A report of the Chomolungma Challenge by DH team member Rob Berube
It was a nice, cool, sunny day at Snowshoe Mountain Resort…but as usual, the day before had soaked the already waterlogged trails. We knew it would be a muddy adventure for the Chomolungma Challenge.
The Chomo challenge is not your typical race of one run, one time. Each team is responsible for mustering 20 laps down the Western side…equivalent to decending 30,000 ft., the height of Mt. Everest. Factoring the variable of lift lines that could put you about 30 seconds behind each run, as well as technical breakdowns of bikes, could make a big difference in where you place at the end.
Two duo teams where wearing Paradise Garage colors at the starting line. Standing a short distance from the start, a Yeti (yup, a Yeti) with a rifle sent a round to space…literally a “shotgun” start…sending downhillers sprinting through the village.
Teammate Nathan J Mead got the whole-shot with a quick lead, but ended up moving faster than his bike for the very first village OTB in Chomolungma history. He recovered quickly and began edging his way back to the front of the pack. I chose the strategy of NOT burning myself out on the sprint, and made my way close to the back, and my first run down Ninja Bob>Ball and Jack>Powerline was spent trying to pass slower riders on the course.
Riders were given lanyards to wear while on course. When a rider got to the bottom, they were able to “tag in” their partner who would take the lanyard and make their way to the lift. Our team decided to start with a casual 1 for 1 tag team.
Teammate Eric Lindberg was able to provide us with an oasis at the bottom with a pit. An early morning start and race day nerves isn’t part of a balanced breakfast…but Eric came to the rescue with some breakfast burritos and sugary beverages, later to be topped with awesome brats and libation for lunch. Nothing like racing with your very own pit crew.
The race continued for 5-6 hours of fairly casual top-to-bottom runs of the same course. After 10 team runs, we switched over to ProDH…which was still pretty slick with peanut butter mud from the rain and traffic of Solo riders, causing me to wash out on some iced roots. Trying to jump the big bolder on the other side of the trail gave me my second crash of the race, a perfect OTB.
William Lamie and Nathan J Mead where both dealing with some bike issues, which allowed us to keep pace.
My favorite run was my final run down ProDH. I was tasked with finishing run #20 for the team, passing two riders on the way down to jump 2 more places for an 11th place finish in the duo, directly behind Will and Nate. Later, the last rider I passed jokingly told me if he knew I was passing for a place he would have put me into the trees instead of letting me by. I told him I felt bad about taking a spot from him, but not really.
This race was a blast. The endurance dynamics keep you thinking about how to take every run. Go too fast and you burn out. Go too hard and you risk breaking your bike. Too slow and you drop in placement. Take the Chomolungma Challenge next year and see what you got!