On February 8, 2009 I entered my first DH Mtb Race. It was the third race of the Southridge Winter Series in Fontana CA. First of all I should tell you that this was,in my opinion, the best racing deal and venue in So Cal. To join the SRC “Southridge Racing Co” and pay for the race,only cost $65. You get a t-shirt,pair of oury grips and a permanent racing plate. Then you save $10 off ALL your races for the rest of the YEAR!BTW, they have plenty of races, something like 10 or 15. Ckeck the website www.southridgeracingusa.com. So the rest of the year the races only cost about $25, and you get free shuttles on AM practice on race day and $5 all day shuttle on pre-ride day. A yes they have XC,$X and Super D and kid races too. Now this would not be a great deal unless the course was great too. Well it is, my best discription is fast flowy rolling hills with technical rock gardens to make it interesting and they are always changing the course to keep things fair. I could go on gushing about how much I like SRC but do yourself a favor and see for yourself.
Now about the races, like I said my first ever DH race and a rainy muddy day to add to the flavor. I entered Sport Men 43-50 and jumped on the shuttle to check out the course. It was kinda intimidating when you see the muddy turns and steep slick rocky sections throughout the course but my tires didn’t pack up, or slip, so it was good. I did two practice runs and the watched the Pros and Experts race before it was my turn out of the gate. Let me tell you, I was nervous and my adrenaline pumping through my veins but I stayed focused and finished 7th out of 10 and I even had to pass a guy who crashed in front of me. So after that I was hooked! Then last Sunday,February 22 I entered my second race.
Race two for me and # 4 of the “Winter Series” and what a perfect day for riding. It was overcast, the trail was sticky from the week long rains and the temp was calm and cool. I wish, I would have practiced the day before but got there right at 8AM so I had time to try the course before the race. The upper course was really fast and flowy and the lower course had the rock garden with a blind boulder roll in the middle. It was not that steep but dropped you into some more technical sections that took some quick negotiating. So after practicing twice, I left it at that. Now I looked at my last race results and knew that the 1st place guy was 38 seconds ahead of me on last race. This is a big gap but I was going to try and fill it. I had been thinking about this time for two weeks and was nervious but ready. So out of the gate I started sprinting and tried to get my flow. Well at about the third or forth switchback I went over the bars and fell off the course. Matt and Stoner where there and could see that I was just not looking at the trail but I quickly got back on my bike and poured on the speed knowing that I needed to make up time. Then came the boulder roll and I guess I was coming just a little too fast because I rolled off the boulder then fell over my bars and into a rock taking a hit with my shoulder. It hurt, but I got on my bike again and pressed on. I was in too much pain to sprint to the finish but gave it my best. I managed to pull off a 4th place, and was 44 seconds behind 1st place. The 5th place guy crashed worse than me but was ok enough to make it to the podium. Yes I’m still in some pain, and my bike got scrached up, but I still can’t wait till the next race. Here are some lessons I have learned so far. Number 1, don’t crash, of course. Then just practice and get to know the course so you can pick out the perfect lines and know where your strengths’ are so you can bomb those sections. Then just try to relax and be flowey on race day. It really is a rush and knowing that the mountain is yours, for that moment, makes it all worth while. I will be racing all year and hope to see more PMBC’ers out there giving it a try and telling me what they think.