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Podcast: Interview with Gabby Reece
September 23, 2009
Mississippi River Project: Out and back
September 24, 2009

Melissa Ponce de Leon(Ed. Note: Pretty Tough Team Rider Melissa (Becker) Ponce de Leon is a pro mountainboarder with multiple U.S. Championships. Here is her account of the recent Altitude Cup Mountain Board Challenge.)

The Altitude Cup Mountainboard Challenge was held in Empire, CO on September 11-13th, 2009. The event consisted of a Learn to Ride on Friday, Dirt Slalom on Saturday and, Dirt Boardercross, Slopestyle and a Piñata Bonk on Sunday.

We had about 35 contestants at this year’s competition with some new faces on the course. Eleven of the top men in the Mountainboard community came out and did some amazing things. The guys from Altitude Sickness decided they would make it a little more interesting and pay the top 10 overall pro’s and top 2 women. The key to success was to compete in all three required events and go home with some cash. Sponsors for the event included: Altitude Sickness Boardshop, PowerBar, MBS, Hard Rock Café, Lewis Sweet Shop, Billy Goat Moving and Banchee bungee.

Friday September 11, 2009 we taught a Learn to Ride all day. We ended up teaching 6 people throughout the day. Since they arrived at different times we had the luxury of providing individual lessons which is the best way to go. Everyone caught on quickly and we had everyone riding in the park by the end of the day.

On Saturday the 12th we planned on doing the Dirt Slalom and Boardercross. As soon as we finished with the slalom course it started down pouring. We had everything from rain, to snow, to hail, it was intense and we had to call it for the day. The original Hard Rock Café in Empire, CO set up this amazing spread of BBQ and cobbler for us, just what we needed after being in the cold all day. We made it an early night in hopes we would have a better day Sunday.

When we woke up Sunday morning, the sun is shining. The ground was still wet but drying up nicely. We went down to the park and started to sweep and rake the track. The rain ended up being a blessing in disguise; the track was even harder and faster than before. By 11 am we were ready to race. We set up the brackets and decided on double elimination. The track was fast and super fun to watch, a lot of passing was happening everywhere.

Once we finished racing, the Slopestyle comp started; clouds were headed our way again so there was no time for a break. Everyone in Slopestyle had three runs and the judges combined the best two runs. I counted at least 20 different hits throughout the park, and we could take any line we wanted to score points. The youth, sport, women’s and master’s classes all competed this way and everyone had a great time. The judges had the Pro’s take five Slopestyle runs – two from the main line, two from the pro line and one from the hip. We got the chance to see all of the guys hit different lines throughout the competition. Everyone was throwing down their best style and landing all their tricks, it was fun to see.

The event concluded with a Piñata Bonk. Yes, just as it sounds we bonked the piñatas! We hit a jump and hit the piñata with our wheel. It was definitely a first and hopefully not a last.

Women’s Results from the 2009 Altitude Cup Mountainboard Challenge

Women Overall
1. Melissa Ponce de Leon
2. Ari Coats
3. Emily Smith-Zurawski

Women Slalom
1. Melissa Ponce de Leon
2. Ari Coats
3. Emily Smith-Zurawski

Women Slopestyle
1. Ari Coats
2. Melissa Ponce de Leon
3. Emily Smith-Zurawski

Women Boardercross
1. Melissa Ponce de Leon
2. Ari Coats
3. Amanda Poindexter

1 Comment

  1. […] September we hosted the Altitude Cup Mountainboard Challenge in Empire, CO. I won the boardercross, got 2nd in the big air and won the women’s […]

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