Oh derby of thee Dirksen, oh my, oh derby. Your turns are so tight, your rhythm is just right. Right, left, left right. Competitors flock to your side, scoping and hoping for a flawless run. Drop, go, go, go, left, right, slash, air.
Four season now, I’ve started things off with the Derby. It has become a meet-up of friends I don’t want to miss. Snowboard family if you will. Beyond being a community event, it’s a personal break from Portland city life, which is far too familiar after a wet shoulder season spent keeping bar stools warm. The excitement grows each year. The changing course from season to season is not the only freshness factor. For me it’s the challenge of riding such a tight course that makes me want to return for another 30 second lap. There are so many variables; slip-outs, tumbles and slowdowns that can make a fast run slow, making one season’s accomplishments buried under new feelings of regret. Would’a, could’a, should’a is most often my finishing sentiment. Another year, another chance at a run filled with flow. Left, right, turn, turn, turn.
The 8th Annual Derby was the first time of the 2014/2015 season that I rode lifts. Bend’s early season snowpack was strong for the Cascades. Nikki and I were pleased with our few good days of riding the chairlifts with a nice fresh coating of new snow. The fresh snow was scrapped away pretty quickly by the crowds. So by the end of Saturday, only an icy derby course was left riding well.
(Reid riding the red course pictured below)
I qualified for the finals this year. I choose the Green course due to it’s wider, faster turns and higher speed, which suits my wide board and calculated, strong ridding style better. After having lapped the Summit chair all morning, I came into the start gate late, closed my eyes and had a solid qualifying race. I qualified 6th of 96 men who raced on the green course. This was a time I couldn’t repeat on Sunday unfortunately. My “no practice, just go ride” strategy for qualifiers failed me for finals. Maybe it was a subtle hangover and lack of sleep from celebrating Ben’s birthday the night before, or maybe it was nerves. I hooked an edge, rolling myself out the red course. My finals run on green was not 100% satisfying either. Overall, I’m very pleased to have made it to the third day of riding the course.
Team Utah had a great showing this year. Seeing Reid and Jacob as well as Becky and Nicole, is such a treat. Making laps around Mt.Bachelor all weekend with these truly dedicated riders, was so refreshing. While riding the course, it’s a solo experience, so lapping the mountain with friends adds the peer influence back into the mix.
The Team Utah youngsters were charging the mountain hard this year. They fueled our days of riding with the “lets do another” mentality. I could go on about the kids with their impressive 1st and 2nd in the men’s qualifiers and then 1st and 3rd in the finals but lets be honest, this blog is about the older boys. I want to give a shout out to Reid and Jacob! We all qualified for finals but where I failed on the last day of racing, they picked up the slack, finishing really strong in the pack of 56 men. To top off the event, Reid took 1st in the splitboard event, beating out some big industry pro names. Fuck yeah Reid. Strong legs and lungs, proven. We’ll be putting those tools to work soon in the Wallowa’s. The season may be coming on real slow in the Northwest but it finally arrived now that the Derby has been attended.