Riders fly down Super D course despite protester, horses, rain

A “mountain man” protester and his horses blocked the Flagstaff Super D trail Sunday, but riders still managed to make it down one run until a monsoon drenched the course.

The man, 81-year-old J.D. Protvia, delayed the race’s start by an hour and a half by standing in the middle of the trail with three horses.

“It was a really fun day despite J.D.’s efforts to stop the race,” said Travis Glysson, who won the Men’s Open category. “Big thanks to everyone who helped put on the event.”

The Coconino County Sheriff ultimately removed Protvia, who has a history of protesting motorcyclists and ATV riders on the San Francisco Peaks.

Protvia nearly went to prison in 2007 after he strung heavy cables across a trail and other actions he claims are to protect Mexican spotted owl nesting sites, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. He took a plea deal and was charged on suspicion of felony endangerment. He received a year a probation, fines and a ban from the forest after a motorcyclist hit one of the cables and crashed.

Despite all the hoopla, riders finally got to shred and test their skills between the pines.

Matthew Jaynes in the junior men category clocked the best overall time of 9:05.6, and Regina Jefferies in the women’s open took the best women’s time of 10:29.7 on the 2.4-mile course.

“Super D is a great event for people to get a taste of what it’s like to race a more gravity-oriented format,” Jefferies said. “It’s not downhill, and you don’t need a downhill bike or pads to participate. It’s just a fun chance to go fast and pedal less.”

Super D can be equated to the flowy, fun part of a cross-country mountain bike course, Jefferies said.

Check out GoPro video below from Jefferies’ test run of the first part of the course.

Protvia could not be reached for comment.

Full results

Photo of Protvia by Anthony Quintile