Report and Photos By Devon Balet
(Aug 21-22, 2010) TELLURIDE, Colo- With the return of gravity racing to Telluride, there appears to be a trend there much like many other ski resorts around Colorado. The town of Mountain Village opened up their new bike park last year for the 12 hour downhill race, The Fall Tilt in Telluride. This year the Full Tilt in Telluride featured super d and downhill racing, as well as endurance racing.
Super D racing is always a guarantee for an exciting time, for racers and spectators. As the Open Men Class blazed down the opening fire road, a surprising racer took off the front, Kain Leonard. Well known for his downhill racing skills, Leonard brought out his Ironhorse downhill rig to go to bat against everyone else shorter trail bikes.
Big Foot Productions hard worker and racer, Sadhu Low joined in on the super d fun Saturday night. “This course was a lot of fun. There was more turns then on any other course we have done. Cornering was a definite advantage in this race.”
In the beginning of the single track, there was a good pile up. Low went for a sneaky inside pass on a corner and ended laying it over. Lower on the course there was another pile up. “I came around a turn and all I saw was three dudes piled up on Chad Cheeney (Durango Devo). He seemed pretty upset but the good thing about Cheeney is he always keeps a smile on his face,” said Low.
After the dust settled and the carnage was complete, Jimmy Kight was the first racer across the line, followed by Anthony Diaz and Robert Garcia. This raced proved that tire traction and cornering skills will be nothing but a huge help to stay up front and ahead of the rest.
Sunday’s downhill race brought riders to the top of the bike park and onto the World Cup dh course. Having downhill racing back in Telluride marks an important development in the evolution of mountain biking in the region.
According to pro-racer Trevor Martin, Telluride’s downhill course provided plenty of thrills for competitors and spectators alike. “It was built as a race course, not just as a downhill trail,” he says, referring to parts of the downhill course originally built for the World Cup event Telluride hosted in 2002. “It’s fast, it’s technical, and is always exciting for spectators.”
Yeti’s Chris Boice returned to racing after a short injury break. As Boice flew down the last section of the course, it had appeared that he has never had a break from his bike all his life. The speed and power he brought into every turn was more than impressive. However, it was Team Geronimo Banshee racer Brian Buell that held the top qualifying time.
“I’m feeling good,” said Buell. “I just need to have a clean race run and we shale see who is the fastest.”
Unfortunately Buell never completed his race run. After a scary high speed blow out, Buell got ejected from his bike into a nasty rock garden section. Buell spent the night in the Montrose Hospital to make sure everything was good. He will have to sit out the Windham World Cup but will be back on the bike very soon.
Orbit Racing racer Shawn Neer had an impressive race. “I had an amazing top run, I could not have done anything better,” said Neer. “I was definitely a little slow on the bottom section which lost me a few seconds. It just feels good to finally be on the podium.”
Neer edged out the masses taking home third place. KHS racer Chris Heath had a sizable gap over Neer and was a mer half a second shy of Chris Boice who brought home the top spot.
On the Pro Women side, Jacqueline Harmony continues to perform. Not only did Harmony take the top qualifying time, she secured the win finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of second place finisher and teammate Darian Harvey. Addie Stewart of Roy Utah brought home third.
Having a healthy dose of mountain bike racing back in south west Colorado is a great change for this area that once was the mecca for mountain bike racing. Hopefully there will be more races to follow in the coming years. The mighty San Juan Mountains are nothing short of spectacular, making for the perfect setting to allow rubber and dirt to excel in symbiotic disharmony.
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