Yesterday was the final race for this year's Indie Series - this race located near Greenwater, Washington - the foothills of Mount Rainier. Early morning wake up call for Ian's 9:00 AM race time. He was up and ready to roll at 5:00 AM (ouch). We both enjoyed this race last year and were looking forward to hitting the course again - our favorite course of last year's series.
Arrived with just enough time to unload the bikes, pick up race number - and fix a flat on my bike - must have punctured from our previous day's ride at St Eds. Ian wanted an easy practice ride before the race. He's still getting used to using a CamelBack to carry water, instead of the usual water bottle set up. We assumed the race course would be the same as last year, but some fellow racers informed us the Beginner loop is much shorter - with no long climb. Ian was actually looking forward to the climb and following downhill. Oh well, racing is racing - let's just go for it.
Only two kids in Ian's class today. Ian and Scott - who was leading the series. I rode behind Ian during his race for probably the last time. As usual, the Beginner Class adult men and women left first, followed by the juniors - all age groups. The course was flat, but bumpy with roots and rocks, all singletrack. It was short and over in no time, around 4 miles or so. Kids could have easily handled two laps with no problem. Most of the kids in the series at this point are regulars and have some experience. However, for kids under 10 years old and just starting to race - this would be a good length. In any case, it's still a race and you're supposed to go fast, no matter what the distance. It's all good.
A few pictures from the day......
Scenic race location. Camping available and killer trails nearby. Mental note to come back for a weekend of riding and camping. Views blocked by low level clouds. Chilly temps, but no rain. Great racing weather.
Spotted this weird rig and talked to the owner. I've read a thousand bike magazine since '84 and didn't recognize this at all. Owner dude said it's built in England, I don't remember by who. Interesting front suspension design, similar to a current BMW motorcycle set up. I don't know how old this rig is, but reminds me of the early suspension days of the '90s, when all types of designs were tried. Owner said the front suspension works well and is super stable - no brake squat - keeps the same geometry at all times. Interesting stuff.
Ian received the "Outstanding Young Rider" award for the series. Super cool. Lisa Miller, part of the Indie Series crew, presented the award and recounted seeing Ian during the mud bath of Race # 1, racing in mud encrusted jeans with a smile on his face. Ian was surprised and I know he dug getting this. Great stuff for a 10 year old.
Group of kids we've seen at a bunch of Indie Series events. Great little racers and the future of this sport. I've mentioned this before - there should be way more kids involved with mountain bike racing and cycling in general. There's a few hundred adults at each race and only a handful of kids. The U.S. just doesn't have the youth cycling culture that exists in other countries. Huge kudos to the Indie Series folks for running classes for younger kids, free of charge and giving them a spotlight to race. Thanks.
Kid on the left, Scott Funston, has won every race of the series and the overall title for Beginner Boys 10 and under. Very fast 9 year old, who races BMX and cyclo-cross as well. We've gotten to know him and his dad a bit during the series. Super nice folks and fellow bike nuts.
Hannah, in the center, scored 1st place overall for girls 10 and under. If this sport could use something - it's more girls involved. Nice job.
For the final race, only two kids in Ian's class, so he scored a 2nd place for the day. Scott takes 1st place once again. For the overall series, Ian finished 2nd and Scott was number 1. Noah scored 3rd for the series and for some reason didn't race this day. Congratulations to all. Nice work for young mountain bike racers.
Yeah - not a bad day, huh? Medal for 2nd place in the race, another medal for 2nd place for the series - plus special award. Very, very cool and a great experience. Oh yeah - forgot to mention the official Ragnarok Racing cowbell, water bottle full of goodies, pair of Indie Series socks, and a free hamburger for all racers. Nice.
That concludes the Indie Series for another year. Ian said he'd like to continue next year and I'll support him as needed. Things bump up a bit for the 11-14 Beginner class. He'll be one of the younger kids for the class, the distances are farther and no dads trailing behind. I'm sure he'll do fine and have a blast as well. Without following him during his races, maybe Dear Old Dad (that be me) can finally get some races in himself.
Once again - thanks to all the Indie Series folks for keeping this together. Putting on races takes a ton of time and effort and is appreciated. Without people taking the time to organize this, there would be no stage for racers to compete on. And face it, nobody is doing this for the money - it's all about the love of the sport.
We'll see you next year.....