2014 KMC Chain Winter Series at Southridge

Southridge USA, in Fontana hosts mountain bike racing throughout the year, everything from cross country (XC) to downhill. I was there for a few races years ago, but the gap had been at least five, and that seemed like a good enough reason to make the trip this morning. This was the second of five weekends worth of racing in the KMC Chain Winter Series and, while most of the races took place on Saturday, there was still the downhill taking place today.

With the likes of multi-World Cup Champion, Aaron Gwin, and World Champion, Anneke Beerten on hand, I was expecting some fast runs. They, and many others out to test themselves, did not disappoint. Maximum respect for the handling abilities of the riders out there - some of the run times out there were sub-two point five minutes. Flat out fast. If I could even make it down in one piece, I would no doubt hit the rocks multiple times, and record some ten to fifteen minute runs. Even the youngest kids coming down the mountain, sliced smoothly around turns, and were flattening out the rocks like veterans with twenty or more years under their wheels.

Mike Diorio

All that handling talent was reflected in the fact that I witnessed only a single serious fall. Just downslope from the boulder I was up on a rider, after losing contact with his bike came down hard on the top of his head. Don't know if he grabbed a little too much front brake or what, but he was moaning and groaning on the ground as spectators gathered around. Later he was down at the standings board along with everyone else checking out the times, so a knock to the head, some rock rash, and a torn jersey seemed to be the worst of it.

Large crowds could be seen well up the mountainside, from where I was perched. You could predict the location of riders along the course by the ringing bells, and the yells of watchers. Once they came over a lip of rock further up above me the clatter of bikes, or worse, that dull thud of a rim and flat tire rebounding off the granite, took over. It was good stuff to watch, but I think I will leave it a that.

Dylan Unger

Aaron Gwin

Anneke Beerten

Want to see more photos? Jump to the Flickr set where there are a select ninety images.

Cody Toms