It’s been a while since I’ve actually raced a downhill event. I was pretty fortunate enough to have made it to this race venue. Joe and I brought our families with us on this trip. The overnight drive that started at 1am finally ended around 7:30am that morning. Priscilla had a XC race that she was planning on entering. Luckily we had 5 minutes to spare before registration was going to be cut off. We got her set up and off she went.
After Priscilla’s race, Joe and I suited up for some DH practice. Half of the team were already at Mammoth and had been practicing for a few days. Joe and I went up on our first run and I have to tell you, this course had to be one of the harder trails I’ve ridden. It was chock full of rock gardens, soft pumice/sandy sections, fast descents and it even used part of the 4X track!
During practice, we sessioned a gnarly rock garden where we saw many people eat it. But lucky for us, on our second run, fellow team mates, Tony Finch and David Sanderson, coached us on how to ride this tricky area. Now that we had that done, we felt pretty good!
Race day came and usually I’m am pretty nervous right before my run. But for some odd reason, I was super peaceful and very calm. But when they called up our group to line up, I started to get anxious. One by one, they let the riders go. The count down is always the worst because it seems like each second takes forever. As soon as the start told me to go, I was off!
The first section was a steep drop, followed by a long and super fast straight away with two deep irrigation ditches that you had to jump.Then you were met by some pumice, and you work your way up to the wooden wall, then the rock garden, some single track, berms then the 4X track to the finish.
Out of all my runs, my race run was the best. No incidents, everything was clean, in fact I even caught up to the rider in front of me! Not sure if you know this, but they release a rider in 30 second intervals. So for me to catch up to the guy in front of me, that basically secures my position in the results.
During my race run, I remember breaking out into a big smile and I started hootin’ and hollerin’ as I was making my way through the course, I was having a blast!
By the way, my weapon of choice is the Sette Venom. This bike performed like magic. Very smooth, no issues with the frame or rear shock. My tire combination of Kenda Nevegal and Telonixs worked like a charm. Not once did I wash out on my front wheel and the rear would grab as if they had claws on them.
After all that was done, I placed a nice cool 4th during the awards. I don’t consider 4th a “podium” finish since I’m not actually standing on one, but I felt great about my finish because in the 200 club, it really is an open class. There’s no skill level limit and the only thing you need to be is over 200 pounds. Jason Simpson won the category and he was one fast mofo. He’s also a Vet Pro, then there was another dude that was an Expert rider who came in 3rd. So in my cat, you get all riding levels, from Pros to guys like me. One thing I was really happy about my race was the fact that the rider behind me, didn’t pass me!
Our next downhill race will be in November for the Finals at Southridge. I feel really confident that I’ll do much better than I have in the passed (in Southridge),thanks to the Sette Venom.