This first time event consisted of 3 races over two days in the town of Arlington, WA. The first two were on Saturday night in the downtown section with closed streets courtesy of the IDSA. The first was a 1 mile loop that had a short and steep downhill section leading into a fast 90 degree corner. I was pretty excited to see this on the course when I arrived that afternoon. And knew it was going to be my gaining ground for these 2 races. The second race was a 5K which was 3 laps of the same 1 mile loop. Starting at 8pm with dispersed street lights, it was fairly dark in some areas. In my mind this added to the excitement of the race having flashing camera lights and sections of the course you couldn't see the pavement you were riding on. As in the previous IDSA race the weekend before, the reigning push race champion Paul Kent from Canada was there with some of the Rayne team. I knew it was going to be another battle of strength and determination between us and fellow Oregon rider Brandon Desjarlais. Having raced Paul for many years now, I've learned to let him set the pace from the beginning of a typical push race 5 miles or longer. However in these two shorter races, I knew I had to get an early lead and try my best to beat him to the downhill section first as the finish line was soon after. With 40 plus riders ready to go on this first race, I was able to start in front with the top dogs and blasted off as I planned. Paul caught up soon after and passed me before the uphill that lead into the downhill section. I followed him closely as we climbed the steep hill, and stayed about 15 feet behind before we dropped into the 1 block downhill section. It was also pretty steep and you picked up speed very quickly going from about 15 to 30 mph in a couple seconds. I pushed in after him and went into a full tuck holding it as gravity took me up to speed. Half way down Paul stood up in front of me for a quick second and foot-braked. This was just what I needed, allowing me to blow by him on the outside of the turn. With no pads, just a brain bucket and slide gloves, I really had to make sure I didn't run into the back of him as he was taking the good inside line. And I was a bit worried for a moment that I'd slide out on the exit into the curb, but the giant 80mm Orangatang Kegel wheels held on beautifully, gripped, and carried speed out of the fast corner. I went back into my tuck and held it for about 2 blocks of slight downhill all the way to the next turn. While in my tuck I looked back in my rear view and saw I had a nice 100 foot lead. I pushed a few strides and tucked around the next corner into the finish line for my first IDSA win and first win against Paul since 2010. This was an amazing feeling that you don't usually get from a push race. It felt like I just finished and won a downhill race, that is right after a whole lot of insanely fast kicking! Filled with astonishment and almost disbelief, all I could think about was the next race which started in 20 minutes. Wolfing down a banana and a bit of water, I went back to the line to mentally prepare for what I knew was gonna hurt. This time over 60 plus riders were behind the leaders as we took off and again I sprinted as fast as I could trying to get to the downhill first. And for the first two laps I did just that and was able to take the downhill corner out front at full speed fast and clean. However Paul came after me on the flats each lap and caught me for two rounds of neck and neck pushing uphill. On the 3rd lap Paul was passing me again right before the uphill when the shocker of the night happened, drastically altering the last 30 seconds of the race. Brandon Desjarlais had been secretly stalking us and made a dramatic move sprinting past both Paul and I up the hill beating us both to the top and into the downhill. Just then I passed Paul back and went hard for Brandon. About 20 feet behind him going down into our tucks, we had the extra challenge of dodging the slowest riders who we were now lapping. Brandon stood up and foot-braked because of all the chaos ahead. And I knew instantly, as I did in the first race, if I hesitated too I'd be finishing 2nd. So I went for it, held my tuck, and threaded the needle between him and two kids who were in the apex of the turn. Taking what usually would be a bad line setting up on the inside, it was my only hole shot to carry speed. And my only path to victory, do or die basically relying on instincts. Luckily missing everyone blazing through on my Eastside Blazer, I shot out super wide and barely held on inches away from the outside curb where the crowd was going nuts! The Kegels performed to the max again, hanging the corner and keeping me in the lead to win the 5K! It was just my night and I couldn't be more stoked to take both races! Paul was a gracious sportsmen afterward, congratulated me, and treated me to quarts of chocolate milk that we shared. This prepared us for the next morning's half marathon race on the Centennial Trail. It was a very smoothly paved path going out of town quickly and into the country with rolling hills and open grass and forest scenery. The cold clean air was perfect. The path had a few bumpy bridges to cross but nothing that slowed us down much. Paul dominated with an early lead no one could hang with. It soon became a 3 way battle for 2nd between Brandon, Will Frank, and myself. We'd been close in the 10K at the Push In the Woods (Portland Race) the weekend before so we knew were were pretty even. We immediately embraced the situation and became a working pack that traded positions very evenly taking turns pushing ahead while the others drafted, either pushing or tucking. This continued past the turnaround and all the way until the last mile or less. We all knew the finish was coming and it was going to come down to the end as none of us ever showed signs of dropping out. Then bamm, it was on as Brandon took off first! I got behind him and Will very close behind me. It was a dicey game though as this was the city section of the trail with lots of road crossings, sidewalk ramps, cracks, bumps, and sharper turns. Also having to thread through several poles only 2 feet apart in the middle of the path. So you had to push when you could and ride out the obstacles with what speed you had. As Brandon lead I was multitasking in the middle trying not to run into the back of Brandon. And constantly closing the door on Will as he tried to pass several times . I even yelled at Brandon to go faster a few times and I could hear Will throwing quick foot-brakes behind me as I kept him from passing. Finally Will found the perfect opening when the path split in two and back to one. He made his move there sprinting hard to get ahead of me as shown by the Herald Photo. Brandon was still leading and I was in 3rd with about 100 feet left. I dug deep and sprinted harder than I had all day and pulled up on their left. The path curved to the left then straight right before the finish line. At that last second I took the inside of the left and then quickly cut them both off on the right to cross the finish line ahead. All of us finished in the same second! Some may say it was kind of a snake move but no harm done as they both stayed on and crossed too, Brandon then Will. It felt pretty awesome pulling that off after such a long and evenly matched battle. I know these guys deserved it as much as I did, but skating aggressively can sometimes be the deciding factor. I was lucky it worked out for me this time and was really glad none of us bailed! Paul was untouchable and finished more than 30 seconds ahead of us. He was fighting his own battle in his mind knowing he had to finish more than 20 seconds ahead of me to win the bonus cash prize for best overall time in all 3 races. What I'm most excited about is that the event was a success and along with the Push In the Woods, both are slated to return next year. These events were the first ever IDSA races in the NW and will be remembered for years as the organization grows. They already have 25 races planned across the country next year and continuing to grow as the sport does. Many thanks and cheers to all who are involved in this piece of skateboarding history!
Post Created: October 14, 2013
All 3 in one shot after getting back home to Portland.
Racing at night is always more exciting! Photo by Rayne.
Taking 1st over Paul Kent was a 1st for me since 2010. Brandon Desjarlias 2nd. Photo by Rayne.
Mentally prepared to win the next race, game face! Photo by Rayne.
Railing this 4 times in one night was a blast, Otang Kegel wheels on the Eastside Blazer gripped like none other! Photo by Sam Galus.
On top again twice in one night, my homie Brandon took down the mighty Paul too, couldn't be sweeter! Photo by Rayne.
The battle for 2nd place was on early in the race as Paul was gone. Photo by Sam Galus.
Brandon turned on the gas, I followed, and Will Frank close behind. Photo by Sam Galus.
Will Frank makes a pass on me while Brandon maintains his lead. Photo by The Herald (Everett, WA).
Taking 2nd was my goal for this one, can't win 'em all haha! Photo by Rayne.
Super close finish for 2nd place all finishing in the same second!
Top 3 winners for the weekend! IDSA races are legit, hope to see you at some of them next year!