FOR NOT REALLY RACING BEFORE GOING “FULL ENDURO,” DID YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN RIDING DOWNHILL TO AT LEAST HAVE A BIKE HANDLING SKILL SET TO DRAW FROM?
Before getting into enduro, I did a couple of downhill and super d races, and at the time enduro wasn’t even a thing in North America. I’ve only ever raced a downhill bike once, and that was one I borrowed from my friend Thomas Ravina for a race just outside of Vegas at Bootleg Canyon. Although, now that I ride for Transition, which has a downhill bike in their line, I might do some DH events for fun.
THERE’S ONE REMARKABLE DOWNHILL WIN OF YOURS I’M AWARE OF, BECAUSE I WAS AT THE EVENT. DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED AT MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN A FEW YEARS AGO.
Back in 2014, I was racing the enduro at Mammoth Mountain, which also coincided with the US National Championship series (Pro GRT) downhill race that weekend. I only had my enduro race bike, but figured why not race downhill, too. I thought of it as just a fun, bonus race for the weekend.
I hadn’t done any National Series downhill races that year, so in the finals I had to come down first and went immediately into the hot seat. I sat there as faster and faster riders kept coming through the finish line, until ultimately the fastest qualifier came through last. That rider didn’t beat my time, so after sitting in the hot seat all day, I won a US National downhill race on a bike with a Lefty fork. I remember being on the podium and Bubba Warren teasing me saying, “No, you can’t bring that thing up here.” I said, “Sorry, but you guys just got beat by a Lefty.”
Caption: A quick Shimano lever bleed for the new Transition. Photo by Ryan Cleek