Jason Sigfrid crowned world downhill champ

August 24, 2005

The men’s downhill mountain bike course, zigzagging down the slopes of British Columbia’s Sun Peaks Resort, was just under 2.5 miles. Hood River racer Jason Sigfrid, fresh off a four-year retirement, ripped down it in 4 minutes 58.82 seconds last weekend to win the United Cyclist International (UCI) 30- to 34-year-old Men’s Masters Division World Championship.

“I feel like I had a pretty good race,” Sigfrid said modestly after returning to Hood River and to his job as shop manager at Discover Bicycles. “After four knee surgeries and a near-death experience I’m just glad to be healthy enough that with as little time back on the bike to still be competitive.”

Sigfrid’s “pretty good race” involved two separate trips down the course, which was a skinny single-track trail that dropped 2,000 vertical feet through dense forest, sharp corners, rocky terrain and the occasional 10-foot-or-so drop. He averaged 30 miles an hour on his second run, which was fast enough to edge runner-up Tim Ponting from Great Britain by 2.96 seconds.

From the entire Masters field of 93 riders, Sigfrid was the only one to finish the course in less than five minutes. The 30-34 division consisted of 31 racers from around the world.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his performance in the World Championships is the fact that Sigfrid retired from racing four years ago.

“Honestly,” he said, “I spent about 12 days on a downhill bike in the last four years.”

A friend convinced him to come out of retirement this summer.

An Internet search of Jason Sigfrid yields hundreds of pages of results from his seven year history as a professional mountain bike racer. His highlights include being a member of the U.S. National team for three years, being ranked one of the top 20 riders in the world for a few years, participating in two Winter-X Games, winning the 1995 Amateur National Championship in his first year of racing, finishing eighth in points in the 1998 NORBA Nationals and finishing 13th in the 2001 World Off-Road Championship Series.

His trip to the top of the podium was aided by Discover Bicycles, Arrow Tires, Rock Shox, DaKine Hawaii, and Shimano.

So what is next for Hood River’s newest World Champion… a trip to Disney Land perhaps?

“I’m definitely done racing for this year,” Sigfrid said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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