I think everyone at the inaugural SRAM Chainless Challenge and the Ashland Super D was too busy having fun to take photos on the actual trail, all we get is start photos and the speed trap (where chainless riders clocked speeds over 53km/h). But it dam sure looked like fun! Bands, Greg Herbold, a free chain and smiles; what more could you want in a race?
It's probably worthy of note that SRAM is taking the Super D thing a little more seriously though, there will be less fun at the Downieville Classic (the mother of all US Super D's) when SRAM's Ross Schnell tries to defend his newly acquired title from WTB/Fox athletes Jason Moeshler and Mark Weir.
Breakaway Event in Ashland, Oregon hosted the longest and most demanding race in Oregon. The course was fast and flowy with some wicked pedalling. With over 5,000 vertical feet of descending, the twelve mile Super D event attracted some of the world's greatest riders to Oregon.
The weather varied as much as the terrain, featuring fog, rain and blue skies. This unique weather had some riders choosing different gear, like cross country helmets and full goggles. The course beckoned to find out how fast racers were willing to go with a mix of fire roads and tight singletrack. Within just a few minutes of the start, the athletes were treated to a lung burning climb.
Some of our favourite athletes had less than perfect luck with both Kirt Vories and Eric Carter having flat tyre issues. Local hero and overall favourite, Nathan Riddle scorched the course only to catch a tree mid-air to end his epic run in a glorious crash.
Willow Koerber combined her fitness and riding skills to win the Pro Women category. Willow said, The riding was an absolute blast. I had so much fun that I had to laugh at times as the weekend provided pure mountain bike enjoyment.
This years event also featured the first Avid Chainless Challenge! Before the start line, SRAM staff graciously removed the chain, but returned them post race along with a brand new SRAM chain. Contestants left at two-minute intervals down the three-mile course completely chainless. The combination of rolling fireroads and singletrack required smooth handling and precision braking in order to be fast.
A few hundred yards after the start line, racers entered the Avid Speed Zone where they were clocked by radar gun for fastest times. Both Pro Men and Amateur Men clocked a top speed of 53 km/h. Pro Women and Amateur Women clocked a top speed of 46km/h.
Myles Rockwell won the Pro Men Chainless Challenge. Rockwell enjoyed the event and said, It was refreshing to come race within such a great community of riders and in a town that embraces the outdoor enthusiast.
For more details on the Ashland Super D, the Avid Chainless Challenge, and future SRAM fun, check out www.dirttales.com.
Pro Men Super D 1 Adam Craig - Giant 2 Jason Moeshler - WTB 3 Sam Koerber - Gary Fisher 29r Team
Pro Women Super D 1 Willow Koerber - Subaru Gary Fisher SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ 2 Sharon Hill 3 Jamie Stamps
Pro Men Chainless Challenge 1 Myles Rockwell - Giant-Troy Lee SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ 2 Nathan Riddle - Fluidride SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ 3 Jaren Hobbs
Pro Women Chainless Challenge 1 Dawn Lambert 2 Chelsey Stevens 3 Willow Koerber - Subaru Gary Fisher SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ
for more results, see www.breakaway-events.net