By Eddie Clark
Smith and Godfrey feel the burn to win the 12 hour downhill race.
(September 8, 2012) WINTER PARK, Colo.—The third annual Red Bull Final Descent endurance downhill series made its second stop at Winter Park just in time for a day with perfect weather and trails that were dialed for raging all day. A $5000 cash purse along with plenty of prizes from Oakley, Fox, and Troy Lee Designs brought out stout competition to contest the 12 hour event which pushed racers to their physical limits and beyond.
At 7am, racers assembled at the top of the mountain for a mad dash to their bikes to get onto the course first. For the first six hours of racing, the course took riders down the Trestle Downhill to a quick jaunt on Boulevard to connect to the newly built Space Ape Trail which featured plenty of flowy jumps to put a smile on most everyones face. After Space Ape, racers finished out their run by taking lower Boulevard to the base area. In the second six hours, racers rode the whole top section of the Boulevard before getting back onto the same lower half. To keep the racers first in the lift line, they had sole access to the Gemini Lift which left them with a short but rough connection to the Eskimo Express which took racers back to the top of the mountain.
For anyone that has ridden the Treatle Downhill, it's reputation of being rough and rowdy is well deserved. In this 12 hour race, with 6 hours being spent on the Trestle run, bikes and bodies to a real beating. The men's solo pro winner Waylon Smith (Hyper Bikes) got quite familiar with the abuse and lost use of his rear derailleur due to a broken cable, then flatted on another run before busting his chain guide on the following run.
Fortunately, these mountain bike racers and their pit crews are eager to help each other out, and a complete stranger lent Smith a 6 inch bike to continue racing on while the generous stranger got his chain guide fixed.
"At all of these races, there's always people that are willing to help each other out. I don't know too many people who had a clean day free of crashes or mechanicals. The first half of the day was just brutal on the bike and body. I even crashed four times in addition to the mechanicals", said Smith who completed 37 laps for the solo pro win.
Kim Godfrey took the women's solo pro win by finishing 34 bone jarring laps, and the duo pro team of Mojo/SMAC set the bar of most laps completed at 38 to win the pro duo class.