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Downhill 101 - Trekchick finds her mojo at Northstar

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

As a passionate skier, I love exploring new activities to enjoy at the ski resort during the ‘off’ season

Downhill Mountain Biking has intrigued me for a few years, I mean, who wouldn’t love going up the hill on a chair lift?  But the Downhill terrain was quite intimidating, fueled by my active imagination of careening down a mountain, out of control, with various obstacles to challenge my timid skills.   Heck, have you seen the photos epic has posted from the DH courses? 

(note:  this first photo is NOT me!)

Photo Cred: epic

 

 When the opportunity arose for me to take a Down Hill Mountain Bike 101 course, at Northstar, a mountain I’m familiar with, I seized the opportunity to lay down the fears and learn from a pro.   Because this was such a great experience for me, I thought I’d share the day in detail and let the timid riders know that it’s achievable and enjoyable.

 

To begin with, let me say that Northstar has a great set up, and reasonable rates for someone to get their first taste of this type of riding @ $80.00/2 hrs which includes helmet, shin guards, full finger gloves, body armor jacket/kidney belt, and bike.

http://www.northstarattahoe.com/info/summer/bike_lessons.asp

 

When I arrived and told them that I’d reserved a spot in their DH 101 course, they immediately started sizing me, and suiting me up for the day.  I don’t have to tell you, I’d never suited up like this before and I was feeling pretty bad ass.

 

 

 

After making my way to mid mountain, I was fitted with a small Giant Faith with a 1X9 gear set up.  I double dog dare anyone to call me a Giant Chick! biggrin.gif

Things I noticed right away were  - shorter crank and lower saddle

After meeting the coach for our group of 7, Kirsten Martin DeCampo, we worked on some basic stuff, like body position, braking and pedal position before heading to the chair lift.

 

 

 

 

The first obstacle we worked on was rolling over a rock.  Key things to think about are not coming in too fast or too slow so you don’t need to brake or pedal on approach.   Up and over, easy peasy!

 

 

 

Next up  steering without steering…

We spent some time on a fire road learning to steer the bike by leaning, or tilting, the front wheel while keeping the body upright.  This is not necessarily a new technique for me, but this is the first time I’ve really thought about it, and definitely the first time I felt the stability of this kind of steering.  This makes it easier to maneuver switchbacks and banking. 

 

 

We spent the rest of the lesson time working on these skills and maintaining balance and graduated to some slightly more advanced trails.

 

Before I knew it, the lesson was over, and I was feeling more confident.

 

 

But wait!

There’s more!

 

In the afternoon, I took my own Trek Fuel 8 out on the mountain and couldn’t believe how nimble and playful it felt.  I took a few more runs and finished out my day with a smile.

 

For those who  have thought about DH Mountain biking but haven’t tried it, do it!

You’ll be happy you did and want to come back for more.

 

If you live in the Tahoe area and are thinking about Northstars program. DO IT!

They have a great staff of fitters and instructors to help you out.  Ask for Kristen and tell her I sent you!

If you are an experienced DH Rider and are looking for a great place to ride, Northstar has some great terrain for you.  

Heck, they had a national competition the weekend after I did this DH 101 course. 

They are still open and will be long after Labor Day Weekend.  

 

Thank you Kristen for helping me find my mojo!


Edited by Trekchick - 8/25/12 at 6:49am
post #2 of 33

Hooray for mojoyahoo.gif

post #3 of 33

Sounds like it was awesome, good inspiration for overwhelming my own summer laziness, next year of course. Not now. Can't. Faaar too late. Nope. Just gonna sit here and read epic.



Lukas

post #4 of 33

Sweet. Good to see you getting your mojo working on the big bike. 

 

This gives me an idea for what to do at deer valley with Madeline next summer, she will need to get her mojo as well after the twins are here. 

post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Sweet. Good to see you getting your mojo working on the big bike. 

 

This gives me an idea for what to do at deer valley with Madeline next summer, she will need to get her mojo as well after the twins are here. 

T, Sheena (your queen) would really get into something like this.  

 

As you can imagine, after my bike crash last year, I had hard time getting my head back in the game.  This course helped a lot and even amped up my riding a bit. 

I could totally see Sheena doing this on a "mommy time out"biggrin.gif

 

 

What I thought was really cool was hot many courses they have for a variety of bike levels and how much amazing DH terrain they have for everyone from novice to expert. 

post #6 of 33

so awesome!

post #7 of 33
Hey Trekchick, glad to see the article and photos up! Great writeup and I agree Kristen is an excellent teacher.

Not sure if you remember but my friend Andy and I were in that class with you and your fellow Epic photographer. We chatted on the chairlift up the mountain and you guys mentioned if we followed up you could send us pictures. If you get a chance to post the rest of the shots somewhere I'd love to check them out. I had the blue mirrored goggles btw. Thanks, Matt
post #8 of 33

Good read and pics thanks TC

 

We are right back at the start of the learning curve with MB's but liking it so far.

post #9 of 33

Sounds like you had a great time Trekchickyahoo.gif now for the ultimate back in Michigan.  The front side of the Sleeping Bear Dunes beercheer.gif   Just kidding.

 

I am purposely avoiding downhill mountain biking and concentrating on trail/XC.   No sense getting hooked on something that is going to break bones.  I am in good health right now and enjoying being that way for now.   Kinda have to stay well for now.  I am primary caregiver for my wife right now.  She had fusion of the midfoot, big toe and heel bones on her left foot.  She will be able to bend her ankle when done but will have no bend in the midfoot or heel roll.  She  is non weight bearing until ski season.   Two years ago it was a bilateral knee replacement. So much for the golden years. Such is life with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

post #10 of 33

Well Trish, I'm glad you saw the light. What better way to get better at riding downhill than riding downhill? Can you imagine how long it would take to get good at downhill skiing if you had to walk up the hill every time. You can ride as much downhill in a few hours as you might ride in weeks if you had to pedal the whole time.

 

Pierre - I don't think DH has to be any more dangerous than you want it to be.

post #11 of 33

@Epic   ahh, but the climb is so rewarding. I love to climb! there's something just so great about pedaling up the mountain and then FR down.  This is why I have to start A/T this season. 

post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holamateo View Post

Hey Trekchick, glad to see the article and photos up! Great writeup and I agree Kristen is an excellent teacher.
Not sure if you remember but my friend Andy and I were in that class with you and your fellow Epic photographer. We chatted on the chairlift up the mountain and you guys mentioned if we followed up you could send us pictures. If you get a chance to post the rest of the shots somewhere I'd love to check them out. I had the blue mirrored goggles btw. Thanks, Matt


Glad to see you found us!

Phil and I mentioned that we forgot to exchange information with the other people in the course.  Sorry about that.

 

I can send you the raw images if you'd like, but in the mean time, I uploaded all 88 of them to an album here on EpicSki this morning. 

 

Shoot me your email if you want any of them in raw form.

http://www.epicski.com/gallery/album/index/community/103838

post #13 of 33

No problem.  We enjoyed meeting you and Phil up at Northstar.  And thanks so much for posting to the gallery!  I'll check them out and take you up on your offer for some raw images.

 

Looking forward to getting to know the community at Epicski.com.  Great site!

post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holamateo View Post

No problem.  We enjoyed meeting you and Phil up at Northstar.  And thanks so much for posting to the gallery!  I'll check them out and take you up on your offer for some raw images.

 

Looking forward to getting to know the community at Epicski.com.  Great site!

 

Welcome. If you head up there this winter, maybe we can catch up!

post #15 of 33
Absolutely, that would be fun. I'll give you a holler when I head up there again. -Matt
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 

Just a quick heads up on Northstar's DownHill activities:

They're open now until October 7th on weekends only, Fri-Sun

 

http://www.northstarattahoe.com

 

The Shops at Northstar are having a tent sale  Labor Day Weekend offering great deals on bike gear, ski gear and other fun stuff. 

Sooooo, if you're looking for a bike, and are in the area, this may be a good opportunity to get a deal. 

post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 

Northstar had some fierce storms a little over a week ago that took out a bunch of the downhill courses, so they had to shut down for a couple days to redo the trails. 

 

On Sunday there was a downhill race at Northstar and I found this preview video. 

 

post #18 of 33

Trekchick:

Congrats on your latest adventure  looks awesome.  Seems very inspiring, as always you are an inspiration.

post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandita View Post

Trekchick:

Congrats on your latest adventure  looks awesome.  Seems very inspiring, as always you are an inspiration.

Thanks Pandita.  When are you going to come out and ride with me!? 

post #20 of 33

Man, that write up really makes me want to try it out!  

post #21 of 33

You shouldtry it then. You are near Highland Mountain in NH - they have a great program for first-timers.

post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thekid, you should do it.  The skills learned in a 101 class translate well into all kinds of biking, and you'll find new ways to enjoy your ski hill.  

 

I'm really happy I did it biggrin.gif

post #23 of 33

they translate very well into skiing. if anyone wants to improve their bump, tree and general off-piste skiing, get into some single track and DH riding. Timing, spacial relationship, comfort with speed, balance, body position (leading the turn with your head and body), looking father ahead, flex and extension will all be improved.


Edited by Finndog - 8/30/12 at 6:50am
post #24 of 33

Fairtomiddlin, RachelV and myself took to the lifts and trails at Northstar last week. 

 

 

 

We had a great afternoon of riding, and hit more fun single track than we spent on the DH runs. Other than Rachel's flat tire, it was a successful day. 

post #25 of 33

Ooh.  That does look like fun!

post #26 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Ooh.  That does look like fun!

It is! yahoo.gif

post #27 of 33

hijack- I also Use Garmin but I would love to find a setting that showed your detailed ride stats more than just a total.  For instance, over the course of a ride you do a lot of short climbing and descending but I don't really care about those in the total vert climb as that number isn't really telling of much, I would like to see more of where you did sustained climbs and a total from top to bottom excluding where you had ups and downs. so a simple you started at 7k and ended up at 9.6K.

post #28 of 33

Have you played with Strava? Not sure how well it would work riding DH at a ski area, but it breaks down your rides into common segments and includes vert, time and rankings for each of them. Really well done.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

hijack- I also Use Garmin but I would love to find a setting that showed your detailed ride stats more than just a total.  For instance, over the course of a ride you do a lot of short climbing and descending but I don't really care about those in the total vert climb as that number isn't really telling of much, I would like to see more of where you did sustained climbs and a total from top to bottom excluding where you had ups and downs. so a simple you started at 7k and ended up at 9.6K.

post #29 of 33

Thanks Rach' Appreciated. I will check it out. I love the climb so that's more important to me.

post #30 of 33

back to the regular program:  that looks like it was a great ride and happy to see you back in the saddle again.

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