Friday, June 25, 2010

Racing the Airborne Taka and rocking Kali Protectives gear

As of last weekend the racing schedule really ramps up. Last weekend I competed in an endurance race and my very first downhill race at Nordic Mountain. In the endurance race, the 12 hours of John Muir, my buddy and I, Ernie, competed in the 6 hour duo race and I raced in Cat 3 for the Downhill race. Being my first downhill race and all, I thought cat 3 would be appropriate.

The endurance race didn't go quite as well as I had hoped. But I guess that is to be expected when you don't train for an event:). We have been getting a ton of rain lately and it really messed up the trail for the race. The layout of the course was hard enough, but add to that muddy and slippery conditions and you have the makings of a really tough race. The race director saw fit to delay the start of the race 2 hours to allow the trail to dry some. The trail really needed 2 days to dry out. On the 11.6 mile course I managed 2 laps of about 1:05 and my buddy averaged around 1:17 so we were only able to finish 4 laps which put us in 6th place out of 7 teams. Not a great result, but we had fun and Ernie can now call himself a racer.

The downhill race on Sunday was my first opportunity compete with the Airborne Taka (the downhill bike in the Airborne bicycle lineup). I was hoping to finish somewhere mid pack in cat 3 and not totally wreck myself in the process. I thought that was pretty ambitious for my first downhill race. However, after my first timed run I saw my time was only 3 seconds off the lead. So I started thinking about how to pick up 3 seconds. And the solution of course was to lay off the brakes. I ended up winning in cat 3 by .5 seconds which was AWESOME. I've always wanted to win a WORS race, I just didn't think it would be a downhill race.

I think being able to just jump into a race and win (even in cat 3) really says something positive about the Airborne Taka. The bike always felt well composed which was really confidence inspiring to a new downhiller like me. I couldn't be happier with the performance of the Taka. I hope I get another chance to compete in downhill race this season.

I also can't say enough about Kali Protectives and the quality of their gear. I wore the Kali Avita Carbon helmet for the endurance race. Let me just say that this is the most comfortable and light helmet I have ever used. And besides looking like it means business I found the airflow to be at least as good as my Giro Xen hemet (or any other I have used for that matter). I was wearing the Aatma full face helmet and the full body armor for the downhill race. The armor isn't the lightest out there, but it is very comfortable and distributes the weight so well that during the course of the race I never even knew I was wearing it. The helmet is very light and comfortable beside looking awesome.

At this point it's hard to comment on how well all of the protective gear actually performs it's primary function of protecting you, but let's face it... We were this gear in the hopes that we never have to test it's protective capabilities. And I would be completely fine with that. But in reading the design philosophy of Kali, it makes sense. Plus the design engineer over there, Brad Waldron, was called on to do structural work on the F18 jet fighter and Stealth B2 bomber. Anyone trusted with that task can design my protective gear any day of the week.

Anyway, like I said before the race season is ramping up, so look for updates ever few weeks. Thanks for reading.

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