Ian McLean on Ziggy wishing he had skis. Courtesy photo
Ian McLean takes first place for U-13 in the 2021 Gravity Stage Race Series
(GSRS) held on Saturday at Angel Fire Bike Park. Courtesy photo
Cullen McLean demonstrating a fast line in the last fast turn on Boulder Dash. Courtesy photo
Ian McLean shows off the new material he is adding to his collection. Courtesy photo
Justin and Haiden Jorgenson sport big smiles despite being covered in mud as they line up at the Chili Express. Courtesy photo
Cullen McLean charges High Octane despite the intense conditions.
BY PAULA KNEPPER
Los Alamos MTB Team
Snow and ice at the start of the season interrupted operations at Angel Fire Bike Park (AFBP) on Friday, which was to be the preview day for MEGA Party riders. More than the cold of competition was in the air on Saturday morning when more than 250 competitors arrived energized for a day of Enduro-style mountain bike racing at the AFBP. The MEGA Party bike race was sponsored by the Team Trail Party (TTP) in Austin, Texas. Adaptability best describes AFBP operators and TTP promoters. Early-season snow delayed the opening of the mountain on Saturday morning, pushing back the start time of the Gravity Stage Race Series (GSRS) season finale until noon and ultimately extending the competition until Sunday morning. .
There is so much to celebrate as the season draws to a close and the AFBP prepares to resume its ski resort life. Patrick West, AFBP director, said the weather added complexity to the biggest enduro event ever at AFBP and the first bike park event in two seasons. Patrick West said, “We are product driven at Angel Fire, rather than events. This philosophy has paid off. The product they built at Angel Fire offers a range of options for every skill level and is an attractive destination for mountain biking events. The TTP made its last stop for the GSRS at AFBP, providing athletes with one last memory before the end of the mountain biking season. The atmosphere on the mountain was festive despite the difficult conditions and the modified schedule.
Moisture from snow and rain has revitalized the once dusty and dusty trails, which descend from the top of the Chili Express and return cyclists conveniently to the base area. As temperatures warmed, yesterday’s snow and ice slowly melted, leaving a colorful pavement covering the forest floor.
In Enduro MTB races, athletes are timed on the downhill stages with neutral or elevator-assisted transfers between stages. The Enduro format is extremely popular with spectators, athletes and sponsors because it is a ride full of adrenaline and action. In an Enduro MTB race, the stage times are added together to determine the placement of the race finishers. The athlete with the lowest time for the combined stages wins the coveted first place on the podium. Athletes have shown all of their technical and endurance skills as they hurtle down selected tracks at AF Bike Park including Ziggy, Sierra, High Octane, Duke, Angel’s Plunge, Chillin to Fo Sho to Mid Supreme and Devinci. The mountain was bubbling with energy as the athletes tested their fitness and technical skills on wet, muddy and snowy trails. Not only were the competitors vying for a victory in the MEGA Party race, they were also vying for the victory of the GSRS season.
Young riders from Los Alamos pelted the trails for a final day of two-wheeled downhill trying to keep the rubber side down. In the Under-17 category, Diego Hinojosa, Haiden Jorgenson and Nikolai Nelson, three sophomores from Los Alamos High School prepared for a thrilling day of racing. Ian McLean and Cullen McLean, 7e grader at Los Alamos Middle School and 5e Grader at Mountain Elementary School competed in the under 13 age group. The sold-out grounds were filled with talented young riders, all ready to tackle a long day of high-octane downhill.
Ian McLean won the 2sd final place in the MEGA Party under 13 race. Ian McLean won the coveted first place of the 2021 GSRS overall season in a very competitive group of athletes.
Coincidentally, Saturday was the 17the annual Take a Kid Mountain Bicycling Day promoted by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Since 2004, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day has introduced hundreds of thousands of children to the thrills and fun of mountain biking. These five young competitors from Los Alamos explored hundreds of miles of trails with their parents, siblings and friends. Today they are fierce competitors sporting big smiles as they enjoy the thrill of competition and riding.
For more information on the GSRS and the MEGA Party results at AF, please see https://www.trailparty.com/2021-gsr-mega