Fontana, Calif (May 6, 2006) - Rich Houseman of the Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team survived a serious crash and finished a strong fourth in pro mountain cross at the National Mountain Bike Series race #1. He was ready to rip the downhill, but alas ...
The Fontana downhill course is fast and flowy up top, then it gets super steep and gnarly for about 10 seconds. "It's full on sketch -- National caliber," Houseman said. After that brief excitement, the course filters out onto the "The Wall", an infamous 45 seconds of pure pedaling love. Many racers wanted that section removed, but Houseman looked forward to the pain.
In addition to his riding kung fu, Houseman had the "Fontana Flyer" -- his Yeti AS-X with a FOX 40 set at 6.5 inches. In practice he ran a 2.35 single ply Maxxis High Roller up front and a 2.35 single ply Maxxis Larsen TT in back -- a perfect setup for such a pedalfest. "I've been racing at Fontana for eight years, and The Wall has always been part of the course," he said. "Oh yeah, I was so ready."
The mountain cross course was short with mellow jumps, but "They worked with what they had and made it really good." The huge first berm made it hard for riders to cover their lines from the inside. "That made for great racing, " said Houseman, "People were doing high-low passes left and right."
Although the course was rocky and loose, he rode his Yeti Dirt Jumper hardtail rather than his Yeti 4X suspension bike. The first straight was smooth, he said, and he knew the hardtail would get him to the first turn faster.
Houseman breezed through the rounds, but then things got a little too interesting in the final. Riding in third place, he tried to pass Garrick Anderson over a double. "Garrick took off crooked, and when he landed he put his foot on my rim and tire. My rim folded in half. I didn't even know I was crashing, so I didn't even get a hand down."
Houseman wound up in fourth place with a huge cut in his hip that kept him in the hospital until 2 a.m. "When I woke up Sunday, it felt like a train hit me. I haven't slammed that hard in years." he said. "So I decided to skip downhill."
Meanwhile, the rest of the Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team was taking final exams in Boulder, CO or racing at the World Cup in Vigo, Spain. Houseman's Fontana Flyer was seen moping in the pits. Hopefully next year.
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