Kyle Strait on ‘Hillbilly Science’ of Building World Class Dual Slalom Course

The 2nd once-a-year Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational just went off at Snow Summit Resort in Significant Bear Lake, California. Racers from all about were privileged to get down on a world-course dual slalom program masterminded by famous mountain biker Kyle Strait. If you have not observed dual slalom, it is facet-by-facet racing on particular person sides of a program. A differential is taken from just one rider to the upcoming, then racers change sides and duke it out once more, right until the top three are standing on the podium.



This calendar year there was a improve of venue. Kyle Strait and his spouse, Rachel, brought the race from their possess yard to Snow Summit’s vacation resort. Their intention was to grow the race’s likely for mountain biking and defend this unique fashion of racing—and, boy, did they supply.

An announcer stands next to Kyle and Rachel Strait, the organizers of the event.

Announcer/competitor Mikey Haderer with Kyle and Rachel Strait suitable before the final round of competition.
Chris Wellhausen


“Last calendar year, we experienced 20 pro guys and ten pro women competing in the Invitational at our property,” Rachel Strait told Men’s Journal. “The pleasure all around the occasion was entirely surprising and motivated us to push difficult in 2021 to make it occur once more. Just one concern was the likelihood the buzz was only there simply because nearly all functions were canceled in 2020. With about 200 racers final 7 days, amateurs and professionals combined, I think we debunked that concept.”

3 bike racers on the winner's podium holding giant checks above their heads.

The 2021 Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational Mens Professional podium with Tommy Zula in to start with-location, 2nd heading to Joey Foresta, and Dante Silva in third.
Chris Wellhausen


The heats were fiercely competitive, with $20,000 on the line. For included insight on the Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational, we spoke to Kyle Strait about creating just one of the very best dual slalom programs of all time, what kind of bike regulate it requires to get, and pro strategies for strengthening your possess riding.

A view from above of the 2nd Annual Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational went off at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear Lake, California.

The 2nd Once-a-year Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational at Snow Summit Resort
Chris Wellhausen

Men’s Journal: Why did you companion with Snow Summit, and wherever did the inspiration for your dual slalom program appear from?

Kyle Strait: Partnering gives the Invitational a even bigger canvas to improve, making it possible for us to create the very best tracks possible. Summit was super down when I offered them the idea. They wished to be a significant participant in it. I’m grateful for the area we have to function with, the equipment, and workers. It was further than extraordinary to have 5 to 6 dudes each and every working day creating a ill monitor. The inspiration stems from a ton of my global dual-slalom ordeals. Most of these attributes are types I’ve ridden about time…I just changed them in techniques to be greater.

Two bike racers on the track.

A fight concerning powerhouses, as Kyle Strait is challenged by Cole Suetos.
Chris Wellhausen

What will make the very best dual slalom programs?

The very best dual slalom programs have a various mixture of obstacles. Too significantly of just one factor is not as significantly exciting. Likely out of the get started gate [of the 2021 Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational], the to start with straight is quite BMX, heading into a MTB style—tight, kind of yard pump track—and from there it goes into a super-quickly freeride we have a hole into a huge roller you can scrub. The relaxation of the program flows in the same way with rhythm sections: deep berms right until you get into flat corners that have a sequence of slalom gate bashes—each just one with just one-foot drops—that brings you suitable into the finish line.

Does architecture appear into perform, or are you genuinely just basing the program structure off riding and creating experience?

I like to connect with it hillbilly science. It’s just abilities figured out about several many years of demo and error, seeing what works, what doesn’t. I can visually glimpse at a thing and convey to it appears excellent or if adjustments are wanted.

Two bike racers race through a dual track course.

Dylan Stark and Devin Kjaer railing turns deep in the pockets of these berms.
Chris Wellhausen

Why are the berms so deep?

You have a fixed stage of entry and exit. The only factor you can genuinely do is make the berm steeper to hold your tires greater. You can see it in NASCAR and freeway off-and-on ramp structure. You get started putting a minimal quality to that, and all of a unexpected you get a lot more traction, a lot more down power. That goes throughout the board with dual slalom programs. The steeper the berms are, the speedier we can go by way of them, and nevertheless hold traction. I get pleasure from hitting berms like that simply because in some cases there is a restrict on a path and you are only able to be so quickly simply because you only get so significantly traction. With steep berms, it just creates a lot more traction and downforce.

What bike regulate necessities does it consider to get a dual slalom race specifically?

The monitor is only a thirty-2nd dash, so you simply cannot make any problems your accuracy have to be on stage, all working day, each and every one operate. Pinpoint abilities have to be tip-top. Precision and consistency are crucial keys with slalom, simply because you are undertaking so several operates. By the time you get to the finals, you’ve carried out twelve-in addition operates. No matter if you are the fastest man of the working day or a qualifier, you have to make it by way of all the rounds. It’s not just having psychological self-confidence you simply cannot make any problems.

How is it a brake match? You never ever listen to tires skid or lock up.

Selected berms have a speed restrict, so you have to regulate your speed appropriately. If you are braking front and rear evenly, that is how you gradual down the fastest and maintain the most regulate. I like to explain in coaching that if you are skidding, you are not in regulate, and you have much less traction. If you can minimize your brake time in 50 percent, brake more challenging in the proper places, you have a lot more traction and a lot more regulate at the suitable occasions.

Two bicycle racers on a dual course.

Joey Foresta retains a slender lead on Devin Kjaer at the Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational.
Chris Wellhausen

Reveal what a scrub is—and how the hell you regulate your bike to scrub so properly?!

Your principal goal is to scrub speed. A ton of occasions, when you are placing up to a bounce or attribute, you are coming in with as well significantly speed. If you never scrub it, you go way past the landing. What you are hoping to do is scrub your speed without having scrubbing as well significantly, so you can nevertheless land on the backside of said attribute. It all arrives from motocross qualifications, wherever Bubba Stewart figured out to do that about the triple. It straight translates to MTB.

The way you go about undertaking just one is to merge speed and commitment, a minimal additional speed than you would if you were heading to bounce the attribute. I intention for just one facet of the bounce and lean my bike and overall body as very low as possible. From there, the bike whips out. Once you are in the air, it allows the bike to go sideways. Now your objective is naturally to land straight to be able to carry on on the path. It’s a thing that is figured out about time and plenty of practice… slipping down, sliding out.

Two bike racers jump high above the course.

“It was definitely an awesome experience to race versus Kyle. The energy and experience this man has is crazy and it was an complete privilege to line up upcoming to him at his occasion,” said Cole Suetos.
Chris Wellhausen

What is your impression on leaping in head-to-head competition?

It’s way speedier to bounce but keep very low in, say, that 5-roller area than it is to roll, simply because you can only go so quickly rolling. That is when it is the circumstance of leaping or gapping compared to rolling and undertaking a guide.

What bike parts do you depend on most when racing dual slalom?

It’s usually a mixture, but I’m a suspension man. For slalom, you will need a supercross kind of setup—as opposed to motocross—because of how difficult they’re hitting the jumps. For me it is acquiring my suspension to wherever I can push genuinely difficult to strike these corners. If the suspension isn’t stiff plenty of, you kind of wallow out it receives very low and you simply cannot hold a proper line. Very same factor goes for leaping and flat corners. I established my suspension to wherever it has a little bump of sensitivity to maintain traction in these flat corners, but is difficult plenty of for these corners and jumps. With all that mixed jointly in addition tire alternative and a 7-speed drivetrain, simply because I’m just blasting off gears and putting a ton energy into the pedals.

Bike racer Kyle Strait on track at the Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational.

Kyle Strait rides a berm at the Strait Acres Dual Slalom Invitational.
Chris Wellhausen

What equipment are you rocking?

Tires: Kenda Pinner in front and Booster on rear tire.
Wheels: Stans No Tubes Move MK3
Suspension: Rock Shock 140mm Pike fork, Rock Shock Tremendous Deluxe in rear
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 DH
Body: Commencal Meta TR29
Grips: Sensus Meaty Paws
Bars: Signature SRAM bars minimize down to 760mm
Shoes: Ride Concepts Kyle Strait
Seat: SDG Bel-Air III 

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