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2015 Kamikaze Bike Games

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Kamikaze Games 1

photo courtesy of PB Creative

I am a compulsive volunteer. I work half marathons, Triathlons, Century Bike Rides, and disabled sports in both winter and summer. This year I had a little extra time so I volunteered to work the Kamikaze Bike Games staged here by Mammoth Mountain Ski Are. I worked in both reception and as a course marshal. The experience was a real eye opener to me.

There were over 740  riders who entered some participating in multiple events. They came in all sizes, shapes, and ages. Proud parents signing up their minor children for some death defying event, at least in my mind. I was truly amazed at the way these riders and parents treated the volunteers. There were as one would expect a few problems when there are so many people registering on line for the event. The volunteers and the guests solved any problems and treating everyone the way they would like to be treated. This cannot always be said about visitors for other events.

The event that was the most interesting and dangerous was the Enduro which tested riders on the loose pumice, rock gardens and wooden bridges littered throughout the double black diamond Bullet DH and Follow me Trails. The last stage of the race has the riders whisked to the top of the 11053 foot summit of Mammoth Mountain which is the start of a 5.3 Mile timed downhill run skirting the edge of the well-known Dave’s Run then dropping 2700 feet to the finish at Canyon Lodge.

Other events that were available to see and participate in included the downhill, cross country, and the dual slalom.

I have done a little checking on the equipment used in the games. I was very surprised to learn what one could spend on just the bike you would ride. New bikes online ranged from $540.00 up to $3500.00 plus the gear that the rider wears including full face helmets, should and chest protectors and shin guards.

Interest in the event is growing very quickly by both Mammoth Mountain and the participants. It is the goal of the mountain to expand the event into a full week with a festival atmosphere that showcases the parks variety of trails and elevating Mammoth to a well-placed position along with Whistler in Canada and North Star on the other side of the Sierras near Lake Tahoe.

Once again when winter is over and the snow is off the mountain preparations will begin for the 2016 Kamikaze Bike Games in September 2016. These games from start to finish span over six months of preparation.  Mammoth will be occupied with making the existing trails both rideable and sustainable before thinking about building new Down Hill and Cross Country trails.

There is no way that the Bike Park which has about 50,000 paid riders in the summer is going to close to the Million plus skiers that the snow attracts but it is a real boost to  the local economy in the Summer months and getting the Mammoth Brand out to potential new visitors.

Hope to see you next September either riding or watching. It’s a fun filled event that everyone can enjoy.

Written by Mike Shuttleworth

Kamikaze Games 2

photo courtesy of PB Creative

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