We took a little vacation to Mammoth for Labor Day weekend and I decided to bring the ARC along and take a couple runs down the Kamikaze, like it used to be done back in the day. For those of you who are avid skiers, you know when you're waiting in the lift line and you see an old guy on some skinny 208s? Well, I was that old guy today among a sea of kids on crazy full suspension rigs with disc brakes bigger than my big ring. But despite my old equipment and out of shape body, most of them were eating my dust on the trails.
The Kamikaze trail is basically a gravel access road that runs from the main lodge at Mammoth all the way to the top. It's steep, packed with loose gravel and lots of washboards. It's murder on the hands and I have no idea how Deaton can claim he only used his brakes 4 times, maybe he meant he only let off the brakes 4 times, not sure. Anyways, huge - massive props to the likes of Deaton, Giove, Rockwell, Tomes and the multitude of other racers I don't know who conquered the Kami!
For my part, I had a blast and the old girl did well. Although the brakes were cooked after 3 runs (did the Kami once and then tooled around on the rest of the mountain.) The Manitou shocks gave their all, about 1.5"... it helped but not a lot. It definitely seemed like I had a much easier time getting the bike to turn into and power out of the tight switchback then the guys on the FS rigs, that was cool! Having a 48 ring also helped on the smoother sections where I was able to power past them. All in all a great day and I can't wait to do it again!
View from the start of Kamikaze trail.
Top of Mammoth mountain 11,053'