The moth of July was full of racing for many of the Higher Gear team. While road racing is the local rage, Brandon Olson took the show on the road and headed out to compete in the Downhill Mountain Bike Nationals in Beech Mountain, NC. As Brandon drove out east, he has his sights set on besting his earlier season racing results in Bend, OR. With this being just his first year in Cat 1, he knew he would face serious challenge. As a downhill racer from Flatlandia, Brandon’s training is focused on serious physical conditioning and not much chance to practice on the serious trails. Once the mountains come into sight, however, the downhill fanatic inside him comes out quickly.
It seems that every big race for Brandon features a rainy forecast and this race was no exception. After a long night of rain, and several runs of practice, the course dried out nicely for race day. The course was very technical with many muddy, rooty turns. There was also a very technical rock garden and choosing the right line was key.
The end of the course was Brandon’s favorite with fast speed sections followed by some serious jumps and fast turns into a rock drop at the finish line. It just doesn’t get more fun than that.
There was great competition from across the US and we’re proud of such strong results for Brandon in just his first year of Cat 1 racing. Brandon raced hard and fast and finished with 11th place in his age group (25-29). The entire event hosted a great vibe. The pro racers were awesome to watch after Brandon finished his races. A beer garden on the final day allowed Brandon to enjoy great laughs, conversation and ride stories with many of the other racers from across the country. Brandon will heal a bruised shoulder and turn his attention to Nationals again next year.
Ride Fast Brandon!