Fresh Product: Pivot Cycles 2014 Mach 6 #froth

The Mach 6 isn’t like anything else in our line-up. Hell, it’s not quite like anything we’ve built before! It’s an all new machine designed from the ground up to optimize the 27.5” wheel platform and take the growing Enduro racing scene by storm. The Mach 6 is built with the singular purpose of going faster than anything else in the most aggressive terrain (both up and down).

Fresh Product: Pro Tharsis bar and stem

A component series that takes its name from the highest mountain range in the universe must be something really special. And that’s definitely true for Tharsis.

With this new component group you’ll excel during long daytrips over mountains and through valleys. Tharsis is unique, because this component series is the first high-end line made of carbon that was developed especially for the trails. Tharsis is about discovery and adventure and is an exclusive upgrade for every fanatic trail fan.

Racing: Flow Rollercoaster winds up for the season at sunny Stromlo Forest Park.

Ben Cory wins gravity enduro race on home track – Odams and Thompson take out series elite titles

The final round of the FLOW Rollercoaster Gravity Enduro State Series attracted more than 200 riders to Stromlo Forest Park on the weekend. Ben Cory was able to claim the day’s fastest race run and the elite men’s victory. Fellow Canberra racer Ronja Hill-Wright won the female category. In the series, Jon Odams from Sydney and Vanessa Thompson from Yanderra secured the overall elite series titles.

With a record field of racers the final round of Rocky Trail’s gravity enduro series included three timed race track challenges that riders had to complete throughout the day. All race times were combined and the fastest time of the day was 14 minutes and 21 seconds by elite racer Ben Cory.

Ben Cory takes out race win by one second

Only one second decided the final result among the elite men racing the FLOW Rollercoaster enduro gravity state round at Stromlo Forest Park on the weekend. Ben Cory was able to take advantage on his home track and won ahead of Jon Odams from Sans Souci and Aiden Lefmann (QLD). In the elite female field another Canberra racer, Ronja Hill-Wright won with a time of 16:23 min ahead of Phillippa Rostan and Vanessa Thompson.

Jon Odams, after having his second child only a couple days earlier this super fast guy wrapped up the series with a second place on the day to Ben Cory by only one second.
Jon Odams, after having his second child only a couple days earlier this super fast guy wrapped up the series with a second place on the day to Ben Cory by only one second.

The three-race series had taken riders to some of the most popular mountain bike destinations and tracks in NSW and ACT – starting earlier in the year in Ourimbah near Wyong, round two was held at the Del Rio Resort in Wisemans Ferry ahead of last weekend’s finale at Stromlo Forest Park. With consistent performances throughout the series and claiming podium positions at each round, Jon Odams from Sans Souci and Vanessa Thompson from Yanderra (NSW) claimed the overall Elite Series Champion titles.

Vanessa Thompson flies down the Deubel Track on the way to a third on the day and series win overall in the elite category.
Vanessa Thompson flies down the Deubel Track on the way to a third on the day and series win overall in the elite category.

Rocky Trail gravity enduro series returns in January 2014
“Again the podiums at Stromlo and the overall series winners have shown that our gravity enduro races are the ideal playground for cross-country and downhill racers alike”, said Martin Wisata from Rocky Trail Entertainment. “We tried to feature a wide range of tracks and challenges throughout the series and are already scouting new venues for next year – with Jon Odams who has a strong cross-country racing background and Vanessa Thompson, a multiple 4X State Series winner and downhill racer, we have crowned great series ambassadors for this new type of racing.”

Wisata also confirmed that Rocky Trail’s next gravity enduro series with four rounds and a championship event will commence as early as January 2014 with dates and locations expected to be announced in the coming weeks. For more information and details results visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com

Fresh Product: Continental Trail King 2.2

We have given the Trail King ProTection ‘coat’, which together with the APEX reinforcement, makes it more tear and puncture-resistant than ever. Although the extra soft BlackChili Compound provides phenomenal grip, it remains true for a long time. The first choice for free riders and enduro riders who also want to use the Trail King ‘Tubeless Ready’. The 2.2 Trail King which can be used tubeless in the ProTection version is a real favourite for trail and enduro riders who feel the need for speed on some of mother natures toughest trails.

Extremely low rolling resistance and excellent grip are the trademarks of the BlackChili Trail King. If you want to tune your All Mountain Bike, take the lighter RaceSport version. Also available in standard compound (non Apex) wire and foldable versions which are great value for money.

Jérôme Clementz and Tracy Moseley Claim Another Round of the Enduro World Series

Lightning might not strike twice, but the podium at Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park saw a return to the top step of all three winners of the previous round, Jérôme Clementz, Tracy Moseley and Martin Maes, marking the first time in the extremely tight Men’s Series, that a repeat victory has occurred.

It was also the first time that the inaugural Enduro World Series has dealt with lightning. After an overnight storm strike damaged the chairlift systems, organizers cancelled the original Stage 4 opting to break Stage 3 into two parts.

Riders competing in the Specialized Enduro at Colorado Freeride Festival had to be on their game for three days – a challenge, compounded by intense afternoon storms, rocky terrain and the altitude of Winter Park resort, that tested riders’ mental fortitude, as well as their physical stamina and equipment management skills.

The continual shifting format across all four rounds of the Series so far has tasked even the most experienced athletes, demanding extreme adaptability, and ensuring that the first Enduro World Champion will truly be the best mountain bike rider in the world.

Former downhill World Champion, Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) continued to dominate the Women’s contest, consolidating her overall lead with her fourth victory in a row. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) won two of the five stages and placed second, with 4X World Champion Anneke Beerten (Specialized) placing third.

In the men’s race, despite an influx of some of North America’s top enduro racers finishing in the top 20, French riders dominated the podium. Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) took his second consecutive victory of the Series, with Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) in second, and round 1 winner Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) taking third.

Jared Graves (Yeti) won three of the five stages and finished second to Clementz in stage 3, but suffered a mechanical on stage 2 that dropped him out of podium contention and into 23rd place. Graves’ overall points and consistent performances throughout the Series have him currently in third, overall, with Barel just 44 points behind him.

Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) not only dominated the Junior contest, but finished 7th fastest overall amongst all the men.

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The people standing on the top step at Finale will without doubt be the best riders in the world. This Series has tested these athletes from sea level to altitude, from the physical to the technical, through natural backcountry terrain to Bike Park trails, in bad weather and good. No one rider has been in their comfort zone throughout, and as we head to Crankworx Whistler for round 5, we’ll see how they fare against yet another format with a long single day race that will demand a high comfort level with wilderness self-sufficient riding.”

Full results available here.

The Enduro World Series moves next to Crankworx Whistler, for round 5, where the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized will take place Sunday August 11.

Fresh Product: Truvativ Jerome Clementz carbon bar

truvativ black box bars2

Jerome Clementz. He’s an all-mountain legend whose name is synonymous with mountain bike enduro. Megavalanche, Mountain of Hell, Enduro des Nations — Jerome Clementz has won them all. Staying at the top means he needs to go even faster with as little effort as possible. Jerome asked us for wider, stiffer, lighter bar that gives him ultimate control without sacrificing the toughness he needs for powerful sprints and descents.

truvativ black box bars5 truvativ black box bars8

Working one-on-one with Jerome, we created the TRUVATIV Jerome Clementz carbon BlackBox bar — 750mm of carbon fiber perfection. With 5 degrees of up sweep and 7 degrees of back sweep, this signature bar keeps your bike light and strong so that you can rail every turn with precision.

  • Carbon Fiber
  • 750mm wide
  • 20mm rise
  • 5˚ up-sweep
  • 7˚ back-sweep
  • 240g

Fresh Product: Liv/giant Unveils World's First Full Range of Women's-Specific 27.5 Bikes

Liv/giant, the cycling brand dedicated to female riders, today unveiled the world’s first full lineup of women’s-specific off-road bikes featuring 27.5-inch wheel technology. With new XC, trail and enduro bikes, in both composite and aluminum frame options, Liv/giant is making a major commitment to helping female riders enjoy a better fit and superior performance on the trail.

Obsess_Advanced_1.
Obsess Advanced 1.
Lust_Advanced_0.
Lust Advanced 0.
Intrigue_1.
Intrigue 1.

For 2014, a total of five new Liv/giant series and 13 global models feature 27.5-inch wheel technology. Each of the new bikes has been in development for the past two years, and several have already been ridden to major race wins by Liv/giant athletes who played key roles in developing them.

“Our research led us to believe that the 27.5-inch wheel platform offers an ideal way to reduce overall bike weight, improve efficiency, and deliver better control for female riders,” said Liv/giant product developer Abby Santurbane. “We worked with a team of pro riders who confirmed those benefits and more.”

When combined with Liv/giant’s 3F (Fit, Form, Function) women’s-specific fit geometry, the 27.5 bikes—each of them purpose-built for a particular terrain and riding style—grant the traction and stability of 29er bikes but without the compromises in fit and weight. The new 27.5-optimized frames offer more stand-over clearance and a shorter wheelbase to improve a rider’s control and confidence.

One of the athletes riding an early prototype model was road and cyclocross world champion Marianne Vos, who is racing select XC events this year in a build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. Vos rode a prototype Obsess Advanced model—the world’s first women’s-specific XC-focused 27.5 composite hardtail—to wins in XC and short track at the Sea Otter Classic in April.

Obsess Advanced 2 ($2799 RRP)
Obsess Advanced 2.

“Some of my teammates had been racing on 29er bikes, which offer some added stability, but for many women riders the large wheels present a challenge,” said Vos. “The 27.5 feels just right. It’s quick and light the way I want it to be, but also has better control and stability than the 26-inch-wheel bikes I’ve ridden. I don’t have to put as much effort into going fast on my 27.5-inch bike. It’s effortless.” Along with Vos, U23 XC World Champion Jolanda Neff has also played a major role in helping test and refine the 2014 Obsess Advanced.

For more technical XC terrain, Liv/giant developed Lust Advanced, the world’s first women’s-specific, full-suspension composite 27.5-inch bike. The Lust Advanced is Liv/giant’s flagship bike, designed for the most discerning XC and trail riders. It features an Advanced-grade composite frame and Maestro Suspension technology with 4 inches of travel. The Lust series is also offered in a lightweight ALUXX SL aluminum frame.

List Advanced 2 (3499 RRP).
Lust Advanced 2.
Lust 2 ($2499 RRP).
Lust 2.

 

For aggressive trail and enduro riding, Liv/giant is introducing Intrigue, which features 5.5 inches of Maestro rear suspension technology and an ALUXX SL aluminum frame. Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett helped develop both the Lust and Intrigue platforms, and she has been competing on both at XC and enduro events.

“The difference with 27.5 is really incredible,” said Emmett. “In both the Lust and the Intrigue, I can immediately feel the boost in quickness and my ability to maneuver the bike. For XC racing with Lust Advanced, the fit and acceleration is so much better than a 29er. And for enduro racing with the Intrigue, it’s a perfect blend of stability, control, and agility to easily handle any terrain on the course.”

In addition to all the new performance models, Liv/giant makes 27.5 technology available to more women riders with a full line of 27.5 aluminum hardtail bikes called Tempt. The Tempt series is ideal for beginning and sport-level mountain bike riders, and features a low standover height and excellent fit.

For 2014, Liv/giant is offering the following off-road series with 27.5 technology:

Obsess Advanced (Advanced-grade composite hardtail XC)
Lust Advanced (Advanced-grade composite full-suspension XC)
Lust (ALUXX SL aluminum full-suspension XC)
Intrigue (ALUXX SL aluminum full-suspension trail and enduro)
Tempt (ALUXX aluminum hardtail XC)

The 2014 Liv/giant 27.5 off-road bikes will be available later this summer through Giant and Liv/giant retailers.

Fresh Product: Liv/giant Unveils World’s First Full Range of Women’s-Specific 27.5 Bikes

Liv/giant, the cycling brand dedicated to female riders, today unveiled the world’s first full lineup of women’s-specific off-road bikes featuring 27.5-inch wheel technology. With new XC, trail and enduro bikes, in both composite and aluminum frame options, Liv/giant is making a major commitment to helping female riders enjoy a better fit and superior performance on the trail.

Obsess_Advanced_1.
Obsess Advanced 1.
Lust_Advanced_0.
Lust Advanced 0.
Intrigue_1.
Intrigue 1.

For 2014, a total of five new Liv/giant series and 13 global models feature 27.5-inch wheel technology. Each of the new bikes has been in development for the past two years, and several have already been ridden to major race wins by Liv/giant athletes who played key roles in developing them.

“Our research led us to believe that the 27.5-inch wheel platform offers an ideal way to reduce overall bike weight, improve efficiency, and deliver better control for female riders,” said Liv/giant product developer Abby Santurbane. “We worked with a team of pro riders who confirmed those benefits and more.”

When combined with Liv/giant’s 3F (Fit, Form, Function) women’s-specific fit geometry, the 27.5 bikes—each of them purpose-built for a particular terrain and riding style—grant the traction and stability of 29er bikes but without the compromises in fit and weight. The new 27.5-optimized frames offer more stand-over clearance and a shorter wheelbase to improve a rider’s control and confidence.

One of the athletes riding an early prototype model was road and cyclocross world champion Marianne Vos, who is racing select XC events this year in a build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. Vos rode a prototype Obsess Advanced model—the world’s first women’s-specific XC-focused 27.5 composite hardtail—to wins in XC and short track at the Sea Otter Classic in April.

Obsess Advanced 2 ($2799 RRP)
Obsess Advanced 2.

“Some of my teammates had been racing on 29er bikes, which offer some added stability, but for many women riders the large wheels present a challenge,” said Vos. “The 27.5 feels just right. It’s quick and light the way I want it to be, but also has better control and stability than the 26-inch-wheel bikes I’ve ridden. I don’t have to put as much effort into going fast on my 27.5-inch bike. It’s effortless.” Along with Vos, U23 XC World Champion Jolanda Neff has also played a major role in helping test and refine the 2014 Obsess Advanced.

For more technical XC terrain, Liv/giant developed Lust Advanced, the world’s first women’s-specific, full-suspension composite 27.5-inch bike. The Lust Advanced is Liv/giant’s flagship bike, designed for the most discerning XC and trail riders. It features an Advanced-grade composite frame and Maestro Suspension technology with 4 inches of travel. The Lust series is also offered in a lightweight ALUXX SL aluminum frame.

List Advanced 2 (3499 RRP).
Lust Advanced 2.
Lust 2 ($2499 RRP).
Lust 2.

 

For aggressive trail and enduro riding, Liv/giant is introducing Intrigue, which features 5.5 inches of Maestro rear suspension technology and an ALUXX SL aluminum frame. Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett helped develop both the Lust and Intrigue platforms, and she has been competing on both at XC and enduro events.

“The difference with 27.5 is really incredible,” said Emmett. “In both the Lust and the Intrigue, I can immediately feel the boost in quickness and my ability to maneuver the bike. For XC racing with Lust Advanced, the fit and acceleration is so much better than a 29er. And for enduro racing with the Intrigue, it’s a perfect blend of stability, control, and agility to easily handle any terrain on the course.”

In addition to all the new performance models, Liv/giant makes 27.5 technology available to more women riders with a full line of 27.5 aluminum hardtail bikes called Tempt. The Tempt series is ideal for beginning and sport-level mountain bike riders, and features a low standover height and excellent fit.

For 2014, Liv/giant is offering the following off-road series with 27.5 technology:

Obsess Advanced (Advanced-grade composite hardtail XC)
Lust Advanced (Advanced-grade composite full-suspension XC)
Lust (ALUXX SL aluminum full-suspension XC)
Intrigue (ALUXX SL aluminum full-suspension trail and enduro)
Tempt (ALUXX aluminum hardtail XC)

The 2014 Liv/giant 27.5 off-road bikes will be available later this summer through Giant and Liv/giant retailers.

Fresh Product: Giant Launches 27.5 XtC, Anthem, and Trance

Giant, the world leader in cycling technology, is revolutionizing its 2014 off-road lineup with a full range of new bikes featuring 27.5-inch wheel technology. Some of Giant’s most recognizable and successful off-road models—including XtC, Anthem, and Trance—will now include 27.5 choices in both composite and aluminum frame options.

XtC_Advanced_27.5_0_Team-2
XtC Advanced 27.5 0 Team
Anthem_Advanced_27.5_0_Team-2
Anthem Advanced 27.5 0 Team
Trance_Advanced_27.5_0-2
Trance Advanced 27.5 0

For 2014, a total of seven new men’s series and 28 global models feature 27.5 wheel technology, which Giant has been developing for the past two years. Several prototype Giant 27.5 bikes have already been ridden to major race wins in pro XC and enduro competition.

“The diversity and range of our new collection of 27.5 bikes shows how strongly we believe in this new technology,” said Kevin Dana, Giant Global Off-Road Category Manager. “That belief is founded on a lot of internal research and testing. We worked with a wide variety of riders—and from our World Cup XC pros to our enduro riders, all of them feel strongly that the end result is improved performance.”

Research and ride testing in different off-road racing disciplines, and in a variety of terrain, showed that the 27.5 wheel size delivers significant performance advantages in three key areas: weight, efficiency and control. Bikes with 27.5-inch wheels displayed some of the best characteristics of 26 and 29-inch wheels—but without the compromises associated with each.

Truly capitalizing on the advantages of 27.5 required a deep commitment to engineering and development. Giant’s team of engineers, product developers and athletes looked at each new model individually, dialing in the frame features and geometry to optimize the new wheel size for particular types of terrain and performance goals.

The end result is a full line of purpose-built 27.5 performance bikes for all different types of off-road riding. From the XC World Cup-proven XtC Advanced 27.5 hardtail to the trail and enduro focused Trance Advanced 27.5, each series has undergone extensive development from the ground up.

For elite-level Giant XC pros like Swedish national champion Emil Lindgren, the lighter weight and quicker acceleration offer a huge advantage.

“When you’re racing cross-country, you’re pushing the limits,” said Lindgren. “The heart rate is maxed and you want a bike that responds and makes the effort feel a little easier. Going from a 26 to a 29, there’s a big difference in the way the bike rides. But with 27.5, it’s the perfect balance of quickness and acceleration of a 26 with the traction and stability of a 29er.”

To meet the needs of racers like Lindgren and teammate Michiel van der Heijden, who recently won the Dutch XC Championships aboard a prototype 27.5 hardtail, Giant developed 27.5 versions of its XtC platform in both Advanced-grade composite (XtC Advanced 27.5) and ALUXX SL aluminum (XtC 27.5).

XtC Advanced 27.5 2.
XtC Advanced 27.5 2
XtC Advanced 27.5 4.
XtC Advanced 27.5 4
XtC 27.5 2.
XtC 27.5 2

For technical XC terrain, Giant developed 27.5 versions of its legendary Anthem platform, available in both Advanced-grade composite (Anthem Advanced 27.5) and ALUXX SL aluminum (Anthem 27.5) frame options featuring Maestro Suspension with 4 inches of travel. Giant Factory Off-Road rider Adam Craig played a major role in the bike’s development, and rode his prototype Anthem Advanced 27.5 to a win at an Oregon Enduro Series event earlier this summer.

Anthem Advanced 27.5 1 ($4299 RRP)
Anthem Advanced 27.5 1
Anthem 27.5 1 ($3299 RRP).
Anthem 27.5 1
Anthem 27.5 2 ($2699 RRP).
Anthem 27.5 2

“For cross-country racing, the 27.5 offers a very clear advantage,” Craig said. “It’s not just about how fast a bike rolls, but how fast it can be in real racing scenarios, and that involves accelerating, braking, climbing, a lot of low-speed stuff. A bike that’s a little more nimble and quick is ultimately an advantage.”

For more aggressive trail and enduro riding—the type that Australian enduro racer Josh Carlson has been racing with his prototype Trance Advanced 27.5, which features 5.5 inches of Maestro rear suspension technology—the added control and stability makes a huge difference.

“It feels amazing,” said Carlson, who rode a prototype Trance Advanced 27.5 to several enduro race wins in North America this spring. “You can charge through rock gardens and gnarly terrain with total confidence that it’s going to be quicker and faster and safer than any bike you’ve ever ridden. You can come into corners quicker and exit with so much more speed.”

The Trance platform is also available with the Advanced-grade composite frame (Trance Advanced 27.5) or ALUXX SL aluminum (Trance 27.5). Both the Trance Advanced 27.5 and Trance 27.5 also come in an “SX” model for more aggressive, gravity-oriented riding.

Trance Advanced 27.5 1
Trance Advanced 27.5 1
Trance Advanced 27.5 2
Trance Advanced 27.5 2
Trance Advanced SX 27.5
Trance Advanced SX 27.5
Trance 27.5 1
Trance 27.5 1

 

Trance 27.5 2
Trance 27.5 2

 

Trance SX 27.5
Trance SX 27.5

In addition to all of the above off-road performance models, Giant is also making its 27.5 technology available to more riders of all levels with its full line of Talon 27.5 ALUXX aluminum hardtail off-road bikes.

For 2014, Giant is offering the following off-road series with 27.5 technology:

XtC Advanced 27.5 (Advanced-grade composite hardtail XC)
XtC 27.5 (ALUXX SL aluminium hardtail XC)
Anthem Advanced 27.5 (Advanced-grade composite full-suspension XC)
Anthem 27.5 (ALUXX SL aluminium full-suspension XC)
Trance Advanced 27.5 (Advanced-grade composite full-suspension trail and enduro)
Trance 27.5 (ALUXX SL aluminium full-suspension trail and enduro)
Talon 27.5 (ALUXX aluminium hardtail XC)

The 2014 Giant 27.5 off-road bikes will be available through Giant retailers later this summer.

Fresh Product: Rockshox Pike

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK

A comeback has never been so amazing. After taking a few years off, PIKE comes back in the RockShox lineup, as the ultimate trail fork. Your trail could be a silky smooth ribbon of singletrack, or a rock-infested goat trail in the Alps. Either way, there is a PIKE for you. All wheel sizes, with 26”, 27.5” and 29” options, and 160mm and 150mm travel models, plus a 140mm version for the 29” platform. The RCT3 damper is available in either Dual Position Air or a Solo Air version to complete the offering.

Rockshox Pike4

Rockshox Pike8

TRAVEL 26”/27.5” – 150mm, 160mm; 29” – 140mm, 150mm
WHEELS 26″, 27.5″, 29″
WEIGHT 26” – 1835g (4.05 lb), 27.5” – 1861g (4.10 lb), 29” – 1876g (4.14 lb)
AVAILABLE SPRINGS Dual Position Air, Solo Air
ADJUSTMENTS External rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
STEERER OPTIONS Tapered Aluminum
CROWN Forged, hollow 7075 Aluminum
LOWERS Magnesium, disc only
MAXIMUM ROTOR SIZE 200mm
COLOR OPTIONS Black, White
OTHER WHEEL SIZE: 26”, 27.5”, 29”, AXLE: Maxle Lite 15mm, *Weight based on 265mm tapered aluminum steerer, Solo Air

 

Enduro World Series Heads to Colorado for First North American Stop, July 26-28

Winter Park, Colorado’s Trestle Bike Park has seen an influx of world class riding this week, as mountain bike athletes from around the world converge in anticipation of the fourth stop of the Enduro World Series.

A keystone event at the Colorado Freeride Festival, the Specialized Enduro brought to you by Shimano, will see the continuation of top-calibre, down-to-the-wire racing by riders from all around the globe.

cff_enduro_3

The contest to become the first Enduro World Champion remains tight with just 160 points separating the top 3 ranked Enduro World Series leaders, Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain), Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) and Jared Graves (Yeti).

The top 5 male riders (including Remy Absalon (Commencal) and Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team)) will all make the trek Stateside for the fourth stop of the World Series. The additional influx of the top-ranked North American enduro racers to the Series, including Mark Weir (Cannondale OverMountain), North American Enduro tour leaders Aaron Bradford and Mason Bond, and Enduro Cup leaders Ross Schnell (Trek Factory Racing) and Joey Schusler, only increases the possibility of another shake-up on the podium.

In the women’s series, while Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) has consistently dominated the top step, US Enduro Cup leader (and fellow Trek Factory Racing team rider) Heather Irmiger will join Cecile Ravanel (GT Skoda) and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team), who are currently rounding out the Enduro World Series top 3, as challengers. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) will also be looking to re-establish herself amongst the Series front-runners, coming back from an injury sustained in Punta Ala in the first round.

The top-ranked teams are also in a tight contest, with Lapierre just ahead of Trek Factory Racing, followed by GT Factory Racing. GT Factory Racing’s Dan Atherton will miss the next two rounds of the Series as he nurses a dislocated shoulder, leaving the quest for team points in the hands of undefeated Junior rider, GT Factory Racing team-mate Martin Maes.

With a base at 9000 feet above sea-level and start gates for the 5 stage course at over 11000 feet, altitude will play a factor in this weekend’s 3 day contest.

“We’re sensitive about the altitude,” says General Manager of the Colorado Freeride Festival, Bob Holme. “There’s significant lift support for the majority of the altitude gain but there are some untimed pedal transitions to gain additional altitude for starts. So we want to make the racing short and intense, and allow afternoons for recovery for the athletes.”

Each day at noon, the next day’s stages will be announced, giving racers until 7pm to reconnoiter the course. However, the course will remain open to the public, so the only chance to ride the courses at race speed will be on race day.

Designed with input from Colorado-based enduro athlete Ross Schnell, organizers have aimed for a race that is balanced from course to course. “Riders will experience the most technical courses of our bike park and the raw, rugged, high-alpine single track of the upper mountain,” says Holme. “We didn’t want to have one single course that would create a big separation that would be difficult to overcome. It’s been designed so that the person who comes out as the winner will literally be the best mountain biker in the bike park over that weekend.”

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “We have arrived at the Colorado Freeride Festival after three incredible rounds of racing in Europe. With a format and altitude that will once again test the riders in a whole new dimension, the three days of racing we have ahead of us here in Winter Park are going to be monumental. Add in some top US riders who have not yet raced an EWS this year and we’ve got even more potential for surprises.”

Video: Experiments in Speed

Inspired by those great men of the salt flats, those men that in the 60s pushed the Land Speed Record from the 300s up towards the 600mph mark in jet-propelled cars built in their sheds. We decided to do what we do: build a bicycle, but this time, in the spirit of those pioneers of speed, build it to see how fast we could go…

Experiments in Speed from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

Epic Offer for Schools

Australia’s pioneer mountain bike marathon, the Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic, is offering an opportunity for schools to fund raise as part of this year’s race.

The 11th staging of the Epic at Spicers Hidden Vale in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, is being held on the weekend of September 14-15, 2013.

Epic organiser and track builder Hayden Brooks said the 2013 event would be offering a unique fundraising opportunity which would promote family fitness, while raising much needed school funding.

130722 epic kids

Mr Brooks said from August 1 every child registration for the Cycle Epic weekend will receive $5 for their school while $10 will be donated for every adult entry connected with that school.

“This Epic fundraising initiative is a chance for schools to promote health, fitness and family fun, while also benefiting financially with fundraising contributions for each registration,” he said.

“There are a range of events on the Epic weekend tailored for children. The school that generates the most entries will be awarded a cheque to the full value of the entry funds received of all their schools registered entrants.

“This is a massive fund raising opportunity with uncapped potential, and one school will benefit from a substantial cheque at the end of the event.”

Mr Brooks said participating schools will be able to bring their own marquees and banners to the Hidden Vale Adventure Park camping area.

“The Epic is a great family-oriented event and we are now offering an opportunity to promote your school while also building strong relationships within the school community and families outside of the school area,” he said.

Mr Brooks said the winning school will be announced and presented with their cheque by the Cycle Epic team during the final presentations on Sunday, September 15.

Race organisers are hoping to attract more than 2,000 riders to compete in the various events after a record 1700 competitors entered last year’s event. Entries close on September 7.

The highlight of the Epic weekend is the 87km marathon on Sunday, September 15. The event, which has Flight Centre Active Travel as major sponsor, has been won over the years by some of the biggest names in Australian mountain biking.

The weekend has multiple events and activities beyond the 87km marathon, including the 50km Pursuit, the 20km Spicers Chaser, Mini and Minor Epics for children, plus a 4.2km free Family Fun Ride.

“There’s now something for the whole family, where children can challenge their parents and even their grandparents,” said Mr Brooks, who runs the event with his wife Fleur and Tod Horton.

The Flight Centre Cycle EPIC is on 14-15 September at Spicers Hidden Vale located at Grandchester, about 55 minutes’ drive from Brisbane.

For more information about the Epic or to register for the event go to: http://www.cycleepic.com.au/ or Facebook fb.com/hiddenvaleadventurepark

Video: Tour de France Road Gap

After 6 months of reflection, 1 month shape, a storm the night before that drenched runway and reception,and that forced us down emergency Annecy we got there.

There are so many variables in the preparation of such a jump that 2 hours before we had a lot of doubts about its implementation.
It should not be a motorcycle, car there before the reception, runners should be at a minimum distance … We want to take any risk. Not forgetting to be discreet …

A great big thank you to all the friends who joined us for the organization and security, but also to Kevin Demolis Alexis Bosson, Bron and Quentin Killian Jaud.

[Google translation]

Making of du road gap au dessus du Tour de France 2013 from EnchoRage on Vimeo.

Video: The Making of Coastal Crew's New Movie ARRIVAL – Ep. 1

ARRIVAL will bring viewers into the reality of a new generation of freeriders and racers. Starring Stevie Smith, Logan Peat, Mitch Ropelato, Ryan Howard, Matty Miles, Kyle Norbraten, Dylan Dunkerton and Curtis Robinson.

Written, directed and edited by the Coastal Crew, ARRIVAL also features the talents of a new breed of mountain bike filmmakers and photographers – including Nic Genovese, Matt Miles, Matt Dennison and Haruki “Harookz” Noguchi. Available on BluRay + DVD combo pack and iTunes Fall 2013.

The Making of Coastal Crew’s New Movie ARRIVAL – Ep. 1 from The Coastal Crew on Vimeo.

Video: The Making of Coastal Crew’s New Movie ARRIVAL – Ep. 1

ARRIVAL will bring viewers into the reality of a new generation of freeriders and racers. Starring Stevie Smith, Logan Peat, Mitch Ropelato, Ryan Howard, Matty Miles, Kyle Norbraten, Dylan Dunkerton and Curtis Robinson.

Written, directed and edited by the Coastal Crew, ARRIVAL also features the talents of a new breed of mountain bike filmmakers and photographers – including Nic Genovese, Matt Miles, Matt Dennison and Haruki “Harookz” Noguchi. Available on BluRay + DVD combo pack and iTunes Fall 2013.

The Making of Coastal Crew’s New Movie ARRIVAL – Ep. 1 from The Coastal Crew on Vimeo.

Junior DH and XCO Team Confirmed for 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships

Cycling Australia & MTBA are pleased to confirm the junior Cross Country and Downhill riders that have been selected to represent Australia at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships being staged in Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa, 26th August to 1st September 2013.

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Junior Men Cross Country (XCO)
Ben BRADLEY (18, Kingston, TAS) 2013 U19 National Champion
Chris HAMILTON (18, Bendigo, VIC) 2013 National Series All Mountain Cup Champion
Jack LAVIS (18, Batemans Bay, NSW)
Tasman NANKERVIS (18, Bendigo, VIC)

Junior Women Cross Country (XCO)
Holly HARRIS (18, Armidale, NSW) 2013 U19 National Champion, 2013 National Series All Mountain Cup Champion

Junior Men Downhill (DHI)
Aidan VARLEY (16, Bright, VIC)
Peter KNOTT (18, Townsville, QLD)
Thomas CRIMMINS (18, Bredbo, NSW) 2013 U19 Oceania Champion, 2013 National Series Gravity Cup Champion
Ben HILL (17, Ulverstone, TAS)
Luke ELLISON (17, Pearce, NT)
Dean LUCAS (18, Wooragree, VIC) 2013 U19 National Champion, winner UCI 2013 World Cup #2 (Val Di Sole)
Brent SMITH (18, Woronora Heights, NSW)

Junior Women Downhill (DHI)
Danielle BEECROFT (18, Londonderry, NSW) 2013 U19 Oceania Champion, 2013 National Series Gravity Cup Champion, 2012 World Championships bronze
Tegan MOLLOY (17, Jindabyne, NSW)

“The quality of the junior athletes that have gained selection is exceptional. Some in the Team has already excelled in rounds of the 2013 UCI World Cup and will most certainly bring that experience to South Africa,” said Tony Scott, EO of MTBA and 2013 Team Manager.

“I see no reason why this group of Juniors could not achieve the best results Australia has had in many years.”

The senior XCO and DH team will be announced on Monday July 29, 2013.

*Note Scott Bowden (TAS) was selected in the XCO team, but has subsequently withdrawn and will not travel to South Africa for the Championships.

Junior DH and XCO Team Confirmed for 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships

Cycling Australia & MTBA are pleased to confirm the junior Cross Country and Downhill riders that have been selected to represent Australia at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships being staged in Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa, 26th August to 1st September 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 5.42.16 PM

Junior Men Cross Country (XCO)
Ben BRADLEY (18, Kingston, TAS) 2013 U19 National Champion
Chris HAMILTON (18, Bendigo, VIC) 2013 National Series All Mountain Cup Champion
Jack LAVIS (18, Batemans Bay, NSW)
Tasman NANKERVIS (18, Bendigo, VIC)

Junior Women Cross Country (XCO)
Holly HARRIS (18, Armidale, NSW) 2013 U19 National Champion, 2013 National Series All Mountain Cup Champion

Junior Men Downhill (DHI)
Aidan VARLEY (16, Bright, VIC)
Peter KNOTT (18, Townsville, QLD)
Thomas CRIMMINS (18, Bredbo, NSW) 2013 U19 Oceania Champion, 2013 National Series Gravity Cup Champion
Ben HILL (17, Ulverstone, TAS)
Luke ELLISON (17, Pearce, NT)
Dean LUCAS (18, Wooragree, VIC) 2013 U19 National Champion, winner UCI 2013 World Cup #2 (Val Di Sole)
Brent SMITH (18, Woronora Heights, NSW)

Junior Women Downhill (DHI)
Danielle BEECROFT (18, Londonderry, NSW) 2013 U19 Oceania Champion, 2013 National Series Gravity Cup Champion, 2012 World Championships bronze
Tegan MOLLOY (17, Jindabyne, NSW)

“The quality of the junior athletes that have gained selection is exceptional. Some in the Team has already excelled in rounds of the 2013 UCI World Cup and will most certainly bring that experience to South Africa,” said Tony Scott, EO of MTBA and 2013 Team Manager.

“I see no reason why this group of Juniors could not achieve the best results Australia has had in many years.”

The senior XCO and DH team will be announced on Monday July 29, 2013.

*Note Scott Bowden (TAS) was selected in the XCO team, but has subsequently withdrawn and will not travel to South Africa for the Championships.

Video: The Dudes of Hazzard, The Dudeumentary Part 2

After a triumphant Part 1 the boys have a team meeting at the clubhouse to come up with a good plan to seal the deal for Part 2. Unfortunately after some terrible bad luck strikes Fergs back he has to take it easy for a bit leaving Liam and Joe lost in space. Luckily Jamesy boy enters and helps keep the spirits at an all time high. All the usual good times from the baeys…. Get well soon Fergy babes.

The Dudes of Hazzard, The Dudeumentary – Part 2 The Big Splash from Joe Barnes on Vimeo.

Fresh Product: Trek Announces Slash and Remedy in 27.5"

Trek Bicycle today previewed their 650b plans unveiling two revamped platforms in the technical trail and enduro product lines. The Slash and Remedy lines will be offered in 650b options to address those segments where the emerging wheel size is most suited to the terrain and rider demands.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.58.42 AM

The 160mm-travel Slash has been completely redesigned from the ground up with a focus on the emerging and demanding enduro scene. With a lower bottom bracket and slacker head tube than the 26-inch version, the Slash 650b provides a lower, longer position for the competitive enduro racer. And amazingly, the alloy frame weighs 350 grams less than its 26-inch predecessor.

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Slash 9 27.5″.
Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.58.03 AM
The Slash range and key features.

The Remedy line adds 140mm-travel alloy and carbon 650b options to complement the 29er lineup launched in early June. The smaller-wheeled sibling was built around the nimble ride characteristics of 650b wheels to offer technical trail riders a more playful option alongside the more confidence-inspiring 29er. The Remedy 650b will be offered in both OCLV MTB carbon and Alpha Platinum Aluminum.

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Remedy 9.9 27.5″.
Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.57.46 AM
The Remedy range and key features.

“After a decade plus of alternative wheel size development, testing, refining, and debating, it’s become clear that for trail riders wheel size is primarily about riding style,” said Travis Ott, global MTB Brand Manager. “29” will be fastest for XC racing, but as we get into more trail riding, 650b and 29 can both excel on the same trail. Then it really comes down to how different riders tackle the same trail in their own way. So the Remedy now has the confidence-inspiring 29er option and the more playful 650b option. Then the Slash gets the new small wheel treatment with a ground-up 650b chassis.”

After a busy year that has already seen the launch of the all-new Fuel EX 29, Remedy 29 and mountain bikes in Project One, Trek’s 650b models will hit worldwide retailers this autumn.

Trek Australia has advised the following:

“In Australia we will have the Remedy 8 650, Remedy 9 650, Remedy 9.8 650, and the Slash 8 650.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.03 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.17 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.27 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.40 AM

Fresh Product: Trek Announces Slash and Remedy in 27.5″

Trek Bicycle today previewed their 650b plans unveiling two revamped platforms in the technical trail and enduro product lines. The Slash and Remedy lines will be offered in 650b options to address those segments where the emerging wheel size is most suited to the terrain and rider demands.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.58.42 AM

The 160mm-travel Slash has been completely redesigned from the ground up with a focus on the emerging and demanding enduro scene. With a lower bottom bracket and slacker head tube than the 26-inch version, the Slash 650b provides a lower, longer position for the competitive enduro racer. And amazingly, the alloy frame weighs 350 grams less than its 26-inch predecessor.

1192700_2014_A_1_Slash_9
Slash 9 27.5″.
Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.58.03 AM
The Slash range and key features.

The Remedy line adds 140mm-travel alloy and carbon 650b options to complement the 29er lineup launched in early June. The smaller-wheeled sibling was built around the nimble ride characteristics of 650b wheels to offer technical trail riders a more playful option alongside the more confidence-inspiring 29er. The Remedy 650b will be offered in both OCLV MTB carbon and Alpha Platinum Aluminum.

1191600_2014_A_2_Remedy_9_9_27_5_650b
Remedy 9.9 27.5″.
Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 7.57.46 AM
The Remedy range and key features.

“After a decade plus of alternative wheel size development, testing, refining, and debating, it’s become clear that for trail riders wheel size is primarily about riding style,” said Travis Ott, global MTB Brand Manager. “29” will be fastest for XC racing, but as we get into more trail riding, 650b and 29 can both excel on the same trail. Then it really comes down to how different riders tackle the same trail in their own way. So the Remedy now has the confidence-inspiring 29er option and the more playful 650b option. Then the Slash gets the new small wheel treatment with a ground-up 650b chassis.”

After a busy year that has already seen the launch of the all-new Fuel EX 29, Remedy 29 and mountain bikes in Project One, Trek’s 650b models will hit worldwide retailers this autumn.

Trek Australia has advised the following:

“In Australia we will have the Remedy 8 650, Remedy 9 650, Remedy 9.8 650, and the Slash 8 650.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.03 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.17 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.27 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 9.15.40 AM

Video: Morvélo – Two Wheels, Peace and Quiet

The best things in life are often simple. Riding a bike for example. Grabbing your wheels at the end of a day’s work and heading out for a quick rip, the good old fashioned way. There are times to push your limits but more importantly there are times where all you need is that simple joy of just getting out there.

We had the pleasure of filming this with Jon from Chickens Frame Emporium. As well as making beautiful steel frames from his shipping container workshop, his own bike tells a hundred stories. The worn grips and ripped saddle show that this bike has seen more action than most. Using the first frame he ever made, it’s still going strong. He’s too busy making everyone else’s dream bike to tend to his own but it still takes him on those all important blasts to clear his mind and focus on his next frame building project.

chickensframeemporium.co.uk/

Morvélo – Two wheels, peace and quiet from Morvélo Bicycle Apparel on Vimeo.

Mick Hannah Wins the King of Crankworx Title

The Crankworx week in Les 2 Alpes was an intense one for the team and most especially Mick. After having raced the Enduro World Series on the weekend he raced the Hutchinson Dual Climb on Monday where he came 4th. He then got an excellent 2nd place on the Polygon Air DH behind Gee Atherton. The course was fast and dusty but Mick loved it and really had fun hitting the massive jumps.

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On Thursday he went on to race the GT Dual Speed & Style where he got into the final 8 riders. Mick was relying on his racer speed to get him through the heats, but it wasn’t enough to get him past the quarter finals. On Friday he also raced the Rockshox Pumptrack Challenge and also made the final 8 before being eliminated. During the Pumptrack finals he was crowned King of Crankworx. This rewards the best overall rider for all the events of the Crankworx week. So that was a great way to reward all the efforts he had put in all week to take part into all the races he felt capable of doing well in. Big congratulations to him!

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Guillaume was also up at Les 2 Alpes to take part in the Polygon Air DH. He got a solid 12th place even though he seemed disappointed with such a result. He then travelled down to Auron in the South of France for the end of the week to take part in the French Championships. He had a few mechanicals in training and just before qualifying but still managed to get a 10th place. On Sunday however his race run didn’t go so well as he had a big crash on the first section of the track. He made it down to the finish line but in a very poor state. Another big disappointment for Guillaume as he was definitely aiming for the podium. He will definitely be up for doing well again at the next World Cup in Andorra.

Tracey was also taking part in the Polygon Air DH and was having great fun on the track. Unfortunately she crashed hard at the end of the first day of practice. She was jumping one of the big road gaps at the top of the course but hit the berm after it a bit too hard. She went over the bars and broke her left collarbone. She was well taken care of by the medics and got operated on on Wednesday. She is already full into recovery mode and is very keen to get back to racing as quick as possible. All our thoughts go to her and we can’t wait for her to get back on the bike. We hope that within 4 weeks she will be back riding.

On a lighter matter, we had the truck inauguration on Wednesday. Lots of people came to check out the new rig and the Spank jacuzzi up on the deck. Everyone was impressed with the setup and the work that had been done to get the whole truck rolling for the races. We would really like to thank everyone who was involved in the construction of it : Steph, Denis, Oliver, Jeremy, Julien, Jamie, Matt and all the others who lent a hand to get it finished on time.

Web_News_Hannah_Crankworx

The team is driving to Andorra this week to set up early for the World Cup. We hope that Mick and Guillaume will be in full form to represent the team and score us some precious team points.

Namesakes Daniel and Ed McDonald Secure Consecutive Elite Titles at Mount Annan

More than 300 mountain bikers proofed on the weekend that The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan is “more than just a pretty place”, by participating in the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix endurance race.

Target Trek racer Ed McDonald dominated in the GP7 Hour Solo Elite men’s competition and took out the overall race win with 17 laps on the tough course. The strong female field saw a new rising star on the GP7 hour elite podium with Eliza Kwan and in the GP4 hour race Belinda Diprose claimed the win in the female racing categories with local rider Daniel McDonald, like his namesake Ed McDonald, repeating his elite male race win at Mount Annan from last year.

Ed McDonald, GP7 Hour elite male and outright winner of the SHIMANO MTB GP Round 4.
Ed McDonald, GP7 Hour elite male and outright winner of the SHIMANO MTB GP Round 4.

For the third time organisers Rocky Trail Entertainment hosted a SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix race at the unique venue in Mount Annan and the local defending GP4 hour champion Daniel McDonald from Campbeltown repeated his win. “I know this track very well”, he said across the finish line. “I ride here every week to train and I like to win on my home track”, the promising Target Trek racer added with a grin. Fellow team rider and reigning Australian 24 Hour Solo National Champion U30, Ed McDonald from Canberra, displayed a strong performance and also defended his victory from last year, claiming the GP7 hour elite solo title as well as the overall race win with 17 completed laps in 7:22.29 – more than any other solo or racing team on the day.

Local matador Daniel McDonald secures the GP4 hour elite male win for the second consecutive time on his home track.
Local matador Daniel McDonald secures the GP4 hour elite male win for the second consecutive time on his home track.

“I love the Mount Annan track, it’s tough, has a bit of climbing and technical sections, which means you need to push hard all day, but it’s so rewarding at the same time. I had a bit of a lazy start, but soon found my rhythm and felt better with every lap”, McDonald said of his race. Fellow Canberran Andrew Hall had been leading for the first few laps, but eventually finished second with 16 laps, conceding to McDonald’s increasing pace. Last year’s SHIMANO MTB GP series winner Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle came in third also on 16 laps.

Rising star Eliza Kwan claims first Rocky Trail race win

Eliza Kwan, GP7 Hour elite female winner at Mt Annan.
Eliza Kwan, GP7 Hour elite female winner at Mt Annan.

As the clock ticked over the seven-hour mark, all eyes where on Eliza Kwan – another rider from Canberra who wowed the crowd in the event centre. Rumour had it that Eliza Kwan had a background in martial arts, having practiced Olympic-style Taekwondo for over 10 years and represented Australia in several national teams. Over the past year her attention had then obviously successfully turned to endurance sports and mountain biking and with 13 laps at Mount Annan she claimed her first win at a Rocky Trail event.

“Generally, women make up 10-15% of our racing fields and there are some amazing female racers out there! We were all so impressed how Eliza just kept smiling all day; to see her come through the event centre lap after lap and bursting with positive energy was amazing”, said Juliane Wisata, Event and Timing Director at Rocky Trail. “I personally can’t wait to see her at our series finale at Stromlo Forest Park – I can only imagine how well she will race on her home track”, Wisata added. Confirming the dominance of Canberran racers at Mount Annan, Milly Brent claimed the second place with 10 laps in just over seven hours and Philippa Rostan from Sutton (NSW) came in third. In the GP4 hour competition Belinda Diprose from Drummoyne (NSW) took out the race win in the elite category ahead of Susanna Fasold from Bonnet Bay and Emily Cunningham from Kirrawee (NSW).

Belinda Diprose shows how to juggle a full-time job and training to win a GP4 hour race.
Belinda Diprose shows how to juggle a full-time job and training to win a GP4 hour race.

Series leaders standing strong
Ahead of the SHIMANO MTB GP series finale on 7 September at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra, the series leaders of the elite solo categories held onto their leads – Jorge Baron Morris in the GP4 hour elite men’s and Susanna Fasold in the women’s, as well as Grant Webster and Sarah Neumann in the GP7 hour competitions.

For detailed results and further event information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com

GP7 Hour Elite Male
1. Ed McDonald / Target Trek Racing / Canberra ACT / GP7 Hour Overall Winner with 17 laps in 7:22.29
2. Andrew Hall / Cannondale Sugoi Factory Racing / Canberra ACT / 16 laps in 7:04.22
3. Andrew Lloyd / Cheeky Velosport / Newcastle NSW / 16 laps in 7:21.53

GP7 Hour Elite Female

1. Eliza Kwan / Canberra ACT / 13 laps in 7:07.19
2. Milly Brent / Canberra ACT / 10 laps in 7:04.51
3. Philippa Rostan / Sutton NSW / Australian Defence Cycling Club / 8 laps in 6:55.55

GP4 Hour Elite Male
1. Daniel McDonald / Target Trek Racing / Campbelltown NSW / 9 laps in 3:58.58
2. Werner Van der Merwe / Quantum Racing / Gordon NSW / 9 laps in 4:04.23
3. Anthony Shippard / CBD Cannondale / Sydney NSW / 9 laps in 4:09.58

GP4 Hour Elite Female
1. Belinda Diprose / Ashfield Cycles / Drummoyne NSW / 8 laps in 4:34.24
2. Susanna Fasold / Bike Culture | Whyte Racing / Bonnet Bay NSW / 7 laps in 4:15.47
2. Emily Cunningham / Sneaky Bacon Racing / Kirrawee NSW / 7 laps in 4:18.30

GP4 Hour Male Team 2 Elite
1. TBSM Phantom Racing / Jayden Ward, Guy Frail / GP4 Hour Overall Winners with 10 laps in 4:12.45.
2. Spearman Cycles / James Boland, David Manton / 10 laps in 4:14.25
3. Rockstar Racing Team / Craig Godon, Dwight Woodford / 10 laps in 4:16.42

Endurance racing "royalty" - Craig Gordon out for a sneeky race with Rockstar Racing team mate Dwight Woodford.
Endurance racing “royalty” – Craig Gordon out for a sneeky race with Rockstar Racing team mate Dwight Woodford.

BC Bike Race 2013: Day 7

The BC Bike Race caravan squeezed out of the Squamish bubble this morning and headed north on the Sea to Sky Highway for it’s final stop at Whistler. A week of camping in tents, eating communal meals, sharing trails, cleaning bikes, adjusting shifting, riding on BC Ferries, and asking for advice about the next stage are over.

Riders, BCBR crew, and spectators  took over the Whistler Olympic Plaza for the last day of the BC Bike Race under perfect skies and only an occasional cloud as the event helicopter buzzed overhead. It seems fitting that the race would end in the place that is probably pushing the modern boundaries of mountain biking further than any other place in the world. The BCBR is also challenging so many different realms of the mountain bike racing experience. The level of care for every rider and their experience questions the idea of what a mountain bike race should be. Is this a race or a guided tour? Is it normal to call your racers “customers” and treat them like friends, with respect and deliver a product that is a challenge to them without insulting their personal experience?

The initial climb out of Whistler Village was long and steep. Just another day in the BC Bike Race.
The initial climb out of Whistler Village was long and steep. Just another day in the BC Bike Race.

Andreas Hestler Marketing Director of the BCBR “We enjoy the race at the front but in the end it’s not about the finish position of the rider, it’s about the progression of that individual as a rider and a person. The BC Bike Race has taken a lot of people to new levels of riding even if only for the need to survive to ride another day.”

The BC Bike Race says “here is the best singletrack stage race in the world” and then a hand is offered in the form of guided support but no one is going to ride the bike for you. The BCBR is a nurturing environment and throughout the week the transition the riders went through manifested in multiple ways. From gaining confidence riding bridges, rocks and roots, to figuring out how to accept that the person who keeps falling behind on the climb is going to catch you on the descents. A one day race rarely gives riders the time to recognize the others around them and see everyone for their strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the week the BC Bike Race simultaneously increases many people’s confidence and humility in themselves.

Hugo Bardou (Xprezo) makes bikes and knows how to use them.
Hugo Bardou (Xprezo) makes bikes and knows how to use them.

“It was the best week of my life on the bike. I was so frightened of the length of the race that I just had to train very hard before the race back in Mexico. I was expecting so much pain but it was pure reward. The organization was fantastic. I exceded all kinds of expectations of myself.” Bernardo Martinez-Negrete, Mexico. Bernardo’s experience was retold in multiple languages on the finish line.

B.O.B aka Bear On Bike, the BCBR logo, leads the way for all riders.
B.O.B aka Bear On Bike, the BCBR logo, leads the way for all riders.

The Races

Open Men
The BC Bike Race has no prize money yet it annually brings in some of the best professionals in the world dedicated to races that are on singletrack and challenging. This year’s podiums were full of riders from other countries looking for the opportunity to test their trail riding abilities. 2013 was shaping up to be an epic battle for the winner Kris Sneddon (Kona) before last year’s champion pulled out from a stomach bug. Sneddon showed poise in the face of the challenge but when he was left facing an easy win with two days to go he immediately switched to supporting another member of his team, American Spencer Paxson.

Paxson won the stage with Skovgaard in second and the overall champion in third a second back. Paxson finally got a stage win to add to his four third place finished and secured 2nd overall. “I’m thrilled, it feels so good to affirm that I can do this kind of riding now, and to add another discipline to the quiver.”  When asked about the final sprint he said he had scouted the finish thinking a sprint was highly possible. As predicted the three came towards the final turn to the finish and Skovgaard got caught on the outside and overshot the turn into the finish line.

One of many wooden structures in the Lost Lake Trails.
One of many wooden structures in the Lost Lake Trails.

Open Women

The overall was taken by Wendy Simms (Kona) for the second year in a row, but her antagonist of the week New Zealander Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) finally had the day she fought for in the previous stages while securing second place overall. Whistler provided a course that Hurst could create a gap on the climbs that couldn’t be reeled back in by Simms.

“I just didn’t have enough downhill real-estate to catch up. She took off really hard up the hill. I told her it was a really good day for her, but she earned every inch of it.” Simms

Third overall went to Trish Grajczyk (Deadgoat Racing) but she was second on the Whistler stage.

Women's Whistler stage winners. Kim Hurst finally got her top step.
Women’s Whistler stage winners. Kim Hurst finally got her top step.

Open Men Duo

Rocky Mountain Bicycle riders Greg Day and Kevin Calhoun took home their first BCBR wins as a team after overcoming issues early in the week. Between Greg being sick for three days and Calhoun ripping off a derailleur it was work to bring it all back together. As locals they had a pretty good idea what they were getting themselves into. It was the first time at BCBR for the team from Craft Rocky Mountain who had to fly blind into every corner. “The fourth day was probably the hardest with the steep climbs under the power lines, but that’s what mountain biking is all about. You have to adapt to the conditions.” Christoff Listmann. For his teammate Michael Anthes “The BC Bike Race is great because it has a taste of everything you can do on a mountain bike. Including the bike park today which was awesome.”

Third place overall went to the Ska/Zia/Trek team of Nick Gould and Miles Venzara from the USA.

Enduro

Women

Behind by 1:59 on the GC a with only one enduro stage in Whistler it was going to be virtually impossible for Jaclyn Schapel (Liv/Giant Austrailia) to secure an overall win today. Unfortunately the tighter racing created more of a traffic jam than in previous stages and she ended up crashing trying to pass a rider who went left when she called right. Calling lines and passing cleanly in a race with all the international riders gets difficult when there are many different languages and accents. Schapel’s first experience with the BCBR has had a strong effect on her. “It was amazing, it’s been fantastic the whole week. It’s a great thing to be part of. I’ve really enjoyed the Enduro sections everyday. It’s pretty much like a boot camp, there is no alcohol [you can get it, BCBR just doesn’t provide it], you can’t go to sleep late, and you work all day.” She laughed.
Simms ended up winning the day and the overall by 2:21 after 13 stages. Schapel was only down by 22 seconds on the day despite being taken out by another racer and getting run over. She also secured second place overall, while Adrienne Miller (Team Adrienne) finished third on the week. Annika Bergman (Craft Rocky Mountain) was third today on the stage.

A whirly-bird's eye view.
A whirly-bird’s eye view.

Men

Kris Sneddons’ attempts to drop Neil Kindree combined with his local knowledge on many of the trails early in the week resulted in him securing first place overall on the men’s enduro podium. Second in the GC was Eric Goss (East Infection 2) who concentrated all week on the enduro’s and seemed to care less about the overall. On the third step overall was everyone’s favorite bearded man from Denmark, Erik Skovgaard (Racing29er). Over the week we got to see Skovgaard, like many riders, find his “A” game in the singletrack and by the last two days he was catching Paxson and Sneddon on the descents. “We had gapped him on the climb and held him off on the first descent and up the second climb but he caught back up to us on the singletrack which is amazing, earlier in the week he wasn’t riding as strong on the trails but now he has fully learned how to ride them.” Paxson

There are no official teams of three but you might end up making it one if you jive right.
There are no official teams of three but you might end up making it one if you jive right.

Another rider who embraced the enduro stages as the week progressed included South African, Oliver Munnik (White Knuckle Pinners). With a stage win in Squamish, Munnik really had the heat turned on. Without a few misfortunes in a couple stages he might have finished closer to the overall.

Today’s Whistler stage went to last year’s enduro winner Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain Bicycles). Skovgaard’s hunt for the Kona boys boosted him to a second place finish seven seconds back of Hestler. Paxson took third while doing his own big game hunt for the top podium spot.

Danielle Baker of racer relations hugging it out at an emotional finish line in Whistler.
Danielle Baker of racer relations hugging it out at an emotional finish line in Whistler.

Closing Ceremonies

The awards banquet was full of freshly cleaned and scrubbed racers in the Whistler Conference Center and awards were given during the final group dinner with photos and videos presented by the BC Bike Race media team. Riders mingled and enjoyed the last opportunity to see each other for at least another year if ever, but strong bonds have been formed during the week of shared experiences and the banquet provided the perfect opportunity to have a last goodbye. The emotional highs and lows were already fading but the overall memory of an incredible experience will carry on for the rest of their lives. “There was life before BCBR and there is life after. It’s changed how we approach the world.” Erik and Dominic from Denmark.

If you can't hug your partner at the end of the seven days then you did not have a good week.
If you can’t hug your partner at the end of the seven days then you did not have a good week.
Enduro Champions of the 2013 BC Bike Race. The biggest shredders of the week.
Enduro Champions of the 2013 BC Bike Race. The biggest shredders of the week.

Fiat Nine Knights MTB – ‘Wanna be a Knight?’

The fabled FIAT Nine Knights send out the call to join them from Sept. 1-7 in Livigno, at Mottolino Fun Mountain for the 2013 edition of the event.

The ‘Wanna be a Knight’ video contest is now open and offers everybody the chance to enter this year’s FIAT Nine Knights event – more information and teaser trailer below:

For Andi Wittmann, nothing can compare to the thrill that comes from freeride mountainbiking. As Germany’s premier freeride MTB athlete and one of the sports true talents, his passion and experience at the highest levels of competition are testimony to a life spent doing what he loves and from September 1st to 7th in Livigno in Italy, Andi will play host to the world’s freeride elite at the FIAT Nine Knights event on the famed Mottolino Fun Mountain – one of Europe’s premier freeride resorts.

Nineknights MTB 2012

Born from an idea that combines an exclusive feature and trail set-up with the best athletes and media professionals, the FIAT Nine Knights aims to deliver to fans of freeriding the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what the sport is all about. For Andi and the gathered company of invited riders, including Martin Söderstöm, Kurt Sorge, Andreu Lacondeguy, Yannick Granieri and Graham Agassiz, the challenge of taking on one of the world’s most unique event set-ups is an occasion not to be missed.

Andi says: “We wanted to create something special. We wanted to bring all our experiences together so that the focus would be on the riders getting the best out of themselves in a stress-free and fun environment, not hampered by strict time constraints or scheduling pressure. I think that in Livigno the set-up we have this year is absolutely mind-blowing and I can’t wait for everyone to come and see what we can do.”

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger3

The ‘set-up’ is centred on the Nine Knights castle – ‘Il Castello’. A medieval tower with huge drops, 15-metre jumps over 3-metre high superkickers and various innovative bike obstacles in a design that draws heavily on the knowledge and experience of the athletes themselves.

‘Il Castello’ stands comfortably amongst the finest features in freeriding in the way it combines the best chances for trick innovation with athlete safety and maximum fun factor.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger2

The FIAT Nine Knights 2013 is the realisation of a dream based on a passion for freeride MTB and the seamless interaction between the riders, media, resort and fans. With these qualities in mind we want to throw down the gauntlet and invite all willing riders out there to our ‘Wanna be a Knight?’ online video contest. To win a spot at the distinguished table of invited Knights send in a video showing your best tricks until August 14th – convince the judges – and suit up for Livigno!

All Wannabe Infos: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-athletes/

Joining the riders are some of the top sports photographers and filmers around. Stef Cande, Daniel Ronnback, Alessandro Belluscio and Markus Greber are the group of creative geniuses whose job it is to deliver to the fans the best of the action.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger1

This year the KILLER LOOP Photo Contest is providing a wildcard invitation to any talented people who live and breathe photography and freeride MTB. If you want to win a trip Livigno and have a look over the shoulders of the invited photographers and of course stand behind the lens yourself, send in your best freeride shots and snap up one of the exclusive spots. Contest details at: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-photographers/

NineKnights_by_lars_scharl

NineKnights_flyer

Fiat Nine Knights MTB – 'Wanna be a Knight?'

The fabled FIAT Nine Knights send out the call to join them from Sept. 1-7 in Livigno, at Mottolino Fun Mountain for the 2013 edition of the event.

The ‘Wanna be a Knight’ video contest is now open and offers everybody the chance to enter this year’s FIAT Nine Knights event – more information and teaser trailer below:

For Andi Wittmann, nothing can compare to the thrill that comes from freeride mountainbiking. As Germany’s premier freeride MTB athlete and one of the sports true talents, his passion and experience at the highest levels of competition are testimony to a life spent doing what he loves and from September 1st to 7th in Livigno in Italy, Andi will play host to the world’s freeride elite at the FIAT Nine Knights event on the famed Mottolino Fun Mountain – one of Europe’s premier freeride resorts.

Nineknights MTB 2012

Born from an idea that combines an exclusive feature and trail set-up with the best athletes and media professionals, the FIAT Nine Knights aims to deliver to fans of freeriding the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what the sport is all about. For Andi and the gathered company of invited riders, including Martin Söderstöm, Kurt Sorge, Andreu Lacondeguy, Yannick Granieri and Graham Agassiz, the challenge of taking on one of the world’s most unique event set-ups is an occasion not to be missed.

Andi says: “We wanted to create something special. We wanted to bring all our experiences together so that the focus would be on the riders getting the best out of themselves in a stress-free and fun environment, not hampered by strict time constraints or scheduling pressure. I think that in Livigno the set-up we have this year is absolutely mind-blowing and I can’t wait for everyone to come and see what we can do.”

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger3

The ‘set-up’ is centred on the Nine Knights castle – ‘Il Castello’. A medieval tower with huge drops, 15-metre jumps over 3-metre high superkickers and various innovative bike obstacles in a design that draws heavily on the knowledge and experience of the athletes themselves.

‘Il Castello’ stands comfortably amongst the finest features in freeriding in the way it combines the best chances for trick innovation with athlete safety and maximum fun factor.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger2

The FIAT Nine Knights 2013 is the realisation of a dream based on a passion for freeride MTB and the seamless interaction between the riders, media, resort and fans. With these qualities in mind we want to throw down the gauntlet and invite all willing riders out there to our ‘Wanna be a Knight?’ online video contest. To win a spot at the distinguished table of invited Knights send in a video showing your best tricks until August 14th – convince the judges – and suit up for Livigno!

All Wannabe Infos: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-athletes/

Joining the riders are some of the top sports photographers and filmers around. Stef Cande, Daniel Ronnback, Alessandro Belluscio and Markus Greber are the group of creative geniuses whose job it is to deliver to the fans the best of the action.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger1

This year the KILLER LOOP Photo Contest is providing a wildcard invitation to any talented people who live and breathe photography and freeride MTB. If you want to win a trip Livigno and have a look over the shoulders of the invited photographers and of course stand behind the lens yourself, send in your best freeride shots and snap up one of the exclusive spots. Contest details at: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-photographers/

NineKnights_by_lars_scharl

NineKnights_flyer

Flow's First Bite: Specialized's 2014 Range Tested

Trail testing fresh new rides from the big, bold and brilliant; Specialized.

 

Flow joined loads of Aussie and Kiwi dealers to check out what the big, bold and red (and black) bike manufacturer, Specialized, has in store for us next season. Not only was this a great opportunity to test all the bikes out in a short time, it also gave Flow the chance to meet the minds behind them, not just the marketing people, but the engineers. We asked why certain things were done, how and why.

 

Here we pick a few highlights and offer our first impressions on the new 2014 bikes, which we have just finished riding on the trails in and around the high altitudes of Copper Mountain, Colorado.

 

Putting in the hours on a Stumpjumper 29 EVO.
Putting in the hours on a Stumpjumper 29 EVO.

Stocking Specialized in a bike store is a mighty safe bet, no doubt about it. With a bike range so complete and everything to accompany them, the options are plentiful. It is a daunting range with so many models and there’s sure to be a suspension travel amount and attitude style of bike perfectly matched to you. From the hardtails, to a 95mm Epic World Cup, all the way up to the 200mm travel Demo downhill bike, with half a dozen or so in between. The women’s range is also growing with more options in a wider range of price points. Add to this even more Body Geometry apparel, accessories and parts than ever before.

Epic 29

Out of the 2014 range, it was the two Epics and Cambers that really caught our eye, with their completely overhauled frame constructions. The Epics, in carbon and aluminium, receive a new lighter rear shock tune, a racier frame option (Epic 29 World Cup), internal cable routing, SWAT compatibility, and space for two water bottles.

Epic 29, in black. Ohhhhh my.
Epic 29, in black. Ohhhhh my.

Taking a look at the rear suspension, we found that now with a couple clicks on the Brain Fade adjuster, the efficiency is quite simply, perfect. The Mini Brain shock has received a lighter compression tune in the name of increasing sensitivity during repeated impacts, and for us that knocking feedback transferred to the rider as the inertia valve opens and closes is most definitely less prominent than before. The shock is also 25g lighter, helped by the use of a new kevlar hose connecting the shock and damping unit. The range of adjustment has also been improved in the name of user friendliness, with only four clicks, instead of 14 or so, as with the previous versions. If this is confusing check out this video for an explanation on how this proprietary design works.

An all new frame for 2014, for one of Australia and New Zealand's most popular cross country/marathon race bike.
An all new frame for 2014, for one of Australia and New Zealand’s most popular cross country/marathon race bike. Check out the new rear end, with no quick release skewer for less weight, plus the new chainstay protector is so very nice.

With a focus on improving the power transfer of your hard-earned energy through the frame to the rear wheel the engineers have worked on streamlining the shock mounting and pivot bearing housings for a more direct line. Additionally, the chainstays have also been beefed up considerably. To neaten the package, for the first time the Epics score internal cable routing. It has been done so very nicely indeed, with foam liners to eliminate rattling inside the frame and exceptionally neat entry and exit ports that allow for one, two, three of four cables to go internal. Plus the entry and exit point locations just seem perfect. A lot of thought has gone into what can easily go so wrong – as we have seen on many other bikes over the years.

Epic 29 World Cup

If the Epic we have known over the last few years was not racy enough, there will now be a sharper and leaner Epic available, dubbed the Epic 29 World Cup. With shorter chain stays, a sharper head angle, a new single chain ring specific frame (very good to see!), and a slightly firmer rear shock damping-tune, controlling the reduced 95mm of rear travel, this is about as exclusive to the racetrack as one keen racer could ever pull from a cardboard box.

The premium S-Works Epic 29 World Cup, hold on tight, this thing is as fast as it gets.
The premium S-Works Epic 29 World Cup, hold on tight this thing is as fast as it gets. The sharp geometry, low weight and firm suspension tune will please the rider looking for the upmost efficiency, like a hardtail only much better.

Have you ever wondered how Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy can accelerate his bike so fast? Try this Epic World Cup out. We did and were imaging race situations (vivid hallucinations) as if we were all of a sudden worthy of a World Cup start.

No front derailleur mount, fat chainstays and a big main pivot section is not only the future, but confirms that single ring mountain bikes are here to stay. Does it also mean Shimano will have an answer to SRAM 11 speed soon?
No front derailleur mount, fat chainstays and a big main pivot section is not only the future of better bikes, but also confirms that single chain ring mountain bikes are here to stay. Does it also mean Shimano will have an answer to SRAM 11 speed soon?

We took an S-Works model (pictured) out for a good blast up the famed Colorado Trail, with tight switchback climbs and rocky strewn descents. The previous day we’d taken the Stumpjumper S-Works on the same trail, so the Epic was an interesting comparison, with a keener eye on smoother lines, less mindless ploughing and quick direction changes the Epic WC was lightning fast. Stomping on the pedals in and out of the saddle gave so much forward motion we had to cheer, and the long and low cockpit is exactly what racers need to cut fast laps on the circuit. Dialling in a couple clicks of Brain Fade adjustment, it was so ridiculously efficient it really was easy, there was never even a chance that unwanted suspension motion could rob you of energy. Put four clicks on, and whilst you do feel and hear it knock as the inertia valve opens, the ability to power forward is unrivalled. Love it or hate it, the Brain Shock on the Epic 29 is more supple and smoother than before, and works damn well.

Stumpjumper HT

Designed alongside the Epic, using the same top end carbon material and construction methods, is Specialized’s flagship cross country hardtail for the rider seeking the upmost speed in either short course racing or less aggressive terrain. It’s a sleek number, with visibly slimmer tubing on the rear end, and a feathery 1.05kg frame weight. That is crazy light.

Looks like a road bike frame with a dirty twist, this new hardtail is lighter than your lunch.
Looks like a road bike frame with a dirty twist, this new hardtail frame is lighter than a Colorado burrito.

Crave

The Stumpjumper HT with its aggressive geometry and high level price points also has an aluminium offsider, the Crave. Formerly named the Carve, a copyrighting issue has led to a little name change. But the Crave is a whole new aluminium 29er starting at $1400 AUD. With a lower stand over height, stiffer and more compliant frame and a relaxed geometry this guy will be a sure bet for first time mountain bikers.

Entry level 29er hardtail, handled great on the trails with really low overall weight and comfortable ergonomics.
Entry level 29er hardtail, handled great on the trails with really low overall weight and comfortable ergonomics.
Using what Specialized call 'neutral trail geometry' the Crave will be a perfect step up into the dirty world of mountain biking.
Using what Specialized call ‘neutral trail geometry’ the Crave will be a perfect step up into the dirty world of mountain biking.

 

Camber 29

Take one step up from the Epic 29 and increase rear suspension travel to 110mm and you will find the Camber, and its more aggressive twin the Camber EVO at 120mm. The Camber is a fantastic bike, bringing a more trail friendly attitude with 29” wheels to the rider who wants to race, but also ride. Out of all the bikes we rode, this was one had so many press folk and Specialized dealers excited. Geometry has not changed from previous models, but every part of construction has been slimmed, lightened and streamlined.

Camber29
A slick FOX Float fork, internal cables and an AutoSag adjustable FOX shock.
The S-Works Camber 29, with all the flash bits, it's a real looker. Who doesn't sit back and stare at their bike? We can only imagine staring at this bike as our own, wow.
The S-Works Camber 29 with all the flash bits, it’s a real looker. Who doesn’t sit back and stare at their bike? We can only imagine staring at this gorgeous bike as our own, wow.
IMG_2794
Up high on the Colorado Trail, our mate Morgan from nsmb.com Canada (Beardy) chose the Camber to carry his red haired legs higher than us sea level dwelling bodies should naturally go. No worries, mate.

Along with the Epic 29, the Camber receives a completely new frame in both aluminium and carbon. The range is also expanded with more models, starting at under $2k AUD, and topping out at an S-Works model with all the good stuff for a touch over $10k. Note the sleek and tidy internal cable routing, even for the new internally routed Command Post IR dropper post on many models.

The Camber uses a standard (non-Brain damped) shock, which will appeal to those seeking a nice and plush, yet not too isolating ride of bigger travel 29ers. A 110mm travel bike with 29” wheels really can go a long way in terms of versatility. We feel that it would be very well worth trying one out along side the Epic as it opens up the trails to be very comfortable and stable without losing much in the way of race speed. We would love to see more riders experimenting with a bike like this, with a few races a year and all the trail riding and fun times to be had in between. The Camber is efficient and as light as you need, but a whole lot of fun when all you are racing your mate back to the car on the weekend.

Rumor

The women’s specific version of the Camber; the Rumor is a very fine bike and we’ve been playing on it already for a while now. We will have the full review of the 2013 Rumor Comp coming very soon. No major changes to this already fresh bike, just more models in the range now to make more people happier.

Rumor, women's specific in every way, not just aesthetically.
Rumor, women’s specific in every way, not just aesthetically.

Camber 29 EVO

EVO means more juice, more travel, slacker angles and spec modifications for more aggressive riding. Flow hearts EVO.

With a different shock strut, shock length, longer fork and beefier spec, the Camber EVO is that little bit more ready to shreddy.
With a different shock strut, shock length, longer fork and beefier spec, the Camber EVO is that little bit more ready to shreddy. This model is looking to retail for around $3200 in Aus, good deal.

When Specialized waved the EVO stick at the Camber, suspension travel jumped from 110mm to 120mm, the tyres grew in meatiness, bars widened and the whole bike edges a half size towards the Stumpjumper FSR 29 in shred-ness. The frame is the same as the standard Camber, just a taller fork, and modified shock strut and shock length giving more travel and that extra oomph that an EVO has. We took the impressive Camber EVO 29 for a ride and loved it. With an aluminium frame, Rockshox Reba fork and a mid-range spec for a little over $3k AUD, this thing is our pick for the great all round bike for a rider looking to hit the trails for good times safely, and comfortably without spending too much.

Peter from Munich, very German and very fast on the Camber 29 EVO.
Peter from Munich, very German and very fast on the Camber 29 EVO.

Stumpjumper FSR 29

The Stumpjumper receives only a few spec modifications and a new rear shock for 2014, the frame remains the same, but oh dear, we are a fan of this bike.

Traction galore, lean it over and feel the confidence that the great tyres on 29" can give you.
Traction galore, lean it over and feel the confidence that the great tyres on 29″ wheel can give you.

The Mini Brain found on the Epic from 2013 and 2014 makes its way onto the Stumpjumper FSR 29. The slimmer and lighter shock helps drop 25g from the frame and with the more user friendly range of adjustability with less index settings.

WEB_Firstbite_Specialized 2014_Action0045
‘Oh, is that a burrito store I see at the end of the trail?’

We reviewed the 2013 Stumpjumper 29 this year, and with one of the greatest outcomes ever. For a bike with 29” wheels, this thing rips trails to pieces. 130mm of supple and balanced suspension travel works so hard to keep the tacky tyres in contact with the dirt and when leant right over into a turn, the traction this bike embodies is mighty impressive. When so much traction is at hand, you need to be able to use it. That is when great geometry and ergonomics come into play and being a Specialized it’s all good. We snagged the Stumpy S-Works for the biggest ride of the week, from the village all the way up past where trees can’t grow on the Colorado Trail.

Loving life.
Loving it.

Now this particular Flow member has had a love/less-love relationship with the inertia valved Brain shocks for many years, There is no lack of appreciation for it’s effectiveness and performance, it is just a personal thing, like driving an automatic or manual car. Typically favouring a balanced suspension bike with compression adjustments, like a FOX CTD shock, over one that effectively adjusts itself according to the trail, we actually really enjoyed our time aboard the Brain shocks found on the Epics and Stumpjumper FSR. Specialized say it to us every year that it’s more sensitive when switching from open and closed, but that knocking is again less prominent, whilst retaining perfect efficiency when you push down on the pedals. Chapeau Specialized.

The Stumpjumper FSR S-Works. The ultimate trail bike? Quiver killer? Yep.
The Stumpjumper FSR S-Works. The ultimate trail bike? Quiver killer? Yep.

 Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29

Now this is a highly desirable bike and remains much the same from 2013. Take the Stumpjumper FSR 29, and feed it just a little bit too much raw steak for breakfast and you have the Stumpy EVO. Available in 26” and 29” this bike is going to really appeal to the rider with a gravity fed mind but the desire to go all day long.

Black, matte black. Very black.
Black, matte black. Very black. They say black is the new black. Back in Black.
The Rockshox Pike is a fantastic fork, suiting this bikes hard-charging nature by supporting big hits with amazing composure. A FOX CTD shock controls 135mm of travel, and the new SRAM X0 level 11 speed drivetrain is flawless and black...
The Rockshox Pike is a fantastic fork, suiting this bikes hard-charging nature by supporting big hits with amazing composure. A FOX CTD shock controls 135mm of travel, and the new SRAM X0 level 11 speed drivetrain is flawless and most importantly in this case, black.

The new Rockshox Pike with the new Charger damper and big 35mm diameter legs are found on high end Stumpjumper EVO models, and we simply could not get enough of it. The trails at Copper Mountain were most definitely gravity oriented, but overall we were pumping out of corners, lifting up rocky steps, jumping and accelerating so fast. We were struggling to give it back at the end of the day.

Confidence personified. The stable cockpit ergonomics, supportive fork travel and monumental amount of traction makes for moments like this, all the time.
Confidence personified. The stable cockpit ergonomics, supportive fork travel and monumental amount of traction makes for fun moments like this, all the time.

Enduro 29

The new buzz-word making such a wide variety of riders is ‘enduro’. And lucky for Specialized, they actually have a model of FSR named the Enduro! In both 26” and 29” wheels, their big travel bike for the big mountains is a real pleaser, shed-loads of fun and can easily double the speed of the most timid rider.

Big wheels, big gonads. This is the way to boost confidence on the trail.
Big wheels, big gonads. This is the way to boost confidence on the trail.

On high-end models the Enduro uses the Cane Creek Double Barrel CS shock with the new Climb Switch. In 2013, the Enduro S-Works used a nifty little custom switch to enable slow speed compression damping adjustment on the fly, for next season Cane Creek have developed a switch that not only adds slow speed compression, but also slow speed rebound damping too, and just the right amount. Climbing this bike is not a chore like it should be considering the travel amount and maniac enhancing descending ability.

Big wheels, but tucked in to the centre of the bike to help the large bike corner quicker, Cane Creek release a new shock with a great climbing adjustment, a tight rear end and the new internally routed dropper post.
The big 29″ wheel is tucked in to the centre of the bike to help the large bike corner quicker, Cane Creek release a new Double Barrel air shock with a great climbing adjust lever, and the new internally routed dropper post.

We will see both the 26” and 29” model in Oz for 2014, but we were so impressed with the traction alone on the 29” Enduro that we firmly stand behind its ability to convert the 29er skeptics out there. Front end height management for the shorter rider may be a challenge, but not too hard at all. The new dropper post is not only neater with its internally routed cable, but the actuation is also smoother than before. The improvements make for quick and predictable seat height adjustments when the trails turn up, down, or drop away blindly before you.

26″ 27.5″ or 29″?

The question came up about wheel sizes in the future, and Specialized admitted to not being 650B haters, but simply haven’t felt the need to adopt the in the middle size just yet, even after four years of prototyping 650B bikes. In our opinion we find that Specialized have done a great job integrating 29″ wheel bikes in the tricky ranges like small sizes or big travel. They are not cumbersome, too tall, heavy or flexy. 26″ models are gone from the ranges the hardtails, Epics, Cambers, Rumors etc but Stumpjumpers, Enduros and up from there still have a 26″ option. Did we test one out in Copper Mountain? Nope, we didn’t really feel the need to. For Specialized to keep trimming down the 26″ models there needs to be good reason and that is sales, 26″ bikes are not moving off the floor like they used to, enough said.

SWAT

Storage, Water, Air, Tools is what SWAT is all about. Maybe someone at Specialized has a thing against hydration backpacks but the development of this new method of integrating, rather than carrying everything you need, is really quite cool. More bikes have twin water bottle mounts than ever before, and many models have full SWAT compatibility with tools and water bottle cages specced with the bike on the shop floor. The coolest is the chain breaker tool that is integrated into the top cap of your headset, so clever.

Remove the top cap to reveal a nifty chain breaker, and storage for a spare chain links. Bingo!
Remove the top cap to reveal a nifty chain breaker, and storage for a spare chain links. Bingo!
Storage, Water, Air, Tools. Keep it off your back and never leave the necessities behind. Check out the allen key set that sits under the top tube of some models, the 8mm key is that flat number on the bottom left. Good thinking, guys.
Storage, Water, Air, Tools. Keep it off your back and never leave the necessities behind. Check out the allen key set that sits under the top tube of some models, the 8mm key is that flat number on the bottom left. Good thinking, guys.

Fatboy

For a bit of fun for some, or the only way to go on the most extreme surfaces like snow and sand, a fatbike is a blast. Specialized wanted to make a fat bike that widened its use, not only from snow or sand, but to trails too. This one uses a full carbon tapered steerer fork and a lightweight set of wheels developed by Roval with a 795g, 95mm wide rim, and their hookless rim profile system. Not your average fat bike, this guy is also surprisingly light. Everyone who had a bounce around on one of these couldn’t wipe the grin off their faces. Coming to a dealer near you!

Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized takes the Fatboy out for a 'bounce around'.
Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized takes the Fatboy out for a ‘bounce around’.

Flow’s First Bite: Specialized’s 2014 Range Tested

Trail testing fresh new rides from the big, bold and brilliant; Specialized.

 

Flow joined loads of Aussie and Kiwi dealers to check out what the big, bold and red (and black) bike manufacturer, Specialized, has in store for us next season. Not only was this a great opportunity to test all the bikes out in a short time, it also gave Flow the chance to meet the minds behind them, not just the marketing people, but the engineers. We asked why certain things were done, how and why.

 

Here we pick a few highlights and offer our first impressions on the new 2014 bikes, which we have just finished riding on the trails in and around the high altitudes of Copper Mountain, Colorado.

 

Putting in the hours on a Stumpjumper 29 EVO.
Putting in the hours on a Stumpjumper 29 EVO.

Stocking Specialized in a bike store is a mighty safe bet, no doubt about it. With a bike range so complete and everything to accompany them, the options are plentiful. It is a daunting range with so many models and there’s sure to be a suspension travel amount and attitude style of bike perfectly matched to you. From the hardtails, to a 95mm Epic World Cup, all the way up to the 200mm travel Demo downhill bike, with half a dozen or so in between. The women’s range is also growing with more options in a wider range of price points. Add to this even more Body Geometry apparel, accessories and parts than ever before.

Epic 29

Out of the 2014 range, it was the two Epics and Cambers that really caught our eye, with their completely overhauled frame constructions. The Epics, in carbon and aluminium, receive a new lighter rear shock tune, a racier frame option (Epic 29 World Cup), internal cable routing, SWAT compatibility, and space for two water bottles.

Epic 29, in black. Ohhhhh my.
Epic 29, in black. Ohhhhh my.

Taking a look at the rear suspension, we found that now with a couple clicks on the Brain Fade adjuster, the efficiency is quite simply, perfect. The Mini Brain shock has received a lighter compression tune in the name of increasing sensitivity during repeated impacts, and for us that knocking feedback transferred to the rider as the inertia valve opens and closes is most definitely less prominent than before. The shock is also 25g lighter, helped by the use of a new kevlar hose connecting the shock and damping unit. The range of adjustment has also been improved in the name of user friendliness, with only four clicks, instead of 14 or so, as with the previous versions. If this is confusing check out this video for an explanation on how this proprietary design works.

An all new frame for 2014, for one of Australia and New Zealand's most popular cross country/marathon race bike.
An all new frame for 2014, for one of Australia and New Zealand’s most popular cross country/marathon race bike. Check out the new rear end, with no quick release skewer for less weight, plus the new chainstay protector is so very nice.

With a focus on improving the power transfer of your hard-earned energy through the frame to the rear wheel the engineers have worked on streamlining the shock mounting and pivot bearing housings for a more direct line. Additionally, the chainstays have also been beefed up considerably. To neaten the package, for the first time the Epics score internal cable routing. It has been done so very nicely indeed, with foam liners to eliminate rattling inside the frame and exceptionally neat entry and exit ports that allow for one, two, three of four cables to go internal. Plus the entry and exit point locations just seem perfect. A lot of thought has gone into what can easily go so wrong – as we have seen on many other bikes over the years.

Epic 29 World Cup

If the Epic we have known over the last few years was not racy enough, there will now be a sharper and leaner Epic available, dubbed the Epic 29 World Cup. With shorter chain stays, a sharper head angle, a new single chain ring specific frame (very good to see!), and a slightly firmer rear shock damping-tune, controlling the reduced 95mm of rear travel, this is about as exclusive to the racetrack as one keen racer could ever pull from a cardboard box.

The premium S-Works Epic 29 World Cup, hold on tight, this thing is as fast as it gets.
The premium S-Works Epic 29 World Cup, hold on tight this thing is as fast as it gets. The sharp geometry, low weight and firm suspension tune will please the rider looking for the upmost efficiency, like a hardtail only much better.

Have you ever wondered how Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy can accelerate his bike so fast? Try this Epic World Cup out. We did and were imaging race situations (vivid hallucinations) as if we were all of a sudden worthy of a World Cup start.

No front derailleur mount, fat chainstays and a big main pivot section is not only the future, but confirms that single ring mountain bikes are here to stay. Does it also mean Shimano will have an answer to SRAM 11 speed soon?
No front derailleur mount, fat chainstays and a big main pivot section is not only the future of better bikes, but also confirms that single chain ring mountain bikes are here to stay. Does it also mean Shimano will have an answer to SRAM 11 speed soon?

We took an S-Works model (pictured) out for a good blast up the famed Colorado Trail, with tight switchback climbs and rocky strewn descents. The previous day we’d taken the Stumpjumper S-Works on the same trail, so the Epic was an interesting comparison, with a keener eye on smoother lines, less mindless ploughing and quick direction changes the Epic WC was lightning fast. Stomping on the pedals in and out of the saddle gave so much forward motion we had to cheer, and the long and low cockpit is exactly what racers need to cut fast laps on the circuit. Dialling in a couple clicks of Brain Fade adjustment, it was so ridiculously efficient it really was easy, there was never even a chance that unwanted suspension motion could rob you of energy. Put four clicks on, and whilst you do feel and hear it knock as the inertia valve opens, the ability to power forward is unrivalled. Love it or hate it, the Brain Shock on the Epic 29 is more supple and smoother than before, and works damn well.

Stumpjumper HT

Designed alongside the Epic, using the same top end carbon material and construction methods, is Specialized’s flagship cross country hardtail for the rider seeking the upmost speed in either short course racing or less aggressive terrain. It’s a sleek number, with visibly slimmer tubing on the rear end, and a feathery 1.05kg frame weight. That is crazy light.

Looks like a road bike frame with a dirty twist, this new hardtail is lighter than your lunch.
Looks like a road bike frame with a dirty twist, this new hardtail frame is lighter than a Colorado burrito.

Crave

The Stumpjumper HT with its aggressive geometry and high level price points also has an aluminium offsider, the Crave. Formerly named the Carve, a copyrighting issue has led to a little name change. But the Crave is a whole new aluminium 29er starting at $1400 AUD. With a lower stand over height, stiffer and more compliant frame and a relaxed geometry this guy will be a sure bet for first time mountain bikers.

Entry level 29er hardtail, handled great on the trails with really low overall weight and comfortable ergonomics.
Entry level 29er hardtail, handled great on the trails with really low overall weight and comfortable ergonomics.
Using what Specialized call 'neutral trail geometry' the Crave will be a perfect step up into the dirty world of mountain biking.
Using what Specialized call ‘neutral trail geometry’ the Crave will be a perfect step up into the dirty world of mountain biking.

 

Camber 29

Take one step up from the Epic 29 and increase rear suspension travel to 110mm and you will find the Camber, and its more aggressive twin the Camber EVO at 120mm. The Camber is a fantastic bike, bringing a more trail friendly attitude with 29” wheels to the rider who wants to race, but also ride. Out of all the bikes we rode, this was one had so many press folk and Specialized dealers excited. Geometry has not changed from previous models, but every part of construction has been slimmed, lightened and streamlined.

Camber29
A slick FOX Float fork, internal cables and an AutoSag adjustable FOX shock.
The S-Works Camber 29, with all the flash bits, it's a real looker. Who doesn't sit back and stare at their bike? We can only imagine staring at this bike as our own, wow.
The S-Works Camber 29 with all the flash bits, it’s a real looker. Who doesn’t sit back and stare at their bike? We can only imagine staring at this gorgeous bike as our own, wow.
IMG_2794
Up high on the Colorado Trail, our mate Morgan from nsmb.com Canada (Beardy) chose the Camber to carry his red haired legs higher than us sea level dwelling bodies should naturally go. No worries, mate.

Along with the Epic 29, the Camber receives a completely new frame in both aluminium and carbon. The range is also expanded with more models, starting at under $2k AUD, and topping out at an S-Works model with all the good stuff for a touch over $10k. Note the sleek and tidy internal cable routing, even for the new internally routed Command Post IR dropper post on many models.

The Camber uses a standard (non-Brain damped) shock, which will appeal to those seeking a nice and plush, yet not too isolating ride of bigger travel 29ers. A 110mm travel bike with 29” wheels really can go a long way in terms of versatility. We feel that it would be very well worth trying one out along side the Epic as it opens up the trails to be very comfortable and stable without losing much in the way of race speed. We would love to see more riders experimenting with a bike like this, with a few races a year and all the trail riding and fun times to be had in between. The Camber is efficient and as light as you need, but a whole lot of fun when all you are racing your mate back to the car on the weekend.

Rumor

The women’s specific version of the Camber; the Rumor is a very fine bike and we’ve been playing on it already for a while now. We will have the full review of the 2013 Rumor Comp coming very soon. No major changes to this already fresh bike, just more models in the range now to make more people happier.

Rumor, women's specific in every way, not just aesthetically.
Rumor, women’s specific in every way, not just aesthetically.

Camber 29 EVO

EVO means more juice, more travel, slacker angles and spec modifications for more aggressive riding. Flow hearts EVO.

With a different shock strut, shock length, longer fork and beefier spec, the Camber EVO is that little bit more ready to shreddy.
With a different shock strut, shock length, longer fork and beefier spec, the Camber EVO is that little bit more ready to shreddy. This model is looking to retail for around $3200 in Aus, good deal.

When Specialized waved the EVO stick at the Camber, suspension travel jumped from 110mm to 120mm, the tyres grew in meatiness, bars widened and the whole bike edges a half size towards the Stumpjumper FSR 29 in shred-ness. The frame is the same as the standard Camber, just a taller fork, and modified shock strut and shock length giving more travel and that extra oomph that an EVO has. We took the impressive Camber EVO 29 for a ride and loved it. With an aluminium frame, Rockshox Reba fork and a mid-range spec for a little over $3k AUD, this thing is our pick for the great all round bike for a rider looking to hit the trails for good times safely, and comfortably without spending too much.

Peter from Munich, very German and very fast on the Camber 29 EVO.
Peter from Munich, very German and very fast on the Camber 29 EVO.

Stumpjumper FSR 29

The Stumpjumper receives only a few spec modifications and a new rear shock for 2014, the frame remains the same, but oh dear, we are a fan of this bike.

Traction galore, lean it over and feel the confidence that the great tyres on 29" can give you.
Traction galore, lean it over and feel the confidence that the great tyres on 29″ wheel can give you.

The Mini Brain found on the Epic from 2013 and 2014 makes its way onto the Stumpjumper FSR 29. The slimmer and lighter shock helps drop 25g from the frame and with the more user friendly range of adjustability with less index settings.

WEB_Firstbite_Specialized 2014_Action0045
‘Oh, is that a burrito store I see at the end of the trail?’

We reviewed the 2013 Stumpjumper 29 this year, and with one of the greatest outcomes ever. For a bike with 29” wheels, this thing rips trails to pieces. 130mm of supple and balanced suspension travel works so hard to keep the tacky tyres in contact with the dirt and when leant right over into a turn, the traction this bike embodies is mighty impressive. When so much traction is at hand, you need to be able to use it. That is when great geometry and ergonomics come into play and being a Specialized it’s all good. We snagged the Stumpy S-Works for the biggest ride of the week, from the village all the way up past where trees can’t grow on the Colorado Trail.

Loving life.
Loving it.

Now this particular Flow member has had a love/less-love relationship with the inertia valved Brain shocks for many years, There is no lack of appreciation for it’s effectiveness and performance, it is just a personal thing, like driving an automatic or manual car. Typically favouring a balanced suspension bike with compression adjustments, like a FOX CTD shock, over one that effectively adjusts itself according to the trail, we actually really enjoyed our time aboard the Brain shocks found on the Epics and Stumpjumper FSR. Specialized say it to us every year that it’s more sensitive when switching from open and closed, but that knocking is again less prominent, whilst retaining perfect efficiency when you push down on the pedals. Chapeau Specialized.

The Stumpjumper FSR S-Works. The ultimate trail bike? Quiver killer? Yep.
The Stumpjumper FSR S-Works. The ultimate trail bike? Quiver killer? Yep.

 Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29

Now this is a highly desirable bike and remains much the same from 2013. Take the Stumpjumper FSR 29, and feed it just a little bit too much raw steak for breakfast and you have the Stumpy EVO. Available in 26” and 29” this bike is going to really appeal to the rider with a gravity fed mind but the desire to go all day long.

Black, matte black. Very black.
Black, matte black. Very black. They say black is the new black. Back in Black.
The Rockshox Pike is a fantastic fork, suiting this bikes hard-charging nature by supporting big hits with amazing composure. A FOX CTD shock controls 135mm of travel, and the new SRAM X0 level 11 speed drivetrain is flawless and black...
The Rockshox Pike is a fantastic fork, suiting this bikes hard-charging nature by supporting big hits with amazing composure. A FOX CTD shock controls 135mm of travel, and the new SRAM X0 level 11 speed drivetrain is flawless and most importantly in this case, black.

The new Rockshox Pike with the new Charger damper and big 35mm diameter legs are found on high end Stumpjumper EVO models, and we simply could not get enough of it. The trails at Copper Mountain were most definitely gravity oriented, but overall we were pumping out of corners, lifting up rocky steps, jumping and accelerating so fast. We were struggling to give it back at the end of the day.

Confidence personified. The stable cockpit ergonomics, supportive fork travel and monumental amount of traction makes for moments like this, all the time.
Confidence personified. The stable cockpit ergonomics, supportive fork travel and monumental amount of traction makes for fun moments like this, all the time.

Enduro 29

The new buzz-word making such a wide variety of riders is ‘enduro’. And lucky for Specialized, they actually have a model of FSR named the Enduro! In both 26” and 29” wheels, their big travel bike for the big mountains is a real pleaser, shed-loads of fun and can easily double the speed of the most timid rider.

Big wheels, big gonads. This is the way to boost confidence on the trail.
Big wheels, big gonads. This is the way to boost confidence on the trail.

On high-end models the Enduro uses the Cane Creek Double Barrel CS shock with the new Climb Switch. In 2013, the Enduro S-Works used a nifty little custom switch to enable slow speed compression damping adjustment on the fly, for next season Cane Creek have developed a switch that not only adds slow speed compression, but also slow speed rebound damping too, and just the right amount. Climbing this bike is not a chore like it should be considering the travel amount and maniac enhancing descending ability.

Big wheels, but tucked in to the centre of the bike to help the large bike corner quicker, Cane Creek release a new shock with a great climbing adjustment, a tight rear end and the new internally routed dropper post.
The big 29″ wheel is tucked in to the centre of the bike to help the large bike corner quicker, Cane Creek release a new Double Barrel air shock with a great climbing adjust lever, and the new internally routed dropper post.

We will see both the 26” and 29” model in Oz for 2014, but we were so impressed with the traction alone on the 29” Enduro that we firmly stand behind its ability to convert the 29er skeptics out there. Front end height management for the shorter rider may be a challenge, but not too hard at all. The new dropper post is not only neater with its internally routed cable, but the actuation is also smoother than before. The improvements make for quick and predictable seat height adjustments when the trails turn up, down, or drop away blindly before you.

26″ 27.5″ or 29″?

The question came up about wheel sizes in the future, and Specialized admitted to not being 650B haters, but simply haven’t felt the need to adopt the in the middle size just yet, even after four years of prototyping 650B bikes. In our opinion we find that Specialized have done a great job integrating 29″ wheel bikes in the tricky ranges like small sizes or big travel. They are not cumbersome, too tall, heavy or flexy. 26″ models are gone from the ranges the hardtails, Epics, Cambers, Rumors etc but Stumpjumpers, Enduros and up from there still have a 26″ option. Did we test one out in Copper Mountain? Nope, we didn’t really feel the need to. For Specialized to keep trimming down the 26″ models there needs to be good reason and that is sales, 26″ bikes are not moving off the floor like they used to, enough said.

SWAT

Storage, Water, Air, Tools is what SWAT is all about. Maybe someone at Specialized has a thing against hydration backpacks but the development of this new method of integrating, rather than carrying everything you need, is really quite cool. More bikes have twin water bottle mounts than ever before, and many models have full SWAT compatibility with tools and water bottle cages specced with the bike on the shop floor. The coolest is the chain breaker tool that is integrated into the top cap of your headset, so clever.

Remove the top cap to reveal a nifty chain breaker, and storage for a spare chain links. Bingo!
Remove the top cap to reveal a nifty chain breaker, and storage for a spare chain links. Bingo!
Storage, Water, Air, Tools. Keep it off your back and never leave the necessities behind. Check out the allen key set that sits under the top tube of some models, the 8mm key is that flat number on the bottom left. Good thinking, guys.
Storage, Water, Air, Tools. Keep it off your back and never leave the necessities behind. Check out the allen key set that sits under the top tube of some models, the 8mm key is that flat number on the bottom left. Good thinking, guys.

Fatboy

For a bit of fun for some, or the only way to go on the most extreme surfaces like snow and sand, a fatbike is a blast. Specialized wanted to make a fat bike that widened its use, not only from snow or sand, but to trails too. This one uses a full carbon tapered steerer fork and a lightweight set of wheels developed by Roval with a 795g, 95mm wide rim, and their hookless rim profile system. Not your average fat bike, this guy is also surprisingly light. Everyone who had a bounce around on one of these couldn’t wipe the grin off their faces. Coming to a dealer near you!

Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized takes the Fatboy out for a 'bounce around'.
Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized takes the Fatboy out for a ‘bounce around’.

Video: This Is Peaty, Season 2 – Episode 3

It seems like ages since the last World Cup of 2012…. With everyone itching to get going, it was always going to be a fast start to 2013…

Fort Williams is a place close to Peaty’s heart, for many reasons… Watch the ups and downs of his journey to the first World Cup of the season, before heading home to Sheffield, to catch up with K-rad and the boys for some Drift Trike Action!

There’s no rest for the wicked though and with a back to back race in Val Di Sole for the 2nd round, it was go time once again…

Video: Curtis Keene Shreds Some of BC’s Best MTB Trails

Mountain bike racer Curtis Keene hits British Columbia to bomb some trails on his 29er.

On a break between Enduro World Series races, Santa Monica-based Curtis Keene took a trip up to western Canada with his Enduro 29 for a sampling of the area’s well-known trails. Watch him rip down some of BC’s mountainous landscape in the video above.

Keene explored the local scenes in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler, while traveling along the “Sea to Sky Corridor” following highway 99.

Video: Curtis Keene Shreds Some of BC's Best MTB Trails

Mountain bike racer Curtis Keene hits British Columbia to bomb some trails on his 29er.

On a break between Enduro World Series races, Santa Monica-based Curtis Keene took a trip up to western Canada with his Enduro 29 for a sampling of the area’s well-known trails. Watch him rip down some of BC’s mountainous landscape in the video above.

Keene explored the local scenes in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler, while traveling along the “Sea to Sky Corridor” following highway 99.

Rotorua: New Hotel, Mountain Biking Facilities at Waipa

Plans have been announced for the development of a mountain biking hub at Waipa – which will include a hotel, retail outlets, a cafe and permanent mountain bike and toilet facilities.

Red Stag Timber will start developing the mountain biking area next year, with construction of a hotel complex to begin as early as 2015. The area will also include a two-storey facilities building with around-the-clock security.

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Red Stag’s former staff village site, across the road from the current carpark, will be cleared and divided into lots, with the company hoping the 14ha site will become a “tourism hub”.

Red Stag chairman Marty Verry said the development was long overdue as mountain bikers had long been demanding better facilities at Waipa.

He said he and his late father Phil had for many years had a vision of what could be done at Waipa, and that plan had been “dusted off” again in the last couple of years.
The decision to base the New Zealand Mountain Biking Centre of Excellence at Waipa had spurred the company back into action, he said.

Rotorua District councillor Dave Donaldson said the council had been negotiating with Red Stag for “some time” over the future of the site and he was pleased agreement had been reached.

“It looks exciting for Rotorua, it’s long overdue to have some decent facilities there.”

He said a “dusty carpark” and portaloos “didn’t cut” it for the site, especially now it was to be New Zealand’s official mountain biking base. Rotorua had an international reputation for the sport and could not afford to rest on its laurels, he said.

He said the hotel and all other commercial enterprises in the development would be down to Red Stag with the council responsible for the toilets and carparks. The toilet design has been confirmed, and includes a track running over top of the toilet block.

Rotorua businessman Ray Cook has long been an advocate of the value of mountain biking to the city.

“It’s a major tourist attraction for Rotorua,” he said. “All the other centres around New Zealand have played catch up to Rotorua – we need to keep ahead of the game.”

Mr Cook said he hadn’t yet seen Red Stag’s plans, but supported any development of the Waipa facilities.

He said he hoped the council would prioritise building the toilet block, while sealed carparking was also good news.

Mr Cook said he wasn’t sure about the demand for an on-site hotel given the abundance of accommodation in Rotorua.

“When people come mountain biking there is more to it than mountain biking – [it’s] the whole experience.”

http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/plan-for-mountain-biking-hub/1939313/

Video: NotBad – Official Trailer

This is a tale of epic adventure. A tale of seven brave riders who set out from the four corners of the globe to gather together under one roof in a town located at the ends of the earth.

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 8.10.16 AM

A tale with no beginning and no end but where a few things happen in between. Things like eel fights. Yeah that’s right… f’n eel fights. So watch this movie. Why? Because it’s ‘Not Bad… 30 days of bicycle tomfoolery in New Zealand’.

A new short film from the crew who brought you The Collective, Roam, Seasons, Follow Me and Strength in Numbers. Starring: Brandon Semenuk, Brook MacDonald, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul, Andrew Shandro, René Wildhaber and Ryan Howard.

Not Bad is produced, written, directed and edited by Anthill Films and presented by Trek in association with JBL, Shimano, Bontrager, and Pinkbike.com. Additional support for the film was provided by Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Destination Queenstown, Good Fortune Collective and Immersive Media.

NotBad – Official Trailer from Anthill Films on Vimeo.

Video: Episode 0.2 of Trek World Racing's STORIES

Episode 0.2 of Trek World Racings new video series STORIES takes in the highs and lows that can be World Cup racing.

See Brook MacDonald and Greg Williamson take Top 10 placings at Round 1 in Fort William, then the lows in Italy; having the speed but no luck in Round 2 in hot dusty conditions. Greg celebrates his 21st while the rest of the team make the most of their European time together.

TREK WORLD RACING STORIES // Episode 0.2 from Trek World Racing on Vimeo.

Video: Episode 0.2 of Trek World Racing’s STORIES

Episode 0.2 of Trek World Racings new video series STORIES takes in the highs and lows that can be World Cup racing.

See Brook MacDonald and Greg Williamson take Top 10 placings at Round 1 in Fort William, then the lows in Italy; having the speed but no luck in Round 2 in hot dusty conditions. Greg celebrates his 21st while the rest of the team make the most of their European time together.

TREK WORLD RACING STORIES // Episode 0.2 from Trek World Racing on Vimeo.

BC Bike Race 2013: Day 6

The sixth stage of the BC Bike Race presented by Shimano was Industry Day and riding anonymously amongst the riders were Olympians, bicycle industry insiders who make the products that people are riding, and young talent, all given a chance to enjoy the most popular stage with the racers.

Race starts under BOB the Bear.
Race starts under BOB the Bear.

At the finish line the festival atmosphere was high with a Kids Race presented by Shimano and cheers were erupting for the 2-10 year-old kids 115 deep on one side, the racers on the other, and Brett Tippie telling jokes while holding random contests to give away Shimano components. Squamish has become one of the riders’ favorite days of the BCBR with it’s amazing network of trails and the high standard the town sets to achieve what a mountain bike town can be. Nestled below forested peaks, granite walls, and showered in sunshine with thermal winds being pulled up from the sea towards Whistler, base camp of the BCBR is a perfect place to enjoy some peace or a party before the finish in Whistler.

Hailey. Looks like she's ready to rip some legs off. The Kids Race by Shimano had 115 kids 2-10 years old.
Hailey. Looks like she’s ready to rip some legs off. The Kids Race by Shimano had 115 kids 2-10 years old.
Sonke Wegner, Carter Hovey. Sonke and Hovey on the rocks.
Sonke Wegner, Carter Hovey. Sonke and Hovey on the rocks.

Open Men’s
Hadely Wins, Sneddon Defends, Kindree Sick

It was a day of breakthrough riding and upsetting finishes as Matt Hadley (Xprezo) took his first stage of the week while Neil Kindree (Specialized Corsa) left the race with a stomach bug that started the night before. Today’s weather was warm at 26c but the cool breeze and low humidity kept riders comfortable throughout the day. Kindree made the first attack on the opening road climbs and only Kris Sneddon (Kona) could follow the two accelerations initially. A small group of riders including Hadely, Spencer Paxson (Kona), Erik Skovgaard (Racing29ers), Guido Thaler (Craft Rocky Mountain), and Michael Robinson (Peak2Peak Racing) bridged back up on the next climb. On the climb to Half Nelson, Neil and Kindree separated again and dropped into the most famous trail of Squamish with a 30 second lead on the group. Hadley took the opportunity to attack and caught both riders before the bottom.
On the next climb towards the first enduro stage Hadley attacked again to get into the trail first and never looked back. He had 30 seconds by the bottom and never saw another rider on the day.

“Today was awesome. It’s so much fun out there. There is a ton of technical singletrack and that’s why I like to ride my bike.” Hadley

For Kris Sneddon it was kind of a let down to not have the excitement of a close race to enjoy. “It’s a shame he had to drop out. I hate to win or lose to mechanicals of the bike or body.” It was a good race and both racers had shown a lot of heart matching each other’s accelerations over five days.

Of note was Spencer Paxson’s fourth 3rd place place finish of the race. With Kindree out he now moves up to 2nd overall on the podium while Skovgaard now holds onto the third position after starting the week with a 7th place. Both riders have shown incredible perseverance going into the final day.

These lines have corners.
These lines have corners.

Women’s Open

How long will Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) ache over the repeated days of loosing by two or three minutes knowing that probably the only thing holding her back from the top step was another year of technical riding practice. Every climb she was able to challenge or drop Wendy Simms (Kona) the day’s winner only to be chased down in the trails. It’s a testament to Simms’ consistency to have no long mechanicals in six days of racing. Trish Grajczyk (Deadgoat Racing) also had minimal gaps each day that could have been erased with a burped tire or broken chain. All three riders had incredibly consistent rides up to Squamish. Whistler is another day but it’s short enough to generally have minimal effect on the overall.

DS_BCBR13_5_277

Men’s Open Duo

Kevin Calhoun and Greg Day of Rocky Mountain Bicycles left no doubt to their dominance over Greg’s home trails. “We were racing on all the trails I train on. The power house plunge, we had a couple guys on our tails,  the second we were in there they were gone. It’s not that technical, but knowing the lines in that trail is so helpful. Today we rode right by my house.”

Tech support from Shimano and Fox Shox

Bike Ambassadors do this a lot during the race days.
Bike Ambassadors do this a lot during the race days.

Not everyone has the good fortune of escaping mechanicals during the race and on course were several resources for riders to turn towards. Bike Ambassadors were on the trails and Fox Shox was with the race for the first time this year but it was Shimano who brought neutral support for the 4th year in a row. They have been a long time sponsor of the race but this year is the first time their North American Sports Marketing Manager, Greg Hammond has seen what happens on the ground at the BCBR. “I’m just amazed at the logistical marvel the BC Bike Race is, I mean the vibe is cool, the racing is spectacular, everybody around here is smiling, people are happy. This is a world class event. It rivals any event in the world.” Shimano has been coming to the race for years with neutral support and every stage they have been set up at Aid Station 2 saving the racers with mechanical support and even a fleet of neutral bikes to get people to finish. “People have spent so much time and money getting here we want to make sure they get a second chance if something goes wrong.” Ben Pye, Shimano Regional Rep.

Bacon in Hood in the Woods. Bear bait...
Bacon in Hood in the Woods. Bear bait…

Darren Garrison of Fox Racing Shox is here for the first time with support for the racers and he was blown away by the event. “It’s impressive. How all the logistics are organized, ferries, setup and tear down. It’s smoother than I would have expected it to go. Next year we will bring two people. I’m swamped.”

This year was also the first year for the BCBR Bike Ambassadors. A team of 11 dressed in the red BCBR Enduro jersey and wearing Red POC Helmets were on course every day to assist riders with everything from derailleurs to hugs or to take care of any medical issues. They split up between waves and worked in teams. Some riders were treated to on-course skills work from Endless Biking owners Darren Butler and Kelli Sherbinin, or motivation from race co-founder Dean Payne. “Each member of the team probably saved on average three peoples rides a day. That’s over 30 riders a day we help have a good day that might have otherwise been ruined.” Butler.

Yoga on the Lululemon Lawn

Ryan Leech leading one of the daily Yoga sessions presented by Lululemon
Ryan Leech leading one of the daily Yoga sessions presented by Lululemon

Another new addition to this year’s BC Bike Race was legendary trials rider Ryan Leech leading yoga sessions sponsored by Lululemon at the end of each day. Over 240 people showed on day one to take a moment to recover after long days in the saddle. Sessions were usually held in the shade on the periphery of base camp each afternoon but a couple were organized on ferry rides.

Leech also rode the race to increase his understanding of what the riders would be going through each day. “I actually had no idea physically how beat up I’d feel doing the races and where my energy levels would be at. I’m trying to offer everyone an experience that get’s them out of the race mode, the “what’s next” mode, because this whole week is very much about what’s next. This pace is exhausting, even the post ride can be tiring if we’re not careful. If we can just kinda press the reset button for half an hour to allow recovery to happen, the bodies will repair and recover just a little more easily.”

Finishing under the Chief in Squamish.
Finishing under the Chief in Squamish.

Whistler

The final day at Whistler is short at  25km but it still packs a punch with 775m of climbing. A big opening climb takes riders to the top of Crank it Up in the Whistler Bike Park, a true bike park style course with big berms and jumps if riders have the energy to take them. The race will move into some of the less well known trails of the town before finishing up in the Olympic village. If riders are in a tight race for GC this is their last chance to make a move stick.

Corners are better with a friend.
Corners are better with a friend.

BC Bike Race 2013: Day 5

If yesterday was holding court with the Queen Stage, Day Five Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles was a chance to dance with the Jester. What better way to lighten the mood than to give riders an 12km descent  to the finish at the BC Ferries Terminal in Langdale.

HWY 103 and it's pick-up sticks.
HWY 103 and it’s pick-up sticks.

Every ounce of British Columbia spirit was built into this section of trails. Grab a partner, make a train, go it solo, silent passes, gap roots, double the double, pump the berms, roost some loam, cook a tight left with a soft drift right. These are the moments of a day on trails like HWY 102, Sidewinder, and Sprokids. Standing in the woods watching for riders, the first thing you’ll hear is a chorus of whoops echoing through the trees before the bikes slide bye with a grin floating above. This is the gold people come to the BC BIke Race to find.

Jonas Vuille of Switzerland came to the race alone, riding a hardtail, wearing no socks. He currently sits tenth in the Open Solo Men. When asked what motivated him to come here it was because he “wanted a bike holiday, and someone told me there was a lot of singletrack here and it was true. I enjoy this race because I have my time I ride as fast as I care, but no stress. Sometimes I kill myself to follow someone, sometimes on singletrack I’m alone, no one in front nobody behind, and I get really lazy and I only follow the flow and it’s really nice to do it like that.”

A little fun in the Sprokids trail.
A little fun in the Sprokids trail.

The Sunshine Coast bid farewell to the racers with one last departing gift in the form of the shortest stage of the week so far and some of the most consistently voted favorite trails of the race. New trails on the climb were still soft from the most recent work getting ready for race day. All the 1300m of climbing was done by the 28km mark and the first enduro commenced at 7km down of HWY 102. Trees with thick bark and dense moss watched over racers as they swooped in and out of the beautifully cut trails. Some rocks, a few roots and lots of directional changes made the flow easy to find but a challenge to steer straight and not overcook the corners of the trails.

Getting elevated.
Getting elevated.

The Race: Open Women

It was a day for racers and riders to push their limits for fun and overall positions on the general classification. It’s no surprise by now that Wendy Simms (Kona) held onto her stage winning streak. Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) put in multiple attacks but the singletrack descents were too frequent and Simms trail skills always brought her back in touch. “She was charging hard up every single hill and dropping me and I kept catching her on the downhills or the technical, and one time it was a rocky downhill and she just pulled aside and stopped. She’s pulling plays out of my book that she just figured out a couple days ago she’s definitely pulling them out and smacking them down at me. She’s a quick learner and a great competitor.” Simms. “It’s always good to see someone with heart not giving up despite having odds against them. There are still two days left and if she keeps playing the game to win, her day might be sooner than later. ”

Two corners at speed. Can you guess how different the front of the pack looks going through this versus the mid-pack riders?
Two corners at speed. Can you guess how different the front of the pack looks going through this versus the mid-pack riders?

Canadian Trish Grajczyk (Deadgoat Racing) is still sitting in a relatively comfortable third, but Annke Bergman of the Craft Rocky MOuntain Team from Switzerland has to keep her eye on Kari Bratveit (TVK) of Norway who is only 10 minutes behind.

Open Men

The last two days of the race are heading to the home trails of Neil Kindree (Specialized Corsa) and that’s where last year’s BCBR winner really put his stamp on the race. That fact isn’t lost on race leader Kris Sneddon (Kona) and he took the opportunity to take another 15 seconds out of Kindree within the last two kilometers after being alone together since the halfway point. In a similar fashion to yesterday’s ending Sneddon attacked on a 100 yard section of eroded jeep road with baby head sized rocks obscuring any real line. “I think I’m good at plowing through the nasty, not fun, you can’t really pick an actual good line, sport of bike riding.” Sneddon said with a little laugh. This rider has been dropping in behind the leaders on the enduro stages and can say he is good at riding all pieces of trail. “It was a tough day. He attacked fully. He attacks properly, he has a nice snap.” From watching Kindree in the past it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds tomorrow. Expect to see more punches from Kindree.

What if you rode through the wood with the hands at the hub like Tron?
What if you rode through the wood with the hands at the hub like Tron?

Despite the close race between the top two spots the only podium positions actually changing hands are the third through five places. Today Spencer Paxson (Kona) took back a third position he lost yesterday and Erik Skovgaard (Racing29ers) stayed in fourth but is only 2:27 back and has already proven that he can beat Paxson. This will be a battle to watch in the last two days of racing.

Early morning light was pretty ethereal today. Clouds drifting through the forest.
Early morning light was pretty ethereal today. Clouds drifting through the forest.

Enduro

Last year’s enduro winner Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain BIcycles) finally found his legs today after a week long stint acting as racer, media coordinator, and general race cheerleader. He wrestled both enduros to the ground on the freshly released Rocky Mountain Instinct that was released the day before the start of the BC Bike race. With 130mm of rear wheel travel he smoked the longest enduro stages of the week. I asked why he would ride a bigger travel bike for a week of racing not centered around enduro when an Element would probably be easier and lighter. “I really wanted to highlight the enduros in the race this year and it seemed like a good idea to ride a bike that could get me to the special stages comfortably even if it was a little heavier, just to have the right machine when needed. I rode cross country rims and tires but the extra suspension really made it fun.”  On enduro two of the day Sneddon and Eric Goss (East Infection 2) tied for second behind Hestler and now Goss sits third overall behind Sneddon and Kindree in the overall.

What happens when you return from the wooden forks in the woods?
What happens when you return from the wooden forks in the woods?

In the women’s department Wendy Simms won’t put the top spot back on the rack for someone else to take. Jacalyn Schapel (Liv/Giant Australia) was left with the second spot both times but only six seconds behind in the last enduro of the day. Third place spots were exchanged between Adrienne MIller who took third in the first section while Claire Garcia-Webb (RCBC) grabbed third in the last section.

Open Men Duo

Kevin Calhoun and Greg Day of Rocky Mountain Cycles have returned to the race with hammers in both hands after two initial stages of hardship they now have a 32 minute lead over the Craft Rocky Mountain Team from Germany, Christoff LIstman  and Michael Anthes. Paul Newnham and Oliver Young of CLIF Bar UK took the second place podium spot for the day in a solid effort on the short stage.

Gotta have some arms to reach across and highfive your friends on this one.
Gotta have some arms to reach across and highfive your friends on this one.

Solo Masters Men

Only 23 seconds separates Peter Knoop (Motor Mile Racing) and Matt Shandro in the Solo Master’s category. Each day the two exchange leads and this race is gonna be taken all the way to Whistler. Ian Smith (MIVA) was number two on the day and only a second up on Knoop as they sprinted for the line. Keeping it this tight into day five is probably a lot more stress than anyone expected but it it’s always fun to have a fight worth scrapping for.

Solo Masters Women

Cary Mark of Steed Cycles has a grip on first while last year’s challenge winner Jenn Mcrae (787 Racing) has stepped up to the Epic Category with style. A second place step is only two days away if she can keep her body and mind healthy. Third place is firmly being held by Susan Prater of New Zealand.

Go green on Rocky Mountain Day.
Go green on Rocky Mountain Day.

Day 6

Squamish hosts Day Six presented by Shimano. At 48km and 1783m of climbing it’s sure to test the stamina of a few riders. Fortunately the rewards come in the form of trails like the now world-renown Half Nelson, a purpose built trail like none other. It’s Kindree’s home town and he will have had a good nights sleep so expect him to charge hard to defend his title from last year. Despite it’s length, Squamish is often tied with Whistler as the riders favorites.

Women's leader Wendy Simms can handle some tall trees.
Women’s leader Wendy Simms can handle some tall trees.

Video: Into the Dirt of Mount Etna

Would you ride a bike down one of the world’s most active volcanoes? These guys would.

Towards the end of this year’s harsh winter a small band of brothers went in search of warmer slopes upon which to let loose on their big bikes.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.01.20 AM

And warmer slopes they found in the form of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the infamous Mount Etna. Now listed as a world heritage site, Mount Etna has shaped the lives of those who live in its shadow, not to mention the terrain that team InFocus took as their home for a week.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.01.04 AM

Check out the epic accompanying photo story courtesy of Toby Cowley.

Jerome Clementz and Tracey Moseley Win the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Aples

Round 3 of the Enduro World Series took place at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes with the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes. While Tracy Moseley has managed to dominate each and every round of the inaugural enduro series, a different man has taken home first place at each venue so far.

Paris Gore Photography
Jerome Clementz on his way to victory.

For the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes, Frenchman Jerome Clementz was able to clinch the win and cross the finish line first with a total time of 32:54.738 after four epic stages. This is not Clementz’s first win on the Crankworx stage; he took home the gold in Whistler at last year’s Canadian Open Enduro and also at the Mountain Of Hell held during last year’s Crankworx Les 2 Alpes.

While the men fiercely battle for supremacy of the Overall Series Title, Tracy Moseley has her lead on lock with a third straight win in the Enduro World Series and a time of 38:54.914. The current standings of Overall World Enduro Series Title as of today’s event are Clementz and Moseley.

“The Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes has been the toughest race in the series so far and featured completely different terrain to the last round,” says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball. “We saw a different rider win each stage of today’s race on both the men’s and women’s sides and everyone was talking about how tough and different the course was compared to previous rounds. I feel like the sport is jumping up a notch, each round we go through.”

Second fastest Pro man at today’s Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes was legendary World Cup downhiller Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA) +20.282 and coming in third was current World Cup downhill racer Samuel Blenkinsop (NZ) +23.051.Second fastest Pro woman was Cécile Ravanel (FRA), a rider with cross-country roots coming in +15.328, and in third was 2011 UCI Downhill World Champion Emmeline Ragot (FRA) +21.921.

With the exception of Stage 1, which featured a notoriously steep and grueling climb, the other stages favoured downhill technicians and was regarded by the most seasoned enduro athletes to be some of the gnarliest stages they had seen to date. The Enduro World Series was created in October 2012 with the aim of uniting the world’s mountain bike enduro racing community. The Enduro World Series links the largest mountain bike enduro events in the world with the best trails possible.

Full results: cannondale_enduro_les_2_alpes_FINAL.

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BC Bike Race 2013: Day 4

Day Four Presented by Ryders Eyewear of the BC Bike Race has rounded it’s corner while continuing to soften the hard edges of the riders. The BC Bike Race woke early for breakfast and a transition to the Saltery Bay BC Ferries Terminal where most riders jumped on a ferry to Earl’s Cove.

The ferry that runs from Saltery Bay is too small to move the entire race so some riders split off to take water taxis or the seaplane provided by Harbour Air. The plane flys over the deep fjords that lie between the racers and the southern Sunshine Coast delivering them to the start. The plane ride was on an aircraft that took off and landed on water which is entertaining in itself without the bonus of a view as the pilot banks across the water through the mountains. Today was a kick in the pants for anyone who thought it was going to be a promenade to the finish line. Rider’s got a bonus 500m of climbing on top of the 1500m due to a mistake in the final profile of the Racers Bible. It didn’t seem to dampen peoples’ spirits and as a spontaneous bonus Shimano gave a pair of XT Disc Brakes to the last rider if they made it in before 8:30pm. Tracy Kendrick came in at 8:28:27 followed by Brett Tippie, his bullhorn and the sweep motorcycle.

Tree harvesting on the coast.
Tree harvesting on the coast.
I usually think of a staircase for going up.
I usually think of a staircase for going up.

As much as the BC Bike Race likes to promote the ride and not concentrate purely on the racing it’s been hard to ignore the very competitive nature of the event at the front of the pack this year. In many categories there are good battles happening amongst riders who are enjoying having the opportunity to push their limits against not only the terrain but each other. Racers from around the world are coming together and sharing the competitive spirit that results from spending time with friends who can push each other without actually resorting to shoving each other.

Women’s Open

Wendy Simms (Kona) might have won the stage today but she had to work hard to shake her New Zealand pursuer Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles). Hurst held tight enough to only be back by 1:25 at the end of the almost four hour day. Simms still has 12:37 on Hurst going into the last three stages so it’s looking to be a tough challenge ahead if Hurst has any hope of making it happen. Maybe a stage win is in her future.

“Kim went out super hard, really hard. I’m pretty sure she wanted the stage win.  I tried to keep her in view but didn’t catch her until about 22k, then I tried to drop her in the single track and she’d catch me on the hills. She came back from the dead like five times. I only managed to shake her after the two enduros. She’s really fun to ride with.” Simms

Maybe we can get a "Tippie Tandem Challenge" for next year?
Maybe we can get a “Tippie Tandem Challenge” for next year?

Open Men

In the Open Solo Men’s category the trade of blows from yesterday was continued today as Kris Sneddon (Kona) returned Neil Kindree’s (Specialized/ Corsa Cyles) right hook from stage three. Sneddon kept the pressure high early to prevent Kindree from attacking at any opportune moment.

“I went hard before the singletrack Cabin Fever, because it’s pretty steep, it’s pretty rooty and it’s technical. I thought that like 9 times out of ten he would want to be the first person in there and put in an effort. I had to ride hard enough he wouldn’t want to come around me. Kinda had to gut myself.” Sneddon

It was the day to go it alone as he left his Kona support team behind. At the top of the climb before the first Enduro stage of the day Sneddon led with his jersey open trying to stay cool as he punched it up the steep gravel sections. Unable to really push it after such a hard effort both riders stayed together until the second Enduro another 5 km down the trail. This time Sneddon took advantage of the more technical terrain and not only put a sizable 1:07 gap on Kindree by the line but he took the win for the enduro stage too.

It's not a triathalon. Watch out for what's just around that corner.
It’s not a triathalon. Watch out for what’s just around that corner.
Leaders of the Men's 80+ Duo and Ted Russo, Veterans Leader
Leaders of the Men’s 80+ Duo and Ted Russo, Veterans Leader

The lack of course knowledge and a little dehydration might have done Kindree in.  “I cracked pretty hard there at the end, I had not enough water I guess. Was feeling a little dizzy and woozey. ” Kindree ended up with an IV at the end of the day. The Squamish native might have better luck on days five and six when the race returns to trails and a community closer to him.

Erik Skovgaard of Denmark and Racing29ers, battled back for a third after a fall into the bushes that resulted in him being a little disoriented and he got back on the bike going the wrong direction for a minute before he realized what he had done. He had to chase hard from the Cabin Fever Trail to the stage two Enduro.  Again Skovgaard proves to be a tough competitor taking the third podium step and at the end of the day he also earned the third spot in the general classification.

Solo Masters

Solo Masters Men saw a big shakeup today when MIVA rider Ian Smith of Canada took the win but it is Peter Knoop (Motor Mile Racing) of the USA who’s second place earned him a first place in the overall. Previous leader Matt Shandro (Team Matt) lost seven minutes on the day and will be pushed back to second overall. The gap between the two riders is now a slim 1:32 after four days of racing.

BOB is along for every ride.
BOB is along for every ride.
There are a couple left turns in the BCBR.
There are a couple left turns in the BCBR.
If I said it looks like it could be Pennsylvania, would I be wrong? Either way I'm a fan.
If I said it looks like it could be Pennsylvania, would I be wrong? Either way I’m a fan.

Team of Two Duo Open Men

The Rocky Mountain Duo team of Kevin Calhoun and Greg Day pulled back into the lead of the Team of Two Duo category by over 12 minutes today. It was a stamp of authority over a race Calhoun is not shy of saying they came to win. The team has overcome many obstacles so far and their frustration at how the race had been unfolding for them was turned into a motivated, successful attack on the queen stage of the race.

Teams of Two Open Mixed

Anke Dannowski and Felix Breske (kivel:o) who are leading the Teams of two Open Mixed suffered two flats and a broken chain today but still managed to take the win. Veterans of three Trans-Alps and two Cape Epic stage races this duo has a pretty dominant lock on the overall.

“Two punctures and the chain got into the spokes. Always we catch them and then the next technical. But in the end we always caught them.” Anke
Olivier Blain and Sophie Poirier (Ours Prudent) are doing their first stage race together and seem to be enjoying the challenge of the competition.

Teams of Two 100+ and 80+

Teams of two 100+ has a battle going for second and third place. First place team Tam Bikes (Den Satake/ Chris Urban) have a comfortable but not certain lead of 26 minutes over second place team Happy 50th (John Vipiana/ Doug Ott) and Cento Uno (Dwayne Brown/ Eric Trouillot) who only have four minutes separating them.

Teams of Two 80+ also has a constantly shifting podium with team R&R (Martin Roos/ Doug Richards) and Team Joe Bob (Joe Murray/ Robert Woerne) constantly shuffling the deck for the second and third podium spots.

The Enduro

Sneddon and Eric Goss are still exchanging Enduro wins, with Goss taking the first  of the day while Sneddon used the second to motivate an attack on Kindree. In the Women’s Category Wendy Simms and Jaclyn Schapel (LiveGiant Austrailia) exchanged stages also. Jaclyn took the first and Simms was in the front on the second. We can speculate the extra climbing in the second stages gave the benefit to the XC leaders. Or we can think they are both excellent riders!

Wendy Simms (Kona) holds the Solo and Enduro overall. Jaclyn Shapel (Liv/Giant Austrailia) is closing in after today at 1:27 back.
Wendy Simms (Kona) holds the Solo and Enduro overall. Jaclyn Shapel (Liv/Giant Austrailia) is closing in after today at 1:27 back.

Stage Five Sechelt to Langdale

Another day of big climbing is in store for the racers tomorrow with 1,328m of ascending in a relatively short 36km. Some of the most popular trails of the race like Hwy 102 will be begging riders to feel their flow before the final 8 km descent into the Langdale Ferry Terminal. Riders will end their day with the last ferry ride of the race. The evening will end in the town of Squamish at the Brennan Park Rec Center underneath The Chief, a solid wall of granite that overlooks the town and plays a large part in the lore and outdoor lifestyles of the community.

They still have beer in Canada.
They still have beer in Canada.