Monthly ArchiveJune 2007



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