From the Bikinator: In response to a few requests, I've asked my husband George to do a guest post on my blog. Please make him feel welcome!
Hello I’m George, the husband to The Bikinator, and it’s not like your typical marriage. When she tells you on her first blog post about how she is obsessed with bike, biking, bikes, she’s not kidding. It’s so extreme I can only give you an example to give you one tenth the idea of what it’s like.
When it rains outside I must talk the tyrant down off her preverbal ledge before she goes completely postal. She will mutter to her self, check weather.com about a thousand times that day, and even go as far as to look at the weather in Virginia or upstate New York. I’ll hear her shout from her computer room, “Why, why, WHY!!! Why does it have to rain on a Saturday? I mean it couldn’t rain on a Wednesday night....NOOO! It can only rain on my one chance to go ride somewhere out of our local three spots!” Then I’ll hear the furious typing on the keyboard as she flips between checking the Weather.com page, Facebook Status updates of her rage, and working on the blog.
Which leads me hear today. I’m here as a guest on The Bikinator's blog to speak to you about Super D racing. I’ve finally completed my first Super D race. What is a Super D race? I’m glad you asked.
A super D race is best described as a downhill cross country race. They normally lack the technical danger packed elements of the downhill and in most cases, have some significant pedaling. Generally it is split 70% downhill with 30% climbing. Usually, a Super D is a timed event with individuals starting somewhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes apart (similar to a road time trial).
This is a great event many can enjoy. There isn't a whole lot of climbing so you don't have to be in great shape, although it doesn't hurt, and you don't need a $4,000.00 downhill bike to make it down. Any bike will do for a Super D race, but this category of racing is where the all-mountain/trail bikes with 4, 5, and 6 inches of travel can really excel. There are a few extra things you will want to do if you plan on trying a Super D race.
- Elbow and knee pads
- Shin pads
- Full finger gloves
- Remove any bar ends
- Add a bash guard (helps you roll over large rocks and down trees and saves your chain ring)
- Tires with excellent traction (but not downhill specific tires)
- Consider getting a full face helmet and goggles
- Consider using a long sleeve moto cross style jersey and pants
My set up: 26” 2010 Stumpjumper Elite 5” of travel, Crossmax ST Tubeless wheels, 2X9 drive chain with a bash guard.
I had seen many Super D races on YouTube, studied the style, and liked what I saw. So last year on a picture perfect Saturday morning, Angie & I made the trek up to Macungie, PA to Bear Creek where I would try my first Super D race. To my surprise I learned that if I wanted to pre-ride the course I would have to ride my bike to the top. That means to race, I would need to climb a second time. NO WAY! Luckily for me, I have ridden the trails at Bear Creek and was familiar with most of them. I would just wing it. Needless to say that I was pissed to have DNF’d (Did Not Finish) the race when I hit a sharp rock and blow out my back tire. I was only 150ft from the start.
This year I hurt my right hand at Bear Creek, was in a 1/2 cast for a week, and was limited by my Dr to road rides till 5 days before the race. My first Mt Bike ride after the injury was 1 short lap around Bear Creek. The hand felt OK, and I figured if we are doing a weekend stay at BC, may as well do the Super D race on Saturday.
This year they have a shuttle service running us to the top to make our practice runs. I jumped in the pick-up truck with 6 other guys and their bikes and took a bouncy 8 minute ride up the mountain. The start was just like last years, and this time I missed the sharp rock that was still there. The first 400 ft is the toughest with large 200-400 lb rocks to contend with. The next 2 sections were soft and freshly cut trails with many small rock gardens, and berms. Then it’s a nasty loose fire road climb for a few a few hundred feet, then turns downhill for some speed to the next section, a relatively smooth but very challenging twisty area. Many are off camber, and tight... I mean TIGHT! Then another gravel fire road climb to tight and small rocks, downhill switchback area. Then you bomb down a hill or two, scream over a small bridge, some more subtle climbing, then a technical bumpy switchback and about 11 minutes from the start line... your finished! The only problem was the finish line. If you wanted to finish with some decent speed, you had to lock up your breaks so you didn’t crash into a massive set of trees.
I was exhausted. My lungs and throat felt like they were of fire (even though I managed to take a sip of water), my forearms were fused to the grips, and my legs were quivering in weakness. Now all I have to do I make my race run. UGH! I took a sip of Hammergel, and off I go.
I take the shuttle one more time, we line up, and one at a time about 1 minute apart we left. This time I was moving much more quickly through the first and toughest section. I had only a slight bauble in the soft fresh cut area, and climbed like a mad man possessed. I bombed down the tight sections and sharp switch backs by locking my rear brake so my ass end skids around the corners. I finished with a time of 9:17, about 1:45 faster than my practice run. It was fast enough to score me a first place finish in the beginner group with 2nd place only 8 seconds behind.
Word to the wise, don’t try doing a Cross Country race the day after your Super D. I did, and I was spent for the MASS finals race.
Hi George, congratulations on your 1st place! Hope you'll post more on the blog in the future.