2013 MOB in the Mojave

by Allison Oliver

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to journey from my home in Tahoe, California, and head to Bootleg Canyon, near Boulder City, Nevada for the 2013 MOB in the Mojave Super D and Downhill Race. Given Tahoe’s current cold, snow-deprived, and President’s Weekend-tourist-choked atmosphere, I was more than happy to escape for a weekend of camping, shredding dirt, and friendly competition in a sunnier local. In terms of riding, Bootleg Canyon never fails to disappoint, and so even though I pulled into the parking/camp area at the base of the shuttle road sometime around 1:30 am, despite the late hour, I was so excited that I barely slept.

delicious geology
Friday morning brought heavy winds, which is standard fare for Bootleg. I picked up my registration packet from All Mountain Cyclery, a totally bomber bike shop located in Boulder City. The race was put on by All Mountain Cyclery, and they did an amazing job with registration, shuttles, awards, swag, food, and friendly banter. At registration I ran into Lindsay Beth Currier, who was equally excited for the weekend… so, we hit the trails.

Full All Mtn Cyclery shuttle
photo credit: Michelle Good MTBParks.com
The race course was on the Armagedeon and G-String trails. For the race format, all Pro’s and Cat 1’s ran the same course, which involved descending a difficult section of trail called the “Poop Shoot”, while Cat 2’s and Cat 3’s rode a trail that circumvents the Poop Shoot. Both Lindsay and I were racing Cat 1, and we were both only racing Downhill, so we had Friday and Saturday to practice and get things dialed. The weather was perfect, 65-70 degrees F and sunny, with a light to moderate wind (very good for Bootleg Canyon). Both of my practice days were similar… they started out very poorly but improved. I had pretty good crashes both days on my first run, with the crash on the Saturday being particularly scary. From this experience I learned 1) I will always wear my full armor (for me that means pressure suit, knee pads, full face helmet) at Bootleg Canyon because the rocks are sharp, tacky, and the same reason your tires stick so well to them is the same reason your skin does, and 2) I will stop riding things blind, i.e. riding trail features that I haven’t looked at before. I know this is not smart, and I don’t do it often… but sometimes I get caught up in the ride and forget about this precaution. On this particular occasion I walked away with a tweaked out back and pretty much a full-body bruise, but I was lucky. Lesson learned. Thank you, Universe. With Saturday’s crash fresh in my mind (and fresh on my body) I opted not to ride Poop Shoot in my race run. As it turned out, Lindsay was not going to ride it either, and so as the Saturday sun sank low on the horizon, we sat bathing in the desert sunset and discussed the lines we had each chosen as most optimal for walking our bikes down the Poop Shoot.

[ More photos if we find them! ]

The morning of the race I woke up with a few pains in my body, to say the least, despite my best efforts at staving them off with Aleve, Tiger Balm, and ice. The weather was fantastic, and I had plenty of time in the morning to take a run and then experience the magic of the $3.00 breakfast burrito (hold the cheese, please) and $1.00 coffee from the BBQ Junkie, a local restaurant that had come out to support the race and sell us delicious food (side note: they also made, hands down, one of the best BBQ pulled pork sandwiches I have ever consumed… I brake for pulled pork).

Battlefield Vegas was a major sponsor, providing shuttle service in these burly rigs.

Race time. Lindsay and I were the only Cat 1 women, so we went back-to-back. It was such a casual atmosphere at the top of the race course, and with everyone cheering and rooting us on, I barely felt my nerves! However, I think I might have been a little too casual and also overly-excited, because I wiped out at the bottom of the first feature on the course, the “Toilet Bowl”, a section I had never had problems with before… I managed to pitch my bike about 50 ft off the trail, so I had go grab it, haul it back up, etc etc. I was already tired, with most of the course still to go! Needless to say, I finished the race just fine and the remainder of my run went really well. Lindsay, who was fast as always, had a slide out of her own, but still bested me by 3 seconds to take first place, and I took second. Since I’m relatively new to this Downhill racing thing, I was fired up!!!

to the finish line!

Christine Dern finishing strong and cat-like at the bottom of G-String
photo cred: Michelle Good MTBParks.com
The awards ceremony was casual, held down in the camping/vendor/food area… followed by a raffle with some pretty sweet prizes such as a two for one dinner at the local restaurant The Dillinger Food and Drinkery, ODI grips, Camelbacks, zip-line passes, and plenty more! Surprisingly there was a very low female turnout for the race: only 5 of us ladies competed in both events! Local ripper Alison Aquila took 1stin Cat 2 for the Super D. The other awesome ladies there, Michelle Good (founder of Mtbparks.com) took 1stin Cat 2 for the Downhill, and Christine Dern from Salt Lake City, UT, took 1stfor the Pro Women in both the Super D and the Downhill with some smokin’ fast times.

podium shot by Luke
boys get crafty too! awesome awards!!
photo credit: LBC

At the end of the weekend, I was definitely sad to be leaving… even though I’m not sure my body could have handled a 4thconsecutive day at Bootleg! But it wasn’t just about the riding…. It was also about hanging out and riding with some awesome ladies (and some awesome dudes too), sharing the camaraderie of an exciting event, and just relaxing and letting everything go. Well, except your bike handlebars… at Bootleg Canyon, you definitely want to keep a hold of those things! Can’t wait to go back, especially now that I get to ride as part of the Shine Riders team! See you all in March for the ProGRT!!! And hey there, Poop Shoot? Watch out, ‘cause come March, you’re going down….

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