Video: Urban Downhill Kicks Off At The Feria De Manizales

Jan 21, 2023
by Chiguiroextremo  
Words: Chigüiro Extremo

5:00 am and the team ready at the top to start the assembly of what would be the track for the Manizales Urban Downhill Fair in its 15th edition. We have approximately 40 people for logistics and 15 people to assemble ramps and taping the track. Due to the difference building of the track to the traditional downhill, we only had time for the assembly from Friday night, for this same reason we advanced work and assemble the jump to the finish line. Everything was going smoothly, the entire team was in action, putting foam protectors on the railings and high-risk points, assembling ramps, delimiting the route and balancing the logistics of the event, until a few drops began to fall, increasing minute by minute to what would be a heavy down pour.

We couldn't stop and get out of the rain because the event had a specific time limit for road closures and use of the city gondolas, so the track had to be ready for competition at 8:00 am sharp. The heavy rain continued, we continued working as well and the outlook wasn't very encouraging. In a traditional downhill these conditions were normal and the competitors would change for mud tires and do their training and race without problem, obviously the conditions are difficult but the event continues without major complications but the urban Downhill is a completely different story since the terrain varies between cement, tiles, dirt, all the surfaces you find in the streets of a city but all with the same characteristic, they are all solid surfaces where the tire studs do not dig and you lose grip easily

Start time for training was approaching and the weather was improving, little by little the riders arrived to start training. Some of the riders were a little worried about the conditions in which the course was found but we fully trusted them, for this reason it is an invitational event to reduce the chances of having serious accidents, they are the best downhill riders in Colombia and likewise the invited riders, Ben Moore from Great Britain and Martin Brza from the Czech Republic.

We started training and wet conditions began to claim their victims, fortunately crashes that riders could resume their training without any problem. In the same way, cement does not forgive and no matter how minor the fall, one will always have several scratches. The weather and the race environment improved, the track was drying out and the speed was increasing, giving the competitors the confidence to risk a little more and the public began to gather in the most dangerous sectors encouraging each cyclist to go faster.

Two hours and thirty minutes assigned for training had passed, giving way to qualifying. Where 3 U17 cyclists, 3 Ladies and 15 elites would be part of the grand finale, the most important show of the day and thus once again choose the fastest at the Manizales race. These would be the 21 fastest athletes who would enter the final of the Urban Downhill Feria de Manizales with Simón Restrepo (U17) making the elites tremble with a time of 1:41.05, Valentina Roa (Ladies) impeccably performs all the obstacles of the course with a time of 1:53.46 and Juan Fernando Muñóz (Elite) with 1:32.81 and maintains his high level with which he finished 2022.

Invited international riders Martin Brza (CZE), Ben Moore (GBR) with Chiguiro race organizer.
Traditional arepa stand in the middle of the race track.

Finals began fast, starting with the U17 where the two fastest times Simón Restrepo and Juan José Jaramillo had a very close 2022, even achieving better track times in the Colombia Enduro Series and Downhill Series, showing that there is a good future in the minor categories. Starting with Jacobo Mejía and improving his qualifying time by a few seconds, but it doesn't last long in the “Los Neneis” Hot Seat because Juan José Restrepo appears with a very good run with a time of 1:38:70. It doesn't take long for Simón Restrepo to drop, making the fastest time, bettering his qualifying with a time of 1:37.36 and winning by 1.34 seconds over Juan José.

Now it was the turn of the Ladies Category, it was going hard race for Valentina Lozada and Valentina Garcés since their most important rival, Valentina Roa, came from an incredible 2022 season where she was a Bronze medalist in the Downhill World Championship in Les Gets, France, among other great results. But as in all sports, the result was unpredictable because in training Valentina Roa had destroyed her rear wheel and Valentina Garcés had had a hard fall in the fastest jump on the track. Nothing was written until the last athlete crosses the finish line. Valentina Garcés opened the ladies category with a time of 2:04.33, a clean run but since she did not complete the big obstacles, time was going to be very likely to be dropped. A few minutes later Valentina Lozada arrives and she fails to lower Valentina Garcés' time and she is in 2nd place. The only rider that remained was Valentina Roa, she had a great and clean descent, attacking all the obstacles on the track, she managed to destroy the time by 14 seconds and achieved a time of 1:50.11.

The people was already at its maximum attendance occupying the platforms, streets and stands of the entire route waiting for the 15 fastest cyclists of the day. The sun had completely dried the track and it was certain that the track times were going to improve. One by one they were making their descent and as expected times dropped. Favorites like Steven Ceballos would have problems with his chain and had to roll for most of the track, although this mechanical was not a problem to keep descending and gave the people a great show. A group of 5 runners tied at the same second with minimum differences of hundredths of a second, until the runner from Antioquia Esteban Muñóz achieves a time of 1:38.54, showing that the time could be lowered. Only the fastest in qualifying remained, Sebastián Holguín, who was making his official debut in the elite category and had just become the only Latino to obtain a podium in the Downhill World Cup the previous year. Camilo Sánchez the winner of RedBull Monserrate Cerro Abajo ’22 and Juan Fernando Muñoz Vélez winner of the ’22 version of the Urban Downhill of Manizales and 2nd place in RedBull Monserrate Cerro abajo ’22. Any of them could be the winner of this edition.

First it would be the turn of Sebastian Holguín “Mini," he makes an aggressive but stylish run, didn't pedal as hard as other races, but even so, the time of Esteban Muñoz falls by almost 5 seconds, an incredible time of 1:33.84. People explode upon hearing this new time, some even assuring that it would not be possible to lower it. Minutes later Camilo Sánchez "Paquito" with his aggressive style and trying to remedy the result of the previous year where he could not compete in the final due to a mechanical failure, manages to make the hardest lines and a strong shot in the pedaling zone, lowers him 2.5 seconds to the time of Holguín, 1:31.34 minutes. After Camilo managed to lower this time in such a way, the public believed that it would be very difficult for Juan Fernando to improve that time and he would need a flawless run without mistakes. The eyes of all the assistants at the finish line were directed to the big screen, the cameras followed Juan Fernando throughout his entire run, seeing how he completed each section with his maximum effort. The screaming of the people surpass the speakers of the narrator of the event, Juan Fernando crosses the finish line and there is a pause between all the attendees while the official time is known. 1:31.32 is the time of Juan Fernando, champion of the Urban Downhill of the Manizales Fair for the 2nd consecutive time, by only 2 hundredths of a second. A minimal difference, possibly the smallest margin for a winner among all the editions of the Manizales Urban Downhill.

The awards ceremony is held and once again we crown the fastest riders in the event, this year with two new categories (U17 and Ladies) that join the elite to make the biggest sports show of the Manizales Fair.

Elite Podium L to R 4th Esteban Mu oz 2nd Camilo Sanchez 1st Juan Fernando Mu oz 3rd Sebasti n Holgu n 5th Sebastian Posada.
Elite Podium (L to R) 4th Esteban Muñoz, 2nd Camilo Sanchez, 1st Juan Fernando Muñoz, Jorge Jaramillo/Chiguiro, 3rd Sebastián Holguín, 5th Sebastian Posada.

Women s Podium L to R 4th Luciana Polania 2nd Valentina Garces 1st Valentina Roa 3rd Valentina Lozada 5th Maria Clara Agudelo.
Women's Podium (L to R) 4th Luciana Polania, 2nd Valentina Garces, 1st Valentina Roa, 3rd Valentina Lozada, 5th Maria Clara Agudelo.
U17 Podium L to R 4th Juan Pablo Delgado 2nd Juan Jos Jaramillo 1st Simon Restrepo 3rd Jacobo Mejia 5th Jeronimo Ramirez.
U17 Podium (L to R) 4th Juan Pablo Delgado, 2nd Juan Jose Jaramillo, 1st Simon Restrepo, 3rd Jacobo Mejia, 5th Jeronimo Ramirez


  • 12 0
 I’ll play my ignorance card and ask an honest question: a majority of these urban DH course have little to no dirt. Why do riders still use aggro DH tires? Wouldn’t something more akin to semi-slicks be better?

Either way, I dig watching these events and the riders involved
  • 3 0
 Also my dummy question... Why wouldn't something like the Maxxis Hookworm or Vee Tire Speedster be more ideal? I could only guess impact/ sidewall/ puncture durability? Rubber compound stickyness?...product promo power?
  • 8 0
 My only guess is that there aren't any slick tires available in casings that are tough enough.
  • 4 0
 @pmhobson: There are some wider heavy duty urban commuter slicks, maybe some of those would work. There is an argument for sticking with what you know though. Doesn't seem to be holding them back much, the racing looks sick!
  • 4 0
 @GorgesIthacan: Maxxis Minion SS with DH casing worked perfectly. Hookworm or Speedster would fail big time in front, maybe as a rear option. I am also not sure how these tires would perform on stairs and strair gaps. You still need to have side knobs as dirt sections are part of many tracks, not here in Manizales though.
  • 5 0
 The knobs give more traction on stairs. The courses are also often not very "clean". DH tires get better traction when you encounter sand or gravel on the asphalt.
  • 2 0
 I've raced in a few urban DH events and my preferred tyre combo is a Maxxis Minion SS DH rear and an High Roller front.
  • 2 0
 @hardlylikely: when I think of heavy duty slicks, I think of thick treads meant to resist punctures from road debris and stuff sidewalls, but not necessarily tough. 29x2.4” also isn’t a size I would expect.

But I could be totally wrong.
  • 2 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: what are the knobs biting into on stairs? My understanding is that the lateral stiffness of the knob isn’t going to mean much if they’re not digging into anything.

Perhaps knobs give you a larger contact patch or there’s something else in missing entirely.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: The corner of the stair steps. Thomas Slavik said this once, if I recall correctly.
  • 2 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: sure. But in that case the knobs still aren’t biting into anything. You’re relying on the deformation of the knob and its stiffness/tendency return to its molded shape to provide additional grip.

Maybe it works that way. But it’d be surprising to me.
  • 2 0
 Go with what works I guess?
  • 2 0
 @powderhoundbrr: hard to argue against that
  • 5 0
 Wild to see the guy scrubbing the narrow stairs in the second shot. The tire explosion at :45 is most impressive I've ever seen, the rim actually breaks through the ramp! Also loved the music.
  • 6 0
 An urban DH in Columbia and no Marcelo Gutierrez? Not even a mention? What gives?
  • 3 0
 Looks like a sneaky Marcelo G behind the cameraman at 2:29!
  • 1 0
 @Brent-F there might be some issues with the people organizing these... therei s a hint of conflict within colombian guys... listen to Moving the Needle podcast with Marcelo... having lived there I can tell you they dont get along... not sure if its that bad.. perhaps MG does not want to race anyways
  • 6 5
 Estuve en Colombia en octubre del 2022...chicos si pueden ir a visitar este pais! La gente es súper agradable, positiva, la cocina es excelente, claro que también hay delitos menores pero en 17 días no me ha pasado ningún episodio desagradable (solo usa la cabeza y no le des papaya). He recorrido los senderos de Montserrate y los videos no le hacen justicia a este recorrido de descenso urbano. Visita Colombia y te enamorarás!!!!
  • 8 4
 Why even bring up small crime in Colombia when nothing happened during your visit? As if in Italy everone is holier than the pope!
  • 2 0
 @mi-bike: likely because many people around the world have preconceived notions about Colombia?
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: I think any country in which criminal organizations are using vbieds in towns it is worth acknowledging for potential tourists.
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: because it's a real problem ... let's not ignore it, Bogota can be more or less dangerous. I said it ... everything went well for me (also because I was accompanied by my girlfriend and friends from Bogota) but it is definitely a point to take into consideration. If you travel in the northern areas it is even worse.
  • 2 0
 @sfarnum: that's the point. Mine wants to be a positive message. You can visit Colombia having fun and enjoying the holiday beyond the perception that the rest of the world has of this state (which I remember being the most politically stable in South America). But to give an example, in the days when I was there, there was the "lively" protest of the native Indians of those lands who live in conditions of misery ... this means avoiding the center of the city.
  • 1 0
 @blacktea: So, if i get this correct, your example of small crime (delitos menores) in your original comment is "lively protests" that required you to avoid downtown? Well done moving the goal posts!
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: what's wrong with my comment? Big Grin Do you want to address the topic of crime in Pinkbike posts?
  • 4 1
 How about some coverage of Freeride Fiesta. Dylan Stark is sending and Yoann had a 60' case ending in a separated shoulder with a fracture as well. Heal up @yoannbarelli !!
  • 2 1
 that's in Mexico
  • 1 0
 @blacktea: Oh yes, it was indeed.
  • 4 3
 One day I may remember to hit mute before clicking an Instagram video, but it is not this day. Leaving aside the atrocious music some add to their clips, obviously a matter of personal taste, the volume Instagram blares out at compared to other platforms is much higher, and with no sound controls to set it at a balanced level. Sorry, they have a mute button I can quickly hunt for while regaling the world with an immense freehub buzz late at night. Portrait video should die in a fire too. Worst video platform out there imo, and it's not close.
  • 5 1
 Man I love watching people ride downhill bikes in towns!
  • 3 0
 Lots of Valentinas on the podium.
  • 1 0
 Also the ignorance card here, most of the riders have single crown forks. Would you not want a Boxxer or 40 on the front for those stair gaps?
  • 2 0
 Amazing. I'd love to go!
  • 2 0
 You should Smile
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