By Rebecca Gitlen
July 23, 2012. Everyone survived this year’s beer tasting, championship mountain biking and live music festival at Beech Mountain Resort last weekend. Those who sampled the 50 craft brews available probably woke up with hangovers and the top professional and amateur mountain bikers who were competing for national titles in the USA Gravity National Championships probably woke up a little sore from bruises.
The Brews & Views beer tasting tent, located on Beech Mountain’s ice skating rink, was the first stop for many festival attendees. There wasn’t any ice on it at the time of the festival. That would have been an issue.
You could tell that people were enjoying the selection of craft beers like Blowing Rock Summer Ale, Southern Tier Hop Sun, Krombacher, Shock Top IPA, Leffe, Brooklyn Brown, Abita Purple Haze, Lonerider Sweet Josie, Natty Greene Old Town Brown, Fatty Maddy, Kind Beers Pale Ale, Oskar Blues, New Belgium Fat Tire and Carolina Strawberry. All of Beech Mountain smelled like beer.
The dual slalom amateur finals started on Saturday at 2:15 p.m., followed by dual slalom professional finals at 5:45 p.m. The 778-foot Dual Slalom course was lined with hundreds of spectators.
“The slalom is a two-man, head to head race,” said Talia Freeman, director of marketing and sales. “It’s very exciting to watch.”
People hooped and hollered over the roped-off course as bikers navigated the jumps and berms. With hundreds of people yelling their names, the riders pushed harder.
Neko Mulally, of Reading, Pa., and Melissa Buhl, of Chandler, Ariz., conquered the pro dual slalom events.
“It’s really cool – so many guys up on the hill cheering for me,” Mulally said. “It felt – even when I walked up for my first run it felt really special.”
In the Women’s professional downhill races Jacqueline Harmony, of Sedona, Ariz., came in first with a time of 2:36.6. Melissa Buhl, of Chandler, Ariz., was close behind with a time of 2:45.9.
The Men’s professional downhill first place finisher was Aaron Gwin, of Temecula, Calif., with a time of 2:10.0 and Neko Mulally placed second with a time of 2:13.2.
For the awards, first through fourth place received medals. The first place winners received a stars and stripes jersey and a bottle of booze if it was age-appropriate.
For the women’s pro downhill slalom awards, Melissa Buhl popped the champagne, sprayed the crowd and took a swig, passing the bottle to the second place finisher, Katie Holden. Jacqueline Harmony in third place and Katelyn Parhiala in fourth also took their celebratory swigs, finishing the bottle. It was touching.
Video by Rebecca Gitlen | Produced by Ethan Woodhouse
Photos by Rebecca Gitlen
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