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Footdown Showdown

The Shred Games at last weekend's Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival featured strange feats of balance and inertia, especially in the Footdown contest.

by Hilltromper staff

April 16, 2015—Well, the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival is over and Sea Otter is on. Thousands of mountain bike lovers are at Laguna Seca right now worshipping at the altar of knobby tires, singletrack and shwag.

But us, we're still thinking fondly of last weekend's Festie. In particular, the Shred Games held at the end of Saturday and emcee'd by Kat Sweet of Sweetlines. Signature pink hair a-blazing in the late afternoon sun, she marshaled the troops for a hilarious tournament not of races or big air, but of the finer, subtler arts of mountain biking—the kind of pointless activity people just instinctively practice when they're dorking around on their bikes or waiting for someone to show up or otherwise killing time: riding slowly on your bike—or the pinnacle achievement, standing still—without putting your foot down.

Oh, yeah. Hot mountain biking action. "Footdown," it's called, logically enough. It works like this: put a whole bunch of riders in a ring and let them ride around it (or stand still if that's how they roll/don't roll). Like in any derby, they try to run each other out of the ring or otherwise make the other riders lose their balance.

Then you tighten the ring by bringing the onlookers in a giant step or two, which always knocks a few out right there as they struggle to make the tighter turns. Sometimes the action slows way down, and you have something like this, as we saw in the Men's Semifinals. That's Josh Doolittle of Anorexic Squirrel in the elegant (squirrel?) fur hat. His rival in the Footdown Funk-Off is Travis Simbulan:



Now we enter the Men's Finals of the Footdown-Off. Observe as the mysterious man in black (we understand he is the one they call "Sterling") performs a feat of balancing unlike any other:



Who's going to win, you're probably wondering? It's exciting stuff, people! This round got very intense, very intense indeed. Here's how the last 40 seconds or so went down:



As you can see in this woefully underexposed photo, the stakes were high, because the winners got hot-pink sashes and little crowns designating them the Prince/Princess/King/Queen of Shred.

Props to the Festival organizers and Kat Sweet for making the Shred Games happen, and all the Santa Cruz mountain bike folk who came out to play. Here's hoping they return next year.

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