Sea Otter 2009: Melissa Buhl and Sam Hill win Dual Slalom

You can always count on great Dual Slalom action from the Sea Otter.  This year was no different.  There was plenty of spectacular racing in today’s Dual Slalom.  One of the top gravity racers Sam Hill out raced Cody Warren for the men’s finals.  In the women’s side, KHS’ Melissa Buhl bested Olympian Jill Kintner.


IMG3829 by you.

       Sam Hill, smooth on the turns.

IMG3778 by you.

Melissa Buhl on her way to beat Jill Kintner.


The men’s DS had top names going head to head.  Veterans Eric Carter and Kirt Voreis were racing against guys almost half their age and beating them.  Young PROs like JD Swanguen, the Athertons, Jared Rando and Mick Hannah, just to name a few, were all present. 


IMG3757 by you.

Eric Carter edging out the younger legs.



We also saw the return of Kyle Strait.  In the end, out of the 32 racers, Australia’s Sam Hill came out on top.  Out of the gate he was smooth and fast all the way down to the Finish Line.  The top American was Cody Warren.  He was doing well until he crashed on the second heat of the Finals.


The women had 16 competitors.  The action was just as intense as the men.  There were plenty of crashes and head to head battles.  SoCal’s Joy Martin, a regular face in the Fontana races finished 8th.  In the end it was World Champion Melissa Buhl going against Olympian Jill Kintner.  This was the much anticipated match-up.  I have a feeling these two will be going head to head for a long time


IMG3780 by you.

More action – Mick Hannah head to head against Nathan Rennie.


For the full results, goto

How To Train for Downhill Racing

RL Policar-I had asked one of our friends, Quinton “Q” Spaulding on what he does to train for downhill racing. If some of you didn’t know, Q is the Team Director for the KHS Bicycles Factory Team as well as a Professional DH racer. Q races along side his team mates, Logan Binggeli, Melissa Buhl and (Priscilla’s favorite) Dale Holmes.

Q has some great tips on how he trains for his DH races. I’m telling you, he’s got some good advice and I’ll be making some changes to my daily routine just so I can incorporate what he’s doing.

Q and Dale Holmes.

I am going to give you an idea of what I do, but that is by no means what most pro’s do, they train harder and longer than me, I am old and lazy! ha ha.

I try to train 6 days a week, this is probably the most important thing for me to stay on top of my game, as well as motivated to to continually improve and increase my training “pain threshold”. Training can be boring and routine, so I try to change it up between XC, Road, DH, Slalom, Dirt Jumping and with some cross training… riding my moto either in the desert or on the track.

One days training should be (ha ha)

a) 1 hour cardio – either a hard climb on my XC bike at Bootleg Canyon or Cottonwood Trails in Vegas, or a road ride with the hammer down. On the road bike I will do intervals, stand up and sprint for a good 30 seconds then sit down and pedal for a couple minutes to recover, and repeat this for the entire ride.

b) 35 minutes anaerobic training, for this I use a Total Gym, the one that Chuck Norris always advertises, ha ha ha but that thing works, it is all cables so no heavy impact on the body. I try train most all muscle groups in a week.

c) Every other or every third day I will try to include a 1. Dual Slalom session, about 20 runs… 10 on each track or, 2. I will go do a dirt jumping session for about an hour or, 3. Do a desert or track ride on my dirt bike for a couple hours.

I have to manage the team which takes a lot of my time so this is about as aggressive of a training schedule that I can have, plus it is simply enough for my 40 year old ass.

Eating is very important, – NO JUNK FOOD – yeah right??? Lots of beer – Yeah!!!

Staying fully hydrated all the time is also very key, so that your body is always prepared for recovery and gives you the best every time you push it hard.

To hone your skills does take a lot of riding and practicing, but you can accelerate this process if you get some experienced tips. Turning and controlling a DH bike at speed is difficult, and takes a lot of mental strength and focus, but I think that the biggest keys are:

a) Look Ahead and control your breathing! Always look as far ahead on the track as possible, this allows you to make physical and mental corrections before it is too late. Always remember to breath, and breath consistently.

b) Breaking and Turns! Always try to do most of the hard breaking before the turn, and if you are looking far enough ahead in the turn you will be able to release your brakes sooner and exit the corner with more speed. Exit speed is so much more important than entry speed into, or out of turns. The more you can focus on what’s to come and not get caught up looking down at your wheel while in the moment, the more you will be able to control your lines and the less fatigued and under pressure you will feel, allowing yourself to ride more relaxed and confident. Relaxed and confident… sooo IMPORTANT!

The biggest bike setup tip I think I can offer is – suspension and tires, these are the two most key items. If you have good tire and suspension setup then you are halfway there. A balanced bike will always work well, and a semi low Tire Pressure will help the bike track better and bite the dirt harder, giving you more traction and control.

Interbike Superstars

One of the highlights of Interbike for me is meeting and greeting friends new and old in the industry. We also can get a little star struck every now and then. RL is a HUGE Melissa Buhl fan. Melissa Buhl IS super cool but I get a little star struck when I see Dale Holmes. After I stalked him for two days, Joe finally asked Dale if he’d take a picture with me. Thanks Joe! 😉 He was kind enough to pose with me for a quick shot. I was too weak in the knees to say anything other then “Thank you.” *I am such a dork*

Note to self: When posing with World Champions, remove your backpack and put down the magazine!!

Dale Holmes is a UCI WORLD Champion with over 200 career professional wins!!! He is also a mountain cross rider for KHS. This guy has been racing since 82, and he is uber cool. My admiration is based strictly on his mad biking skills and his tattoos. lol.

His interests: Any Sports,working on the Free Agent World Team, hanging out with friends, Starbucks, working on his website

Ok. Ok. I’ll stop. 🙂

Also a little early “Happy Birthday” shot out to Mr. Holmes…… 🙂

Build Project: XC Race and Epic Machine-Update

Last week I mentioned that I’ve got another build project going on at the workshop. To refresh your memory, we basically wanted to build a bike for Priscilla that she can use for those epic rides that she enjoys, and for it to double as a race machine. So that meant that the bike had to be light enough, yet sturdy enough for this responsibility.

Let me introduce to you the KHS XC Team…that’s right folks…this frame is the TEAM issue frame that people like Melissa Buhl…um 2007 World Mountain Cross Champ rode…anyhow Wayne D. Gray, KHS VP decided to give us this frame to build up our machine once he found out our goal with the rig. Originally we wanted to work with the XC 604, but he insisted we take the XC Team, what? It’s not like I’d say no to Wayne D….

Ok so here’s some of the preliminary photos of the build project. The frame weighs around 4.5 lbs.


AL 7005 super lite w/4-bar Horst bearing linkage,
100mm travel w/Rear Shock: RockShox MC3.3 air shock
w/motion control, floodgate w/3 position switch


4 bar Horst Linkage…sweet!

7005 Aluminum frame…that means its wicked lite!

Spinner Seasons fork with lock out and FSA Orbit IS Integrated Headset.

I’ve made some more progress on the bike, so I’ll make sure I post the updates as I go.

Melissa Buhl won the title for pro women at Angel Fire

Courtesy of VeloNews.

A pair of gravity veterans took home the USA Cycling 4X Pro National Championship in Angel Fire, New Mexico on Sunday.

Rich Houseman (Temecula, California) claimed the stars-and-stripes jersey for the pro men, while Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Arizona) won the title for pro women.

Houseman tore through the newly re-vamped Angel Fire 4X course, besting 30 of the country’s top professional riders. Blake Carney (Camarillo, California), Chris Boice (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Joseph Backus (Mesa, Arizona) all had impressive performances, blazing through the early rounds and finishing second, third and fourth overall after the final.

In similar fashion Buhl earned the national championship over a strong field that included runner-up Neven Steinmetz (Boulder, Colorado) and third-place finisher Jessica Vogt (Boulder, Colorado).

Oh and she thinks I’m super rad!

KHS ARMY at the Sea Otter Classic

While the best riders in the world were racing (KHS ARMY), the guys and I stopped by the KHS Bicycles booth to say “Que Paso” to our buddy, and KHS Team Manager, Quinton Spaulding.

He started showing us around the tent by starting of with some of the bikes that the Pros ride. Unfortunately “My Girl” Melissa Buhl wasn’t there, but I made sure I got a picture of her KHS Lucky 7.
khs lucky 7

We spent some time with Quinton, or “Q” and he gave us a break down on a few team tips/techniques that helps the KHS Army win race after race. For one, he told us that Kenda provides them up to 200 tires per season and that they don’t ride with a set of tires no more than 1 race. After a race, they replace those for a new set. Plus if they get a flat, they immediately replace the tires, they don’t bother using them afterwards. He also went into great detail about going tubeless. Apparently running tubeless gives the rider a better feel of the terrain and the bike is more responsive, plus he mentioned that you get a “true” feel of what PSI you should be running.

Here’s Q with one of the DH bikes.

Another interesting thing he had told us was that they use the XCT 555, a XC bike in the dual slalom and sometimes as a DH bike. He talked about how the “little” bikes such as the XCT are perfect for smaller courses and the big bikes such as the DH200 are used for courses that are gnarlier and harder.
khs xct 555

I then noticed that they were running Kenda Small Blocks on the rear tire of most of their bikes. If you didn’t know this, (I didn’t either until Jeremy educated me) but the Small Blocks are great fast rolling tires for XC and they’re super light. They’re not the greatest in hooking up, but they’ll propel a rider down the trail really fast. I’m going to take a guess and say that they were running 2.35’s in the back and perhaps a 2.4’s in the front. But the front tire used were some big Kenda DH tires. Q mentioned that they use the fast rolling tires in the back to get the riders moving quickly and explained that when you’re cornering, the front wheel is the one that will dictate where your bike will be. So rule of thumb, fast rolling in the back, and grippy tire in the front!

Here’s Moe and Q with the DH200.

Thanks again to Q for hanging out with us, a super cool guy!

My helmet makes me look like a…

Sometimes when I see posters of great riders like Lance Armstrong, Greg Lemond, Tinker Juarez, Melissa Buhl and the like, I see them wearing some nice helmets and they look super cool in them. In fact some of them even look better with their helmets than without.

tinker juarez

So here’s my dilema, there are tons of cool looking helmets out there 90% of people in this world looks really cool in them. But for me, being a round face, anytime I put a helmet on, I look like a mushroom….or a big penis.

penis head

Even with my full face helmet, I don’t look cool in it. First of all my face is all scrunched up, and since my helmet is white, I look like a marshmallow….

Just the other day I went into a shop to check out helmets. They had this really cool Giro helmet…it was priced around $70. With a price tag like that, I figured its gotta look cool on me! I slip it on, run to the mirror and was immediately disapointed….again I took the form of a giant penis.

What is it with helmet manufacturers designing their product to look good for people with longer faces. People like me, round faced folks are outta luck.
face shapes
No matter how many vents or different colors helmets have, we’ll always look like mushrooms or penises…

RL is Super Rad!

Check out what I got while I was Interbike 2007.
KHS Melissa Buhl

It’s an autographed KHS Bicycles Catalog with Melissa Buhl on the cover. She said I’m Super Rad, so that means its true!

Interview: Melissa Buhl, KHS Factory DH Racer

We were lucky enough to score an E-terview with the world famous Melissa Buhl of KHS Bicycles. She’s been all over the place racing and she was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions we had for her. So check it out!

You’ve been racing since you were 9 years old, what kind of obstacles did you face through out your 15 years of racing?

Well, there are always injuries that become obstacles of racing, but above that I think the biggest obstacle so to speak would be balance. Trying to live a balanced life…student, athlete and girlfriend can be a challenge, while figuring out how to win.

Was your transition from BMX to DownHill Racing pretty easy? Were you able to take the skills you had from BMX right into DH?

Honestly I thought the transition would be easier, but I found myself on the ground a lot, when I started DH. BMX skills help yes, but riding a mountain bike is different. I had to go back to the drawing board, learning how to shift, brake, ride suspension and flat corner. Once the basics were down I was able to use my BMX skills. Kind of what I am doing on my dirt bike these days.

Do you ever get scared when racing?

Once racing starts, or I hear the beeps, no I am not scared, but there has been plenty of practice sessions that I have been terrified. I love that feeling though.

I would imagine that you must have gotten hurt along the way. How many bones have you broken and what other injuries have you had, which one took the longest to heal?

I have broken my collarbones a few times and blew out both my knees. I had surgery on my right knee, and that took a long time with rehab and all.

Photo by Jeremiah Dylan Dean

Do you have little girls…heck even boys or grown men that look up to you? You know, kinda like a groupie?

I hope I have people that look up to me. I know how I looked up to people like Missy Giovie and Elke Brutsart when I was young, and the impact they had on my racing and even today, with the help they gave me. I hope I can have that same impact on other riders. I think that’s the most important part of our jobs, winning is important and all, but there are pros who win all the time that don’t give fans the time of day. I think there is no excuse for that.

Will you be in any mountain biking videos like Roam or The Collective? If not, have you thought about starring in one with other pro women riders?

I hope some time in the future, but not at the moment. Yes I would love to be in a mountain bike chick flick.

Speaking of Roam and The Collective, do you do any freeriding? You know, big air, dirt jump and stuff?

I don’t freeride so much but I do go dirt jumping every once in a while and do DH runs with the boys at my local trails. The scene isn’t huge where I live.

Being a Pro Factory Racer for KHS, is there a lot of pressure to perform well?

Since I have been racing I have always wanted to do well for my sponsors, but I think the biggest amount of pressure comes from myself.

How do you get yourself to focus on the race?

I’ve never really had to make myself focus at races. I train really hard in the off season and when motivation levels are low for some reason at races, I just try to remember how much work I put in and now it’s time to use it.

What kind or training is involved in what you do? Do you do cardio and weights?

The past couple years my training has been pretty extensive, with weights and with lots of cardio/sprinting work. I go to school in the off season, so I have to stay pretty regimented to make everything worthwhile. I work with a trainer and coach.

Other than biking, what’s your favorite thing to do? Skiing, snow boarding, chillaxin’ ?

I love dirt biking, , hiking, camping, my dogs!!

By the way, how’s the Bio-Chemistry degree coming along? Will you be graduating soon?

The degree is slow coming, but I chipping away at it. It’s been pushed to the side for the last couple falls and then back to full time in Spring since the season is so busy in fall. One of these days though. I enjoy school and as nerdy as it sounds I could be a pro student, so no rush.

We’d like to thank Melissa Buhl for taking this time to talk to If you want to learn more about Melissa, perhaps check out her schedule or see a bunch of cool pics of her hauling down a mountain, feel free to visit: