descida das escadas de santos

Brazil. What can I say, this place is awesome..  A couple of weeks ago I got invited to Descida Das Escadas De Santos as the Pan Am Champ ...bikes + brazil, yes please. Urban races are pretty gnarly. Stairs. Hucks to flat. Concrete and square edges. The only soft thing was the dog shit. Its not exactly a World Cup but is a totally cool experience in its own right. Pretty short a bit over a minute...I think the top guys time was 1:00 flat and the top ladies time was 1:09. I don't have my new Demo built up quite yet as it is early in the year and  I am waiting on all of my components so I brought my SX Slalom. A lot of people said not to bring it because it would be too small but I thought that I would be fine (and I didn't have another option) because I ride the hell out of it on everything n the bike park  and feel super confident on it. But, they were right. It was sketch. To be competitive in an urban race you have gotta pin the stairs and do a lot of hucking to flat...being an urban DH virgin, I totally underestimated it. The compressions at the bottoms of the stairs and on the flat landings were a bit too much for my little bike. I rode pretty smooth and the sounds were still horrible. Not really worth the risk to be honest. The format was timed practice runs and the fastest runs move on the final...5 girls, 10 guys. Right off the bat, I knew that I would not be able to go fast enough on the little bike  to make it into the 5, let alone win so I was not about to lay it all out. Gotta swallow the ego sometimes and makes sensible choices. :)  Once I figured that out I just chilled out.

The event company really put on a great event. Tons of spectators, media, dogs, beers. The course went right through a neighborhood, literally. Anyway,  I guess here in Brazil the event was broadcasted in prime time...there was a helicopter filming from the top, heart rate montors with live numbers on the riders...pretty cool. A couple days before the race we also went over to the Santos soccer stadium for a little media event. Apparently a lot of talent comes out of the Santos team, the most notable being Pele. We met the capitan and another player and the guys rode down the stadium stairs. Pretty cool. I made a goal. :)

Anyway,  Luana Olievra (Brazil)  won it for the ladies and Mario Jarrin (Ecuador) brought it home  for the guys. The finals were a bit of a shit show for the guys as bikes were litterly falling apart...wheels, shocks, flats...only a couple actually made it down in once piece. It was actually a shit show for the bikes all week but it seems like they all decided to hold up just until the finals. I do have to say though, on the women's side there is some talent in the form of Bruna and Luana. Both mega rippers.

Another cool thing about this trip was getting to know a whole new crew of people.  I mean I knew almost everyone but haven't really spent much time with a lot of them. A lot of times at races people are off with thier teams at dinner or doing this or that so you get to know some people and others not so much. Here we all stayed in the same hotel, hung out, ate and much fun!! There were lots of laughs. We got put up in a pretty posh hotel right on the beach...which made it even sweeter. I am actually writing this right now in my swimsuit on the 14th floor overlooking the beach and the pool. I like.

Katie Holden