Race report from Max Houtzager:
Northstar at Tahoe Super-D
Category: Pro Men
Will Patterson, my friend Seth (photographer) and I decided to head up to Tahoe the weekend after Nationals for some downhill riding and super d racing at good old GnarStar (and to continue the cook, eat, sleep, ride, chill lifestyle we dialed in during the past 3 weeks). I wasn't well prepared for the race, due to a lack of sleep and practice on the course thanks to some mechanicals during practice. I knew it would be fine though, since the race would come down to the mass start, riding smooth to not flat or get dropped, and would only last 15 minutes. There were no climbs, but there was plenty of pedaling to make a proper super d. The course was really fun, with lots of fast sweeping turns, decent jumps, and endless rocky sections where line choice and smooth riding would make the difference between flat tires and really slow speeds or not.
There were 10 guys in our category, and I actually had a good LeMans start, running fast, flipping my bike over, and jumping right into my clips. I dropped into the singletrack second, immediately trying my hardest to not get dropped by WTB prodigy rider Ben Cruz. I was able to keep him in front of me, so when we got onto the fireroad I pedaled as hard as I could past him. I was totally stoked to lead. I only got passed back by Ben after a little while of shredding singletrack, which was surprising. I let him pass and kept him in my sight for a while, until some course complications which led us onto different trails.
A bunch of riders followed me the wrong way down, but we merged back with the course later, and although the trails we rode were slightly faster, the finishing order was still the same as when we made the wrong turn. After the race it hurt so much to breathe after such a hard effort and all the dust (just like nationals). I was happy with my performance because I gave it my all in both the pedaling and the technical sections. Getting 2nd place in a pro race couldn't have been better. We followed the race by doing two more runs on the jump trails, another full day of lift accessed dh riding on our enduros, and then doing a sweet trail ride on some awesome semi-secret trails in Truckee.