Race Report – SRC Winter Series XC Race #1 Jan 9th 2010

The winter holidays came and went all too quickly for me.  I had dreams of a 3 month off-season but the 1st race of the 2010 winter series was approaching quickly and I decided to treat this as training for the bigger races from March to May. It was a beautiful day with temps in the 70s and as usual Don Jackson and his crew at Southridge Racing do an excellent job in providing a fun race environment. I noticed more entrants in the younger categories, it’s great to see more kids getting into this sport!

For Sport, the course was the same as November’s Southridge Challenge – three,  5.5mile laps.  This was gonna be a challenge as  I do better on the longer courses at Southridge, they have more singletrack and downhill that suit my riding style and help me make up time on the stellar climbers in my category (Sport 27-34).  Climbing is my weakness, I have a gut and at 185lbs (5’8″) I’m heavy/stocky for an XC racer. I even have a habit of blowing up in races by sprinting from the start line for too long!  After about 6 weeks without training, I knew that I couldn’t hold a sprint very long. So when Donny counted us down and we took off, I dropped into third and planned to keep the leaders in site.  We climbed to the water tower and the leaders gradually pulled away and I fell back a few more positions leaving me a panting, sweaty mess as I mushed my way up the hill. I recovered in the single track sections to regain third and moved into second on one of the long downhill sections. My strategy became clear.

On the way to the asphalt road for the water tower climb
On the way to the asphalt road for the water tower climb

I held second to start the next lap and as we climbed to the water tower I was passed again, but I kept my competitors in sight this time. Through the single track I was flowing and managed to close the gap as we approached the downhill where I previously passed. We start heading downhill and I’m cranking hard, building speed to shoot past #2 and eventually the race leader. Next is a short uphill I desperately climb and barely manage to keep the wolves at bay into the next downhill singletrack section where I can build a gap. I finish lap two and begin lap three. I don’t see anyone as I begin to grind my way up to the water tower, my right knee burning in protest as I try to put some power down. After negotiating some of the rolling hills near the water tower as I grit my way up the last climb before the single track, I look back and see 2nd place 10 yards back and attacking! I attack, he knows he is close and is trying to catch me. I sprint, my legs grow thick and heavy with lactic acid, my lungs burn as I sink into oxygen debt my pulse fills my ears, I can only hold this pace for a moment more. I put about thirty yards between us as crest the hill and bomb into the single track. I pedal all the downhills and by the end I enjoy a 2 min victory! Before you think that I was lying about not being in shape, I finished in 1:12:51, in November I finished in 4th with a 1:10:52, so that means that the fast guys just didn’t show up for this race and I’ve got some work to do.

1st XC race win, Sport 27-34
1st XC race win, Sport 27-34

I’ve got to thank the team sponsors for their help, Evomo and Hoss for the cool clothes, IceToolz for the tools and Serfas for the glasses and Ergon for the comfort.

Race Report – SRC Winter Series DH Race #1 Jan 10th 2010

On Jan 10th I headed out to Fontana for one last practice run and my first DH race in the sport category. After a few mishaps in my first couple races, I managed to finish out 2009 with some success in the beginner group and decided it was time to move into sport.

The DH course was a mix of previous Southridge Racing Co courses. With the upper 1/4 from November’s Southridge Challenge and the next 1/4 from July’s Fontana City Nationals. This meant a couple cool lines in the upper section with some berms and fast sections. A rocky chute into soft sand that took out many riders followed by some of the dustiest, loosest S-turns in SoCal! This was followed by a nice g-out hip and then a long pedal to cross the fire road into the usual rock garden and the dreaded wall!

Thank goodness the course was familiar because following the previous day’s XC race I just had nothing in the tank and managed just two practice runs before calling it a day due to exhaustion.

Sunday was a beautiful day and I whipped out the Vholdr Contour HD 1080p helmet cam to record my run. At 2:52 I’m neither happy nor dissatisfied with my time (7th in sport 27-34), I know I’ve got to get quicker if I want to podium, but with three total practice runs, it wasn’t a bad outing.

I’ve got to thank the team sponsors for their help, especially KHS bicycles for the demo Lucky 7 bike to use! Evomo and Hoss for the cool clothes, IceToolz for the tools and Serfas Optics and Ergon for helping us be comfortable.

Encore-24 Years Later

One of my good friends, Loren Brewster used to be a BMX race back in his prime. He used to race at the Orange Y track in Orange, Ca. He was pretty decent and even made it up to the Nationals. Since I knew he used to ride BMX I figured he’d know how to handle the 4X track in Fontana, Ca. So I asked Loren if he’d be interested in riding the track to see if he still has it going on.

On Saturday morning, we drove to Fontucky, suited up and since I didn’t know how to really ride 4x, I followed Loren and mimic his moves. What was cool about our experience, I was able to see Loren become more and more comfortable on his bike…until it had problems.

There was a table top that was at least 10 feet long and I wanted to practice jumping over it. I ended up clearing it the first time, and then the second time I cased it on the transition. No harm done, I still felt good because I didn’t have to roll through it.

I saw that Loren wanted to try jumping, but since his bike was out of commission, I lent him the KHS XCT 555. He must have done 7 runs in a row and each time he got on the bike, he was going faster and faster! Here’s what he was able to do…

MtnBikeRiders.com Race Team-Winter Series ReCap

As you all know, members of the race team have kicked butt all winter long! We started racing in Fall of 08 and started the Shimano Winter Series on January 5th,2009. Since then we’ve basically had a race weekend every two weeks until the end on March 22nd, 2009.

Our team consisted of our core crew of Priscilla Policar (XC), Kim Finch, (XC, Super D and DH), David Sanderson (Single Speed XC), Eric “The Animal” Hunner (Single Speed XC), Tony Finch (DH and Super D) and Joe Solancho (XC, Super D, DH). Then there is Moe Ramirez and yours truly, RL Policar. Moe tried his hand in XC racing in 08 then decided to race Super D and DH for 09. I raced my first DH event in 08 and continued to race for 09.

Before I go on, I’d first like to thank our sponsors, BikeCommuters.com, Evomo Clothing, Hoss MTB, and Ergon USA. These companies have supported our team since the beginning and truly deserve some love. So do us a favor, click on the links, buy their stuff, why? Well honestly, its because their products rock! Evomo has some sweet mountain bike related clothing and jerseys, Hoss MTB makes some of the best riding clothing such as shorts, and jerseys. Ergon Bike…need I say more? Ergon makes super comfortable hydration packs and their world famous grips will literally change your riding…trust us!

One of the things I’ve often mentioned to the team and on the website is our chemistry. Not only do we all get along, but we actually like spending time with one another. In fact, on my birthday, almost all of the team showed up for the surprise celebration that Priscilla set up. I also have to mention that we all chip in with the responsibility of each race. Usually we would have a BBQ or some sort of potluck and we could easily rely on the team to bring what was needed or what ever they promised to bring.

Encouragement was also key to the success of our team. We cheered each other on during the races and while some of us were on the podium. One of my favorite things to do was to keep tabs of riders in each of their respective categories. So that meant I would keep a tab on the riders in Eric and David’s SS group, and as they passed by the feed station, I’d give them an update on how each rider was from them. After the races, our team would do so well, that they would often times get the opportunity to stand on the podium. This is when more cheers and praise from the team would come out in support of our rider. I think we were one of the loudest groups during the awards…

Our mechanical support system has been amazing. Tony Finch was our roving bike shop. He had just about any part you needed in his car. Plus if we needed advice about our bike, tire pressure or the terrain, Tony was the man to go to. With his years of racing and riding, Tony was like the living/biking Wikipedia for bikes.

As we raced through out the months, there were times when we all felt like the races had started taking a toll on all of us. It’s not exactly easy to race every other weekend. Some of us live far, have kids and the preparation as well as the effort to get to each race can be taxing after a few months. But I have to tell you, once we got on our bikes…all that seemed to not matter. We were all doing something we loved…riding bikes!

All in all, our team performed really well at Fontana. We took home a few championships and it also cultivated something much more out of each of us. I think if anything, I saw each rider push through some tough times on the trail as well as in our own lives.

I can’t really get into details, but some of our team members had gone through quite a bit during the series, yet they persevered and kept coming back. I tell you, our team is great. I actually look forward to seeing all the guys and gals. There’s just something about seeing Eric’s strength come into play whether off or on the trail. David’s enthusiasm was infectious, Joe’s photos and heart to race has been pretty awesome. Tony Finch’s knowledge and fatherly qualities was great to see because he really made sure he coached all of us newbies. Kim’s tenacity was very impressive. In fact Moe often viewed Kim as his racing role model. Then there’s Priscilla, she has been very supportive during the series. Not only was she out there giving her best, but she was there to support the rest of us during our own races.

I also want to take the time to say how proud I am of my buddy Moe. For this guy to race downhill is nothing but impressive. I’m not saying he rides like Eric Carter, but the guy is out there giving his best. Each race Moe isn’t holding back, he literally gives DH 100% of his heart and doesn’t stop working hard until he crosses the finish line.

Though the Winter Series is over, it doesn’t mean we’re done racing. There are a few more events this year and I am just as excited as everyone else to get back on the bike and compete. Besides, we get to hang out with each other again!

So I hope you’ve enjoyed our racing adventures through videos and race reports. We certainly have. I know that racing has brought something new and different to the site’s content. If anything, many bike companies we deal with are really happy to see us out there racin’ and having fun. How do we know this? Well…some of then will either tell us during the events, or we’ll get emails stating they love what we’ve been doing. Don’t worry, we’re still the same set of people that do reviews, articles and all that jazz.

Thanks again to our readers for choosing to visit MtnBikeRiders.com and for your continued support in what we do.

Shimano Winter Series Overall Results:
Tony Finch Sport Men 43-50 2nd Place
Kim Finch Beg Wmn 35+ 1st Place DH, 1st Place XC
Joe Solancho Beg Men 35-42 2nd Place, Super D 2nd Place
Moe Ramirez Beg Men 35-42 3rd Place, Super D 4th Place
RL Policar 200 Club 1st Place
Priscilla Policar Beg Wmn 34 under 2nd Place
Eric Hunner SS 34 Under 2nd Place
David Sanderson SS 34 Under 4th Place

Review: 2009 Kona King Kahuna

The Kona Bicycle Company designs, manufacturers and distributes more than 60 models of purpose-built, high-performance mountain, road and urban bicycles. Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Ferndale, Washington, USA, Kona bicycles are distributed worldwide in more than 60 countries through independent specialty bicycle dealers. Kona funds several professional road, mountain and cyclo-cross racing teams that include World Cup Champions, World Champions and National Champions.

Kona King Kahuna, freshly built up

Product Tested:
Kona King Kahuna

Website’s MSRP:

Frame sizes 16″, 18″, 19″, 20″, 22″
Frame tubing Kona Race Light Scandium Butted
Fork Fox 32 F29 RL 80mm
Headset FSA Orbit DL
Crankarms Shimano SLX
Chainrings 44/32/22
B/B Shimano SLX
Pedals Shimano M520 Clipless
Chain Shimano Deore
Freewheel Shimano Deore (11-34, 9spd)
F/D Shimano SLX
R/D Shimano XT Shadow
Shifters Shimano XT
Handlebar Kona XC/BC Deluxe Riser
Stem Kona XC/BC Deluxe
Grips Kona Race Light
Brakes Shimano SLX Hydraulic Disc
Brake Levers Shimano SLX Hydraulic
Front hub FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Rear hub FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Spokes FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Tires Maxxis Ignitor 29×2.1 Kevlar
Rims FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Saddle WTB Rocket V Comp Cromo
Seatpost Kona XC/BC Deluxe
Seat clamp Kona Clamp
Color Grey Metallic/Pearl White

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Clearing a long climb on the King Kahuna at Fontana’s XC Winter Race Series

Testing Grounds:
Whiting Ranch, Fullerton Loop, Southridge and many other trails in Southern California.

First Impressions:
The Kona King Kahuna is a looker. The build up was easy as most of the bike was pre-assembled. The brake lines were a bit long. They were not so long as to cause any issues while riding but they were long enough that they look a little awkward even though functionally they were fine. If this were a bike I was to keep I would have invested in shortening the lines but since this was a 3 month demo I decided to leave them as is.

I have to say that the Kona King Kahuna is one knock out bike. It is very pretty if you’re into those things which I happen to be. The color scheme is excellent. The graphics on the bike are top notch and very cool. The paint job held really well even after I ate it a few times out on the trail. The blue on the top tube has a sweet metallic finish that shimmers in the light. White forks have always been a plus in my book and I personally like the look of the SLX crankset as compared to Shimano’s LX or XT cranks.

Dropping into a local trail, taken by Mr. Ivan, photog extraordinaire

But what sets the bike apart from other bikes is the Kona branded parts. House brand parts can be hit or miss especially when there is very little information about the parts. You really can’t stack them up against the Race Faces, Eastons and Ritcheys of the world with such a short review period. Over the testing period the parts worked fine which is always a plus but where the Kona parts really shined was the look. The stem, handlebar and seatpost drew rave reviews from virtually everyone who stopped to look at the bike. I was even asked if Kona sold those bike parts separately from their bikes. All I knew was that they were on the website, but without pricing details, I wouldn’t know if they could be purchased sans bike.

Beyond the superficial and subjective opinions on the look of the Kona King Kahuna, what makes the King Kahuna really stand out at this price are two things: 1. the Scandium frame and 2. the Fox fork.

The frame rode surprisingly well for a Scandium frame. Coming off of riding a steel hardtail I was expecting the Scandium frame to be brittle and harsh, but over the testing period I never thought twice about the frame. I was very impressed at how great it felt for not being steel. I wasn’t able to get an exact weight for the frame as the bike came 80% assembled to me but the full bike was probably at least a pound less than my similarly built steel hardtail.

The geometry used on this frame seems to be the “standard” 29er geometry right now. The 71/73 degree head tube/seat tube angles respectively seems to be the norm for 29er hardtails and when I jumped on the bike, I felt pretty much at ease. About the only thing I have to point out is the slightly taller standover height. Most bikes at 19”/Large size do not sport the 32.5” standover height. This, thankfully, did not rear its head in testing, but it is something to be aware of when considering what size to buy.

The Fox F29 is a very good fork. It is stiff and plush for being only 80mm of travel. It took me only a ride to get it fully adjusted to the way I like it which to me makes it easily adjustable. The surprising part to me about the fork is how well it worked on pretty much everything I threw at it. I wasn’t able to get out on really rocky or long technical descents rides but I did ride a lot of my favorite trails. On the trail, there were many times I would just look to find the gnarliest line and send the King Kahuna down it. During those sections I never really wished for more travel which sort of surprised me. The travel is really good on the F29, so much so that the 80mm advertised seems incorrect.

Dropping the King Kahuna in to Cactus at Whiting Ranch

I was able to get the King Kahuna out to Fontana for a XC race during the winter series. The bike carried me to a fourth place finish on a course that had a little bit of everything including muddy climbs, rocky climbs, sandy descents, switchbacks, singletrack… The King Kahuna did a great job of navigating me through it all.

I really had no issues with the Kona King Kahuna from beginning to end. The geometry is good and the bike is a looker. The components are good for the price, all the way around the bike save two parts.

About the only thing I can nitpick on are the two Deore level components on the bike: chain and cassette. These are two “hidden” components that, at this price point, should not be spec’d on a bike. At $2,300 I feel that the minimum level of componentry should be SLX and higher. From our friends in the industry, I know that spec’ing bikes is a difficult process. Getting the best parts for the price is a difficult task but Deore level components, which although not bad are still two steps below SLX, in my opinion should not be on a $2,000 plus hardtail bike.

Steep downhill section at the Fontana race, see the Pro rider behind me? j/k. He was on his 2nd lap… me just finishing my first.

The Kona King Kahuna is Kona’s high end hardtail 29er. It comes with a great Scandium frame that combines surprising comfort while also keeping things pretty light weight. The Fox fork and strong components make for a durable well rounded bike that can withstand some hard trail riding while also easily slipping into the racer mode if you so desired.

For more info on the Kona King Kahuna, click here.

Southridge Race Report: Kim Finch

This is actually the first time Sponsored Racer, Kim Finch had submitted a race report. Kim is well rounded racer that does XC, Super D and even Downhill. It’s really fun to watch her put some hurt on her competition. Read what she has to share about her race experience from the Triple Crown Series.

It’s almost sad to see the end of another season. This Southridge Racing Challenge was even more exciting with the addition of being the third race of the Triple Crown Series combined. I spent a lot of time of the bike in the prior weeks to this race. I find that out of all the races I have entered the Southridge course is the most technical. It may not be the longest race course, but it is the most exciting! The climbs are grueling and I feel like they will never end, but just at that very moment here comes the “Single Track”! I love this single track I find it almost rejuvenating and ready for the next climb! I would like to thank our sponsor Ergon for the awesome grips. They made a world of difference! I love them!

While waiting on the start line with Priscilla I could feel the anxiety growing. We chatted with all the ladies on the line. We could cheer as we saw Eric “Animal” take off from the start. Joe was in the group behind us all of us that just seemed to want to get on the course! All the ladies were fun to talk with about what they expect of the course or were they had trouble. Pricilla’s group moved forward and off she went! GO GIRL! Then finally after what seemed like hours our group was off and running.

The course starts quickly to short climbs and a quick little single track. Then it is “The Road” climb. Joe and I were working each other for help and encouragement. Joe is a great motivator even when he is taping his own limits! We cheered each other on through almost every climb. Priscilla was doing great she had a rider down on a very sandy section but she recovered quickly.

I managed to finish with my best time ever on this course 1:01:48 however, I placed third, but I was thrilled with the finish. This was also great because I finished the Triple Crown for the Colorful JERSEY. Let me tell you it match my bike perfect! After a quick bit and relaxation I headed back up the mountain with Moe for the Super-D race. I was the only woman in my group but there was one Pro Lady & one Sport Lady. Both of them very nice and fun to chat with. The course was fun. It started with three climb right away then down my favorite single track! Was a little chewed up after all the X-C races had been through numerous laps, but it never lets me down on the excitement level. Always testing my bike handling skills! I finished the race & took 1st place! Moe did very well and was glad to see him at the finish line as this was his first race!

Like thank RL for doing such a great job keeping all of us encouraged, fed & hydrated. He is doing and awesome job!

Joe’s Race Report – 17th Annual Southridge Challenge

This past weekend was a busy one… I raced both XC (Sat) & DH (Sun) at the 17th Annual Southridge Challenge, Fontana, CA.  Saturday was the last leg of the XC portion of the Triple Crown Challenge (TCC).  The 1st was in Bonelli Park, San Dimas, CA (Oct) and the 2nd at Mt. SAC in Walnut, CA (earlier this month).  We had a strong showing from our Team in different disciplines of the Fat Tire – XC, SS, Super D and DH.

Saturday:  I was faced with 8 other competitors.  Three were familiar faces from the other two segments of the TCC.  Two were my regular nemesis (friends really) from the 2008 racing season.

DSC_0212 by bicyclebloggers.                                     Clydes

At the starting line, we were grouped with the Women’s 35+.  At GO, we sprinted on a flat dirt road which quickly turned into an elevated left-handed U-turn.  Here is where I experience the first hold up.  At this turn, series leader Mike D. falls, then a lady from the 35+ group.  Half of the racers that were stuck behind them (including myself) were forced to either dismount or find an alternative route which caused us seconds that counted.  As I made my way past the crash, I sprinted to chase the pack.  From here I would stay behind teammate Kim Finch.  Approaching the first real climb on dirt (where the DH starts), Kim and I pass our friend Val (he looked exhausted).  We passed him then made our way to the winding singletrack.  At the bottom we caught up with our other team mate Priscilla Policar.  We would ride together for a bit, while motivating and encouraging each other.   Passing the smokestack-like structure is another climb.   From the bottom I see Scott V. (a clyde in my class) reaching the top portion of this climb.  From here I broke away from Priscilla and Kim in hopes to catch Scott.  (There is history with Scott and I, as we battled throughout the year.  We took turns placing better than each other at various races.  He is currently one-up on me so I was really motivated to catch him!)

I made my way down another singletrack segment, through the paintball field, then up the final climb… I can see Scott up ahead.  I continued to grind up.  I knew I had to close the distance.  When he reaches the final singletrack descent he’ll open up the gap.  Through the singletrack at the backside of Southridge I tried to go as fast as I can.  Reaching the left-handed drop into the culvert, I see Scott on his way back on the flats.  In front of him was Ner (Val’s brother) with a big smile.   On the flats I big-ringed it back.  From the distance I see Scott and Ner pulling away…man these guys are fast!  Coming around the riverbed/aquaduct area I see Ner but not Scott… uh oh!   I knew we were almost finished and this was not good.  I finally caught up to Ner and passed him but Scott was no where in sight.  I ended up finishing last in my class.  Despite not catching Scott, I was please with my race.  I came in last but my finishing time was better than any of my previous races in Fontana.

3052497114_a45d15c58c_b by you.                                                                                       Overall I felt good about the race and my performance of the series.  Prior to the awards for the overall results of the TCC, they posted me as 3rd place and totally omitting Mike D. (series leader).  As RL stated on his post, I took the liberty of advising the officials that Mike was not even on the list and should be.  After recalculating the points, Mike was on top and I was bumped down to 4th.  Bad thing is there is no recognition of 4th  as they only went three deep for the awards.  Never the less, I was pleased with myself for racing all three races and finishing each one.

Sunday: Armor time… I’ve ridden on Fontana’s DH course several times but have yet to race on it.  This was the day.  Around 8:30ish, I met up with RL, Priscilla and their kids.  After preparation and seeing the line for practice, it would appear that we will only have time for one practice run.

As I stood on top of the mountain, I have to admit that I was very nervous.  With this many people and not familiar with the course I was intimidated with the pretty much everything.  RL went first on the practice run.  I gave him about 5 seconds they off I went after him.  I tried to stay on his heels as I wanted to follow his lines but as soon as we started winding through the upper rock garden panic set in.  The rock sections were fairly easy but after not seeing which lines to pick I stalled out.  I have to admit I walked several sections but had every intentions of re-doing it.  As I made it down to the bottom, before the lower rock garden, RL was waiting for me.  As I neared his position, off he went and I followed.  I stayed behind him heading into the rock garden then… he was OTB!  All I see was his green bike up in the air.  Fortunately he was ok and got back up, then rode to the bottom.  I followed him shortly after reviewing the lines through this section.  At the same time the course officials were telling everyone to ride through as practice was over.  Darn, that means I’ll only have one run.

From the end of the practice until our start time was a good 1.5 hours.  There was plenty of time to think about the course and the lines to pick.  But for me anxiety was kicking in.  I was nervous, MORE than any of my other DH races that I have entered.  For some reason the “rocks” were really intimidating me and I could not shake it from my head.  Often I found myself pacing or just trying to walk around to stay calm.  This is typically not me.  About an hour prior to our start time we lined up for the shuttle.  RL was first to be taken to the top then I followed shortly.  Reaching the top and seeing RL was a relief.  Still nervous, I made small talk with several other guys that I have seen in previous races.

As my group lined up, I was first on the list.  The group in front of me was a Women’s group.  They will give the last woman (Lala w/Incycle) and I a one minute gap as oppose to the 30 sec between riders.  With many thoughts of the course running through my head, I tried to stay focus.  Donny says “Joe, go on 1”… At 1 I sprinted down to the bottom.  Approaching the upper rock section (where I walked in practice) I put my trust in my bike and maneuvered through the rocks.

                                        Upper section. Pic by Dino Brown

There were a few areas where I slowed down, such as the corners with huge ruts, but I managed to get through them smoothly.  Somewhere in the upper section, I heard Johnny D (racer after me) on my heels (on the video posted by RL, you’ll see Johnny go over the bars right behind me).  Reaching the bottom, by the cul de sac, I was very close to catching Lala.  She heads into the lower rock garden but slows down just before the spot where RL went OTB (in practice).  By this time I was literally on her rear wheel… With no momentum and thoughts of crashing, I dismounted off my bike, placed it on the step down and got back on. 423645824_xejXQ-M by you.                                                                      Lower rock garden. Picture by Christopher Wood

I rolled through the remaining rocks and headed to ‘the wall’.  Here is where you test your legs as it is a long sprint on a 40+ lbs bike. At this point I finally pass Lala and make my way to the finish line!  DH4x402 by you.                             Picture by Sharky

In the end I finish 4th out of 6.  I was very relieved that I made it to the bottom unscathed.  I know I wasn’t going as fast the others but it was a big weight off my shoulders and a relief mentally just to complete the course.          DSC_0449 by bicyclebloggers.

I had a great time participating in the Triple Crown Challenge and the DH on Sunday.  I cant say it enough that our Team rocks!  This weekend we had racers in XC, SS, Super D and DH. We podiumed in each category! 2008 has been a great year in racing!

Many thanks to our sponsors – MtnBikeRiders.com, BikeCommuters.com, Evomo, Ergon and Hoss!!!

Southridge Race Report: Team Manager and DH Racer’s Perspective

This race was something the whole team was looking forward to. What made this event unique is the actual races being hosted that day. They had the XC race in which this was the last of the Triple Crown Series, Super D and Downhill.

Priscilla, Joe, Kim, and Eric as well as our friends Val and Ner were all racing in XC. Rather than me spoiling how everyone did on the race, I’ll let them post their own reports so you can find out. Let’s just say, the MtnBikeRiders.com Racing Team did REALLY well in XC.

Then there was Super D, both Kim and Moe raced in this event and again I’ll have to stand down from announcing how things went.

Waiting for the shuttle. Check out my new POC helmet and goggles.

So here’s where the Downhill Racer report comes in. I’m not so sure if I’ve really mentioned it, but I raced in the DH event on Sunday. Sport racer Tony Finch and Joe Solancho both raced DH as well. After the XC race on Saturday, Tony and I decided to get in a practice run. But since the line for the shuttle was super long, I was only able to get one run in.

The “Mountain”

During my practice session on Sunday morning, I managed to make it without any problems down the mountain but when I was coming through a technical rock garden, I totally munched it. I struck a large rock and OTB (over the bars) I went. Luckily I was wearing my Sette Impact Protective Suit and Knee/shin guards to keep me safe. As I flew in the air and eventually rolled on the ground, I saw my bike, the Ibex Ignition 3 flying in the air. After I bounced back up, I looked around to see if Priscilla and the kids were there since they were waiting for me to come down the mountain so they can take some shots of me. But instead I was greeted by 50 people laughing and cheering at me. Hey what can I say, I like to entertain! In all seriousness, I’m glad I wasn’t hurt.

After that crash, it really messed me up mentally. I knew that one section of the trail was going to be the thorn on my side. But fortunately, Joe told me that once I hit that rock, the officials decided to remove it since I dislodged it from the ground and was deemed unsafe.

nasty rock garden

As race time approached, we were shuttled up to the top. Since this was my first DH race, I didn’t know anyone there and tried to strike up conversations with other riders. Funny thing was, one rider says to me, “weren’t you the guy that crashed earlier?” I say yes, he responds, “THAT WAS AWESOME MAN!”…again, I like to entertain.

As they call out riders’ names, we all line up. Joe gives me a fist pump and wishes me luck. As I get up to the make shift starting line/gate, they count you down from 30 seconds, 15, 10, 5, 4,3,2,1…and I was off! everything seemed to have gone mute. The only thing I could hear was my breathing.

While I’m riding through the technical single track which was married with big boulders, rocks and ruts, I felt good, but suddenly I noticed something strange. My Marzocchi 66L fork wasn’t working properly, I look down, and I saw that I was fully compressed….LOCKED OUT! NO! Since I couldn’t really figit with the fork on my way down, I just rode the bike like my rigid SS.

In the video you’ll see me coming down the mountain and if you look closely, you’ll notice that the fork was compressed. Anyhow, on the last leg of the actual mountain, I come around the corner, and I see Tony Finch cheering me on, then further down the trial was Moe, and Kim. It really was encouraging to see them there, it gave me an extra push to work even harder than I already was.

Once I got down off the mountain and headed towards the rock garden, (where I had crashed and currently where over a hundred people were watching) I was able to mess with the ETA valve on the 66L. I turned the dial and POP, the fork bounced up from being locked. Now I felt even more confident in being able to ride through the garden.

Photo courtesy of Sharky

While maneuvering through the obstacles, I can start hearing cowbells and cheers from spectators, then pass my crash site, and then I hear the words, “Go Daddy!” and something along the lines of “babe.” That right there gave me my last burst of adrenaline and allowed me to sprint to the finish.

The end result, I cam in 15th out of 23 racers in the Beginner 27-34. I was hoping to do better, but then again this was my first race and I was going against some really good riders that rode on bikes that were at least 5 times more expensive than the Ibex Ignition 3.

Overall I was glad I made it through in one piece. My 3 goals for this race was to finish, catch the rider in front of me and not to let a rider catch me from behind. I recall right after I pass the finish, I quickly looked behind me to see if the dude after me was on his way. But fortunately he was quite a distance.

This really was a great experience for me. At first I wasn’t so sure how much I liked racing DH. I mean, I love riding technical stuff and enjoyed the trail. But the pressure of it wasn’t all that great for me. But the more I thought about it, the more I want to go back out there and do well. I know I could have done way better than I did. The Southridge Winter Series is coming up in January, so I may try my hand at it again and see how well I do.

Fontana Downhill Practice Run: Ride Report

This weekend, Joe, Moe and I hooked up at the world famous Fontana/Southridge DH course. Joe recently got a new Intense Socom and was itching to try it out.

Joe’s Intense

I brought out a Nikon D80 and the Vholdr to document our ride. Here’s Moe scoping out the place.

Taking the first part of the run.

Joe gettin’ buck wild!

Here’s Joe modeling his new MtnBikeRiders.com Jersey.

Then it was my turn!

By the way, Moe and I are both using Sette Impact Elbow Guards and Knee/Shin Guards and I may add that they are super comfy!

Right afterwards we headed over to the best place on earth to have breakfast, McDonald’s! Have you ever had a McGriddles? OH man…that right there was made by God himself! It’s soooo yummy!

Joe can’t believe that the saturated fats from his McGriddles is so tasty!

Since the DH course is rather short, the video it self isn’t all that long. So enjoy what we have for ya!