Rae Gandolf reports: At Beech Mountain, round 5 of the GRT, I had a little extra drive having been bumped from 1st to 3rd in the overall after round 4. What could have been a brilliant weekend of jumping and carving down a short fun course quickly turned into a quad burning, oxygen robbing track varying from peanut butter trenches to slippery slopes and rocks. The mud sucked me off the course early in my qualifying run. Despite giving up for the rest of that run, I decided to try a new tactic. I got right back on the lift with 30 min to closing and sessioned the mud section so that it would not get me again. In my race run I was faced with the surprises that happen to a muddy track on race day. I held on to the first corner that I’d struggled with in every practice run, rallied through the mud trench that took me out in qualifying, I found myself giving aratcheting clinic in the uber slippery rock garden and used every bit of focus I could muster to keep on course, then I held onto the off camber step up that had sent me into the tape more than once. At that point all I had to do was pedal through those berms and tables that could have been so much fun! It wasn’t close to perfect, but upright was the key that day and it earned me second place, and stepped me up to second overall. It’s a nice feeling when the effort pays off!