The weekend of September 20th-21st marked the second annual Kamikaze Bike Games at Mammoth Mountain. In the hay day of American mountain bike racing, fearless competitors would race from the 11,000 feet elevation summit down loose fire-roads on bikes that would make the modern day rider shiver with fear. It just so happened that Mammoth was hosting a round of the California Enduro Series along with a multitude of other races at the festival, so myself and my 3 closest riding buddies piled into a van and headed to the Eastern Sierras.
I had never been to Mammoth before, but had heard great reviews and seen some cool videos of the trails. We arrived at night so I had no idea of the landscape until the next morning. It was a pleasant surprise to see the mountain and chairlifts a 30 second bike ride from our door step.
Friday was all about pre riding the courses. I was to race the Downhill race on Saturday and Enduro on Sunday. The Cat 2 DH course used the same trail as one of the endure stages, so I was right at home racing on my 6 inch travel bike. The course was a pedally top section, and then the bottom half was steeper with rocks, drops, ruts, and turns.
I went into the downhill race with an open mind, seeing it as even more practice for the following days race. I ended up having a very fun and fast race run, but with a couple of mistakes. The speed of my Specialized Enduro 29 was good enough for a second place, right behind my good friend Mitchell who was also on the same model bike!
Sunday’s race was one of the most challenging and fun races of the year. The course designers linked together some amazing trails that required both physical and technical strength. I felt very comfortable on my bike and the trails, so I gave it my all. I ended up placing fourth, just one second behind third.
That weekend was some of the most fun I have had at a race in a long time. Honestly it was a bit depressing the next day coming back to normal life. I rode so much and definitely can say that I learned a lot. Riding a bunch on trails that you do not know very well teaches you invaluable skills. I can’t wait to go back to race and just ride the whole mountain. Hopefully I will be back soon, since the 2015 USA MTB national championships will be held at Mammoth in July. For now I am left to reminisce!