Fontana DH Winter Series #1

Winter is here and blowing in with the cold January winds is Round #1 of Southridge USA Winter Series in Fontana, CA. and time to race some DH on the Roam!!!

With that being said... I need to step back in time for a week... bare with me for a moment...

~ Going in time back now ~

A week ago, I was asked to go downhilling at Webb Canyon by a friend from Brazil, Ricky Genu. Ricky really wanted me to meet who he called at the time... a Brazilian MTB/BMX phenom named Luana Oliveira. 

Ricky wasn't exaggerating... After our formal greeting... Luana got acquainted with the medium Roam (which was far too big for her... ) by immediately pulling a 200' plus manual down the street in SPD shoes on flat pedals. This was immediately followed up by our first run down the far left side of Webb Canyon's DH trail where she lead me into every berm, gap and jump in sight... landing perfect backside and confidently drifting an oversized, unfamiliar 6" bike into pure DH territory like it was her own.

5 runs later... and after our final runs of the day, she wants to go hit the big line on the far right of Webb Canyon. I had looked at the last jump in this line the first and last time I was here but had no intention of hitting this section without seeing someone hit it first... Not to mention did I have any idea how this line even worked from what I was looking at. The last and biggest jump in the line is about a 20'-25' gap with a good sized pump-bump into a steep 3.5' tall lip to a granite chunked 60ish degree landing with a 10" x 10" hardpacked knuckle at the top and heavily graveled left turn and trees abound. 
Looks like good times for sure if something... anything goes wrong.

After checking out the confidence inspiring last set... Luana and I pedaled up 3 or 4 small waterfall/rollerish type elevation changes ranging from 3' to 6' with numerous smaller rollers thrown in along the way up.

Once at the top of the 200 yard run-in, Luana says, "Ready?" to which I respond... "Huh? Yeah, I guess...", she's gone... "clipped-in", sprinting and slamming gears into the 4 rollers into the quick, short 2' step-down and on the gas! I'm off the back immediately and trying to make up ground and understand what's going on... As, I finally get up to speed and catch up, Luana pulls up off a tiny bump at the top of the 6' waterfall we just walked up a minute ago... clicks into a table top and lands perfectly into a 2' landing ( I didn't realize THIS was a landing until she pulled up at Mach 9!!!), turns at the last kicker... scrubs some speed into the completely unnecessary pump-bump and pops 6' over my head and perfectly into that shitty landing as I skidded to a stop at the landing in disbelief and total awe... That jump scarred the shit out of me as she hit it perfectly... clipped in on a borrowed bike that was too big for her 2 hours after getting on it... WTF!!!

To make this long story short and get back to today... the next run and 4 more after that... I again followed Luana into the previously mentioned section while a group of passing-by DHer's watched with mouthes agape as a 22 year old girl flew over their heads off of a jump they have only had nightmares about... with me in tow, stoked as hell to even hit this shit, let alone having be lead in by a girl on a borrowed bike. 

I found out later at the truck, this was her 3rd time at Webb since she had arrived in the US a week earlier... it was my 3rd time there too in 2 weeks and I hadn't found the guts or confidence to hit that until following Luana... Thanks for the lead in Luanna!!!

Here's some back-up for my claims... Luana on her way thru the line at the Wetlands trails in Bolsa Chica, Ca.
pic by Marcio Carvalho

Exhibit 2: The Wetlands Set 2...
pic by Marcio Carvalho

~ Back to Present day ~

Southridge USA's Winter Series No.1 in beautiful Fontana, Ca. The course is beyond dry DG with chunked with huge granite boulders and babyheads and sloppy blown out berms into off camber gravely straights and the "Wall"... yay!!! Perfect proving grounds for the Roam's Hammer Link and AWD Systems. 

DH Practice with Marcio, Ricky and Luana.

3 of us were to race round 1 on Roams... Luana Oliveira / Pro Women (AWD System B), Marcio Carvalho / 27-24 Expert (AWD System 26) and myself Vet-Pro (AWD System B). Unfortunately for Marcio, his chain broke just before his run. Would love to have seen his placement in expert.

Luana on the other hand, was having a good run... from what I could see she looked very fast thru the top 4 turns before vanishing into the dusty course below. I would have to wait to see how she faired against the likes of World Champion Anneke Beerten and her 29" Specialized trail bike.

My turn... 5, 4, 3, 2...1.... pedal, drift, drop... everything felt really good thru the top... made it cleanly thru the dust trap that claimed numerous front wheels and countless seconds as the day went. Stayed low off the jump into the left g out... managed really good power out of the loosest off-camber flat turns I've ever encountered only to come to a complete stop 30 seconds later in the middle of the lower rock section. I struggled wanting to clip-out but finally turned my front wheel out of the bind it was in and rolled into the "Wall" with the speed of a 3 legged turtle... I gutted myself and managed an 11th out of 14 in Vet Pro... but happy I didn't stack.

At, the finish I found Luana holding her shoulder which had dislocated due to an old injury towards the bottom of the course but went back in so she was able to finish as hard as she could although in obvious pain...

As it turned out Luana's 2:43.55 was enough to beat out World Champion Anneke Beerten's 2:44.94 for top spot on the Pro Women's podium with Maxine Irving in 3rd over 11 seconds back. An interesting fact in this race was Anneke was riding a 29" trail bike while Luana was trying out 650b's for her first time.

 Luana Oliveira during her winning run... 
pic by Suzie Morales

World Champion Anneke Beerten chased Luana with all she had but 2nd would have to do...
Anneke and Luanna were more than 9 seconds ahead of 3rd place.

Maxine Irving racing into 3rd...

Luana and her loaner for the weekend...

Congratulations to Luana Oliveira on her first DH win in North America with many more to come...

Marcio Carvalho in practice on his V-10.
pic by Suzie Morales
My old roommate and old time friend, Erik Tipton at the helm...
pic by Suzie Morales

My race run was going good until the lower rocks where I got hung up for a few valuable seconds...
pic by Suzie Morales

 Practice was fun...
pic by Suzie Morales

And the Fontucky "Dust Bowl"claimed a lot of victims this weekend in both practice and racing... here's a few from the pit. 

pic by Suzie Morales

 I managed some good pedal speed on the exit keeping me on track...
pic by Suzie Morales

This is part 2 of the photo above...
pic by Suzie Morales

Local pro Cody Johnson struggled with the "Bowl" during practice but it must have paid off as he ended up 4th in Men's Pro DH.

Looking good... 
pic by Suzie Morales

 pic by Suzie Morales

 And again...
 pic by Suzie Morales

and again... 
pic by Suzie Morales

Random dude shreddin'... 
pic by Suzie Morales

 Race run shot by Cindy Tipton...

Orange "Y" Local Tom MacCormack on the come back after a ruptured Achilles tendon... ouch!
 Glad to have you back Tom!!!
pic by Suzie Morales

We didn't stick around for the podium due to work tonight but had a great day racing at Fontana... can't wait to do it again!!!!


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