Vermont With Riley Harris: IDF Killington Downhill
Riley Harris is back on the road and hooking it up with the updates. (Peep Riley’s Catalina report and raw run here.) Vermont is calling and it’s not just the cheddar. Two International Downhill Federation events, Restless Killington Downhill and Burke PC Picnic, so both a World Cup and World Qualifier podium are up for grabs. Riley always a threat and headed out to represent his sponsors Landyachtz Longboards, Bear Trucks, Hawgs Wheels, EDGE Boardshop, and Hillside Gear.
Well, I’m at it again. I’m really taking the Skate and Explore motif to a new level in my life. This year began with a trip to Puerto Rico (take a look at my travels here). Then with Winter in Canada ending, I made my way to California to escape and raced the Catalina Classic 2015. Now I’m in Vermont, solo style, to race and skate new roads. First up is IDF WQS event, Killington.
Every trip starts with packing, and it’s one of the best parts because it leads to great things. This time around I had a very pretty helper and a bowl of popcorn to compete the task.
Before setting off I sat down with Les Robertson, President of SkateSlate, at the best breakfast in Vancouver, Bon’s Off Broadway, to catch up and bro down. Thanks for the ride to the airport bud!
So far this year my air travels have been smooth sailing, but all good things come to an end. Upon arriving in Newark, NJ for my connection into Vermont, I discover my flight is canceled. This Snapchat aptly captures my emotion.
In the end I got hooked up with a pretty nice hotel room free of charge to spend the night. It was even equipped with an extra bed for my Charlie Horse.
Unbeknownst to me, I was also upgraded to first class for my flight the next day. Totally down for complimentary Bloody Mary’s.
Finally made it to Vermont!! Max Vickers and Avery Wilcox picked me up at the airport and will be my tour buddies for the 12 days I’m away. Look up #fueleconomytour for photos from all three of us.
Right off the bat we hit a Vermont gem with an abandoned ski hill half-way down. The road was gnar. 10% grade for a large part of the hill. Here’s Max skating an open lefty while I spot and take the photo.
We rapped up the session and headed to the racer camp. First thing the next morning Brian Davenport, Marc Dean, and Mike Girard lead the racer meeting. It was time for the event to begin!
Aside from a ton of downhill skaters, the event hosted Lugers and surprisingly to me, a hefty crew of drift trikers.
Practise runs were awesome. The hill sees speed in excess of 100kph (60mph) with drifts. A complete rush. In fear of rain Monday (the scheduled race day) qualifying was completed on day one to run the brackets Sunday. All photo credit to Avery Wilcox.
After the day we chilled out, got some chicken wings, and hit up a ramp jam.
Race day arrived. It indeed was bumped up a day to avoid the rain. The heats were tight and fast. All photo credit goes to Avery Wilcox.
At the end of the day Thiago Lessa from Brazil held it down and smashed the finals for first. Emily Pross and Alex Charleston won women’s and juniors respectively. I was eliminated in quarters but happy to make it through the event injury free. Take a look at the quarter final heat:
1. Niko Desmarais
2. John Barnet
3. Lee Cation
1. Alex Charleston
2. Keenan Macartney
3. Tyron Knight
1. Emily Pross
2. Cassandra Duchesne
3. Marie Bougord
1. Thiago Lessa
2. Zak Maytum
3. Jayden Mitchell
4. Aleix Gallimo
Now it’s time to celebrate and skate the hills of the east coast before the Burke Mountain World Cup!