RED BULL WORLD CHAMP PUMP TRACK QUALIFIERS

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Kyle Warner likes a pump track. Even if it’s not the best built pump track, a wonky pump track, or just some dirt rollers that could be considered “pump track-ish”, Kyle will find a way to find a line and make it look awesome. So it’s no surprise he got on the podium in a qualifying event for the 2018 Redbull Pump Track World Championship at the pristine Leavenworth track built by Velosolutions. Below he shares his recap of the inaugural event:

 

Earlier this year Redbull and Velosolutions announced the formation of the 2018 Pump Track World Championship and scheduled roughly 25 qualifier events around the globe. Each qualifier event would qualify the top 4 men and women from the event to participate in the World Championship finals later this year. The winning riders from each event also got an all expense paid trip to the finals.  

As soon as the announcement dropped I put this on my schedule! I love riding pumptracks and the opportunity to compete in the first ever World Championship sounded too cool to pass up. The United States hosted two qualifier events, one in Oklahoma and one in Leavenworth, WA. I decided to make the trip to Washington and see if I could grab myself a spot in the finals.

When I rolled up to the track I couldn't believe it. Fully paved, deep berms, big rollers and lots of lines to choose from. I was in heaven. I rode for a few hours on Friday to get my legs opened up and shake the dust off my hardtail. I had been meaning to practice on that bike a lot in the weeks leading up to the event but i had been battling a stomach bug ever since I came home from Mexico and have been really struggling to get out. I didn't really know what to expect for race day but I just wanted to do my thing and try to get in the top 4. 

Saturday morning I rolled down to the track and was so excited to see how many locals came out to support the event and it was rad to see a field of 50+ men and 10+ Women all hoping to grab one of those spots to the finals. 

dropper post, kyle warner

*photo by Riley Seebeck follow him on instagram @flowphoto_co

The first order of business was qualifying. All the riders got two timed runs to place them into a 32 man, 8 women, head to head bracket for the finals. I had two solid runs and ended up qualifying second, just a few tenths of a second behind first, and about half a second ahead of third. I felt pretty decent on the track but really struggled to execute the same lines over and over again for some reason. Sometimes I would just find myself improvising and doing some weird gap mid run. I think I was fatigued from the past few weeks of not eating much and was on some sort of faulty autopilot mode. 

After qualifying we had about an hour break where we could do some laps with the local kids and practice our wheelie skills in the parking lot. It was a super cool atmosphere and there were well over a hundred people there just waiting to spectate the finals. After the break we went into the head to head bracket and it was a game time. I moved through the first round pretty smoothly but then in the second round I went up against a kid who was really fast through the rhythm sections and I knew I had to lay down a good time. 

On one of the steeper rollers I leaned too far back and hit my butt with my tire which sent me into a no footed, death defying nose wheelie over three rollers. As I was holding on for dear life I was so bummed… but somehow I gathered myself back together pumped the last two rollers and took the inside of the last turn and crossed the line .15 seconds faster. The crowd erupted and my adrenaline spiked the most I could remember in years. 

mountain bike, dropper post, mountain bike photo

*photo by Riley Seebeck follow him on instagram @flowphoto_co

I tried to calm myself down and just ride smooth for the next couple rounds which was a much better game plan. I ended up advancing all the way to the finals and had a great run but just couldn't quite get it done for first place. I was super stoked to grab a second place in my first pump track race since 2015 and secure a spot for the World Championships later this year. 

-Kyle Warner

PNW Squad

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