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Thread: Downhill advice

  1. #1
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    Downhill advice

    So I have been biking or awhile now, mostly just cross country. I love going downhill and taking smaller jumps and I want to gry some downhill stuff this summer at some ski places. I don't want to do anything extreme, just have some fun. I have an older titus racerx so I dont want o break my bike either.
    So would like to know where I can go to have some fun without getting in over my head.

  2. #2
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    Runs 3 & 4 at Sol Vista would fit the bill. They're relatively smooth swooping bermed DH runs.

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    Resorts offering lift-serviced DH are Keystone, Winter Park, SolVista at Granby Ranch, and Vail. All of these places have a range of trails for all abilities, check with the trail crews there and look at the trail maps and you should be all set.

    SolVista is building more trails this season, and they are concentrating on "green" and "blue" runs to start with to really capture the beginner/family market. Couple that with a full-service rental (you can demo Yeti 303s, Santa Cruz V10s, and Trek Remedy's I believe) and repair shop and a new lodge in the base area with a RIDE UP BAR, pump track, horseshoe pits, and super reasonable lift prices and I'll say you have exactly what you're looking for.

    http://bikesolvista.com/
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

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    Full Trucker pretty much nailed it.

    However..........Being a former owner of a RacerX, I could not think of a less downhill worthy bike. Don't get me wrong, it is a awesome bike. And it could be that they have changed the geo over the years, but my 2001 was a surgical instrument. Very fast, turn on a dime, very whipping and tipping. steep 72 degree head angle. It's a very design specific machine with a purpose. When it first came out, the goal was to have the most XC race oriented fully they could design. They did well. But it is definitely NOT a DH capable bike, in any hands but the most highly skilled rider.

    Yeah, the resorts do have trails that the RacerX can handle, but it sounds like you want to get into something out of your comfort zone. I would not recommend trying anything tougher then a blue course on your X and only then if you have good tech skills.

    If you really want to try your hand a downhill, I'd recommend you rent the appropriate tool for the job at one of the resorts. Trust me you'll be glad you did.

    Other than my discouraging words. I say, DO IT. I crossed over in 2003 from where you are now, and have been loving every minute. Welcome to the Dark Side.

    BTW, I'm almost 50. You don't mention your age, but don't let that be a deterrent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RickyD
    Full Trucker pretty much nailed it.

    However..........Being a former owner of a RacerX, I could not think of a less downhill worthy bike. Don't get me wrong, it is a awesome bike. And it could be that they have changed the geo over the years, but my 2001 was a surgical instrument. Very fast, turn on a dime, very whipping and tipping. steep 72 degree head angle. It's a very design specific machine with a purpose. When it first came out, the goal was to have the most XC race oriented fully they could design. They did well. But it is definitely NOT a DH capable bike, in any hands but the most highly skilled rider.

    Yeah, the resorts do have trails that the RacerX can handle, but it sounds like you want to get into something out of your comfort zone. I would not recommend trying anything tougher then a blue course on your X and only then if you have good tech skills.

    If you really want to try your hand a downhill, I'd recommend you rent the appropriate tool for the job at one of the resorts. Trust me you'll be glad you did.

    Other than my discouraging words. I say, DO IT. I crossed over in 2003 from where you are now, and have been loving every minute. Welcome to the Dark Side.

    BTW, I'm almost 50. You don't mention your age, but don't let that be a deterrent.
    Yeah my bike is exactly how you describe...an amazing xc bike on singletrack. Thats why I dont want to break it! Thanks for the advice and actually i probably will rent one of their bikes. And im 27.

  6. #6
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    Really, you could spend a day on the greens, and go slower on the blues and be fine. My first day at Keystone was on an NRS, 71 head angle a huge 3.75" of rear travel! I just had to remind myself to slow down, so I wouldn't break it, I was having so much gosh darned fun I got to the bottom and decided right there I needed a bigger bike.

    Greens and blues can be ridden with that head angle, just don't get going too fast (and you will get the urge too).

  7. #7
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    you need to build pirate trails all around your house and invite us over to ride them

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowskilz
    you need to build pirate trails all around your house and invite us over to ride them
    free PBR?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowskilz
    you need to build pirate trails all around your house and invite us over to ride them
    Or just post them on the intarnets with gps coordinates.. that guarantees you'll get lots of nice folks to help you build and maintain them.

  10. #10
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    There are lots of good places to downhill, but I'd recommend Keystone as the place to start (provided you can rent a bike there). The green run at Keystone is the longest run and has swoopy banked turns through the trees. If that feels good, try Eye of the Tiger or Mosquito Coast--both are blue and are a step steeper and more technical than the green. From there, you can work up to TNT, and then to the rest of the blacks.

    The key thing is to ride the same trails a few times back to back during the day. Your first time down a trail is usually learning it, and then you can hang it out a little more the subsequent runs. This really allows you to focus on the things that you need to improve on, without the 2,000 foot climb that's usually associated with a run that long. Spend 4 days up at the resorts this summer (rent a bike the first 2 days and then become addicted and buy a bigger bike), and your whole outlook on mountain biking with change.

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    It sounds like once I do this it will be the only type of biking I will want to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TitusCO
    It sounds like once I do this it will be the only type of biking I will want to do.
    Not necessarily true - but it WILL be the only type of biking you have time to do!
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TitusCO
    It sounds like once I do this it will be the only type of biking I will want to do.
    I barely rode my XC bike last summer after Keystone opened, I spent all my time on my DH bike. But we'll see how this summer goes, since my "XC" bike how has a 20mm fork on it and 6" of travel, it makes descents after the climb much more rewarding than on an NRS.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitusCO
    It sounds like once I do this it will be the only type of biking I will want to do.
    Maybe - don't sweat it though, the myth that Dhers are fat and lazy is just that, a myth. DH is every bit as painful as CX, if done right. Like Kristian said above, even a bit of time on a real DH bike will transform your riding (especially the XC portion).
    Now with more vitriol!

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    It's true! I rode this outstandingly crazy EPIC trail in Fruita this past weekend, and several sections were whooped out by moto riders. Can you say "Pump Track Nation" ? I knew you could! The training and riding I do for DH and 4X makes a HUGE difference in how I approach trail riding these days...
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

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    Sweet! Well I can't wait! The lifts freakme out a littlr (heights...), but I am excited!

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    Yeah, I gotta agree with the fitness thing. I went into downhill as a roadie and xc rider. I figured I'd make up for my lack of tech skills, by being so much fitter then the fat lazy DH'rs. Boy was I wrong.

    Seriously kicked my butt. I couldn't believe what a physical challenge it was. Different then "normal" endurance events. More like trying to do a 200yd dash but at the speed you would do a 50yd dash.

    First time I did Angel fire I hadn't even been able to make a full run down the course without taking a break during my practice runs. Race day hit and I didn't think I'd make it without stopping. But somehow I pulled it off. Even got 2nd place without a chain, which I lost 1 minute into my run.

    Did the entire MSC series last year, except for Keystone. I quit trail riding after Crested Butte and did strictly DH for the rest of the season. When I started riding trail again in the fall, I figured it would take a while to get back in shape. To my surprise, I was in better shape then ever. Hills that I used to struggle to climb, I motored right up. Almost effortlessly.

    I guess my point is, don't believe the BS from guys who have never done it. Your overall riding can only benefit, even if you decide to stick with XC.

  18. #18
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    More bike riding is good!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godzilla
    Maybe - don't sweat it though, the myth that Dhers are fat and lazy is just that, a myth.
    Have you looked in a mirror lately? Your ass is fat like Oprah on a 2-year Ben & Jerry's binge. I, on the other hand, am down to a B-cup.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker
    Resorts offering lift-serviced DH are Keystone, Winter Park, SolVista at Granby Ranch, and Vail.
    You can add Breckenridge (I've been told) and Copper on to that list as well but the trails are much, much easier.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by liqwid
    but the trails are much, much easier.
    Which is why they don't blip the radar for most downhillers. The last time I was at Breckenridge was 11 years ago, and as far as I know, they haven't added any trails since. The trails were all "Racer-X" type trails and hardly worth mentioning as downhill (other than the chairlift). Copper only had one trail, and it was of the same variety. Don't get me wrong, you could have a good time at both of those resorts--just don't confuse it with downhilling.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristian
    Which is why they don't blip the radar for most downhillers. The last time I was at Breckenridge was 11 years ago, and as far as I know, they haven't added any trails since. The trails were all "Racer-X" type trails and hardly worth mentioning as downhill (other than the chairlift). Copper only had one trail, and it was of the same variety. Don't get me wrong, you could have a good time at both of those resorts--just don't confuse it with downhilling.
    They might be good for a beginner (especially with a XC bike), I've only hit Copper once and will not return unless I'm with someone thats starting and I've only heard stories about Breck.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Have you looked in a mirror lately? Your ass is fat like Oprah on a 2-year Ben & Jerry's binge. I, on the other hand, am down to a B-cup.

    Don't be surprised if you wake up Monday to find that your accommodations have been pulled to some truck stop in Las Vegas









    New Mexico
    Now with more vitriol!

  24. #24
    Shinobi-Wan Kenobi Moderator
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    One other piece of advice that I didn't think of earlier: get some armor and a full face! You can buy decent full faces on line for around $50 and armor will cost around $100 for legs and arms. This $150 is pretty cheap compared to an ER visit, but the real reason to wear it is because of the extra confidence it gives you. You might even find yourself wearing it on "XC" rides sometimes....

  25. #25
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    Sounds like a challenge!

    Quote Originally Posted by RickyD
    Yeah, I gotta agree with the fitness thing. I went into downhill as a roadie and xc rider. I figured I'd make up for my lack of tech skills, by being so much fitter then the fat lazy DH'rs. Boy was I wrong.

    Seriously kicked my butt. I couldn't believe what a physical challenge it was. Different then "normal" endurance events. More like trying to do a 200yd dash but at the speed you would do a 50yd dash.

    First time I did Angel fire I hadn't even been able to make a full run down the course without taking a break during my practice runs. Race day hit and I didn't think I'd make it without stopping. But somehow I pulled it off. Even got 2nd place without a chain, which I lost 1 minute into my run.

    Did the entire MSC series last year, except for Keystone. I quit trail riding after Crested Butte and did strictly DH for the rest of the season. When I started riding trail again in the fall, I figured it would take a while to get back in shape. To my surprise, I was in better shape then ever. Hills that I used to struggle to climb, I motored right up. Almost effortlessly.

    I guess my point is, don't believe the BS from guys who have never done it. Your overall riding can only benefit, even if you decide to stick with XC.
    Agree with the improvement of overall riding skills by doing DH. Contrary to any of the other implications, there are downhills on XC rides and XC riders are not completely without bike handling skills. That's one of the big pay-offs!

    Gotta call B.S. on on any notion that riding DH primarily will not affect your XC conditioning. But, I'd venture to say that if you're not seriously riding XC, road, or running, you're not going to be able to do an epic 30 miler at Buffalo Creek or a Bergen Park to Mt. Evans road ride. At least not be able to hang with us spandex wearing, XC, road-riding weenies.

    There's already enough divisiveness between road and MTB riders. Do DH and XC riders need to perpetuate it?

    -Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Agree with the improvement of overall riding skills by doing DH. Contrary to any of the other implications, there are downhills on XC rides and XC riders are not completely without bike handling skills. That's one of the big pay-offs!

    Gotta call B.S. on on any notion that riding DH primarily will not affect your XC conditioning. But, I'd venture to say that if you're not seriously riding XC, road, or running, you're not going to be able to do an epic 30 miler at Buffalo Creek or a Bergen Park to Mt. Evans road ride. At least not be able to hang with us spandex wearing, XC, road-riding weenies.

    There's already enough divisiveness between road and MTB riders. Do DH and XC riders need to perpetuate it?

    -Chuck
    I think you read a little to much into my post there Chuck. Just talking in generality's here. There are always exceptions. You may be one. Never said DH riding could substitute for XC training. It was only made in reference to the myth that you don't have to be in shape to ride DH. The reality is, it really takes a different kind of fitness then you get from XC riding and of course vice versa.

    You don't mention if you've ever actually raced dh. There is a big difference between riding what you assume to be fast, downhill and trying to pin it at the fastest speed possible for the duration of the race down a course that would frankly scare the crap out of many seasoned xc riders (I know, 3 years ago I was one of them). XC guys would probably laugh, but a 10 minute race run on a real DH course is consider extremely brutal. If you've done it, then you no what I'm taking about. If try to tell me its easy, either you need to go faster or you've never done it.

    I ride with guys that only ride xc and some have awesome bike handling skills, others don't. But many even hardcore xc guys lack tech skills for the really nasties Most will admit it. No disrespect was intended. Just a fact that learning to go really fast thru the gnarly stuff can only help you on the xc course. Pretty self evident. And of course DH'rs could benefit from xc conditioning. Most Dh'rs that are serious. Do both. Steve Peat was a top tier xc guy before he was the World Champion in DH.

    As far as getting along. I could't agree more. But you read posts on here long enough and I can guarantee you that you'll see the ones doing 90% of the complaining are the XC guys whining about DH'rs.

    Please don't take my reply as combative. Mostly I responding to your comments. My main point is I think both side can benefit from mixing it up a little. One isn't better then the other. I think both side have misconceptions about the other. I've been on both sides, I like the DH better. Why? Because it's FUNNNNNN!!!!!!! Simple really. DH'rs always look like they are having a good time, xc guys look miserable most the time. And there attitude often reflects it.

    Heres a bonus pic for you. My son on the first of 5 jumps on Sol Vista race course #1. This isn't even the biggest jump. Not you typical XC DH, don't you think? Is this the kind of XC tech skills you're referring to? (just messing with you on that last question)

    Bring your 'A' game if your going to be competitive at DH in Colorado.


  27. #27
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    Do you need to wear a helmet?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork
    Do you need to wear a helmet?
    Only if you like your brain.

    I don't actually know if it's required, but if you're talking about keystone or similar terrain, then you really shouldn't be asking that question.

  29. #29
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    I understand completely.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork
    I understand completely.
    Armor wouldn't be a bad idea, either, especially if this is something you feel like you get semi-serious about. Even if it's only elbow/shin protection, that will help a lot.

  31. #31
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    Hit the blue runs at Keystone this summer.

    Also, Vail is pretty fun for lift served DH. Vail is fast and not super techy like Keystone. Also has some small features and jumps.

  32. #32
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    Thoughts

    I only have a few seasons under my belt but here are some thoughts. Lift access is great. Wear some protective gear. If you are new to DH but tend to push yourself you will eat it at some point. So why worry about it. If you do not have faith in your bike rent one. Just make sure to check everything before you roll ou tthe door. I rented a crap one from Winter Park a few years ago and spent all day freaked out becuase I had no real stopping power. Also, depending where you live Snowmass has a few runs with lift access. Not the best groomed but a good learning sport. My first time DHing I went there and in a few days had almost all the runs under my belt.

    SackUpSportsDOTcom

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    ....

    There's already enough divisiveness between road and MTB riders. Do DH and XC riders need to perpetuate it?

    -Chuck
    After reading that I changed my signature.

    I didn't even retain what the argument was about.

    DH is fun
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