Chris’ Camera

The pictures with today’s post are courtesy of Brother Chris. They both show action shots from last Saturday’s Sea Otter Classic downhill races. Today’s header is a panoramic that shows Chris, the Sea Otter village and some of the downhill racers.


Downhill racing, sometimes called free-riding, generally sports two riders on two parallel tracks. Each track is equipped with humps, dips and curves, all laid out as an obstacle course. Each racer rides a heavy full suspension bicycle, with lots of travel and disk brakes. Each racer is equipped with a lock-jaw helmet and an armadillo suit. The two racers race against each other and the clock, both striving to be first to the bottom of the hill.


Through the course each rider jumps each of the all too fast approaching bumps, launching themselves into the air and then crashing to ground, compressing their bikes springs and then launching themselves again.  The banked curves are taken nearly horizontally.  Air time while impressive, only slows you down, disengaging your drive drain from the ground it wants to churn.

Downhill is sometimes called free-riding because when it is done in the summer at ski resorts, the riders get a free ride back to the top of the hill via a chair lift. This was not the case at Sea Otter. After each run, each racer had to push themselves and their bike back to the top of the hill. Insulating helmet and armadillo suit ensured that sweat flowed freely in the bright California sun.

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