Despite being in their first-ever Super D races, Italian Marco Fontana and German Manuel Fumic took second and third, respectively behind veteran Super D'er Carl Decker at the Sea Otter Classic on Friday afternoon. Both Cannondale Factory Team riders finished the short, fast, largely downhill three-mile race with big grins on their faces.
"I say 'good job on the Super D, US'. We need to take this back over to Europe," said Fontana. "It was way more fun than I thought it would be."
"I'd ridden the course and it was wide and fast and straight, but then in the race, it was a whole other experience. All the guys were fighting against each other, and I had fun with my teammates."
The two European riders, both on 26-inch bikes were slightly outgunned in the 50mph finish as Giant's Decker pulled away from them on his 29er full suspension in the final minute of what was about a 50mph finish."
The 29er in the last part was so fast, we couldn't follow him. It's like Carl was riding at another speed," said Fontana.
"We don't have those in Germany or in Europe," said Fumic. "I first heard of the super D and thought about a downhill, but it was more like a cross country race. It was so funny and hard and fast. It was a good experience."
Fumic was especially entertained by the race's Lemans-style start. "We had to sit down on the grass and the guy said 'Put you hands on the head,' and I've never done something like that before. I thought ok, it feels like there is a policeman behind me yelling 'freeze'. Then we started really fast."
"All the guys were looking around to see who was at front. Just one minute from the start, we were full gas the rest of the way."
Both riders said they'd enjoy the chance to race more super Ds.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the super D.