I have to admit, I’m super excited for the Kamikaze Bike Games coming up this week in Mammoth. I missed Sea Otter the last couple years because of work, and I’ve been jonsin’ for some type of festival vibe where I can enjoy being a spectator, and race a bit. I can’t wait to see the Speed and Style, Dual Slalom, DH, and of course the Kamikaze. I’m gonna be escorting a Wounded Warrior on the High Sierra Fall Century, which kinda conflicts with some of my personal racing aspirations, but I’m gonna try and get in the mix somehow… especially since the KBG added a Fat Bike Class to the XC Race!!
Anyhoo, I’m sure I’ll be posting more about KBG after the fact, but just figured I’d post some intel on the XC course to anybody that might care. I pre-rode it yesterday, and let me tell you, don’t take it lightly. I know there’s gonna be some very fast riders coming up here ready to slay this course, but if you come in cocky, you’re gonna get socked in the gut by some very deceiving climbing. Sure, it’s only 5.3 miles per lap – with Pros doing 4 laps, Cat 1-2 doing 3, and Cat 3 doing 2. BUT, there’s roughly 710′ of climbing per lap. You do the math. I won’t do a play by play on the whole route (it’ll be signed in the next couple days anyway), but it’s got a great variety of singletrack mixed with fire roads to help increase passing opportunities, etc. Trails included are Big Ring, Paper Route, a tiny piece of Downtown, and Shotgun. In between are chunks of fire roads, either ascending steeply, or descending steeply. It starts with a flat straight-away that turns up left and wastes no time separating the big boys & girls from the mumsers as the climbing begins. After a short bit on some fire road, it hits the singletrack of Big Ring so you better get in where you fit in or pour some out for Too Short. I looked down at my Garmin as my lungs were jumping out of my rib cage to notice I’d gone 1.8 miles and already climbed over 500′. And this is Mammoth style climbing. Soft. Loose. Pumice at times. Burning precious calories with every pedal stroke and creating way too much lactic acid as you struggle to keep from over-revvin. Sure, you get a couple moments of respite, but not nearly enough to get the heart rate down into the happy range… until you turn on Downtown and start warp-speed descending as you jump on the “Mini-Kamikaze” fire road before connecting to a short singletrack traverse that lands you on Shotgun.
After the blazing descent, you romp down Shotgun, pedal through the Canyon Lodge parking lot, and climb back up to Chair 16 and wind around to the start/finish and a feed zone – MORE COWBELL!!. Even with some recent trail work, Shotgun is littered with monstrous brake bumps, whoops and sandy sections that almost bucked this rigid ss rider like a pissed off bronc. Good times. I was beat down after one lap… Gonna be interesting with most classes doing 3 laps… 2,100′ of climbing over 16 miles… and more for the Pros!! … get busy living or get busy dying… Ride on.