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23rd Annual Keyesville Classic-Full Report!

The Keyesville Classic was a race that many members of the Felt crew would be attending and competing in. Anton Petrov, Nick Ducharme, Nathan Wright, Mike Ducharme, and Eddie McDonald were the five who made the trip to Keyesville, and with rain and wind dominating the weekend, what a trip it turned out to be.

Eddie, focused on the drive ahead.

The drive out to Keyesville was in itself an adventure, with the last 40 miles or so being on an extremely tight and windy two-lane road filled with drop-offs and cliff side action. The old saying of “fifty-five, stay alive” was useless on this road, particularly in the Felt van. Luckily, nobody from Felt became another statistic on the way in, and everyone was happy that road was behind them until the end of the weekend.

Notice Eddie's white knuckles and the huge boulders just waiting to crush a vehicle.

As soon as the Felt rig arrived in Lake Isabella (where the lovely Lake Isabella Motel is located),huge, ominus clouds were carried in by growing gusts of wind.  Just as the weather-jocky had predicted.

Our dwelling for the weekend. Notice the clouds.

After checking into the hotel, the crew was off to set the booth up at the venue in the Keyesville OHV area. Everything went up smoothly, aside from two tents going for a quick roll around the lot as they were being pegged down.  With the booth set up, it was time to visit the Kernvilel Brewing company for dinner and a beer.

Nathan enjoying the brewery.

The next morning was the first day of the races. Anton, Nick, and their Felt-SDG Teammate Dave Sheek would all be contesting the Expert All-Mountain category of the race. This meant that an over all winner would be chosen from each riders over all performance in each race: XC, Short-Track and Downhill. Saturday would hold the XC race, and Anton was prepared! He shot off  like a gun and took his place at the front of the race and stayed there the whole time!  Nick had a bit of a rough go in the XC, with a bit of rear-tire burpage; he had to ride an entire lap on about ten psi before he could get back to a floor pump to get proper inflation of his tire.  Sheek  had a pretty good XC Race, ending up in 2nd place in his age group!

Anton catapulting to the front of the race

Nick nursing his flat tire

Sheek getting the hole-shot!

The weather held out for most of the XC race, but took a turn for the worse just as everyone finished. Everybody at the venue was fed up with the poor weather, and the activities for the day wrapped up in the afternoon. With the first day of racing compelted, the crew chose to visit the Kern River Brewing Company again, then retire to the lovley abode at Lake Isabella.

The painting on the wall of the Lake Isabella Motel, Room 15

Sunday turned out to be worse than Staurday, with colder and wetter weather. Short-Track went off early in the morning. Anton pulled another great performance, landing him in first for his age group and second fastest on the day! Quite the performance! Felt-SDG athlete David Sheek had an awsome race as well, earning himself a first-place trophy! Not a bad start to the day for Team Felt-SDG!

Anton at the top of the podium!

Dave Sheek, #1 in the race, and #1 in our hearts.

Downhill would be the next event of the day and final event of the weekend. Though everyone was excited to race the fast course, most excitment was in the fact that the weekend would be over. While Anton, Eddie, Nick, and Dave were up on the hill completing their runs, Nathan got to deal with largest wind-hust of the weekend. He sat in the van, powerless, as a gale-force wind ripped through the Felt pop-up tents like a hot knife through butter.

You've seen it before, but here it is again!

The tents before the devestation…

The crazy thing was that the tents remained staked to the ground, but the sheer force of the wing broke them where they stood! Nathan managed to clean the mess up, and after the Downhill race, the Felt Van would finally be on the road, away from one of the coldest Keyesville races in history. Dave Sheek and Anton P were not as lucky, though, as they had to wait around in the freezing cold weather for their award’s ceremony for the morning’s short track. They were packed up, and ready to leave, and left Keyesville in their dust about an hour after the Felt rig hit the road. Sadly, though, that extra hour of hanging around meant the storm had an extra hour to intensify. Eddie, Nathan, and Nick had to deal with heavy rains over the Grapevine, Anton and Dave had to deal with a closed Grapevine. The rain the van had dealt with earlier in the day had tunred to snow and I-5 was closed. With that, the two of them were forced to stay another night away from home.

Antons beautiful nature photography while sitting on Interstate 5 on the Grapevine

Snowy conditions!

Even with the amount of problems encountered over the weekend, with nature, racing, bikes, traffic, exploding tents, etc, Everyone agreed the weekend was still a blast. The common consensus, though, was Keyesville would be more fun with dryer conditions. Until Next Time!

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