What is the downhill in Arkhyz? It is the longest racing track in Russia (3500m and almost 700m drop), the possibility of convenient lifting the car to start, a quiet place and beautiful nature. But previously I had associated this place exclusively with the winter skiing. Everything is new. Other mountains, other route, perhaps participants just remain. They surprised with their quality: on the race has been presented virtually the entire Russian elite.
We were lucky with the weather. Rain had stopped a week before the race and the sun was shining every day. It was cool evenings, but still there was no such extreme temperature difference as in Cheget. The mountains here are lower, though no less beautiful.
I really liked the track. Yes, it was not without drawbacks, but very interesting and varied and earthy! A bit of stones (as compared with Ai-Petri or Magnitka tracks). Technical areas went into high-speed areas; serpentine on a slope went into a series of jumps and all that was changing very harmonious, without stopping abruptly and without forcing to brake with might and main. There were five or six runs a day to ride long enough. I felt very comfortable on it.
In qualifying in the first high-speed stony area a stone from under the wheel hurt my switching cable, chain flew from the tape from shaking and stuck between a cassette and a rudder blade, jammed rods in one position. Well, the track was not rotating, therefore there were no special troubles - after a couple of attempts to pedal, I gave it up and got to the finish quietly. The first place in qualifying in my category and a wide margin over the second. Danil was the third in the elite qualifications, Vova Pulyaevsky won the qualifying, as the second was Nikolai Puhir. Post-qualification track riding, trajectories checking, improving work, wishes to the organizers to adjust broken areas to the final (it had been done before the getting into training the next day!)
In the final I felt an urge to drive as clean as possible. It turned out almost so. A couple of dusty drifts during the runs with turning from trees can not be considered a pure riding, but a good passage of the second part of the route compensated it and, as a result, it turned out to improve the qualification time up to 22 seconds. Win! Danil improved his result up to 7 seconds in “elite”. It was enough to stay in the third place. As the result Nikolay Puhir won the race and Vova Pulyaevsky became the second.
And now some of the facts:
1. Maxxis Shorty became the most popular tires of the competition.
2. A wide geography of participants with a small (not clear why) numbers.
3. We stayed in the hotel at the Special Astrophysical Observatory (Nizhnii Arkhyz village) and even had time to attend the lectures of one of the scientists.
4. Three (!) persons organized and engaged in the construction of the track. I hope that the enthusiasm of the organizers will be enough for the coming years - a place for skiing is very promising.
5. Arkhyz is a place where I'll come with pleasure again!
Our next race - the Cup Final of Russia in Novorossiysk on the track “Seven winds”. Track basis is familiar a long time. Builders made some changes this year's spring. Instead of turnings in the middle of the track big air appeared with a long wallride, wooden stops were added after the stone areas, on the straight way at the bottom of gaps instead of the demolished during the tower construction of the power line wooden knockout appeared. I did not like them - too short and moving after them was not too stable. But big air was very nice, despite that it looked menacing.
Preparing for the race and the race itself were hard enough, especially after Arkhyz. The heat and lack of rain dried the track to dust - I have not yet seen it so loose. The track “Seven winds” was before harsh to iron, and now the sharp stone ridges climbed even more - as a result tires, rims and tire tubes of many participants turned in the consumable. Including Daniel, who won in qualifying. I won the qualifying with a wide margin from the second place. But in the final we suffered a series of falls. First I was carried out too widely in the loose turn of the lower wood and I caught the thin wood with the handlebars. Danil fell in one of the corners towards the end of the track and became the fourth. I won the race with a margin 20 seconds!
The final groups of five in our categories:
1. Anna Skumbina FORMAT Factory Team DH
2. Yulia Anastasina GIANT-DISCO
3. Tatiana Shunyaeva SportResort.ru/Shimano
4. Ekaterina Ivanova ChillenGrillen Racing Team
5. Tatiana Rasskazova ZOO Racing Club
1. Alexander Kuzmenko Extreme Factory
2. Eugene Bochansky Desporte.ru/Commencal
3. Ivan Kunaev GT / Trial-Sport
4. Daniil Semenov FORMAT Factory Team DH
5. Ivan Nikolaenko Norco / Trial-Sport
Our racing series will continue in the Crimea next autumn. Stay tuned!
Photos used in the report are made by Zhelenkov Andrei and Malyshev Artem.