This past weekend I participated in my very first Super D race at Southridge at the KMC Chains Winter Series. I’ve been racing bikes on and off for a few years now, some XC and mostly downhill. When I did race downhill, I found that I really enjoyed it.
But after this weekend, I think I’m going to focus more on Super D racing instead. I thought about this during my drive home after the race. There were a few things that clicked in my head that made sense to me on why and how Super D is better than downhill racing. I’ve got some bullet points for you, ready?
- No need to buy a downhill specific bike
- Race the bike you ride with during the week
- No need for full face helmet and body armor
- Bike is way lighter
- Pedal up the instead of pushing your bike up
- Super D Races are typically twice as long as downhill races at Southridge.
- Practice and Race on the same day
So those are my bullet points on why I think Super D is better than racing downhill. But I probably should note that I’m speaking in terms of it being held at Fontana, Ca. If you’re a SoCal regular or you’ve raced in Southridge, then you know that the venue really doesn’t compare to any world cup destinations, but it’s still downhill. In fact you’ll often find super big name pros racing at Southridge like Arron Gwin, Gee Atherton, Kyle Strait and many more. Basically Southridge DH is good enough for pros, so it’s definitely challenging enough for guys like me.
But I digress to my bullet points. Here’s the thing, if you want to race downhill, try giving Super D a chance first. You can use the same bike you normally ride because it doesn’t really require a bike that has more than 6″ of travel. The bike I used was the Titus Rockstar with 5″ in the front and 4″ in the back. While the other guys on our race team rode 5-6″ trail bikes. Actually Art Aguilar raced with his carbon fiber XC bike. That was enough bike to handle the course.
Another point that I wanted to make about Super D is that you can use your current gear. Most DH racers will ride with a full face helmet as well as some sort of body armor. There were a few Super D racers that used a full face and armor during the race. But I find that a full face can be very constricting when you’ve got a long pedal section.
One last thing that makes Super D great is that when you do race, you’re riding a bike that you’re familiar with. Often times in DH you’re riding a completely different bike. That means you spend less time on it, not as familiar with all the handling quirks.
In conclusion, racing Super D opened my eyes to a whole new opportunity to enjoy my bike and racing