by GROM Racer Sam Pensler
This past weekend I travelled with GROM Racing head coach Christopher Herndon to Lake Tahoe to compete in the Pro Gravity Tour Race at the Northstar-Tahoe Resort. The race’s place in the Pro Gravity Tour series attracted a number of national and world class athletes and served as a World Championship qualifier for junior racers.
Christopher and I travelled for nearly twenty hours on Thursday to get to the race venue. The fatigue from travelling made acclimation to the altitude, time zone difference, and conditions even more difficult. The course itself was completely new to me. The track soil was sandy and dry, coined “moon dust” by local riders and the loose conditions caused braking bumps to swell to axle deep ruts. Luckily my team bike soaked up the rough sections and blown out turns on the course.
I spent Friday practice working to become familiar with the new track and made decent headway before afternoon seeding. Seeding went well and I placed 17thout of a field of junior riders about forty deep. I knew I had a lot of speed left on the track and I would need to carry more speed come race day to reach the podium. I took several more runs on Saturday with top pro qualifier Brad Benedict and pro rider Amado Stachenfield to boast my comfort level on the course. Through all the dust and grit my GAMUT chain guide performed flawlessly and I never dropped a chain.
Race day brought more intense heat and the course became even dustier. My race run was going well and I flowed through the top pedaling sections. Unfortunately, I went down in a high speed sandy berm in the middle of the course. Although I did not achieve the result I was looking for I learned a lot from the new riding conditions and unique experience. I would like to say thanks to Juan from GAMUT for sharing his pit space with me and Christopher Herndon for accompanying me and helping me throughout the race.