SANDY, OREGON Since I wasn't in Switzerland for Worlds, decided to try something a little different and cruise down to Oregon for a Super D event. Lars was going, so At the very least, thought it would be some sweet trail riding with a shuttle to the top, plus a chain-less dh race, which I couldn't pass up....
Super D (Downhill) is like an xc trail ride race 20+ min. Few brutal ups, and pinch climbs, but mostly downward gradient, with lots of pedaling. It's pretty much an xc race with mild flowy Dh sections. Designed for anyone and everyone who rides bikes.
Oregon Super D has been going strong for awhile. Seems weird that it is such a niche thing in this particular state, but they might be onto something. Part of a 4 race series, this final race was in Sandy, OR- a town real close to Mt. Hood and ski Bowl. Trails here were fun, super flowy. THe climbs were not too steep but long enough to be at threshold for a few minutes each, then barely enough time to recover on the slight dh pumpy bits before you gotta climb again. The last 7 minutes was mostly cruisy dh pump style, with gravely berms, but still turning the pedals over at every chance.
Didn't expect to see Lopes and Eric Carter in attendance, but it made it so much fun having a good crew of people to hang with. Ol teammates:). Bryn came with me too and was doing rehab riding up the shuttle road, then into mellow sit down riding on the pump trail. His first bit of dirt riding in 3 months!!! he was loving it, not supposed to be doing that yet. Lars is all healed up and racing again. Estes on the microphone.
We actually met all kinds of people. May be the Subaru/dog owner capital of the world. Few pros that specialize just in these enduro events, Nathan Riddle (who shreds) , Matthew Slaven, Anthony Diaz, Timmy Evans, etc. Jamie goldman took a break from jumping and was there racing (freestyle/xc ripper) but had a mechanical in his race. Bunch of other guys got all dressed up iin crazy suits, just having fun with it as grass roots events usually do.
Kind of a different crowd with a mix of xc bandit-isms, dh-ers, freestylers, and former 4x riders. But all in all pretty chill. Defiantly a better scene than an xc race. It's a good cross over sport.
Lopes and I won the Chain-less events, but he also won the super D in Pro category with a rediculous time sub 20 min. Love how dialled he always is. Lots to learn from the master. Light 5" travel carbon bike. Double ply tubless semi slick tires, wearable hydration pack under his jersey, brought his mechanic, all trained up, skinny and light, just knows really well how to prepare. Jamo from go pro pictured with lopes here.
Lizzy English won the super d by a minute- think 23.3. I had a 24.3, which was surprisingly good enough for 2nd! Laura Winberry 3rd.
I am not really that fast at climbing, nor have I ever raced for extended period of time- longest race of my life. Good thing there were plenty of turns and rollers. The ol trail bike covert with a 36 fork, saint brakes, etc loved it. Besides a little crash near the bottom onto a raw elbow in the gravel, I survived!! Just really tiring effort. Lizzy has been dominating this series and took the overall series title as well! so congrats. Nice to meet some new chick shredders.
THink the pro prize purses have room for improvement though. Hard to really pull pros in with only a couple hundred bucks for a win- men $350, women $150. Gotta be like 1k at least to get more people involved so it's worthwhile to go. Good start though, lots of product sponsors- Amateurs make the killing. Each overall class winner got a carbon santa cruz nomad! other prizes were gravity droppers, Teva shoes, Go pro cameras, Tires, yakima racks, etc.
After I finished the race, I thought of all kinds of strategies and ways to improve- once the burning went out of my lungs and legs. Experience pays in these things. Having a light bike is really important as well as pacing the energy you expend.
These races are won in the climbs I think, cause you go all out for those, and faster xc bandits can pull so much time. Plus then you are tired for the good sections to really give it everything. Gravely turns when tired need proper attention. damn that was tough, just so much pedaling in places you wish to be coasting, but not really technical enough to make huge amounts of time in the DH, this course had balance between the two.
EC was charging on a 29er. Claimed it just pulls on the rolling, which might be the case, but tire choice, flex factors, and pizza cutting ability make it kinda,, what's the word..?? . I have never ridden one though, so I may be wrong, but man they look silly.
After it was all said and done- band, food, beverages, and awards. Only3 hr drive back home, so pretty easy to do. Thx to Lars for inspiring me to go, EC for convincing me to actually race, Transition, Red Bull, and all our sponsors. GUess I got a new discipline to add to the resume...
Check out oregonsuperd.com