By Ryan Kuhn
For a decade Golden, British Columbia’s Psychosis downhill race on Mount 7 was a test piece for racers worldwide, including names such as Steve Smith, Chris Kovaric, Sam Hill and Kyle Strait. For many, it was an annual right of passage trying to haul balls down one of the longest, steepest and demented tracks around. While the Psychosis came to a close in 2008, two riders are now seeking to do the unthinkable: set a world record for “Greatest Vertical Descent on a Mountain Bike in 24 Hours,” and they’re doing it on the Mt. 7 Psychosis course this weekend.
Reg Mullet and Mark Haimes (aka Kram) are taking on the Psychosis course for 24 straight hours. (This image is from 2013 where they did over 40,000 vertical feet for their 40th birthdays.
Reg Mullet and Mark Haimes, aka “Kram,” aren’t new to epic downhill sessions. Last year, the duo, which both consider the Psychosis course their favourite all-time trail, descended 43,307 feet in celebration of their 40th birthdays. Not long after, they learned Thomas Frischknect and Thomas Geiger were claiming an unofficial world record of descending 44,516 feet. Reg and Kram figured they could do more, so they contacted Guiness and set up the challenge for this summer.
“It was never going to be anywhere else for us, as it's our favourite trail,
” says Kram, who hails from Squamish, BC
. “It's punishing yet immensely fun and if we had to show someone what DH means to us, we'd send them down this trail. If you have to ride a trail for 24 hours straight, you'd better be loving every minute of it.
Mount 7 is steep, gnarly and rough. Just the way they like it.
Reg, from Calgary, Alberta, explains that although they could choose an easier trail, this is much more about specifically setting a Mt. 7 record that we hope will never be beaten, and less about a world record to stand the test of time.
“We know we could set a higher number elsewhere, but that's not our motivation,
” says Reg
. “We want the first Guinness record to be on a trail that to us is the embodiment of DH. We'd love to see someone challenge it at Mt 7, but realistically we know it will be taken out somewhere else where vertical can be gained and lost much faster.
To be clear, for those who know the Psychosis racecourse, they will be dropping into Summit Trail and joining the racecourse at the bottom of the insanely steep “Dead Dog
” section off the top. Time and water have not been kind to 'Dead Dog
' and it would be asking for injury to ride it many times over when they’re beaten down.
Kram sending it at the finish of the Psychosis in 2006.
It goes without saying that they couldn't possibly do this without a lot of help. A number of people will be helping with shuttle driving, food prep, mechanical support, course surveying and witnessing. They will also have backup bikes to ride if their main bikes require repair.
“We are going to need a lot of morale support, which I'm sure there'll be plenty of,
” says Kram
. “And someone to bring us beer when we're done.
Trying to set a world record on a course as demanding as the Psychosis is not an endeavour to take lightly, and Reg and Kram have been preparing in their own ways. Kram’s been riding Garbanzo laps at Whistler on trails such as Goats Gully and In Deep for hours on end without stopping. Garbo is the fastest lift in Whistler for vertical gain, and he could do three laps an hour. Oh, and it should be mentioned Kram split his training time between his Santa Cruz V10 and a Chromag hard tail bike! But it'll be all V10 this weekend...
For Reg, this has been the year of the top to bottom. Most of his training has been riding his V10 at Mt.7 and at Fernie Alpine Resort on the rough and rocky Timber Chair and specifically the trail TNT.
Reg keeping it straight on the relentless Psychosis track.
“I live in Calgary Alberta, and am back working full time, have a small trail building company on the side and a fantastic lady that I am trying to keep,
” says Reg
. “I only have had access and time for two days a week for full time vert tabulation and training on my bike. To increase the fatigue on these limited days, I stepped it up a notch and just pinned top to bottom laps. I carried this philosophy into a majority of my all-mountain riding as well, and put a lot of time in the gym. All that being said, I have been putting in big vertical days for ten years or more, it’s that familiarity and constant pushing of my limits that I will be tapping into to help sustain the physical aspect of this mission.
Both say the hardest part of this challenge will be the pain of simply holding on to the bike on such a rough track for 24 hours straight. They have had their share of injury and soft tissue damage, and this will push the boundaries of what their bodies can tolerate. Reg is 10 months into recovery from sending his not-so-humorous bone through his tricep and forearm in a weird crash while riding in Whistler. The fracture went into his left elbow and he ended up having it rebuilt with around 15 pins and a couple metal rods. But it was the soft tissue damage/atrophy that was the bigger hurdle of the two.
Ten months ago, this happened to Reg.
“Anyone reading this fighting an injury or illness, I hope you can use my experience as an example,
” says Reg
. “I remember how distant a strong arm shredding down a trail felt, how impossible that task of regaining strength and mobility felt, how disheartening it was to hear from the doctor that it would be 6 months to a year before I could even get back on a bike. When Kram approached me about going for a record, it really struck home as opportunity to prove how one can channel positive thinking and passion, into a ton of hard work to get back to the health you want and to hopefully meet an overwhelming goal.
There are a lot of requirements to satisfy Guinness. Surveying the course to determine the vertical, taking video of the entire ride, having an official witness taking our photos with a clock at the top and bottom of each run, having a UCI affiliate and a lawyer present at all times. It's strict, and they don't know for sure if it will be accepted until they review it in the coming weeks.
“There are a lot of records with Guinness under Motocross categories, but very little for Mountain Bikes
,” says Kram
. “We want to see our sport gather more representation in the book, so here we are to get it rolling; we'll see what the rest of the mountain bike community will do with it next.
Kram on the infamous Psychosis Road Gap. RIP.
Reg and Kram will begin their challenge Friday evening at twilight, and will ride through until the following evening on Saturday, followed by a big celebration. Pinkbike will be on hand to document it all.
The duo would like to send out huge thanks to their sponsors: Calgary Cycle, DVO Suspension, Light & Motion, NRG, Race Face, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Spruce Race Timing and Troy Lee Designs.
Mount 7 in Golden, BCTrailforks.com
Dropping in: the 24 hours of madness begins Friday evening.