Fontana Nationals Super D

Finish line jump on the 4X track

Team Big Bear rolled through Fontana on March 24 with their latest bag of endurance offerings and I was on board for the super d. For those of you who are unaware, super d is an awesome combination of downhill and cross country with a spirited amount of pain and suffering mixed in. The course designers at Fontana created a beautiful pair of courses which appeal strongly to gravity riders but will punish those who aren’t fit. There is a short course which races in about 4-5 minutes and a long course which is about 6-8 minutes in length. Each of the two offered a good mix of climbing, technical descending and both ended on the four cross track pushing riders abilities there as well. This would be my second super d race and, having learned my lesson from the first one, I put a lot more effort into my preparation. My cardio was better adapted for races of this length, I knew the courses better, and I was much more used to the bike I had been using which was the KHS 556.

Obviously this point is subjective, but I feel the KHS is the perfect bike for a super d of this nature. The bike pedals extremely efficiently and even has lockout controls for the fork and shock. These lockouts are not remotely mounted which makes them a little funny to activate during a race but I found it possible and useful. The bike is very light considering it’s hefting 5.5in of travel around everywhere it goes making it real easy to lift up and over obstacles. This is crucial because carrying speed is the ticket to doing well at the Southridge venue. Of course though, the most important thing is that the bike matches the new 5 Year duds.

I was caught off guard by Team Big Bear’s skill classifications as there was no beginner, sport or expert division; instead there was only pro and open meaning the other three were all lumped together. This made my decision process a little easier considering I was torn between sport and expert, but this also intimidated me because it was a decent size group I was up against and there were a handful of talented experts in there. Not to make excuses here, but I felt that it would be difficult to be competitive in expert without a seat dropper especially with the added course length over the last time I raced. I calmed my nerves with a couple practice runs and was feeling ready.

Just past the next rider

Off I went for the first race run on the longer course. This consisted of some minor rock gardens and an array of turns with a steady down hill slope.About a minute into the run the course became much less assisted by gravity and this was when I passed the first rider. He moved readily for me to get by and I chugged on to the next major juncture: the DH hecklers. The super d course briefly intersected a paved road which is the same road that shuttles the downhillers. This was one of the most exhausting sprints on the course and the DH guys were ready with their “motivational” banter to make me push hard through it. I cleaned all the technical parts of the course much like I was hoping and was just suffering through the final XC part of the course when I saw the next rider ahead. My heart rate at this point was well above 100% max and I was beat tired yet incredibly determined to pass the next rider. When we came to the final sprint before the 4X course I had to strike because I new it would be difficult to do on the 4X track and I knew he would hold me back if I stayed behind. He would not let this be an easy overtake because as I sprinted he did the same. I barely edged him out and finished out the race literally the most exhausted I had ever been in my life.

Needless to say, the long, steep push back to the top was as slow and scenic as I would be allowed, punctuated with many water breaks. I was fully gassed after the first run and I knew it, fortunately the second time through involved much less pedaling that the first. About half way down the second race run there was a good technical rock garden with a multitude of lines. Coming into this section I noticed a very hearty number of raging spectators who seemed to have the depreciated sobriety levels that any racer would feel blessed to preform for. I elected to take the “hero” line with a decent size (relative to these smaller bikes) huck off a boulder which really fired those guys up. I was shocked they were all there just to watch the super d. Is this niche of biking finally gaining momentum? Again, I passed one rider ahead and then took it shamefully easy on the final pedal to the finish.

Not disappointed, just exhausted...and matching

My goal was to place top five and stand on the elusive podium once again. They posted the results for the individual runs and I tried feverishly to do the mental math to determine my placement but there were too many variables for me to take in. Finally, the results were posted and my efforts reflected my ambitions as I got 5th out of 15 riders. Elated, I waited for the podium ceremony to start so I could represent my team up there but I nearly choked when I saw that Team Big Bear only ran the awards three riders deep. I guess I’ll have to break top three next time I’m looking for recognition.

This discipline requires a more well rounded rider but is also generally easier on the body when compared to downhill which broadens the age range of riders that can be competitive. My speculation is that mountain biking is still a very new sport and with the early boomers now getting older they are seeking new ways to use their talents to compete. That could be one of the main reasons super d is growing but another is that this form is the closest to normal trail riding which is what the majority of mountain bikers partake in, thus making super d the least foreign to riders who are new to competition. Hopefully it continues to grow and fuel a new sect of super d specific products and marketing.

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.

Super D Duper Part Deux: Report

On September 24th, with the help of some good friends, I organized a lil’ guerrilla Super D Race in SoCal. We met up at a secret location where we all paid a $10 entry fee to be set aside for the winner’ pot. The way this was to work was, each rider would be released from the starting line and race down the mountain and who ever gets the best time, wins the pot.

But I also awarded top 3 with number plates that stated their place and Dirty Dog MTB was kind enough to donate 3 Reaper Stems for 1st-3rd.

24 hours prior to the event, I had about 15 RSVP’s. That morning I learned a few of them weren’t going to make it. 2 had legit reasons, one rider had Bronchitis, another broke his foot and some just didn’t bother showing up. Regardless, by race time, we had a total of 7 riders, which meant 1st place could easily earn $70!

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Watch this video to get an idea on the results. Thanks to Khoa N. for the photos and videos!

As much fun as the race was, the festivities began once we started doing awards. 1st place went to Dan Burdett, 2nd yours truly, RL Policar and 3rd was to Nick DiBlasi. This photo is our awards ceremony. We had enough schwag and beer to pass out so we decided to go 5 deep. You’re probably wondering why the rest of us are some what squatting, well its because we didn’t have an actual podium, so based on our places, we lowered ourselves to make sure Dan was number 1!
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For the raffle, everyone who was there, racing or not got a ticket. We gave away some beer, water bottles, jerseys, t-shirts, tubes and lubes.
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Here’s one of my favorite photos of the day, this is Pablo and Dustin. I brought out my tandem in hopes Artie and I could race with it, but since he’s never been on a tandem before, we decided to set it aside. What’s funny was, Dustin comes up to me and says, “RL, can Pablo and I try out your tandem? Riding one has been one of our fantasies…” How could I say no to that. So off they went!
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This photo looks really wrong…its like Broke Back wrong…
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But here’s a photo Artie and I couldn’t resist getting, 2 guys on a tandem wearing pink tuxedos…I know what you’re thinking, “wow those guys are so masculine.” Yes we are and thank you!
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Ok but here’s something more disturbing. Dianese donated a spine protector for the first place winner. So Dan decided he’d try it on to see if it fits.
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Then it just went south after that…people really need to remember that if someone takes a picture, it will end up on the Internet…haha
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A big thanks to all those that helped out and showed up to the event. Dirty Dog MTB are the coolest people in the world! BikeCommuters.com for the stuff you guys donated and to the folks that didn’t make it or are interested in joining us in a future Super D Duper event. I’ll be organizing a Triple Crown Series in which we will the Super D Duper Battle Jam! Each race will have a different venue and each participant can earn points towards the overall series and the rider with the most can win the pot from all 3 races, sounds fun don’t it?!

Super D Duper Presented by MtnBikeRiders.com

This past Saturday was the inaugural Super D Duper presented by MtnBikeRiders.com. I set up this event to be a low key/underground thing because I didn’t want to make it too big. So that meant it had to be an invitational. If you didn’t receive an invite, its probably because I don’t have your email.
super d invite copy
On race day, we had about 5 participants (including me), 2 photographers, 2 timers and one videopgrapher.

One at a time, we were released from the gate.

Jeremy Yang
Super D Duper photo by Ryan Killakey
Dan Burdett
JKY-Super Duper D-1 photo by Jeremy Yang

Corey Pond
JKY-Super Duper D-3photo by Jeremy Yang

Alfredo Garcia
JKY-Super Duper D-6photo by Jeremy Yang

RL Policar
JKY-Super Duper D-9photo by Jeremy Yang

At the end, results were in, 1st-Corey Pond, 2nd- Dan Burdett, 3rd-RL Policar
Super D Duper

I forgot to mention, we all had to pay a $10 entry fee. But that money goes into a pot in which the 1st place winner gets it all! That meant Corey earned himself a sweet $50! Oh yeah, we also had product raffles! Everyone had such a great time, that I am planning on hosting another event in the spring.

I’d like to thank everyone that came out as well as the folks who helped; Tim Shears, Moe Ramirez, Gabe Preda, Ryan Killakey (pics in the video), and Priscilla Policar.

Check out the video!

The Inaugural Super D Duper Presented by MtnBikeRiders.com from Priscilla Policar on Vimeo.

Race Report SRC Winter Series #1 Kim “Champ” Finch

Editorial-RL Policar: As always, Kim Finch had a stellar weekend at the races in Fontana, Ca. Read up on her adventures!

Well here we are back in Fontana, CA for a whole new year! As I concluded last season, I have moved to the CAT2/Sport categories in all disciplines. I am going to mix up my XC racing with my Super D races as they always fall on the same day makes it hard to do both and still make it up the hill for Downhill practice.

This past weekend I prep myself for Saturday’s XC race. Upon line up at the start line, I found two other ladies in my class. One of them I had race before in the beginner category. I was glad to see other racers in my group. I also met the three women in the 34 under category. The start horn blew and off we went.

The course was still short from previous races but considering I now had to climb the ASPHALT road twice I was not that disappointed. Two laps this race approx 11 miles. The day was perfect for XC racing, little cloud cover and perfect temp! Some changes on the start of the course but still climbing that darn road. I hit the three hills to the water tower and then was time for the fun single track! I managed to pass one of the 34 under ladies, which always makes me smile! I kept Barbara in my sights the entire race. Came around to the last climb in my first lap to the rocky hill I have yet to clear without jumping off the bike and running! There was a man on the line and gave him a little shout and there I was half way up the climb…passed him..MADE IT! I was so proud of myself and even more so when the man I passed yelled out “How did you do it?”

Lap two, I managed to pass another 34 under lady and always keeping my competition in sight. Crossed the finish line with a battle with one lady from 34 under! It was a great race and I was close enough to Barbara I was thrilled. I had figured since starting a new CAT, I will be at the bottom of the list again!

After, made a little recovery and then off to DH practice. I managed to get two runs in and calling it a day! Sunday morning got in one good clean practice run and some pointers from Nancy Harris for a cleaner line on the second split on the course. I was bumped that Traci (my rival) had been injured the day before so she was unable to race with me. At the top I was chatting with Wendy, another DH racer, and I hear everyone yelling at me! “Get up here, your lining up!” Funny was that I was so used to being the one of the last groups to start so had to RUN UPHILL!! I was tired before the start and I was trying to quickly get helmet and gloves on.

The nice thing was, RL “BOSS” was there to get me to calm down and breathe. Of course he offered to do the Team dance, but knowing “Boss” I opted for “ No thanks”! Start count down,5-4-3-2-1 GO! & off I went. All I had to do was stay on the bike and make it down the course, but NO, I still pour it on as if I am racing the world! I was a little anxious on the steep chute, as it was soft during practice but now after all the racers would be worse. I cleaned the first two turns well. Had a slight wash out at the third turn.

NO crash, but looked down and my bike wasn’t under me. LOL Grabbed the handle bar gave my bike a bit of a talking to as we got it back together and headed for the shot and did just what I planed. Scrubbed all me speed and rolled down the chute with feathering the rear brake slightly. I had a few toe dabs through the bottom section rolled into the off caber line into the rut! Then started looking for Nancy’s pointer of rolling over the big rock. Kept telling myself “find the rock”! There it is ..I am home free.

I hear friends cheering as I get through and then it is sure speed down the rest of the course. The lower rock garden was very familiar and bobbled slightly but cleared and the it’s “The Wall” I hear the yells to get on the pedals! I thought about it and was exhausted, just wanted to hit the finish line! Was a great day! Great weekend of racing & friends.

Took 3rd in XC & 1st in DH!

The Last Race of the Year for the MtnBikeRiders.com Race Team

If you missed out on the fun at Fontana last weekend, here’s a glimpse of what we experienced.

I do want to say thanks to our friend Gabe “Thunda” Preda for all his help during the races. He took care of videos and photos and he even brought food and beer! Now that’s a good friend right there.

Joe’s Race Report: Southridge Winter Series #1 – Super D

Back to the grind!  After about a month break with plenty of eating through the Holidays I opted to skip the XC race for the Southridge WS #1.  There to meet me at Fontana Saturday morning were team mates RL, Priscilla, Kim, Tony, Moe, Eric, David and our families.

 

SUPER D…  With little time spent pedaling in the past month, I decided to stick with Super D.  It’s been almost a year since I raced this discipline so I was very excited to give it another shot.  Making it more interesting was my teammate Moe will be in the same category with me.  Always fun when you have someone you know racing with you. 

 

IMG_1289 by cycle_moe.                The Moe and I on top of the course.

 

Around 12:15 Moe and I took the shuttle up to the top of the DH section.  Super D courses changes from race to race so we were anxious to see what was in store for us.  The race was scheduled to start at 12:30 but like everything else for the day, everything was running late.  With the high winds blowing, it was cold and uncomfortable on top of the hill. 

 

The Course:  With plenty of time until our line-up, I was able to walk and pre-ride some sections of the course.  It appears that the climbing would be at a minimal for today’s race – maybe 15% and the rest will be a descent through a winding singletrack crossing three bridges then onto off camber sections of the DH course.  Then ultimately through the lower rock garden, the wall and finishing of where the DH ends.

 

The Race:  Lining up, I was positioned behind Moe.  A little friendly bet between friends motivated me to try and run him over… j/k.  As Moe approached the starting point, I tapped his helmet and wished him luck.  I then turned on my helmet cam to record my run.  30 seconds after Moe started, off I went.  This course started off with a mild descent then onto several turns on a singletrack.

 

3186365151_882c153eee_o by you.

 

I then made a sharp right into the only ascent of the course.  Here was a quick grind to the top.  Along the way up, there were a group of downhillers hiking their bike up for practice.  I yelled from the bottom to make way.  Passing them the climb ended.  I turned right into more singletrack descent which winded towards the bottom.  Several corners were washed out but I was able to navigate through them.  Along the way I pass two bridges.  The third bridge was not visible from our view point at the top of the hill.  It came up suddenly for me.  As I turned into it, I see Moe down at the other side off his bike and another rider slowly approaching the bridge.  Fear of running into the other rider I panicked and veered off the course, into a small bush.  Fortunately I did not crash.  I quickly steered my bike towards the bridge, rolled over and pedaled to gain speed and time for what I just lost.

 

SR DH practice 1-10-09 superD 165 by you.

Making my way down.  Photo by Chris/Sharky.

 

Onto the off-camber turns then onto the long sprint towards the lower rock garden.  Approaching this section, I catch up to another rider.  I was on his rear tire going into the rocks.  As he gets to the bottleneck point, he goes over the bars in front of me.

 

             I was right behing this guy. Photo by Eric Foltz.

 

Blocking the only way, the quickest was to pick up my bike and run around him.  As soon as I did, I got back on my back and sprinted to the finish. 4th place – A fun run indeed!

 

 

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St. Patty’s Day Feast Downhill & Super D Mountain Bike Event

Our buddy David “Crash” Collins of Crash Innovations sent us an announcement of an event he’ll be hosting…

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

• Bootleg Canyon, Boulder City, Nevada (a designated IMBA Epic site)
• Super-D & Downhill Racing – Open to the public
• Crash Innovations (presented by)
• Complete event insurance (MCKAY Insurance Co)
• Saturday Night Street Party featuring The “Stoney Curtis Band? and big screen highlights of Saturday’s racing
• Spectator Friendly Courses
• Sponsor owned sections for both Super D & Downhill Courses
• Concessions (food & sponsors, etc.)
• Sponsor announcements with music and more
Racer discounts at local Motels, Hotels and Casinos
• On-site Mechanic support by Stan the Bike Whisperer
• FREE Beginner MTB Clinic taught by World Gold Medalist & National Champion, Doris Matyasovich (Saturday Only) Bike rentals available @ All Mountain Cyclery
• Race Meal Deals throughout the town
• Super cool trophies for all classes / Cash prizes to the elite racers
• Event T-Shirts
• Sponsor Giveaways & Raffles
• Award ceremonies following each day of racing
• Estimated participants both days total = 400
• Mail-in, on-line and same day registration available (All Mountain Cyclery in Boulder City will also have onsite-registration)
• ***Free*** camping (restrooms and showers)
• Race DVD’s available

You can get more info on the Crash Innovations MySpace Account.