In the second and final planned Winter Race Series, the Windrock crew wanted to end the race with a bang. How? Well, this round it would be top of the mountain to the bottom of the mountain on Windmill Trail. Now, this was my first time photoging this trail and over the 2000 ft of elevation drop over 2.0 plus miles, my verdict? TOTALLY a UCI DH worthy trail. But you’ll have to come out next time and decide for yourself.
Now we are in the midst of the cold weather season and it cooperation, though part of the plan with the two race series, is always a question. Windrock doesn’t have the word “rock” in it cause it sounds cool, more so that’s what it’s known for and the trail crew takes every advantage of those rocky opportunities. And as we all know, mixing snow or mud with rock as we all know does keep things interesting.
Running up to the weekend, the Appalachian states were all under a Winter Weather Advisory. Getting there early morning through the gorge that divides NC and TN ended up being not as bad as the local forecasters made it out to be (Hmmm, imagine that). As you crossed the Pigeon River in TN for the last time, the snow seems to just disappear and with Oliver Springs being well west of the state line, snow wasn’t supposed be too much of a concern.
Saturday was just a day to test and tune getting a feel for conditions, what tires would we need, and race set ups. The weather was a revolving door, sun, clouds, flurries, sun, clouds, flurries. The upper third of the course was holding its water resulting in packing up tires and having riders questioning how hard do I push on practice day and run the risk of going down on the slippy-do rocks. Most aired on the side of caution managing the risk of injury. About 4:00 the revolving door of the weather seems to get stuck on the rotation with overcast skies and not soon after the white stuff began to come down hard = End of practice.
Sunday, race day was forecast to be a tad on the chilly side, but the sky was to be as blue as the deepest oceans. Well, chilly it was with early morning temps in the lower 20s with an expected high just to touch 40, if we were lucky. This time the forecasters delivered with a whole day of the bluest skies I seen in a long while. Thanks Mother Nature for cooperating. Keeping it simple, with only two classes riders could organize themselves how they wanted. Josh Patton (Airborne Flight Crew) was the first man down kicking off the field and the open class posting a 9:01 for a 7th place finish. As mentioned previously JD Swanguen took Round one of the WR series, but was a no show…… the battle between East Coast (Fesperman) and West Coast (JD) was not to be. Jay Fesperman (Yeti/ONE/Fox Factory Racing) was able to throw down a blistering run of 7:44. Over a 2000ft/2.3 mile course???….. DAMN, that’s flying!
The takeaway here, at least for me……. If you chose not to come, you really missed out on a heck of a run. Windmill really is a true DH trail. I challenge those promoters and sanctioning bodies, you want a place that offers some of the gnarliest terrain around for your event? Windrock is the answer. Thanks to all those involved and though there’s nothing scheduled immediately for the rest of the year at Windrock, we know that won’t last long. Keep your eyes and ears open, we’ll definitely be back.
Full Race Results:
1. Jay Fesperman Yeti/ONE/Fox Factory Racing – 7.44
2. Dan P. Ennis – 8.10
3. Iago Garay Trek Spain/POC – 8.21
4. Kyle Grau Santa Cruz – 8.26
5. Wholesome Folsom – 8.27
6. Brandon Blakely Cane Creek/Team BGB- 8.28
7. Josh Patton Airborne – 9.01
8. Fionn Griffiths – 9.30
9. MP Spierer – 9.47
10. Mary Jane – 12.02
Amateur (All Other Classes):
1. Trevor Gay Airborne – 9.58
2. Drew Dickson – 10.08
3. Brett Zook Team Gut Bomb – 10.13
4. Matt Parcell – 10.24
5. Dan Gochenaur – 10.47
6. Colonel Clealan Team Gut Bomb – 10.50
7. Todd Hudson – 11.01.20
8. Dr. Drinkenstein Dinkelberry – 11.01.80
9. Shawn Tyra Banks – 11.06
10. Blake Stevenson – 11.07
11. Randy Simpson Team Gut Bomb – 11.24
12. Enrique Gaoma – 11.30
13. Mike Big Pimpin Kane GROM Racing – 11.31
14. Wendell Hitman – 11.39
15. Freight Train Pain Train – 11.44
16. Brad Stephens – 12.07
Eric Vest GROM Racing – DNF
Josh Tipton – DNS
Dave Foppe – DNS