With the evolution of the 6-inch-travel all-mountain bike, some downhill racers elect to ride the light, smaller bikes on tamer courses that can benefit from a more pedal friendly platform. The National Champs DH course at Mammoth Mountain was certainly not one of those courses where riders could get away with riding anything less than a full on downhill rig. The conditions were hot and dry, with loose rocks, sand and pumice littering the course from top to bottom. Rowdy rock gardens, high speed chatter, big hits and all around gnarly conditions pushed both riders and bikes to the limits.
Fastest time of the day, guess who?
The upper rock garden was a popular heckler hideout, from what I heard there was a keg stashed somewhere close….
I’m pretty sure that’s a kid’s police costume helmet decked out with 5.10 stickers…he must really like his shoes.
Kim Godfrey taking the hard line through the rocks.
The upper section of the course switched backed across a ski run. It was bone dry with plenty of loose rocks to slide on. Notice Amanda Batty’s complete lack of braking.
Jacqueline Thomas holding on to the what little little traction was available on this track.
Jill Kintner makes short work of the rocks.
Jill Kintner is on fire this weekend. After defending her dual slalom title last night, she earned herself another stars-and-stripes jersey this afternoon.
Cody Johnson charging through the rock garden in the upper portion of the track.
This particular rock might have caused more crashes than any other feature on the course. Here Zach Graveson finds the right line.
What a lovely view to be distracted by.
Tod Renwick taking the inside line through a rock garden in the middle of the track.
Jason Schroeder sent it down the double drops, clearing well past the big root.
Max Morgan spots a landing in the loose dirt after the drops.
Kiran Mackinnon was pinned in the double drop that leads into one of the fastest sections of the course.
Demetri Triantafillou reaches mach chicken on the steep straight away after the drops.
Bryan Pagel shows how to stay low. This bridge is after one of the steepest and fastest sections, and riders come into it with a whole lot of speed.
After the drop off the bridge comes a massive flat corner. Cam Zink was foot out flat out.
Kevin Littlefield gets his drift on.
Zink stayed low over the next bridge.
Robert Stensen boosted it…
and then gave the next jump some style for good measure…
Stephan Pipoly followed suit.
Cody Warren keeps things low.
Roy Benge floats over a rock drop in the lower half of the track.
Cody Johnson gives it the gas for one of the flatter sections near the bottom of the track.
Matt Moore tries to carry some speed into a flat section.
Graeme Pitts had a massive crash near the bottom. He was okay, and finished his run after getting air back in his lungs.
Dakota Norton sprints through the last flat section with the end in sight.
To finish the track, riders descended a near vertical chute of lose pumice. Philip Kmetz lets loose.
Michael Sylvestri flew down the hill into the hot seat with only three riders to go.
Luca Shaw seemed unaffected by the soft pumice he was drifting through.
Logan Binggeli created his own dust cloud as he pinned it to the finish.
Last man down, Aaron Gwin.
Gwin spots the finish…
and charges his way over the line to win the National Championships.
Men’s podium. #1 Aaron Gwin, #2 Michael Sylvestri, #3 Luca Shaw.
Women’s podium. #1 Jill Kintner, #2 Jacqueline Thomas, #3 Rebecca Gardner.
Full results at usacycling.org