Factory Racing Thaws Out

May 19 — 2015 | Ashland, OR

No rest for Santa Cruz Factory Racing, as the team again hit the road in search of gold, glory, and a good party.

8 riders, 8 bikes, one Van Burgundy

The racers again hopped California's borders and took on the Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival in Ashland, OR. With a cross-country race, two stage downhill race, and “All Mountain” Champion category, there was plenty of podium on offer.

The sun was just dropping below the horizon when the team arrived at Mount Ashland Friday. After a quick pre-ride, the racers fueled up with enchiladas and canned beer, and discussed race strategies with the weekend’s hosts, the Markling family.

Josh Janssen, trying hard to knock himself out of the race.

The cold hung in the air Saturday morning, chilling everyone at the starting line of the cross-country race, 25 miles of dark, wet trail. “It was beautiful; green and wet. The dirt was perfect,” said team captain Scott Chapin. The riders gave it their all, with Factory Racing regular Chris Seymour crushing technical sections on his 27.5” Highball and Scott making quick work of the climbs on his 29” Highball. Scott finished strong, placing 2nd among Pro Men and Chris took 10th in Expert Men 19-44.

Chris Seymour, Factory Racing's post-race recovery specialist

Sunday featured the rugged, two-stage downhill course, a favorite of Sam Markling, Ashland native-turned Santa Cruz resident and factory employee. “It’s a classic Oregon trail,” said Sam, who has raced it 13 years running. “The key is not losing your speed through the turns, you have to commit.”

Sam's bell adds ten watts

Sam definitely pushed it Sunday, taking 7th in Pro Men. “It felt good,” Sam said after the race. “I wasn’t nervous, I knew what I had to do.” Sam wasn’t the only one letting off the brakes Sunday, either. Josh Janssen took 5th in Sport Men 19-39, despite snapping a brake lever along the way. Scott took 14th in Pro Men, Kyle Bowman 20th in Expert Men 19-44, and Chris Seymour 26th in Expert Men 19-44.

Josh's Nomad is kind of like a mullet, business down low, and party on top

With some fast times overall, Scott also climbed the second step of the podium in the “All Mountain” Champion category. Similar to the Downieville Classic, the All-Mountain race combines times for the downhill and cross-country courses and forces riders to use the same bike for both races. “I really debated the Nomad for the downhill, but stuck with the Highball and it all worked out,” Scott said. “It was going to be fun no matter what.”

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