NAET Championship #2! Back to Back!
This past weekend was the NAET finals in Mt Hood, OR and after 8 hard fought battles this season it came down to this last race between my teammate Cody Kelley and I.
Coming into the weekend I knew that if I got a top 5 I was guaranteed the overall win. That is no easy task at a race like Mt Hood where anything can happen and the very last stage is the ski bowl pro Dh course which can snap your bike like a twig at a moments notice.
The first day of the race was at the Sandy Ridge trail network and consisted of 3 tough trails that are really hard to figure out the pace on. I felt good in practice but I knew that stage one would be crucial to the weekends result due to the length of it. I had a good first run and ended up landing in 4th which was a solid confidence booster for the rest of the day. I rode stage 2 a little too conservative and fished 6th but pulled out a better run on stage 3 and landed in 4th again which set me into 5th place on the day.
After day one I knew that I had a good shot of taking the overall if I could just maintain the 17 second gap I had on 6th place. The trails on sunday are extremely fast and rocky so I had to play the tough battle of conserving vs attacking. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was flat, crash. or mechanical and ruin a years worth of hard work.
I had a good stage 4 and came in 4th again losing just 2 seconds to 6th. I had one really scary moment and ended up riding side saddle down the middle of a rock garden for a few seconds. That was a huge check for me so I decided to ride stage 7 a little more conservative and came in 5th but I lost another 5 seconds to 6th place which meant that I was going to have to push on the DH track if I wanted to secure the podium. This was a little nerve racking knowing that the entire season came down to whether or not I could have a clean run on the sub 4 min DH track with more sketchy maneuvers than we have encountered on a stage all season.
I got to the top, adjusted my goggles, took a deep breath and decided to send it! I had a solid run top to bottom with only one near death moment and came down with a 5th place time on that stage gaining 1 second on 6th and cementing my place on the podium as well and guaranteeing my 2nd NAET title in two years!
Man, what a ride this season has been. It was so different than the last title and i had so many moments where I thought the momentum was swinging away from me. I just tried to buckle down at the last three races and give it my absolute best effort. I have never been more beat down in my life mentally and physically but man it feels good to accomplish what I had been chasing the whole year!
Thank you guys for all of the support. I seriously couldn't do any of this without your help and I am happy to give you guys a title!
Sincerely, Kyle Warner