Kyle Knight Race Super D Race Report

One of our newest members of the Race team is a fella named Kyle Knight. Ya I know what you’re thinking, “what a cool name!” Trust me, all I want to do is call him “Michael” or “Knight Rider.” Anyhow Mr.K has been involved with Enduro racing for quite some time. He’s won a handful of Enduro races and we were pretty excited to have him on the team. He’s got some sort of moto (dirt bike) background so his riding style is chock-full of finesse or as some say it, STEEZE.

Read up on Mr. K’s Super D race experience below…


Race # 1 Southridge winter series at Fontana 1/11/14.
Were back to racing. This past weekend was the first round of the Southridge winter series. Weather was nice cool light breeze on race day lead to some good racing and good times. For this weeks race nothing was over the top but it was sandy and had some long pedaling spots that put everyone to their test and showed how out of shape the holidays made me.

I felt good all day but right off the bat I missed the first corner and push too hard in the next corner trying to make up time and my front tire washed out. Had to clear my head for a sec then I put in a good ride the rest of the way down. Didn’t expect much after that this class is stacked with some fast guys but I went home with a smile on my face and looking forward to my next ride. I’d like to thank my sponsors for the support. D-Store in OC (Dainese) and

Mr. K’s Super D Race Run


Southridge Winter Series: Super D Race Report

We’re about halfway through this year’s winter series at Southridge in Fontana, CA with three of five races completed. Rather than doing the single-speed XC race this year, I decided to give the Super D a shot. Super D racing resides somewhere between down-hill racing and cross country. There should be enough pedaling and climbing to keep the long travel heavy DH bikes out of contention, but also is technical enough not to yield any advantage to hard-tail XC bikes. Super D is where the 5-6″ trail-bikes find their home. The definition and course content tends to change among different locals, but at Southridge it is downhill light.

Rounding the final turns.
Rounding the final turns.

Southridge runs (at least they have been this year) their races in a two run format for Super D, a short run and a long run. The times from both runs are then combined for a total time, and your placement is based upon that combined time. Obviously, the shortest time wins. The short course is about a 2-5 minute run depending on your speed and skill. This long course had been about a 5-10 run, but for this most recent race they cut the large climb out and it was much closer to the short run times.

Heading to the finish line.
Heading to the finish line.

For those who are familiar with the location in Fontana, the Super D starts at the top of the hill that had been used in the old national XC course. Both short & long courses start and end at the same place. The first 15 yards are so are shared by both courses, and then they split each going in opposing directions down each side of the hill. After dropping down the back side of the hill, the long course wraps back around to meet up with the short course and then they share the end and finish line.

Sliding through the soft stuff.
Sliding through the soft stuff.

Having never raced Super D before, I started the series in Cat III to get an assessment of where I should be. For the first race, I didn’t make it down clean on the short course. I washed out in a sandy off-camber section, but was able to quickly get back on the bike and finish out the run. The second run came out a little smoother. This yielded me a second place finish. After that first race, it seems liked a good time to move up a class to Sport, plus for the next race I was going to be joined by fellow teammate Corey Pond.

The course for the second race was 85-90% the same as the previous race with just some small changes. One of those small changes, I forgot about during my run on the short course. On the outside of one of the turns was a small drop off a rock and the inside of the turn was a smooth roller. The drop wasn’t that big, but it is beyond my skill. I came in too hot and hit the outside of the turn. I had to plant a foot and kick the back end around to make it to the line I wanted. Definitely not smooth, but better than a full on crash. The second run come out cleaner, and I ended up with a 4th place finish behind Corey who took 2nd. I was able to shave about 30 seconds off my time from the previous race as well.

Looking to the next turn.
Looking to the next turn.

I did not fare so well in the latest race installment however. I was feeling good race day, and was able to get in three good practice runs. There had been a significant change to the long course in that there was no longer a major climb on the back side of the hill. This cut a good 40% of that run making much closer in length to the short course. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me that day because I would not be able to make up any time on the climb. On the first run I cam around a turn to hot and washed out in the loose soil. While not completely off the bike, it definitely cost me time and momentum. I felt good on the switch backs on the top of the second run, but coming out of one of the rock gardens my steering was feeling sluggish. I kept pedaling for a bit till I realized my front tire was incredibly low and losing air even faster. I had pinch flatted through one of the rock gardens. Well, that ended up with a DNF for me for the third race. We’ve got two more to go, and two more chances to improve and try to podium.

Pinch flat coming out of a rock garden.
Pinch flat coming out of a rock garden.

In Decline Magazine

We touched on this a few weeks ago when we first heard that some of us were scheduled to appear in the June 2011 issue of Decline Magazine. Well I finally tracked down my own copies, one to read and one to save. In the photo you’ll see (from left to right) team racers, Corey Pond, Art Aguilar and yours truly. The article talks about the Shimano Winter Series that Southridge Racing Company has been putting on the last 20 years. We really are blessed to have this organization and venue to ride. Big thanks to Mike Lord, photographer extraordinaire and of course Decline Magazine.


The caption on the photo.

Bling’d out Race Report-Shimano Winter Series #3-2011

During this past weekend the Downhill Dept. of the race team was in attendance of Race #3 of the Shimano Winter Series. If you had previously read, I had a jersey made just for this race. The last race I showed up in my brocade blue tuxedo and this time I wanted to make sure I came out with something special.

RL, Art and Wes.

This jersey was well received by racers and spectators. I had so many people complimenting and asking how they can get one.  I had people comment that the chains looked real from far away.

One thing with this race, it was super windy. Not quite as windy as the first race of the season, but gusts were up to 30mph. Much like last time I had a hard time hearing the count down from the gate, but when I heard 5,…3…..1; I rolled out of the gate in a nice easy pace. I made sure that I took it easy because during my practice runs, I was going way too fast out of the gate and found myself not making the first turn and blowing through the other berms. Through the advice of team mates, Corey Pond and Art Aguilar, they told me to just take it slow at the start of the race and make sure I get down the mountain without incident.

As I carved my way down, I make a right turn before a short climb and found my front wheel washing out. I CRASH! Nothing bad, but I was stuck in my SPD pedals. I fidget with my feet to unclip and once I get out, I mount the bike, and start pedaling again. Already frustrated with my crash, I made sure I didn’t panic and start to refocus and continue with my race run.

It wasn’t until I got to the dreaded WALL that the wind hit me hard. I stood up pedaling only to be smacked with strong head wind. I yell out in frustration and to motivate myself….”C’MON RL!!!!” I pedal as hard as I can and occasionally sit down to ease the burn of lactic acid in my quads. I finally cross the finish line and I was pretty happy with my performance. It wasn’t the cleanest race run, but I was not injured.

Results were posted quickly and I was surprised to find myself in 3rd place!

Not sure if you can see it on the podium picture, but that’s a pimp cup in my hand. That was the inspiration for my jersey, besides I had promised my brother that I’d take it up there with me in the event I did well.

I’d like to take this time to thank our sponsors, Evomo Clothing, Ergon USA, VIP Energy Mix, Serfas and Dirty Dog MTB. I also have to give a shout out to Airborne Bicycles. I’ve been racing with the Airborne Taka and this bike has GREATLY improved my downhill riding/racing. Even my own team mates have mentioned that I’ve done better on this bike than any of the other bikes I’ve raced with. I’ve been really happy on how durable and fun it is to ride/race the Taka.

Tacklin’ Downhill with the Taka

Sunday was the start of the Shimano Winter Series, put on by the Southridge Racing Company here in SoCal. This series includes, XC, Super D, 4X and DH. This is my second year competing as a beginner downhill racer, but it was my first time racing with the Airborne Taka. If you recall, Art Aguilar, raced the Taka and took 1st place with it.

There was 19 of us in my category. Technically 20, but 1 was a DNF. I actually did better than I expected. I usually have 2 goals when racing DH, 1 is to catch the guy in front of me, and 2 is to not be caught by the guy behind me. I was able to accomplish both. Oh and the best part, I didn’t crash on my race run!

So as we lined up to race, I look around in my field, and notice guys riding super expensive bikes that probably cost more than my car. I saw one guy in a Giant Glory, another in a Specialized Demo, and some other dude with a Kona Stinky. My mind plays tricks on me because it makes me think that the expensive bikes and pretty jerseys with carbon helmets will make them faster than me.

Then it was my turn on the gate,I sat waiting to be counted down, I get into my zone and take a few deep breaths. Then I hear, 5, 4,3,2,1. I start pedaling hard!

I make my way through the course, take a few drops, a couple rock gardens, then I see the guy who was released from the gate 30 seconds ahead of me. I yell to him, “Rider UP!” He pulls over and lets me pass, but he slowed me down because he was on the path that I needed to take…ARGH!  I make it to a few more drops,and head to the last rock garden. After that section is a long flat sprint that they call the WALL. I get off the saddle and spin as hard as I can. I cross the finish line exhausted.
rl and taka

I placed 6th our of 19. Not bad considering I hadn’t trained for the race. But the Taka performed without any hick-ups. I really love the geometry, handling and “flickable” characteristics of the bike. It’s light enough where you can man handle it, yet its burly enough to handle the big stuff. I’m very impressed with the Airborne Taka.

src 2011

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.

The Story Behind the Review: KHS Lucky 7

I struggled for a couple days to write the review of the KHS Lucky 7.  I kept transitioning from reviewing the bike to telling stories about the bike.  Finally, I’ve decided that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  What follows, is the story of my time aboard this bike.  The trips, the rides and the races that the KHS Lucky 7 carried me through.  Watch for the review in the upcoming weeks.

The Lucky 7 has been my go to gravity bike this year. Team sponsor KHS cycles has been nice enough to grant me extended time with this demo bike, on the condition it is raced and that I share the results.

Though designed for free-ride use, the Lucky 7 is the go to bike for the KHS race team at smaller DH race courses. However a thorough resume is not a prerequisite for hopping aboard the Lucky 7 and getting the most out of the experience.  I was a casual mountain biker, I owned one trail bike and rode two or three times a month.  I had other hobbies and interests that split my time.  From 2006 till November 2008, that was my riding experience.  That’s when I met RL through this very blog and eventually the rest of the Mtnbikeriders team.  Which led me into single-speeding, then XC racing and eventually DH racing.  So as I, a true newbie to downhill, I began my time with the Lucky 7.  The first race [Southridge Winter Series, 2/22/2009, 13th out of 14] was a disaster!  I did manage to get the durability testing out of the way immediately, though!

The next race [Southridge Winter Series Finals, 3/22/2009, 10th out of 20] was a lot better!  With no dirt naps in-store for me.  I began to see the capabilities in the bike and the potential I had to become competitive [in Beginner Men 27-34].   Unfortunately, I would be without the Lucky 7 after this point until a shuttle session at Telonics a couple weeks before the 3rd race of the Golden State series in Fontana on 07/12/2009.

In Telonics I got to ride some real DH terrain on the Lucky 7 and it was amazing!  It’s just a forgiving bike that soaks up the small and big hits.   We had a ton of fun and burned through a set of brake pads in the process!  Now onto the race, with a two run format and no “wall” to pedal, this is the closest to a true DH race located in So-Cal nowadays.   With a fresh new attitude on DH riding and fresh legs (normally I race XC the day before the DH race), I was able to put together “the run of my life” I recall telling Tony at the bottom.  What a rush!  To have a clean DH run, one where I honestly felt I rode as fast as I possibly could, clean without any mistakes, I get excited thinking about it!  The result was a 3rd place and my first DH podium.

Next up was Mammoth mountain, now this is a true DH race.  On a mountain with loose pumice, a nasty rock section, a wall ride and a finish through the 4x track.  Mammoth lived up to its name, with a fast race run coming in 4 minutes, the track was over a minute longer than any Fontana run.   The Lucky 7 was beautiful here, through the steep sections, over the jumps and pedaling the straights.  We were a team, and we were determined to make it to the podium.  Well, we did better than podium, we won!

So, now here we are near the year end.  The 18th annual Southridge classic has just concluded (though I’m gonna make you wait for that story).  Be sure to check out the upcoming Lucky 7 review and review the 1st impression here.  It’s funny, we’re so used to reviews coming from expert and pro riders.  It’s true that they can push a bike to it’s limits, but couldn’t they ride almost any bike down the Mountain?  Wouldn’t a bike we (mountain bike enthusiast) consider stable and comforting seem slow and unresponsive to them? Anyways, if you don’t want to read a review from a Beginner DH racer, don’t worry.  I’m moving up to sport the first race next year.  I’ve got to say thanks one more time by the way to KHS Bicycles and their our Lucky 7.  Don’t forget to check out the KHS SixFifty 606 too.

Woodward West – Kim’s Race Report

Arrived Saturday morning to just some AWESOME weather. Got bikes off loaded, gear up & catch shuttle truck to the top of the hill. I see the same smiling faces and warm welcome we have come to expect from the SRC crew! Now it’s time to see what Donny has put together for us. Start line is at the top of a ramp, well there is a little nerves there but I did it before. Climb up to the top, hold my breathe and we’re off!

First practice run of the day. Little rock garden at top is pretty rough, jagged edges. I can hear my tire hit dead on. Couple “S” turns to a small drop that are a soft. Quick right and sharp left clear the top portion. Then came the real fun nice banking turns which I threw down my “Sam Hill” style, couple table tops I roll over. Another rock garden with nice smooth line. Few more banking turns and head for finish line. Much to my surprise and given speed I launch off what I thought would be a roller little hill! There I am in the “AIR” instant prayers going out to land on both wheels safely! I did it. First practice under my belt and all was safe! Put down couple more runs then ran in to our team member “The MOE” and Joe “J-SIZZLE”! Always nice to see all that show up at the races.

Headed over to the camp ground area to see who all was there and as always all the familiar faces were there. Traci & I chatted for a while and Nancy was there as well! Roger, Nancy’s husband even gave me a few pointers after following me on one of my practice runs. Traci & I head up for some more runs! See is getting faster, if she ever decided to pedal I am going to be in trouble!

After practice, we over headed to hotel for a shower & then out for dinner. Is always fun hangin’ out with friends! We talked about what line to take, how we felt about the course as well as catching up with each other.

Race day: Good (free) breakfast at the hotel with the team and Roy, our little camera bug. Lots of tea, couple of “Sport Legs,” pack up and off we go. Check over the bikes and hit the shuttle truck. Take couple practice runs to see the changes and man was the top loose. Major dust bowl! Manage to get in two practice runs before the call of “Race Runs” by Steve, SRC driver we all love!

Chatted with Traci as her nerves were on the edge and get her to relax. Joe was still talking about the first rock garden..but by the time lineup came he seemed to have set his mind. Tony was very calm which I thinks helps the whole team and Moe stood over things like he was “The Boss”!

Plug in the iPod, Climb up the ramp, Donny starts his count down and I was calm! Was kind of strange most of the time I get anxious but I was very calm almost excited. I told myself to run slowly through the dusty “S” turns at the top and then have fun through the rest! This is what I did on both first and second runs. After first run, and yes I got a little air out of that last jump..landed it to the sound of my cheering teammates!! It was an awesome time of racing and friends! I had so much fun on this course it felt more like a fun ride with friends then a race. My combined times placed me 8 seconds ahead of Traci for first place! YEAH!!

Thanks for all the team support! I want to through a big shout of thanks to Serfas Optics for the sunglasses as I rode my race with shade & clarity! They were awesome glasses! Also big thanks to KHS, Hoss, Evomo, Ergon & Bike Big hugs and thanks to our own little photo bug ROY!

Memorial Day Fun DH Session at Fontana

We gathered up the crew and invited some friends to try out downhill riding at the World Famous Southridge course in Fontana, Ca. We were joined by my former Downhill Race Rival/Buddy Johnny Dow as well as Tim Scissors, Mark West and Val M.

This was Priscilla’s second time riding DH and she has remarkably improved since her first time. She was more confident and was even building up speed as she attacked certain portions of the trail. For the most part it was Tim, Mark and Val’s first time out on a DH course. Some of the stuff we did can be intimidating, but when you have a great support system, anyone can be successful.

Memorial Day DH session at Fontana from RL Policar on Vimeo.

I took a spill that morning, my front tire went into a run and I tried to ditch the bike run, but since I was on a descent, I lost my footing, tumbled, hit my head and right shoulder, tumbled, and came to a sliding stop. I sat there for a few seconds, took inventory and found that I was ok. My Sette Impact Suit really protected me. Thanks to the Dainese Raptor helmet…I’m still here!

Everyone else did really great. In fact you can see all the photos from this weekend, courtesy of Joe Solancho, HERE.