Rocking the DH: Light hands, heavy crotch

Dude. Yesterday I did a little coaching action at Keystone, and it was good. Except for this one moment.

Young Alex, an almost-15-year-old pinner. Good kid and a talented rider.

I sold my Demo 8 when the babies came last winter. I wasn’t riding/racing downhill anymore, and it seemed like I needed the money. Maybe that was the responsible choice, but man I miss the DH bike. Yesterday I rocked the Mighty 2011 Carbon Enduro.

Suspension and other setup were the same as always, but I slapped a 2.5 Minion DHF on the front and a 2.5 High Roller on the back. (I’m a Specialized tire guy, but these are left over from a Maxxis sponsorship, and they’re the only DH-casing tires I currently have).

The M’ollers made the bike feel heavier and slower, but — dude — they stuck like crazy. After all these years of XC riding, I’ve forgotten how confidence-inspiring full DH meats are. I could work flat turns as if they were berms, and the tires just stuck.

I might leave the M’ollers on for a while. The climbs around here can’t get any harder, right?

We rode lots of new, steep, technical trails (fun!). We rode the DH course (also fun!!). The bike worked great. My kung fu was in effect. Good times with one aberration:

Paid in Full is wide open down the ski run. Super pinner crazy style. Fast. Chattery. Sick. I was going after it pretty hard on the ‘little’ bike when we crossed the road and passed the turnoff for Money (Keystone’s attempt at an A-Line style trail.)

No brakes, light hands, heavy feet, looking way ahead, Young Pinner on my wheel. The trail curved left and went off camber around the hill when — WHOA! — a 6×6-inch rain rut cut down the middle of the 12-inch riding line.

Instant thoughts: 1) Why don’t these guys maintain the trails? Some waterbars would prevent this. 2) Stay out of that rut! I tried to porpoise from good patch to good patch at 30something mph.

It’s all a blur but Pinner said I jumped a rock, turned in the air and landed right in the rut. YIKES! The bike slowed down, my feet blew out of the pedals and my business hit the stem. The bike bucked like crazy. Rocks and rebar scrolled below. I had that moment of OK, where should I ditch the bike? but I knew that would SUCK so stayed loose — light hands, heavy crotch! — and rode it out. When things calmed down I clipped in and kept on going. Disaster averted.

Whew! Thank you very much modern suspension technology! Thank you very much Mr. Crotch!

Young Pinner was impressed. Hey man, I told him, that’s part of the service. I instruct ALL aspects of riding skills.

Know more. Have more fun!

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9 replies
  1. Aussie Chris says:


    I run a BMX stem pad on my stem for three reasons: 1. Protect the crown jewels. 2. Every now and then my knee hits the stem and even the tiniest tap will keep me off the bike for a little while (which is waaay too long). 3. Somewhere to hook my eyeglasses/polycarbonates on the climbs so I don’t sweat on them or fog up.

  2. Gerhardt says:

    I raced that course this weekend and being a newbie to mountain bikes and DH ( my 4th race and started riding in June) that course KILLED me. Paid in full scared the poo outta me. And my hand were completey numb by the wood drop thing in the middle of paid in full.
    As a Bmx racer I was not prepared for a 10 minute downhill, how do you get over the numb hands or is that just part of the game? Almost puked at the finish.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of DH! That Keystone course is the real deal.

    Believe it or not:

    With proper position and balance, Paid in Full is a rest section. I remember racing the G3 there, opening up my grip and getting the Demo do its thing while I recovered a bit. You want to hit Wild Thing with all your wits!

  4. Christian says:

    Sorry you miss the Demo! It has seen some good Northstar action this summer. Can’t decide if I want to rock the Demo or SX for the Livewire Classic race coming up. Going to make some timed runs on Monday and Tuesday to see what I come up with. I think the Demo misses you too!

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