DVO Reaper Madness at Bootleg Canyon

Mar 28, 2017
by Philip Beckman  
You know you ve arrived when you see this iconic sculpture.
DVO Reaper Madness
Bootleg Canyon

Words and photography // Philip Beckman
You know you've arrived when you see this iconic sculpture.


Even in the best of times, Bootleg Canyon is a beast of a challenge. And that was exactly the case at the third and final round of the 2017 DVO Winter Gravity Series. Conditions were ideal for a weekend packed with MTB action at this storied venue on the outskirts of Boulder City, Nevada.

Or Bootleg might better be described as a wild beast. Just when you think you have it tamed, it turns around and rips off a limb.

Just ask four-time and reigning UCI World Cup Downhill Champion Aaron Gwin. The YT Industries rider from Wildomar, California, has seen it all, and as he put it, “On a difficulty level it’s as high as any track in the world. There’s no traction, the rocks crazy, it’s long and usually hot, dry and windy. You definitely need to be fit and hit your lines. It’s really easy to make mistakes, and if you crash you’re probably going to the hospital. It’s a tough track, but that’s why I keep coming back. It’s challenging but fun, and it’s always a great time coming out and racing with all the guys. The first time I ever rode a downhill bike was right here, and it scared me out of my mind. It’s hard to compare with any other track anywhere.” The 29-year-old stopped the clock with a 4:07.16 in his final race run, topping the Pro Men’s class by just over 9 seconds.

Runner up on this day was another Bootleg veteran, Logan Binggeli (KHS Factory Racing). “Bootleg Canyon is one of a kind,” he stated. “It’s definitely a West Coast track; it’s dry, loose and fast. I think it should be on the World Cup schedule. There’s a reason why Steve Peat came all the way here to test years ago. There’s a reason why Gwinny’s here. It’s a unique and challenging course, and I think it’s here to stay. Thank you, Brent Thomson. [The original Bootleg trail builder, who died in 2009.]

Steven Walton (Commencal) aced the Junior Expert division with a time that would have put him fifth in the Pro ranks (4:20.76). He rolled his eyes and stifled a laugh when asked about this venue. “Boot is kind of its own ballgame. It’s one big cheese grater; pretty sketchy, really.”

Current USA Cycling Pro GRT Women’s champ Samantha Kingshill (College Cyclery/Truckerco Posse) echoed these words. “It’s very unique. It would be hard to find something as steep, rocky, technical, and physically demanding. Bootleg is definitely one of the courses where you do not push it. You have to warm up to it and then flow with the geography.” Kingshill captured both the Dual Slalom race on Saturday and the Downhill on Sunday.

One notable victim at this event was previous round winner Bruce Klein (KHS Factory Racing). A sliced rear tire just after the start of his run ended his day and his title shot.

Even the event promoter, Downhillmike Scheur, admits that Bootleg is “One of the gnarliest courses on the West Coast. The exposure and sharp rocks are simply too much for some riders. Bootleg is not for everyone.”

The crowd that gathered for the generous awards ceremony certainly seemed to have enjoyed the weekend’s festivities. A stack of sweet medals, several tables overflowing with swag, thousands of dollars in cash and a year’s worth of bragging rights makes for a happy group. And no one was complaining about being able to walk away with his or her limbs more or less intact, either.

The shuttle run offered a sweeping view of the Las Vegas Strip and a snow-capped Mount Charleston.
The shuttle run offered a sweeping view of the Las Vegas Strip and a snow-capped Mount Charleston.

World Cup champ Aaron Gwin YT Industries surveys the top of the trail. Even though he rode his first downhill bike here and has made regular appearances over the years he had not yet ridden this section of Armageddon.
World Cup champ Aaron Gwin (YT Industries) surveys the top of the trail. Even though he rode his first downhill bike here and has made regular appearances over the years, he had not yet ridden this section of Armageddon.

Lest the introductory text make you think Bootleg is too tough to tame kids like Junior 13-14 class winner Maisen Duncan DVO 5-10 100 Truckerco would prove that assumption wrong.
Lest the introductory text make you think Bootleg is too tough to tame, kids like Junior 13-14 class winner Maisen Duncan (DVO/ 5-10/100%/Truckerco) would prove that assumption wrong.

Incycle s Cole Suetos was smokin fast all weekend eventually winning the Cat 1 Men 15-16 class.
Incycle's Cole Suetos was smokin' fast all weekend, eventually winning the Cat 1 Men 15-16 class.

The Bootleg hill basically consists of two parts. The upper section is slow rocky steep and very technical. The lower section starting here is mostly wide-open desert singletrack.
The Bootleg hill basically consists of two parts. The upper section is slow, rocky, steep and very technical. The lower section, starting here, is mostly wide-open desert singletrack.

Speed is the name of the game in the last half of the course.
Speed is the name of the game in the last half of the course.

A highly inspirational Handcycle Enduro was featured at Reaper Madness. Three adaptive athletes competed in a Super D a Downhill and the Dual Slalom.
A highly inspirational Handcycle Enduro was featured at Reaper Madness. Three adaptive athletes competed in a Super D, a Downhill and the Dual Slalom.

Acrophobics will have a tough time at Bootleg. There s a lot of exposure as demonstrated on the West Leg trail used during Saturday s Super D.

Acrophobics will have a tough time at Bootleg. There s a lot of exposure as demonstrated on the West Leg trail used during Saturday s Super D.
Acrophobics will have a tough time at Bootleg. There's a lot of exposure, as demonstrated on the West Leg trail, used during Saturday's Super D.

Truckerco founder Greg Gibson captured the overall Pro Men s Super D title for the series. Ryan Geiger Specialized 100 set fast time of the day 12 11.92 in this class while Nicole Schanilec Go-Ride competing in the Cat 2 Women 30-39 division was the fastest female 15 19.37 .
Truckerco founder Greg Gibson captured the overall Pro Men's Super D title for the series. Ryan Geiger (Specialized/100%) set fast time of the day (12:11.92) in this class, while Nicole Schanilec (Go-Ride), competing in the Cat 2 Women 30-39 division, was the fastest female (15:19.37).

Fitness model Christine Eikmeier aka Johnny Ringo squared off with Samantha Kingshill in the Women s Dual Slalom final. Kingshill prevailed.
Fitness model Christine Eikmeier, aka Johnny Ringo, squared off with Samantha Kingshill in the Women’s Dual Slalom final. Kingshill prevailed.

Angelo Loskota was the man to beat in Saturday s Dual Slalom.
Angelo Loskota was the man to beat in Saturday’s Dual Slalom.

Sean McClendon Deity 2SIX Stallions topped the charts in the Open Men s Downhill.
Sean McClendon (Deity/2SIX Stallions) topped the charts in the Open Men’s Downhill.

Local rider Liam Smillie Novatec Truckerco grabbed the Cat 1 Men 19-29 victory.
Local rider Liam Smillie (Novatec/Truckerco) grabbed the Cat 1 Men 19-29 victory.

Italy s Alessia Missiaggia GT Bicycles the reigning Junior Women s World Champion was a stylish second place in Pro Women.
Italy’s Alessia Missiaggia (GT Bicycles), the reigning Junior Women’s World Champion, was a stylish second place in Pro Women.

Reigning Pro GRT champion Samantha Kingshill College Cyclery Truckerco Posse warms up on Friday. On Sunday she would capture her third Bootleg victory in three tries during the 2017 DVO Winter Gravity Series.
Reigning Pro GRT champion Samantha Kingshill (College Cyclery/Truckerco Posse) warms up on Friday. On Sunday she would capture her third Bootleg victory in three tries during the 2017 DVO Winter Gravity Series.

Steven Walton Commencal set the fourth best time of the day in the DH. But it was also the best in his class Cat 1 Men 17-18 otherwise known as Junior Expert.
Steven Walton (Commencal), set the fourth best time of the day in the DH. But it was also the best in his class: Cat 1 Men 17-18, otherwise known as Junior Expert.

Aaron Gwin YT Industries likes to use Bootleg for pre-World Cup season training. A runaway win indicates that he s ready. He told us his knee is recovering nicely from off-season surgery but he s still working on regaining full leg strength.
Aaron Gwin (YT Industries) likes to use Bootleg for pre-World Cup season training. A runaway win indicates that he's ready. He told us his knee is recovering nicely from off-season surgery, but he's still working on regaining full leg strength.

Logan Binggeli KHS Factory Racing donned the overall DVO Winter Gravity Series crown with a smooth second place at Reaper Madness.
Logan Binggeli (KHS Factory Racing) donned the overall DVO Winter Gravity Series crown with a smooth second place at Reaper Madness.

Da winnahs Gwin and Kingshill make time for a quick photo opp.
Da winnahs! Gwin and Kingshill make time for a quick photo opp.

That s some sweet sheet metal.
That's some sweet sheet metal.

A long list of generous event sponsors fill numerous tables with winners swag.
A long list of generous event sponsors fill numerous tables with winners' swag.

Your Pro Women s Reaper Madness podium featuring l-r Alessia Missiaggia GT Bicycles Samantha Kingshill College Cyclery Truckerco and Amanda Wentz Transition Gamut Fox .
Your Pro Women's Reaper Madness podium, featuring (l-r): Alessia Missiaggia (GT Bicycles), Samantha Kingshill (College Cyclery/Truckerco), and Amanda Wentz (Transition/Gamut/Fox).

Time for the Pro Men s bubbly. At the DVO Reaper Madness it was l-r Logan Binggeli KHS Factory Racing Aaron Gwin YT Red Bull and Demetri Triantafillou Lake Town Bicycles popping the corks.
Time for the Pro Men's bubbly. At the DVO Reaper Madness it was (l-r): Logan Binggeli (KHS Factory Racing), Aaron Gwin (YT/Red Bull) and Demetri Triantafillou (Lake Town Bicycles) popping the corks.

Full results for the event and the series can be found here: downhillmike.com/2017-reaper-madness-results.html

Major props to the sponsors and supporters of the 2017 DVO Reaper Madness, namely: DVO Suspension, Box Components, GT Bicycles, KHS Factory Racing, Promax, All Mountain Cyclery, Kore North Bikes, Novatec, HT Components, SNMBA, MJT Designs, Canfield Bros, Absolute Black, Truckerco, Deity, Kali Protectives, ODI Grips, 4Low Parts, Onza, Smanie, Maxima Racing Oils, Scurvy Dog Clothing, Whiteface Mountain Bike Park and Blue Dog RV. Also thanks to the Boulder City Parks and Recreation, Dan Haskin and the late Brent Thomson and friends.


MENTIONS: @pbcreative




23 Comments

  • 39 0
 Gwin's trail scoping pose is mighty sassy.
  • 13 0
 Sorry about that, Nate. Also, yours truly dropped the ball by posting a pic of Bruce Klein and identified him as Logan Binggeli. Sorry, Logan. Anyone else that deserves an apology? Hit me.
  • 8 0
 Kingshill rocking it chainless too.
  • 7 0
 Lycra at bootleg is another level of ballsy
  • 4 0
 Awesome, thanks for the write up! DVO at Bootleg is still my favorite series, even though we race brutal tracks like Armageddon!!
  • 6 1
 Is greg gibson's skinsuit legal?
  • 5 0
 Great write-up, thanks for the coverage!
  • 4 0
 Rad! Might be worth mentioning that 15yo Cole Suetos would have got 6th in pros.
  • 4 0
 For sure, Cole has really upped his game this season.
  • 4 0
 Bootleg Canyon is always so Loose Dusty and Gnarly.
  • 4 0
 Bootleg and the Winter Series always deliver!
  • 3 0
 Where is Elias?
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the excellent writing and photo skills on this great event at a very unique venue. Cool stuff.
  • 2 0
 I love it when kids brake with their middle fingers. So punk.
  • 2 1
 The Junior was Nate Luna, not Maison
  • 1 0
 Those DVO's really pop out against a desert background
  • 1 0
 Phil Beckman! Legend!
  • 1 2
 The "Acrophobics...." photo is posted twice?
  • 2 0
 Yeah, we were having some weird tech issues with this post (hence the delay). I guess it's better to have it twice than not at all.
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