Downhill Southeast - Round Three Race Recap

Apr 4, 2017 at 7:43
by Jay Schultz  
For the fourth race in five weeks, we are back at Windrock Bike Park in Oliver Springs, TN for the final race of the Downhill Southeast by Neko Mulally. Starting off in Mars Hill, NC at Bailey Mountain for round one, heading 120 miles west to Windrock, Oliver Springs, TN for the Pro GRT (not official on the Downhill Southeast docket but run by the same crew with USA Cycling), turn southwest for another 120 miles toward the town of Sequatchie, TN and Trials Training Center for round two, and finally retracing our route and doubling back to Windrock for round three closing out the series.

Saturday started out a bit on the chilly side completely overcast with the sun hiding behind the clouds. Mr. sunshine was supposed to peek through the clouds late Saturday afternoon and completely expose itself all day Sunday. It was looking like mother nature would cooperate for the final race of the Downhill Southeast series with no chance of turning the moist dirt into soup. Steve Abell of Adrenaline Racer To Wheels pictured during the early Saturday practice session.
  Saturday started out a bit on the chilly side, completely overcast with the sun hiding behind the clouds. Mr. sunshine was supposed to peek through the clouds late Saturday afternoon and completely expose itself all day Sunday. It was looking like mother nature would cooperate for the final race of the Downhill Southeast series with no chance of turning the moist dirt into soup. Steve Abell of Adrenaline Racer/To Wheels pictured during the early Saturday practice session.

The elder of the clan they call Richter Andy Richter made the decision to put his Canfield through the paces for the Single Crown Showdown sponsored by Cane Creek and Industry Nine. Out of the 17 riders that ran the Showdown he d go ninth which was actually sixth as those from CC and I9 that ran didn t count in the class final standings.
  The elder of the clan they call Richter, Andy Richter made the decision to put his Canfield through the paces for the Single Crown Showdown sponsored by Cane Creek and Industry Nine. Out of the 17 riders that ran the Showdown, he'd go ninth, which was actually sixth as those from CC and I9 that ran didn't count in the class final standings.

Jake Smith through one of the high speed sections on course. Not sure how riders felt about the ladder bridge being tapped off. It would have been one heck of an airtime session if it was part of the course. Mickey Denoncourt Course Marshal stated it was just too high speed and the crew didn t want to have to police Pros versus Amateur Intro and a go around. Too risky this weekend.
  Jake Smith through one of the high-speed sections on course. Not sure how riders felt about the ladder bridge being tapped off. It would have been one heck of an airtime session if it was part of the course. Mickey Denoncourt (Course Marshal) stated it was just too high speed and the crew didn't want to have to police Pros versus Amateur/Intro and a go around. Too risky this weekend.

GROM Racing s Little Man of Steele isn t so little anymore he s graduated to just the Man of Steele. Phillip Steele out early on Saturday figuring some stuff out and find tuning his lines on course.
  GROM Racing's "Little Man of Steele" isn't so little anymore, he's graduated to just the "Man of Steele." Phillip Steele out early on Saturday figuring some stuff out and find tuning his lines on course.

Frita Ronning was hoping to close out the Downhill Southeast series with a clean sweep and 3-0. With Caroline Washam out of the running after an injury the week prior at TTC there were four ladies with a shot to un-seed Frita and tarnish that sweep Jessica Glibert Angelina Palermo Megan Hutton and Sarah Wood. In 24 hours we d find out if she d carry it through or be upset.
  Frita Ronning was hoping to close out the Downhill Southeast series with a clean sweep and 3-0. With Caroline Washam out of the running after an injury the week prior at TTC, there were four ladies with a shot to un-seed Frita and tarnish that sweep: Jessica Glibert, Angelina Palermo, Megan Hutton, and Sarah Wood. In 24 hours we'd find out if she'd carry it through or be upset.

DHSE Round 3 WR
DHSE Round 3 WR
New for the final race of the series was the Single Crown Showdown sponsored by Cane Creek Cycling Components and Industry Nine. The concept being the obvious run a single crown race against two teams of two each from CC and I9 the teams themselves were exempt from the overall standings to allow racers to podium combine the team members race times and the slowest combined losing times would then result in the said company donating prizes to the podiumed Single Crown Showdown racers. Andrew Slowely pictured 1 of 2 from the team Cane Creek camp in the Single Crown Showdown. Sam Anderson would represent the other half of team CC. The I9 team would be comprised of Burke Saunders and Phillip Martin.
  New for the final race of the series was the Single Crown Showdown sponsored by Cane Creek Cycling Components and Industry Nine. The concept being (the obvious) run a single crown, race against two teams of two, each from CC and I9, the teams themselves were exempt from the overall standings to allow racers to podium, combine the team members race times and the slowest combined (losing) times would then result in the said company donating prizes to the podiumed Single Crown Showdown racers. Andrew Slowely (pictured), 1 of 2 from the team Cane Creek camp in the Single Crown Showdown. Sam Anderson would represent the other half of team CC. The I9 team would be comprised of Burke Saunders and Phillip Martin.

With Saturday afternoon conditions and weather turning out as forecasted Neko decided to extend Saturday practice one extra hour from 5 00 pm to 6 00 pm. Jake Smith getting in one of the last runs of the day before it was time to refuel and get some rest in preparation for race day.
  With Saturday afternoon conditions and weather turning out as forecasted, Neko decided to extend Saturday practice one extra hour, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Jake Smith getting in one of the last runs of the day before it was time to refuel and get some rest in preparation for race day.

No feet no saddle all while in mid-air.... not sure how Josh Money was able to contain this bobble but he did ride it out. One of the highlights of the afternoon practice session.
  No feet, no saddle, all while in mid-air... not sure how Josh Money was able to contain this bobble, but he did ride it out. One of the highlights of the afternoon practice session.

The fastest part of the course was just before the end. Short shoot out of the woods round a berm get a few strokes in one last pump for speed and into the step up. Most struggled for air time some scrubbed and a select few boosted making it a triple which was very impressive to see. Gus Michaels with the single crown Intense Tracer choosing for the scrub.
  The fastest part of the course was just before the end. Short shoot out of the woods, round a berm, get a few strokes in, one last pump for speed, and into the step up. Most struggled for air time, some scrubbed, and a select few boosted making it a triple which was very impressive to see. Gus Michaels with the single crown Intense Tracer choosing for the scrub.

The trail crew decided to mix it up a bit and offer a different riding experience from what everyone saw just a few weeks ago at the Pro GRT. Starting off with a small section of the blue flow trail Talladega the trail switched over to Trail One pictured . Your first obstacle was this small series of three rocks rather duanting at the initial glance. Dismount check er out roll it first time out then nothing but butter.
  The trail crew decided to mix it up a bit and offer a different riding experience from what everyone saw just a few weeks ago at the Pro GRT. Starting off with a small section of the blue flow trail "Talladega" the trail switched over to "Trail One" (pictured). Your first obstacle was this small series of three rocks, rather daunting at the initial glance. Dismount, check 'er out, roll it first time out, then nothing but butter.

Andrew Puckett over the last of the three previously mentioned rock features on the entry to Trail One during early morning race day practice. At the end of the day he d roll down with a 2 59.8 in Pro Men which landed him in the 15th spot out of 26.
  Andrew Puckett over the last of the three previously mentioned rock features on the entry to "Trail One" during early morning race day practice. At the end of the day he'd roll down with a 2:59.8 in Pro Men which landed him in the 15th spot out of 26.

Neko coming off his first win at this own series after five tries one week ago at Trials Training Center in Sequatchie TN. Could he make it a second straight in six tries Could very well be and I guarantee that he wanted to make sure he was king on his home turf at Windrock.
  Neko coming off his first win at this own series after five tries one week ago at Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, TN. Could he make it a second straight in six tries? Could very well be and I guarantee that he wanted to make sure he was king on his home turf at Windrock.

Notice the course marshal s calculated placement of the tape on the 3 inch tree just right of center of the frame. They forced everyone to make the two largest rocks on course a wall ride. Conditions on Saturday were muddy a result of off and on rain the week leading up to the event. This meant lots of whining and crying during practice. No worries things dried up plenty for Sunday and race day. Picture two weeks two races two finishes in the 8th spot in Pro Men for young Owen Witcher.
  Notice the course marshal's calculated placement of the tape on the 3 inch tree just right of center of the frame. They forced everyone to make the two largest rocks on course a wall ride. Conditions on Saturday were muddy, a result of off and on rain the week leading up to the event. This meant lots of whining and crying during practice. No worries, things dried up plenty for Sunday and race day. Picture, two weeks, two races, two finishes in the 8th spot in Pro Men for young Owen Witcher.

Same spot as the previous image just a different perspective. If you could control your entry the faster line was the tight fit between the tree in the middle and the rock just to its right. Much of the field would stay left into the berm but entry into that berm was a challenge as riders were hard on the brakes and at the same time being thrown left and right by the natural placed rocks.
  Same spot as the previous image, just a different perspective. If you could control your entry, the faster line was the tight fit between the tree in the middle and the rock just to its right. Much of the field would stay left into the berm, but entry into that berm was a challenge as riders were hard on the brakes and at the same time being thrown left and right by the natural placed rocks.

Ethan Heck Amateur Men over the only ladder bridge on course. He finished 17th in the largest field on the weekend a total of 36 Am Men riders.
  Ethan Heck (Amateur Men) over the only ladder bridge on course. He finished 17th in the largest field on the weekend, a total of 36 Am Men riders.

Greenville South Carolina s Old School Team SEI Racing has made a recent resurgence. Leading that resurgence has been the addition of two young riders Michael Kane and Seth Hanson pictured . Seth captured his first podium at the Downhill Southeast in Pro Men posting a 2 43.0 good enough for the 4th spot. Patience and hard work are starting to pay off for this young shredder
  Greenville South Carolina's "Old School" Team SEI Racing has made a recent resurgence. Leading that resurgence has been the addition of two young riders, Michael Kane and Seth Hanson (pictured). Seth captured his first podium at the Downhill Southeast in Pro Men posting a 2:43.0 good enough for the 4th spot. Patience and hard work are starting to pay off for this young shredder!

Beech Mountain Gravity s Bergen Khare cracking the top ten in 9th just behind his old teammate Owen Witcher in the 8th spot. The Berg ran a 2 51.2 in Pro Men. You know I Khare
  Beech Mountain Gravity's Bergen Khare cracking the top ten in 9th just behind his old teammate Owen Witcher in the 8th spot. The Berg ran a 2:51.2 in Pro Men. You know I Khare!

It was the unlucky number 13 for Derek Maiden. Luckily he had a smooth run unluckily I know that s not a word but it fits he finished 13th. His time 2 56.5 in Pro Men.
  It was the unlucky number 13 for Derek Maiden. Luckily he had a smooth run, unluckily (I know that's not a word, but it fits) he finished 13th. His time, 2:56.5 in Pro Men.

Who posted a sub two minute thirty run Who took the top spot and defended his home turf That would be this gent. 2 29.8 to be exact 3.7 seconds over Isak Leivsson.
  Who posted a sub-two minute thirty run? Who took the top spot and defended his home turf? That would be this gent. 2:29.8 to be exact, 3.7 seconds over Isak Leivsson.

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Above - What's it like posting a sub 2:30 run and the fastest time of the day at Windrock Bike Park at the final round of the Downhill Southeast? Though video hardly does any justice, take a ride along with Neko from Sunday during his race run.

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Above - Catch a glimpse of the action from round 3 of the DHSE at Windrock courtesy of Ross McDonald of MTBmaniatv.

Single Crown Showdown Podium 3. Gus Michaels right 3 02.2 2. Sean Leader left 2 57.9 1. Loren Dejonge center 2 57.8.
  Single Crown Showdown Podium: 3. Gus Michaels (right) 3:02.2, 2. Sean Leader (left) 2:57.9, 1. Loren Dejonge (center) 2:57.8.

Intro Men Podium 3. Eli Podgurski right 3 35.8 2. Mitchell Odendahl left 3 32.3. 1. Gage Collina center 3 32.2.
  Intro Men Podium: 3. Eli Podgurski (right) 3:35.8 , 2. Mitchell Odendahl (left) 3:32.3. 1. Gage Collina (center) 3:32.2.

Am Men Podium 5. Rafael Ferreira far right 3 06.2 4. Adam Smith far left 3 05.4 3. David Morgan second from right 3 03.5 2. Ben Ritcher second from left 3 02.3. 1. Chuck Pitts center 2 59.3.
  Am Men Podium: 5. Rafael Ferreira (far right) 3:06.2, 4. Adam Smith (far left) 3:05.4, 3. David Morgan (second from right) 3:03.5, 2. Ben Ritcher (second from left) 3:02.3. 1. Chuck Pitts (center) 2:59.3.

Women s Open Podium 3. Megan Hutton right 03 44.5 2. Angelina Palermo left 3 17.2 1. Frita Ronning center 3 10.2
  Women's Open Podium: 3. Megan Hutton (right) 03:44.5, 2. Angelina Palermo (left) 3:17.2, 1. Frita Ronning (center) 3:10.2

Pro Men Podium 5. Kyle Grau 2 44.2 4. Seth Hanson 2 43.0 3. Tommy Zula 2 42.5 2. Isak Leivsson 2 33.5. 1. Neko Mulally 2 29.8.
Pro Men Podium 5. Kyle Grau far left 2 44.2 4. Seth Hanson far right 2 43.0 3. Tommy Zula second from right 2 42.5 2. Isak Leivsson second from left 2 33.5. 1. Neko Mulally center 2 29.8.
Pro Men Podium: 5. Kyle Grau (far left) 2:44.2, 4. Seth Hanson (far right) 2:43.0, 3. Tommy Zula (second from right) 2:42.5, 2. Isak Leivsson (second from left) 2:33.5. 1. Neko Mulally (center) 2:29.8.

Complete DHSE Round Three Official Results: Here.



The Team

This past weekend wraps up the Downhill Southeast's second year. While Neko Mulally might be the guy carrying the name and calling most of the series shots, he's as only has good as the team and folks he surrounds himself with. Who might those folks be? Well, how about we give those folks operating in the shadows some well deserved credit and recognition. Thanks to each and every one of those people for everything they contribute to the success of this series. Neko thanks you, I personally thank you, and speaking for the racers, I know they thank you too.

Jay Ferguson - If Father Time had a son or a side kick that would be Jay. Jarret can t handle it all so divide and conquer is what they do. Your time officially starts with Jay he gives you the count down then it s GO TIME
  Jay Ferguson - If Father Time had a son or a side kick that would be Jay. Jarret can't handle it all, so divide and conquer is what they do. Your time officially starts with Jay, he gives you the count down then it's GO TIME!

Jarret Peek - Father Time for the Downhill Southeast. As a racer you post a time That would be courtesy of Jarret and Pisgah Productions. You ll find Jarret and his crew as staples of any MTB event in the region especially the Downhill Southeast.
  Jarret Peek - "Father Time" for the Downhill Southeast. As a racer, you post a time? That would be courtesy of Jarret and Pisgah Productions. You'll find Jarret and his crew as staples of any MTB event in the region, especially the Downhill Southeast.

Will Washam aka Trillwill - Quite simply the best MTB Emcee Announcer on the east coast and we are willing to bet in all of the US. Oh and it should be mentioned if you are going to throw out your best freestyle challenge you had better bring it..... dude has mad skills. He also just happens to be Neko s partner in getting this series up and running this season.
  Will Washam / aka "Trillwill" - Quite simply the best MTB Emcee/Announcer on the east coast, and we are willing to bet in all of the US. Oh, and it should be mentioned, if you are going to throw out your best freestyle challenge, you had better bring it..... dude has mad skills. He also just happens to be Neko's partner in getting this series up and running this season..

Caroline Mom Mulally - No doubt Caroline has been and still is one of the biggest influencers in Neko s life. On any given race weekend Neko couldn t always be around so when he was doing what he does best and a decision was to be made Mom was there with to call the shots. Not to mention she manages all event registration and race paperwork.
  Caroline "Mom" Mulally - No doubt Caroline has been and still is one of the biggest influencers in Neko's life. On any given race weekend Neko couldn't always be around, so when he was doing what he does best and a decision was to be made, Mom was there with to call the shots. Not to mention, she manages all event registration and race paperwork.

Callie Horwath - Neko s better half. Callie focused her skills on event promotions social media and anything to draw attention to the series whether that be in the form of web logo poster design etc. plus always lending a hand to Mom Mulally whenever it was needed.
  Callie Horwath - Neko's better half. Callie focused her skills on event promotions, social media, and anything to draw attention to the series, whether that be in the form of web, logo, poster design, etc., plus always lending a hand to Mom Mulally whenever it was needed.

Sean Leader - I know the nickname of MTBJesus is already taken but man.... he s definitely making a run at the title at least in my opinion. What does Sean do That s not really the right question to ask more what does Sean not do Let s see.... Windrock Bike Park partner in crime with Neko getting stuff where it needs to be trail builder course designer racer and most importantly taking care of the unforeseen issues that came up or addressing the things that fell through the cracks. Might I add one accomplished photographer as well.
  Sean Leader - I know the nickname of MTBJesus is already taken, but man.... he's definitely making a run at the title, at least in my opinion. What does Sean do? That's not really the right question to ask, more what does Sean not do? Let's see.... Windrock Bike Park partner in crime with Neko, getting stuff where it needs to be, trail builder/course designer, racer, and most importantly taking care of the unforeseen issues that came up or addressing the things that fell through the cracks. Might I add, one accomplished photographer as well.

Mickey Denoncourt - the Course Marshal. Mickey is one of those old school DHers that can never get enough of the MTB scene. On any given Downhill Southeast weekend you can expect him to be carrying 50 lbs of course tape in his backpack while he retains and tries to break his own Guinness World Records of most miles walked and number of times down and sometimes up the course on two feet. I wonder what lap times he s posting these days
  Mickey Denoncourt - the Course Marshal. Mickey is one of those old school DHers that can never get enough of the MTB scene. On any given Downhill Southeast weekend you can expect him to be carrying 50 lbs of course tape in his backpack while he retains and tries to break his own Guinness World Records of most miles walked and number of times down, and sometimes up, the course on two feet. I wonder what lap times he's posting these days?

Jamie Price - Mr I Can Do Anything and It All. As we ve said in the past Jamie is one of the nicest guys in Western North Carolina. Hauling stuff setting up tearing down driving the shuttle organizing the start on raceday or just doing whatever. You name it Jamie s done it always willing to lend a hand and does so with a smile.
  Jamie Price - Mr I Can Do Anything and It All. As we've said in the past, Jamie is one of the nicest guys in Western North Carolina. Hauling stuff, setting up, tearing down, driving the shuttle, organizing the start on raceday, or just doing whatever. You name it Jamie's done it, always willing to lend a hand and does so with a smile.

Ross McDonald - One half of the MTBMania TV crew the other being his sister Samantha . All the event footage you see daily mind that word daily a feat in itself is a result of Ross and his team s efforts. He genuinely loves every single thing about the sport. He recently said something that resonated with me... The bicycle is one of the most important inventions of mankind and mountains are the most beautiful thing in nature. Finding out who the fastest bike rider down the mountain is is where these two meet. Pure passion about the sport right there.
  Ross McDonald - One half of the MTBMania TV crew (the other being his sister Samantha). All the event footage you see daily (mind that word "daily", a feat in itself) is a result of Ross and his team's efforts. He genuinely loves every single thing about the sport. He recently said something that resonated with me... "The bicycle is one of the most important inventions of mankind, and mountains are the most beautiful thing in nature. Finding out who the fastest bike rider down the mountain is, is where these two meet." Pure passion about the sport right there.

What s this guys name again Ummm I can t seem to remember though I know I ve seen him a few times before. In all seriousness... yes we all work hard at what we do but we d take the bet you d be hard pressed to find some whom works as hard as this guy goes. Thanks for all you do Mr. I ve seen you before but I can t remember your name. Haha . You ve done a lot for the sport and the region we all appreciate it
  What's this guys name again? Ummm, I can't seem to remember, though I know I've seen him a few times before. In all seriousness... yes, we all work hard at what we do, but we'd take the bet, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who works as hard as this guy goes. Thanks for all you do Mr. "I've seen you before, but I can't remember your name." (Haha). You've done a lot for the sport and the region, we all appreciate it!

That's a wrap, folks. When he's not on the UCI Circuit, Neko and his crew do have some more things planned in the region for the 2017 season with the Downhill Southeast. We look forward to what they've got cooking and the return of this series in 2018. We're out! See you on the trail!

Downhill Southeast Series sponsors:
Blue Sky Fuel
Industry Nine
Fox
Worldwide Cyclery
Carolina Pro Flooring
Visit Knoxville

Windrock Bike Park Pro GRT Course Preview


23 Comments

  • + 7
 Oh how i have forgotten what its like to ride on dry dirt without snow :'(
  • + 2
 I rode Needham this past weekend for the first time, great spot, so wet.
  • + 4
 Frida you are an un-stoppable woman!!! Great work and great way to start the racing season!!!
  • - 1
 No mention of Chris Grice? I was gutted to hear about his injury on Saturday. Here's hoping that the fastest kid in America, who's not even old enough to race against JUNIORS most of the time, comes back stronger than ever later this summer! Heal up buddy, a number of sandbaggers owe Sundays results to you.
  • + 3
 If I would have gotten a shot of him I would of mentioned him. His injury happened a bit early on Saturday, not enough time to get a really good shot. I didn't want to mention it in another shot taking away from the pictured rider's accomplishments.
  • + 1
 Yah, bummer to see Chris go down! He'll be back stronger than before. I had special motivation to beat these kids after the pb post that said 13 yr. olds were dominating the series on 4 generations of riders. I was going for the win this week for sure but, I can't talk any crap with my win though, since Chris would have been a serious threat! He got me by .19 last week. We have been riding together recently and I can say without a doubt this kid has the talent and work ethic to take it a long way in this sport! Crazy seeing kids ride like these younguns are bringin it!
  • + 1
 Who is sandbagging?
  • + 2
 Which result belongs to jm2e?
  • + 1
 @metaldude: Chuck...you are a thief. I am the king of the podium posedown. I see how you're gonna be.
I don't show and you decide to steal my Most Muscular pose? Imitated, but never duplicated. #stepoff Wink
  • + 1
 @bizutch: Toss it back you with #stepup..... where were you? Not at the race, not on the podium, no room to claim anything Wink
  • + 1
 @gojammedia: Simple. I had to take my daughter to a softball tournament Saturday and paying $65 for only 2 hours of practice on Sunday (or what is most likely 2 runs) and a race run is not worth it. Not sure why pros need their own special session at a local 2 day race?

Most everyone can have a mechanical and need to tweak their bike and then you're screwed.

I tried that last year at TTC. Got 2 runs in, rode my race run with no clue where any lines were...then after the race, they just shut it down and took off. These things feel like the minority are being catered to, instead of the entire field who are the ones footing the bill and can help raise more money for the race.

Giving "pros" all the prime practice time at grassroots events feels selfish. I raced and put on our races and we made a conscious decision to focus on tons of practice times to get more riders involved. We'd run into DOZENS of riders after a race with freeride and hardtail bikes who were shredders that shuttled with us.

They said they didn't come race because of the pro-centric format. So we changed it up, opened up the course to all and made sure everyone knew we were doing it for the good of the whole. That's my reason. Why don't you #stepup and get on a bike. Wink
  • + 1
 @bizutch: We will trade, #stepup for #stepup, you get behind a camera and I'll get on a bike
  • + 1
 @gojammedia: Me...course side? All day? Making comments and ridiculing my fellow man?
An endless slideshow of nothing but fails, flops and no footed shenanigans and throwing my own verbal poop at the riders?
You might be on to something.
  • + 3
 Nice work again Jay, you could have included a self portrait too!
  • + 1
 Awesome write up and pictures! Thanks Jay. Josh- nice job riding that one out!
  • + 1
 those trails look like a blast to ride!
  • + 1
 If you have not been to Windrock. GO!!!! place is super fun.
  • + 1
 And wear shin pads. Winsock loves the taste of a good shin bone. Welll...and my down tube
  • + 2
 Thanks Jay!!!
  • + 1
 Callie ain't no slouch on a bike herself, too.
  • + 1
 That mtn looks amazing! I gotta get to TN
  • + 2
 Thanks Jay!
  • + 1
 Roll yt

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