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Sunday was the start of the Shimano Winter Series, put on by the Southridge Racing Company here in SoCal. This series includes, XC, Super D, 4X and DH. This is my second year competing as a beginner downhill racer, but it was my first time racing with the Airborne Taka. If you recall, Art Aguilar, raced the Taka and took 1st place with it.
There was 19 of us in my category. Technically 20, but 1 was a DNF. I actually did better than I expected. I usually have 2 goals when racing DH, 1 is to catch the guy in front of me, and 2 is to not be caught by the guy behind me. I was able to accomplish both. Oh and the best part, I didn’t crash on my race run!
So as we lined up to race, I look around in my field, and notice guys riding super expensive bikes that probably cost more than my car. I saw one guy in a Giant Glory, another in a Specialized Demo, and some other dude with a Kona Stinky. My mind plays tricks on me because it makes me think that the expensive bikes and pretty jerseys with carbon helmets will make them faster than me.
I make my way through the course, take a few drops, a couple rock gardens, then I see the guy who was released from the gate 30 seconds ahead of me. I yell to him, “Rider UP!” He pulls over and lets me pass, but he slowed me down because he was on the path that I needed to take…ARGH! I make it to a few more drops,and head to the last rock garden. After that section is a long flat sprint that they call the WALL. I get off the saddle and spin as hard as I can. I cross the finish line exhausted.
I placed 6th our of 19. Not bad considering I hadn’t trained for the race. But the Taka performed without any hick-ups. I really love the geometry, handling and “flickable” characteristics of the bike. It’s light enough where you can man handle it, yet its burly enough to handle the big stuff. I’m very impressed with the Airborne Taka.