Taiwan's First Urban DH Race

Jan 9, 2011 at 22:33
by Rob Dunnet  

On January 8th, 2011 Taiwan had its first Urban DH Race. Specialized was one of the sponsors and brought Sam Hill in as the guest of honor.

The race scene in Taiwan is nothing like what it is in North America. Often the only way to find out about races is word of mouth, and nine times out of ten you find out after the race is over. After chasing a rumor about Sam Hill coming to Taiwan in January to race in an Urban Downhill, I decided to put a team together.



I talked to the other foreigners working out of Pacific Cycles and my team was ready to go. It turned out to be a pretty stacked team with Lance Canfield: Canfield Brother's Bikes, Red Bull Rampage competitor, Stijn Deferm: Stijn Cycles, three time Belgian National Champion, Astrix Team Rider, Ryan Carroll: Astrix Sports, Suspension Engineer and Bike Designer for a list that includes Saracen, Bergamont, Banshee, Orbea to name a few, Dirt Magazine Top 100, Jay MacNeil: Banshee Bikes and myself as a back up rider/tire changer/last minute bike builder ... due to the slow rehab after back surgery.

In the press release for the race it said that all bikes had to have over six inches of travel, which was the first problem we encountered. Taiwan is not known for its downhill trails and we only had one DH bike between the five of us ... and it was a show bike that had never been ridden. With only two weeks before the race we all started tracking down frames, suspension and parts. A week before the race we were calling in favors from friends in the industry trying to get our hands on the last pieces we needed. The night before the race Lance made a hand made chain guide for a frame he pieced together the day before, Ryan stole cranks and bottom bracket parts from two other bikes after I destroyed one of his bottom bracket cups and Stijn arrived at noon on Friday and did not even know if he had a bike to ride. In a two week span, more like two days we built up four downhill bikes that had never been ridden ... I think we did a pretty good job. They looked nice at least.

Banshee Legend MKII:


Saracen Myst:


Astrix Havoc R:


Canfield Brother's Jedi:


In January the weather in Taiwan is pretty miserable. It rains almost daily and the temperature hovers around 10 degrees Celsius, which might not sound cold, but after a year of 30 degree days, 10 degrees is cold. And with no indoor heaters it is pretty much unbearable. Saturday morning could only be described as miserable, I had to wake up at 5am to get on the road and it was raining in all directions. Oh and I found out the day before that Jay could not make it due to Chinese class, so that meant I had to ride. We got to the venue and Lance and Stijn had already arrived with the bikes. We unloaded the bikes and took shelter from the rain and geared up for a slip and slide.


We only had time for one practice run and the course was pretty cool, except for the man made obstacles. The builders of the course were not riders so the wood made stunts were sketchy to say the least and caused more than one rider to crash. Most of the riders, myself included decided that the wood stunts were both dangerous and slower than the easier lines. While waiting to drop in on my qualifying run, I saw at least three riders go down in the same section:


I dropped in on my qualifying run and was screaming like a Banshee until I flatted coming out of a pool/fountain thing. It was a good place to flat because all my friends were right there and there was a covered area and it gave me a chance to take pictures instead of riding in the final, ha ha ha.


After qualifying I grabbed my camera and tried to capture as much of the course as I could. I went to the finish and saw a good friend of mine sitting under a tent with Sam Hill. Sam was signing autographs on pretty much everything, helmets, shirts, number plates, body parts, I think he may have signed someone's baby, but I can not confirm that. He said he is getting over some injuries and would have raced if the weather was better, but did not want to risk in the wet conditions.


Just up from the finish area was by far the best man made feature on the course. It was a hip road gap with a right hand corner coming into it and a landing that was giving guys trouble even with out hitting the gap. I talked to the builder of the course (a non rider) and he just did not get how dangerous it was. He assured me that the top Taiwanese racers would be "putting on a show" over the gap. The current number one DH racer and eventual winner of the race asked Lance if he thought it was safe enough to hit. Lance told him he would not hit it in the rain and maybe not even if it was dry. No one ended up hitting the "road gap". This picture does not do it justice but it will give you an idea of the whole feel of the race.


The place the event was held was amazing, the weather was horrible, the man made features could have been left out or more thought could have been put into them. But even with the weather they managed to put on a decent event and I had a good time and got some average pictures.

Stijn on his way to a forth place finish
Stijn on his way to a forth place finish
Little Iron charging down another set of stairs
Little Iron charging down another set of stairs
A Taiwanese racer getting his splash on
A Taiwanese racer getting his splash on
Lance like a demon possessed on his way to a third place finish
Lance like a demon possessed on his way to a third place finish
Lance crossed the finish line and knocked Stijn out of the hot seat. Lance was not there long before a <br>  Taiwanese racer at least 20 years younger than him took his place.
Lance crossed the finish line and knocked Stijn out of the hot seat. Lance was not there long before a
Taiwanese racer at least 20 years younger than him took his place.
In the end our team
In the end our team "Pacific Pride" finished with a respectable third and fourth. As a correction to the picture, Lance is from the USA and Stijn is from Belgium.




I would like to thank Eva at Pacific Cycles, Mike and Gavin at Spank Industries, Cosmic at Funn, the guys over at Race Face, Emma and Ceri for hanging out in the rain and taking pictures and everyone else that helped out. Oh and a special thanks to the guys at IXS for making a rain coat that kept me some what dry in all of that rain. Easily the best rain coat I have ever owned.

I will leave you with a bunch of links that you should check out and a shot of the podium.

Race pictures ...
More race pictures
Stijn Cycles
Canfield Brother's Bikes
Banshee Bikes
Astrix Sports
Saracen Bikes


Keep Riding,

Rob Dunnet
Must Read This Week









77 Comments

  • + 8
 I was there for 3 hours, saw at least half a dozen hard crashes, three ambulances, and a lot of nervous riders...before the finals! Props to everyone that finished the race, and big ups to Rob and the Pacific Pride team for getting it together and hanging in there, even when a lot of riders didn't. It may not have been up to the standards everyone is used to in the West, but it was a really good start and something different!
  • + 4
 I can't believe one of them was running hookworms... I can only imagine that being hard
  • + 2
 ran hookworms in practice and it was a little bit too slick, took them off in qualifying and got a flat. should have stuck with the hookworms ...
  • + 3
 (sam hill) I think he may have signed someone's baby, but I can not confirm that.

haha, that made me chuckle.
  • + 4
 Gotta love that Lance was able to finish 3rd while riding an old super T. Who said you need a brand new boxxer or fox 40 to race well, I keep saying it's the rider not the bike and Lance proved that
  • + 4
 Lance is an animal ... he should do the next Rampage
  • + 4
 hahaha awesome stuff, reminded me more of total wipeout more than a DH race Razz
  • + 3
 @9.05 - reeeebound.....
  • + 2
 need a canfield bro jedi bike. it really looks awesome.
  • + 1
 wooooww i just noticed the tai girls in specialised fancy dress... better than a nurses uniform any day! Wink
  • + 2
 I feel sorry for the Taiwanese girls in the Specialized outfits, it was pretty cold and they spent most of the day with out jackets on.
  • + 1
 This is where all the bikes are made, what do you mean you had a hard time putting some bikes together?! Looks like a lot of fun!
  • + 1
 Just because the frames are made at the factory we work out of does not mean there are a bunch of parts here. Frame manufacturer does not mean the dream stock house. It is actually harder to buy parts in Taiwan than in North America ...
  • + 1
 I figured, it was just a joke. The article was great, hopefully these kind of events become more available for you guys in the future.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hey, I think biggest props go to the young, relatively unknown kid from TaoYuen, who crushed the nearest competitor by 4.5 sec and Lance Canfield (who is an absolutely sick rider if you have ever had the chance to witness) by 9 sec. I mean, nobody wanted to die that day, so they weren't exactly hanging it all out, but damn....that kid was fast! It was frightening to see to be honest. There is some mad talent growing in this jungle.
  • + 1
 Hey Mike, I totally agree with you. To be honest, after seeing Lance's final blistering run we all thought he had it in the bag. Really couldn't imagine there being anyone faster. But when the Taoyuan kid came flying down those flights of wet slippery stairways, it was absolutely incredible to behold. As you say, it was scary fast, and if he had come off at that speed the consequences would have been horrendous. In those terrible conditions he rode the sketchiness WAY faster than most people would have even attempted in the dry.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HI~My english is not good, so...this race is organized by TCF, Main sponsor is SPECIALIZED. TCF is a non-governmental association with a non-profit-making purpose in Taiwan. If I not mistaken the meaning, The race result is tabulate (start control by commissaire's signal)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice to meet you Rob and nice write-up. Props to the Pacific Cycles team for hauling ass. It really was a wet, sketchy race with strange features, but super fun none the less, and a great improvement over the Giant Cup. Hopefully this will give the race scene some more momentum and we will see more races held on the legit DH trails we are all already riding i.e. Helen's in Taipei etc.. Hope we can get a ride in together up north or down south sometime!
  • + 1
 Yah, It was nice to meet you. If you check out my albums you will be able to find what we have going on down in Kaohsiung. Let's hope this race was a push in the right direction for Taiwan. And maybe the exposure will show that they have to take their building a little bit more seriously ... but who knows. I have been pushing for change for too long to expect something over night.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just an observation. Malaysia and Indonesia have some pretty cool tracks.

Are must events in Taiwan held in urban settings? The tracks here in the Philippines are not quite to par with Malaysia and Indonesia, and our races are quite primitive when it comes to organized events.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 congrats to Stijn and the rest of the pacific pride team !

Quote Stijn : screw "all mountain", "enduro", "marathon" and other useless terms. As far as MTB goes, for me there's XC and DH. Smile

www.flickr.com/photos/pommesking/5085594633/in/set-72157616539648458/#/photos/pommesking/5085594633/in/set-72157616539648458/lightbox
  • + 1
 Great quote!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'm amazed that you guys got your bikes together in such a short time and actually did very well in the race. It was such a cool race. I'm glade to be part of it and get the chance to see all these good riders racing down the streets. Too bad the weather wasn't so good and too bad Sam Hill couldn't join the action. Hope they can make it an annual thing.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 @Hometeam, duttonmike and other TWse dudes,

Awesome stuff, it's good to see things are happening with big events and support from local governement. Was supposed to join that race but couldn't make it, went to HonkKong instead to join their DH race. Things are really happening there too, with nice and technical tracks and fast riders. You guys should go there and check -if not already done.

We -in mainland china- are trying to push the DH scene and it's moving step by step. We organized a decent DH event last november, you can check pix here: www.s-riders.com/en/component/content/article/171 you can also cehck s-riders profile on pinkbike.

We will organize another race this year, probably around june. If you guys want to come it would be awesome.

Thomas from Shanghai-mainland China
  • + 1
 I would love to come, but I like to spend my summers back home in Canada ...
  • + 1
 We are trying to build a bike park in Gobe Desert,sth big will happen here,maybe the first 6-drop on the earth will be done by us in the histery....
  • + 1
 sounds like a good place to build
[Reply]
  • + 1
 There are all sorts of races in Taiwan...including dirt trail XC, Enduro, and DH. The problems are that most of them are designed so that the sponsor gets max exposure (more focus there than on the course), guys who do not ride at a high level or even at all design and build the courses, and the courses are designed in most cases to accommodate all levels from beginner to advanced (so often they are boring and flat). This race was special, nothing "easy" about it. That is a good start. There are some really cool grassroots races too, but as Rob mentioned, we usually find out about them after they are finished. I'm hoping that some time soon a few of us smaller, rider owned/operated brands with HQ's in Taiwan, can get together and plan a race or two each year. Otherwise I fear that it will take a long time to get to the level of Western events. Who's in?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HI Lance . Stijn congratulations
The full results (qualifying round & final) is update on TCF's web...take a look
www.cyclist.org.tw/index.php?fn=news&fn1=info&no=A&no1=398&no5=C

Timekeeper
  • + 1
 looks like an ace day despite the weather. And that road gap over bus... nothing like a technical edge to the jump. lol Nice one Lance and Stijn!
  • + 1
 It was a good day, the weather sucked and the man made stunts were sketch, but we made the best of it. Lance and Stijn rode great ... more so if you consider the short notice and that Lance was wearing sandles ... ha ha ha
  • + 1
 Ahhhh, 5-10 sandles, now that would be dreamy!!!
  • + 1
 I will get Lance to pitch that to 5-10 ...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Is there no sanctioning body over there in Asia? Who organizes these races? A local shop or a manufacturer or...? Are race results tabulated, or are individual events purely individual? Thanks for any info.!
  • + 1
 Asia is a big place, there is not much of a sanctioning body in Taiwan.
  • + 1
 HI~My english is not good, so...this race is organized by TCF, Main sponsor is SPECIALIZED. TCF is a non-governmental association with a non-profit-making purpose in Taiwan. If I not mistaken the meaning, The race result is tabulate (start control by commissaire's signal)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Full of potential to be a more,lisbon DH on steroids(maybe).I hope it's the first of many.Congrats to all the organisers.
Gary. tup Pimp Helmet Attention
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Allthough the conditions make it look tricky and difficult, I gotta say it looks a lot fun and adrenaline. Nice. Gotta love utban DH races.

Cheers 2u all
Beer
[Reply]
  • + 3
 come on some of the riders are pretty bad though eh
  • + 1
 the fact that Sam Hill was here drew a lot of first time racers to the event, there were 150 racers ... probably a record in Taiwan
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I love urban DH races!!! Props to all the guy who a least attempeted to clear the pond thing Razz
  • + 1
 there were a bunch of guys clearing the pond, the picture above is of a guy riding around it ...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The Taiwanese really need to up there game when it comes to building features for these races.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's not that cold! Look at the podium girls still wearing short skirts, you sissy Smile
Cool race!
  • + 1
 Cold enough for me ... maybe they have bigger balls than I do ... ha
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I love how your 'last minute builds' are most riders wet dreams :p
Sweet event.
  • + 1
 some parts were meant for other bikes, some parts were borrowed and some parts were last minute favors ... when you have the right friends anything is possible.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 You are welcome Rob.....byt he way the bikes are cool....good jobs....lol......
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Another version of video is here!!!! check it out!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOVlT5ZSlhQ
  • + 1
 Jump to 1:30 for riding ...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I was soo gonna get sam hill to sign my baby here in perth at state champs, but my wife wouldn't let me!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Man, that just looks downright dangerous!!
  • + 1
 ha ha ha, when we rolled up I was seriously thinking about not racing ... but I was already soaked to the bone, so I went for it ...
  • + 1
 I think I'd rather run in snow than on slippery roads and stairs!! Also, the Banshee is running without handlebar end plugs?! I thought you HAD to have them. You get turned away from races for not having them...
  • + 1
 When I raced the plugs were in, I am going to cut a bit off the bar so I took the plugs out.
  • + 1
 Ahhh, makes sense!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 god i hate that hillbilly music playing with the vid, srsly you guys couldnt get better music?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That was the lamest video i have ever seen.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 have someone got foto of Demo in video?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 taiwanese specialized chics... nice!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Who took those bike photos? They are terribly exposed...
  • + 1
 I did, was a quick job, shot them all and realized I had my camera on the wrong setting. not a photographer, so good enough for me
  • + 0
 Should have adjust the exposure dude.. it burns my eyes
  • + 2
 yah, like i said, camera was on the wrong setting and i did not feel like shooting them all again ... thanks for the constructive criticism
  • + 1
 I think they capture the real conditions they had so, for me, it is enough. I think they're cool.

Cheers,
Beer
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so sketch...........
  • + 1
 yup, that is how they do it in Taiwan
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sam Hill eeezzz giunt!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I love the myst bike!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looks gnarly as hell
[Reply]
  • - 1
 as far as i can tell they all suck (not sam hill tho)
  • + 2
 Google "Lance Canfield" and then go hit all the stuff he has hit and then tell me again that they all suck ...
[Reply]

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