FROM SRAM: Since 2006, the small college town of Ashland, Oregon, set in the picturesque mountains of Southern Oregon, has been host to some of the best All-Mountain racing in the North America. With the huge success of events like the Downieville Classic, Ã¢â‚¬Å“All-MountainÃ¢â‚¬Â racing is taking-off and bringing with it a vibe not felt since the early days of mountain bike racing.
From the top of Mt. Ashland to the downtown area, the Ashland 12 Mile Super D course reflects what the name implies, 12 miles of Super Ã‚Â Downhill. This means mostly downhill with just enough climbing to cough-up a lung or two. Suited for a 5 to 6 inch Ã¢â‚¬Å“All-Mountain WeaponÃ¢â‚¬Â the bike has to be light enough to slog up a 400 feet of climbing and tough enough to handle 10 plus miles of white knuckled downhill. Past contenders claim, Ã¢â‚¬Å“itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a true test of rider and equipmentÃ¢â‚¬Â.
For the last three years All-Mountain legend Mark Weir has owned the event, posting a record time of 35 minutes 22 seconds. This year heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be defending his winning streak against veterans like Eric Carter (GT) local favorite Nathan Riddle (Fluidride), and a slew of first timers including: 2008 Downieville Classic winner Ross Schnell (TREK, crankbrothers, Oakley), 2000 Downhill World Champ Myles Rockwell (SRAM, Giant, Mavic), All-Ride honch and all around great guy Kirt Voreis (Santa Cruz Syndicate/All-Ride), and finding time between her hectic World Cup XC schedule Suburu Gary FisherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, Willow Koerber.
New to Ashland for 2009 is the inaugural Avid Chainless Challenge, and yes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a race without your chain. A race format that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve wanted to do for a long time just because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun. Set for Saturday, entrants will descend 3 miles winding through the trees above downtown Ashland while perpetuating their momentum without coming into any corners to hot. This requires braking with finesse. Chock full of Avid and SRAM prizing the event concludes with a BBQ and live music in AshlandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s beautiful Lithia Park, racers are sure to be stoked!
John Dawson – SRAMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s North American Race/Event Manager: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m super happy that Tita Soriano from Breakaway Events and the SRAM family of brands were able to make it happen for 2009. With a great community behind her, a trail network thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top notch, and an all star line-up, the Ashland 12 Mile Super D and AVID Chainless Challenge is destined to be mainstay on SRAMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s event calendarÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Tita Soriano – from Breakaway Events: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m excited to be teaming up with SRAM this year. Not only are they going to bring more energy to the Super D, they have been instrumental in kicking off a new event; The Avid Chainless Challenge. Rapidly becoming one of the nations most popular endurance downhill races, the Ashland 12 Mile Super D course is one that wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disappoint. It caters to the all around rider. The Chainless race brings a new and unique challenge to the weekend. Ashland is a bike-friendly town full of great restaurants, bike shops, parks, hotels, making it an ideal mountain bike destination.Ã¢â‚¬Å“