This year's 21st Annual Ashland, Or Spring Thaw DH saw two Shine Riders hit the top of the podium as well as earning spots for fastest women on the mountain of the day. Robyn Embry clocked a blazing time of 4:50:39 placing her 1st place Pro Women and Kirstie Douglass came in at 5:11:17 ranking her 1st place Expert Women Open. http://obra.org/events/20388/results. Robyn took fastest lady on the mountain of the day while Kirstie swiped 3rd fastest earning both ladies some cash to take home along with their medals. The weather this year at the race was spectacular, sunny and warm, a relief from last year's surprise snow and rain. The race is called a DH but the course, Cat Walk, is more like a really long flow track (others called it a pump track on steroids) with one 12ft gap, bumps, lots of tight bermy switch backs and loads of narrow, ribbony-fast single track that becomes even faster when you add as many pedal strokes in between as you can. The key to mastering this course is tuck low, stay super nimble, and stay off the brakes! The corners come up quicker than lightning and were probably the biggest determination on how a racer ranked at the end of the day. The dirt was compact and allowed for speedy traction on much of the course, but the decomposed granite in the corners was dry and loose upping the challenge and the thrill factor. The 100 yard slight incline sprint to the finish left racers sucking wind and proving what they had left to shave off just a few more seconds if they could. Besides a fast course, the vibe at the race is really mellow and fun. This could be because the course is more flowy than technical reducing some of the pressure or the fact that the event is secluded, tucked up mid-Ashland mountain. It's a trek to get your vehicle up to the start and the feel is definitely "out in the middle of nowhere." No lifts, no parking lots, just lots of trail, trees and a hint of rocks. Ashland Mountain Adventures provides shuttles on race day and an awesome lunch was spread out for the racers reducing the primitive as well as an electronic chip timing system fueled by a generator. The event coordinators, Eschlon Events, were trying out a new timing system along side a former system and there was some grumbling in the crowd regarding times, but that goes with the territory and at the end of the day you just have to be happy with how you feel you did personally. The Ashland Mountain Challenge two day enduro style race will be coming up June 23rd and 24th http://ashmtnadv.com/?page_id=105 and Cat Walk will be included in a stage of that race. Looking forward to more!
Robyn Embry stoked to be on top.