit the wrong rock that I had been planning to use as my launcher. As I sat there and analyzed the situation I took off my shoes to bang off the carolina red clay. Finding a good rock I went to town banging out my shoes. To my dismay that rock was the home of some angry yellow jackets. I was swarmed and got stung 5 times around my ancles. The stings were managable but it did suck having to tail it in my socks through the rock garden and out to where all of the spectators and racers were watching the event. Many concerned mothers offered me benedryl and what not but I figured yellow jacket venom coursing through my veins could only make me faster as the day went on. With that in mind I went up to start my final dh run. Now hopped up on jacket superpowers I crushed my final run. Every thing seemed to go smoothly and I honestly felt that it was my fastest run all day. Looking back I wish I had been stung earlier in the day because if I could have strung together two runs like my last one I believe that I could have placed fairly well in the downhill race.

The next race on the day was dual slalom. The course was amazing!!!! Honestly it was the best dual slalom track that I have ever seen and I still think about when I go to bed every night. It was a real track but that also means that it was a big track. Lots of big jumps and rhythem sections to manual through. There were either 31 or 37 A racers in the event, I'm not sure as I heard both numbers one thing that I did know is that this course had a 34 foot long table top in it. The best part is that racers had so much speed that you had to compress the takeoff and your bike while in the air not overjump the table. Completely hooked on the track I rejected all advice to conserve energy and I rode the track for a solid three hours before the race started. The track also had an awesome step down that you could double or triple if you really launched the jump. Mostly hoping to impress the crowd I worked really hard in pracice to clear the triple and overcome my jumping incompetance. In the end I was nailing the triple on every run. for the actual race I qualified somewhere in the middle of the A racers but in the bottom half portion of the middle, I knew this due to the fact that I did not have line preference on our one run slalom elimating rounds. So first round on the side of the track that was supposedly slower I faced a racer who was supposedly faster than me. Luckily my rival did not know about the venom that I had doped up on earlier in the day and in that run I managed to do well enough to advance to the next heat. I got eliminated in the next round by the guy who ended up in either first or second place for the whole race. This did not bother me though because I officially finished in the top half of racers for my first dual slalom race in A's and I was racing on toasted legs. The day wrapped up after the slalom and I began my drive back home in which nothing exciting happened.

Here are pictures of the park none of them are of me but you can see what the slalom course looked like.

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Page last modified on October 02, 2013, at 05:39 PM