Riders got grounded by the extreme steeps and coal shutes on the Dirt Diggler Down Hill Fall Classic mountain bike race for the eighth year running.
Nick Quinn broke a new course record completing the double black diamond course in 10 minutes when the usual rider takes 15 minutes. Thirty-nine riders braved the challenging course that was built by Derek Bird nine years ago.
The double black diamond trail is 3500 vertical feet over six and a half kilometre’s and is very steep. It begins at the top of Morrissey Ridge and ends on River Road in Cokato.
Due to the heavy rain, a lot of work was done two weeks prior to get the course race ready.
“A lot of riders were impressed how much the trail has improved. It’s getting easier to ride every year,” said Bird. “The traction was good due to the recent moisture. Last year the course was dry and people were nervous to ride it.”
Black Lung and Coal Shute are two challenging sections. Black lung is 100-foot long steep section; when it’s dry, it’s silty with a couple five-foot drops on a 35 percent slope. With a technical course that length, approximately twelve course marshals volunteered to assist along the route.
Bird built the trail with a big mountain race in mind. Inspired by Psychosis, the infamous epic downhill trail and race in Golden, he flagged the Dirt Diggler course ten years ago.
“It’s been eight years of full on work,’’ said Bird. “Fortunately it is getting to be less work each year.”
An Irish crew has been coming to the race from Vancouver every year, one of which has since moved to Fernie. Bird was happy to see a couple people visiting from Vermont join the race.
An award ceremony was held at El Guapo thanks to Scotty and his crew. There was $4000 in prizes donated by Ski Base, Straight Line, GearHub, Planet Foods and Edge of the World plus $850 in cash prizes for the top four finishers.