The hill was 550 vertical feet, they had about 30 feet of run before the 1st jump which was 25 feet high then it was more of a gradual climb to the 250 ft. mark. That's where it started to get really steep. Just after 300 ft. mark there was another jump that really gave guys problems if they didnt keep the bike straight or the front wheel down. Some of them would get sideways and use power to straighten out. Some of the runs they would get over vertical coming off the last jump, slam into the next face rear wheel first, the front would come down really hard and they'd just keep going. These guys are really good at what they do!
I don't think they shift during a run in fact the dual engine 'Berg had short hand levers off the shift shaft with no way to move it with a foot.
Couldn't tell you if chains or paddles were better..