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  1. #1
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    Super D help

    I am interested in getting into gravity racing. What kind of bike makes a good super D bike? What are super D courses like? Thanks

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    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    Quote Originally Posted by sessions22
    I am interested in getting into gravity racing. What kind of bike makes a good super D bike? What are super D courses like? Thanks
    Hey sessions22,

    That's a pretty big question to ask and the answer simply depends on the course.
    Here's a breakdown of the Utah State Downhill Series and NORBA Super D courses in UT over the past few years:

    -Deer Valley 2006 and 2007: you could get away with a 6in travel bike or a 3-4in XC race bike on either the UT State or NORBA course. Winners were all over the place as far as bikes go. I raced a Moto-Lite with a 150mm fork the first year and a Nomad the following and did quite well.
    -Deer Valley 2008: UT State Series was a pedalfest down and around the backside of the mountain eventually linking up with the Mid Mountain trail and climbing back up to the lift. You needed a pedal friendly and light XC bike. The NORBA event was a wierd one. You needed a bike that could climb but it eventually linked back up the Sport/Beginner DH course which was chewed up. Guys were doing this on 4in XC race bikes all the way up to one of the Giant XC pro's borrowing a fellow racer's Giant Glory DH bike with a Fox 40. It was a wierd one. Used an RFX which was great for half the course and sucked the other half.

    -Sundance: (UT State Series only) Guys posting the fastest times have been on either 29'er hard tails or Giant NRS-type XC race bikes. That's pretty much it. Although you can have a lot of fun on a 5in travel bike and do well. This is a 14-16 minute sprint/cardio fest.

    -Wolf Mountain (Creek): (UT State Series only) Last year was the first year for the Super D up there and I was given the opportunity to design the course. Any bike will do well up there. It's fast, flowy and not too rough and only one small climb. You just need a bike you're comfortable on. Plus it's short so having good cornering skills and keeping your flow is key rather than being a cardio machine.

    -Brian Head: In 2006 you wanted a lightweight 4in travel XC machine or a 29'er. Yes there were a handful of guys on them back then racing Super D. This was for both the NORBA and UT State events.
    -Brian Head: 2007 and 2008. Krispy from Go-Ride took on the challenge and took the Super D down the majority of the old DH race course from years back. Again, this was a wierd one with the top 1/4 being flat and really pedally-at 11000 ft mind you. After that you drop down into one of the funnest Super D's in the series. Small drops, fast, technical, off camber sections. In 2008 Ron let us hit a pretty good sized jump/drop that was taped off the year prior. You really want a 5-6in travel bike for this course just so you could have fun on the lower section. Lots of pinch flats at this race at it gets really rocky at the bottom.

    So in a nut shell, there is no hard answer on what bike does well. I would generalize and say bring a 5in travel, pedal friendly bike just to be safe and if you're a good technical rider, you may be able to get away with a lighter bike.

    However, keep in mind that the UT State Super D series is being phased out in favor of this new 'Trail Bike Class.' Participation's been waning the last couple years and if we were lucky you'd have maybe 12-15 guys show up. That was down from 30+ racers at Sundance in 2006. Here the news straight from the promotors mouth: 'By the way we'll do the Trail Bike race at Wolf Creek on Saturday after the Super D and completely separate from the DH. I think this will be the plan for all future events as the Trail Bike race will replace the Super D.' So having said that, if you're serious I would focus on maybe looking at a 160mm bike that is durable and probably a full face and some knee/elbow pads.

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    I hate to say it (cause I'm fat. . .), but Super D as it stands in most courses is won on the ups. Brian Head, DV (usually), especially Sundance. Notable exceptions are Wolf Mtn's course. It's a skill course, not a cardio course. Also DV's latest Super D (I was out of town, of course) was supposedly pretty good for DHer's. It makes sense, really. You're getting schooled on an up if you're going 6mph and another guy is going 8mph (33% faster!), but the difference between 18 and 20mph on the down is much less (11% faster). Just look at the spread on a DH race and an XC race and you'll see.

    I was amazed two years ago when a pro XC guy from Kentucky (I think) came out to Brian Head and schooled us all in his fruit suit and his 29er hard tail. His balls took a serious beating on his seat and watching him hit the tabletops on that bike was like waiting for a freight train to derail, but he made it down WAYYY ahead of the rest of us. Doesn't matter, though, cause Brian Head is just a sick course to race your trail bike on! So do it.

    I love Super D
    I love lamp. . .

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    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    That XC guy from Kentucky is Gregy Gibson aka Bucky The Wonder Pony. He writes for www.mtbracenews.com. Check out his time at Saturday's Sundance Showdown Super D. He almost caught Jason Sager for the pro win, but missed it by about 10 seconds. I think those guys set a course record.

    P-town, if you love Super D you'd love the Sundance Showdown 'Trailbike race course' this year. It was my understanding that Ron was going to run it down the DH course proper following any Beginner/Sport go-arounds. Not the case as NMPearson noted in another thread. It starts/ends on the DH course proper but has a big go around with absolutely nothing techical. It about 96% down with two really small 'climbs' so to speak. Decent flow. You need to be fit for sure, but this is what a Super D was supposed to be in my book.

    Only had a chance to ride it once yesterday before they closed the resort down. It was super muddy, slick and a lot of fun. It's one of those courses where it gets in your mind if you really want the full 160mm of travel with 2-ply tires so as to not pinch flat on the upper/lower sections if you decide to open it up or go the light route for the middle section. It'll be interesting to see the conditions this morning and how that race ends up.

    Cheers,

    SLC

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    Thanks for the replies! I currently have a 5 in lightweight trail bike, that will probably work, esp for the 'trail bike' category. Too bad I couldn't make it to sundance this weekend, but hopefully to wolf mountain and maybe brian head. I will have to see.
    I guess if they are phasing it out, I will just focus on getting a longer travel downhill bike... bummer, I come from a xc racing background and that would have played to my favor.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sessions22
    Thanks for the replies! I currently have a 5 in lightweight trail bike, that will probably work, esp for the 'trail bike' category. Too bad I couldn't make it to sundance this weekend, but hopefully to wolf mountain and maybe brian head. I will have to see.
    I guess if they are phasing it out, I will just focus on getting a longer travel downhill bike... bummer, I come from a xc racing background and that would have played to my favor.
    Hey sessions22,

    Don't rule your current 5in bike and XC background out at all as it would have had a big advantage on Monday. Yesterday was the just the very first 'Trail Bike' race and bugs are still being worked out. For example, a few of us wanted this class to be a combined 2 run format, rather than a best of 2. However, the computer system they have to time the event won't allow for that this year. And unfortunately due to time, the Wolf Mountain event will just be a one run race.

    As far as your bike goes. It is just fine. The bikes and times were all over the place. Jay Migliore (52 year old guy) posted the fastest time of the day only taking one run and no practice. He was on a pretty heavy bike (37lbs), but the guy comes from a 20 year professional MX racing background so winning is just in his blood. There was a guy on a Santa Cruz Blur, another guy on a Specialized 5.5in travel bike and they posted really fast times. They had to tone it down at the top, but the lighter, pedal friendly bikes more than made up for it in the middle half.

    Everyone had mediocre first run times as the course was still pretty wet, muddy and slick. Also since we had some really bad weather on practice days a couple guys went off course not being familiar with it and lost time that way.
    After a couple of hours everything dried out quite a bit and we were basically left with hero dirt-so to speak. Myself and Scott (owner of Go-Ride) represented the Cat 1's and we got our collective arses handed to us by the Cat 2-3 racers. I've always said the competition is more heated in the Cat 2 (Sport) class as you have the guys who want to get the results to move up to Cat 1 going against the sandbaggers who won't buy a license and race Cat 1 (Expert). Some kid on a Specialized SX Trail posted a screaming time only about 20 seconds off of Jay's time of 6:16 and it was his first time racing.

    I didn't fair so well. After waking up from my first run I (thought) I knew what I needed to do to shave time off my second run. I felt really good at the start line, almost a bit too cocky as went into the morning feeling my choice to run a 5.5in travel Mojo was a bit too small but that all changed after Run 1. Long story short, everything was falling into line just perfectly up top on all the rough, loose stuff. On the right hand sweeper right before the snow (read: solid ice) section I missed the tight inside line over the sewer cover which would set you up perfectly for the shoveled path through the ice (thanks for the tip Scott!). My bike ended up into probably one of the longest drifts I've ever been in, but I couldn't get the tires to hook up and send me to the right and down the channel. I pulled the bike straight as I was right at the snow/ice and I didn't want to try and go over that with my bike sideways. I attempted to bunny hop on top of it and must have hit my rear tire. I was probably going Mach 1 and the next thing I know my face hit the snow on the other, left side of the channel and after I recovered I vaguely remember running back quite a ways to pick my bike up from the other side of the channel on top of the ice. Fortunately I was wearing a full face. Despite all that and finishing up the last 3/4 of the race with my ears ringing I hit everything I was sloppy on during my first run nearly perfect-the condition of the dirt obviously played a huge role in it. Some how I managed to be only 9 seconds slower than my first run where I didn't crash, but it was not a time to brag about. Of course I'm feeling it this morning and fortunately I don't see any damage to my bike only a little bit of paint off the face guard on my helmet.

    Long story short. Try what you have first before you throw down on another bike. You shouldn't need a big bike for Wolf Mountain. It's a really small mountain with next to no rocks anywhere up there. If they put in a go-around for the one technical section on the DH course, your bike should be just fine. My suggestion would be to maybe buy a nice full face helmet and some knee/elbow pads.

    Cheers,

    SLC
    Last edited by slcrockymountainrider; 05-26-2009 at 10:00 AM.

  7. #7
    Mojo0115
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    Super D at Angel Fire this weekend had the following numbers:
    Open Men - 29 competitors
    Men 19-29 - 28 competitors
    Men 30+ - 27 competitors
    Junior Men - 13 competitors
    Open Women - 14 Competitors

    This years Angel Fire Super-D had zero hills worth speaking, last years had 2 decent climbs where a AM type bike was pretty much mandatory. The course this year was gnarly and a big bike was advantageous in the top half but a small bike had the edge on the bottom half - so pick your poison.

    Crested Butte last year had similar numbers and the course was perfect for almost any decent trail bike, a big bike was not ideal with a couple of climbs to tackle. That race was almost won and lost in the ridiculous long run before you even got to the bike.

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    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    That's great info zzsean. Krispy from Go-Ride took the team down there this weekend and mentioned he was thinking about possibly entering the Super D as he heard it could be pretty fun. I haven't heard if he competed or not? Perhaps he's lurking out there and can answer that question.

    You bring up another irk I have with Super D. Actually, two fairly big ones: Mass starts and Grab A$$-type starts. I can't run to save my life. That's why I bike.

    I can understand and accept having climbing starts like we usually had in the Utah State DH Series Super D's. That's fine. But the lay on your back, get up, run 30 yards to a cone, then backwards to where you started and then back 30 yards to your bike to start is just retarded. I don't know about you, but I don't do wind sprints before I start riding. And thank god NORBA is gone as they were getting too chummy with those style of starts.

    Mass starts for a Super D were equally as dumb. First off, unlike a XC-type event where you have a few or more laps to pass people or a 24 Hour race where you have all day, it's fairly dangerous to try and pass someone going 30mph on single track. Just ask Marla Streb back in 2006 at Brian Head. I remember seeing the result of that as she was hauled off the course on a stretcher and ended up with a cracked rib. If it's all fire road, then fine. Have at it. But when you haven't practiced all winter running in dirt littered with tennis ball sized rock in little plastic soled cycling shoes and then get stuck behind the idiot desperately trying to hold onto their 9th place and won't yield to the faster riders then that's just lame and takes away from the positive experience.

    Anyway....Did you compete at Angel Fire on your Mojo or did you opt to race DH?

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    Mojo0115
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcrockymountainrider
    That's great info zzsean. Krispy from Go-Ride took the team down there this weekend and mentioned he was thinking about possibly entering the Super D as he heard it could be pretty fun. I haven't heard if he competed or not? Perhaps he's lurking out there and can answer that question.

    You bring up another irk I have with Super D. Actually, two fairly big ones: Mass starts and Grab A$$-type starts. I can't run to save my life. That's why I bike.

    I can understand and accept having climbing starts like we usually had in the Utah State DH Series Super D's. That's fine. But the lay on your back, get up, run 30 yards to a cone, then backwards to where you started and then back 30 yards to your bike to start is just retarded. I don't know about you, but I don't do wind sprints before I start riding. And thank god NORBA is gone as they were getting too chummy with those style of starts.

    Mass starts for a Super D were equally as dumb. First off, unlike a XC-type event where you have a few or more laps to pass people or a 24 Hour race where you have all day, it's fairly dangerous to try and pass someone going 30mph on single track. Just ask Marla Streb back in 2006 at Brian Head. I remember seeing the result of that as she was hauled off the course on a stretcher and ended up with a cracked rib. If it's all fire road, then fine. Have at it. But when you haven't practiced all winter running in dirt littered with tennis ball sized rock in little plastic soled cycling shoes and then get stuck behind the idiot desperately trying to hold onto their 9th place and won't yield to the faster riders then that's just lame and takes away from the positive experience.

    Anyway....Did you compete at Angel Fire on your Mojo or did you opt to race DH?
    This year I opted out of Super-D and just did DH as I hadn't raced DH at Angel Fire before and wanted to focus on just one race. Last year I rode my Mojo and had I raced SD this year I would definitely have ridden my Mojo again over my DH bike (but my mojo is built heavy with coil suspension front and rear). I did ride the SD course on my big bike a few times this past weekend as the DH course was closed pretty regularly during practice while the medics carted the bodies off the course and even though the big bike would be faster in the first part I still think that overall a smaller bike remains the better option.

    I love the Crested Butte SD course but have no intention of racing it this year because of the stupid run at the start. I don't mind a small run as you need something to separate the field before you hit sections where passing is difficult but they have taken it to silly lengths at Crested Butte.

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    SLC,

    Yeah, I though I would just use my bike for now. It's just a light-weight carbon 5 in bike, that only ways 26 lbs. I just wanted to make sure it was enough. Are you in charge of Wolf Mtn's course this year? How soon before the race will it be marked? Or could you show me the course sometime? I grew up in Eden, now a resident of ogden. I sure liked what wolf mtn put in their first year, it sure went to the pits though. Anyway, I used to own a trek sessions downhill bike, but sold it to get married. I am just trying to get back into the downhill thing and save up some monies to have a large travel bike once again. I can still get my hands on one, every once in a while. Now, if I could just get work off to race....

    Do most superD and trail racers suit up with knee/ elbow pads and full face helmet... I have it all, just seems a little bulky if you have to pedal a lot.

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    The course last year was basically the Green Mile trail. 5" light bike would be great. I usually wear light knee pads and a regular all-mountain helmet.

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    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    Quote Originally Posted by sessions22
    SLC,

    Yeah, I though I would just use my bike for now. It's just a light-weight carbon 5 in bike, that only ways 26 lbs. I just wanted to make sure it was enough. Are you in charge of Wolf Mtn's course this year? How soon before the race will it be marked? Or could you show me the course sometime? I grew up in Eden, now a resident of ogden. I sure liked what wolf mtn put in their first year, it sure went to the pits though. Anyway, I used to own a trek sessions downhill bike, but sold it to get married. I am just trying to get back into the downhill thing and save up some monies to have a large travel bike once again. I can still get my hands on one, every once in a while. Now, if I could just get work off to race....

    Do most superD and trail racers suit up with knee/ elbow pads and full face helmet... I have it all, just seems a little bulky if you have to pedal a lot.
    Sessions22,

    P-Town is correct in the gear/trail used at Wolf Mountain (Creek). I was hinting at getting a full face, etc... down the road as Super D gets phased out and replaced with Trail Bike.

    The Wolf Mountain course starts right next to the lift (skiers left), heads down to the left and hooks up with the Green Mile trail. At the end of the Green Mile it heads left again down a fire road of sorts continuing straight and drops into a grass slope with no real trail marked/cut in the grass. It winds it's way left again into an off camber grass section which can be pretty slick, with a short climb up to a fire road and some additional sweeping single track switch backs eventually hitting the fire road that heads back down to the base of the lift. There was some confusion last year about this last section as some followed the markers for the DH course and headed off to the right by passing the grass section, climb, etc... You just really have to watch for the blue signs with 'Super D' marked on them. In some shaded sections, the dark blue signs are hard to see against the greens and browns of the woods.

    I'm not in charge of anything this year other than trying to myself back in shape. Last year I was asked to come up with the course up there as I had spent some time riding up there the prior year and Ron wasn't familiar with the resort. I basically got a digital map from the resort manager and designed the course in Photoshop based on memory and sent it over to Ron. The original plan was to cross all the way over to the old Dual Slalom course and use that as the finish, but the resort had that part of the mountain closed off so Ron did the best he could with the rest of the mountain for the last 1/4 of the course.

    I don't know when the course will be marked this year. Last year it was marked the weekend prior. However, there is some speculation as to whether Wolf Mountain will be open for lift served mtbing other than the weekend we're racing this year. Rumor has it interest in that resort was way down last year and their interest in continuing a summer program has wained-anyone correct me if you've heard otherwise. You should be able to get a run or two in the morning before race time Saturday. At this point, I'm thinking of just racing the Trail Bike class this year, but may change that as we close to race weekend.

    If you have any specifics about that race you can email the promotor Ron at: [email protected]. If you wouldn't mind posting his response on here that would be great.

    Take Care,

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcrockymountainrider
    There was some confusion last year about this last section as some followed the markers for the DH course and headed off to the right by passing the grass section, climb, etc... You just really have to watch for the blue signs with 'Super D' marked on them. In some shaded sections, the dark blue signs are hard to see against the greens and browns of the woods.
    Ryan
    I was one of the "confused" - I prefer idiotic. When I almost clipped the guy who started before me near the finish as the trails came back together, I thought,"Damn, I'm going fast! I'm gonna lap him! Doesn't he know he's on the wrong trail!" Idiot. . .

    The start to a very inauspicious Super-D season for me. . . idiocy, mechanicals and weather - in about that order.

  14. #14
    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-townDave
    I was one of the "confused" - I prefer idiotic. When I almost clipped the guy who started before me near the finish as the trails came back together, I thought,"Damn, I'm going fast! I'm gonna lap him! Doesn't he know he's on the wrong trail!" Idiot. . .

    The start to a very inauspicious Super-D season for me. . . idiocy, mechanicals and weather - in about that order.
    Oi, it's all good. I remember looking at the final times and thinking-how did I lose almost a minute to two guys??? I was pretty bummed as I though I just nailed my run. I guess it all worked out in the end, but that kinda sucked for you guys to have driven up there, paid your fee and then to get DQ'd in the end. That section was really hard to see as the two signs were set a little too far back within the high grass. Add to that, there were a couple of guys who ended up on the wrong, read faster, side of the tape on the fire road section to the finish. I ended up walking up there to direct the rest of the competitors down the right side of the tape as it did give you a bit of an advantage to take the other line.

    Oh well.

    I can't remember, did you end up racing the UT State Super D at Deer Valley last year? We were told it was going to follow the same trail as years past and practiced that for about a week or so. Got it all dialed in, showed up with the bikes set up for that course and then find out race morning that it covered an entirely different section of the mountain off the back side. Way more of a sufferfest than even Sundance and I was running a bit heavier tires as I was pinch flatting on some of the old trail sections. Add to that, they didn't have anyone marshalling the lower sections of trail where it ended on the Mid-Mountain. So if you weren't one of the first guys down you had to contend with horses and uphill traffic.

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    No Super D for me at DV last year. Sounds like a good one to miss! Last Summer was baby-parade Summer. Only got out to 3 races and posted no times, but at least got a rain refund from Sundance. This Summer is post-op recovery Summer. Wonder what'll happen next Summer?

    P.S. Always check your tire pressures before you go up for your race run, kids!

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    Apparently USA Cycling Never Got My Memo About Mass Starts

    Krispy sent me this link regarding the Stupid D race at Angel Fire this past weekend. Apparently he did fairly well placing 3rd.

    This pretty much sums up my sentiments about mass starts with all the grab a$$ing that some promoters love to dish out. Fortunately, the only time we've ever had to do anything like this was at Brian Head and run 15 ft with our bikes and that was 2 years ago. The starts are just plain lame and running a mass of guys/gals on a downhill singletrack is just stupid. Someone needs to put a bullet in the head of whomever decided to run a race this way.

    From Mr. Altagirl from Tetongravity.com's forums (P-Town, I'm sure you know who he and his wife-Altagirl are) regarding last weekends Super D:

    We had SuperD race on Sunday night: Why do promoters still think a SuperD needs a circus act at the beginning? I am going to write a letter to USA cycling and MSC (again) asking to make this a legitimate race instead of party favor.

    Anyway, we had to start with one knee and one elbow on the ground, facing away from the start. Our bikes were 75’ away up a grassy hill. The gun goes off and I push off hard. Note, Five-10’s are not made for spiriting on wet grass. I go right to my face and look up, all 29 other competitors are up and running away from me. Panicked, I get up and run like a 43-old fat man. Jump over two bikes with incredible grace, similar to gazelle, only one that just ate at a Chuck Wagon for 6 hours straight and grab my bike. The first mile was down a sketchy gravel road full of deep rain ruts and large rock loose rocks. This part of the course was terrifying. 30 guys, all trying to go mach-Looney on a lose rutted dirt road. For some reason, they all went for the main double track area of the road. I saw an opening on the far left, 15’ off the road and grabbed every gear I have. Passed 20 guys at least, went into the single track round 10th.


    His wife's take on the race:

    "I was not stoked at the start of the Super D, watching the knee/elbow/running to your bike nonsense. I dont' run anymore. Like - never. After a few minutes of being negative and pissy I figured I'd better just start visualizing it and deciding that I can run fast... Which I guess at least sort of worked, because I made it to my bike somewhere around mid-pack, which was way better than I was thinking. Grabbed my bike, jumped on and started pedaling down the ski run trying to pass as many people as possible when I noticed my brake/hammerschmidt shifter pointing backwards where I couldn't reach them. I was bouncing around way too much to take a hand off to move them, making for some terrifying corners... I have to say I had totally forgotten what it would feel like to come in hot to a loose corner with only a rear brake. Yikes. I ended up crashing into one corner and luckily that gave me an opportunity to twist the levers back around as I was getting back up. I didn't notice the handlebars all twisted until a couple corners later when I figured there was no way to fix that on the fly and figured I was cornering alright so apparently it wasn't a big deal as long as I quit thinking about it. (The twisted handlebars might have been from the crash, but the crash was from not being able to reach my front brake which happened at the start. It always blows my mind that they do these stupid starts for "safety" to spread out the field... I'm not sure how chaos and running over other peoples bikes is supposed to promote safety...)"

  17. #17
    Fragglepuss The Chaste
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    2009 Sundance Showdown 'Trail Bike DH'

    Below are a few photos from last weekends 'Trail Bike DH' race. The first two are of me during my second run, post crash. I vaguely remember jumping this and still today my head is still a little off and I have the aches from whiplash through my neck, shoulders. Crash tally: damaged CF Troy Lee Designs full face, torn jersy, torn shorts, torn right shoe along the toe and injured pride.





    This is Jay who took home the fastest run with no practice and no first run. He's 52. There's some inspiration for ya.



    Bountiful is still up in the air for me. I still have quite a few cobwebs to work out from last weekends crash. At this point my body is telling me to stay home, eat a pizza and watch a movie. Wolf Mountain will be a blast though. I'll definitely be ready then.

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