Team Arctic terrain racer and Arctic Cat engineer Wes Selby kick-started his 2015-16 season with a week of riding in the Grand Lake and Winter Park areas of Colorado. Joined by six other Team Arctic snocrossers, Selby spearheaded the riding session to get the muscles and bones prepped for another season of competition.
So what did the group do and learn last week in Colorado? Selby answered those questions and few more as he was driving back to Thief River Falls on Saturday.
AI: A week’s worth of pre-season riding in Colorado…pretty sweet huh?
Selby: Yeah, it was good. We left TRF on Friday, Nov. 13th, right after work. Drove straight through and were riding the next day. It’s always a bit of a crap-shoot for a trip like this, you never know if the snow will be good or not. It was great this year, so the trip was definitely worthwhile. We were riding in the 9,500 to 11,000-ft. range, with decent snow when we got there that was followed up by a lot more snow while we were there.
AI: Who was with you?
Selby: They were all snocrossers…Justin Broberg [New to Team Arctic this season, in the Pro Open class. –Ed.], Dylan Jansen, Caden Woodie, Mike George, Patrick Hamilton and Jake Erickson. It was a good group. Some of the guys hadn’t ridden in the mountains before, so we had a little bit of getting stuck one day (laughs).
AI: What sleds were you guys using?
Selby: Everyone had ZR 6000R SX stockers. No mod sleds on this trip.
AI: What were the group’s goals for the week?
Selby: The main goal was to get our bodies working and into shape for riding, getting the muscles pounded in, go through a couple cycles of soreness and get the hands calloused up. Everyone goes into the race season in good shape, but there’s no way to get your body into real riding shape without actually riding.
A secondary goal was to get more comfortable on the sleds. We weren’t there to test different set-ups or anything like that.
AI: Describe the riding.
Selby: Each day we found a new riding area that included some meadows and some hills, using the natural terrain. They were all areas I’ve ridden before [Note: Selby is from this area of Colorado. –Ed.]. We’d make create a course with a bunch of turns and some natural jumps, then start pounding out laps. After a bit, the course would get holed-out and full of moguls. Later in the week, after we got more snow, the holes were nearly six feet deep! Big enough to double-jump.
Lap times were around one minute, and we’d make a new track each day. There wasn’t enough snow to bring in a groomer, but otherwise it was similar to a chewed up snocross track.
We’d do 20 minute motos, then rest and repeat. I’d say we rode a couple hours every day. Each of us burned 10-15 gallons of fuel each day, so it was a lot of riding.
AI: What do you think about the new snocross sled?
Selby: There weren’t huge changes on this year’s sled, but you can definitely feel the improvement from the little things. The new track seems really good. The brakes are good. We did some practice starts, comparing to last year’s track. The new one seemed to work better. Nothing broke on the sleds and everyone liked how they felt, so it was good.
AI: Was the whole trip just riding sleds?
Selby: We took a couple days off, just so we’d stay fresh for riding and not get blisters on our hands. On the off-days we played basketball and dodge ball, and we had some go-kart action one day.
AI: Anyone get kicked out by the go-kart race officials?
Selby: (Laughs), we had some kind of aggressive riding and derbying the last time we were on the track, but there were no black flags.
AI: Good! What’s your race plan for this season, I’ve heard you’re going to be pretty busy.
Selby: I’m going to add a few National snocross races to my schedule this year, including Duluth this coming weekend, Fargo, Canterbury and Lake Geneva. The plan is to do the Vet class, but I might expand on that if things go well. We’ll see. The goal is to help out some of our younger racers, have some fun and maybe get some results.
The main focus though for the year is USXC cross-country, followed by defending the Soo 500 win. We’ll see how the end of the season goes, there might be a hillclimb or two in the picture.
It’s going to be a busy winter, but I think doing snocross is really going to help me for cross-country, and vice versa.
AI: That sounds like a great plan. Let’s wrap this up by you telling us your plans for Thanksgiving?
Selby: Same as always, it will be dinner at Kirk and Teresa’s [Hibberts]. That’s always a good time, and Teresa is the best cook.
AI: Agreed! Thanks Wes, good luck and I’ll see you at Duluth.
Selby: Cool, thanks.