Kamikaze Bike Games 2016 - Day 1

Sep 16, 2016
by Philip Beckman  



Back in the day, back when mountain bikes were just starting to grab traction in the hearts and minds of outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers (let's say the late '80s, give or take), the Kamikaze Downhill ruled the roost. The brainchild of cycling enthusiast and visionary Bill Cockroft, the Kamikaze Downhill for many years became an annual pilgrimage for riders from around the world. The history books will show that various factors led to the eventual demise of the event—we'll save that for another day—and it remained but a fond memory for quite some time.

But Cockroft, a native of Mammoth Lakes, located high in California's Eastern Sierra Mountains, was not ready to let it go quietly into that good night. Four years ago he and a dedicated crew decided The Kamikaze should be brought back, and with it a variety of other popular MTB disciplines, including Cross Country, Dual Slalom (another spark of Cockroft's imagination decades ago), a modern version of Downhill run on two courses for riders of all skill levels, and the new kid on the block: Enduro. All of this was wrapped up into a neat package called the Kamikaze Bike Games.

The 2016 edition kicked off under bright blue skies and pleasant temperatures. Not surprisingly for this time of the year in Cali, it was as dry as English humor, making the loose pumice surface a typically parched and dusty affair. Mammoth Mountain will be rocking over the next few days, and we'll be more than happy to bring all the action your way.

The destination Mammoth Mountain all 11 053 feet of it as seen from the primary feeder route California State 395.
The destination: Mammoth Mountain, all 11,053 feet of it, as seen from the primary feeder route, California State 395.

Good goals the podium and Pinkbike
Good goals: the podium and Pinkbike!

The godfather of the Kamikaze and Mammoth Mountain in general Mister Bill Cockroft.
The godfather of the Kamikaze (and Mammoth Mountain in general), Mister Bill Cockroft.

Strategic planning session.
Strategic planning session.
Nice whip.
Nice whip.

One view from the top of Canyon Lodge the epicenter of action at the Kamikaze Bike Games.
One view from the top of Canyon Lodge, the epicenter of action at the Kamikaze Bike Games.

Shiny happy people ready to rip at the Kamikaze Bike Games.
Shiny happy people, ready to rip at the Kamikaze Bike Games.



PRACTICE

Course walk.
DH course walk.

Dropping into the Elevator Shaft.
This is the Elevator Shaft.

Nice view.
Nice view.

Dropping into the Elevator Shaft.
Dropping into the Elevator Shaft.

Dropping into the Elevator Shaft.
The Elevator Shaft from another angle.

Dropping into the Elevator Shaft.

This is considered big air at the Kamikaze Downhill. It s all about speed and keeping your tires beneath you on the skatey fire roads that make up the course.
This is considered big air at the Kamikaze Downhill. It's all about speed, and keeping your tires beneath you on the skatey fire roads that make up the course.

If you like to go fast on a mountain bike the Kamikaze Downhill will put a smile on your face.
If you like to go fast on a mountain bike, the Kamikaze Downhill will put a smile on your face.

Railing toward the finish of the Kamikaze Downhill.
Railing toward the finish of the Kamikaze Downhill.

Young gun Steven Walton Palmer Project shows his stuff to his number one fan father Jerry background .
Young gun Steven Walton (Palmer Project) shows his stuff to his number one fan, father Jerry (background).

Fresh off a silver medal performance in the Junior Women s class at last weekend s World Championships 16-year-old Samantha Kingshill College Cyclery O Neal is looking to capture the Pro GRT Pro Women s title at KBG.
Fresh off a silver medal performance in the Junior Women's class at last weekend's World Championships, 16-year-old Samantha Kingshill (College Cyclery/O'Neal) is looking to capture the Pro GRT Pro Women's title at KBG.

Two months ago Sean Bell Santa Cruz Oakley scored a Junior Expert National title at this very location. Having just returned from Italy he claims he came to the Kamikaze Bike Games just to have some fun. Whatever you say Sean.
Two months ago Sean Bell (Santa Cruz/Oakley) scored a Junior Expert National title at this very location. Having just returned from Italy, he claims he came to the Kamikaze Bike Games just to have some fun. Whatever you say, Sean.

The USA Cycling MTB National Championships took place at Mammoth two months ago for the second consecutive year . The Elevator Shaft was daunting then and has not gotten any easier since then.
The USA Cycling MTB National Championships took place at Mammoth two months ago (for the second consecutive year). The Elevator Shaft was daunting then and has not gotten any easier since then.

Cam Zink YT Mob Monster Energy has seen plentiful success at Mammoth. ESPN viewers may recall a certain world record backflip at 100 feet and 3 inches. To be precise. Don t bet against him for the KBG DH win.
Cam Zink (YT Mob/Monster Energy) has seen plentiful success at Mammoth. ESPN viewers may recall a certain world record backflip, at 100 feet and 3 inches. To be precise. Don't bet against him for the KBG DH win.

It s all a blur.
It's all a blur.

Refueling
Refueling!
Need a tool
Need a tool?

Track prep going down.
Dual Slalom track prep going down.

Groms looking good out there
The groms looking good out there!

2016 Kamikaze Bike Games Day 1 of 4
Start em young
Start 'em young!

National Dual Slalom champ Myrie Metzger looking faster than ever
National Dual Slalom champ, Myrie Metzger, looking faster than ever!

Austin Warren looking super fast in practice

Rachel looking fast a smooth.
Rachel Throop was looking fast and smooth.

The future
The future!
Who needs goggles or gloves Just keep looking ahead
Who needs goggles or gloves? Just keep looking ahead!

Track getting loose toward the end of practice.
Track getting loose toward the end of practice.

There were a few of these today.
There were a few of these today.
Bike Patrol has got it handled
It's ok, Bike Patrol has got it handled!

Rachel looks to be on point in practice today.
Rachel Throop looks to be on point in practice, bring on race day!

We'll be back later today with all the action from The Kamikaze, Legends of the Kamikaze and Dual Slalom.

Photos and words by pbcreativephoto.com and cleghornphotography.com.

www.kamikazebikegames.com


MENTIONS: @MammothMountain / @cleghornphotography / @pbcreative




31 Comments

  • + 21
 These pictures don't do it justice. Mammoth is one of the prettiest places I've ever biked
  • - 18
flag unrooted (Sep 16, 2016 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 You need to get out more: Tahoe/truckee, Bend, Moab/Sedona, and Squamish/Whistler all blow Mammoth out of the water for both riding and aesthetics.
  • + 9
 @unrooted: I guess aesthetics are subjective, but you're wrong. Looking into the Minarets and the High Sierra is unequaled by anywhere on your list.
  • + 7
 @unrooted: actually I have been to every single one of those areas that you have mentioned and while Whistler is probably the pinnacle, mammoth is a really incredible place
  • - 6
flag bridgermurray (Sep 16, 2016 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 Mammoth is colorless dude. It literally sits on rubble from a burnt-out volcano. It's pretty in its own way, but there are way more beautiful places to ride.
  • + 8
 @bridgermurray: you realize mammoth is the front steps of Yosemite right?
  • + 11
 @unrooted: You must be fun at parties.
  • - 9
flag unrooted (Sep 16, 2016 at 14:44) (Below Threshold)
 @DirtbagMatt: I got a car battery and two jumper cables argue different.
  • + 4
 @preach: Yes. But yosemite valley is a long ways away. The geography is very different in mammoth. Its covered in volcanic pumice (hence the "kitty litter" dirt). Very little vegetation- it's by definition a desert. Have you ever been there?
  • + 2
 @bridgermurray: yessir. Sorry I don't want to be "dickish" we spent a week there a few years ago and it captivated me. My family and I had a great time hiking and checking it all out.
  • + 10
 Plate #1 has his fly open... either that or it's a really great vent location.
  • + 5
 Riding the pumice on that mountain is a pain in the ass at first.... after a couple of days it's amazing how adroit one becomes slashing and swimming in the piles of it everywhere.
  • + 7
 Doyle!
  • + 1
 Lookin' good, man I wish I was up there this year!!!! That front tire looks like it wants to get a little loose. . .
  • + 2
 Awesome photos Phil and Jason! Thanks for the great coverage since I wasn't able to make this one, cool to see all the homies shredding it up!
  • + 4
 The pictures do not do the steepness of the elevator shaft justice.
  • + 3
 Who the fuxx wears a gold watch in a DH race? Those Cali boys sure are image conscious.
  • + 1
 U mad? Ring on tha pinky, gold grill on da teefus.
  • + 0
 I wore that watch, so what
  • + 1
 Mammoth is OG ... not your typical Bike park it rough it natural unGroomed that's what i love about it and ridding the tough Kitty Litter is a nice challenge to add to it ....
  • + 3
 Doyle lookin fresh, EAD BUDDY! 3
  • + 2
 Legend has it, to this day, that dudes goggles are still down on the back of his head.
  • + 2
 WooHoo!!! Samatha Kingshill!!!! YES!!!!
  • + 1
 Bazinga
  • + 1
 Banzai!!!!
  • - 1
 too dusty. too lose. welcome to California downhill!
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