About a week and a half ago I got an email heads up that Ray from Ray's MTB Indoor Park was looking for a few pro women to race the 2nd Annual Tri-Flow XC Indoor Invitational. Justin and I quickly changed up the training plans a bit and booked flights back east to head to Cleveland - in the middle of January!
I didn't really know what to expect. I'd heard of Ray's before, but had never been, and other than a few days at Whistler and Mammoth, had no dirt jump or bike "park" experience to speak of. Since we love riding our bikes, especially in new places, we took an extra day of vacation from work to head out and ride the park.
We were up way before sunrise on Thursday, and on the plane to meet the day. Didn't realize it'd be the last time I'd see the sun for 5 days!
Flying high over the Rockies
We got in to the Dawg Pound around 4, and headed for the hotel to build up my bike for some evening park time!
Seeing as how I am a geek to the max I made sure to strap up and use the Garmin. Didn't realize until day 2 that it actually got some satellite signal, even in the building!
In total Justin fashion, he managed to flat about 5 minutes into our first session!
After some laps on the course and practicing on the skill lines we went out to dinner with the owner and founder: Ray Petro
It's safe to say that the local Mexican joint was pretty close to what we have here in CA!
Since Thursday had been a late night and we had a long weekend, we opted to sleep in a bit and got to Ray's around noon on Friday for a lot more riding. By then US Olympian and World Cup Pro Adam Craig had arrived, along with fellow Pro female racer Lizzy English. Lizzy got her bike built up and we went out to preview the course.
After riding the XC TT loop and some of the skill lines it was time to hit the Red Bull Wall
After I crashed and burned on the wall in front of MBAction photographer John Ker, it was back to the skill lines for me!
I tried to get this table top down for 2 days
I finally cleaned it a few times Saturday morning, but never got close during the race.
I even hit the foam pit. On my Epic. Clipped in. In lycra. What an experience!
The trophies were SWEET
I got to pump the Ergon rollers
The Pro Women post-race (L-R: Lizzy English, me, Lindsey Bishop, Lindsey Prososki)
I got to meet Tyler Morland, which was sweet. Everyone's a comedian, eh!
(L-R) Kyle Spisak, Adam Craig, Aaron Snyder, Tyler Morland, Justin Mann
A few of us went out post-race party and I can honestly say for the first time in my life I closed down not one bar, but two. I was sober, though! Long night, and we got up fairly early on Sunday to hit up Ray's for a few final rides and pack up for the flight home.
I wound up borrowing a 24" cruiser and Justin and I spent the morning playing on the pump track. It was a different experience riding the smaller hard tail with flat pedals, but I had a blast pumping the course once I figured it out. Then I got really sore and tired! Then it was time to pack up and head to the airport for the trip home.
Everyone agreed they were going to take their "legs" as carry-on luggage so they didn't get beat up. I was kind of nervous walking (ahaha!) this thing through security and the airport. We got some definitely shady looks as the security peeps checked our IDs against our plane tickets, but the actual people in security thought the legs were quite a hoot. No line at all, so they were just chilling. Let us on no problem. I was glad Adam was carrying his leg through at the same time, though. Made me stand out less like a sore foot, y'know?
We got some funny comments and a lot of strange looks, and until the last flight the leg was great in the overhead bins. Last flight, into ONT, the stewardess shoved it in there pretty good and I got a ding/knick on it. Ah well. It's still a sexy leg if you ask me!
I had a terrific weekend and was really happy that I got the chance to go race at Ray's. The vibe was great from the moment we arrived until we left. The local racers are awesome and super helpful and friendly, and people travel from all over the area to hit up Ray's on the weekend for some fun indoor park riding. It's a killer location to ride, so definitely check it out if you're anywhere in the area. They do rent a variety of bikes from little BMX to 26" dirt jumpers.
LATE EDIT: Here's a youtube vid Justin took with the Droid of me riding the pump track. Too bad I was really worn out at this point ;)