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Riding with the Downhill Boyz Nov 23, 2010

Riding with the Downhill Boyz

The Downhill Invite
Rene invited me to his former downhill playground. Former? He hasn't done it in a year. With the Silver Streak bike at my disposal, I was in for the game - but I'll ride cross country. I would be joining him and his mtb buddy, Renclar.

A First Time for Everything
I haven't been with downhillers before. They walked up their bomb-proof bikes to the high point (instead of pedalling it). Then they donned their full body armour and full-face helmet (instead of a regular helmet). After doing a jump, they go back to repeat it a few times before going down further on the next jump (instead of riding the trail continuously). That's all new to me.

No Thanks
In full gear, they looked like gladiators who'll tear down a city wall. Rene offered me a spare armour. Who? Me? Maybe if I have a bike I've used for years and know the trails like the back of my hand, I'd have a small go at it. For now, tempting, but no thanks - a downhill wipeout is always worse than a cross-country spill...and I've had my share of painful cross-country mishaps.

The Trail
The trail system from its sheer looks was downhill-groomed - launches, doubles, hoops, etc. Bonus? Lots of berms! We're talking narrow single-tracks - perfect for cross-country, but tight on speed runs. Altogether, it was a technical melange of gravity plunges with berm catapults for a big air launch. At speed, these winding berms resemble switchbacks with knee-skidding body leans.

The Icons
The silence was disturbed when 2 downhillers careened their way down the trail like loose freight trains. Turned out they were 2 of downhilling's icons - Wendell and Boy George. Even on the national level, they loom big as top-5 podium finishers.

Ending Thoughts
While Rene and Renclar did their white-knuckle jumps, I rode the entire trail system without the launch and air time. With modulated braking, a little body English, it was a lot of fun. But downhilling is a world unto its own - its adrenaline offering reserved for the intrepid souls.

--- TheLoneRider

Many thanks to Rene for that fun ride...and the Silver Streak.

Some pictures courtesy of Rene Abesamis
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mountain_biking9 mountain_biking10 mountain_biking11 mountain_biking12

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Reader Comments:

Rene Abesamis
(Nov 29, 2010) Baka dapat "Riding with the downhill POSERS" yung title nito! Hahaha! We'll do it again. Gotta practise more.

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