NCDH Mount Jefferson Recap
Two years ago I went to the North Carolina Downhill race at Mount Jefferson and had a bad time. Stress, interpersonal drama, chance oversights, bad luck, and truly terrible weather left me pretty bummed on the whole experience.
This year was very different. Instead of coming out a week beforehand to skate with a huge crew of skaters I didn’t know well, I flew out four weeks early to overdose on insanely sick North Carolina roads with a super solid crew and the locals. It was a truly righteous rip, and by the time the race came around I was pretty ready to chill and shoot the event.
Since 2015 Mount Jefferson has expanded from two days to three, with leathers-optional freeriding on Friday, practice Saturday, and racing Sunday.
The forecast called for rain all weekend. Despite some threatening clouds, the weather held and riders got 17 runs on Friday.
The pack riding got pretty buck wild, especially into the fast left kink to right hairpin in the middle of the course. Wildly different braking strategies and skill levels led to some hilarious and spectacular pile ups. Garrett rode that ridiculous 55” board all day. East Coast dudes I’d never seen before were flexing. It was dope. Ashley Winecoff got bricked after some chud decided to pendy in the straightaway without looking behind him.
Saturday started off patchy, dried up, then was fully wet after it started raining around 1pm. I didn’t stick around very long after the rain started.
The luge weirdos and Kolby Parks were there. Chris Hicks, in standard Bossy Chris Hicks fashion, tried to tell some dude that his luge was “illegal” because it didn’t have foam on the front for safety. Mt. Jefferson is not an IDF event. There are no rules for luge equipment or anything else. Later, Chris Hicks straight up kicked a dude off his luge in the fastest part of the course. This is everything you need to know about luge class. Moving on.
I kept meaning to go to the party, but fell asleep before 11pm every single night of the race because I am officially old and lame now. Shout out to the iOS bedtime app for keeping my sleep cycle healthy.
Sunday was fully rainy, foggy, and cold. The organizers sent one practice run before getting racing started around 10am. This early start for racing came as a surprise to me, as they had the road until 5pm and skateboard races only take a few hours to run, but nobody really wanted to skate a bunch of runs in pouring rain while it was 43° out.
The fog was super thick at the start line and thinned out further down the hill.
Though Mount Jefferson is pretty tame compared to the insanely turnt up roads that the locals skate, it’s a good race track with a variety of turns, slides, and places to pass. It doesn’t heavily favor light or heavy riders and pretty much anyone could have won.
There was a small first round to reduce the field from 80 riders to 64.
Anyway, the skateboard race happened and Emily Pross won open class, which was fucking radical. I was standing at the finish line and could hear her screaming from 100’ before the finish until she was out of sight at the shutdown. Fuck yeah, Emily.
I didn’t stick around for the podium because by the time the race was over all I wanted in life was to be warm and dry. Shout out to the organizers and huge thanks to Madison, Suze, Garrett, and Dan at the Castle for letting me crash at their house for a month.