Well, for the past 4 years I've tried to get peolpe to go DHing with Shawn me at Diablo. Generally thou they'll see a video online and say "you're crazy" or something along those lines and say things like "I'd love to but I can't do that stuff". Well... Today that changed thanks to Jim Dellavalle! Jim came up to Hubbard Bike Club a couple times this year and got some people to say OK to it. Actually Jim got Cindy and Alaina to say yes and a couple others then followed. It ammounted to Jim, Cindy, Alaina, Bryan, Jack, Late Dan, John, Chris, Shawn, Charlie and me!
We met at the Park and Ride off the Mt. Cobb exit of 84 at 7:45. We got everything and everyone situated and were on our way. We got there about 25 minutes later than we wanted to, but Jim had the bikes already set up for them. The first thing Jim had the newbies do was ride the pavement and get uesd to the geo of the bikes and how they handled. Shawn, Chris and I did our own first run. After that, I hooked up with the group and Shawn and Chris went on their own.
The first run was Greenhorn, a new trail put in this year to accomidate beginners. We hooked up to Upper and Lower Breakout, skipped SDS, and hooked up on Alpine. I heard things like "This chest protector is digging into my shoulder" to "If this trail is too steep, I'm walking it." to "I dont like the feel of this bike. I'd rather my 29'er." I thought "This is great. All these people and Jims time and no one is liking it!" The next run John wanted to do something different so we hit Upper and Lower Dominion. It's all tabletops! We did that run and waited at the bottom. Adjustments were necessary at this point. Some suspension was too soft, others wanted a bigger bike. John and I did another couple runs and ran into them again. At this point I was waiting to hear complaints about it being too hard or something. To my suprise though I hear "Lets do another run before we take a lunch! This is AWESOME!", "Yeah, I'm up for it. Lets do that run again!" I asked Jim where he took them and he told me they did Triple Roll and some others. This was cool cause they stepped up from the beginner trails to advanced, big rock, and bridge strewn trails!
When they went for lunch, Chris, Shawn and I stayed out and rode BMW to "The Wall". The real name is Stigmata, but when you see this 20-25 foot rock slab facing around a 60* angel or better, you'll start to call it the wall too. I rolled it first, then Chris and last was Shawn. We did another run or two and met up with a really...Her name was Shannon. We took a couple minute break and were talking about what runs we did and gear we use. Shannon jioned us at this point to do a run with Chris, Dan, Shawn and me. She picked it and we hauled ass down Greenhorn. Despite this being a beginner run, you can hook into the corners and roll some fast times through there. We all had a fast paced lap in there. We took Alpine down to the Drop Progression area and took a short break there. Shannon was a little intimidated by the drops, so we took the SRAM berm instead. You book so fast through this turn that you can "G-out" your rear suspension! Whipping around this turn to a small jump and carring your speed will get you up to the banked turn and down to the bottom. This was our fastest paced run all day. Though the trails are relativley smooth, you can just go all out! When we got to the bottom the main group was there. Everyone's smiling and having a blast! Alaina said she'll be at home deciding on a DH bike or continuing XC racing. Jack want's to keep my DH bike, even though it's got 26" wheels. Cindy wants to go again as I think she might have been the most hyped of us all. Bryan I'm sure will go again cause he needed to hold back due to a trip to China in a couple days. Chris is in for every weekend. John, who was ready to see his bike will now be in every weekend. Dan wants to go again despite what might be a broken wrist. Charlie said that he'll be up for more trips this year. And Shawn and myself will continue to go every week as always.
I used to be into XC racing too, but you eventually find a new way to spend your time and money. For some this might be a once a year thing now. For others this might be their next way of riding or racing. One thing that is for certain is it opened up new doors for 7 people today. They went from being hesitant to aggressive. From XC racers and AM riders to DH and FR fanatics that left the stopwatch and odometer at home and realized that there's more ways to play with two wheels. They learned that "drops" aren't just part of a road bike and that you can start small and go from there. The Hubbard's felt the adrenaline and flow today. The high heartrate was caused not by a climb, but rather anxiety and a rush.
I hope that this story I wrote will open the minds of other riders who hold back on this sport and think that it's only what you see in the videos. It's not. It's about showing your friends other parts of the sport we all love. Today I'd like to thank Jim Dellavalle for taking his time to show these 7 riders their tallent that they were affraid to commit to. They faced their fear and found the fun.
Thanks again to Jim and everyone else!
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Thread: Hubbard/MMR Diablo day