A first timer’s perspective on Downhill Mountain Biking
By Ariel Kent
Downhill Mountain biking is the act of biking down a mountain with 35+ pounds of metal between your legs, moving at speeds often well over 40 MPH. Downhilling takes a great deal of physical endurance and mental focus, and is absolutely the perfect sport for the adrenaline seeking junky. For our CEO and President of Basin Ski Shop, Christine Torrey, Downhill Mountain Biking was a sport that was rather terrifying to even think possible for her. Most employees at Basin Ski Shop would consider Christine to be a passive aggressive adrenaline seeker. Meaning, she enjoys the thrill of extreme sports but is cautious to initially make the move. Once she initially engages in the sport though, there is no stopping her.
This past week Christine, her friend Kaitlyn, and Out of Bounds Snowboard Manager Matty Hauke, geared up and headed to the mountain to partake in what would become one of Christine’s new favorite sports. I was fortunate enough to steal Christine away from her busy schedule and ask her a few questions about here experience.
A: So this was your first Time Downhill Mountain Biking. How did you feel going into it?
C: I was nervous but excited. Definitely nervous!
What do you think benefited you the most going into Downhilling?
I think that being a Mountain Biker [Cross Country] definitely helped and I’d never been on a bike like that before [Specialized Status 2], so it was different, definitely bouncy so I could go over everything. Seeing that I could go over the rocks and I could bounce over stuff, made it easier. I felt safe with the pads, I rented pads and I had the full face helmet but the goggles, they kept fogging up so that was a little bit of an issue but, I definitely felt safe in that sense. Matty took me on some crazy trails and I had to walk a few places but it was good.
So I know you’ve hiked and biked the lower section of Killington. What did it feel like riding on the upper mountain? Terrifying?
Laughs, Yeah it was the loose gravel. The work roads are really scary to me, I felt like that’s where I might crash the most, but then when he [Matty] brought me down some of the black diamonds, sometimes I would psych myself out and other times I would just go for it, and you’d be so pumped that you made it.
Was there any specific trail you liked the most? What was fun about it?
My favorite two trails were 21 and 13. The upper section of 21 was my favorite section, but I loved 13. 6 and 9 were also fun and had some good sections there. Matty took us down cables as well and that was fun.
What did you find to be the most difficult part of Downhill Mountain Biking?
The most difficult part was the jumps. There would be jumps and I would just feel like I would hit and I was going to go over the handlebars. I have to learn how to [modulate braking], because Matty would watch me brake and I would almost crash. I would brake and the bike would come up and almost hit me from behind. I crashed once and slid and it was because I braked. But that’s the hardest part though, because you could see the jump coming and you know your bike can go over it, but then I don’t just let it go.
If you could do it again what would you improve upon?
Well I wanted to ride today, but we we’re too busy. I had a downhilling date planned! I would improve on my weight [balancing over the bike], using the brakes, and I need to learn how to just bike better. Those bikes are big and it’s tiring. By the second run I was already tired and they wanted to do a third run and I had to say I will hurt myself so I stopped.
For more info on the gear Christine used click below!