Bike Life: Catching Up on downhill

So it’s been a while since I’ve written. But I’m trying to get started again.
So this season started with the Dirmasters race in Winterberg. Not a great succes as I crashed to times in my racerun.
Next race was the World Cup in Leogang. I can’t believe that I got to race a UCI Downhill World Cup soo soon. Well or at least train for it. Just a couple of hours before my qualification run I saw that one of the bearings in the rocker link was pretty much gone. In the trying to get the bearings out the rocker link broke and put me out for the qualifying. Pretty sad, but it was an awesome experience to be at the World Cup.

When I came home from Leogang I had a busy couple of days. I had to get a new downhill frame for our one month long roadtrip that was coming up in just 9 days. Also at had to finish my last two exams before being done with the gymnasium.

Luckily it all fell into place, I got my new downhill frame (Transition TR450) just the day before we took of and finished my exams with okay grades.

Then it became Wednesday and Sebastian Jensen, Jeppe Bob and Myself were on out way for our first European downhill Cup of the year, Val Di Sole.
The track was perfect, just my kind of downhill track. A really loamy track in the forest, can it be any better?
I was pretty exited to try out the new bike, and to use Val Di Sole as a test track for a brand new bike, seemed like a god way to start. And it Was. I was really impressed by the bike. It is so easy to maneuver and it’s a awesome jump bike as well.
I will come as no surprise when I say that the Val Di Sole track is rough. It’s 4-5 minutes of pure downhill, no pedally bits to get a break on at all.

I took a couple of big crashes in practice and in my seeding run, but I was so ready for the finals anyway.

On finals day it began to rain a bit, which suited me pretty well,  I love riding in the rain.

I found out pretty fast on my finals run that it was really slippery. I made a couple of big mistakes at the first section in the woods, but I thought that if I could just get down without any crashes it might be good anyway. But the did not happen. I took two crashes, one of the was pretty big and resulted in a concussion.
I ended up in 139th. Not at all what I was looking for, but with two crashes, a handfull of mistakes and a concussion, I might not have been that bad. But anyway it was a shame, because I really liked the track.

We stayed in Val Di Sole until Tuesday, so I spend the Monday filming a bit with Jeppe and Sebastian. Here is the result:

We then headed to Crankworkx Europe in Les 2 Alpes. Update will come soon.

Danish Downhill Cup: Arranging the thing

This year I started arranging the Danish Downhill Cup. The first two races was in Randers the 3-4 May and Thale, Germany the 10-11 May
We had made a deal with the guys in Thale that we could have the lift and track for our selves. This was pretty cool as we only were 45 guys, so no lift que at all.
I had just got my bike back from itunebikes.com so I knew that the suspension was 100%.
We took off friday morning from Randers and drove to Thale. We had a stop by Fredericia to get some stuff from RedBull, so the Hiace was pretty packed up.
When we arrived about 6 p.m. we went direcktly to the course were I took a quick course inspection with Maik from the Seilbahn while the others started taping up the course.
Saturday morning was quite a mess because the lift opened at 9.30 instead of 12.00 as I was informed. Therefore people had to get their numberplates as fast as possible so they could go ride, as they could not go up without it.
As the Danish cup is pretty small everybody know each other and the mood is very relaxed. Everything happened in the back of the van and in the small Santa Cruz tent.
We had 9 German starters and 1 South African. It was pretty cool to have a more international feel to it.
After signing everybody in, I managed to get 5 runs in before getting some lunch, sorting out the payment, and start testing the timing system. The track was a bit slippery during the rain the days before but it was okay, despite all the pedally bits.
We had problem with the timing system and could not get the signal from top to bottom, so we decided we would just start on the 6th beep from the buzzer, resulting in a not so accurate time, but at least we had a time.
This is what it looks like when you need to pay for using the track and lift system, in cash. The Seilbahn unfortunately did not accept our credit card so we had to go to the ATM’s over to days with several different cards to get the full payment.
On Sunday I got 3 runs in before racestart. I did not feel great on the course. Usually take a couple of runs giving 110% so it almost goes wrong and I get that rush. I did not do what all weekend and felt kind of doll on the bike, certainly not ready for a racerun.
After having the ridersmeeting and sending people to the top we had to move the timing system to the other side of the track as it was the only place we had an okay connection with the walkies.
It was a couple of pretty stressfull hours having to run the timing system and also racing. Fortunately I got a lot of help from Jeppe Bob, Jens Skov and my dad. Even though that helped a lot I had no time for mental preparing or warming up, so I got directly out of the lift into the startgate. We had just had some heavy rain so I new the course would be a bit slower and more slippery.
I came down with a time of 3.12, a very disappointing time. It resulted in a 10th place which was not were I wanted to be at all.
Photo by: Frederik Sigaard
This is how the podium ended up.
1st. Kevin Dewinski
2nd. Stefan Garlicki
3rd. Benjamin Ahrendt
4th. Jeppe Bob Bertelsen
5th. Sebastian Byskov Jensen
I can now look forward to just racing and riding my bike the next couple of months after finishing school really soon. It’s gonna be really good.
As I crashed pretty hard on the last jump last year, and dislocated my collarbone I was pretty scared of it. Therefore I was afraid to do whips on it so I had to do some small one handers just to do something
Cheers

Downhill Denmark

Yep, I know Denmark might not be the first country that pops into your mind when you think about downhill. Maybe that’s because we have literally no mountains in Denmark, it’s just hills all of it. And not even real hills. One of the highest hills we have in Denmark is 147 meters high, and we call freakin’ Sky Mountain. But the actual highest hill is 170 meters. Not really anything to brag about.

But even though we haven’t got the highest mountains, downhill is still a thing in Denmark. We have our small Danish Downhill Cup every year, and we have about 40-50 competitors at every race. It’s not much, but damn we love it.

Frederik Leth riding downhill in Rold at the danish downhill cup

So how are the tracks? Well, short. The longest track that we have a time on is called Rold and is 49 seconds for the fastest. While the shortest track is probably Randers that I ride in about 40 seconds.

The beauty about downhill in Denmark is that all the people who ride are really dedicated. You really want to ride when you have a 5-10 minute pushbike for a sub 1 minute run without any really steep and technical bits. I know that a lot of other countries haven’t got shuttles or lifts up either, and that really sucks.

Actually you don’t even need a downhill bike in Denmark. We just use them to get used to them, so when we get to ride real downhill tracks outside of Denmark we can really give full throttle. I actually won one of the stops in the cup two years in a row, on a Dartmoor Shine.

Downhill Denmark. Frederik Leth whipping and a podium picture from Randers
So am I just going to write about how stupid it is to ride downhill in Denmark? No. Because it’s awesome.
We might not have the mountains or the terrain, but damn people love it. Downhill in Denmark is like one big family, almost everybody knows everybody and everybody helps each other to get better on the bike or even just get the bike better. If you don’t know how to set up your suspension at one of the cups, I will assure you that there is at least one who is happy to help you out.

Last year a really awesome dude called Jeppe Svendsen decided to document the downhill sport in Denmark. The film was named Downhill Denmark He ended up winning the award for “Best Danish Action sports Film” at the Danish Adventure Film Festival. I think it was a big step for downhill in Denmark. Some people you talk to might actually know what downhill is now, and that is really a progression.
And even though we don’t have the terrain, I would say we have some pretty good riders.
We have Mads Weidemann who was less than 2 seconds from qualifying into the World Cup in Hafjell last year. We have Danny Soerensen who coaches at SwitchbacksDH in Malaga, and then there is the young guns. It’s Probably Jeppe Bob Bertelsen, Sebastian Byskov and Me(Frederik Leth), who will be competing in a lot of IXS cups and our first World Cups this year.
Cheers,
Frederik Leth