Trail Bikes and Downhill Runs: My New Most Favourite Thing

Gravity Enduro racing is taking off. And after riding at the Rocky Trail Flow Rollercoaster at Del Rio on Sunday, I can see why.

Ride up the hill at any old speed with your mates. Session techo bits so you can ride them nice and fast. Ride up the hill some more times. Shred back down. Froth, froth, froth.

Things get more interesting when your final time takes in your performance on two very different trails. The bike that gives you an advantage on one trail (or some sections of one trail) might take away time on another. It’s hard to pick a winner, except in attitude. Which is how I like it.

Being a race, there were still podiums, and admittedly I was quite thrilled to be up there with some seriously good riders.

Being a race there were still podiums and, admittedly, I was quite thrilled to be up there. Getting to use a bike designed for this stuff certainly helped.

What I also enjoyed about the Rollercoaster was it pulled together a group of riders who you’d normally see at a range of different events – XC, endurance, down hill, social rides, future social rides… On top of the fun riding on offer it was exciting to meet some new people and share in their enjoyment of technical trails. For those who found the down hill trail a bit too gnar, there was the option to race the ‘flow’ trail twice instead.

Even the roos said they liked the event - but they watched from a distance.

Even the roos said they liked the event – but they watched from a distance.

The things I’ve written about above aren’t so much a surprise, but just nice to experience.  The big surprises for me were things like how much you can learn in one race run: how not to overcook corners, how you’re going so fast you can’t tell whose voices are whose on the side of the track, how you don’t think you’re pedaling hard but can’t move at the end of a sub-five minute run, and how it’s a good idea to clip in before you start.

I was also a bit caught out by riders practicing runs. It seemed like people were either super positive, or super busy psyching each other out. I chose to hang out with the more pumped kind – I find you can ride better that way.

For Giant Factory Team rider, Josh Carlson, this type of event is his office. It was rad to catch up with him at Del Rio and see how Enduro's really done.

For Giant Factory Team rider, Josh Carlson, this is his office. It was rad to catch up with him at Del Rio and see how Enduro’s really done.

Massive, massive thanks to Rocky Trail Entertainment for putting together such a friendly, inclusive and very well run event. It’s a sure sign of a great day out when you wake up the next morning feeling super charged and looking forward to more.

Cruise up, shred back down.

Cruise up, shred back down.

 

Mind: Blown.

Mind: Blown.

Photos: Amy Bardsley-Smith (drinking in the sun), Mick Ross (podiums – except the one he’s standing on), Kath Bicknell (the others).

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