Category ArchiveDownhill Racing



Downhill Biking &Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 01 Jun 2011 10:26 pm

Oregon Super D #1 (Hood River)

Last weekend was the 3rd annual Hood River Super D race at Post Canyon.  This race happens to be the kickoff to the 4 race Oregon Super D series and is also a part of the recently formed North American Enduro Tour (N.A.E.T.).  And the turn-out this year was the best yet.  I heard there were close to 300 racers there to challenge themselves on the 7 mile long post canyon trail and as always the vibe was serious-fun. It didn’t hurt that on this weekend fell 2 of our approximately 8 days of not rain for this month.  But that’s another subject.

The course in a nutshell; Technical ridge lines and fast flowy sweepers. 3,000′ descent 400′ climbing. Starts on a ridge line with amazing views of mt Hood (when clear) picks up quite a bit of speed and then about a mile of rocky yet flowy sweepers.  That gives way to the steep rock/rooty and seemingly always wet  1/4 mile of trail that then rewards you with a couple miles of, yes, more gorgeous sweepers. Carved rich coffee brown line set in lush greenery. Little hateful power climb. More sweepers to ridgeline. Little climb. More ridge line stuff but this time high speed flowy and in the trees. Last mile was a tight twisty creekside trail that I think you’d have to be a local to feel the flow on.

After battling some serious Portland traffic I got to Hood river at about 5:30 Friday evening and had just enough time to meet up with my friend Brian Happ and completely cake my bike with some thick, gooey, trail fudge. Fudge!  It was nasty. Demoralizing. As in I think I forgot how to ride my bike gross mud.  I’m a freak but I hate riding in mud.  I can race in it fine but I don’t enjoy it.  I ran into Kenny Burt and Olivier Bock close to the bottom of the hill and Olivier (the local) tried to cheer me up talking about how fast conditions can change there if it stopped raining.  Yeah Right I thought.  He was right though…Totally called it.  At the bottom of the hill I met back up with Brian and he described to me “the funnest crash he’d ever had”.  It sounded kinda like that scene in “the Matrix” where Keanu takes the pill, wakes up to reality, and is flushed down the tube. Only this was a 35 foot long mud tube.

After spending a solid hour washing our bikes the next morning we headed back up for some more practice.  It wasn’t raining and the wind was blowing pretty hard and that course dried out faster than (insert something that dries out really fast and is funny).  Olivier was right!  Well it didn’t dry up into dust.  Let’s say it dried up to perfect tacky dirt.  Really nice stuff with just the perfect amount of moisture.  Did a run on both the Nomad/Totem and the Blur Lt/Revelation and guess what I found out.  Little bike was definitely gonna be the ticket for this weekend.  Earlier Sneaky Nick Gibson (watch out for this guy this year) was trying to take advantage of my puffed up head by telling me that if I had the power to push the bigger bike it would definitely give me the advantage.  Oh I wanted to believe it but there is just enough climbing on the course to negate the upper rough & fast parts of the course.

So I went with the Blur LTc for the race day bike.  That bike is a race weapon! When you stomp on the pedals it snaps forward.  When you want it to carve corners it asks “how tight”.  And when you shout in your own head “oh god save me I’ve really F-d up this time”, it hears you and spreads the butter on without making a big deal of it.  It even lets you take the credit for it later on when you’re talking about what a sweet,creative, line you took through that rock garden.  Purely a hypothetical situation mind you.

Sunday was the race day.  Did I mention there were quite a few folks there to race? Yes I did.  Makes me so happy to see how many people are digging this kind of event. There were around 50 dudes in the Cat 2 19-34 alone and almost 40 women showed up to race.  That’s cool. My buddy Matthew Slaven (Kona Factory team) and honorary local (Portland) went off the line first as the safe bet for the win…Even in my own head.  I went off the line second and during the race there were times I reflected on all the fast folks also currently on the course either in front of me or behind me somewhere.  Somewhere back there were Nick Gibson, Timmy Evans, Kenny Burt, Karim Amir (Kona Factory rider who made the trip over from France for the race), Ryan Condrashoff, Jamie Goldman, & Scott Fellers to name a few.

My race was pretty uneventful.  Hit all my lines…Mostly. Pedaled HARD on the climbs and mostly just tried to keep flowing from one corner to the next.  It wasn’t until I heard some cowbells in the last mile of the course that my spidey sense got twigged.  Someones timing was off. I couldn’t even see those people with the cowbells yet.  About ten seconds went by and I heard them again. Right next to me!  Ooohhh! Ooooh! A few more corners went by and I caught a glimpse of Slaven darting through the trees. Then I lost site of him and I was across the finish line.    That’s when I knew I’d had a good run.

Slaven had had a time sink crash when he lost his bike in the creek for a bit. He was also tired from a busy weekend of filming with the Kona crew.  The price to pay for being a rockstar I guess. I was in the hotseat and I knew there were some fast rider still to come down.   I ended up keeping the hotseat with a 21:48. Timmy Evans was second at 22:22 with Nick Gibson hot on his heels at 22:28. Slaven and Teammate Karim were 4 and 5 with 22:49 and 22:52 respectively.

The Pro Women were; Alice Pennington Portland ripper with a 26:52 Lizzy English had a pretty hard crash that left her with some impressive scrapes and a bike that would only pedal in the hardest gear. She had to run the climbs but still hung on for second with 27:38 (not bad!). Lindsey Voreis came in third with a 29:37 and April Graham 29:53 and Cassandra Stann with a 30:33 rounded out 4th and 5th respectively.

Go here for the full results

Well that gets the Oregon Super D series going.  I highly recommend this series for anyone who has a mountain bike and likes to ride it on cool trails.  The series promoters have found some of the best stuff in Oregon (which is some good stuff) to race on.  Thanks for putting on such a cool event!

Next in this series is the OR SD # 2 in Bend–Be there…

Downhill Biking &Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking &Training 23 May 2011 09:05 pm

Damn..I think it’s working

The training that James Wilson is having me do that is.  I just got done racing the 20th annual Spring Thaw race in my hometown Ashland, OR and it went really well.  Far better than I expected actually.  I think I have to admit that all the interval training and core work I’ve been doing have lifted me off my old plateau.

On the way down to register for the race I was still about 50/50 whether or not I was even going to race the XC part of the weekend.  A big part of me was in doubt if I had my fitness back from the crash I took at the Keyesville classic and I didn’t want to burn myself out the day before the DH which I thought I had a good chance of winning.  But then I get to registration at “The Standing Stone” brewpub and there’s Mark Weir asking me if I’m gonna race the XC or not.  “Uhh…I still haven’t decided,” I say.  “You’d better race it or your DH win won’t count. I mean you’ll still get the win technically… but there’ll be an * next to your name and we’ll all know you’re a sissy,” he says.  Or something to that affect.  There was a lot of gum flapping going on and it’s hard to remember exactly what he said.  If you know him, it’s not hard to imagine though.

I tell him I’m still not sure if I’m gonna race it or not but internally I already know I can’t let that poke at my manhood and potential DH win slide. They leave. I register for the XC, DH, and Hardtail DH.  I tell myself I’m just gonna treat it as a hard training ride. After pre-race BS and a beer with fellow racers I go home and tell my wife that I got Weir-pressured and I caved and registered for the XC.  She gives me a whole bunch of grief for caving in to the peer pressure and I can’t win…Unless I win.

I rolled out with the leaders in near perfect race weather and was a bit surprised to find myself leading the pack for a little while up the first climb.  It felt wrong somehow.  Like there was a giant trick being played on me.  So I backed it off a bit and fell into a top ten position but still not too far from the front.  I began to pick more spots off on the climb and then really took back some spots on the first descent.  Caught up to my pal Mark Weir about halfway down & sat on his wheel for a while.  Then we turned a corner and headed back up for the second climb up to the top.  I got a bit out in front of Weir & held it all the way home into 4th place overall. Scott Chapin (Santacruz Bicycles) 3rd.  Aaron Bradford (Specialized) 2nd. And Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) won it very convincingly.  I must say it felt pretty nice to be sitting at the finish line waiting for Weir to roll across…It’s usually the other way around.

The DH on day two of the Spring Thaw has always been my focus and this year was no different other than that there was a huge pro class this time around.  The conditions were nasty!  It had been raining all night. Cold. Snowing/raining/snowing/raining/up at the top all morning during practice runs.  In the days before most of us who had been out on the course were thinking that records would fall this year.  Probably 3 or 4 people would have broken the old records..That’s how fast the track was running.

Not this day.  I think those were the worst conditions I’ve ever raced that course in.  Everybody was thinking the same thing “Just get down the hill in one piece and it will be a good day”.  Just survive your run.  And I had to go and sign up for hardtail class too. Smart.  I got to go tenth off the line for my standard run and 200th off the line for my hardtail  run. It continued snowing/raining the entire time.  Conditions were much worse the second time down after roughly 200 racers had their way with the trail.  Sometimes the trail had it’s way with the racers.

When it was all over the top five were;

Nathan Riddle     4:12:50

Mark Weir             4:15:88

Casey Coffman    4:16:79

Ben Cruz                4:16:82

Aaron Bradford  4:17:10

Pretty close

and I took Hardtail DH too…I actually feel kinda guilty about that.

Downhill Racing 10 Sep 2007 09:15 pm

2007 Mt Hood Scotty Graham Memorial race

My second race up at Mt Hood Ski Bowl this year and unlike the last my fortunes were a bit better this time. I’ve described the Mt Hood course in previous posts so I’ll just add what was new this time. Mt Hood Ski Bowl promoter Petr Kakes decided to open up the rocky chute, which cuts a switchback out of the decomposed fire road that is cannonball, near the top of the course as he does for about two of the five races a year. It’s a ninety degree left hander off of a 35mph section of cannonball–Then you dive into a fairly loose steep rock chute where the line seems to change each time (or maybe it’s that I keep changing my mind on what looks like a good line through there) The reality is that there is no great line through it and thats why it’s so great to have as part of the course. Other than that it was blue skies great temps & great people.

mt-hood-panoramic-copy.jpg

The race format for the weekend was 2 runs combined time which definitely requires a change in strategy. For me that meant bump the tire psi up about 20% and the risky line factor down by 10%. Unlike the best of 2 format a flat means you’re fineeto and a crash, well a crash is always bad, and there’s no equipment testing strategizing first run to fall back on before a balls out second run.

I was a little freaked going into it because in practice the day before I’d hit something really hard in the first 100yds. Hard enough that I popped a little hole in my casing & got squirted by Stans until the hole sealed up on its own, which made me think of what happened to Weir at D-Ville this year. I topped off the tire back at base camp (the parking lot) and let it sit over night.

Race morning dawned warm and blue and my rear tire seemed to be about where I’d left it the night before. Still nervous I added 5psi more & had just enough time to get 1 practice run in before the course was shut down to racers. I kept hitting something up top of the course HARD but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I added a couple more psi & headed up for my first race run. I was second off the start line after Daryl Young ( who at 41 still kicks my ass on a very regular basis, which is for me both inspiring and frustrating ). Hit that same something hard again clenched ass cheeks, grimaced & generally made due until I realized that I hadn’t flatted, caught Daryl half way down the course. He’d flatted— apparently on the same thing I’d been so stressed about. He went home–I can’t blame as him with the combined format there was no hope. Ironically if the previous race at Hood had been combined he’d have won it.

Now the real stress began because I noticed a HUGE ding in my rim from that first run…I could see tire bead…Now I had a good hour or so to really focus on whether or not my tire was going to blow on my second run or if I should just go ahead & change it out. I puttered & pondered, made some voodoo tire knob trimmings until I ran out of time & then I think I added some more psi and went up for my second run. By this time I’d added so much tire pressure that even on tacky dirt I felt like the princess & the pea–Like I could feel gravel underneath perfectly good dirt. But hey might as well look on the bright side–Those tires were rollin’ FAST, and anyway, I’ve got 10 inches–of travel.

It’s starting to become a familiar saying but my second run wasn’t pretty—-good enough though to keep me in first…My first first at Hood this year. I ended up with another huge rim ding but somehow everything stayed together & didn’t flat–Thank you WTB, Santacruz, Gamut, Hayes. I’d really like to thank Simon Lawton (part of a large & fast pro field in the Northwest) from Fluidride for the kicker check that he gave out to the top three fastest times, one of which was a semi-pro, which was in addition to the payout from Hurricane Racing (cosponsored by Shiloh Cyclery in Gresham Oregon). There are a few semi-pros in the Portland OR area that really ought to think about upgrading sometime soon–I’m not naming any names or anything—-PHIL WEIRING

I didn’t know it at the time but the event drew some press which reminds me of another semi who picked up a 4th place overall– Jason “kneehigh” Moon, owner of Boone Dog Bikes, who needs to get a website going so I can link to it.  Also Mike Estes from pinkbike.com wrote a far superior Mt Hood story than mine with lots of great pictures so you should check it out too.downieville_mthood-082.jpgLeft; Bart McDaniels Middle: Me Right; Simon Lawton (damn he’s tall)

Downhill Biking &Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 21 Aug 2007 11:29 am

OBRA Oregon State Championship race at Willamette Pass

The Pro/Expert course has evolved every year since the beginning at Willamette Pass, with most of those changes occurring in the treacherous top third of the course. And most of those changes have been due to the efforts to reduce the number of ambulance trips to Eugene (the closest city with a decent hospital) It’s a steep dusty mountain at the top with lots of fun rocks & logs to drop off. It’s not the rocks & logs themselves that are so treacherous but the deep shifting dust filled ruts that come before and after them that are the wreckers. The dust-rut-70 degree switchbacks aren’t a terror because when you crash it’s like falling into sifted flour–just keep your mouth closed.

Bike Setup;

I used my V-10 with Fox 40 & DHX 5 rear (which just shrugged off all the deep fast braking bumps) along with WTB DH Wheels & Dissent DH tires as no amount of side knobs will let you hook up in the dust ruts and I figured the super low rolling resistance would let me make up time on the high speed lower sweepers (they worked great), that is my favorite part of the course, and few pedally parts. As always my Gamut P40 performed perfectly–it’s easy to forget it’s there as it never does anything I have to think about. Hayes prototype Strokers–Rad. Thomson post, Thomson stem–Solid

For me the race itself was a tale of two runs–both very different from each other. First run was great–no mistakes, felt slow up top in the steep deep dusty rutted out stuff–then really let the V-10 stretch the legs out from mid-course down through the high speed sweepers & deep braking bumps–First run good enough to put me in the hot seat with about 10 seconds to spare to the next racer. Second run was UGLY–about 100 yds in my stomach was on my seat with legs dragging behind on the ground–somehow didn’t crash but had to stop to get back on the bike (and on the course). 200yds after that I had to stop again get off my bike straighten my bars (which had somehow gotten very crooked?) get back on the bike & go. I was about 20 seconds slower on the second run. Fortunately my first run held by about 5 seconds so I took the overall and I guess I get to call myself “OBRA” state champ as it was the “OBRA” state championship race. Of course there’s also the “State Games of Oregon” at Mt Hood which Lars Sternberg just won too. The Oregon State racing thing is so mixed up….It’s really too bad for the racers that the Oregon DH promoters can’t get along with each other & make one solid series.
There were some other Pro’s there but they weren’t very close–The real competition was coming from the semi’s–I guess Phil Weiring has been pretty much schooling all comer’s, pro or semi this year up there. He was there and had a good run but not quite good enough. It felt good to bring the fast time back to the pro camp–where it should be.

Nathan

Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 27 Jul 2007 10:00 am

Mt Hood 2007 State Games of Oregon Recap

Mt Hood was in rare form for the 2007 Oregon State DH Championships…..and by that I mean perfect. I almost didn’t recognize the mountain at first under the beautiful BLUE skies. Yes that’s right blue, shadows were cast on perfectly tacky dirt–There was no dust–just a really sweet World Cup caliber course.

The Course;

from the top you can see about the first 2 minutes of any riders race run, and wonder if you could possibly be going as fast as them, as it zig zags back and forth across, what is in the winter, Ski Bowl’s main run. After diving over a rocky waterfall, the first half is high speed rock strewn double track with curb sized embedded rocks at very awkward places linked by about 4 tricky gravely off camber corners. Then there is about a hundred yards of gravel fire road for racers to recover a little, take note of how their hands are most likely white knuckle clenched around the bars, and try to prepare themselves, mentally and physically, for the second half where the real fun begins.

Second half starts out by diving down an off camber singletrack with big funky rocks the kind where you can easily bottom your cranks out if your timing is wrong,which I did but my Gamut Chainguide saved my run (or destroy your front wheel/ flat your tire and not know which one of those rocks is the culprit if you’re Morgan Benbo). Then about an 8 foot drop off the “sun deck” before diving into the dark woods. Interlaced roots-tight corners-about 3 or 4 natural gap jumps/log doubles–and then emerging from the darkness to the bright finish sequence. Couple of big sweeping singletrack corners, followed by about 100yds gravel fire road give’er all you got left kinda sprint (usually feels like a squirrel trying to roll a watermelon home) .

There’s also a great write up, and some nice pictures, about this race currently on Pinkbike.com

I think it is the nature of that course but I always feel torn up completely from head to toe when I finish a race run there–I mean just beaten with sticks. Lungs roasted-forearms rebelling, hands clenched around bars in a claw of pain, thighs burning, and light headed. And that’s the best case scenario–That’s if I don’t crash.

The race format at Hood is great–You get 2 race runs, and keep your best time–Plus you get chairlift practice on the day before too. All for around 35-40 bucks so it really feels like you’re getting your moneys worth.

The Competition;

The race itself was stacked with some great competition,..Lars Sternberg (Fluidride), Darell Young (Arrow Racing), Simon Lawton (Fluidride), Zeb (Fluidride)are a few of the pros who could take the day–Not to mention that there are a bunch of Semi’s & Experts who are smokin fast too and since Mt Hood pays out to the fastest overall times–that’s on everyones mind. After the first run Lars was in the lead>Darrell next>then me> and Simon bent a crank on his run. The crazy thing was that we were all three of us separated by about 1 second over about a 4 minute course. It was on like a pot’o neck bone for the second run, we all knew it was still anyone’s race. …But not much changed. Lars,..who is super fast won it with a 4:01:?, Darrell-also super fast- got second with a 4:01:?+sneeze, I got third about 3 seconds off their pace, and Simon..almost got his bike fixed for the second run–as it was he posted a super fast time (Without a chain, as in no chain on the bike whatsoever, from the start gate to finishline) I can’t help but think there’s a really good chance I might have gotten bumped a spot had Simon’s bike been whole. But hey…That’s racing right.

Anyway,..Thanks to all the great competitors who are the reason we all get faster, fitter, and better. Thanks to Peter Kakes for putting on another great event. Thanks to the mountain for having perfect weather this time–and not extracting any huge bodily sacrafices for it.

Nathancamera-7-31-07-006.jpg

Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 18 Jul 2007 12:30 am

Nathan Riddle’s Downieville Race Report 2007

The DH

Well Downieville is over with for another year…unless you are a kindred obsessive spirit and are already strategizing and second guessing those strategies for a year from now. I am, and I know that most of those who go to D-Ville are. OK I’m going to stop beating around the bush and get this next part over with. Because really when it comes down to it this whole entry is a carrier for the next statement and until I write it down I’m going to just keep trying to figure out where & how to fit it in to my “Downieville Race Report” so that it doesn’t look too much like I’m bragging, But I am….I got 3rd in the Pro DH and I’m as happy with it as if I’d won! Well maybe we’ll see about that— I’m sure it feels pretty damn good to win it 7 times like Mark Weir who just won it again with a 46:14, and of course Jason Moeschler got second again 46:51 but I was way closer to these champs with a 47:09 than I was last year and for that I am beyond happy. Jurgen Beneke (former DH World champ) was right behind me with a 47:33. So next year he will start just a short minute behind me and it will be my work to try not to think of that the whole race down the mountain. Because he will want to win just as much as I will just as much as Jason will want to finally beat Weir just as much as Weir will want to wear his “can’t be beat, won’t be beat” boxer’s robe again. And I do want to beat those guys–being on a team with a bunch of amazingly talented, fit, riders makes everyone stronger and I am very honored to have shared the podium with them –at least for this year–who knows what will happen next year–what new talent will show up(Nico? Lopes? Craig?)–what flat tire will happen,(Rennie & almost Weir this year)–people who had flukey bad races this year may do really well next (Curtis Beavers, Ariel Lindsey)–who knows.

Saturdays XC Race

I didn’t care too much about start placement since my strategy was to just take it easy, you know, save my energy for the next day’s DH race which is why I was really there. I ended up in about the 3rd row back just in front of Eric Carter and behind Nathan Rennie—Ya you read that right! Eric looked prepared for the worst case scenario with his knee & elbow pads, huge camel back, iPod, & thousand yard stare. So bam—we start & about a mile into it I realize that my take it easy strategy is out…not just because I have that competitive instinct but more importantly because I had just a 36t single ring up front and there was about an hour of steepish climbing ahead of me. It hurt. Finally the “top” came & there was about 5 miles of rolling fire road where I was doing pretty good with my mostly taking it easy program until Rachel Lloyd passed me with a kind word of encouragement & smile and I’m really not proud about it but something inside me bucked then. I realized at that point that there had been a line drawn in the sand and that it had just been crossed. A little voice inside my head said “uh uh”. It was a stupid little voice. I picked it up a notch & promptly laid my shit out on a stupid gravel corner. Minor scrapes on all the pointy parts and there I was wishing I had EC’s knee & elbow armor ( which I’m sure he never used anyway). But I had managed to stay ahead of Rachel. And then the descent started. A blur of baby head rocks & passed riders. At one point I got so cocky that I yelled out to a rider I was about to pass “they’re dropin’ like flies”. It wasn’t instant but karma did strike. On third divide I flatted and almost destroyed my rear wheel. It took me a good 7, 8 minutes to change the flat. You know separate the tire from the tubeless rimstrip, spill liquid latex, assess whether or not the rim would now even support a tire at all..I was hurrying but I did have time to look up just in time to see her pass me back for the last time,..as well as about 17 other racers. EC & Rennie made it in just under the 3 hour cutoff mark. Rennie riding in on his 3rd flat. He was seen later cuddling with a Fajita, sitting on a hay bale surrounded by people, and staring off into space. Oh I’m pretty sure he’ll be back. There’s something about Downieville, you’re not just at some race site racing against your peers, it’s also a challenge from the mountains themselves. Like they’re testing you. Are you good enough? Will you be back? Scared of heights aye? That hill long enough for you? Cause there’s more where that came from.

Downhill Biking &Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 21 Jun 2007 01:17 pm

Downieville Preparations

Downieville is Awesome! It’s beautiful high Sierras at it’s best, and the trails are so much fun. Racing Downieville can become a bit of an obsession in terms of bike setup. For half the course you really want your DH bike and the other half you’d be hating your life to be on anything bigger than a good full squish XC race rig. And then there’s the last mile of flat pavement where you want your road bike. It gets even more complicated when you’re racing in the pro class and you have to race the pro XC in order to get to race the pro DH the next day. No kidding,..if you DNS/DNF the (28 mile with about 3500ft climbing) XC you’re pulled from the DH. To complicate things even more you have to race both events on the exact same bike–no changes whatsoever–bikes are weighed before each race. So it really becomes maddening trying to balance everything out with tires & wheels of course being the biggest worry spot. It’s awesome!

Racing it cold would be tough,..there are a bazillion corners to remember and Mark knows every single one. I actually went there last weekend in part to get myself some helmet cam footage of the entire course (49min of DH) at race speed with morning race light (yeah I know thats pretty geeky but with 14 or so miles of rocky singletrack it really comes down to knowing which blind-cliffhugging shaley off-camber corners you can rip and which ones you actually have to slow down for). And I’ve only been there 3 times now so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

I was there with my friends Ian Bagshaw (owner of Flywheel Bicycle Solutions in Talent,.OR) and Brian Happ (owner of two healed broken ankles R&L that give him a bit of a limp to his “get-away sticks” on a cold day but don’t seem to affect his riding one bit). I was there to test tires, hang out with friends, get some good helmet cam footage, & generally just have a good time. I graciously saved my pals from the flat tire gods by taking all 4 of the weekends flats for myself (2 on the first run/first day). Between that & changing tires to test out different combos I spent quite a bit of time futzing with tires before I finally got to my favorite combo WTB Dissent race for the front and Weirwolf LT 2.55 team FR for the back. Ian “Popeyed” his foreams the first day so he left just Brian & I to do shuttle runs on Sunday. Can’t wait to go back for the big race weekend!

Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 12 Jun 2007 01:43 pm

2nd annual Mt Ashland Super-D (aka Groundhogs day)

Well I think I just got done racing the 2nd annual Mt Ashland Super-D. Or I’m stuck in some kind of Bill Murray “Groundhog’s Day” scenario. When all else fails let’s check the hard facts;

Evidence supporting G-day scenario;

1. I come in second to Mark Weir again by about the same exact margin (24 seconds back). Just like last year!

2. Mark left the start gate 1 minute behind me with Jason Moeshler 1 min behind him. Just like last year!

3. I ran the WTB Mutanoraptor 2.4 ‘s F & R again this year–Despite copious amounts of heckling & fffsh-fffsh-ffsh noises from my teammates,..Who were basically all running Weir LT FR 2.55′s ( cause they’re scared of a few rocks )

4. I felt like complete dog turd stew on the climb–Just like last year!

5. John, from Bear Creek Bicycle, crashed in the exact same place as last year.

Evidence supporting the fact that it was indeed a new year, and new race;

1. Turnout for the race was up about 30% Woo Hoo!

2. I was riding my swanky white Santa Cruz Nomad this year versus My 39lb GT DHi from last year.

3. There were no slap-happy snow drifts to negotiate this year up top (but there was a very persistent fog).

4. Mark Weir didn’t crash 100 yards from the finish line like last year.

5. John was actually racing a hardtail this year.

6. The awards ceremony was inside the lodge this year. Very Nice (Borat Accent)

Well I guess that proves that it was indeed a new year, new race, and that leaves me wondering just this; How do I extract 24 seconds from my time? When I break it down it comes out to 2 seconds per mile or 1 sec/ half mile, or 1/2 sec per 1/4 mile, or 1/4 sec per 1/8 mile,…and it starts seeming pretty doable. I mean that could just come down to wind resistance.

Sorry in advance – but I think next year I’m gonna be rockin the skinsuit…eewh. I think skinsuits make a fella faster not just because of decreased wind resistance but also in a more intangible way in that it creates in the wearer a feeling of not wanting to be in one place for very long at all…If you keep moving really fast you have less of a chance of really being seen.

Or maybe I’ll just not eat the week before the event. In reality I gave it everything I had & just came up a little short–again.

Here is the GPS data for both Mark Weir & my race results;

Click here to see My GPS data

Click here to see Mark’s GPS data

Such a fun event though!! Thanks to Tita and Break Away Events and all the volunteers for putting on an even better event than last year. Thanks to my WTB teammates for inspiring me to go as fast as I can. Most thanks to my Fiancee Wendy Maynard for being so supportive of the racer lifestyle and actually reminding me to go on training rides when I might otherwise “forget” to.

If you fancy yourself a pretty sharp Super-D racer then the 2 races you really have to do are the famous Downieville Classic, and the soon to be famous Mt Ashland Super-D

Cheers,

Nathan

Downhill Biking &Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 07 Jun 2007 09:38 am

2nd Annual Mt Ashland Super D (pre-race course conditions)

Hey kids, make sure to bring your wool skinsuits & mittens this time cause it’s cold right now up on Mt Ashland. I was up there last night putting arrows at all the key intersections & it was cold,..& then when Brian went back up to get the shuttle truck at sunset he said it was snowing.

That said, overall the trail is in WAY better shape than it was last year,.. there are no snow drifts to throw the dice on up top & someone went through & actually raked (groomed) the singletrack section after the nasty climb–Thank you to the kind soul who did that. If it doesn’t rain for the next few days the trails will be in perfect shape. And I mean perfect–it just doesn’t get any better around here.

Breakaway Events Race Details

View of Mt. Ashland Super D from Google Earth

Downhill Racing &Mountain Biking 11 May 2007 09:53 am

Spring Thaw Results…excerpt from Team Motion Based

Article on Team Motion Based Blog
by Olivier Bock

“…While Mark Weir (WTB) muscled his Nomad up the climb, a different sort of rider was making good time, it was Mark’s teammate and local racer Nathan Riddle. Riddle was racing on his “townie” with fenders, skinny tires, sneakers, and a cup holder on the bars… and he was Ripping. Although Nathan flatted on the descent (where I watched him launch through the rock gardens), he came back the next day to win the DH.”

Click here to read entire article

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