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!

KHS XCT555 & Turner Flux test rides: Demo day part 2

After the downpour Friday night I thought our day would be cancelled. Luckily Jeremy called to drag my lazy self out of bed.  We arrived, half-asleep but I was eager to test any bike I could get my greedy little hands on.  Lots of bike companies were out, including Yeti, Turner, Foes, KHS, and Iron Horse. Quite the candy store of high-end bikes.

Jeremy stuck to the the 29ers; KHS’ Flagstaff and Turner’s Sultan.  Here’s Jeremy picking a line down the XC course with the Sultan.

I got to ride the Flagstaff for a little bit. I’d never ridden a 29er before and I was pretty impressed with how easily the large wheels just roll over any obstacles. Like riding a Cadillac down the steeps. Very nice. I can see why Jeremy has a constant hankering for all things 29er! But enough with the 29ers already we got enough of them from Interbike! Also Jeremy and I weren’t able to go to Interbike so this was our own little dirt demo…Fontucky style, and I decided to keep my demo 29er-free.  

The first tough decision of the day was at the KHS booth. I remembered seeing the video of Vince(KHS bicycles) introducing the new XCT 555 so I grabbed one to test. Although I did see my mistress, the freeride/DH Lucky 7, I didn’t have shoes for flats or my protective gear so I stuck with the all-mountain/XC bikes.

KHS XCT 555

This bike was a mystical black beauty so I took her picture in the shadows. Actually I’m at the shallow end of the photography skills pool…and drowning. Sorry for the bad pic.

This is KHS’ new all-mountain offering. A light bike that had to be sub 30 pounds. As I was climbing I felt like I was riding a fully rigid bike. Honestly I though something was wrong with the setup. This thing climbed like amazingly but when the hill pointed down the suspension opened up and the ride was buttery smooth. The suspension performed beautifully and I had a smile on my face the whole ride. This may be a bike we test out, if we can get our hands on it. MSRP is a ridiculous $1,999. I say ridiculous because I like it even better than the Turner Flux, a bike that costs easily twice as much.

I also have to mention the Hayes Stroker brakes that were on the XCT 555. I had the lesser version without the adjustable lever reach but they performed unbelievably. One finger braking and excellent modulation in a great looking setup. They made me realize how bad my brakes are on my own bike.

Turner Flux

I picked the medium Flux, which is a 4″ rear travel endurance/XC race bike. The fork was a Fox, XC race specific fork but I wasn’t sure of the exact model. Wow. This bike just felt fast. Low front controls for speedy climbing and a racy-light, low 20 pound weight.  While it felt faster than the XCT 555 it wasn’t as fun on the downhills. Not surprising though as this bike is made for fast and long rides. But at about $1,700 for the frame alone? Ya, I’ll take the 555 thank you. Still, it was quite a treat riding such a fine tuned piece of machinery.

As you can see I had the Oregon Scientific camera hooked up but it was pointing too high and I forgot my helmet attachment so the video was entirely of blue sky. Pretty but boring.

Here’s Jeremy suffering up the last part of a long climb on the KHS Flagstaff.

We both had a blast but were bummed we couldn’t stay longer. The course was the fastest I’ve seen it in years. The Winter Classic XC race in November should be fantastic. Also they had the 4X course all groomed and ready for stomping. This will be the main testing ground for the KHS DJ300 build and a smile crept across my face as I thought of how much fun it will be to put that bike through it’s paces here.

Demo day was so much fun. If you get a demo day near you I’d definitely check it out. The only problem I found was wanting to take the bikes home with me. I told my wife the whole event was like a strip club…plenty of leggy models around to tease you, but at the end of the day you’re going home the way you came…alone. Awww.