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  1. #1
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    Dark Hollow Super D

    I’d been thinking – no, obsessing - about the Dark Hollow Super D since the misery that was the Sol Vista, Colorado National Championships Super D. That experience, one of an enforced mass-start sprint to our bikes, choking on dust, and pedaling what amounted to a glorified XC course, had me doubting the future of the discipline formerly known as Super Descent.

    But I knew that with the right race, with the right track requiring a balanced mix of bike handling skills and pedaling fitness (and a time trial format), I could really find my strength in mountain bike racing. So I focused on Dark Hollow. I rode cross-country a lot. I pushed my middle ring on every climb I normally grannied. Dry Gulch to Bobsled, everything on the Crest but Puke Hill… I forced myself to max out and suffer. I even rode the Snowbird tram and did sprint intervals at 11,000’ elevation, nearly puking in the process. It was the most I’d ever focused on, or trained for, any event in my life. That is, until the weekend prior to the event.

    A buddy and I rallied for Brian Head early on a Saturday, intent on camping and getting a jump on learning the Dark Hollow course. Instead, monsoon moisture shut us down. And for some reason, it mentally crushed me. I was coming off a full week of schmoozing at Outdoor Retailer, and suddenly found myself unable to ride, committed to other events, and I stopped training. I drank too much beer. I nearly gave up.

    Saturday morning of race weekend I was on the road by 7:30AM, a minor miracle. I felt like a cornered animal must, kinda terrified but ready to lash out and attack whatever needed dealing with. Contained panic. And I felt out of shape and slow.

    Practice that afternoon both put me at ease, and on edge. I lucked into a lap with the Go-Ride boys, a good omen right off the bat. And like usual, without any cruxes to worry about, I flowed the trail the first time through like I already knew it. Of course Krispy and MJ, battling it out in a premature battle royale, were long gone – Scott@Go-Ride not far off their pace. But Joss and I rallied and I was feeling good. Still, knowing the monster only added to the anticipation.

    After some food and downtime, I shuttled back up for a run with my Chainsmoke Racing teammate Carter, a.k.a. Mini Gadget. After a quick pedal through the flats up top, we dropped in to the first technical rock garden. Railed through the turns and nailed a rock gap I’d noticed the first time… then heard the hiss of a flat tire. As soon as I pulled off, I heard Carter’s yells of pain echoing through the woods. Shit. Running up a steep-as-balls trail at 11,000’ ain’t easy, and I only managed about twenty steps before slowing to a walk. I found Carter 50’ down the side of the mountain, off the trail, his helmet crushed on a boulder. He was awake, alert and in pain, so I accompanied him back to the trailhead where he was able to get a ride back to rest and recovery at the resort. Scary stuff. More clutter for my headspace—don’t. fall. there. I managed one more practice lap that evening, a more leisurely ride inspecting sections with MJ playing coach to his Cannonball Racing crew. A much better note to end the day with.

    Sunday morning, I was just calm. A bit nervous, but calm. And somehow, somewhat confident. A mellow spin up to the peak of Brian Head was the perfect warm-up. Then rolled to the start line. At first I was relieved to be in the sweeper spot for Cat 1 30-39, knowing the gunners ahead of me. That was, until I realized that Scott @ Go-Ride was right behind me. Back to being the bunny.

    The first few minutes of the race were all concentration. Pedal. What’s the line on the next corner? Push to turn. Stay loose, low, elbows out. Pedal. PEDAL. Drop into the first rock garden, through the switchbacks, vision, stay loose, flow it, let the bike do the work. PEDAL. It was a couple minutes past the first technical zone that I started to smile. Downhill races don’t give you time to think, but Dark Hollow did. I had time to realize exactly where I was: racing, rallying, pushing my limits on one of the best, shuttled trail rides in the country. In perfect weather, racing against good friends, in one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

    And it all just flowed from there. Turned in my best performance of the year—both mentally and physically. I never completely blew myself up, though maybe I should have. Had a few close calls, but recovered them all. Scared me a bit/surprised me a lot seeing slcrmr on the side of the trail, asked if he was OK, he just shouted encouragement so I rolled on. Pedaled through all the tricky ups, cleaned all but one step-up over a tricky rock. Lost maybe two seconds there. Otherwise, couldn’t have been happier with my run. Turned in a 21:50, good for 2nd place Cat 1 30-39. And yeah, I’ll take 2nd to Krispy any day, even if he smoked me by 1:15.

    P.S. Healing vibes to Dave who separated his shoulder in his race run… this was his first-ever Super D. He is a ripping rider, a regular on the Cat 1 DH podium and a super good guy. He actually rode out his race run on a jacked shoulder and even stuck around for awards. Just amazing.

    P.P.S. Mr. Altagirl was sorely missed at this race. I'm sure he would've given Krispy a run for his money.

    Put a little edit together from Saturday practice.

    teasers...
    shaka @ 0:39
    legomen @ 1:32
    faceplant @ 1:40



    Thanks to Joss from Go-Ride for mostly playing rabbit, probably unknowingly. Oh and here's the X-posted emptybeer thread with some great input from other racers: [ame="http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=81"]Utah - Mountain Bike Forums[/ame]
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  2. #2
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    Really bummed I couldn't make it down, maybe next year. Sick video and write up.
    All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.

  3. #3
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    I already talked to you about it on MTBR. Just writing so I can find this later.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  4. #4
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    That looks like a really rad race. And nice write up man!

    What bike were you runnin? The SS or the S-ed?

    Makes me all the more stoked for my first D coming up. Capitol Forrest. I think I'm gonna get my ass kicked but it will be fun.

    edit: damn... just realized it was this month and I was in ID. Next year I guess.
    Last edited by PeachesN'Cream; 08-18-2010 at 02:10 AM.

  5. #5
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    awesomeness, nice write up, send Mr AG a sixer for not showing and keeping you on the podium
    More fucked up than a cricket in a hubcap

  6. #6
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    It's been way too long since we've had a good TR write-up. Well worded dude, and helluva job on the race.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeachesN'Cream View Post
    That looks like a really rad race. And nice write up man!

    What bike were you runnin? The SS or the S-ed?

    Makes me all the more stoked for my first D coming up. Capitol Forrest. I think I'm gonna get my ass kicked but it will be fun.

    edit: damn... just realized it was this month and I was in ID. Next year I guess.
    Peaches, go here in a couple weeks. The Dakine boys were raving about this trail system when I talked to them at OR:
    http://oregonsuperd.com/wp/?page_id=516

    I was running the SS... pretty much the perfect bike for this course. All the Go-Ride guys were on Reign X's. There were even quite a few full-blown DH bikes being run. And not a single wagon-wheeler!
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  8. #8
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    Nice work dude, I knew you would do well! I REALLY wish I could have been there, even though we had a killer time in Tahoe. Driving back across NV on Sunday, I estimated that I have ridden that trail about 50 times over the last 8 years. Glad all you guys had such a good time and we really look forward to next year.

    If anyone is listening /reading, this is what a SuperD should be. I really liked Ashland this year but this one really puts the D and Super in the name. Even BurlyD would fit. Love that trail.
    "People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the
    water mains didn't break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then?
    WOULD IT!?!"
    - M. Barry,
    Mayor of Washington, DC

  9. #9
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    Thanks dood! ^^ yeah, as well as you know that trail... at the least I know you could've spanked Captain Go-Ride! Although he yet again got me by 30 seconds, argh.

    I may actually go 100% (real) Super D next year, I think it's a strength and if I can get my XC legs... I've got the DH part pretty well covered... it could be good. I pushed a 36t ring up dry gulch tonight no problem. Wish there were something else close by I could go race before the Ho-Down...
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Particle View Post
    Thanks dood! ^^ yeah, as well as you know that trail... at the least I know you could've spanked Captain Go-Ride! Although he yet again got me by 30 seconds, argh.

    I may actually go 100% (real) Super D next year, I think it's a strength and if I can get my XC legs... I've got the DH part pretty well covered... it could be good. I pushed a 36t ring up dry gulch tonight no problem. Wish there were something else close by I could go race before the Ho-Down...
    When we get back from BC, I've got some ideas on "training" rides. We need to do a lot more full pace rides without the stopping (like you are riding solo). Wait till you see what's on the Giant now..... I can't wait to give her a full ride (both ends of bike are now from Pushd).

    Don't give up on DH, just race better venue's. I think it makes a huge difference in your riding. Much planning will have to be discussed over the fire in Moab this fall.
    "People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the
    water mains didn't break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then?
    WOULD IT!?!"
    - M. Barry,
    Mayor of Washington, DC

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Altagirl View Post
    When we get back from BC, I've got some ideas on "training" rides. We need to do a lot more full pace rides without the stopping (like you are riding solo). Wait till you see what's on the Giant now..... I can't wait to give her a full ride (both ends of bike are now from Pushd).

    Don't give up on DH, just race better venue's. I think it makes a huge difference in your riding. Much planning will have to be discussed over the fire in Moab this fall.
    Intriguing! Would be great to have some training rides with other people...

    Won't give up the DH, don't worry. It keeps you sharper than anything else. Gotta get out on the pointy end every once in awhile to keep the skills. Mmmmm... Moab...
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  12. #12
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    You boys just remember, I will be at the Ho-Down this year too.

    "I am a hundred miles away son, ready to strike"
    Keep it unclipped

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Altagirl View Post
    If anyone is listening /reading, this is what a SuperD should be. I really liked Ashland this year but this one really puts the D and Super in the name. Even BurlyD would fit. Love that trail.
    You've got my attention. I absolutely loved Ashland and would say it was my favorite race this year. But I'd also love to race a more DH style Super D, or just a really long true DH like Whislter's Garbanzo. Any idea how far Brians Head is from Tahoe?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    You've got my attention. I absolutely loved Ashland and would say it was my favorite race this year. But I'd also love to race a more DH style Super D, or just a really long true DH like Whislter's Garbanzo. Any idea how far Brians Head is from Tahoe?
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...brian+head,+ut

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    You've got my attention. I absolutely loved Ashland and would say it was my favorite race this year. But I'd also love to race a more DH style Super D, or just a really long true DH like Whislter's Garbanzo. Any idea how far Brians Head is from Tahoe?
    Its a good ways for you guys but I think you would really love it. If you guys come out next year for this, we'll show you quite a few other trails /shuttles that will make the drive worth while for sure. Rotorhead drives out once a year now to ride Moab with us, BH would be about the same distance.
    "People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the
    water mains didn't break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then?
    WOULD IT!?!"
    - M. Barry,
    Mayor of Washington, DC

  16. #16
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    I know I'm younger than both Mr. AG and Particle, but if you guys would be cool with it I would like tag along on some training rides if possible.

    I'm polite and decently fast. I like long walks on the beach and pina coladas.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  17. #17
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    any time monkey, my favorite super D training ride this summer has actually been taking the 7AM wasatch crest shuttle up with the goal of making it in to work by 9:30 (my office is just below Millcreek Cyn so it's not that hard). I usually make it, barring anything like last trip's mechanical meltdown. But just riding non-stop from the top is really good, keep it in the middle ring as much as possilbe, and just rally. Plus there's way less trail traffic that early/midweek so you can usually just fly down upper millcreek/little water.
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  18. #18
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    ^^How about one of those Tuesday morning?^^


    Wow, didn't know Mr.Ag was still alive!

  19. #19
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    Thanks Particle, i'll have to get in touch with you one of these days.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  20. #20
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    BUMP! The 2nd annual Dark Hollow Super D slayage-fest is less than 2 weeks away. We need moar signups!

    go here for more info:
    http://www.go-ride.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=Racing.htm

    go here to register:
    http://www.summitsecurepayment.com/f...entry_form.php

    FYI they messed up the registration link a couple weeks ago so some people will need to re-register. But good to go now. See yall down there, gonna be good!
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  21. #21
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    p.s. I am planning on going down Thurs evening or Fri AM to get some early riding in. Probably camp Thurs night near Thunder Mtn, ride that, then head in on Friday AM to B-Head and get a practice run in, then do something else in the BH area. Practice most of the day Sat, watch some DH racing, and then race SD on Sunday.
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  22. #22
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    Good luck man! You'll kill it, no doubt.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeywrenchMoose View Post
    Good luck man! You'll kill it, no doubt.
    You not coming??
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

  24. #24
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    I'll be there and I'm off thurs-tues. We should ride and/or carpool.
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  25. #25
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    Right on duder! Can't wait. Definitely on riding; I gotta rally back after the race Sunday tho.
    I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.

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