Even though I was too young to remember, my parents told me the very first movie I ever saw, now a true classic, was “Deliverance.” The movie was filmed along the Georgia/South Carolina state line on the Chattooga River….… now fast forward 40 years (damn I am old). About 2 miles from that very same general area rests a new Free-Ride/DJ destination, Hilltop Bike Park in Mountain Rest, SC. If you are really quiet you can almost hear Billy Ridden picking on the banjo doing that infamous “String Duo”. This past weekend was the first of many competitions to come at HBP, so we are told, with additional BIG slope style lines and even a future 4X Race Course.
With the winter in the Carolinas really yet to show its face, this December Saturday called for overcast skies and chance for light rain the afternoon. The 9 o’clock hour came round offering riders a chance to get their groove on with a five hour open practice session. At 2:00 in the p.m., after a short riders meeting, it was time for the Big Air contest. It would be the best of three runs and with the only requirement?…. BOOST every inch you could muster to get the max vert. The air contest was a fight between the Georgia and Florida boys (yes, I said Florida), with David Medina (one of the GA crew) over Ryan Ash (FL crew) with a measured 10 feet and change of nothing but air between him and the packed red clay.
Finally, the Whip Off Contest, with the intent of laying it as flat as you could, but turning it to either side as much as she’d let you. Seems this day, you had to be from Florida to be consistent at this competition. The first and second positions were filled by the “Flatlanders”, Myles Mattheus (1st ) and Ryan Ash (2nd)…… didn’t anyone tell these guys Florida is a flat state? And WTH, are the Carolina folk gonna let these guys from the flat state show us how it’s done in our own back yard? Sounds like a challenge for the next event (at least an attempt at one).
Wouldn’t you know it, literally just as soon as the last award was placed in Nick Mileti hands (for 3rd in Whip), the rain started. The HBP crew couldn’t have timed it any more perfectly. Mike White, owner and operator of HBP on the crew’s first event, “I think it went well, it was good practice for us as a crew. Like with anything, practice makes perfect. The events will only get more organized as we keep rolling them out. I think the team we had was great, everyone did their part when they said they would. That’s all i could ask for.”
With the relaxing sound of pre-cip falling around us and cracking open some cold beverages, Mike and I talked about what’s in store for HBP. “I would like to see the park be one of the top freestyle parks around. I can see a dual slalom or 4X course in the future, hoping to bring more disciplined racers. The goal is to have the park open 6 days a week with different style events every week each with prize money to take home as opposed to plastic trophies…. Who enjoys that stuff anyway? We have so much more to build and we’d like to have people genuinely interested in our vision. If there’s no one to support the park, it really won’t matter how much we have to offer. Honestly, we just want people to know that it’s not a place that will be there one day and gone the next. By supporting the park, it guarantees a safe place to ride and future development (more trails/lines). In the end, we are a family owned and operated business, not a million dollar resort with unlimited funds. Come on out, we promise you’ll have a blast.”
Know this, the crew has done A LOT in a short time and are extremely motivated to make seriously put this on the map for fun and some friendly competition. If you are out enjoying what the foothills of the Appalachians have to offer for anything and everything MTB related, stop by and check them out. We’ll be paying attention and looking for their next event round about the month of April 2013.