Vulture’s Knob

Vulture’s Knob Oktoberfest Downhill Race Results

Fantastic day on the hill, smiles for miles and not a frown around!  We’ll have a full report (with no rhyming, promise) with pictures from Logan coming this week, but for now, here are the results:



Time to ride!

As a rule of thumb, we avoid the jungle that is Vulture’s Knob during the hottest months.  And the jungle had indeed reclaimed some of our downhill trails.  We hacked it out last Saturday and what lies beneath is as good as ever, time to get out and ride!

Don’t forget, the race is coming up on Sunday, October 16.  We’ll be running a different track(s) from the spring race to keep things interesting.

Here are some shots that Blanton took of me on Sunday.  The Snakepit was super drifty and a load of fun!

VK Kick Off Race Report

Vulture’s Knob has never hosted a DH race before.  A year ago, you’d say it wasn’t possible.  But the red sea of poison ivy parted, and something of a killer track has emerged from the prickly undergrowth.  Killer in oh so many ways, like the smile it puts on your face and the burn it puts in your legs.

Fans were getting rowdy cheering on the 40 racers that attended. This has been the worst spring in living memory, but the weather held off and the course held up. Besides being a bit slow rolling, it was a fine day for racing and Vevuzelas!

Zach Johnson was our youngest rider. He's a top BMXer and was trying his hand at a bit of all accounts he aced it! Kevin D from 331 did the starting all day after a long XC race the day before. All the 331 guys are tireless heros and put on a fine grassroots event. Thanks Mike C, Jay R, and the rest of the gang...not to forget spouses!

Micah Van Horn styling the the rock jump, which is the first feature and all about getting just the right distance. Did he get it right? Check the video at the bottom of this post! (Photo credit Steve Stanic)

...or just have a look at Nick Devore landing to flat. Tire flat, bike twisted, suspension bottomed, biceps...looking pumped!

Gus Michaels shows us the proper way to hit the rocks, with a rear tire tap and a tweak. Gus comes from a moto background and raced XC last year. This year he's going to try DH. His first time out of the box was a 1:13, good enough for 3rd in the Pro class. Lordy. Did I mention he ran a full DH bike with 2 ply sticky rubber? It's probably 10 lbs heavier than the bikes ridden by the top two!

If you weren't hitting the creek gap like Brad Smith from Chainsmoke Racing, then you had a grind a few more seconds of course, and that hurts. Brad drove up from South Carolina to race. Think of all the trails he passed on the way up to Vulture's Knob to race! What a guy!

Here's your runner up, Harry Reynolds, riding for Horns Hill Collective. He was keeping it low and getting the power down. He and Vance Nonno battled all day for top spot. 1:13....1:12....1:11... At this point Dave the Pirate bets 20 bucks no one can do a 1:10. Did he do it? Well, let's just say Dave's not 20 bucks in the hole...he's 40!

Braaaaaaaap! Eric Hickman hits the tricky hip. (Photo credit Steve Stanic)

Pat Ramsey came from PA and looked to be having a blast all day long, despite getting lost in the woods. He took 2nd in the well attended First Timer category. (Photo credit Steve Stanic)

Mike "Stumbo" Walsh know how to throw down. And now he knows why World Cup pros don't run tubeless. His tire did a burp to roll off landing the tricky hip. Good thing Mike brought a spare 951!

First Timers podium: Jim Crowley 1st, Pat Ramsey 2nd, Tyler Sheperd 3rd (MIA).

Amateur Podium: Louis Taylor 1st, Andy Wickens 2nd, Nick Devor 3rd.

Pro Podium: Vance Nonno 1st (HHC), Harry Reynolds 2nd (HHC), and Gus Michaels 3rd. That's a 1-2 for Horn's Hill Collective, apparently racing in flannel this year.

Full results can be found in this post.

If you want to see all the pictures, hope you have a Facebook account!  Here are some galleries:

331’s Gallery (thanks Jennifer!)

Brian Wick’s Gallery

Steve Stanic’s Flickr Gallery (and here it is on Facebook)

Finally, thanks to Blanton’s family for shooting some video!

Untitled from Blanton Unger on Vimeo.

See you on July 17!  (Bring bug spray)

Little VK Teaser

Blanton put together this video of some test riding we did last fall on the intermediate DH at Vulture’s Knob.  We’ve done a lot of tweaking since then, but you get the idea…

Vulture’s Knob Mini DH Teaser from Blanton Unger on Vimeo.

Vulture’s Knob Race Flyer

VK DH Trail Work

Well surprise surprise, after Friday’s snow we were ready to can the trail work for today, but it turned out to be warm and sunny, with magical dirt that somehow had shed all the rain fall and was perfect for digging and packing.

Apart from Mike C and myself, no downhillers showed up, but thankfully there was about 10 guys there to work on the XC trail, and Kevin D and Mark from the Orville Cycling Club came over to help sling some dirt on the DH trail.

The grafters deserve a break.

We achieved a lot considering the small group: On the upper 1/3 of DH1 we reshaped the first roller, the second roller has been turned into a take off and we moved the third roller up to serve as a landing.  We moved the next berm to a better spot and added more kick out of it, then built a nice pre-jump into the little hip roller.  And we re-finished the creek gap jump too.  That whole section should flow really nicely now, and drainage looks to be very good.  There are a few more features we want to add to the upper 1/3, but she’ll be ready to ride with just a few more dry days.

There will probably be work on-going most weekends at the Knob, so keep your eyes peeled here or at 331 for more build days.

Vulture’s Knob Downhill Trail Map

Here it is folks, the master plan:

So how close are we to realizing a new DH venue in Ohio?  We’re getting there, with a lot of hard work by a few folks.  In summary:

  • DH1 Intermediate: 95% complete, can be ridden top to bottom.  The top 2/3 of the trail is quite flat, with a very short uphill section that requires some pedaling, but that’s what pedals are for and it’s good training to make legs strong for larger courses.  There are loads of different sized jumps and some very sweet berms towards the bottom.  Right now the trail is unrideable due to our wet weather, but we were riding it in the fall.  Enough to know that we need to make some changes to the rather large jumps in the middle and fine tune a few features.
  • DH2 Advanced: 10% complete.  Trail is flagged and needs to be cleared, but we could be riding this new trail top to bottom with about a days worth of work between a few souls. This trail have a more natural feel compared to DH1, but it shares the topography so expect a flattish but hopefully fast upper section.
  • DH3 Expert: 75% complete.  Trail is cleared and rideable, but is basically a short steep section branching off DH2 that will test your skills.   The trail dives via some steep but flat corners to the bottom of the ravine and then goes relatively flat to get to the finish area.
  • Super D connector: 0% complete.  This will be a great addition, connecting DH1 to the very cool Super D finish in a little ravine.  A great alternate finish.

In reality, all the trails are intermediate level, with a few advanced features and sections.  We were never going to have world class DH trails at Vulture’s Knob given the topography, but what we will have is a handful of trails that are fun to ride and keep us entertained, building skills and fitness for larger tracks.  A training area really.

We need your help to get there though.  Our next build day is Saturday, March 12.  We will be repairing and tweaking features for the first ever Mini-Downhill race at the Knob on May 1st.

And if you’re wondering, yes, it’s a push up track.  To much of a pansy to push up?  Fine by us…the rest of us will get stronger and beat you at the races!