I clip in to my pedals and brace on a nearby tree, listening to the 10-second countdown. The starter gets to five seconds, and I'm free to go. My heart racing, I start pushing down Baldy Mountain's flank for the four-minute descent. It's my inaugural Super D, and this course does not let up. Racing through berms and over bridges, I opt out of crossing a bridge that drops a foot to a 45-degree ramp—the drop is small, but the consequences of missing either are high. I intersect with the drop landing and continue through tight trees over a rock- and root-strewn trail. The trees open up and I speed through the locally renowned Carter Park switchbacks off Main Street. Built by a former downhill racer, the corners are tight and expertly crafted. My tire brraapps through the first turn and I slow down. I hear the racer behind me yell, "Faster, Sydney, faster!" The crowd echoes his call, but my front tire is flat—better luck next run. On my second attempt, I push into an anaerobic state, feeling more confident and working harder on the terrain all the way across the line.
The Super D is part of the fourth annual Breck Bike Week. Organizers added a gravity event for 2012 to expand the program without requiring a downhill-specific bike. Four full days of free events celebrated cycling, kicking off on the Fourth of July with the Firecracker 50, a backcountry mountain bike race that takes advantage of the best trails around Breckenridge. In town, high-end demos run from morning til evening, with fun and games in between. Local bike techs compete in events ranging from bike building to trike racing and slow-offs in the Mechanic Panic. Generous prizes accompany free contests. And the raffle prizes include a Pivot Mach 4 frame. The festivities conclude with a low-key group road ride, led by the local Summit Velo race team to pedal off the hangover from the party after the Super D. —Sydney Fox
If you go: Stay tuned to gobreck.com (or follow them on Twitter @GoBreck) for information on Breck Bike Week 2013. If you visit this summer, start in Carter Park and follow signs to Moonstone, which connects to the local trail network. Head for the perfect berms of the V3 trail or try Turk's, a local favorite. More information and maps available here.