Downhill Mountain Biking at Northstar

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The Brotherhood of the Traveling Sombero, a team of down hill mountain bikers sponsored by Touchstone Climbing, recently completed their first race at Northstar with solid results. We caught up with them this week to get the scoop on the race.


“Northstar, which is infamous for dust and rocks, did not disappoint for the first race of the series,” said Touchstone rider Daniel Melvin. “It’s a rather short course, lasting around three and a quarter minutes, with two bottom-bracket-smashing rock sections and two long flat sprints…. It was far from relaxing!”

The team took two morning runs around the track to scope the best line. After six beeps, they launched down and within 3 minutes they were soon coughing for their lives.

Andy Goldman had a slide off the trail which cost him time, resulting in a 3:39 good for a 21st place finish. Sam Pannepacker and Zack Moore both fell on coarse as well, resulting in 3:37 (19th) and 3:34 (16th) respectively. Daniel Melvin had a clean run, 3:26, good for 9th place. Jack Kisseberth, despite complaints of mistakes, ended up in first place with a time of 3:16.

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Sombero includes seven dedicated down hill mountain bikers. Daniel Thompson, Connor Hansen, Zack Moore, Daniel Melvin, Andy Goldman, Sam Pannepacker and Jack Kisseberth make up the team of early twenty-year-old Marin-based riders.

“I have always had an affinity towards bikes,” said Daniel Melvin, “But 11 is when I really took it up as a sport. I did my first mountain bike race that same year. It was a cross country race around Folsom lake, in the poring rain. It was pretty miserable, but fun none the less.”

3b46e594-08dc-4fd4-9c19-71ce96299085The other team members started at the same age. “Jack, Zack, and Sam have ridden together since they were 12 or 13. The boys raced for the Redwood High School team and Jack cycled in road races, all becoming more and more drawn to the sport.

Daniel described the appeal of mountain bike racing as “exhausting, painful, all-consuming and occasionally dangerous. But in return, you can push harder than you ever would without the competition. The feeling of crossing a finish line with absolutely nothing left to give is so rewarding it makes it all worth it.”

Be sure to submit your tales of competition glory or agonizing defeat to the Touchstone Blog. We love ’em.