Flying to a race event is never an easy task. The amount of gear you can take is limited due to baggage restrictions and general mobility of getting from A to B when you arrive at your destination. Our trip to Angel Fire was quite the adventure. We had a set budget that blew out like a fat kid in a candy store. Heres the breakdown
I packed my car with my bike and a small bag and made my way down to Vancouver from Whistler. I arrive at Chris’s place, we pack our bike boxes with the goal of not getting swiped by excess baggage fees. We load the Van and cross the boarder to Bellingham Airport. On checking in Chris gets done for having his bike box overweight and has to juggle his luggage to meet requirements. That afternoon we arrive at Denver Airport and get talked into a massive SUV hire care that will fit our bikes and the potential for us to sleep in to save money on accommodation. On our way to Angel Fire we manage to get a stone chip in the window by a passing truck, dam! We finally arrive in Angel Fire at midnight and our idea of car camping fails and by 3am i am in the Angel Fire resort lobby crashed out on a lounge chair.
As Thursday morning arrives we meet our first budget blowout as we book into the Angel Fire Lodge for the weekend. After unloading our gear into our room we headed to the bike park for some practice laps of stages 2 to 5 but we were cut short by thunder and lightning and spot fires around the valley that would see us only get one practice lap of stage 2. We spend the afternoon resting and planning our practice for Friday.
We team up with 007 (Mason Bond) Friday morning to head out to stage 1 that is located just outside of town. After a 40min drive we find the transition to the start of stage 1. This stage was starting above 10,000 feet located in the alpine. The trail started of pedally and then ten minutes in it would drop down dramatically as you screamed down a rocky ridge trail lined with axe shaped rocks biting at your tires to the finish. The afternoon was spent back in the bike park practicing stages 2 to 5. The weather held out and we had an amazing time shredding the park.
Saturday was an early start we woke up and loaded our bikes onto the trailer to get the shuttle out to stage 1. The 20min Stage was tough, at the finish we watched about 20 people come down with flat tires. We had no problems running the Maxxis Highroller II EXO tires and made it down unscathed. Our result looked good but the elevation definitely gave us a hard time and a few boys managed to put some time in on us with their Colorado mega lungs. After stage 1 Chris was 8th and myself 12th.
The bike park stages were unreal and we were looking forward to pulling back some time. The racing was solid and the final results for the weekend would see Chris in 4th place and myself 8th. After the race we headed back up the bike park for a few more runs after the event. By late afternoon we were exhausted and we packed our bike boxes up and waited around for the podium awards. After the event was over we jumped in the SUV and B-lined it back to Denver. Ten Minutes in I get pulled over by a police officer and was issued a very questionable speeding ticket on the way into a small town just outside Angel Fire.
After driving through the night we arrive at Denver airport at 3am. We decide to sleep in the SUV until morning which involved an awkward game of human tetris to get comfortable, its not easy sleeping in the front seat of a car when your 6 foot. After confirming with Chris over the weekend about our flight departure time being 10am we were both very suprised at 8am when told that our flight had just left! We both had a very blank look on our faces of disbelief…..epic fail/budget blowout! We had a good 30min of mixed emotions but we usually keep ourselves pretty contained as we still have to hang out with each other for the rest of the season….haha . We asked about getting the next flight, in which we were told the next flight would be Wednesday. Pretty angry at our stupidity we gathered our thoughts and worked a connecting flight to Seattle and then a flight from Seattle back to our van in Bellingham. We arrived back in Vancouver late Monday evening. Looking back at our week in Angel Fire we may not have been remotely close to keeping budget but it wont be a race we will forget anytime soon!
Check the video recap of the trials in Angel Fire!