This past weekend’s race was needless to say – WET. Our forecast in SoCal called for rain and boy did we get it all weekend long.
Saturday I opted out of the XC race. I decided to take pictures of XC and save my legs for the Super D later in the day. While I was taking pictures on the XC course, I was scoping out the blue & yellow arrows (markers for the Super D). After I was finished taking pictures from the top of the hill, I pre-rode the marked course. It appears that it was to be all descent, utilizing the last segments of the XC course with only one climb at the backside of Southridge.
Super D: My teammates that will be joining me for Super D were The Moe and Kim. As we took the shuttle up there were light sprinkle. Gathered up top were the rest of the Super D racers. They were anxious to start the race – not because of nerves, but because it was FREEZING. As we lined up, I was behind Moe again. The wind had picked up and the sprinkle turned into light rain. As you can see from the pictures video, it was wet & cold…
As Donny counted me down to start I was poised to go. Having pre-ridden the course I felt confident that I will do well on my run. “In 5,4,3,2,1…” I sprinted to the bottom. The course winded down a singletrack with quick S –turns. Nearing the water tank, I see my fellow teammate Jeremy taking pictures.
picture by JerYang
As I approach him, I feel my tires mildly skidding on the corners. By now the rain has picked up a bit. Approaching “Sandbag Hill”, I take a different line from my pre-ride. This was a line that went over a boulder and had a smoother transition into the next segment. Not having taking this line before was a little scary but it all worked out. Going down the last singletrack descent, I felt smooth – I was very familiar with it from the XC races. Not sure when the downpour came (as I was focused on the race), but when I reached the bottom, the rain was HEAVY. At the bottom and up ahead I see my teammate Moe. I was now on the long stretch next to the fenceline and visibility was low due to the downpour. It was very hard to see through my glasses. I switched gears to my big ring and pedaled. Unfortunately I caught up to Moe and passed him. It appears he was having a hard time seeing as well. Coming around the turn I tried to climb the only ascent. It was a short but steep rocky climb. I made it close to half-way up then dismounted off my bike and ran up to the top. I remounted my bike and finished the race without any incidents.
I placed 5th in the beginner’s Super D. I was stoked as my last race (two weeks ago) didn’t go so well. I didn’t write a race report but the short of it was I had mechanical problems with my rear derailleur which forced me to stop and try to fix during the race.
I have to give thanks to RL for his mechanical wisdom. I was able to fix my rear derailleur along with other things on my 6.6, and have it race ready for this past weekend. Below is a helmet cam vid of my race. I had difficulties inthe first two series but this time I was finally able to record my run.
DH: I was back bright and early Sunday morning to get a practice run since I didn’t have a chance on Saturday. Top of the morning, the rain was upon us already. Onto the shuttle RL, Moe and I went. At the top of the course rain was coming down steadily. First down the course was RL, Moe then I. Through a series of turns, I came up on a waterfall section of rocks. Man did I STOP abruptly… Looking down this section I was SCARED. With the rain and thoughts of the rocks being slick, I didn’t have the cajones to even try and roll down. Needless to say I walked down. Onto the other sections of the DH course were other rock gardens. Maybe it’s psychological but some of these sections really got to my head. At the same time rain was really coming down and hard to see through our goggles. After our practice run, we hung out at the tents and dried our gear and fiddled with our bikes. It’ll be another 2.5 hours till our class is called up to race.
Through this time many thoughts lingered in my head. I tried to memorize the lines that other racers took or try to psyche myself out that it wasn’t so bad… typically in the past I have done ok once the race started and I just react to the course.
picture by Chris/Sharky
Race time – as we got ready to go to the top, mother nature gave us a break. It stopped raining however it was still cold. The Moe, Kim and I joined RL at the staging area. I talked to other familiar faces to try and calm my nerves down. I even walked to the first waterfall/rock section and watched racers go down. With the much drier condition (than our practice run), this section looks so much different – maybe easier is the right word. Walking back up top I felt better.
picture by Chris/Sharky
On my run I rolled down this particular section with ease. Coming around one of the turns was a big rut that I have been trying to avoid during practice (and previous races). Like the other times, my rear tire slid into it but I still stayed on my bike and pedaled away. Passing the saddle, I tried to navigate through a left handed rock section but stalled. The racer behind me caught up and I let him pass.
picture by Christopher Wood
Down towards the bottom I see Moe ahead of me. Onto the lower rock garden and the infamous “wall” I tried to catch The Moe but unsuccessful. I pedaled but had no more gas. I finished the course unscathed and relieved.
Despite placing 5th in DH I was not happy with my performance. It’s quite evident that I have many areas to work on. The rock-psyche is by far the biggest obstacle. Pedaling where I can is another; often times I try to coast through sections thinking I’m carrying enough speed. Props to my teammates for encouraging me when needed. I’ll be looking to make some improvements on the next race.