Wednesday, September 09, 2009

California Golden State Championship Finals was a Flash!

We packed up the car and headed up to Mammoth last Friday morning. It was about 100 degrees when we left and we were looking forward to some cooler weather and to get away from the smoke and bad air from the fires. We had a nice drive up, giddy like three children and couldn't wait to see Mammoth. Terri had never been there and I think it was more than 5 years since I went there. And I went to race XC, which is something I haven't raced much at all.
We took the fishing poles and were ready for a nice long holiday weekend.

Mammoth was impressive with all the cycling friendly accomodations, excellent trails everywhere, and you could tell how much time people have been putting into the mountain bike trails. They were a mountain biker's paradise!!

Don Jackson the race promoter and Southridge USA shop owner took very good care of us. He had a special "Legends" party on Saturday night where a lot of the Legendary mountain bikers attended and Don presented us all with Extreme Sports Pioneer awards. It was an excellent party and well attended. Sort of resembled a reunion and it was good to see a lot of old friends. People I admired my whole career, especially all the down hill guys. They are the pioneers of downhill mountain bike racing and it was cool watching the old videos and catching up on the many years since we all last saw each other. Greg Herbold commentated and it was hilarious. Greg is known for being a legend in downhill mtb racing. When he introduced himself we all cracked up! It was good fun.

Brian Ramoncinski is one of my old BMX friends was at the race and sent me a couple of photos of me at Saddleback Park and Orange County from about 1974. These are really rare photos. The OC photo is me on the Kawasaki BMX bike, which I think they sponsored me for only one year. I don't know of any more photos of me on a Kawasaki. That year they sponsored me was the first year they introduced jet skis and they weren't even on the market yet. I remember them asking me to go test the jet ski on a lake in Phoenix. I don't even think I stood up!

The Saddleback Park photo is me jumping off the bonsai jump - a super hard jump - and the photo is taken from behind me doing a cross-up of the jump. I love this photo!! Thank you so much Brian!

During the race I felt great and found myself out front in the first lap. It was a good sign that it would be a good race for me and I was loving every pedal stroke. The start was not crazy either, so I think that helped me to be able to start easy at a pace I could handle. We picked it up fast after the first good climb. Mammoth has always been a really big challenge for me and during the party everyone else was talking about all their successes at Mammoth. But I couldn't think of any other race I won there. Most of the guys I raced back in those days either lived at altitude or spent time acclimating. I never did that so every time I went and raced there, I cracked. I think I made the podium a few times, but never the win. So this win was super sweet for me, even being a lot older, my time was still competitive and even more importantly, I felt really really good. At the end I thought 'wow that was done really fast!"

The caveat was that there were only about 10 pros on the start line and a couple didn't finish. But these guys have been racing Mammoth and the rest of the series this whole year so the competition was excellent. Here are the final results:

Pro Men Time
1 Tinker Juarez 1:35:24:04
2 Romold Forcino 1:44:04:70
3 Danny McNaughton 1:45:32:29
4 Matt Freeman 1:46:37:40
5 Kevin Smallman 1:51:10:89
6 Garnet Vertican 1:56:14:13

Many thanks to Don and the rest of the Southridge crew, the Mammoth Mountain Staff, who made it all happen, the volunteers, staff, racers, and spectators for coming out and enjoying a fun race and weekend. Also, many thanks to Jim Wannamaker and Tamori of Kenda for everything. The Kenda crew has kept mtb racing on the map in the USA this year and were also a sponsor of this race. What a great group!

Joshua raced in the kid's race and it was great to be on the podium with Joshua wearing his medal and I got to wear my medal at the same time. I was a very proud papa!!

Here are a few photos we took:

ODI was one of the sponsors and was out there with this really cool engraving machine. They engraved Joshua and my wife's names on their new ODI Lock-on grips. I have new plugs for mine. You can see my Garmin in this photo - what an excellent training tool. This is the best gadget I own.

Here I am leading out the kid's race.

Joshua with his game-face on. He was the youngest racer and the only one on a kick bike. He loves his Strider!


Joshua and I at the Legend's party

The Legends.

Our after-party time. We can't wait to go back to Mammoth.


Mike said...

Sounds like a great event! I remember Mammoth Mountain back in the John Tomac hay-day! It's great to see how much they have expanded for all disciplines!

Congrats on the dual top finishes! Like father like son! lol!

However, I think I like the last picture the best! :)

Dennis Dain said...

Congratulations Tinker on on your past and current results. It appears that you are still enjoying yourself.

I raced Tinker in BMX back in the 70s and he was an outstanding competetor back then.

I hear about your success in racing every now and then and I think back to all the good times we had back in the begginings of BMX.

Congrats to you and your son.

Dennis 'Red Baron' Dain