Video: The Salvadorian Way

A teaser for an up-coming film. Filmed on location in El Salvador, we discovered the spirit of a beautiful country and dove into its cycling culture.

It was an idea that, just like the rest of them, was spawned during an un-eventful evening. And, like most ideas, sat in the back of our mind, waiting for the right time to emerge.
Before any of us knew it, April rolled around and we found ourselves hurriedly packing bikes and kit, ready to travel to the most un-likely of biking destinations, El Salvador.

Every year a new corner of the world becomes cemented into the world of mountain biking, places that we can only dream of visiting. This is our corner and we found ourselves doing things a little different.

We did it, The Salvadorian Way.

Teaser – The Salvadorian Way from sheGNARnigans on Vimeo.

Racing: Mavic® Trans-Provence 2013 /// Day 1

GRAVITY RACING EXCITEMENT – WILDERNESS MTB ADVENTURE
6 DAYS // 292KM – 8355M UP // 14731M DOWN

MAVIC® TRANS-PROVENCE 2013 /// DAY 1 from Trans-Provence on Vimeo.

Day One Results: http://trans-provence.com/results2013/day1.html
Overall Classification: http://www.trans-provence.com/results2013/overall/after_day1.html

 

Video: Yeti Freak – Alex Petitdemange

Alex is a Yeti Freak through and through. He spends the entire winter traveling with the US Ski team as a race technician which allows him to have most of the summer and fall off from work.

He uses this free time to ride and explore trails all over the world. Hailing from France, he now calls Moab, Utah home and knows more trails there than just about anyone. We caught up with “Frenchy” in Moab for a few days this summer to get the low down on his amazing lifestyle and to explore some of the more unknown trails in Moab and the La Sal mountains.

Video: This Is Peaty – Season 2, Episode 6

World Champs in Pietermaritzburg was always going to be a special race…

With a fast and extremely dry track, both speed and nerves were at maximum for the whole Syndicate.

The following 2 days saw some moto carnage with all the lads, including Stevie Smith and Nick Beer, before heading to the worlds largest gorge swing!

Enjoy….

 

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Racing: The 2013 Kowalski Classic

With so many events to choose from at the moment, it takes something special to stand out from the rest. If it’s a good event, your mid-race garble will reflect the fact that you’re in your happy place. If the event is a dud, and you’re not the whinging type, you’ll probably mumble something unintelligible, or grunt a bit.

Good, fun trails make for good, fun riding.
Good, fun trails make for good, fun riding.

Chatting with riders who rode the 50km and 90km circuits at Sunday’s Kowalski Classic, it was clear that the Kowen/Sparrow singletrack network had imbued riders of all types with very positive experiences indeed.

In fact, it felt like event crew, Self Propelled Enterprises, had sat down and written a long list of everything they could think of that would make their event one to froth about in a manner akin to a pouring bubble bath into a public fountain. Then they set about making it happen, mountain biker style. With 950 people entered in the second running of the Kowalski, they are obviously onto a winning formula.

We wrote about the development of the massive trail network the Kowalski’s have been building in last year’s story on the event. Their passion for creating fun singletrack was even more evident twelve months on.

This year saw a refinement of the start wave system and an opening uphill fire trail. This eased congestion and put like-minded riders together as they embarked on the day ahead.
This year saw a refinement of the start wave system and an opening uphill fire trail. This eased congestion and put like-minded riders together as they embarked on the day ahead.

Signage was clear, comprehensive and stood out from the pine trees. The distance never disappears as fast as when you’re completely immersed in the trail ahead.

Chase your mate

About 20km into the maze, Flow video man Reiner Schuster, came whooping through the forest behind me. We rode together for a short period and gave each other a quick tow through the trails.

‘They are a beautiful set of calves,’ I found myself yelling at the Samoan Sprint Champion, a clear happiness indicator at this early point in the event. He’s not really Samoan, but it’s a name that has stuck. His calves hold their glowing tan all winter long and produce a solid amount of power when he’s not carrying 20 kilograms of camera gear on his back.

If you appreciate fine calves, cycling is a really good sport to get involved in. Better still is when those calves belong to a friend who makes you laugh out loud as you blast along, leaning and pumping your bike in response to finely crafted dirt ahead.

These moments offer the highpoints of a social ride with little bits of food and drink stashed in the forest along the way. There’s also something addictive about pushing each other to ride better than when you are on your own.

The pace was hot up the front.
The pace was hot up the front.

Mark Tupalski, who finished second overall in the 90km race, revealed a similar sentiment: ‘If you get split up too much and you’re riding by yourself, you can get a bored and loose yourself a bit. But if, like today, you have to think about things a bit, and there are people around all day, it makes it a bit more interesting.

Mark Tupalski: The course is really flowy, but it’s also really chattery. You have to work hard everywhere and really work the trail.'
Mark Tupalski: The course is really flowy, but it’s also really chattery. You have to work hard everywhere and really work the trail.’

Soon enough a gap formed between the Rainman and myself that was widened by the feed zone. And what a feed zone it was. In terms of terms of enhancing riders’ experiences of the event as a whole, and keeping the impetus on fun over finish times, the feed zones were gold.

Bacon. Eggs. Bananas. Jelly Belly jelly beans. A barista, behind a coffee machine, who asked riders what they would like.

Fresh made coffee a the feed zones? And jelly beans, and bacon!?
Fresh made coffee a the feed zones? And jelly beans, and bacon!?

‘This is the best invention since the beginning of ever,’ I said, eyes bigger than a set of 29” wheels. The barista’s reaction implied he’d heard equally extravagant statements from the several hundred riders in front of me, a sure sign that we can expect similar goodness at next year’s event. Why rush through a race when you can sit in the forest and drink art before fanging through the trails again with a thousand of your friends?

Suited Escapades' David Grech (right) won  the Sram XX gripshit random draw prize. 'I'll have to get a new bike now,' he said.
Suited Escapades’ David Grech (right) won the Sram XX gripshit random draw prize. ‘I’ll have to get a new bike now,’ he said.

There was coffee?

There is always a group of riders who do like to finish in a bit of a hurry, and the Kowalski Classic served up the things that they enjoy as well. Equal prize money for men and women saw podium contenders travel from afar hoping to hold the $2000 novelty cheque at the end of the day. Oddly to us, both winners left their novelty cheques behind. Perhaps something to do with catching a plane home or the fact that signee, Des Kowalski, isn’t a real person.

Jodie Willett travelled to the bush capital from Brisbane. She praised the logistical ease of racing in Canberra and was upfront in saying it’s the prize money that attracted other quick women from interstate to the event.

It's not the hilliest course for a race, but it's definitely one of the singletrackiest.
It’s not the hilliest course for a race, but it’s definitely one of the singletrackiest.

‘For the average rider I would highly recommend the Kowalski Classic. It’s a well-marked course and the single trail is amazing. You can be at the back of the pack and still have a great day. But I think for Elite riders, given the choice of races, there really has to be a bit of an incentive to come over. If a race wants a high quality elite field, that’s what they’ve got to offer.’

Physically tired after a win at the Flight Centre Epic a week earlier, and suffering in the Canberra cold, Willett was dropped by the lead girls in the first hour of the event. ‘I just kind of hoped that the legs would come good. In the middle I tend to ride really well, and that’s what happened. I just sort of picked them up one by one.’

Jodie Willett: 'A lot of riders like Tory Thomas (right) and Jo Bennett (left) have now come back. They’ve had kids and now they’re hitting top form again.'
Jodie Willett: ‘A lot of riders like Tory Thomas (right) and Jo Bennett (left) have now come back. They’ve had kids and now they’re hitting top form again.’

The Progressive Coaching Systems coach finished the 90km course in 4:31:30, one minute and 43 seconds ahead of Jo Bennet from Perth and eight minutes in front of Victorian, Jenni King.

‘When I first started racing you could pretty much pick who was going to win. It was, like, “Ah well, she’s going to come first and she’s going to come second.” It’s just the way it was. Whereas now there’s a group of five or six girls who could be on the podium.’

A singletrack heavy course, and a solid depth of field, made it hard to pick a winner in the elite men’s event too. To see local 22 year old, Mark ‘Tupac’ Tupalski, mix it up with the best of them, then fight it out with Jason English all the way to the line, was exciting to say the least.

The hard work of the Kowalskis is evident every where you look.
The hard work of the Kowalskis is evident every where you look.

‘Jase and I got away from the rest of the guys with maybe about 20km to go. On the last couple of climbs, I put a bit of effort in to try and get rid of him before it came down to a sprint.  I didn’t quite manage to – he’s very strong! Coming into the sprint he just pipped me at the end.’ Andy Blair rolled in two minutes further back after a flat.

‘I’ve been working pretty hard lately,’ said Tupalski, who is faster every time he hops on a bike. ‘I do feel a lot better and feel a lot more comfortable chasing those guys now. I’m pretty darn happy!’

Last year the Kowalski travelled to the Royal Hotel at Bungendore. This year, the pub came to the Kowalski. Scotty Preston from The Royal pours a thirsty rider a cold draught.
Last year the Kowalski travelled to the Royal Hotel at Bungendore. This year, the pub came to the Kowalski. Scotty Preston from The Royal pours a thirsty rider a cold beer.

Laughter lines

Riders trickled in over the next few hours and the start/finish area transformed into a social hub. Riders chilled out in inflatable lounges, refuelled on hot pizza and celebrated their efforts with a cold beer from the Bungendore Pub. The good vibes from the feed zone and singletrack earlier in the day continued on through to the presentations.

Post-race chillaxing. Matt Carling and Gaye Camm swap stories after their respective  races in the retro category (for bikes from 2000 or earlier).
Post-race chillaxing. Matt Carling and Gaye Camm swap stories after their respective races in the retro category (for bikes from 2000 or earlier).

That night I caught the sight of my face in the mirror shortly before I went to bed. It had more lines etched into it than normal. Those big ones you get on your cheeks from laughing all day were the most prominent and made deeper by some light sunburn and dehydration; a sure sign of an excellent day outdoors.

Thanks Kowalskis. I had a marvellous day experiencing your trails. Reiner’s beautiful calves and pictures in a mid-race coffee certainly added to my own highs. But what made the event so good overall was seeing so many others transported to their happy place as well.

 

Fresh Product: Lapierre Zesty AM

An established best-seller, the Zesty All-Mountain is now equipped with 27,5’’ wheels and a new OST+ 150 mm frame.

It’s now even more playful in descent without forsaking the best compromise between reliability and weight. Its ultra-light monocoque carbon or Supreme 6 frame is even stiffer and more robust, with geometry adapted to 27.5’’ wheels to make it as fun a ride as possible. e:i Shock and telescopic seatpost are available as standard on 4 of the 5 models, and all benefit from a short stem, 740 mm riser handlebar, 180mm Formula brakes, FOX 32 mm fork, SDG saddle, 1 x 11 or 2 x10 drivetrain.

Lapierre – Zesty All-Mountain 2014 from Lapierre Bikes on Vimeo.

MTB World Champs Leaves R3 Billion Indelible Print on Pietermaritzburg

MTB World Champs leaves R3 billion indelible print on PMB

After the dust has settled and the bike wheels stop turning the local organising committee of the UCI Mountain Bike Masters and MTB and Trials World Championships triggered an economic boom for the city of Pietermaritzburg and its broader regional economy worth R3 billion ($321,000,000 AUD) in direct economic activity and media exposure.

The Masters competition alone had 591 competitors, largely South African but, if you include support staff and families the number of people that were in the city sits at an estimated 1 491 people over the duration of the event.

Bringing the best riders from around the globe, like Switzerland's Cross Country world number one Nino Schurter, drew in the large numbers to the Cascades MTB Park and the money that was pumped into the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships as well as the UCI MTB Masters World Championships will be beneficial for the city of Pietermaritzburg.
Bringing the best riders from around the globe, like Switzerland’s Cross Country world number one Nino Schurter, drew in the large numbers to the Cascades MTB Park and the money that was pumped into the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships as well as the UCI MTB Masters World Championships will be beneficial for the city of Pietermaritzburg.

The MTB and Trials World Championships was seen as the signature event of the whole stay and 903 riders were accredited to compete in the event. This coupled with the large support crews that the teams brought with them brings the overall figure to 1 866 people staying for the duration of the Elite World Championships.

The economic impact can now be estimated and they have worked out a conservative estimate as to how much money each of the events would have brought into the city. Over the Masters event the estimate was slightly over R10.3 million. The Elite event saw the city pull in just under R33.7 million. These amounts were just for the competitors and crews over the two weeks of the competitions.

The media contingent was just over 200 strong and that meant that they too were responsible for bringing in a fair sum of money into the city. It was estimated that the entire media contingent brought in just over R2 million in Pietermaritzburg over the duration of the World Champs.

The crowd at the finish of the men's downhill on the final Sunday of the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships was proof that the city of Pietermaritzburg was able to host a world class event and the benefits of such an event will be felt by the city well into the future.
The crowd at the finish of the men’s downhill on the final Sunday of the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships was proof that the city of Pietermaritzburg was able to host a world class event and the benefits of such an event will be felt by the city well into the future.

Adding up all of these figures means that all-in-all the event brought in an estimated total of R46 038 700 over the duration of both events. This coupled with the benefits that the event brought to the community of Pietermaritzburg tends to suggest it was a resounding success.

In the final financial report from the event it is stated that the amount of spending from the participants in the event in the city cannot be accurately gauged which means that there is still a fair amount of money unaccounted for that has been injected into the local community through spending at restaurants, shops ect.

The impact that the television production had on the event and on promoting the city was substantial due to the fact that the event was broadcasted all over the world. The event report suggests that the minimum coverage of the event will amount to a grand total of 196 hours which equates to a monetary value of approximately R 2.94 Billion.

Bringing the best riders from around the globe, like Switzerland's Cross Country world number one Nino Schurter, drew in the large numbers to the Cascades MTB Park and the money that was pumped into the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships as well as the UCI MTB Masters World Championships will be beneficial for the city of Pietermaritzburg.
Bringing the best riders from around the globe, like Switzerland’s Cross Country world number one Nino Schurter, drew in the large numbers to the Cascades MTB Park and the money that was pumped into the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships as well as the UCI MTB Masters World Championships will be beneficial for the city of Pietermaritzburg.

The event was broadcasted to five different continents with a number of television networks taking the feed from the venue in order to broadcast in their countries. Along with the television coverage the Redbull Media TV broadcasted the event and logged record traffic on the site throughout the event.

The local organising committee spent over R3 million in the local communities and all of the people that were employed by them were locally sourced. All of the marshals, volunteers and any other person who was employed during the event gained skills and experience and this will benefit KZN MTB.

More information can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za

Video: Connor Fearon on the 2014 Carbon Supreme Operator

Coming off of an impressive 10th place finish at the World Cup Finals in Leogang, Austria, Kona Team rider Connor Fearon’s best ever World Cup result coincides with Kona’s best DH result since we launched our Operator platform four years ago.

All season Fearon raced on our brand new carbon fiber Supreme Operator. Featuring a completely redesigned Kona Carbon DH unidirectional monocoque front triangle, the bike represents an insanely light, laterally stiff, wildly plush, race-ready, modern downhill bike. To weather the brunt of crash and shuttle damage, the frame features a 6061 rear triangle and alloy rockers with a lightweight hollow carbon bridge that’s three times stiffer than our previous Operator.

We also changed the kinematics of the Operator’s Beamer Independent Suspension, making it more progressive off the top, helping the bike to stay higher in the travel and recover from hits more quickly. With the industry’s best components, including the new Fox Float 40 fork, this is, quite simply, the most radical ride we’ve ever made. Watch Fearon as he shreds his Team Issue bike through a breakout year on the World Cup circuit. Two new contenders are on the scene.

Connor Fearon on the 2014 Carbon Supreme Operator from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

Racing: Minnaar Injury Update – Torn Meniscus and ACL Likely to Need Surgery

During the final round of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Leogang, Austria, Greg Minnaar suffered a knee injury in practice that put him out of the race.

“I was coming to a section in practice and my back wheel slipped off a log,” said the reigning World Champ.  “I tried to run it out and I didn’t really hit the floor.  I was waiting for a gap in riders to go back up to get my bike and when I leaned forward to cross the track my knee flipped backwards.  I rode down the side of the track to the pits knowing I had done something pretty bad. I’ve torn the meniscus and ACL, and as far as I know I’ll need surgery.  I’m in conversations with my doctor in South Africa who is studying my MRI and we are exploring options for surgery and recovery, and I expect to learn more soon.”

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Performance enhancement coach, Lawrence Van Lingen explains, “The most likely scenario is that Greg hyper extended (bent backward) his knee with a sideways, and or twist force, while trying to save the crash.  This resulted in a near full rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament and a lengthwise tear in his medial meniscus (knee cartilage).  This makes the knee unstable as the anterior cruciate helps stabilize the knee, which is why Greg’s knee gave out whilst trying to walk back to the track.”

The knee was immediately immobilized and supported after the accident and Greg was taken straight off for MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis.

So far Greg has made excellent progress with minimal pain and swelling, however there is still a strong possibility of surgery.  Despite this, Greg and Lawrence are confident he’ll be able to make a full recovery and return to racing by the start of the 2014 season.

Greg extends his thanks to Lawrence and all those who’ve taken care of him since the accident.

Despite the set-back, Greg was still able to hold on to his psotion in the 2013 UCI World Cup series, placing 3rd overall at the end of the season.

Updates on Greg’s progess will be posted again here soon.

** This news was originally posted the Santa Cruz website http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en/news/425#.UkOHfUUaolQ.twitter

Video: The Dudes of Hazzard – The Spirit of Enduro Race

Get along to our annual race in Kinlochleven this November the 16th/17th. Three of the best stages ever, practice Saturday, CutMedia Saturday night party with films/tunes and some great racing on Sunday. Its going to be a belter….

The Dudes of Hazzard – The Spirit of Enduro Race from Joe Barnes on Vimeo.

Trails: Blue Mountains Riding High on New Council Mountain Bike Track

Blue Mountains City Council opened the first accredited downhill mountain bike track in the City at Knapsack Reserve, Glenbrook on Saturday 21 September to the delight of the mountain bike community.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said “The new downhill mountain bike track will be an important recreational facility for the Blue Mountains and greater Western Sydney region.

After a lot of careful planning and hard work, we can be proud of developing an environmentally friendly, low impact walking track and bike trail network in a bushland setting of national significance.”

Mountain biking is one of the faster growing recreational and sporting activities in Australia.

Working with experienced mountain bike riders, Council completed a Knapsack Reserve Mountain Bike Plan in October 2010. Construction of the track started in March 2013 after the necessary planning, design and environmental assessment work was completed and Australian Government approvals were obtained.

“Council and the riders have achieved a great deal working in partnership to complete Stage One of Council’s Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan”, said the Mayor.

Most notably, this partnership has achieved the design and construction of an 1,150m downhill track for experienced riders, a new volunteer Trackcare group to foster sustainable trail maintenance and ecological restoration, extensive track closure and rehabilitation and the installation of signage across the Reserve.

The $52,000 project was funded by a NSW Government Community Partnerships Building Grant of $12,000, a contribution of $8,000 from nature-based recreation licensing fees and the balance of $32,000 from Council’s operational budget.

Member for Penrith, Stuart, Ayers MP, said, “The Knapsack downhill mountain bike track is a perfect example of community partnership in action to build and improve local community facilities.”

Council and the community acted on the need to formalise opportunities for the popular sport of mountain bike riding in Knapsack Reserve to ensure riding is undertaken in as sustainable a manner as possible and to protect the biodiversity of Reserve.”

Mark Hawling, of Blue Mountains Off Road Cyclists (BMORC), said BMORC and riders welcome the long awaited opening of this trail after the closure of some important mountain bike trails in the Blue Mountains in the last few years.

This project has been achieved from a positive collaboration of riders, council and environmentalists working together and sharing knowledge.

“A big thanks” should go to the Council staff that BMORC have been involved with on a day to day basis as well Mayor Greenhill, Deputy Mayor Luchetti and Stuart Ayres MP who have been great champions for this project from the start. Also all the riders for getting behind the project and providing their considerable volunteer hours to see it to fruition.

This is also the beginning of an exciting mountain biking tourism opportunity.
Council and riders are now looking forward to Stage Two the Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan, to develop a 6.6 km cross country bike trail. Using the existing track network, Council and riders will work together to progressively improve sustainability of the old and degraded tracks that will form the cross country circuit and installation of additional track signage.

Video: S-Racing: 2013 World Cup DH6 Leogang

Time flies. The entire Specialized Racing crew is trying to wrap our heads around the fact that another season has drawn to a close.

For the downhill team, all eyes at the final event were upon Troy Brosnan. Gwin’s out due to shoulder injury, and Mitch opted to stay in the USA. Troy slayed some demons at the Leogang, Austria, course, where he suffered a spectacular crash last year.

Onto the off-season. A little time to recover from injuries and fatigue, the promptly get back to training and testing. 2014 will be here before we know it. Thanks to Aaron, Troy, Mitch, the entire S-Racing crew, the event promoters, course designers, and most of all to the fans for another year!

Video: Connor Fearon Rides Bike Park Serfaus – Fiss – Ladis

This past September Kona stole away Europe’s top mountain bike media after their Eurobike commitments, transporting them a couple hours away to the Austrian Alps and the brand new Bike Park Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis.

Thanks to Benny Pregenzer and Stefan Mangott, the Kona Bike Park recently opened with three new wonderfully built trails, including a jump line with over 40 airs and features, a super tech black line, and a family friendly blue line. Both our athletes and journalists had a blast testing out our new collection of carbon Operator DH bikes and Process Enduro models.

Kona Introduces Bike Park Serfaus – Fiss – Ladis from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

Supporting Michael Blyth

On the 22nd of May 2013, Michael Blyth suffered a horrific spinal injury whilst mountain biking in Sunbury, Victoria. This has resulted in paralysis from the abdomen down.

He is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation, in Royal Talbot Rehab Centre, to learn how to adapt to life in a wheelchair.

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Apart from the devastation of the injury, the financial strain that is now burdening Mike and his family is only another battle. Mike is not financially covered by TAC nor the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which at present only includes the City of Greater Geelong, the Borough of Queenscliffe, the Surf Coast Shire and the Colac Otway Shire.

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Wheelchairs, house modifications, equipment and ongoing rehabilitation therapies etc all come at a devastating cost. If you could offer any financial support it would be greatly appreciated by Mike and his family.

Video: The $10 Work Challenge – The Backflip

While rather bored at work and not much to do while the plant ran itself, I decided to bet Lachie he wouldn’t do a backflip in 3 attempts since he hasn’t done one in over a year.

He quickly snapped up the offer, but then later realised it wasn’t as easy as previously thought. Each time he hit the ramp, even to test it, that was one attempt. Also, he didn’t have his bike, so it had to be done on mine, and whilst he was wearing work boots also. Was definitely some amusement during the slow boring day.

The $10 Work Challenge – The Backflip from James Patterson on Vimeo.

Racing: Wollombi Wild Ride 2013

The small town of Wollombi nestled in the Hunter Valley welcomed mountain bike riders plus their supporters on Saturday 7 September for the 2013 Wollombi Wide Ride.

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Now in its fifth year, this race continues to capture the spirit of mountain bike riding with its unique course through vineyards, farmland, fire trails and a famous historic village. Attracting just under 500 competitors across three distances – the Wild 60 (km), Wild 30 (km) and Wild 15 (km) – the day was spectacular and it was great to see such a diverse range of competitors.

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Jason English in last year’s event

The Wild 60 division drew the biggest field of the event with some talented riders. Cameron Ivory claimed the overall trophy in a winning time of 2:01:10. Justin Morris placed second not long after in 2:04:34, followed by Simon Ritchie placing third in 2:08:06.

The first lady in this 60km division was Sarah Garland in 2:46: 40. Erica Galea was right behind her in a time of 2:48:37, followed by Deb Moorhouse in third after 2:57:13 on the course.

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The Wild 30 was close behind in numbers with just over 200 entries. Ty Cerlenizza completed the 30km course in less than an hour – 0:58:49 to claim victory. Luke Nuttall took the silver position in 1:04:12, and Clinton Coker finished third in 1:06:04.

The first female, Nicole Sutton did very well against the boys winning the overall women’s category but also placing ninth overall in a time of 1:13:57. Melissa Cocks finished strong behind her in second place (and 10th overall) in 1:14:29. Belinda Hickson placed third in 1:22:33.

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The Wild 15 saw an increase in participants from last year and is the ideal event for families, novice and younger riders. Murray Halyburton was the overall winner in a dashing 0:28:26. He was followed just seconds later by Jonah Kinnavong in 0:28:55, with Jason Callaghan in third place with a time of 0:30:16.

The females were very competitive with the overall winner Lynette Alder also placing a credible eight overall. She finished the 15km course in 0:35:18.

In second place (and 11th overall) was Natasha Lee in 0:37:49 and Charissinia Tonks claimed the bronze medal in 0:37:56 (also 12th position overall).

This year’s official event charity was Devil Ark and organisers thanked everyone who helped to fundraise towards this worthy cause of saving Tasmanian Devils from extinction.

This event would not be possible without the continued support of our valued sponsors.  Thanks goes to Ted’s Bike Shop, Merida and Norco Bicycles for their generosity with prizes on race day and offers for race participants.

Thank you also to the staff at the Wollombi Tavern for their hospitality, and for the promotion by our media partners The Newcastle Herald and Carraro Design Management.

We would like to acknowledge owner/operator Peter of Undercliff Winery for providing a magnificent course for riders through his property.

For more information about the event, visit www.wollombiwildride.net

Check many other exciting events hosted by H Events at www.hevents.net

 

Fresh Product: 2014 Lapierre Spicy

An enormous change to Lapierre’s enduro steed for 2014, with a new frame and 27,5’’ wheels to optimise grip and power on technical terrain, combined with an incredible energy efficiency for this type of MTB.

In the Team version, made to measure for Nicolas Vouilloz, the new carbon monocoque OST+ frame equipped with e:i Shock has now been added to the range. The 2 other models are made from Supreme 6, the renowned aluminium alloy. All models are built up with specific Enduro equipment, built to resist riding on tough technical terrain.

Lapierre – Spicy 2014 from Lapierre Bikes on Vimeo.

Video: A Story Fabricated In a Shed

Hugh McLeay is a builder, the kind of bloke that thinks he can do anything with a bit of sweat and tears. Hugh’s self designed and hand built downhill mountain bikes are a labour of love.

The passion for the process and the reasons he does what he does are the shining light in this not so fabricated story.

A story fabricated in a shed from Jordan Cole on Vimeo.

Video: Specialized Racing, Norway World Cup

Donwhill

The gravity-fed guys go way, way north for the penultimate round of the 2013 UCI Downhill World Cup held at Hafjell, Norway. Troy Brosnan and Mitch Ropelato headline for Specialized Racing, while Aaron Gwin is forced to sit out due to a shoulder injury sustained at the World Championships.

In rain-soaked conditions, Mitch’s development continues, cracking the top-20 with a fast run despite a mishap. Troy posts another top-10 but clearly will not be satisfied until he hits the top step of the podium.

Cross Country

Specialized Racing traveled to the far northern latitudes for the conclusion of the 2013 cross-country mountain bike season, where the team posted great results.

Reigning Olympic champion, Jaroslav Kulhavy, seems to have found the groove on his new Epic bike, winning a head-to-head race with defending World Champ, Nino Schurter. Lea Davison said she’d settle for nothing less than a strong podium finish, and she got it. Huge morale boost for the athletes, mechanics, and support staff, as we roll into the off-season and begin preparations for next year.

Thanks to John Lawlor and Victor Lucas for another season of coverage, to Benno for color commentary, to the riders that inspire us, and to all of the fans that cheer them on!

Racing: Blair Pips English As Willett Claims Fifth Epic Women's Title

Jodie Willett continued her dominance in the women’s section of the Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic mountain bike marathon while national champion Andy Blair and two-time winner Jason English fought out a titanic struggle in the elite men’s race at Spicers Hidden Vale, west of Brisbane on the weekend.

Jodie Willett tops the Epic podium for the fifth time.
Jodie Willett tops the Epic podium for the fifth time.

Brisbane-based Willett claimed a record fifth victory in the 87km event, finishing the race in four hours, 40 minutes and 48 seconds, more than nine minutes ahead of Victorian runner up Tory Thomas. Queenslander Anna Beck was a further 8min.30secs back in third place.

Willett has been the most prolific performer in  the 11 year history of the Epic, claiming the main title in five out of the last six years.

The men’s race was a much more closely fought contest with Canberra’s Blair neck and neck from the start with world 24 hour solo champion English before pipping him at the finish line for his maiden victory in the event.

“We figured it was likely to be Swell-Specialized versus the Merida pairing of AJ and English (with a couple of dark horses like local youngster Ben Forbes thrown in the mix) and the race panned out pretty well for Shaun Lewis and I. AJ and Jase both did a lot of work through the first 2/3 of the race to make it hard enough to get rid of Shaun and stop him getting back into the race, but that left me in a perfect position to counterattack in the final 25km” says Andy Blair

Andy Blair with the big cheque after a hard fought battle with Jason English.
Andy Blair with the big cheque after a hard fought battle with Jason English.

“Although travelling to Queensland from Canberra might sound like a nice break from the cold weather, I was very nervous about the thought of racing 87km with temperatures in the mid-30s. I didn’t know what to expect from the course but I really enjoyed it; it was pretty rough, dry and loose but heaps of fun. A little bit old-school in sections with some wild rocky steep fire road descents, with enough climbing to ensure that it was difficult for everyone…especially in that heat!”

Andy Blair and Jason English fought long and hard right into the finishing straight. “I had a couple of digs off the front and it was only English that rode back across. He caught me the second time at the bottom of the last climb, so from that point it was a game of cat and mouse to the finish with some traffic from the 50km event throwing in and extra challenge. I tried a few times to break free but he wasn’t going to let me go again so close to the finish. I managed be first into the last single track, which was good because I knew I want to lead out the sprint. From there I tried to time my kick into the short finish straight. English had a go, but I think it would have been super hard to come from 2nd in that sprint so I was fortunate enough to hold onto my lead and take the win.”

Retired Australian road cycling legend Robbie McEwen finished his first attempt at the Epic in 5hr1m47s.

130916 Robbie McEwen in 2013 Epic
Enjoying his road racing retirement with a day out in the dirt, Mr Robbie McEwen.

“Robbie did incredibly well,” said race organiser Fleur Brooks, who was delighted at the record of more than 2,000 riders participating in the various Epic events over the weekend at Spicers Hidden Vale.

Racing: Blair Pips English As Willett Claims Fifth Epic Women’s Title

Jodie Willett continued her dominance in the women’s section of the Flight Centre Active Travel Cycle Epic mountain bike marathon while national champion Andy Blair and two-time winner Jason English fought out a titanic struggle in the elite men’s race at Spicers Hidden Vale, west of Brisbane on the weekend.

Jodie Willett tops the Epic podium for the fifth time.
Jodie Willett tops the Epic podium for the fifth time.

Brisbane-based Willett claimed a record fifth victory in the 87km event, finishing the race in four hours, 40 minutes and 48 seconds, more than nine minutes ahead of Victorian runner up Tory Thomas. Queenslander Anna Beck was a further 8min.30secs back in third place.

Willett has been the most prolific performer in  the 11 year history of the Epic, claiming the main title in five out of the last six years.

The men’s race was a much more closely fought contest with Canberra’s Blair neck and neck from the start with world 24 hour solo champion English before pipping him at the finish line for his maiden victory in the event.

“We figured it was likely to be Swell-Specialized versus the Merida pairing of AJ and English (with a couple of dark horses like local youngster Ben Forbes thrown in the mix) and the race panned out pretty well for Shaun Lewis and I. AJ and Jase both did a lot of work through the first 2/3 of the race to make it hard enough to get rid of Shaun and stop him getting back into the race, but that left me in a perfect position to counterattack in the final 25km” says Andy Blair

Andy Blair with the big cheque after a hard fought battle with Jason English.
Andy Blair with the big cheque after a hard fought battle with Jason English.

“Although travelling to Queensland from Canberra might sound like a nice break from the cold weather, I was very nervous about the thought of racing 87km with temperatures in the mid-30s. I didn’t know what to expect from the course but I really enjoyed it; it was pretty rough, dry and loose but heaps of fun. A little bit old-school in sections with some wild rocky steep fire road descents, with enough climbing to ensure that it was difficult for everyone…especially in that heat!”

Andy Blair and Jason English fought long and hard right into the finishing straight. “I had a couple of digs off the front and it was only English that rode back across. He caught me the second time at the bottom of the last climb, so from that point it was a game of cat and mouse to the finish with some traffic from the 50km event throwing in and extra challenge. I tried a few times to break free but he wasn’t going to let me go again so close to the finish. I managed be first into the last single track, which was good because I knew I want to lead out the sprint. From there I tried to time my kick into the short finish straight. English had a go, but I think it would have been super hard to come from 2nd in that sprint so I was fortunate enough to hold onto my lead and take the win.”

Retired Australian road cycling legend Robbie McEwen finished his first attempt at the Epic in 5hr1m47s.

130916 Robbie McEwen in 2013 Epic
Enjoying his road racing retirement with a day out in the dirt, Mr Robbie McEwen.

“Robbie did incredibly well,” said race organiser Fleur Brooks, who was delighted at the record of more than 2,000 riders participating in the various Epic events over the weekend at Spicers Hidden Vale.

Video: Cotic Bikes Presents – #SizeMatters

Cotic Bikes and Steel City Media bring you the next chapter, with an edit designed to put your mind at rest about size issues.

Cotic Bikes Presents – #SizeMatters from Steel City Media on Vimeo.

The Cotic Solaris was designed to take the best of our legendary Soul trail hardtail and bring all that to the 29″ wheel format.
– Reynolds 853 steel front triangle with signature Ovalform top tube and new gussetless DZB down tube.
– 44mm standard head tube designed with external bottom cup for taper steerer compatiblity and zero stack top cup for minimal stack height.
– 31.6mm seatpost size is dropper seatpost compatible and the frame has hose clips for the remote under the top tube.
– Clearance for big tyres – 2.4″ Maxxis Ardents fit fine.
– Geometry with commitment! Minimum 80mm travel forks or 470mm rigids. Handles great with 100mm sus forks, strong enough for up to 120mm travel.
– Sizes – 16″ (new for 2013), 17.5″, 19″ and 20.5″.
– The frames are designed to be compact and chuckable.
– Weight – 4.9lbs for the 19″

Video: Deep Six

Setting out on this journey, we left the dock with a rough idea of what to expect; fishing, exploring by boat, bush-whacking with bikes while burdened with camera packs, camping, and possibly a bear or two.

After a week at sea we learned the hardships and enjoyment of balancing a lifestyle of sustenance, exploration and documenting the journey.

Deep Six from Derek Dix on Vimeo.

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 7, The Final And Fastest Day In The Redwoods.

Mick and Chris’s legs, arms, fingers, toes, eyelids and smiling muscles were growing understandably weary on the final of five solid days shooting in the Rotorua Redwoods.

What did Ride Rotorua serve up for the Flow guys on the final day? Two fresh pair of legs in the form of one particular energetic skills coach with a downhill and BMX racing background, and another fresh legged local downhill and marathon racer with a super fast set of wheels.

Lisa, a wonderfully cheery, chatty and most insanely fast Kiwi leads Mick and Chris down her favourite trail; Challenge Track.
Lisa, a wonderfully cheery, chatty and most insanely fast Kiwi leads Mick and Chris down her favourite trail; Challenge Track.

We met Lisa Horlor from MTB Skills for a rip down the brand new Challenge Track, and Mike Metz from Bike Culture for a mega hair raising run on the classic; Hot X Buns.

Fast, flowing and perfectly constructed. If you've been away from Rotorua for a few months, get back there asap. Challenge Track is a ripper!
Fast, flowing and perfectly constructed. If you’ve been away from Rotorua for a few months, get back there asap. Challenge Track is a ripper!

Could there be a faster way down Challenge Track, other than following Lisa ‘turbo’ Horlor? When this track opened only a few months prior to us arriving, there were queues up the top just to get down, and for very good reason! This track has been built with such incredible skill to milk out so much speed, flow and fun from the open landscape.

Tabletops, step-up jumps, tall berms, and super fast corners that link from left to right without the need of any braking make Challenge a great new addition to the forest. Chapeau to the trail builders!

Anyone could ride this track, from beginners to world class racers, it’s safe enough to build up to taking the jumps bigger and clearing the tabletops and lifting the speeds each attempt.

The 2014 Volcano Stone Helmet is still awaiting approval from the Australian helmet safety standards department. The fit and ventilation aspects were reasonable, not a particular highlight but the durability and exfoliation properties are unrivalled by current helmet technology.
The 2014 Volcanic Stone Helmet is still awaiting approval from the Australian helmet safety standards department. The fit and ventilation aspects were reasonable, not a particular highlight but the durability and forehead exfoliation properties are unrivalled by current helmet technology.

Lisa was selected and trained hard for the BMX Olympics, but an injury forced her out of the games after three years of solid preparation. Now she combines her chatty vibrance and bike skills to good use as the owner and operator of MTB Skills, we highly recommend looking them up if you need a boost of confidence when in Rotorua.

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After another fine brew and one last delectable white chocolate, caramel and raspberry slice from Mountain Bike Rotorua (the cafe, bike hire, information centre, workshop and general hangout at the trail head) we found ourselves high in the forest for the last time, at the trail head of Hot X Buns. With a good dose of elevation to play with, this track does not mess around and takes the fastest way to the bottom.

It takes a lot of attention and skill to rip down Hot X Buns, and it’s a must visit trail for the rider who would like to test their enduro racing prowess against a local.

Mike Metz from Bike Culture, holy smokes he is a handy rider!
Mike Metz from Bike Culture, holy smokes he is a handy rider!

We were led blindly into mega fast straights with rapidly changing surfaces and ball-tearingly rapid lines on the edge of safety and reason. Mike knew the track like the back of his hand, so we put our faith and trust in those hands and we bombed through sections of forest at warp speed behind him.

Camera operator Vinnie The Great dragged a full size ladder into Hot X Buns. Wearing the ladder around his neck and carrying cameras and tripods and billion dollar cameras in his bear sized hands, nothing would stop this man from capturing the best footage possible.
Camera operator ‘Vinnie The Great’ dragged a full size ladder into Hot X Buns. Wearing the ladder around his neck and carrying dolly sliders, tripods and billion dollar cameras in his bear sized hands, nothing would stop this man from capturing the best footage possible. Cheers Vinnie!
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We don’t want to go home! We heart pine forest loam!
Capturing the goodness, Graeme and Vinnie killed it. The footage is simply amazing!
Capturing the goodness, Graeme and Vinnie killed it. The footage is simply amazing!

An Air New Zealand plane awaits Chris, Mick, Damian and Pat as we drag our feet all the way back to Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane to our too-familiar home trails.

We have so many people to thank for making this trip happen and the new friendships will last forever. We would like to especially thank Gregg and Susan for looking after us and letting the grubby Flow team stay at their amazing cottage and loft at Lake Okareka  We highly recommend you choose to stay there when you visit and ride Rotorua.

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Flow HQ for the trip. We promise we left it how we found it. If there are any issues please feel free to charge it to Mick.

We rode Rotorua’s top ten trails, as nominated by locals, with locals. What a seriously amazing experience, and we are so damn excited for the web videos to begin rolling out one at a time.

So, get ready for some mouth watering visuals! In the meantime, catch up on the whole trip right here:

Day 1 – Flow Has Landed
Day 2 – The Shredding Begins
Day 3 – Brings Rain in The Forest
Day 4 – How Can Life Here Be So Good?
Day 5 – The Fastest Way To Be Shown Up By a 16 Year Old
Day 6 – Old School Trails and New School Generations

 

Video: #whyMTB Chapter 1: Scot Nicol

What is the meaning of mountain biking? Why do we ride?

In this new Kitsbow video series, we explore what it means to ride from the motivations and perspectives of those whose efforts have lent the sport meaning to our own lives. For some, these are easy questions with tangible answers. For others, less so.

In this first chapter, we sought out the voice of Scot Nicol — someone whose vision, experience, and offbeat sense of humor have molded Ibis Cycles into the inspiration that it is today. Who else would know more about mountain biking’s meaning than one of its very pioneers?

#whyMTB Chapter 1: Scot Nicol from Kitsbow on Vimeo.

The Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails: Day 6, Old School Trails And New School Generations.

“I’m only working in the cafe when I’m needed, and to show my face so my staff don’t think I’m slacking off,” says local coffee shop ‘Zippy Central Cafe’ owner, Morgan Wilson.

“I am often out riding in the forest, surfing or out on the dirt bike,” when we asked about his sweet deal. Morgan chose Gunna Gotta, his most favourite trail in the Rotorua Redwoods Forest to guide us (school us) down.

Gunna Gotta, like chalk and cheese. One half is in recently
Gunna Gotta, like chalk and cheese. One half has recently been logged, whilst the second half threads through the deep worn in ruts lined with iridescent green moss.
Give it time, and the trees will be back engulfing the buff new lines.
Give it time, and the trees will be back engulfing the buff new lines.
Morgan from Zippy Central has been riding here for years, and it shows.
Morgan from Zippy Central has been riding here for years, and it shows.

Gunna Gotta is a bit of an oldie, and a real damn goodie. With recent logging activities, the top half of the track is unrecognisable to the track of old, but it’s another wonderful fresh beginning for the trail builders to sculpt and create a masterpiece of sweet singletrack.

Guys, girls, young and old. The forest is full of the widest variety of users, and the quality of talent and fancy equipment is astounding!
Guys, girls, young and old. The forest is full of the widest variety of users, and the quality of talent and fancy equipment is astounding!
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Mick pulls out of a whoppingly fast corner high up in the open section of Tokorangi.

We traded a local old hand on a rigid single speed for two young frothers from Planet Bike and headed over to Tokorangi for the second part of the day’s filming. We met Paul the uni student and Sam the triathlete for some mighty fast ripping down the sweet intermediate trail.

Paul, with a riding style reminiscent of Nathan Rennie.
Paul, with a riding style reminiscent of Nathan Rennie.
Sam, mountain bike racer turned triathlete calls Rotorua home, and after a season living and racing in Germany returns to guide school groups and visitors around the blissful trails.
Sam, mountain bike racer turned triathlete, calls Rotorua home and after a season living and racing in Germany returns to guide school groups and visitors around the blissful trails.

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Graeme Murray, the bossy boots director, film producer and local legend. Muzza Bobby would often be seen rubbing his hands with excitement when reviewing the footage, it's good.
Graeme Murray, the bossy boots director, film producer and cheery local legend. Muzza Bobby would often be seen rubbing his hands with excitement when reviewing the footage – it’s good. Everyone seems to know Graeme that we meet out in the forest.

Day seven, our final day draws near. Maybe we needed to nominate Rotorua’s Top 40 trails, and we wouldn’t have to go home so soon?

If you want to catch up on the trip thus far check out the previous 6 days here:

Day 1 – Flow Has Landed
Day 2 – The Shredding Begins
Day 3 – Brings Rain in The Forest
Day 4 – How Can Life Here Be So Good?
Day 5 – The Fastest Way To Be Shown Up By a 16 Year Old

 

Racing: Henderson and McConnell Hit The Record Books For Australia

Bec Henderson went into the final race as series leader and overcame a puncture and a crash to finish in 4th place, but importantly only one place back from her series rival Yana Belomoyna of the Ukraine.

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This was enough for Bec to take the series standings by 30 points and retain the white leaders jersey.  In a series record which would the be envy of many riders, this 4th place was actually her least successful result – with two world cup wins and three 2nd placings in all the other races.

Dan McConnell sat around 10th position for much of the Elite Men’s race but characteristically moved up through the field towards the end to finish in 7th and add another Top-10 result to his World Cup season.   Dan needed to finish 12th or better to claim overall 2nd place in the World Cup series, behind Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, who had the series wrapped up before the final race.

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MTBA President Russell Baker said, “This is truly a remarkable season for Bec and Dan.   We were expecting good results, but for them to each achieve World Cup wins in the first race of the season at Albstadt made the world sit up and take notice, not only Australia.  From that race onwards, we in Australia, were condemned to late nights on the laptop watching their extraordinary season unfold.

The congratulations from all of us at MTBA, and I am sure from all Australian mountain bikers, go out to them for their great individual results and their consistency across the season which has seen them both wear the leaders jersey at times, Bec retains it as the overall World Cup series U23 XCO Women’s winner and Dan finished in 2nd place in Elite Men.

I am sure Dan is still looking at the list of names behind him, names which are iconic in mountain biking.   I would also like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the people who have supported Bec and Dan during and leading up to their extraordinary 2013 adventure, from their families and clubs through to the Trek Factory Racing Team.

Special mention must go to Jon Rourke from Trek Factory Racing and Richard Peil, who has supported Bec and Dan, along with many other Australian riders, through the Anytime Fitness and Target Trek teams in Australia over several years.

 

We look forward to welcoming Bec and Dan home, and seeing the back of their jerseys, for a few fleeting seconds, at a local race.”