Sunday, August 8, 2010

I am a downhill racer.

I did not say that I was proficient at downhill racing. My fear of hucking myself off of large drops and my lack of skillz on flat pedals are immediate barriers to DH racing success. However, rocketing down singletrack, plowing over rocks that would make me poop my pants on my hardtail, and getting “small” air on a bike with 8” of travel is fun. I mean really fun.

Rockin' the old school loose-fit Fitzy jersey

The Giant Glory 1, 8" of travel and seductively smoove

My demo bike is aptly named "The Godfather"

Grand Targhee hosted its second of three downhill races today and I couldn’t resist joining the fun. I tried it last year but I didn’t have access to a true DH bike. Fitzy’s is now stocked with a couple of Glory 1s in the demo fleet so I rented one with plans of DH domination, um, survival, in mind. Side Note: I find it interesting that Fitzy chose NOT to race today and I have to assume that my late entry intimidated him.

I tried using flat pedals on my first practice run, like all of the cool DH hipsters, but I was having hard time staying stuck to the bike in the air and through the chunder. With enough time for one more practice run I swapped pedals to my Time Atac XS pedals and clipped in...much better. At least when I went airborne I knew I was going to come down on the bike but not being able to “dab” a foot through a few loose corners was the tradeoff. The massive tires and 8” of travel give you some margin for error when picking your line. Initially I was trying to steer around rocks but during my last run I was plowing over them and just hanging on.

I did not come in last and I kept the rubber-side down. Greatness. You don’t “need” a DH bike to race downhill at Targhee but it sure is nice to have the extra travel. The last race of the series is September 11th and I can’t wait!

Thanks to Andy Williams of Grand Targhee for putting on another excellent event. The competition was tight, the category winners got very cool “DH Champion” shirts, and the raffle was extremely generous.

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