Yeah, we know. We post up every video that Chris Akrigg makes. And we talk about him a lot. We’ve kind of got a bit of a man crush on him. But seriously, when everything this guys does on a bike is this freaking incredible, why wouldn’t you worship him?
The second round of the Flow Rollercoaster gravity enduro series was held last weekend at the Kempsey golf club’s purpose built enduro trails, located in the Kalatenee State Forest on the NSW north coast. The race incorporated two runs, with the trails being between five and seven minutes long.
The first trail, ‘Big daddy’, flowed the whole way down the mountain. At the top, washed out switchbacks forced riders to concentrate on their lines, in the middle section there was high speed berms and jumps, and towards the end pedalling was vital in ensuring a good time. Most riders came down somewhere between five and six minutes for this stage. Overall winner of elite mens Jon Odams won this stage, smashing the 2.5 km track in just five minutes and one second!
After the descent of the first stage, riders again climbed to the top of the trails, this time to face the second trail of the day, Chewbacca.
Living up to its fearsome name, Chewbacca started with a very rocky pedal, which opened up into a steep and fast section with some jumps thrown in for the hell of it. This was an absolute handful after over 100 riders had ridden the trails to dust- as the previously meticulously placed rocks had scattered everywhere! Following this section, riders were treated to an insanely fun motorway section, with 4 doubles laid out over the space of around 200 metres. Whilst this was the A-line, a number of riders chose to pedal flat out through this section.
After these initial high speeds the pain began, with a couple of minutes of pedalling flat out through twisty singletrack. Despite this, the trails were awesome, very flowy and fast.
Chewbacca finished with a short uphill burst followed by a steep descent, where a couple of gap jumps gave the braver riders a big time advantage. Jon Odams again dominated this stage with a staggering time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
The podiums for respective categories were as follows:
Jarsolav Khulhavy has added another title to a list that must now be almost as long as his seat post, claiming the win at the Marathon World Champs in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In the women’s, it was Dane Annika Langvad who claimed the XCM World Champ jersey once again.
Australia’s Andy Blair rode to 42nd, while in the women’s ‘Aussie’ Jenny Fay was just outside the top 10 in 12th and Melissa Anset grabbed an impressive 16th.
Full race reports below courtesy of mtbworldchamps.co.za and results here: Men / Women
2012 Olympic gold medallist and Czech mountain biking star Jaroslav Kulhavy added the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships title to his list of international titles when he powered to an emphatic win at a sun soaked Cascades MTB Park on Sunday.
“I am very happy because it was the last title that I didn’t have and really wanted to get.”
Kulhavy was satisfied with the way his race had gone and being able to tick off the marathon world title was something that he was relieved to be able to do and he explained his satisfaction following a disappointing season thus far.
“I am very happy because it was the last title that I didn’t have and really wanted to get. Today was a big day for me and I was really satisfied because this season hasn’t been that good for me. I was injured and had a lot of technical problems at cross country races so it was really satisfying to win today.
The race was characterised by the constant changing of positions as the riders jostled for position in an attempt to get close to Kulhavy but the Specialized Racing rider showed good form to stave off the attacks and claim his maiden marathon world championships title.
The chopping and changing resulted in an enthralling race but following a break from the Czech star after the fifth check point and he put the hammer down as the rest of the field were unable to match his power over the second half of the course.
“It all went to plan today even though the race was really hard,” Kulhavy said following his win. “I decided to attack after the fifth feed zone on the downhill and got a minute gap. I pushed hard to the finish after that and didn’t look back.”
Following a slow start second place finisher Alban Lakata patiently manoeuvred his way through the field and established himself at the front of the field towards the end of the race. The Austrian star appreciated the performance from Kulhavy and admitted that the winner was in a class of his own.
“He (Kulhavy) was unbeatable today,” Lakata admitted. “Getting second behind the Olympic champion and ahead of a three-time World Champion, Christoph Sauser, is a great thing for me and I have now got three silver medals and one gold but I am happy about my race today. “I didn’t have any serious mechanicals besides a twisted chain which only cost me a few seconds so it didn’t make any difference in the end.”
The race had its fair share of drama as defending World Champion Christoph Sauser suffered a substantial mechanical which cost him a chunk of time and effectively ended his bid to defend his title but he proceeded to work his way back up the field to finish in third.
“First of all congratulations to Jaroslav, it was an awesome ride from him and he showed his form at Euro’s two weeks ago.
“It was all good today until the portage section of the course and I was on and off the bike the whole time and when I was carrying my bike and hit a rock with my chain ring and it took me forever to get it back working,” Sauser explained.
“The best way to describe would be a cross country race of 90 minutes with three hours bolted onto the end, that’s how hard these guys go out at the start”
The South African charge was led by two-time South African marathon champion James Reid who ended 17th overall when he crossed the line ahead of fellow South African star Rourke Croeser. Reid was quick to describe the challenge of racing against the best riders in the world.
“It was brutal out there; it was a straight out sufferfest from the gun. I didn’t have a great grid position but I managed to get into the top 10 in the first three kilometres which was about the highlight. “The guys in the top 10 are in a different league and if you try and go with them you are going to be a firework, which I just avoided,” a relieved Reid mentioned.
Taking part in a world class event on home soil was something that Reid knew was going to work in his favour and having raced the national championships at the same venue a few weeks prior to Sunday he had a good idea of what to expect.
“It wasn’t the most ideal build up but considering we raced this track two weeks ago it was solid.
“The best way to describe would be a cross country race of 90 minutes with three hours bolted onto the end, that’s how hard these guys go out at the start,” the Trek SA rider added.
Denmark’s Annika Langvad wrapped up a hat-trick of women’s world titles at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday entrenching her status as one of the best female endurance mountain bikers in the world.
The result was especially pleasing for the Dane who came to South Africa putting a lot of pressure on herself to win.
“This win is just awesome!” Langvad said afterwards. “My previous two wins I wasn’t really expecting at all but this time I knew I could win and so I put a bit more pressure on myself around so to have come here and got the win despite that little bit of added pressure, is really pleasing!”
“I didn’t expect to win so comfortably in the end though!” she added excitedly.
Familiar with the local conditions having raced in South Africa previously, Langvad looked to stamp her authority on proceedings early on, especially after the non-participation due to illness by Great Britain’s Sally Bigham and early withdrawal by fellow title hopeful Milena Landtwing. It took Langvad until just after the first tech zone to make her decisive move and her lead was soon a significant one.
” I managed to get into a rhythm and just keep pushing and all of a sudden the 74km actually counted down quite quickly!”
“I think riding a full suspension made things a lot easier for me with this terrain and allowed me to recover a lot more,” she explained.
“I also did the Cape Epic, an extremely hard stage race, leading up to World Champs and I came here today in a very similar mood to my Cape Epic mood so I managed to get into a rhythm and just keep pushing and all of a sudden the 74km actually counted down quite quickly!”
“As I got closer to the finish line and I got told I had a good gap, I just said to myself ‘Okay, no mistakes now. Just get down safely and you’ve got the World Championships title again!’ and it was just amazing! I loved every minute of it!”
Germany’s vastly experienced Sabine Spitz showed her pedigree once more as she overcame the rest of the world class field to clinch second place while recently crowned European Champion Tereza Hurikova finished third.
“Early on I tried to go to front so I could keep the speed high because I’ve been involved in two crashes before when the speed was too slow but then Annika made her move between tech zone 1 and 2 and once she opened up a gap it just continued to grow and grow and grow!” said Spitz with a wry grin.
“Annika was just stronger than me, you have to accept just it when someone is stronger than you and she is a deserved World Champion!” she added gracefully. The renowned competitor also had some high praise for Nick Floros’ widely anticipated course.
“I really liked the course! My first impression of the course when I got here on Monday was very good and it didn’t change at any stage.
“It was different to the marathon courses we get in Europe where you ride mainly on gravel and can be quite boring. Here the landscape was so different and the course was just great!” said Spitz.
With the podium in a class of their own, 40-year-old legend of the sport Esther Süss and fellow Swiss star Arian Kleinhans – who now calls Stellenbosch home after marrying South African Erik Kleinhans – were left to battle it out for the remaining top five positions.
South African national marathon champ Robyn de Groot had the ride of her life as she compiled her solid sixth place yielding effort while birthday girl Jeannie Dreyer finished eighth and was the second local lass across the line.
From the comfort of the couch, the final sprint of a road race looks like a reasonably civilised affair. But inside the bunch it’s a completely different story. With the Tour de France coming up soon, we thought it was a good time to share this video to show you how completely mental the final few kays of a road race can be from a rider’s perspective.
Make sure you watch till the end to see Peter Sagan pull off the most incredible inside line on the final corner – you can literally hear his tyres squealing as he drifts over the road markings at 60km/h.
Is this be the next evolution of tubeless? A system that allows more traction than ever before, but without the risk of burped air, snake bites or tubeless tyres rolling off the rim? Or is this complication we don’t need, especially with the new generation of super wide rims?
Schwalbe have finally given us a look inside the belly of their new ‘dual chamber’ tyre system, Procore. We’ve know about the existence of this system for some time, especially since riders on the World Cup circuit began riding around on bike with two vales on each rim, but the exact particulars haven’t been known until now.
The system is actually a collaboration between Schwalbe and Syntace; both companies had been working on the concept independently but have pooled their knowledge and resources to bring this project to fruition.
So what’s it all about? Procore is ultimately aimed at allowing riders to run lower pressures for a smoother and grippier ride, at the same time as nullifying the risks of either a puncture or rolling the tyre off the rim.
The way it works is actually pretty simple. Procore is a high-pressure, secondary air chamber that is located inside a standard tubeless tyre. This chamber is run at between 55-85psi and serves a few purposes; it provides an extra layer of protection against punctures, it help protect the rims from damage normally associated with running lower pressures, and it helps lock the tyre to the rim protecting against any risk of rolling or burping the tyre. Furthermore, should you still somehow get a flat, Procore offer an emergency ‘backup’ keeping some pressure in the tyre.
In testing, Schwalbe claim that riders have been running pressures as low as 14psi without issue, and relishing in the extra grip and control this provides. That’s an impressively low figure, though not that much lower than some riders are currently achieving using a standard tubeless setup on a super wide rim.
Schwalbe claim the system will only add 200g to a conventional tubeless setup, and that some of this weight will be offset by the ability to run lighter tyres than in the past. Until Eurobike, we won’t know further details about compatibility or pricing. We’re certainly intrigued – it’s a cool concept, but is it more complex than your average rider will accept? We can definitely see it appealing to racers, and perhaps that’s where this technology is primarily aimed. In that vein, Nico Lau, Sam Hill and Emmeline Ragot have all had success on the Procore system already, so it clearly works at the highest level of competition.
The Milkmaid is located in Wooroi National Park, just outside Noosa in Queensland. Cheers to the local crew for sending this edit over. Have you got a cool local video to share with us? Get in touch via Facebook and let us know.
Avanti have just given us a look at their 2015 range, highlighted by a revised Torrent series, which we’re very excited about. We’ve ridden a number of evolutions of the Torrent in past years – including the 2014 Torrent 2 recently – and we’ve always found them to be remarkably smooth bike with well-sorted geometry and faultless construction.
In 2015 Avanti have given the Torrent series a number of revisions. Firstly, travel has been boosted across the line-up, with 150mm front and rear now. With the travel increase also comes a slacker head angle (66.5 degrees) and a 5mm longer top tube. All these tweaks should make an already superb descender even better.
But even more interesting is the introduction of carbon to the Torrent range, with two carbon ‘CS’ models, plus a carbon frameset option. Unfortunately Avanti didn’t have a Torrent CS 7.1 on hand for us to check out, but we got a good grasp of what the range-topping Torrent CS 7.2 is all about, and also had a look at two ‘S’ series alloy-framed Torrents.
Below are some of our initial impressions and observations about the Torrent range. We hope to have one on test very soon!
Torrent S 7.1 $2799
Torrent S 7.2 3699
Torrent CS 7.1 $4499
Torrent CS 7.2 $5499
For the two CS models, a carbon front end is paired to an aluminium rear, and the mainframe looks fantastic, very beefy through the down tube, with a PF30 bottom bracket shell and Syntace X12 rear axle. Frame stiffness was a highlight of the Avanti Ridgeline we tested recently, and the new carbon Torrent follows a very similar construction by the looks of it. We don’t have a figure for the frame weight, but the complete CS 7.2 weighs in at just over 13kg.
Avanti have continued to utilise their Tru-4 suspenion system, which is a proper four-bar configuration, using a chain stay pivot very close to the drop out. This should ensure very little pedal feedback and a very active suspension feel.
While both CS carbon models are equipped with FOX CTD Evolutions series shocks, the alloy framed S 7.1 and S 7.2 get a Rockshox Monarch RT rear shock. Interestingly, the Torrent frameset gets a shock upgrade, with a Kashima FOX Factory shock.
In terms of the forks, it’s a mixed bag: the CS 7.2 gets a 34mm FOX CTD Evolution series fork, while the CS 7.1 gets the same fork in a slimmer 32mm format. Brent Burrows, Avanti’s mountain bike product manager, explained that he felt there is a market of riders who want longer travel but don’t need or want the extra beef of a 34 fork.
On the alloy Torrents, Marzocchi and X-Fusion are represented. These aren’t forks we see all that often, but they look great, the Marzocchi 350CR in particular. The X-Fusion Sweep fork on the Torrent S 7.1 is also highly acclaimed, and we’re looking forward to actually giving one of these a ride!
Dropper post routing can be run internally ‘stealth’ style (perfect for X-Fusion Hi-Lo post on the Torrent CS 7.2) or through the top tube, popping out just before the seat tube junction for posts that have external actuation. Only S 7.1 misses out on a dropper.
On the carbon CS models, any unused cable ports (for instance, if you decide to run a single chain ring) can be fitted with the supplied ‘blanks’ to keep the frame neat and smooth.
In keeping with the push towards wider rims, the Torrent range comes with fatter hoops, with wide-ish DT1700 wheels on the CS 7.2, DT1900s on the CS 7.1 and Mavic 421 hoops on the S 7.2
Kenda Honey Badger tyres feature across the whole range. These gummy treads are quite low-profile with a 2.2” width. The CS 7.2 scores the new Kenda SCT tubeless-ready rubber, for easy tubeless conversion.
All the Torrents feature multiple chain rings, bucking the 1x trend. Brent Burrows explained that he feels 1x is too limiting for the average rider, with a 2x system suiting most. The cheaper S 7.1 actually gets a triple chain ring for maximum versatility. However, going to a 1x system on CS 7.2 is pretty easy, as the new e13 TRS+ cranks can easily be converted to run the new spline-mount e13 narrow/wide chain ring.
The Torrent CS framset is a hot looking piece of kit. Included in the package is a headset and the new X-Fusion HILO Strate dropper post with 125mm of adjustment.
Unfortunately a test ride of these bikes wasn’t on the cards today, but we’re hoping to secure a Torrent for a few weeks on our home turf soon. Stay tuned!
Merriman and English win race elite titles, Richardson takes over series lead at Ourimbah
Four-time World Enduro Motor Cross Champion Stefan Merriman took out the four-hour Elite Men’s race at the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix (MTB GP) near Wyong on the weekend, winning against series leader Paris Basson. With 14 completed laps Jason English won the seven-hour competition ahead of Andrew Lloyd and Max Richardson from Wamberal, who takes over the reigns as new series leader in that division. In the women’s competition, Lana Moy further increases her series lead in the four-hour event, whilst Kirby Knowles held onto her seven-hour series lead finishing second behind a dominant Laura Renshaw, the Elite Women’s winner of round three.
The depth of field was impressive as almost 350 riders gathered at the start line at Ourimbah MTB Park for the third round of the SHIMANO Mountain Bike Grand Prix Series. Multiple National Champions and the 24-Hour World Champion Jason English were at the start line, as well as one of Australia’s biggest names in motor cross racing: Stefan Merriman. After a win in the 40+ master category in round one with Rocky Trail earlier this year at Awaba, the 41-year old from Port Stephens showed that his talent for two-wheeled sports also extends into mountain biking and won in the elite male category with 8 laps completed in 4:01:13, putting none other than series leader Paris Basson in second ahead of Qantum racer Michal Kafka who came third.
The race track at Ourimbah MTB Park was just over 10 km long and regarded as the toughest one in the series yet. With its fast descents, tight corners and rocky climbs it is under the guard of the Central Coast Ourimbah MTB Club and one of Sydney’s oldest and most popular mountain bike trail networks.
Richardson new local series leader
The new SHIMANO MTB GP series leader in the seven hour competition is Max Richardson. With 13 laps in 7:09:27 the 21-year old from Wamberal claimed the third place behind Quantum Racer Andrew Lloyd from Newcastle and race winner Jason English, the multiple 24-Hour Solo World Champion from Port Macquarie and only solo racer who completed 14 laps on the day.
“This was a tough and long lap – with such a huge field the guys from Rocky Trail included a lot of sections we don’t normally race to increase the length to over 10km. That played with my legs and with my head – I wasn’t used to it,” said Max Richardson who was happy that his top-placing on his home track resulted in the series lead.
In second, by 26 points is Newcastle’s up and coming mountain bike marathon and endurance racer, Andrew Lloyd. Right from the start he was in for a tight battle with Jason English who was able to break away towards the end, taking on the challenge from his student Billy Sewell and team mate Tristan Ward for the overall race win and line-honours. “For English to hang onto us as a two-man team is just phenomenal”, said National World Cup team racer Ward, who secured the overall race win at Ourimbah for his team on the last lap.
In the women’s seven hour race Laura Renshaw from Newcastle won the Elite category and the overall women’s line honours went to Meredith Quinlan from Sydney who completed 10 laps in 7:20:36 and won the master category.
The SHIMANO MTB Grand Prix round will take the Rocky Trail racers to The Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan near Campbelltown on 9 August 2014. The next cross-country endurance race by Rocky Trail will be held at James Estate Winery with the JetBlack 12 Hour race on 12 July in the Upper Hunter Valley.
The crew from the most excellent Kiwi publication and website, Spoke, recently made the journey to Melrose to soak up the good vibes of the Fat Tyre Festival. It was the third time they’ve made the trip to this tiny South Australian town, and that tells you something. The Melrose Fat Tyre Festival is unlike any other mountain bike event in the country, and this video captures what the FTF is all about perfectly.
This year, Queenstown-based freeride legend Kelly McGarry was there too, getting right into the swing of Melrose life. We can’t wait to get back there…
It has been a busy few weeks since the last EWS round in Scotland. I have been on the road with Trek World Racing helping the Downhill guys go fast at the World Cups. Coming from Leogang, Austria I was excited to get back into my own racing after watching fellow Kiwi riders Brook Macdonald and George Brannigan both step onto the podium. I learnt a lot from being on the sideline of the Downhill World Cup and much of it I wanted to apply to the French round of the EWS in Valloire.
Road tripping from Leogang to Valloire was a combination of Italian espresso stops and epic photo opportunities via Mount Blanc. Caffeinated and well rested I was ready for a big weekend in the mountains.
Back to the French format of racing, 1 practice run and then into the racing, there is no advantage here with this format, everyone races at the same level.
Course walk Friday revealed we would be racing on virgin courses, a lot of which was raw rock, totally natural forest sections and in some places the grass had been freshly cut in the last week. Back to the French format of racing, 1 practice run and then into the racing, there is no advantage here with this format, everyone races at the same level.
Race day one:
Stage 1 was a rocky start to a mixture of fast sections, climbs and an epic wooded section. My Carbon Trek Remedy 29er was feeling good on the terrain and after my practice run I was too. Into the stage race and I had a good smooth run to start the weekend coming in 3rd. My confidence was high and with the time gap to first I knew I had it in the tank for the next stage. A few odd chain noises in my run and some skipping in the gears revealed I had a mashed a link on a loose rock, on with a fresh chain for the next stage.
Stage 2 and this stage was to be raced twice today. This course was the longest, mostrocky and physically demanding of the weekend. It had a unique start straight into a short snow section, which with the hot weather was rapidly melting and getting some big ruts in it. A lot of riders would hit the snow and in the blink of an eye their front wheel was swallowed and over the bars they went. This lead straight into a technical uphill which could cost you anywhere from 10-20 seconds depending which card you were dealt. I had a strategy for the section; hit it fast, be aggressive and brace for what ever happens next. It seemed to work well and I flew through. I knew the first challenge over and now it was a matter of keeping the intensity up. The run was going good but I was riding too aggressive for this style of course. I wasted some energy in a few seat of my pants moments and saving myself from cartwheeling down the hill, however I crossed the finish line and managed my first stage win. That was a pretty awesome feeling! I have known for a while I could win a stage but to do it finally was a great.
I had a strategy for the section; hit it fast, be aggressive and brace for whatever happens next.
Having just raced stage 2 and going up to repeat it for stage 3 I said to my mechanic and team manger that I was going to tidy up my run and settle down a bit. Slow down to go faster! I was at the top a little earlier for this stage so I decided to walk down to the snow and check out how it was looking in the plus 30 degree heat. The ruts had doubled in width and depth. My strategy from before needed reviewing, so I found the deepest rut which looked the most solid underneath. I planned on hitting it smooth and a touch slower to make sure I wasn’t pulled off my bike. As I dropped in I setup wide to get straight on to the rut and held my breath, the big wheels just flew through the rut. I passed the section clean once again then focused to nail the rest of the epic run. By backing off just a little and focusing on a clean ride through the sections that caught me out before I could feel the time I was making on my previous run. Smooth pedal strokes, some big efforts from the legs and I crossed the line to put in one of the best runs I could of asked for. Another stage win! I was on a high, I lead after the first day with just over 30 seconds advantage. What a day!
Race Day two:
So it seemed the previous days riding had taken its toll on my bike I needed a set of pedals, new chain, derailuer and a tire change. My wheels now resembled eggs rather than their original shape. Ray did an awesome job with my bike and going up for the first stage of the day all that was on my mind was ride smart. I could afford to lose some seconds but crashes and mechanicals weren’t an option if I wanted to keep the lead.
Stage 4 a shorter course with some gnarly rocks and a steep wooded section that was again all natural. Nothing beats the feeling of drifting around on loose fresh soil. After bumping up the tire pressure, the plan was to treat the rocks gently and to ride smooth. The stage went well and I finished in a good position of 7th, but was disappointed having ridden a little too conservatively. It seems unnatural riding to be careful, but it’s the smart thing to do when trying to maintain a lead. It seems my competition had some problems on this stage and I was definitely surprised to see my time gap had been extended out to 38 seconds. Two more race stages left.
So it seemed the previous days riding had taken its toll on my bike I needed a set of pedals, new chain, derailuer and a tire change. My wheels now resembled eggs rather than their original shape.
Stage 5 and this was a faster longer stage with a couple of climbs to get the legs burning. I had a good feeling about this stage, it was one that had its risks but with a solid setup and a bit of luck I could hold on to my time. Well I thought so at least! Before leaving the pits Ray picked up on a cut to my rear tire. On with a fresh tire and even a little more pressure (just to be safe) I knew I had the best chance of getting through. This was the strongest tire we had in our possession.
I dropped in off the start line and hit the rocky sections with care coming through clean. But after this I misjudged a section and in the blink of an eye I was off the course, dam it. I pulled my bike back up on the course and having lost maybe 5 seconds I knew it was still totally fine. It wasn’t long and I was back into the groove with my run. What happened next is the one thing I didn’t want to hear, the sound of a small rock cutting through the casing of my tire. That awful sound of hissing as the air deflated along with my dreams of my first EWS victory. I hoped I could ride the rim all the way to the finish and get down without loosing too much time. Within a few mins I knew this wasn’t the case and my weekend was over, I was absolutely devastated. A 38 second lead with two stages left and now 2 mins down.
That awful sound of hissing as the air deflated along with my dreams of my first EWS victory.
I sat in the pits and thought about what just happened, why? What could of I done different? Why, Why, Why? Racing can be so cruel sometimes! I made a plan, no point in giving up. One more stage and I had nothing to lose. No more conservative riding, on with a fresh tire and on the lift with one goal in mind, to win the last stage. Redemption.
I did a good warm up for the last stage and on the line I was ready to leave nothing on the hill. My run clicked into place and crossing the line I had set a good time. Watching the other racers come down and realise I had once again won another stage was something positive to take away from a devastating day.
I had brought myself back into 11th overall for the weekend. Not a win for the round, but enough to keep me in 2nd overall in the points for the series. That is something to be thankful for! What a weekend, I’m totally beat. There was a lot of learning at this round and my experience is building.
Thank you to all the support from the people who get me here:
Trek Factory Racing Enduro, Bluegrass Protection, Met Helmets, Fox Racing Shox, Shimano, Bontrager, Adidas Eyewear, Stages Power Meters, CNP Nutrition
Three weeks until La Thuile in Italy and if one thing is for sure, it’s going to be a great battle!
Get on board with urban downhill dominator Marcel Gutierrez for a short blast through Bratislava. The speed at which he launches into a tight set of stairs at around 1:09 is completely mental.
And how easy does it look to put on one of these events?! Close a few streets, a couple of crash pads, some timber and scaffolding and away you go! We’re looking forward to hearing how things go over at Albany, WA when they hold what might be Australia’s first ‘legit’ urban downhill race.
The Polygon UR team are absolutely all over it, getting these great team edits out faster than cheeseburgers at a drive-thru.
It’s really cool to see behind the scenes of the EWS – we’re all obviously very familiar with the downhill circuit, so it’s interesting to get inside the minds and lives of riders on the Enduro circuit too.
The new Polygons that the team are all on look good too! Hopefully we can wrangle a review on one shortly.
This is a real must-match. Chris Akrigg, the man who continues to make trials riding cool with his own unique blend of styles, is an amazing talent. And not just on the bike. Many people don’t realise it, but Chris isn’t just the man in front of the camera – he shoots and edits the vast majority of his videos himself.
In this in-depth video, we learn a lot about how Chris began playing this dual role, the creative process, his short attention span and what keeps him pushing the boundaries on so many different styles of bikes. He’s a truly unique rider and he most definitely keeps it real.
While high winds ultimately stuffed things up for finals day at the Livigno Suzuki Nine Knights comp, there was still plenty of action during the week when the wind wasn’t blowing. Canadian Geoff Gulevich still earned himself the title of ‘Ruler of the Week’, throwing down some huge flips and an absolutely monster air off the final hip jump.
Watch his facial expressions in the rearward facing GoPro footage too!
“Today was an emotional roller coaster,” says Eric Carter in this great behind-the-scenes video with Specialized Racing as they take on the round 4 of the World Cup DH series at Leogang.
Troy Brosnan backed up his first win at Fort William with an awesome third place, showing that this isn’t just a track for bigger riders. But it’s Aaron Gwin’s run that people are still talking about, for better or for worse, after he tore his rear tyre off and still put in a ripping race run.
June 23, 2014, Valloire, FRANCE – After 6 stages of wild alpine racing, epic hammer-down descents that lasted up to 18 minutes, and a winning overall combined time of 1h20:39.921, the final podium of the the third round of the Enduro World Series this weekend in Valloire, France, came down to a microscopic four second spread between the top three men.
A testament to the unpredictability of racing flat-out down mountains for a cumulative 12,000 metres of descent, (the largest amount of vertical covered in any EWS round yet), the weekend saw a myriad of punctures and mechanical issues shake down many of the top racers and early leaders. Every stage saw the top 10 leaderboard reconfigured dramatically.
Despite not winning an individual stage, the Aussie Jared Graves’ (Yeti/Fox Shox) consistency put him on the top step, flanked by two newcomers to the Enduro World Series podium – Frenchman Damien Oton (Devinci/Alltricks.com) who powered home on the final two stages after top 10 finishes all weekend to take second place, and Switzerland’s Rene Wildhaber (Trek Factory Racing Enduro) who took third.
In the women’s race, Britain’s Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) won all but one stage to finish in 1h29:49.767, 1:36 ahead of France’s Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) and 2:02 ahead of The Netherlands’ Anneke Beerten (Specialized Racing).
Beerten celebrated her first EWS podium after being so close for so long. Isabeau Courdurier (Rocky Mountain Urge BP) finished in 4th, followed by Cecile Ravanel (GT Pulse) whose powerful start to the weekend was upset by a puncture on stage 2.
The Enduro Series Valloire driven by Urge Bike Products was the 10th anniversary of the Valloire French Series Enduro hosted at the famous mountain bike hub, featuring the style of riding that forged the discipline. Both Moseley and Graves declared it the hardest round yet, with Graves telling Dirt TV in the first day’s highlight video, “It’s real riding. Your heart rate’s on max, you’ve got arm-pump, your legs are burning up and you’re just ploughing through rock gardens at 50 kms/hr. It’s awesome.”
Navigating snow patches, endlessly unfurling singletrack and menacing alpine rock at full-throttle took its toll on the field.
France’s Francois Bailly-Maitre (BMC Enduro Racing Team) started strong, winning the first stage ahead of Graves and Leov, and holding the lead after the second stage, but a spate of mechanical issues saw him drop back to 19th.
After a second place finish at TweedLove, New Zealand’s Justin Leov (Trek Factory Racing) had his eye on the top step this weekend. After winning two stages, he finished day one in the lead, only to see a 38 second lead eaten up by a puncture on stage 5. Leov rallied to win the final stage and finish 11th overall, keeping him in second place in the Overall Series Rankings.
TweedLove winner, and the current French Enduro Series leader, Nico Lau (Cube Action Team), was another threat thwarted by a puncture. Lau salvaged his race, coming back on Sunday to win stage 4 and 5 and take second on the final stage, for a top 20 result and 5th in the Overall rankings.
Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Gravity Republic) who finished the inaugural Enduro World Series season in 5th, but has been rehabilitating from knee surgeries and a broken scaphoid, made his comeback ride this weekend, but retired from the race with fatigue, saving himself for round four in La Thuile in three weeks.
Having identified himself at TweedLove as one to watch, France’s Damien Oton proved to be the most consistent rider amongst the field, clinching top 8 finishes in every single stage to secure second place.
Bringing his deep alpine racing experience and swag of Megavalanche victories to bear, Switzerland’s Rene Wildhaber (Trek Factory Racing) held strong through the race to secure third place, his first EWS podium.
Curtis Keene (Specialized Racing Team) and Ben Cruz (Cannondale Overmountain) both rode on pace to put the USA into the top 10.
“This was the tenth anniversary of the Valloire French Series Enduro and it went down in style, securing itself as a classic that will not be forgotten by many of the riders for a long time,” says Enduro World Series Managing Director Chris Ball. “The diversity we saw in the top 10 in the men’s and women’s, in ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, is a real testament to the demands of enduro mountain biking. It’s physically and mechanically challenging. I think this weekend was a bit of a surprise to those who expected the alpine specialists to dominate.”
To indulge in further speculation as to who is primed to dominate in three weeks time when round 4 kicks off, review the results in detail and visit the Rider Results Analyser tool at http://www.enduroworldseries.com/results.php.
Race coverage from Dirt TV can be viewed at enduroworldseries.com. A full race highlights edit will be released on Wednesday.
What does one day in the life of the young World Cup star, Connor Fearon entail? Looks like all play and no hard work to us, but his World Cup results are getting better and better, so maybe he does take it seriously too.
The battle for the Women’s UCI World Cup overall title really heated up in Leogang when Madison Saracen’s Manon Carpenter became the first and only rider this year to win her second race.
Defeating compatriot, Rachel Atherton, in Leogang made up for her flat tyre disappointment in Fort William and cemented control of the leaders jersey.
It’s interesting to see despite being comfortably ahead at the half way point how she slips back behind Carpenter on the lower half of the track
But Atherton, the reigning World Cup overall and World champ, remains beset by illness. Her usually incredible energy levels and physical fitness seem low; it’s interesting to see despite being comfortably ahead at the half way point how she slips back behind Carpenter on the lower half of the track.
There’s a mid-season break now as we prepare to head to the two North American rounds. Can Atherton fully recover or will Carpenter keep things neat and tidy for the remainder?
The Pivot Mach 4 is the bike that started it all. From the racetrack to the trail, there has never been anything that has performed like the new Mach 4 Carbon. Now in its 4th generation, the Mach 4 Carbon rolls on 27.5” wheels, features 115mm of travel, and introduces the next generation of race/trail geometry—all paired with the lightest full-suspension frame we have ever made.
Pivot Mach 4C
Whether you are a pure XC racer looking for something nimble, with the acceleration of 26” wheels and the rolling speed of a 29er, or a trail rider that wants something fast and responsive yet stable, the Mach 4 has you covered. The dw-link suspension has been tuned to provide instant acceleration with hardtail efficiency, while delivering the incredible climbing traction that all our dw-link equipped bikes are famous for. The short chainstays, spacious top tubes, and the incredibly stiff carbon chassis all enable you to achieve your fastest time on the climbs. On the descents, the Mach 4 comes alive.
With ultra-stable front end geometry, a low BB height, and 115mm of travel, you can tackle some of the roughest trails with ease; cornering like the bike is on rails and slicing through turns like a Ginsu knife! But we didn’t stop there. The Mach 4 Carbon is the first Shimano Di2 compatible frame ever developed, featuring an internal battery mount in the down tube and all the required ports for clean internal routing.
If you are not running Di2 and prefer a more conventional set up, the Mach 4 has the cleanest cable routing in the sport, with ports for full internal routing (including dropper post), full length housing and options for 1X, 2X and Shimano’s new M9000 Side Swing front derailleur.
• 115mm dw-link suspension with race and trail tuning
We set out to build the lightest, fastest, most capable World Cup DH bike the world has ever seen. The end result: The new Phoenix DH carbon. The Phoenix features 27.5” wheels, an ultra-lightweight chassis, dw-link suspension, and the most forward-thinking features to ever grace a mountain bike.
2015 Pivot Phoenix Carbon
We have employed Pivot’s exclusive Hollow Core Internal Molding process, along with technology developed from our award-winning Mach 6, to develop a 7.1lb/3.2kg frame. This makes a true, 31lb/14kg, raceable DH bike possible. The combination of 27.5” wheels and dw-link design has allowed us to go longer, lower and slacker than ever before, resulting in a chassis that instills high speed confidence and control on the steepest descents, all while out-pedaling any other DH bike on the course. It is a truly lethal combination for the competition with proven success on the World Cup circuit.
Pivot DH factory team riders Bernard Kerr, Eliot Jackson and Micayla Gatto have achieved their best World Cup career finishes aboard the new Phoenix.
Aaron Gwin qualified second in Leogang at the fourth round of the World Cup, but he flatted during his final race run. Not wanting to miss out on points contributing to the overall season win, he rails the rest of the course on just his rim and salvages what he could.
Rob Warner: “Is there a detective at the finish line, because Brosnan just murdered that course”
Troy Brosnan’s maiden world cup win, at possibly the toughest world cup course on the circuit, Fort William, has been a long time in the making. Two times junior world champion, and a protégé on team Specialized with some of the greatest riders of all time, such as Sam Hill and Aaron Gwin, Brosnan has always been surrounded by the fastest riders on the planet. The 2014 World Cup season has finally seen Troy get up to speed with his superhuman teammates, with top ten results in the first three world cups of the season so far.
Flow: You’ve been the last one up the top of the hill with the fastest qualifier in Australia before, but how was it at a World Cup? Spooky, scary, or were you totally in the zone?
Troy: I Felt Normal. I just tried to treat it like a national round and I knew that’s where my riding should be so I wasn’t spooked.
Flow: How did travelling to the BDS round earlier help your World Cup preparation?
Troy: It really helped me get my bike all set up and ready to go for the World Cup, I had all of my bike settings changed and for the World Cup I just had to adjust my rebound slightly and I was ready to go
Flow: What’s the best thing about having team manager Eric Carter around to help?
Troy: Being an ex-racer he’s really helpful when trying to find lines. He also knows what we need as racers and when to give us some space.
Flow: And Aaron Gwin?
Troy: Aaron is very helpful with racing and finding good lines. We do a lot of runs together to help each other go faster and at the end of the day what separates us in the race is who wants it more.
Flow: Could you see the green time update on the finish banner when you dropped into the arena? How was that?
Troy: Yes! Over the last jump I did see a glimpse of green and my eyes lit up. I wasn’t sure who was in the hot seat so I just hoped I could outsprint them to the line!
Flow: First time racing a 650B downhill bike? What made you decide to try it at Fort William?
Flow: Where do you think you won the race? On the power sections, or rougher parts of the track?
Troy: I feel it was the whole track, I just really felt the flow hitting all my lines and was riding super smooth. Despite saying that, I did have a really good sprint at the bottom!
Flow: After qualifying first, how confident were you of winning the final?
Troy: It gave me a lot of confidence going into the final, I knew that I could do it but anything can happen in a race run. I just did my best and pedalled everywhere and it paid off!
[divider]Troy’s winning run, dissected[/divider]
Troy trains as hard as anyone, and watching his run at Fort William this becomes plain to see. Some riders look clean, effortless almost as they clear gaps and track straight through the craziest of rock gardens. Troy Brosnan is one of these riders, but not through anything other than sheer hard work and determination. We see this at a few points through his run:
Watch the start of Troy’s run 2.01.05. See how quickly he gets up to speed! Troy’s efficient technique on the sprint, working the bars, combined with his near perfect pedal stroke and a high power to weight ratio means that he’s able to get his Demo going real quick, really, really fast. Continuing with the sprinting theme, has anyone else noticed how many riders on the DH circuit don’t actually sprint at every available opportunity, or sit down? If you haven’t noticed this, watch the replay of the Cairns World Cup, and notice just how many riders have poor sprints in the long pedal leading up to the finish. Brosnan however, never misses the opportunity to get even a single pedal stroke in. Have a look at 2.01.22, and how quickly he gets back on the pedals after cornering- unbelievable.
Just after this corner, Troy absolutely blasts through the infamous rock garden section at the top of the track. For a long time the general consensus with downhill has been that the heavier riders are able to monster their way through these sections of track better than smaller riders, however Troy leads to a big questioning of this with the way he is able to flick his bike around the rough stuff to find the right line. When downhill legends like Rob Warner in the commentary box are admitting as much, it’s definitely a theory that’s beginning to gain merit.
Speaking of flicking bikes around, Troy’s handling skills are up there with the Sam Hills and Brendan Faircloughs of the downhill scene. The way he transfers his lightweight figure through the rough stuff 2.02.06 to 2.02.12– amazing ninja skills. This could possibly be attributed to the dirt jumping he does as part of his training, as well as his recently commenced motocross sessions.
Despite the numerous attributes of Brosnan’s riding that put him firmly up there as a contender for the overall world cup title this year, on top of his second to none pedalling and power through pedally sections, Brosnan has the best tuck in the business. With the speeds going too high to pedal through the open, big jump, ‘motorway’ sections of world cup courses, getting aero is no longer something you did on the road bike during training. Troy won by 1.6 seconds, and he might just have just sealed the deal with his far more superior tuck through the bottom section of the course as opposed to Sam Hill. Not buying this aero stuff? Watch from 2.02.23 onwards- you’ll see.
With the Leogang World Cup taking place this week in Austria, what can Troy pull out? Having mixed results there in the past- a crash in 2012 and eighth place there last year, it’s hard to tell, but his confidence will be right up there following his Fort William victory. As it’s another technical and physical track, Troy’s excellent conditioning and technical ability should favour him!
If Troy can keep performing consistently to the end of the World Cup season, could Australia have another World Cup Champion at the end of the 2014 season?
2012 World Champs Leogang Crash video: Second corner in, Troy crashed injuring his shoulder.
At home with Troy Brosnan, back in early 2013 when recovering from the Leogang World Champs crash.
It’s that time again! With the post-race frenzy over, riders are starting to post the POV footage of their race runs from Fort Bill, and teams are putting up their race wrap-ups. A quick warning before you watch, don’t try these sorts of speeds on your local trails!
Josh Bryceland from the Santa Cruz Syndicate
Kiwi shredder Cam Cole
Team CRC Nukeproof is on the rise, with all three team riders placed in the top 25 at Fort William. Be sure to check out Joe Smith styling it up at 3.17, and a rundown of Aussie Sam Hill’s second place!
Australian siblings Mick and Tracey Hannah reflect on the ups and downs of Fort Bill. With Mick crashing and injuring himself and Tracey making the podium, it was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Hutchinson UR team.
All the behind the scenes action from team Specialized as they document Troy Brosnan’s first ever world cup win, and another podium performance from Aaron Gwin.
Day 1 of the Port to Port MTB 2014 – Four day stage race. Starting from the beautiful back drop of Nelson Bay, Port Stephens. Andrew Blair and Jenny Fay of Swell Specialized battle it out against Australias best marathon racers.
Drift Bikes provided comprehensive mechanical support to all riders bikes participating over the four days of racing.
Supporting cyclists in the Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Warners Bay, Lake Macquaire and Hunter Valley Areas.
YES! This is the bike we’d be hoping that Trek would release and right on time they’ve answered our prayers. Yesterday, Trek revealed that they would be adding another suite of 27.5-wheeled bikes to their range, with the trail-ripping Fuel series now available in mid-sized hoops. Flow followers may remember that we reviewed the Fuel EX 29 about 12 months ago; it was a weapon of a bike, but big wheels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and we’re happy to see a more playful version of this bike back in the stable.
The 120mm-travel Fuel 27.5 continues to be constructed around the same frame architecture as we’ve seen over the past few years from Trek, and they’ve gone all-in with a complete line of bikes, including three aluminium framed bikes and two carbon models. The range-topping 9.9 is not shown here, but will feature a Shimano XTR 1×11 drivetrain.
Frame geometry for all models is listed below:
But it’s not just the introduction of a new wheel size for the Fuel – Trek, already a leading innovator when it comes to mountain bike shock and suspension technologies, have partnered up with high-end automotive suspension company Penske Racing Shocks and FOX, to develop an all new damper. Called the Re:aktiv damper, it’s all about delivering better pedalling/climbing efficiency with a more seamless transition to bump absorption than other systems have been able to achieve.
In Trek’s own words: “Regressive damping had been utilized in Formula One racing and then moved over to Indy Car and NASCAR with much success. It provides a much firmer hold in straights and corners for incredible support, but when it hits a sudden obstacle, like the square angles encountered on technical trails, the shock’s hold instantly gives way to a plush, controlled progression. In short, the shock was smart enough to get out of its own way… fast. The result of the mountain bike application of this concept is RE:aktiv, which delivers on the unrealized potential of an inertia valve. And to date, regressive damping had never been used in mountain biking.”
“The unique thing about Penske and Trek is that we’ve really only scratched the surface,” said Penske Racing Shocks Director of Research and Development Bill Gartner. “Regressive technology helped with one compromise that was there in mountain biking but there’s a whole other world of technologies that may apply. Not only from Formula One but all the markets we work with.”
We’re very excited about this bike’s imminent arrival. As soon as they land in the country, you can bet a kidney on the fact we’ll have one in our grubby mitts to review!
Dual mountain bike Olympian Daniel McConnell, currently ranked number one in the Commonwealth and fourth in the world, and Rebecca Henderson who has flourished in the MTB World Cup Series over the past few seasons, head a six-member cross-country mountain bike team.
Peta Mullens, Tory Thomas, Andrew Blair and Cameron Ivory have also been selected.
It’s no secret that Lapierre have been working on a 27.5-wheeled downhill bike for some time now – even last season, Sam Blenkinsop and Loic Bruni were spotted racing on the bigger wheels at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup. So while we have been anticipating the release of a 650B downhill rig, we did not expect it to be an entirely new machine. But when Lapierre lifted the wraps on the new steed to be raced by the Gravity Republic team at Fort William this weekend, they revealed a completely different beast with an all-new suspension system. Let’s take a closer look!
The new design, built solely for 27.5″ wheels, moves well away from the ‘what-the-hell’ Pendbox design of previous years, opting for a single-pivot arrangement, with a linkage driving the shock – Lapierre call the system Supra Link Technology (SLT) and say it is directly inspired by motocross suspension designs. Travel is 210mm, and Lapierre say the kinematics are all about suppleness off the top and an aggressive ramp-up at the end stroke.
As is characteristic of Lapierre, the attention to detail appears to be excellent, with fork bumps, internal cable routing, rubberised chain slap protection and an integrated mudguard (not fitted in these pics) to protect the shock from crud.
In terms of geometry, the frame has +/- one degree of head angle adjustability from the standard 63.7-degree stock setting. It’s interesting to note that this isn’t as slack as some designs we’ve seen in recent years; theoretically, with the higher axle heights of a 27.5″ wheel, a steeper head angle is possible without compromising confidence. Will this be a trend we see increasingly on bigger-wheeled downhill bikes?
There will be two versions of the new bike available to spend your hard-earned on; the Team version (with a BoXXer WC and the new SRAM X0 DH 7-speed drivetrain) or the 727 (BoXXer Coil / FOX Van shock). Both frames are aluminium at this stage, though we’ll eat our hat if the Gravity Republic aren’t on a carbon version of this bike at the World Champs.
Flow’s heading over to Lapierre HQ in France next month too, so we look forward to bringing you more info about this bike’s development (and a whole raft of other French goodness) very soon!
It’s that time of year again here at the UCI World Cup; the course builders have been out in force, the midges have been starving themselves and we’ve taped a microphone and a GoPro to downhill rider Claudio Caluori.
The guys at Aonach Mor have been busy too – vast swathes of the top section have been filled in and the taping in the woods is incredibly tight. Anyway, enough from us, over to the master.
The Pacific Ocean has a lot going for it. It’s very beautiful, full of fish and it keeps our east coast beaches nice and wet. It doesn’t, however, make great chain lube!
Still, it wouldn’t be right to race in this part of the world without a bit of beach riding. And just like in the Cape to Cape MTB in WA, we’re sure the run through the sand (and sometimes the water) of Blacksmiths Beach will become a legendary, infamous part of the Port to Port. Even now, just hours after crossing the finish line, the grimacing, cussing and gasping is all starting to blur into one bizarrely pleasurable memory. Funny how that happens…
Today’s fourth and final stage of Port to Port wasn’t all about the sand and salt though. Less climbing and more tarmac was juxtaposed with the killer singletrack of Glenrock, and the pace was grimace-inducingly quick. Today was all about holding wheels, pulling turns and working with willing riders to chase down the next bunch and do it all again. Given that mountain biking is so often a solitary affair – just you versus the trail – the thrill, mania and speed of this kind of bunch riding is a rare joy.
With the weather defying all the forecasters’ predictions and delivering a dry, gorgeous morning, the final day got underway with right on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie at Cams Wharf. The first and last real climb of the day hit riders straight out of the gate, before the sound of up-shifting filled the air as the pace wound up for a massively fast run through the streets and paths of Swansea.
The beach loomed large in this stage. For most of the competitors it was a challenge to be survived, but for the Elite men’s race, it was an absolutely critical feature that could potentially see Chris Hamilton snatch the win from under Andy Blair’s nose.
Dean Clarke, the papa smurf of the Torq team, knew that the beach could blow the whole race apart, telling us: “After we recce’d the beach last night, I told the guys: ‘I don’t care if it means you have to become Olympic sprinters, you must leave the beach together with Chris (Hamilton)’.”
Swell/Specialized’s Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair had the same idea. “We knew the beach was going to be really decisive,” said Lewis. “We hit the beach together and had a really good ride along it, only having to stop once or twice, and at the run off the beach it was Chris and I together, with Andy about 30 metres back. I backed off and waited for Andy, then with the two of us together we were able to mow Chris down pretty easily.” For Lewis, who hasn’t had a race to remember, it was a satisfying feeling, being there for his teammate at the crux moment and ensuring the race didn’t become a one-on-one dogfight.
Isolated and outnumbered, Hamilton showed real grit, hanging on through Blair and Lewis’s one-two attacks and surviving until the Torq team reeled the trio back in just for the Glenrock singletrack. “Hamo really lit it up in singletrack, it was really exciting,” said Lewis, but with the only a few kay remaining and no real climbs for Hamilton to use his feathery frame to his advantage, the race ultimately came down to a sprint finish. “Unfortunately the day just wasn’t hard enough or long enough for me to do any damage,” said a content Hamilton, “with so much bike track, I just couldn’t get a gap.”
Andy Blair is a veteran of this kind of racing, and his experience and diligence once again proved crucial, ultimately securing him both the stage win and the overall Port to Port MTB title. “With so many tricky elements on the run-in to the finish, the recce I did last night really helped,” explained Blair. “The plan was to lead Shaun out, but it was so hectic and that’s not the way it panned out. I really owe the win to him, he rode so hard on the beach to ensure he was there when we left the sand so we could isolate Chris and put the Torq guys on the back foot.”
In the Elite women’s race it really was the Jenny Fay show once again. It’s no secret that Fay is the queen of marathon mountain biking in Australia at the moment. She benchmarks her performance against the Elite men as much as she does against her fellow female competitors, and even though the early parts of her stage today didn’t go as smoothly as planned, she still powered to the stage win and overall victory.
Torq’s Em Parkes displayed incredible consistency for a young rider, taking second position for the third time this event, and locking in the same position overall. After turning it on yesterday, MarathonMTB’s Imogen Smith couldn’t find the legs for silver, taking out third for the stage and the race.
For the riders counting the hours not the seconds, today’s stage was a great way to wrap up four amazing days; the blast through Glenrock’s buff trails was capped off by a run along the coast and right into the gateway to the port of Newcastle at Nobbys Beach. With the sun refusing to be masked by clouds that held off just long enough, riders stretched out on the grass while pelicans soared above. Countless times we saw riders shake their head and remark how long ago the race start felt; in just four days, a lot of ground was covered, a lot of limits were pushed, friendships (and rivalries) were formed, and all kinds of personal challenges were overcome.
Stage racing is a real adventure, it’s a completely different way to experience mountain biking, and that’s why we love it. As a first year event, Port to Port MTB was a huge success. Undoubtedly there’ll be some refinements next year, some new trails (maybe less beach), and certainly there’ll be more riders. Whatever happens, we’ll be on the start line again in 2015. See you at Port Stephens next year.