Flow recently returned from the launch of the new range of GT bikes in Deer Valley, Utah.
What happens on press camp normally stays on press camp however we wanted to share the journey and show a few things from behind the scenes you may not normally see. The presentations, the bikes, the locations, and the people. And yes, despite all the hard work, it is fun too.
The launch of the 2014 Sensor and Force was held in Deer Valley, Utah. Deer Valley is in the Park City area and just a short drive from Salt Lake City. For those who are not familiar with Utah, it is a US state with deep roots in the Mormon religion. The religiousness of the state isn’t too obvious unless you like beer and other fine sinful refreshments.
But in all seriousness, Deer Valley, and Utah, is an amazing and beautiful place. From the deserts and moonscapes to the highest peaks, Utah has it all.
GT had the hotel decked out for our arrival. They pretty much had the whole resort booked for a month solid as the press camp was just a small part of other activities preparing for the 2014 launch of the entire range under the Cycling Sports Group banner. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t find the “secret room” that housed this smorgasbord of fresh product.
Day one started off with the Sensor and Force bike introductions and presentations. This is the first time we got to see the bikes in the flesh after months of internet leaks and rumours. GT did a good job of keeping the final look of the bike under wraps though and we were all surprised when they wheeled the bikes from behind the black curtain.
This was also the first time the legendary Hans Rey was introduced to us. Hans has been riding with GT some 26 years and his achievements and journeys have shaped the mountain bike world. Look out for a special interview by Flow in the coming months.
The 2nd part of day one was what we were all waiting for – riding the bikes. We weren’t left to our own devices though as there was a huge team on hand to make sure our bikes fit and felt perfect. As the media contingent was huge we were split into two groups: Flow was assigned to the Sensor group for day one, and we would be on the Force on day two.
Riding at altitude is hard. If you have never experienced it, just imagine getting fit and suddenly not. We got to spend a solid 5 or so hours on the Sensor and it was enough time to get used to the bike and feel its strengths and weaknesses. Beer (and food) followed shortly after and we only indulged in the amber fluid as we were told it helps with altitude adjustment.
Getting out on the trails to ride with Hans Rey was definitely a highlight on day one. An equal highlight was getting to chat to him over the weekend. He’s passionate about riding, traveling, and helping those less fortunate through his charity Wheels4Life.
Day two started off with a unique introduction to the new Fury downhill bike, a morning watching the Fort William World Cup live. The GT marketing machine couldn’t have scripted it better. In the presence of the world media Gee Atherton took the win on the new bike.
And amongst us watching the action live was Gee’s brother Dan Atherton. No one was more intensely immersed in the acton and happier with the result than Dan. It was great to witness. Even after all the years of racing with brothers and sisters it still stays the same and they still get nervous and excited for each other.
Speaking of Dan….. Dan is an amazing rider and being on the trails with him was an eye opener. We’ve all seen him on the internet and movies but it’s only in the flesh do you get to really understand how good he is. He can turn any little bump into something fun and excited us about getting back into manualing on the trails. So smooth, and thanks for letting us ride in front of you and feel like we were fast. Look out for a bike check with Dan soon on Flow.
There was little else to be said about the Fury – the result from Gee which we just saw said it all. The day two presentation was very brief and that gave us more time on the trails. Can’t complain.
We were now on the 150mm Force and getting out on the faster trails. The views and trails were epic and the bike kept feeling better and better. It’s a hard balance between wanting to ride fast and wanted to stop and check out the amazing views.
The backdrop of Deer Valley was perfect and the Aspen trees added that little bit of extra. Again, another long day on the trails was a perfect way to get to know the bike.
Day two was done and the whole event was coming to a close, but not before some last minute hospitality and fun. A bit of food and beer in the evening warmth, and a pump track challenge to end the event. All the international media and GT staff were invited to enter with prizes galore handed out. Flow was lucky enough to get the prize the for furthest travelled to the event. That’s kind of like the “encouragement” award for the slowest.
This image sums up the weekend and was a great memory. Fast Euros doing crazy things. The GT launch was not only a great introduction to the product, but also an introduction to their culture. GT has a proud history in cycling and the people behind the brand stay true to this and ensure fun is at the top of the list.