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.