California Outlaw Series Recap #2 With Andrew Medeiros: Cowtown

Not every adventure is filled to the brim with spectacular moments of energy and unbelievable sights. Sometimes, the smallest details make these excursions from reality worthwhile. I drove out from a cloudy Oakland morning with Margo, Sean and Polina. Sean skates for fun, buttboards with unbelievable agility and hates Math so we get along well. Sean’s girl Polina and my girl Margo came along to watch some good crashes and catch some skate rat vibes. They rolled the dice and trusted their life with a high school kid that drives too much like he skates. With my one-day-old license, I gripped the wheel and stared down the freeway as Sean is telling me something about trusting my driving skills as I assure him, “It’s okay, my front two tires have nearly no tread and my back two tires have nails in them. It’s gonna be a rip!”

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I learned how to properly hydroplane on a skateboard years ago, under the weight of my own body. It is a different matter entirely to hydroplane with a 4,000 pound metal cage. Managing to hit a few sketchy slides before I even got on a board, I was grateful to get off the highway and start the hill climb. When the road passes peach orchards and slowly decays into a single lane path, it’s easy to get discouraged. I would have turned around miles ago if I didn’t know what was at the top. When Aaron Breetwor first saw it, he said, “Years ago when we first found that road, we couldn’t skate it. It was just not possible.”

It’s an understandable conclusion. Cowtown, because Vacaville is just too much spanish for some of us gringos, is a road with pavement that slices on contact, harboring off-camber corners that edge riders into rock walls. Riders hold a concentrated gaze, fixed on the entry of the next hairpin, praying to make it that far.

The consequences of these features exponentially increase with looming rain clouds, dissolving the roads grip and visibility. Once I reached the top, my whole family was there. Like most of these events go, it all passes over my eyes faster than I can stop and think about it. Taking a second to breath, I take a moment to ponder this one. There is no reason to sit in the rain on an abandoned road in the middle of Vacaville. The joy is found in just being with my family that I found through escaping the normal world. Most faces I recognize as regulars, but I was glad to see new faces like Patrick Welsh and Alex Proksch. They harnessed down for the seven hour drive to the event from Santa Barbara. Sharing goofy smiles, they explain their watery race lines with uncertainty.

With an arching smile, I see Byron Essert going off into bushes to pee. When he comes back, we were talking about the weather and he told me that he’s skated here in a hailstorm before. In this part of Norcal, there is actual weather. A truly backwoods spot, seasoned with occasional robberies and body dumps.

Through a few rail-grabbing practice runs, the whole crew was ready to race. As we started to skate faster and with more eloquence, a hyped up mini grom named Jake Knudsen was bantering with me and said, “Yo, my cowtown run makes Cooper’s highway bomb look like NOTHING!”

So naturally, with some unwieldy egos, a few riders lost their balance and took a few spills into the guardian angel hay bales. I still cannot believe that I held to the battered pavement and took an unscathed and grateful last place in the first round.
Getting eliminated gave me an excuse to watch my family flow. Watching our dance made live, outside of the theater. It is complemented with hollering out for the love of the movements.

In the final heat when Max and Byron shot out from behind the hillside into the last terribly tight right to left hairpin set, they were almost touching wheels. Max edged even closer, putting Byron on his hands. Max’s feet came unglued from his spiked board and Byron pulled the e-brake. Max made a quick recovery, but with a two handed toeside slide, Byron rolled across the finish line first with a quarter of his front foot on the board. The crowd’s cheers echo through the green canyon.

Sometimes, we forget how integral these events are for the composition of our scene. It is made out of these small, but tangible times. The races and slide jams run by our family. Regardless of the industry’s direction and drama, this family will persevere and thrive. As long as events like these keep going, the worldwide downhill community will continue to flourish.

Good luck out there,

Current Outlaw Series Standings
1st Max Capps
2nd Mike Mayhew
3rd Mike Ambrey
4th Gustavo Peredes
5th Kenny Napp
6th David Townsed

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Max Capps Leads The Series. Seriously.