Dave Cullinan has been going downhill for much of his life, and thoroughly enjoying it. For his mother, however, it has not always been a thrill.
"A handful? I was a wheelbarrow full," Cullinan said Sunday after winning the pro downhill at the Jeep National Championship series mountain bike competition at Snow Summit ski resort.
Cullinan, of Durango, Colo., completed the two-run, 2.2-mile course in 9 minutes 15.10 seconds. Greg Herbold of Durango was second in 9:27.30, and Jimmy Kight of Durango was third in 9:27.90.
Penny Davidson of Yucaipa won the women's competition in 10.10.50. Missy Giove of Durango was second in 10:25.40 and Kim Sonier of Flagstaff, Ariz., was third in 10:34.80.
Cullinan, the 1992 world downhill champion, has raced mountain bikes for only two years, but already is dominating.
"I just like doing things fast," he said.
The Colorado Highway Patrol can attest to that. Cullinan, 23, has already had 15 speeding tickets. But his indoctrination into speedy machines came before cars. Cullinan began riding motorcycles at 3. He graduated to motocross jumping and BMX bicycle racing.
"I'm addicted to speed," he said. "I'm a natural for this sport."
Cullinan took the lead after the first run, which had a 1,200-foot descent, and was even faster the second time down.
Whereas most of his challengers braked on the steepest switchbacks, Cullinan smoothly negotiated the tricky turns.
"I wanted to set an example here," he said.
That, he did.