The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The adventure begins. Hayley Olson, Freewheel mechanic and
University of Minnesota racer, and her teammate Andy Sullivan
set out July 2, 2012 for their 1,331 mile drive to Sun valley
Idaho to compete in 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain
Bike National Championships at Sun Valley Ski Resort.

After a grueling overnight drive they finally reached
Yellowstone National Park at around 5:00 a.m. mountain
daylight time.

Being a head of their schedule they took some time to explore
Yellowstone, catching the sunrise as it slowly glazed the
mountain peaks.

Not too long after their adventure at Yellowstone they reached
Sun Valley Ski Resort where they stood in ah gazing at the
mountain standing 9,150 feet from sea level. They could not
believe this vainglorious hill would be their racecourse.

Here Hayley shows off the Freewheel colors under the official
start/finish line of the racecourse.

On their first official day in the mountains they made sure to
pre-ride the course. By this point they have been scaling the
side of the mountain for at least seven miles, elevation change
over 1,000 feet.

The terrain was not always the smoothest. Here they slide
across loose shale trying to hold traction so they don’t go
rolling down the side of the mountain.

Here they are looking out at a section of the mountain that was
destroyed by a wildfire. One blessing of the wildfire was that
a ten-minute downhill run was put in weaving through the
rebirthing forest. It was their first real taste of mountain riding.

The third downhill section was filled with these tight
switchbacks where even the best of riders had to throw down a

It is now race day July 5, 2012. After surviving the pre-ride,
race day wasn’t so lucky. Here Hayley shows off her swollen
knee that smashed into a sharp chunk of shale halfway through
the race.

 A smashed knee wasn’t the only injury to go home with. Hayley
also ended up finishing the last five miles of the race with a
sprained hand from a second crash that took place in the third downhill. But once all patched up they headed back to the bulletin board to see the results. To their astonishment…

…Even with two crashes, Hayley ended up on the podium with
fifth place in her first ever Nationals event. Her teammate Andy
Sullivan ended with some glory as well, having the fastest
overall downhill time.

Supporting their school colors and brand new bling they get
ready to start their 22-hour journey back to Minnesota. Both
racers are forever grateful for having the opportunity to attend
the 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National
Championship. They would like to throw out a special thanks
to Freewheel Bike and their sponsors for all of their support.

Finally their journey ends July 6, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. central
daylight time back in Minnesota. Minnesota never fails to have
a grand welcoming.