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  RACE RECAP Mammoth Mtn    
 

Sept. 4-6, 2009
California Golden State Mountain
Bike Championships

Mammoth Lakes, CA

After a 5 year absence the Kamikaze is back! Not only that, but one of the most talked about Super D courses is back too!

Thanks to Don Jackson of Southridge USA and Bill Cockroft the Senior Vice President of Operations at the Mammoth Mtn resort which is one of the sports greatest venues.

Besides for the multitude of events Don Jackson organized a special Legends event that included a list of riders who have left their mark on the sport in one way or another. The plan was to invite a bunch of the legends of the sport and send them down the legendary Kamikaze downhill run. Along with the event there was a special "Legends" party that was MC'd by the always entertaining former World Champion Greg Herbold. Riders were acknowledge and presented a cool award. It was great to visit with everyone and watch some old school Mammoth footage. Hopefully this can be turned into some sort of an annual event.

Super D
The last time I did the Mammoth Super D it was a very humbling experience. I really wasn't in great shape at the time and the altitude really took it's toll. The course turned out to be a 20 minute plus suferfest which by my standards was too long for a Super D. This year the course was trimmed down to a much more manageable 15 minute course with a good mix of pedaling and technical sections.
It was a super fun and flowey course complete with wicked 40 m.ph. cross winds at the top that along with the altitude made it quite challenging. My Santa Cruz Carbon Blur LT was once again the perfect all around bike for the event. The course was 99% single track which meant a mass start would not be a good option so the time trial method was used. I prefer the mass start style, but I would take a course like this over a fire road only course any day. It's hard to judge how hard to go when you are out there by yourself. It's easy to over-do it
Super D Podium

on the top and then have nothing on the bottom, so I did my best to keep my heart rate in check and finish strong.

Legends Kamikaze
It's been awhile since I rode the Kamikaze or anything like it for that matter. At first I was a little apprehensive to even do it. Mostly I was concerned about the fact I only had a chain guide that would take a 36 tooth chainring. I looked at Eric Carters bike which had a custom 56 tooth set up. I tried to spend some time rigging something up, but it just wasn't happening. So by the time I got my bike put back together it was race time and I hadn't done a single practice run. So I did the next best thing and grabbed my camera and shot some photos of the guys racing the regular Kamikaze. Luckily the Legends race wasn't until the next day.


Chillin at the top with H.B.


Race day I got myself to the top in time for a practice run. Off I went on my first run in 5 years....wow what a rush. There just isn't anything else like this. It was a lot looser and rockier than I remember, but what wasn't missing was that incredible sustained speed you carry down the course. Going into the infamous chicane I took the line I thought I remembered but nope I was off and grabbing for brakes and drifting big time. I continued on trying to soak in everything because I knew my next run was going to be my race run. I get to the top for my race run and as it turned out things were delayed so they gave us all the option to do another run. Of course we all took it and off we went. This time Cully, a previous winner here followed me down. He had been here all week riding and hanging out. I revised my lines a bit from my first run and I felt I was pretty close to the race line. Once at the bottom Cully said I was carrying good speed all except for in one area. He said don't worry about that turn just hold your line and go no brakes! So come race time I launch down the course and proceed to drift wide on the first section...Crap! I probably gave up a second or two, but managed to get back on line. I carried my speed the best I could and quickly spun out my gear and got into my tuck. I hit the rest of the course pretty well and hammered the slight uphill section pretty hard. However shortly after the little uphill I hit my anorobic threshold big time. The next section I was forced to just coast. I collected my self for the sprint to the finish and put in an admirable finish straight. Instantly I had that feeling I remembered so well...oh crap I am going to throw up! Ha ha...I didn't actually, but for a minute there I felt pretty destroyed.

Race

My wife and daughter met me at the finish line a few moments later looking at me like I am crazy. It's all good and Kailey jumps up on my bike for a photo op.

All in all it was a great weekend of racing and I am looking forward to the possibility it will be on again next year!

-Joe Lawwill

Legends Kamikaze Downhill
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2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
JOE LAWWILL
DAVE CULLINAN
ALEX MORGAN
BERNIE U
RUSS LEBARRON
SEAN HAWKING
GREG HERBOLD
TOM ROGERS
CHARLES LIBOLT
MIKE BELL
05:07.2
05:07.7
05:11.9
05:13.6
05:14.2
05:15.9
05:17.1
05:17.1
05:21.6
05:23.9
Pro Men Super D
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
SCOTT JOHNSON
JOE LAWWILL
WAYLON SMITH
KEVIN SMALLMAN
NAISH ULMER
LOGAN BINGGELI
CHRIS JUST
JON BUCKELL
15:03.5
15:11.1
15:20.7
15:25.7
15:58.1
16:01.7
16:17.5
16:56.0

Top of the Legends Kamikaze Podium!
L to R: Bernie U, Alex Morgan, ME, Dave Cullinan
Bottom row: Penny Davidson with her two kids.

Don Jackson getting his Legends award for race promotion from Extreme Sports Pioneer and the M.C. of the Night H.B.
A handfull of the "Legends at the top of the Kamikaze shortly before the start.
Heading down the first chute of the Kamikaze - Photo Ryan Cleek MBaction.com
Proof that RADS do leave Laguna Beach on occassion
 
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