Port to Port MTB: Stage Three

No matter how much you think you’re used to it, getting woken up by an alarm clock is always a bit horrible. The sudden shock as it bursts rudely into your slumber is never pleasant, reminding you that you’ve got somewhere to be, something to do. As much as we’d all love to sleep until our body has had its fill, it ain’t going to happen – that’s the reality of the world we live in.

Port to Port Day 3 11
Young Hunter local Chris Aitken has a crack in the opening kilometres.

Mountain bike stage racing can be a little bit similar; one minute, you’re in heaven, the next, you’re slapped in the face by the reality of the challenge ahead.

Stage 3 of the Port to Port MTB played that scenario out perfectly. The day got underway amongst the beautiful rolling slopes of Mt Bright, at Briar Ridge Vineyard. With morning mist clumped in the nooks of the gullies, it was an idyllic setting and we’re sure that many a rider would’ve been happy to park up until the cellar door opened. But the rude awakening was coming up fast, in the shape of a four kilometre-long, granny gear grind to the ridgeline high above. Good morning, it’s time to get to work!

Port to Port Day 3 2

Port to Port Day 3 7
Lucky it’s a Saturday, or half the Torq team would be at school! Just kidding, but with an average age of around 20, this young squad has a bright future.
Port to Port Day 3 6
New dad Sid Taberley came out of nowhere to have a crack on stage three. He’ll be back for stage four too – “I only ride two days a week now anyhow,” he joked.
Port to Port Day 3 9
The initial kick out of Briar Ridge burned the legs. Shaun Lewis drives it.
Port to Port Day 3 13
Chris Aitken. You sucking my wheel, boy?

The silver lining? With the shock of the initial climb out of the way, the rest of the stage trended downwards, including one section of the Great North Walk that was particularly cheese grater-esque. After yesterday’s roll in the mud, the course director had decided some reprieve was needed, and the call was made to chop 10km of particularly squishy jeep trail out of the stage.

What remained was 53km of rolling, sometimes rutted, super-fast single and double-track, with a trail surface that constantly morphed underneath your treads. One moment you were humming along on hardpack, the next you were surfing the bike as the wheels shimmied in a patch of greasy clay.

Port to Port Day 3 22
Brisbane’s Porpoise Campbell, relishing the singletrack.
Port to Port Day 3 24
The tandem rider ducked and weaved their way through the tight singletrack. Hats off to the duo enabling the vision impaired to participate in such a challenge.

 

Port to Port Day 3 31
Em Parkes.
Port to Port Day 3 36
Brendan Trekky Johnston was sitting in third overall today before an unplanned knee exfoliation ended his race.
Port to Port Day 3 35
Into the car for a disappointed Brendan.

Much like stage one, where last-minute line choice in the sand was critical, today’s stage kept you second-guessing – do you risk riding through the puddle (some of which could swallow a 29” wheel whole), or skirt around it? Do you commit to railing that rut in the knowledge it might disappear into a gully, or try to ride the crown of the trail?

The Elite field didn’t seem to be troubled by those kinds of questions, maintaining an incredible average speed that saw the men hammer through the stage in well under two hours, before flying into the dramatic, eclectic and slightly eerie Richmondvale Rail Museum.

Once more, Jenny Fay rode away from the other Elite women and wasn’t to be seen again, leaving Em Parkes and Imogen Smith to duke it out in her wake. This time it was Imogen who had the upper hand, capitalising on her recent climbing form to turn the screws early in the stage and stay away from the young Parkes.

In the men’s field, a youthful train of Torq riders drove the pace, but race leader Andy Blair wasn’t about to be broken by their efforts. Still, as they say, it ain’t over until the heavily-set lady sings; within the final kilometre, the claggy clay got the better of Andy Blair’s drivetrain. With his derailleur locked up, Blair was forced to run, carry and scoot, in full-blown harm minimisation mode, after the Torq trio of Chris Hamilton, Tasman Nankervis and Benny Forbes and who painted all three podium spots bright orange.

Port to Port Day 3 37
The Torq Train (geddit?) pursued by Dylan Cooper in the dying moments of the stage.

For Blair, it was a very tough break. Andy has been racing mountain bikes for longer than many of the Torq riders have been alive (yes, literally), but all that experience can count for nought when Lady Luck flips you the bird. But that’s racing, and now suddenly the whole game has shifted dramatically.

Blair’s lead has been savagely chopped to 28 seconds, an amount that would be a healthy buffer in most circumstances, but not when you’re short on teammates. With Shaun Lewis by his side as a fellow Swell/Specialized rider, Blair will need to rally some other riders to his corner to help him ward off combined firepower of the huge Torq contingent eager to deliver Chris Hamilton (or as Blair called him, “the motor bike with legs”) the win in the inaugural Port to Port MTB.

Stage 4, Super Sunday, will roll out from Cams Wharf at beautiful Lake Macquarie tomorrow, before threading through the singletrack of Glenrock and into Newcastle. See you at Nobbys Beach, where the first king and queen of Port to Port will be crowned.

Port to Port Day 3 40
Blairy does his best to minimise lost time after drivetrain issues.

Port to Port Day 3 49

Port to Port Day 3 58

Port to Port Day 3 59

Port to Port Day 3 69

Port to Port Day 3 70
Back to Briar Ridge for a feast. A tasty way to cap off a great day.

 

 

Shimano unveils XTR Di2 electronic shifting

Following over half a decade of proven Di2 electronic shifting systems, Shimano introduces XTR M9050 Di2, the world’s first production electronic mountain bike shifting system. An electronic shifting option for Shimano’s new 11-speed XTR M9000 mechanical mountain bike components, XTR Di2 redefines how mountain bikers can control and personalise the way they ride through the proven Di2 digital platform.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 electronic shifting integrates with XTR M9000 mechanical components in a variety of Race or Trail “Rider Tuned” 1x, 2x, or 3x drivetrain configurations. The new 11-speed XTR M9000 drivetrain introduces Rhythm Step gearing which provides range and ensures rhythm, no matter the rider or terrain. With the additional efficiency, new shifting options and personalisation of the digital Di2 system, riders now can control their ride like never before.

THE XTR Di2 RIDE EXPERIENCE 

XTR M9050 Di2 has undergone over 20,000 kilometres of testing to ultimately refine how precision and logic can deliver a completely new mountain bike ride experience. Di2 digital shifting is seamless, instantaneous and can be custom tailored for any rider. Shifting becomes a simple rider reflex, allowing riders to place their attention where it belongs – on the trail ahead. Totally new ergonomics reduce hand movement and improve control, further boosting rider confidence.

RD-M9050-GS_STD_01

 

THE POSSIBILITIES WITH SHIMANO Di2 

Over half a decade of experience in electronic shifting components have culminated with the introduction of Shimano’s most advanced Di2 system ever. XTR M9050 Di2 features the programmable, upgradeable and expandable attributes of Shimano’s latest Di2 shifting systems, which now debuts intuitive shifting control. Shimano’s E-tube wiring and electronics make expanding Di2 shifting systems easy and also enable riders to custom program and upgrade the system through a computer software interface. Riders can program and control the shift patterns for single or multi-shift modes, the speed of those shifts and the actions for each shifter and button. With XTR Di2, Shimano Synchronized Shift is also custom programmed through the Di2 program software, allowing front and rear shifts using a single shifter.

 

SHIMANO SYNCHRONIZED SHIFT: TWO DERAILLEURS, ONE SHIFTER 

The new Shimano Synchronized Shift function and programmable shift mapping allows riders to change their focus from the physical effort of shifting to the trail ahead. A programmable option with XTR Di2 M9050, Shimano Synchronized Shift creates an intuitive shifting experience on the bike through customisable synchronized front and rear shifting via a single FIREBOLT shifter.

• Improved efficiency – The XTR M9050 derailleurs communicate gear position and automatically execute front and rear shifts when riders select a sequentially larger or smaller gear. This improves efficiency by minimising time spent on smaller chainrings and cogs.

• Personalised shift mapping – Riders can program when front shifts occur through two customisable shift maps based on terrain and personal preferences. An audible alarm will warn of an upcoming front derailleur shift so that a rider can choose to remain in a given gear.

• Total control – On a mountain bike with both front and rear FIREBOLT shifters installed, the rider can manually shift at any time. Synchronized Shift becomes another available tool for riders, not a requirement. With a touch of a button, riders quickly choose between synchronized maps or choose manual mode for complete control.

SW-M9050_L_STD_01

XTR FIREBOLT SHIFTER: SEAMLESS CONTROL AND INSTANT RESPONSE 

The new, easy-to-use XTR Di2 FIREBOLT shifters make shifting a simple rider reflex and deliver customisable ergonomics that improve bike control. Shimano’s FIREBOLT customisable shift button placement is determined entirely by human ergonomics, not by the needs of a mechanical mechanism. FIREBOLT shift levers are now exactly where thumbs naturally rest, allowing riders to put more grip on the handlebar and control the ride with more confidence – especially in rough conditions.

• New ergonomic rotary shift lever design matches natural hand movement.

• Independent lever position adjustment

• Short stroke, perfect click levers provide faster, more accurate shifting

• Increased trail readiness thanks to decreased shift effort and superior ergonomics

• Programmable, multi-shift and Shimano Synchronized shift functions, including control of Fox Racing Shox suspension components.

 

RD-M9050-GS_STD_01

XTR RD-M9050: UNRIVALED SHIFT PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY 

Shimano’s first mountain bike specific Di2 rear derailleur is also its most technologically advanced. Introducing Shimano Shadow RD + stabilisation to Di2, the RD-M9050 couples unrivaled chain control that aggressive riders have come to love with shift performance that doesn’t degrade over time. Whether cross country or trail riders run a 1x, 2x or 3x drivetrain, the ultra narrow profile help protect the drivetrain in tight trail sections. The refined rear derailleur geometry further improves the performance stability while Shimano Synchronized Shift enables system communication with the front derailleur.

• Instantaneous shift response to rider input

• Seamless gear changes

• Shimano Synchronized Shift compatible – system communication with front derailleur

• Advantage in all conditions – E-tube electric wire transmission guarantees stable performance

• Low profile positions RD safely away from trail obstacles

• 1x, 2x and 3x compatible with GS and SGS cage options

FD-M9070_STD_02

FD-M9050/9070 (3X/2X): POWERFUL, DI2-OPTIMISED FRONT SHIFTING 

Long regarded as the most notable feature of Shimano Di2 shifting, the front derailleur performance remains the best in the industry, now with the additional capabilities of Shimano Synchronized Shift. With XTR M9050 Di2, front shifts require the same light effort of a rear Di2 shift, reducing effort and freeing up the rider to focus on the trail. The FD-M9050 uses computer controlled auto trim as the chain moves up and down the cassette to keep the drivetrain running smoothly. Shimano Synchronized Shift compatibility allows a single shifter to control both front and rear shifting.

• More powerful shifting than mechanical (+25% compared to M9000)

• Reliable gear changes under load

• Computer controlled auto trim – optimised Di2 cage profile and gear tracking

• Shimano Synchronized Shift compatible – system communication with rear derailleur

• Advantage in all conditions

• Modular mounting structure

 

SC-M9050_STD_01

SC-M9050 DISPLAY UNIT: SYSTEM STATUS AT A GLANCE 

Digital Di2 E-tube electronics allow the inclusion of the handlebar mounted SC-M9050 Display Unit for monitoring important Di2 data: gear selection, battery level and shift mode. The SC-M9050 not only provides data, but also is the convenient interface where riders will plug in and charge the system from the handlebar – an especially handy virtue when running an internal battery. The expandable E-tube platform also means that integration with electric-controlled suspension from FOX is a reality.

• Multiple simultaneous display fields – Battery level, Gear position, Shift mode (Synchronized or Manual), FOX iCD position (Climb or Descend)

• Shimano Synchronized Shift mode switch – change between S1, S2 and Manual shift maps

• Audible Shimano Synchronized Shift notification tone

• Precision derailleur adjustment – easy access adjustment mode, numerical adjustment indicator

• Junction A function – battery charging port, three E-tube wiring ports

SM-BTC1_STD_01

 

E-TUBE ELECTRONICS CONNECT THE SYSTEM 

Shimano’s XTR M9050 shifting system uses the same E-tube platform introduced with road Di2 groups that is programmable, customisable and allows for expansion and further system integration. Wires are offered in a wide variety of lengths for bikes of all sizes and shapes and cable routing options will connect the various junction points. Unlike traditional cables and housing, wires are not affected by trail and weather conditions, providing consistent performance in this waterproof system.

• The SM-BTC1 mounts Shimano’s cylindrical SM-BTR2 Di2 battery on a bike’s water bottle bosses and also acts as a Junction B, connecting wires from the shifters to the battery and derailleur.

• Junction B function – Six E-tube wiring ports with cable organiser (case is also available separately for riders with an existing battery)

• Clean appearance thanks to internal wire routing

• System expansion possible thanks to the E-tube platform

Flow’s First Bite: We ride Shimano’s XTR Di2

We’re shocked! Shimano have finally brought electronic shifting to the mountain bike market with 11-speed XTR Di2.

This electrifying development has been rumoured for years, but when Shimano announced a new mechanical 11-speed XTR groupset last month, we started to have our doubts; perhaps Di2 for mountain bikes wasn’t going to happen after all? But the electronic era is here, and frankly it looks amazing.

Shimano XTR Di2-8

The benefits of electronic shifting are many and are arguably more significant for the mountain bike world than on the road; zero cable maintenance, no shifting degradation in bad conditions, instant shifting response. But the potential for electronic shifting to free up frame design is also massive – without the constraints of keeping a clean, smooth line for a shifter cable, who knows where suspension design can go?

Flow was lucky enough to spend some time at Shimano Australia’s HQ recently, where we got the opportunity to actually test ride a near-production prototype version of the Di2 groupset.

The Di2 XTR groupset shares many of the same attributes with the mechanical version (gear ratios, crankset options etc), so we’ll stick to the points of difference and the aspects of the Di2 system which really grabbed us.

Shifters:

Just what the Di2 shifters would look like and how they would operate was a real unknown. Speaking to Shimano representatives, we learnt that there were many iterations, before ultimately settling on a paddle design that’s not too dissimilar to existing XTR shifters. The shifters still feel and sound like a mountain bike shifter – there’s a snappy, loud click with every shift, and there are separate paddles for up and down shifting.

Shimano XTR Di2-3

Maintaining the feel of a traditional shifter (albeit without any cable friction) was a very smart move. If there’s one criticism that Di2 shifting encounters in the road world, it’s that the shifting action feels too disengaged, more like clicking a mouse than shifting a gear.  XTR Di2 manages to keep that engaging, positive feel of a ‘real’ shifter.

The operation of the shifters can be customised too, via Shimano’s E-Tube tuning system. The up/down-shift function of each paddle can be swapped to suit your preferences, and the number of shifts executed when the shift lever is held down can be set. For instance,  you can determine if you want to shift a maximum of two, three or four shifts in one go, or if you’d like to keep shifting for as long as you’ve got the shifter depressed. You can also control the speed of the shifts.

Synchro Shift:

Now this is pretty cool. Part of the appeal of a 1×11 drivetrain is the absence of a left hand shifter and the clean simplicity this brings. The downside, of course, is the slight reduction in gear range associated with having fewer chain rings. But XTR Di2’s Synchro Shift option allows you to run multiple chain rings ( 2x or 3x ), and with only one shifter. It’s pretty crazy.

Shimano XTR Di2-2

[embedvideo id=”2NJCCOGV06s” website=”youtube”]

As you shift through the 11 gears of the cassette, Syncro Shift automatically shifts between chain rings to ensure the jumps between gear ratios are smooth and even. The video above is perhaps the easiest way to grasp the system. It shows Synchro Shift in operation for a triple chain ring setup. On the right you can see which gear of the cassette is currently selected, on the left is the chain ring currently in use (Top, Middle or Low). As you can see, it covers the whole gear range, from the very highest to the very lowest gear, in 14 consecutive shifts. NB. We weren’t able to show you the actual derailleurs in operation as they were deemed to be ‘too prototype’ for video.

By way of example, imagine you’re riding in the big chain ring. As you start to shift to lower gears, the Synchro Shift system will automatically drop the chain to the next smallest chain ring, and will simultaneously shift up a gear or two on the cassette to ensure the jump between gears is even.

Shimano XTR Di2-7

Once again, the parameters of the Syncro Shift system are all totally customisable. For example, you might want to program the system to use the big chain ring primarily; in this case, you could set the Synchro Shift to only drop to the smaller chain ring once you reached the lowest gear of the cassette. You could also set it to then jump back up to the big ring once you’d up-shifted to the fourth gear of the cassette. Because you can determine the parameters of when a front shift is executed, you’re not going to be sprung with a ‘surprise’ jump between chain rings. To be doubly sure, the system actually gives you a double beep to let you know when it’s about to shift between chain rings.

Shimano XTR Di2-4

Of course if you’d prefer the more traditional approach of separate shifters for front and rear derailleurs, then you’re not out in the cold – XTR Di2 systems will still be sold with both left and right-hand shifters and the system can be set to Manual mode, rather than Synchro Shifting.

Shimano XTR Di2-1

Battery:

Like Shimano’s Di2 road groupset, the XTR Di2 system uses one central battery for the whole system, rather than individual batteries for each derailleur. The cylindrical battery can be bolted to bottle mounts, or it can be run internally if your seat post allows. There’s also scope for mounting it inside the fork’s steerer tube, as we’ve seen some riders (such as Dan McConnell) already do with FOX’s electronic iCD lockout battery. In the pipeline is a range of specially designed bars and stems with ports for Di2 wiring.

As with Di2 road shifting, we’re sure it will only be a matter of time till the batteries are internalised and frames are optimised for wiring, rather than shift cables.

Display:

The simple display sits neatly alongside the stem, where it won’t interfere with other devices like your GPS or lights. Aside from displaying which gear/chain ring you’re currently in, you’ve also got information about battery life, the mode currently selected (Manual or Synchro Shift), as well as suspension settings (see below). The display also serves as the adjuster for fine tuning the shifting, just like a barrel adjuster does on a mechanical shifter.

Shimano XTR Di2-5

FOX suspension integration:

The partnership between FOX and Shimano continues to strengthen with XTR Di2, with FOX’s iCD electronic lockout integrating with the XTR display. On the far right of the screen you’ll find an indicator letting you know if your shock and/or fork is in a Climb or Descend setting.

Wheels:

While at Shimano HQ, we managed to get our hands on some all new XTR wheels too. With carbon laminated rims and a very pretty hub finish, these are the best looking XTR hoops yet. Rather than using a dedicated UST rim (without any spoke holes), the new XTR wheels go for the far lighter option of a tubeless tape, as has become the standard of late.

Shimano XTR Di2-11

Fresh Product: RockShox Pike DJ, The Dirt Jump Fork

Jumps are getting bigger, tricks are evolving further, and the slopestyle and dirt jumping crowd needs a fork that facilitates this progression. Enter Pike DJ: little brother to the award winning Pike, with the stout 35mm chassis, it is light enough to boost higher, and stiff enough to shred berms harder, available in 100 and 140mm travel versions.

The custom tuned Charger damper stands up on jump faces and the specific Solo Air system provides heaps of bottom-out progression to help butter the landings. Everything you love in Pike, but cleared for the biggest take offs.

FS PIKE DJ 26 15 SA 100 BLK T CRN...A11L

CHARGE HIGHER

The most refined damper ever produced by RockShox, acclaimed worldwide on Pike and BoXXer, gets the frequent flyer treatment on Pike DJ. An extra firm compression tune provides the level of support and confidence required by today’s slopestyle and dirt jump riders. Our trademark Rapid Recovery rebound tune, with beginning stroke rebound adjustment, helps control the landings, while Charger’s sealed design with an expandable rubber bladder keeps Pike DJ’s performance constant run after run. A low speed compression adjuster makes it easy to adapt to all course conditions, from smooth hardpack jumps to rough slopestyle courses.

PROGRESSION NEVER STOPS

For the 100mm travel version, Pike DJ’s specifically developed Solo Air top cap gives riders a highly progressive feel, equivalent to having five Bottomless Tokens installed in a standard 26” Pike, while remaining highly tunable with additional Tokens. What does this mean? A fork that will be predictable on every take off and landing without ever slamming through all the travel.

FS PIKE DJ 26 15 SA 100 BLK T CRN...A17L

FREQUENT FLYERS WELCOME

Available in 100 and 140mm travel versions, with a tapered steerer and 15mm Maxle Ultimate, Pike DJ is the ideal match for modern and progressive dirt jumping and slopestyle bikes.

Pike DJ

Weight: 1845g (4.06lb)*

Wheel Size: 26″

Travel (mm): 100mm/140mm

Steerer/Steerer options: Tapered Aluminum

Crown: Forged, hollow 7050 aluminum

Upper Tube Type: 35mm, Tapered Wall Aluminum

Upper Tube Finish: Low friction anodized Fast Black

Axle: 15x100mm Maxle Ultimate

Damper Adjust: External rebound, low speed compression

Spring/Spring Options: Solo Air

Color: Black, Diffusion Black, White

Fork Offset: 40mm

Brake Type: Disc

Lower Leg Material: Magnesium

Maximum Rotor Size: 200mm

*Weight Based On: 100mm travel, 265mm tapered aluminum steerer, 15mm Maxle

 

Danny MacAskill strikes again, in a Forgotten City

Watch as Danny MacAskill brings a forgotten city back to life with his latest street trials film. Following on from 2013’s mind-blowing ‘MacAskill’s Imaginate’, Epecuén is the latest film from Danny MacAskill.


Directed by long time collaborator Dave Sowerby, we’ll see Danny take his riding back to the roots of trials riding, exploring the forgotten town of Epecuén in Argentina, a location that has been submerged for the majority of the past 25 years.

Danny sunset drop copy

Pablo Novac, Epecuén’s only resident throughout the troubled times, gives a brief history of the location culminating with his thoughts that he ‘…can no longer see what use this place has for us now,’ MacAskill however has other ideas.

Danny MacAskill is renowned for pushing the levels of both his riding and filming with previous releases ‘Way Back Home’ and ‘Imaginate’ accumulating over 50 million views between them; Epecuén is set to raise the bar once again.

Port to Port MTB: Stage Two

No one remembers the easy days. The days when your legs feel fresh, the weather is beautiful and nothing hurts – those days are soon forgotten, merged into the blur of day-to-day rides.

But for the 200 or so riders who tackled stage two of Port to Port MTB, this was a day that will never, ever be forgotten.

Port to Port Day 2 4
Chris Hamilton and Andy Blair. From an Elite standpoint, today was all about these two.

 

Port to Port Day 2 7
The start of the 14km climb.
Port to Port Day 2 9
The Torq team launch attack number one.
Port to Port Day 2 17
Into the singletrack. It’s a pity the rain made the incredible singletrack across the escarpment such a mess, as it would’ve been the pay off that many riders craved after the climb.
Port to Port Day 2 18
This rut got a lot deeper. A lot, lot deeper.
Port to Port Day 2 19
Dylan Cooper keeps it on the straight and narrow.

This was the kind of day that hurt you, that clogged your eyes and nose with mud, that stopped your wheels from spinning through the frame, where you couldn’t clip in, or clip out, and your water bottle tasted like dirt.

You wanted more gears, you carried your bike, you tried to work out how to stretch without cramping and you swore. A lot.

Not one, but two, sapping, endless climbs, interspersed with singletrack so slick it was like a luge course. Two of the most amazing, high-speed fireroad descents, so long and teeth-rattlingly fast that you didn’t know whether to scream in joy or fear.

This was a day that you wanted to end, but when it did and you rolled underneath that finish arch at Lindemans winery, you felt like you’d conquered something.

Sure, for some riders today was a very big ask, but no matter if they finished the stage in three hours or six, today’s racing was the kind of affair that will leave them with a lot memories (and maybe a bill for a new set of brake pads). It was a day that may hurt right now, but that will be laughed about over a beer in a week or two, and definitely, definitely be remembered in years to come when all the dry, easy rides have been forgotten.

Port to Port Day 2 36

Port to Port Day 2 39
Jenny Fay. Laughing? Or grimacing?

As predicted, the elite end of the field didn’t see any real shuffles. Torq’s Chris Hamilton outsprinted Andy Blair for the stage win, but with such a big lead from stage one, Blairy’s overall wasn’t in danger. And Jenny Fay, despite the mud wreaking havoc with her drivetrain, stayed away for another win (surely even she’s losing count by now).

Port to Port Day 2 46

Port to Port Day 2 48

Port to Port Day 2 53
Jackie Schapel, always smiling. She must get very dirty teeth. An amazing descender and a real champ.

Tomorrow, the racing stays in the Hunter, departing Briar Ridge winery before finishing just east of Cessnock. With more rain on the horizon, the stage will be shortened by a few kays, avoiding the worst of the mud, which will make most riders smile. There’s only so many ‘memorable’ stages your bike and body can take in one week!

Port to Port MTB: Stage One

Sapphire waters and sky so blue it looked painted on greeted riders today for day one of the Port to Port MTB stage race, kicking off at Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast. Pelicans, dolphins, retirees and over 200 nervous, pumped up riders – it was one hell of a scene, with the race beginning right on the beach at Nelson Bay marina.

Port to Port 4

“If you’ve spent much time in the area, you’ll be aware that most of NSW’s sand has been relocated to Port Stephens,” quipped course director Rohin Adams at the rider briefing. He was only exaggerating a little – despite being the race’s shortest stage at 38km, the sand made it a gritty affair, both in the metaphorical and literal sense.

Port to Port 19

Port to Port 23
Andy Blair, stage one Elite Men’s winner.

Port to Port 25

Port to Port 26
Jenny Fay, streaking ahead of the rest of Elite women’s field.

Port to Port 28

The race start may have been a theoretically neutral affair, rolling through the streets of Port Stephens, but the pace was intense, with a healthy contingent of riders in Torq colours driving the pace. It didn’t take long to ascertain the flavour of what this course had in store, with loose, sandy pinches up over Tomaree headland quickly sorting out who had brushed up on their sand-skills.

At the pointy end, race favourite Andy Blair and Torq’s Chris Hamilton broke away, but when they hit the cripplingly steep ‘Vertical Beach’ section – a wall of sand that was un-rideably steep and loose – Blair made his move. “I just like running in sand dunes,” laughed Blair. “I’ve always done well when there’s been a hike a bike, for instance the beach at Cape to Cape. I’m a little bigger than Chris, so I thought I could get away, and when I got over the top with a decent gap, I was able to stay away.”

Port to Port 29
Blair digs deep and opens up a gap on the slog of push up the Vertical Beach.

Port to Port 32

Port to Port 35

Port to Port 37
The Struggle Brigade at Vertical Beach.

While a sandy course is always going to be contentious simply because it’s so hard to ride well, it made for awesome racing. The constant battle of trying to make passing moves when your wheels are choosing their own path, or trying to skip between the firmer patches of trail and avoid the ruts made what could have been a straightforward race into a real challenge. “This is not the kind of stuff you’d normally go out to ride, but that’s what mountain bike racing is about – putting yourself up against trails and situations that aren’t familiar,” said Brisbane’s Pat Campbell in his first stage race.

Elite women’s winner Jenny Fay summed up the excitement of today’s stage brilliantly: “It was all about making split second decisions today, trying to pick your line, trying to work out if you hold a wheel or jump out and grab a different line.”

Port to Port 41

Port to Port 42

Port to Port 45

Port to Port 46

Port to Port 47

Port to Port 48

Port to Port 51

The conditions and a bit of luck all worked in Blair’s favour today: “On a stage like today, when it’s sandy, groups don’t really form – it’s not like a hardpack stage – so the ability of teams of riders to work together is neutralised a bit,” explained Blair. What could have been a nightmare mechanical also turned out to be a blessing. “I was running bigger tyres, 2.3” Renegades, at lower pressures than usual for the sand, and I actually burped a lot of air on one of the water bars at the start of the stage, said Blair. Rather than stopping to inflate it, Blair decided to push on. “It turned out to be a bit of an advantage, the lower pressure definitely squirmed around when I hit the road at the end, but it floated on the sand and really helped.” When he checked the pressure at the end of the stage, it was on just 13psi!

With a three-minute lead after stage one, Blair’s job on tomorrow’s monstrously hilly 57km stage is to mark Chris Hamilton closely. Can the big Torq contingent work together to neutralise Blair? We’ll find out in the hills of Pokolbin!

Port to Port 59

To view today’s course, click here.

Video: No Fuzz. Full Throttle.

Jon Television – No Fuzz. Full Throttle. from Jon Bokrantz on Vimeo.

You all know the drill: summer is here (in the northern hemisphere, anyhow), and ain’t nobody got time to mess around. The only things that matters are riding, eating, sleeping, repeating. So, sometimes you just got to keep things simple.

No elaborate story, no talk, no B-roll, fillers or scenery. 100% free from time-consuming slow motion, and with entertainment as the sole purpose. No Fuzz. Full Throttle. Here’s to the summer of 2014, let’s make it one to remember!

Produced and Edited by: Jon Bokrantz & Jimmy Svensson (Trail Nine)
Music: Dark Country – Evil Ways (Justice Remix)

XCO World Cup Highlights and Replay from Nové Město na Moravě

Third win for Schurter in Nove Mesto – he attacks from outset.

The men’s race was expected to be a showdown between Julien Absalon (BMC), winner of the first two rounds, and World Champion Schurter, who flatted in the first round and skipped the second for a stint on the road. Schurter threw the gauntlet down by attacking immediately, and was in the lead by the first lap.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano returned to Europe for Round 3 of the cross-country series under almost perfect weather conditions in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, and the riders responded with superb racing. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Liv Pro XC) took the first Elite victory of her career in the women’s race.

Ferrand Prevot, an Under-23 rider who is competing in the Elite category, charged to the front on the opening start loop from back on the fifth row in the start order, and had a slight gap on Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), World Cup leader Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC) and Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory) as they started the first of five laps. Her gap steadily increased through the race, as she consistently laid down the fastest lap times on every lap.

Click this link for the full replay.

Racing: New and Improved AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup Is back for 2014

AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup Is back for 2014 and entries are rolling in.

What: 4 day 7 stage mountain bike race consisting of relays , TT, hill climb, crit, and adventure stages

When: November 20th –23rd 2014.

Format: Pairs mountain bike racing with options for solo riders

Location: Kellevie in the Sorell Municipality in South East Tasmania.

25 minutes from Hobart airport 50 minutes from Hobart CBD

Race Director: Duncan Giblin

Company: Stormbay Promotions

Entries open: Entries Opened on March 1

Entries close: September 7th 2014.

Entrant capacity for 2014: 500 riders

Entry: $445 per rider

_STU2101 2
Rider Michael Crosbie, plantation single track

Services:

  • Free camping
  • Lunch included
  • Entertainment
  • On-site child care options
  • Food and coffee vendors
  • After party concert
  • Iron House bar
  • Free wifi
  • Appliance charge station
  • Onsite mechanic
  • Bike retail

10395195_256262484558525_4242750939592500472_n

The Gig

In its second year the AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup is again based at Kellevie and rides into different areas of the Wielangta State Forest and surrounding areas each day, riding on private land and forestry land. The race course has myriad of tracks, forest trails, and awesome descents in beautiful landscapes. The event has 7 stages offering a good mix of single track and adventure riding. Our philosophy is that the course should not be too dumbed down and have should have lots organic single track and also require effort to conquer hills making it more rewarding. But we have designed it to still be achievable and enjoyable for someone new to stage races with a reasonable level of fitness.

The event is classified as a stage race but differs significantly from most other events of this type, having one base that competitors start and finish from each day to limit the logistic headaches for riders, support crews and families.

The upgrade

We have made vast improvements from the first event including a new timing system that is state of the art providing preliminary results online instantly. We have received funding from Events Tasmania enabling us to purchase this system. We have also improved rider comfort at the race village with new gas showers and more services on site so people can get comfortable and warm if we have a disagreement with the weather gods. Also upgraded is the food on offer with more substantial lunches and food vendors on site for evening meals.

The booty

The event has one of the largest prize pools for an event of its type in Australia

The 2014 Prize pool includes:

$26,000 cash for elite rider podiums divided equally between genders.

$52,000 in random spot prizes/ competitor giveaways (and growing) is on offer for competitors including two bikes from major sponsor Avanti plus.

The pointy end of the field.

From the word go the Hellfire Cup has attracted significant interest from elite riders. Titles attained by Elite riders who entered the inaugural event last year included: international Stage race title holders , national marathon title holders, world junior champions , Australian multisport champions, national xc title holders, XCO, Short course, enduro , world 24 solo hour champions, 6 Olympic representatives, Australian junior champions, national 24 hour solo champions. This year we already have current World XC Eliminator World champ Paul Vander Ploeg, Australian Women’s Marathon Champ Melisa Ansset , plus national stage race, marathon and xc enduro winners such as Rebecca Locke, Naomi Williams, National Female Masters Marathon champ Traci Lonergan , World number 2 world cup u23 Rebecca Henderson either signed up already or indicating they will be back for 2014.

The vibe of the thing

Equally as exciting for us as the elites attending is the interstate and overseas interest from your everyday riders in this years race, as bringing lots of new people together for 4 days of bike madness is what we love to see.

Last year the event culminated in presentations ceremony and after party with local bands Matt Bayes Blues, Guthrie, and MOFO curator and cycling advocate Brian Ritchie and friends. Elite rider trophies and awards were presented by Mike Tomalaris from SBS Cycling Central. This year we’ve got more entertainment lined up and for us the festival and race village environment is as important as the racing. Ride, relax ,eat and repeat.

Further enquiries: Storm Bay Promotions, Race Director – Duncan Giblin

Phone 0448 599 612

Website www.hellfirecup.com

E-mail [email protected]

F- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Avantiplus-Hellfire-Cup/128392527345522

Nino Schurter: Master of the Trail

World Cross-Country MTB Champ Nino Schurter roams the legendary trails of Southern Utah’s Gooseberry Mesa and Guacamole aboard his Scott Genius LT.

Schurter is much more than your typical World Cup XC racer; his love for speed and style while discovering and exploring challenging lines help him Master the Trail.

FEST series – Aggy’s reunion highlight video, MASSIVE JUMPS.

FEST series – Aggy’s reunion highlight video from fest series on Vimeo.

The first stop of the FEST series at Aggy’s reunion in Kamloops is done. This is the highlight video of what went down in the event.
During the week the riders were sessioning the trails around kamloops and the jumps that Aggy and Brad Stuard had built in the bike ranch.
After the main final session, the riders got together and picked the awards:

BEST LINE: Andreu Lacondeguy
BEST TRICK: Andreu Lacondeguy / Japan Air big set
BEST WHIP: Left whip / Thomas Vanderham – Right whip / Tyler Mccaul
BEST STYLE: Ryan Howard & Matty Miles
BEST CRASH: Graham Agassiz / flatspin 360 big set
BIGGEST OVERSHOOT: Matt Hunter (survived it)

The FEST is all about riding and filming in the perfect conditions, not having to depend on a time schedule or event organizers that make their own rules. The aim is to be riding the best big bike freeride jumps, spots, trails and produce the realest videos and photos expressing freeride MTB in its purest way.
It was created by 6 riders (Makken, Kurt Sorge, Graham agassiz, Andreu Lacondeguy, Nick Pescetto and Nico Vink) who are visioning these events in their own way.

Next FEST series stop, Hillybilly Hookfest in Norway hosted by MAKKEN

Video filmed by Mitch Cheek / Solos productions and edited by Nick Pescetto / CPGANG

Thanks Aggy, Brad Stuart, Monster Energy, Bicycle Cafe, Dakine, My Package and Lucky Lager for supporting the Aggy’s reunion and make this epic event happen!

New Trails: Rotorua to Score Funding For New Mountain Bike Park

Skyline Rotorua is thrilled with Prime Minister John Key’s announcement that the Government’s Tourism Growth Partnership (TGP) will contribute $225,000 funding for the development of a new mountain bike park on the slopes of Mt Ngongotaha.

Mr Key made the announcement in Auckland at TRENZ, the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association’s international annual tourism conference. TGP is a Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) initiative designed to help grow international tourism in New Zealand. It specifically funds projects that are not only commercially driven, but which also deliver wider economic benefits.

Sprint Warrior 3

2014 pic

The Skyline Gravity Park will offer a year-round, gondola accessed bike park – the only trails accessible by gondola in the North Island. It will also be the only year-round, all-terrain mountain bike park in Australasia.

The park will provide trail options for all skill levels from beginners to advanced riders. Several mountain bike trails are planned, providing at least 12km in total. There will be dedicated gondola cabins designed to take up to four bikes and riders per trip giving initial capacity of 3000 downhill runs per day.

The park is scheduled to open in July. Skyline Rotorua will own and operate the site, working with commercial partners Multi Day Adventures who have helped project manage the development, and Empire of Dirt who are building and creating the tracks.

Skyline_Sprint_Warrior 49 Skyline_Sprint_Warrior 45

IMG_0280

IMG_0274

Skyline Rotorua general manager, Bruce Thomasen, says the funding grant is fantastic news, allowing Skyline and its partners to develop a world-class site.

“We are thrilled with the TGP funding announcement, as it allows us to develop a significant and extensive mountain bike park that is world-class, continuing the development of the Skyline Rotorua site to the highest possible standards.

“The ability to potentially host world-class mountain biking competitions, as well as appealing to all levels of riders – from leisure to adrenalin junkies – complements Rotorua’s status as a top location for these types of events and its international reputation as a premier mountain biking destination.”

Mr Thomasen says the new mountain bike park enables Skyline Rotorua to offer even more to visitors and makes the most of its unique location.

2014 Skyline Sprint Warrior 1

“Our position atop Mt Ngongotaha gives us a unique set of opportunities and the Skyline Gravity Park is part of realising that. The site gives itself to mountain biking perfectly, with riders able to ascend in the gondolas and then speed their way back down on a number of trails.

“The mountain has previously hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2006, as well astwo successful Rotorua Bike Festival Skyline Sprint Warrior downhill races, and the response we have had from riders and the mountain biking community has been fantastic. It is an exciting possibility to add to the list of international events hosted onsite.”

The park will offer half day passes through to a full year pass for unlimited gondola and downhill mountain bike trail access during opening times.

 

#throwbackthursday Miguel Martinez – Little Mig – Spotted in Cairns

Miguel Martinez, the 38 year old French Cross County rider is best known to the Australian mountain bike community for his strong rivalry to Cadel Evans through the 90s and taking a Gold Medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He then went on to form a part of the French domination of the World Cup, but vanished from the dirt and spent the last few years racing road bikes for various teams. A good history of his tumultuous career here. 

IMG_5831

AQ5A5565

AQ5A5380

 

AQ5A5641

 

AQ5A5649

We spotted the muscly little powerhouse in Cairns, rocking a super Italian style setup, on a new team with the Italian high end lightweight component manufacturer FRM. Marzocchi forks, gold Formula brakes and gold bar ends set this guy apart from the rest, still killing it and clearly having a good time back in Cairns, 18 years later than the last time.

Enjoy some old throwback videos from the Litte Mig era.

The Sydney 2000 Olympics.

1996 Cairns World Champs, where Miguel placed second ahead of Cadel Evans.

The 1999 World Champs, with the benefit of hindsight, this race may have been a slightly turbocharged event.

Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell, Meet the National Champions and Uprising World Cup Stars

Meet this Australian power couple and reigning national champions as they discuss their second season with Trek Factory Racing.

AQ5A4797

IMG_5802

AQ5A5323

AQ5A5215

AQ5A5154

AQ5A5082

IMG_6540

 

AQ5A5681

Coming off stellar 2013 World Cup seasons, both are looking to keep that momentum going through the first two World Cups. Hear their stories while training and racing as a couple.

Video: Life Behind Bars – Downhill Sessions in Fiji

Semenuk and Fairclough head to Fiji to shred a custom built trail for the film Rad Company.

The boys brave the heat, humidity and cyclone Lucy to film the first ever downhill trail in Fiji. Along the way they ride some jetskis and take a few high speed tumbles, only to shake it off by drinking some Kava with the local village chief.

Video: Cedric Gracia is Back With Season Two Of Through My Eyes

THROUGH MY EYES is back for season 2 , follow Cedric Gracia AKA CG/Dirty Sanchez, around the world for some enduro riding, EWS racing, and natural trouble who come with it!
For the first episode, we are at CG’s house in Vallnord, Andorra where he is riding is new Nomad from Santa Cruz on secret dusty trails.

From the woods to the top of the mountain you will enjoy what Vallnord has to offer .

Aussie juniors primed for UCI XC World Cup Junior Series

Six of Australia’s brightest young mountain bikers will this weekend begin their road to September’s 2014 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Norway.

The under 19 riders will embark on a two-week trip to Europe contest the UCI XCO Junior Series which features two rounds held in conjunction with the Elite World Cup Series in the Czech Republic and Germany in late May. The rounds are part of an all encompassing XCO Junior Series which makes its debut on the UCI calendar in 2014 and features rounds across the world in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and in the Oceania region. Juniors have the option to enter any round individually, however the first two rounds in Europe are only limited to National Team riders or junior riders in a UCI MTB Team.

The 2014 Junior National Mountain Bike Team includes Mitchell Greenway (VIC) who claimed the overall honours in the Subaru MTB National Series after winning two of the three rounds

Joining Greenway is reigning National Champion Reece Tucknott (WA) who finished second overall behind Greenway in the National Series and third in the Oceania Championships in New Zealand. Jayden Ward (NSW) who found the National Series podium, Nationals bronze medallist Felix Smalley (VIC) and Michael Potter (NSW) have also been selected in the National Team. Luke Brame (NSW) joins the National Team as a member of the Development Squad to round out the six riders participating in this training and development trip.

“This is an exciting opportunity to compete at the next level of competition,” said Greg Meyland, Coach, 2014 Junior XCO Training Camp.

“It gives them a great benchmark which can give them confidence ahead of the World championships, they will know what to target in training in order to be their best”

“And with the early good results in the Oceania rounds of the Series, the Australians will get good grid position starts going into these two rounds.”

Team

  • Mitchell Greenway (VIC)
  • Reece Tucknott (WA)
  • Jayden Ward (NSW)
  • Felix Smalley (VIC)
  • Michael Potter (NSW)
  • Luke Brame (NSW)

Staff

  • Greg Meyland, Coach, 2014 Junior XCO Training Camp
  • Jarrod Zdrzalka, Mechanic
  • Donna Dall, XC Consultant

Events

  • Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, May 23-25
  • Albstadt, Germany, May 30-June 1

For more information, please visit the UCI website or MTBA website.

Video: Louis Hamilton shreds Rotorua

Louis Hamilton 2014 from In The Frame on Vimeo.

 

Rotorua’s Louis Hamilton is an awesome rider to watch in action – he skims and bounces where other riders smash, barely seeming to touch the ground. As he rolls on into his second year in Elite, he’s looking to make his presence known on the World Cup circuit. But in this vid, he’s back on home turf, riding the pines, roots and ruts of Rotorua’s legendary Taniwha downhill.

Flow was lucky enough to spend some time on the trails with Louis in Rotorua last year too, when we filmed the Rotorua Top Ten Trails series.

[embedvideo id=”http://youtu.be/RUkTxq0A2xk” website=”youtube”]

 

 

Racing: Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series Begins, Taree NSW

The opening round of the Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series has been widely heralded as a fantastic success. The planets aligned with perfect weather, a sublime course and a high quality field including the current Solo 24 Hour MTB World Champion Jason English.

_Q1N2266
Jason English was made to work hard for the victory against 2012 series champion Ed McDonald

Round 1 would also unveil plenty of new initiatives for the 2014 season with Finish Line now the headline sponsor of the series, 4 Hour solo racing categories added, and the launch of the Chocolate Foot Women’s development team.

Since the last Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series event at Taree in 2013, the word has spread about the brilliantly built and magnificently maintained trails of the Manning-Great Lakes Tip Riders Club. Competitors arrived back to the transition zone with massive smiles after each and every lap, many saying that this was the finest track they’d ever raced on.

The buffed and flowing course would also make the perfect backdrop for an epic battle in the Solo Open Men category between Solo 24 Hour World Champion Jason English, 2012 series Champion Ed McDonald and 2013 series champion Andrew Lloyd. With an impressive leadout off the start from team mate Jack Lavis, McDonald was 2nd into the singletrack with Lloyd and English needing to bridge across to the Trek Racing duo. By the 2nd lap Lloyd and McDonald were riding together but nervously checking over their shoulders for the almost inevitable sight of English, who would then join them on lap 3. Up until lap 12, McDonald would try to shake English but without sucess, while Lloyd backed off the pace hoping the others would crack. When English’s customary late race surge came on there was little McDonald could do to match him. Jack Lavis went on to win the 4hr Solo Men category while Melissa Nuttall took the 4hr Solo Women’s title.

_Q1N1534
Trek Racing’s Jack Lavis leads out team mate Ed McDonald though the frenetic opening moments of the race

In the Women’s Solo category, dual round winner in 2013, Eliza Kwan continued her winning ways as she led from start to finish over 2013 series champion Liz Smith. While Sydney’s Wendy Stevenson could have been racing Super Masters category, she’s decided to challenge herself for the 2014 season, racing in Open and she rounded out the podium against a quality field.

The fastest lap times of the day were recorded by riders of the winning teams in the 3’s categories. John Odams and his POC/Bikeculture crew won the Male 3’s while Odams grabbed bragging rights with a lap of 24.51 and Australian Under 23 XCO Champion Holly Harris recorded a string of great laps including a 27.29 to drive her team to victory in the Mixed Threes.

Chocolate Foot’s new women’s development team didn’t disappoint on debut with every member achieving a top of the podium result with wins in the Female Threes, Female Pairs and the 4 Hour solo category. The women selected for the team have come from a wide variety of sporting backgrounds and for some it was their first ever MTB race making their results and lap times all the more remarkable.

_Q1N2082
Canberra’s Eliza Kwan sizes up another of Taree’s fast and flowing corners

The Finish Line Singletrack Mind Series moves to an entirely different style of course at Mogo on the NSW South Coast for the 15th of June. Some liken the course to that of a Gravity Enduro, with relatively mild climbs followed by two fast and epic descents per lap including the legendary Snake Track! This will be a must do event for any mountain biker!

Under 23 Australian XCO Champion Holly Harris on her way to recording the fastest women’s lap of the race
Under 23 Australian XCO Champion Holly Harris on her way to recording the fastest women’s lap of the race

Chocolate Foot would like to thank their incredibly generous sponsors, Finish Line, Serfas, Deuter, Bellwether, SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Truvativ, Hammer Nutrition, Rockpool Graphics, James Estate, Cycology, Ventou, Aussie Butt Cream, Cycle Studio, Kobie International, Mountain Biking Australia magazine, Ritchey and Grimm-Hewitt art.

Bikeculture/POC STM #1 Taree from IX I Media on Vimeo.

Top 3 Category Results

4hr Male Junior

1 Guy Frail

2 Sam McNaughton

3 Ben McDonald

 

4hr Male Super Master

1 David Eccles

2 Paul Hooper

3 Ian Prosser

 

4hr Female Master

1 Veronica Russell

2 Katrina Skellern

3 Elisabeth Rubie

 

4hr Male Master

1 Wayne Dickinson

2 Jamie Vogele

3 John Clews

 

4hr Open Female

1 Melissa Nuttall (Chocolate Foot Racing)

2 Leah Childs

3 Nicole Harriss

 

4hr Open Male

1 Jack Lavis

2 Grant Webster

3 Graham Nisbet

 

7hr Juniors

1 The Tip Rats

2 NIAS 2

3 M Town

 

7hr Fab Fours

1 OLD TIMERS

2 Velo-Vita & Kobie International

3 The Kidney Stones

 

7hr Mixed Threes

1 NIAS 1

2 Berm Baby Berm

3 Snail Racing

 

7hr Masters Threes

1 CHINA 29er

2 McPainful

3 NIAS Dads

 

7hr Female Threes

1 Chocolate Foot Pocket Rockets

 

7hr Male Threes

1 POC / Bikeculture Sydney

2 Three Trippie Tippies

3 Choko Chins 3

 

7hr Male Super Master Solo

1 Garry James

2 Brad Tillack

3 Karl Dehaen

 

7hr Male Master Solo

1 Stu Adams

2 Jason McAvoy

3 David Langley

 

7hr Open Female Solo

1 Eliza Kwan

2 Liz Smith

3 Wendy Stevenson

 

7hr Open Male Solo

1 Jason English

2 Edward McDonald

3 Andrew Lloyd

 

7hr Masters Pairs

1 Trek Racing Australia

2 Turner and Hooch

3 Benny And The Jet

 

7hr Female Pairs

1 Chocolate Footed Fairy Penguins

2 Short Circuit Chix

3 Rare but not extinct

 

7hr Male Pairs

1 Ballers

2 Cobblestone Lane Cycling Team

3 Cool Bananas

 

7hr Mixed Pairs

1 Mr & Mrs Pollock

2 Crazy Birches

3 Team Alptraum

Fresh Product: Cane Creek Introduce The DBINLINE Rear Shock

The latest innovation in rear suspension from Cane Creek Cycling Components is unveiled. Introducing the much anticipated DBINLINE, the first Double Barrel shock designed specifically for shorter-travel bikes. No other shock in its class packs so much into so little – unleashing the potential of aggressive trail bikes and the riders who want to extend their limits.

DBinline-studio-vertical

The patent-pending design of DBINLINE embodies, among other core technologies, twin-tube suspension with four-way independent adjustment and Cane Creek’s proprietary CS climbing system. Lighter and sleeker than preceding Double Barrels, the DBINLINE has no external reservoir, yet offers the same award-winning capabilities within a smaller shock architecture.

DBinline-studio-horiz-2-632x420

“I like to say we hit the DBAIR CS with a shrink ray”, said Josh Coaplen, Vice President of Engineering. “We set out to bring Double Barrel performance with CS-optimized climbing damping into a smaller, lighter shock. Riders of shorter travel bikes now have access to the adjustability and control that characterizes Cane Creek suspension without paying a weight penalty,” he said.

DBINLINE features include:

• Twin-Tube Design. Setting the DBINLINE apart from other inline shocks, oil circulates continuously through externally adjustable shock valves. On the trail, this routing of oil translates into less fade, more control, and greater consistency.

• Four-Way Independent Adjustment. Like other Double Barrel shocks, the DBINLINE offers an unparalleled range of adjustability through external adjusters that independently control each phase of damping without crossover effects.

• Climb Switch (CS) Technology. When engaged, both low-speed compression and low-speed rebound damping settings are altered simultaneously to achieve improved pedal efficiency and less chassis motion while maximizing traction.

• Base Tunes and the Tuning Field Guide. Cane Creek’s online Tune Finder provides riders with frame-specific recommended settings based on bike geometry and rider input. From there, riders are encouraged to fine tune their suspension for personal styles and preferences using Cane Creek’s Tuning Field Guide.

Inline Release

Inline Release
The addition of the DBINLINE to Cane Creek’s suspension line was a natural step for a company bent on excellence, said President and CEO Scott Sonnone. “Over the last decade, Cane Creek has continued to expand our best-in-class shock offerings around the Double Barrel platform. The introduction of the DBINLINE is a critical next step in our evolution as a premier suspension company”.

Learn more and see the DBINLINE in action: http://www.canecreek.com/thedisruptor

About Cane Creek Cycling Components:

Cane Creek is an employee-owned company based in the mountains of North Carolina. The company is deeply rooted in the culture of cycling and has built its reputation producing the industry’s top components. From the introduction of threadless headset technology in 1991 to the ground-breaking Double Barrel suspension line in 2005, Cane Creek continues to push the envelope with its attention to innovation and quality. To learn more about Cane Creek visit http://www.canecreek.com.

Behind The Scenes of Road Bike Party 2. A Brilliant Documentary.

Road Bike Party 2 – The Making Of takes shows you the outtakes and heartbreak of one of the biggest bike films ever made.

Starring Martyn Ashton, Danny MacAskill, Chris Akrigg and filmmaker Robin Kitchin this is the story of how three of the greatest trials riders in the world came together to create this incredible film, fails and all.

Martyn tells his story – how he came to work with Danny and Chris as the result of his terrible accident and how the film was pulled together with the help of some great friends and incredible riding.

A Film by Robin Kitchin

Video: Trek Factory Racing | Emily Batty: Pedaling to the Podium

Emily Batty of Trek Factory Racing is invigorated for the start of the 2014 UCI World Cup season.

Hear some of her insights following the opening two rounds in Pietermaritzburg, RSA and Cairns, AUS.

Pedalling in the groove she netted a ninth and then followed up with a silver medal ride. With five more World Cup rounds remaining, the Canadian champion from Ontario looks to stay atop the World Cup XC scene.

Video: Brook Macdonald in Cairns: Rainforest meets the sea

Epic trails, fast lines, snakes, spiders and waterfalls.
Off the back of the UCI World Cup in Cairns New Zealand ripper and all-around nice guy Brook Macdonald headed off to explore some of the lesser-known local terrain. What he found, besides the snakes, spiders and all things deadly? Some epic lines that stretch right down from the rainforest to the sea. For more epic spots in Australia’s north check out ridecairns.com.

Video: This Is Peaty Returns With Series 3

“He’s one of the best at what he does, so why change him?”

Over the course of Peaty’s career, winters spent with Adella Carter and the Sheffield Hallam team have proved vital in his long and illustrious career.

TiPBarcelonaDay6-8966

TiPBarcelonaDay5-7785 (1)

TiPBarcelonaDay3-7120

TiPBarcelonaDay2-6583

TiPBarcelonaDay1-6293

Pietermaritzburg-Finals-7035

Getting time of the DH bike is always tough with such a busy schedule and other commitments, so starting off the season with a trip to Barcelona to catch up with Ivan Oulego for his annual race was rad. David Vasquez, our UCI World Cup delegate and part time tour guide took us to some of the best trails Barcelona had to offer and after two days of smashing laps with Bernat Guardia and co, everyone was psyched.

At the Oulego race the sun was out and so were the fans in their thousands… With a short, fast track times were always going to be tight and come race day it came down to a tight finish with Bernat pipping Steve to the top step… but a solid result on a dustry dry track coming into PMB.

Winter Dual and the local Sheffield scene has been another vital ingredient in keeping Peaty young and having fun during the dark winter months. Racing Rum anyone?

TiPDual-8951-2

It’s the final stop at PMB for the foreseeable future, with the Syndicate looking to make their mark on the 2014 season

Did things work out? Find out and more in Episode 1 of This Is Peaty – Season 3.

Racing: Three days, four stages of racing at elite and grassroots level, in sunny Alice Springs

Having lived in Alice Springs, in Central Australia, for three and a half years now, I’m widely considered a local, though I think of myself as ‘a Kiwi import’. Either way, I’ve been riding the red singletrack on the outskirts of town for long enough to feel quite at home on that techy Alice Springs singletrack, with its loose corners and sharp rocks.

I’ve also been riding seriously for about the same length of time that the Lasseters Easter in the Alice Mountain Bike Muster has been running. Formerly known as ‘the Easter Muster,’ this club-run three-day four-stage event has been growing steadily over the past four years. Put on by my local mountain bike club, the Central Australian Rough Riders (CARR), the Lasseters Easter in the Alice is a grassroots event that hit the big time this year, gathering momentum and support from the wider community in equal proportions.

This year’s Lasseters Easter in the Alice broke records left right and centre for CARR. It attracted the highest number of entries for a CARR club event (97, which ain’t bad for a town of 28,000), and over 40 of those were interstate entries – another record down the gurgler. For me, it was a buzz to see my local riding scene and our tracks afresh through our visitors’ eyes. Race director John Pyper was thrilled too: ‘I just wanted to make an event for that would cater for everyone, so everyone can come to Alice Springs and ride and have a good time.’

JP and his fellow event organisers at CARR are all about big vision, and they know what they’re about. Taking a ‘let’s make this event awesome for everyone!’ approach, they’ve created a locally-run club event with tonnes of slick, pro-like luxury details and a friendly, low-key vibe.

Though there was plenty of hard racing up at the sharp end this year, with a very healthy front pack keeping the competition close, the interstaters I talked to compared Lasseters Easter in the Alice to a hard but chilled outing with their local crew. So while the Lasseters Easter in the Alice event has grown, at heart it has stayed very much the same.

And that’s just the way we like it here in the Red Centre.

Meet your new crew

IMG_0218
The Alice Springs Desert Park start line, with the McDonnell Range in the background.

Sure, in a climate this dry, there’s always going to be plenty of trips to the little boys and girls rooms before a stage start, but there was very little talk of ‘going for a nervous’. The vibe at the Lasseters Easter in the Alice was so low-key most of us set our bike computers to ‘cruise control’ and left it at that.

The Alice Springs special

IMG_9948

Did somebody order a huge helping of red singletrack under clear blue skies, with a side of rocks, sand and toasty temps, hold the thorns?

IMG_0009

Rain the week before Easter bedded in the tracks and left the Red Centre greener than anyone could remember.

A family affair

IMG_9543
Ben Gooley at the Stage 1 start line, inside the Alice Springs Convention Centre.

Local lad Ben Gooley’s exuberant enthusiasm for riding is legendary. We had to call on Ben’s wife Anita and daughter Olivia to help keep Ben at the start line as we waited for the starter horn in the Stage One NT Government Individual Time Trial.

Easter174
Interstate Junior Damon Dawes (U13) just ate up the kays.

There were a fair number of younger riders sporting race plates too. Race director JP thoughtfully re-directed these budding Jason Englishes and Jessica Douglases to shorter ‘Junior’ courses, to save us regular folk the embarrassment of being passed by a young whippet.

Kirrily_Whitehead_MG_8039_01
The Dusty Demons Easter Sunday Kids Ride

The Red Centre at night

Easter235
Courtney Shinn chases down Russell Bryant, with Mt Gillen silhouetted behind.

Night stages always seem to divide visitors from regular Alice yahoo-ers – here in Alice Springs, riding at night is not the after-work-in-winter, cold, muddy mountain bike drudgery it is on the coast.

Gary I’m-here-so-often-I’m-practically-a-local Harwood (right) putting the pressure on East Coaster Mike Blewitt.
Gary I’m-here-so-often-I’m-practically-a-local Harwood (right) putting the pressure on East Coaster Mike Blewitt.

Bunnies galore!

We kicked off Easter Sunday with a casual cruise through town to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, everyone fully kitted out in race regalia and bunny ears, for a Welcome to Country by Lhere Artepe Tribal Elders.

Easter301
Long-eared racer Ron Guascoine in the Bunny Procession to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
Kirrily_Whitehead_MG_7903
Welcome to Country by Lhere Artepe Tribal Elders.

After that, it was all on, with the second starter horn sending us out across the Todd River, over the newly opened Alice Springs Mountain Bike Trails network and then out to Emily Gap and back – around 45km, and mostly singletrack. Phew!

Easter380
What’s this wet stuff in the riverbed?

 Go faaaaaaaat!

IMG_0113
The Fat-Tyre Flyers: in a class of their own…

Put two fatbikers into a crowed room and what do you have? A secret club, that’s what.

With a growing population of fatbikers in Alice Springs, the Fat-Tyre Flyers category was inevitable.

The fatbike battalion spent most of the weekend posing for the camera, and parking their bikes in prominent places and revelling in the attention their bikes earned them.

But those fatties sure held their own when they did head out for a burl. So we sent them off on their own fabike course in the Subway Mt Gillen Eggcellent Stage Three. Think sand, sand and more sand – they loved it!

Easter359
Fatbike poseur Chris Turnbull, waiting to cross the Todd River.

The 87km Bunny Buster

The Stage Four Lasseters Bunny Buster was aptly named. That loose and sharp Alice Springs terrain, together with the warmer Central Australian desert temps, really cranked it on, making the 87km course one hell of a challenge!

Ray Neill putting some hard-earned cash in the pain box (AKA Stage 4).
Ray Neill putting some hard-earned cash in the pain box (AKA Stage 4).

I’ve heard it said that ‘winners are grinners,’ but here in the Territory, it’s the grinners who are the real winners, and we had plenty of those at the 2014 Lasseters Easter in the Alice. Roll on Easter 2015!

IMG_0033
Fix that grin in place – hit the Red Centre singletrack with CARR in the Lasseters Easter in the Alice!
IMG_9915
Grinners like milkshake-maker Will Levy are the real winners in the Lasseters Easter in the Alice!

Wanna get your red singletrack fix at next year’s Lasseters Easter in the Alice? Results for this year and more info on next year’s event at www.easterinthealice.wordpress.com.

 

Racing: Wallace and Fay crowned Real Insurance XCM series champions

Canada’s Cory Wallace and Irish national marathon champion Jenny Fay have taken out the 2014 Real Insurance Cross Country Marathon Series following an exciting conclusion to the series at the weekend.

Both Fay and Wallace capped off standout series’, clinching victory in the final round’s Convict 100 in St Albans.

In the men’s series, former Canadian national champion Wallace had a consistent series which included taking out round three’s Wombat 100 and a runner up place in round four’s Tablelands Classic.

Wallace finished the series on 225 points, just 20 points ahead of round one winner Adrian Jackson (205.5 points) while Shaun Lewis (184.5 points) finished third overall, 40.5 points behind Wallace.

After winning round two in Mt Joyce and round four’s Tablelands Classic, Fay took out the series on 248 points, 17 points ahead of national marathon champion Melissa Anset (231 points). Sarah Riley (185 points) rounded out the podium, 63 points in arrears.

Runner up Anset also had a stellar season, finishing on the podium in all four events she competed in, including claiming top spot in both the High Country Classic and Wombat 100.

 

 

Cairns 2014: Crashing, a videographer and photographer’s view

Standing on the side of a World Cup downhill track is insane. The speeds riders go and how on edge they are means that at times we are centimetres away from disaster.

Here are two points of view from Michael McClean (the unfortunate one) and Damian Breach (the fortunate one) as MS Mondraker’s Markus Pekoll lost a bit of control.

We’re happy to report that Michael is doing fine but his camera was a little worse off.

Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-1Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-2Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-3Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-4Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-5Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-6Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-7Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-8Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-9Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-10Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-11Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-12Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-13Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-14Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-15Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-16Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-17Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-18

Cairns 2014: Crashing, a videographer and photographer's view

Standing on the side of a World Cup downhill track is insane. The speeds riders go and how on edge they are means that at times we are centimetres away from disaster.

Here are two points of view from Michael McClean (the unfortunate one) and Damian Breach (the fortunate one) as MS Mondraker’s Markus Pekoll lost a bit of control.

We’re happy to report that Michael is doing fine but his camera was a little worse off.

Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-1Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-2Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-3Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-4Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-5Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-6Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-7Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-8Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-9Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-10Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-11Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-12Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-13Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-14Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-15Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-16Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-17Cairns_WC_DH_Crash-18

The Guts Behind The Glory: Eddie Masters

All work and no play makes Eddie a dull boy and that just wouldn’t be right for this Kiwi pinner.
Parental advisory – contains swearing and explicit language.
Fun-loving is just one of many ways to describe Eddie Masters. The flamboyant New Zealander appears to take nothing too seriously, but that shouldn’t distract from his talent on the bike.
After picking up some encouraging results as a privateer over the past couple of years, including a 26th place at Val di Sole last year, Eddie was picked up by the Bergamont Hayes World Downhill Team to race on the 2014 World Cup circuit alongside teammates Canada’s Casey Brown and Aussie Jack Moir.

In what proved to be his best weekend yet on the World Cup, we caught up with Eddie in Cairns to find out more about his philosophy on racing mountain bikes and life.

Fresh Product: SRAM X1, Eleven Speed on a Budget

From SRAM X1 comes the integrated drivetrain engineered in Germany for every rider and every trail. The simple, smart and synchronized design delivers confidence in the face of any terrain—from cross-country racing to all-mountain adventure. With our super-wide 10-42 gear range and multiple chain ring options, it’s the universal drivetrain for experienced or new-to-the-trail riders. Featuring our X-SYNC™ chain rings, optimized MINI CLUSTER™ cassette and dependable X-HORIZON™ rear derailleur, X1 puts the power of the SRAM 1X philosophy into every ride. SRAM X1. LIMITLESS.

[embedvideo id=”http://youtu.be/hf6lV_KpQIA” website=”youtube”]

SRAM_MTB_X1_RD_Black_M

SRAM X1 CRANK Quality and durability combine in the SRAM X1 crankset to deliver consistent performance every time out. Featuring SRAM’s X-SYNC™ tooth profile, the X1 crankset is engineered for complete chain control. Each tooth’s thickness is CNC-machined to work seamlessly with the chain’s inner and outer links. And with five available chain rings (30-32-34-36-38), you can personalize your gear range to match the way you ride. SRAM X1 1400 CRANK

  • X-SYNC™ tooth profile provides maximum chain control
  • Hollow forged aluminum arms with forged aluminum spider
  • Chain ring guard option
  • CNC- X-SYNC™ machined rings (30-32-34-36-38)
  • Colors: Black, Red
  • Weight: 800g (GXP, 175mm, 32t)
  • AUS RRP from $349 plus BB

SRAM_MTB_X1_Crank_1400_Black_M

SRAM X1 1200 CRANK

  • X-SYNC™ tooth profile provides maximum chain control
  • 7000 series forged aluminum arms
  • CNC- X-SYNC™ machined rings (30-32-34-36-38)
  • Weight: 830g (GXP, 175mm, 32t)

SRAM_MTB_X1_Crank_1200_Black_M

SRAM X1 1000 CRANK

  • X-SYNC™ tooth profile provides maximum chain control
  • 6000 series forged aluminum arms
  • CNC- X-SYNC™ machined rings (30-32-34-36-38)
  • Fat bike crank option (GXP and 30-32 X-SYNC™ rings only)
  • Weight: 850g (GXP, 175mm, 32t)
  • AUS RRP from $239 plus BB

SRAM_MTB_X1_Crank_1000_Black_M

X-SYNC™ CHAIN RINGS The X-SYNC™ narrow-wide chain ring delivers complete control. Tall, square teeth, rounded chamfers and a thick-thin tooth geometry combine to engage the chain earlier—and never let it go. With multiple ring options available, you can match your gear range to your terrain, wheel size and riding style. And recesses at the base of the teeth get rid of mud so the chain remains in place no matter what conditions you’re up against.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • X-SYNC™ tall, square tooth design provides maximum chain control
  • Sharp, narrow tooth profile and rounded chamfer edges help manage a deflected chain
  • 30-, 32-, 34-, 36- or 38-tooth single ring
  • CNC-machined 7075, two-tone anodize
  • Mud-clearing recesses for the inner chain links and rollers
  • An integral component of the SRAM 1X™ drivetrain

SRAM X1 X-HORIZON™ Rear Derailleur Every detail of the 11-speed X1 X-HORIZON™ rear derailleur is engineered for smooth, reliable shifting action—from the larger upper pulley offset to the 12-tooth X-SYNC™ pulley wheels. By eliminating unwanted chain movement, X-HORIZON™ shifts faster, puts an end to ghost shifting and reduces shift force and chain slap. And with CAGE LOCK™ technology, wheel removal and installation are easier than ever.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • Large upper pulley offset automatically adjusts chain gap
  • X-HORIZON™ design reduces shift force, ghost shifting and chain slap
  • 12-tooth X-SYNC™ pulley wheels
  • Aluminum Cage
  • Sealed cartridge bearings
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 256g
  • AUS RRP $279

SRAM_MTB_X1_RD_Black_M

SRAM XG-1180 MINI CLUSTER™ Cassette The XG-1180 MINI CLUSTER™ hybrid cassette is light, durable and equipped with a 10-42 gear range that’s a perfect fit for any ride. MINI CLUSTER™ construction combines three small cogs that are CNC-machined out of a single block of billet steel with an additional eight cogs that are individually pinned together. The XG-1180 delivers SRAM’s trusted cassette design at a great value for every rider.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • 11-speeds (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42)
  • XD™ Driver Body creates more stable hub connection
  • Optimized gear steps across entire range
  • Weight: 315g
  • AUS RRP $379

SRAM_MTB_X1_Cassette_M

SRAM X1 X-ACTUATION™ Trigger Shifter Put your finger on the pulse of sharp, dependable shifting with the SRAM X1 X-ACTUATION™ trigger shifter. Built for precise and swift shifting across our wide range 11-speed cassette, the X1 trigger shifter brings championship technology to every ride.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • SRAM 1X™ X-ACTUATION™ for precise and dependable 11-speed performance
  • Zero Loss Engagement for fastest shifting
  • MatchMaker X compatible
  • Aluminum cover and forged aluminum pull lever
  • Discrete clamp
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 121g (w/o clamp)
  • AUS RRP $99

SRAM_MTB_X1_Shifter_Black_M

XD™ driver body The XD™ driver body lets you take full advantage of the power and range of your SRAM cassette. The improved interface offers a tighter cassette-to-driver-body fit. With the XD™ driver body, SRAM has established a single universal mounting system for cogs with less than 11 teeth.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • Driver body design that lets riders tap into the power and range of the SRAM cassette with a 10-tooth small cog
  • Provides a more stable hub connection
  • XD™ Driver Body is 6-8g lighter

PC-X1 Chain The PC-X1 chain comes from a long line of dependable, lightweight chains that are built for toughness. Designed with SRAM’s trusted XX1 geometry, the PC-X1 features solid pin construction, 11-speed PowerLock™ and smooth, efficient shifting that you can count on every time out.   FEATURES/BENEFITS

  • New 1X™ specific chain designed with our XX1 geometry
  • Solid pin construction
  • 11-speed PowerLock™
  • Weight: 258g (114 links)
  • X1 Technologies
  • AUS RRP $47.95
  • SRAM_MTB_X1_Chain_M

Video: Huayhuash, an Andes Adventure.

This was all a spur of the moment idea; part of the vicious cycle of making every adventure more thrilling than the last. January was the off-season, or rainy season, for the Andes so the wilderness would be completely desolate. The three friends hoped to be the second group to complete this trek on bikes. However, they underestimated the relentless weather they would encounter as they traveled for a week above treeline.

Huayhuash from Joey Schusler on Vimeo.

The friends tagged first descents down rocky couloirs and 16,000ft passes, watched sunrises against the tallest peaks in the country, and slept to the sounds of serac fall at night.

In the end, they didn’t quite make it as far as they had hoped. Between rain storms, concussions and waving guns the Huayhuash had ripped at their eager ambitions. A sense of wonder was fulfilled and the friendship of three adventure loving friends was reinforced. Huayhuash is the story of genuine adventure and the challenges that come along with it.