The Old Mans Valley Bike & Film Festival Returns to Hornsby

The Old Mans Valley Bike & Film Festival returns to Hornsby on Saturday, November 7 2015 – featuring a day of off road bike racing and free kids races. Followed by an outdoor cinema under the stars in Hornsby Park – all wrapped inside a tongue-in-cheek, spaghetti-western theme.

Over 2000 people, and some of NSW’s best riders, are expected to make their way to Hornsby for the Festival, which includes cyclocross racing (the fastest growing 2-wheeled sport in the US*), cross country mountain bike racing (XC) and the house specialty – the Bomber/Whippet relay.

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Developed by SNORC (Sydney North O Road Cyclists – the originators of the Festival) specially for the Festival, the Bomber/ Whippet relay features teams of two; the Bomber (downhill rider) and Whippet (climber). Combining the best of mountain biking disciplines, the Bomber is let loose on an adrenalin-pumping downhill course, tagging in the Whippet to weave his or her way back up the brutal pinches to the top. “Last year was popular with both elite riders and beginners, making for a great spectator event. Hornsby is easy to get to and the low entry cost makes it accessible to everyone. It’s about the community coming together in a celebration of bicycles and having places to ride them – regardless of your age or skill level”. Campbell King, President of SNORC.

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Not that it is all serious racing – anyone can ride the trails in the morning, on provided state-of-the-art demo bikes. There will also be kids racing, a BBQ lunch and lots of activities for the entire family. The outdoor adventure theme then continues in Hornsby Park with a screening of unReal, the most talked about MTB film of the year, as well as a selection of short adventure films.

All are invited to bring a picnic blanket and celebrate under the stars with a pop-up bar, range of food trucks and a mechanic on hand to look over your bike – offering something for everyone.

“It’s fantastic to see the trail being used in this way. This is exactly why Council invested in this recreation space.” Steve Russell, Hornsby Shire Mayor.

For more information, visit www.oldmansvalley.com.au Old Mans Valley Festival is free (with the exception of race entries) and proudly presented by The Spokes People, Hornsby Shire Council and SNORC.

Crocodile Trophy 2015: Swiss Urs Huber Claims Third Crocodile Trophy Victory

With a seventh stage win on the final day at the 21st Crocodile Trophy the Swiss Urs Huber claimed his third race victory since 2009 and 2010. Soren Nissen from Denmark claims the second place ahead of Australia’s Marathon National Champion, Brendan Johnston from Canberra.

Nicholas Pettina comes in fourth overall and the young Austrian Lukas Islitzer in fifth. Sarah White from Cairns (AUS) takes the win in the Elite Women’s category on the podium at the breathtaking Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas after more than 700km and 17,000m of elevation raced since the event started nine days ago in Cairns.

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Today’s time trial stage started the rider field in reverse order of the general classification onto undulating, historic gold rush mining trails and then down the infamous “Bump Track” into Port Douglas, which is a very steep and technical descent through the dense rainforest surrounding the popular holiday destination in Tropical North Queensland. The race leader Urs Huber was released last and said that he knew he had a healthy gap and didn’t take any risks on the rough descent.

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Once again proofing this week that he is the deserving 2015 Crocodile Trophy Champion, he won today’s stage in 54:24.0 min, breaking last year’s record time by almost four minutes.

“I’m really happy about my third victory at the Crocodile Trophy. This race has changed so much since I won it last in 2009 and 2010”, Huber said about the event that was founded in 1994. 

“Nowadays you really have to be a complete cyclist to win this event – you must have the skills and strength to do well on all terrains: singletrack, rainforest and bush trails and the wide open Outback roads”, he added and explained that to win you had to be an all-rounder and be able to deal with race tactics, especially on the later and longer marathon stages. “Of course the conditions in Australia are always a challenge, but exactly what makes this race so unique!”, Huber concluded.

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In second today was the Italian Nicholas Pettina (+1:28.1 min) and he claims the fourth overall placing in the race. “I’ve had a bit of back luck and lost a lot of time, but I’ll be back for sure, I know now what it takes to do well at this race”, Pettina said.

The second place overall was claimed by the Danish athlete Soren Nissen and having participated in marathons and stage races back to back since January he said caught up with him, but that he was hoping to be up against Huber again next year in Europe to get even. “I’ll be ready to go up against him again at the Alpen Tour Trophy next year in Austria”, Nissen said, referring to the organisers’ four-day UCI stage race in the Austrian Alps in June.

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Today’s third-fastest time was clocked in by the event’s Best Australian Brendan Johnston (AUS, Canberra) with a gap of +2:01.0 min. Finishing third overall in the strongest elite field in the history of this legendary race he said, made him proud, “This was the hardest race I’ve ever done and certainly the longest stage race. I’m still young and it was a fantastic experience to race with such strong racers from all over the world. To race onto the top-three podium, I’m happy with that.”

Crocodile Trophy has everything

Johnston further agreed with Huber that it took a complete racer to win this event. “The Crocodile Trophy has everything you could ever imagine riding on a mountain bike – steep descents, long climbs. Technical singletrails, wide open roads. Rocky and sandy sections. Rainforests and bush. Outback and beach. Rain, mud and heat. There is literally nothing that mountain biking includes that isn’t in this race”, he said.

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Sarah White from Cairns is the elite women’s champion in 2015, finishing in 36h56:30 over the 9 days. “I really enjoyed this race, my first stage race. I’d love to race it again and would love to see more women in the field. It’s a tough race, yes, but absolutely doable – to win so close to home makes me really proud”, the steadfast ex-ultra marathon runner said.

From jungle to bush to Outback to beach

The final kilometres were be raced on the sandy beach, right on the water and for many riders the start in the jungle around Cairns seems long ago. Since last Saturday they raced in on the Atherton Tablelands’ MTB Park and rainforest surrounds. For stage five and six the Crocodile Trophy raced in the bushlands, mining country and the Outback in the Irvinebank region before arriving at the tropical Skybury Coffee Plantation on Friday. Last night the set up camp at the historic Wetherby Cattle Station and for the second time in the race history, the event finished on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.

The racers received a warm welcome in Port Douglas with more than 500 spectators cheering them on as they crossed the final finish line for 2015. Many were reunited with families and friends and the international racers will spend more time in Tropical North Queensland, some taking up to three weeks here to recover from the strains and pains of the legendary mountain bike stage race that is the Crocodile Trophy.

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STAGE 9: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 54:24.0 min

2. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 55:52.1 min +1:28.1 min

3. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 56:25.0 min +2:01.0 min

4. Thomas Engelsgjerd (NOR) #32 // Energima Abax Hr // 57:11.6 min +2:47.6 min

5. Greg Saw (AUS) #1 // Energima Abax Hr // 57:28.4 min +3:04.4 min

 

STAGE 9: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 1h13:30.8

 

FINAL OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 26h32:40

2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 26h54:06 +21:26 min

3. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 27h13:39 +40:59 min

4. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 27h23:52 +51:12 min

5. Lukas Islitzer (AUT) #20 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 27h38:26 +1h05:46 min

 

FINAL OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 36h56:30

 

Further solo category leaders:

A Women: Kristin Endres (GER) #107 // lakatexpress.de // 38h14:37

A1 Men (U30): Evert Feyaerts (BEL) #30 // 33h15:52

A2 Men (30+): Christian Leschke (GER) #49 // Team Leschi // 30h27:14

A3 Men (40+): Bart Duraj (AUS) #61 // Astute Financial Racing // 31h03:51

A4 Men (50+): Garry James (AUS) #97 // Corry Cycles ACE Racing/Specialised // 32h01:07

Entries Open to The GT Bike Buller Festival Presented by Fox in March 2016

The GT Bike Buller Festival presented by Fox has been stepped up another notch for 2016, bringing another massive line-up of events for all types of rider.

The mountain bike festival will be held at Mt Buller Victoria, 12-14 March 2016 and will feature 14 MTB events, a trail run, the opportunity to ride with MTB Hall of Fame Member Hans Rey  plus a full social calendar with spectator events, MTB movies, bike expo, and a huge food, wine and music festival.

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Now in its eighth year, the GT Bike Buller Festival presented by Fox has become the ultimate biking weekend on the annual calendar, with the party scene providing appeal for groups of mates and riders’ families as well.

The event organiser, Rapid Ascent, is expecting another great edition of the event given its previous success and the new offerings in the event program.

“We couldn’t be more excited for the 2016 event at Buller! This year is set to be absolutely massive, with the addition of some great downhill and gravity events to really appeal to the growing contingent of riders looking to challenge themselves on Buller’s sensational tracks. We’ll have our popular short and long XC courses, and a great range of events designed for all types of riders no matter what their interest or level.

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“We cannot wait to get back to Buller – it’s always such an awesome weekend of all things biking in arguably one of the best bike parks in Australia, and to have Hans Rey heading out to join us brings an additional element that will really take the event to the next level,” – Sam Maffett, General Manager, Rapid Ascent.

New key sponsors GT and Fox will add to the event’s drawcard, bringing with them Hans ‘no way’ Rey and the unique opportunity to meet and ride with this freeriding legend.

The GT Bike Buller Festival presented by Fox provides the ultimate test for mountain bike riders, and is set to challenge participants once again with a number of thrilling races over the three days. Riders are able to enter just one event or many events, or enter a specific combination of gravity or cross country races to get a combined race discount.

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Back by popular demand are combined race categories to determine an overall weekend winner in the gravity and cross-country riding disciplines. You’ll need to enter the three designated gravity events or the three designated cross country events to be eligible to win the title and claim the cash prize.

Overall, the event provides eager mountain bike riders and their families with a massive weekend of bikes, single track, fresh air and partying at an internationally renowned mountain bike destination – Mt Buller.

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Amber Gardner, Marketing Director for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, is thrilled to see the GT Bike Buller Festival presented by Fox hit the mountain again in 2016.

“The GT Bike Buller Festival has proven to be a really successful and super fun event year after year, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back for another huge event in 2016. The Bike Buller Festival has really become the signature mountain biking event on our calendar, and every year we see so many happy faces enjoying our amazing trail network, which is really what it’s all about – getting people out and enjoying the fun, challenging terrain and fresh air that Buller has to offer.” 

The three-day celebration of mountain biking will again coincide with the popular ‘Picnic in the Park’ food, wine and music festival held in the Mirimbah Park at the base of Mt Buller. There will also be a Bike Expo and plenty for non-riders to enjoy, including events designed for spectators and a range of social activities.


SCHEDULE OF RACES

 

GRAVITY RACES

Outlaw All Mountain Trophy – Saturday

All-mountain racing on two of Mt Buller’s (intermediate level) DH tracks – Outlaw Express and Yellow Post. All riders complete 5 timed descents with an untimed chairlift back to the top, and your fastest 3 descents count.

ABOM Downhill – Sunday

A single timed descent down the ABOM DH track from top to bottom. Fastest wins

Mt Buller Super D – Sunday

An exhilarating 12km Super-D race from the top of Mt Buller all the way to the bottom – descending over 1100m in a single run. Tear down the Delatite River Trail to finish in the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.

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20km Gravity Enduro – Monday

A gravity enduro around the most popular Mt Buller and Cornhill trails with 5 timed descents interspersed with untimed climbs and transit stages.


CROSS COUNTRY

 

Stirling Circuit 50km / 35km – Saturday

A spectacular 50km or 35km XC circuit over Mt Stirling and back again including Stonefly, the Corn Hill trails and a chairlift up Mt Buller at the end.

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Hans Rey Epic Ride – Saturday

An exclusive ride along the Alpine Epic Trail with MTB Hall of Fame Member Hans ‘no way’ Rey. This is a 40km participation ride (not a race) where you can chat to Hans Rey along the way, enjoy the views, stop for lunch and be wowed by this Epic trail!

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Dirt Jump Freestyle – Saturday

A brand new event that’s still in the making, which will be great for spectators.


20km Corn Hill Crankfest XC

A challenging XC race on the flowing singletrack around the Mt Buller Village and neighbouring Cornhill trails.

Brake Burner Enduro – Sunday

A multi-lap enduro down a 7km XC/DH course to the base of the chairlift and back up again until the final 12km Super-D (Race 9) to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain

 

SPECTACLE EVENTS

 

16” Dual Slalom – Saturday

Two riders going head to head down a grass dual-slalom track on Bourke Street – on 16” kids bikes! – conducted in an elimination format with a ‘winner takes all’ final to the roars of the crowd.


Pump Track Pursuit – Saturday

Thrilling head to head racing on the pump track in a do-or-die elimination format. It will be a ‘winner takes all’ final in front of a massive crowd.

6km Trail Run – Sunday

A spectacular trail running race along the scenic alpine walking and riding trails leading to the Mt Buller Summit and back again. Great for non-riders or those who want to mix it up.

 

Picnic in the Park Festival – Sunday

The ever-popular Picnic in the Park food, wine and live music festival organised by the Mt Buller Resort Management team will be held on the lush green grass of Mirimbah. It includes upwards of 13 local food providers, 7 local beer / wine / cider producers, kids activities and entertainment, and non-stop live music.

KIDS’ EVENTS

 

Buller Village Ride – Saturday
A fun ride for kids and off-road newbies with 5km and 10km options on friendly trails around the Mt Buller Village.

 

Picnic in the Park Bike Fun – Sunday

An(other) opportunity for kids to get out on their bikes with a fun little ride in the Picnic in the Park festival at Mirimbah. Balance bikes, trikes and little ones all welcome.

 

Kids Pump Track – Monday

A fun event for kids aged under 13yrs on the Pump Track – it’s their time to shine.


 

Entries are now open for the 2016 GT Bike Buller Festival presented by Fox at www.BIKEBULLER.com

Video: French Lessons

What makes French mountain bikers so fast? Is it the air? The mountains? The cuisine? Is it the fact that there are about 1,000 varieties of French cheese? Their ability to invade neighbouring countries to shred awesome trails?

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Anne-Caroline Chausson, Nicolas Vouilloz and Julien Absalon took home more than 30 World Championships between them — and we won’t even mention the World Cup wins, Olympic medals and rally-car championship. Loic Bruni rode away with this year’s UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Championship faster than you could devour a baguette and chunk of Brie.

We headed to La Thuile, Italy, to study the habits of a few of our French friends and, hopefully, tap into the secrets of their incredible style and speed. This beautiful alpine recreation destination, which was once known for its coal mines rather than ski slopes and mountain bike trails, is a hotspot for French mountain bikers. Its terrain makes it the perfect proving ground for some of the world’s fastest enduro riders and their equipment.

 

The reality of racing a mountain bike for a living is often one of uncertainty, exhaustion, sickness and injury. To be good at it, riders have to truly embrace the joie de vivre of mountain biking. Perhaps that’s the reason why Fabien Barel, now retired after a career that included two Downhill World Championship titles and multiple EWS wins, enjoys every day on the bike like he did back at the start of his 20-year career. Perhaps it is why Yoann Barelli is always smiling and laughing.

 

To be truly fast, a rider also has to have a creative approach to racing lines and life itself. Bryan Regnier has a nose for fine wine and an impressionist interpretation to line selection. And so does Pauline Dieffenthaler, who, while riding “like a girl”, manages to go faster than many of the boys.

 

So what is it? Ask Walker Shaw. Shaw is half American and half Belgian, knows how to smile and is plenty quick on the trails. But there’s just another certain something special about French mountain bikers and their ability to dominate race-result lists — a certain je ne sais quoi.

 

You say you want to ride faster? It might help to learn French.

Maydena Bike Park Gets the Green Light From the Tasmanian Government

The Maydena Bike Park is an ambitious project led by internationally-renowned trail company Dirt Art (www.dirtart.com.au) to re-purpose an abandoned $6.5m tourism development into a large-scale commercial mountain bike park and adventure centre.  

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On Friday the proposal received a green light from the Tasmanian Government, passing stage two of approvals and moving into a lease phase for the site.  The development will offer over 100km of purpose-built trails, focusing on the gravity all-mountain and downhill markets with over 60km of shuttle accessed trails proposed, beginning at the stunning Eagles Eyrie building some 820m vertical above the base visitor centre.  

Catering for everyone from absolute beginners through to world-level elite riders, the year round trail network will offer stunning views and an incredible variety of natural technical and machine-built flow/jump trails.  

The proposal includes a large retail and food and beverage centre at both the base building and summit, which will include; bar, restaurant, bike hire, tours, skills coaching and a large events centre.  Building on the gravity network, a free-use cross country trail network of 40+km is proposed to be developed around the township of Maydena.  Pending final approvals the facility is slated for an opening in Summer 2016/2017.  

‘This is one of the most unique and exciting projects we have been involved with, it’s an opportunity to present our absolute best trail design and construction in a stunning wilderness setting, with the largest elevation drop of any purpose-built mountain bike trail in the southern hemisphere.  

Our company are strong advocates of the gravity (all mountain and downhill) mountain bike scene, and this is our chance to truly showcase this style of riding’, Simon French (Managing Director- Dirt Art)

Cape to Cape MTB – Day 4: Down to the Wire

Racing, at its core, is all about pushing yourself, and suffering. The rider who is willing to put themselves deepest into the pain cave is the one who’ll triumph. It’s not always pretty, but holy hell is it good to watch. And today’s final stage gave us a display of gritty, honest mountain bike racing on a super fast 67km run from Colonial Brewery to Dunsborough.

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Caffeine is the answer to all your racing woes.

We know that what happens at the elite end of this event doesn’t matter a damn to most participants – every participant has their own tale, all of them full of great highs and lows – but please indulge us for a few minutes, because what some of Australia’s best mountain bikers dished out this morning en route to Dunsborough was hard-out racing at its finest.

Mark Tupalski came into stage four with a 38 second lead over Kyle Ward. By rights, he should have been feeling pretty confident – while Ward had won two stages, Tupac had kept him within arms reach at all times. All he had to do was mark any attacks and avoid a mechanical. But that strategy didn’t factor in a very large man from Victoria, or a wily racer from WA, both of whom came out firing and determined to rattle the cage.

So often stage racing is often all about tactics: teams working together to control the pace, the result almost a forgone conclusion, as groups coordinate to quell any surprise attacks. But not this time around, no way.

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How the hell is he STILL smiling?

Paul Van Der Ploeg arrived in WA “undercooked” and recovering from injury, but rather than fading throughout the event, he’s ridden into form. Today he fitted the biggest chain ring he could find to this bike, and dropped a Watt bomb that blew things apart. Getting on the front early, he and Craig Cook drove the pace so hard that the support staff and photographers struggled to leapfrog the lead bunch in their vehicles. “That’s the first Cape to Cape I’ve ridden where it has blown apart like that, it was just attack, then attack and attack,” said Tupalski.

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Imogen Smith didn’t let Mullens ride away without a tough battle today.

Ward and Tupac quick to admit that Cookie was the strongest rider in the bunch today, not relenting for a second. “It’s the way stage racing goes,” said Cook, “some days you feel good, others you don’t. But I don’t think the Cape to Cape has had a brutal, hard day quite like that in previous years.”

As the lead four of Ward, PVDP, Cook and Tupalski flogged themselves trying to make an attack stick, the ever-present sand came into play once again. At 40km in, Ward and PVDP picked the better line in a soft sand stretch, while Cook and Tupac got bogged and floundered allowing a gap to grow. “When that happened, I turned to Kyle and said ‘If you want this race, we go now’.” He towed Ward away with him, leaving Tupalski and Cook dangling in the wake.

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One of the Hampton Cycles lads drops in on the Middle Earth singletrack.

“I didn’t want to turn back and count seconds,” said Ward, “because that’s not what it’s about. Today was just about getting to the line first.” If he had turned around, he would have seen a charging Cook bearing down on him, with Tupac on his wheel. The four riders came together again with less than 10km to go, but once again the sand ruined the party for Tupac, and he lost contact. “Once it was the three of them against me, I knew that was it,” Tupalski admitted, “I just didn’t have enough left after three days of racing.”

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But even then the drama didn’t end. On the final climb of the race in the singletrack of Meelup, Van Der Ploeg’s chain threw its hands up in defeat, exploding in the face of the big man’s torque. His day done, he still managed to scoot his way to fifth place, with the ridiculously strong Master’s rider, Jon Gregg (or the “freakshow” as Ward dubbed him), passing him for fourth.

As Kyle Ward hammered across the line for his third stage win, the silent count began – could Tupac limit his time losses to less than the crucial 38 seconds? When Craig Cook came into view and Tupalski was nowhere to be seen, Ward knew he’d pulled off a legendary come-from-behind victory in one of Australia’s most prestigious races.

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Despite being quite clearly stuffed, Tupalski was philosophical. “If anyone was going to take the lead off me, I’m happy it was Kyle,” said Tupalski of his good friend. “We’ve both got a similar kind of style of racing. Go hard, and if you can hang on, good on you. Kyle deserves a big win – he’s a bit of a dark horse and doesn’t get the recognition he’s worthy of, so it’s really good to see.”

“I definitely wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Mark, he’s the one who invited me and encouraged me to come,” said a humble Ward. “Getting the win is one thing, but to be alongside with a friend on the podium together is a real bonus.”

Peta Mullens continued her unstoppable run again today and secured the win, but not without being stretched by a determined Imogen Smith. “I had full intentions of having an easier day today, but Imogen wasn’t going to let that happen,” said Mullens. “I managed to get in a tiny gap on a descent, about two seconds, but that was just enough to let me make the jump onto the back of a bunch when we hit the tarmac and she missed it. In the end I rode the last 10 kay on my own, so I’m pretty buckled!”

Smith’s gusty racing today cemented her second place overall. “It was an honour to race with Peta today,” said Smith, whose race finished on a bit of a high. “Yesterday was a tough one for me, but today I had the time of my life.”

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Steering in the right direction.

With the West Australian sun hammering down, the rest of the huge field, variously limped, rolled or sprinted (and occasionally crashed) under the finish arch on a fairway at the Dunsborough Golf Course. The antics at the front end didn’t matter to them – the elites may as well have been riding a different race altogether. Chaffed, stiff, buckled and overwhelmingly happy, they’d made it, through over 200km of racing and now had a medal around their neck to prove it.

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Ripping in Middle Earth.
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Ward chases down PVDP, with Tupac and Cookie on the hunt.
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Nankervis. Not nervous.
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Andrew is no stranger to the Cape to Cape. Talk about an inspirational character!
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Riders were chuffed with the improvements to the Middle Earth singletrack, which had a awesome flow.
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Blewitt keeps it low.
PVDP and Ward make their break.
PVDP and Ward make their break.

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Zip off pants. #practical
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Hahahahaha! Boozed spectators make the best encouragers.

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With only a couple of kays to go, Van Der Ploeg’s chain had enough of this caper.
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Tupac puts in a final chase down the slippery singletrack of Meelup.
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In. The. Bag. Ward becomes Cape to Cape’s newest elite men’s winner.

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Dad! You’ve still got some energy gel left on your face! I’ll get it!
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Stoke level, maximum.
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CRAZY TREK MAN!
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Imogen Smith, second overall in elite women.
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Ah, that’s refreshing.
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I’m meeelllllllting.
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Straya.
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Tony ‘Golden Tonsils’ Tucknott has kept up an unbelievable stream of commentary and interviews. Peta Mullens gets the finish line grilling.

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Category winners: Peta Mullens – Elite Women. Kyle Ward – Elite Men. Jon Gregg – Masters Men. Sharon Moriss – Masters Women. 
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PARTY TIME!
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Kyle Ward receives the James Williamson medal from Jason Dover.

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Wet t-shirt competitor Jason Dover and his gang of loveable misfits: Paul Van Der Ploed, Craig Cook, Kyle Ward, Russell Nankervis, Jon Gregg and Mrs Robinson.

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Cape to Cape MTB – Sundown Shootout: Flipping Crazy

Unless you’re driving a taxi or going out dancing, we wouldn’t advise you to have anything to do with Redbull late in the arvo ordinarily. But we can make an exception for the Redbull Sundown Shootout, a cool event-within-an-event that has become a real highlight of Cape to Cape MTB.

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The Shootout takes the fastest riders at Cape to Cape and throws them round a punchy two-minute course (including one massive huck thrown in for good measure), with big time bonuses up for grabs. It’s serious on one level because the time bonuses can have a real effect on the overall standings, but one the other hand it’s a chance for riders to have a razz and put on a show for the huge crowds that come out to the pines to spectate.

This year the Shootout was bigger than ever, and rowdier too. After Peta Mullens and Paul Van Der Ploeg took out the racing (and a cool $1000 each in the process), the jump was thrown open for a freestyle contest. After a local Dunsborough lad upped the ante with a 360, chants of ‘backflip, backflip’ got freeride legend Ricky Compton sufficienly gee’d up to give a flip a crack, despite the jump being far from ideal. The end result wasn’t pretty, but the dislocated shoulder went back in smoothly and Ricky lived to ride another day.

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Cape to Cape MTB – Day Three: The Pay-off in the Pines

“We had a gentlemen’s agreement,” confessed Kyle Ward, after narrowly beating Mark Tupalski for his second stage win of the 2015 Cape to Cape MTB, “that if it came to a sprint, we wouldn’t attack each other.” Their agreement may have been gentlemanly, but today’s stage was all about acting like a child.

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They call day three the Margaret River Special Stage, and it’s the defining day of this event – it’s the pay-off for the blood and tears of stages one and two, it’s the day that everyone anticipates and remembers. For many riders, it’s the very reason they make the journey to Margs.

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Now THAT is a peleton. 1100 riders snake out of Xanadu Winery.

While days one and two are all about showing off the glorious fruits of this region, day three is all about the trails. And they’re really, really good. Good enough to be rated by many as the finest cross country singletrack in the state.

Wrapping in and around the township of Margaret River itself, a solid chunk of the course for day three is noodle bowl of knotted, berm-riddled singletrack. A cool misty rain had dampened the surface to a perfectly tacky texture too, meaning grip and dust were both a non-issue. Conditions were prime, and riders were stoked.

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And we’re racing. After a long neutral start roll-out, riders were itching to wind it up!

Much like it’s a waste drinking a glass of Grange when you’re already six wines deep, it’s almost a pity to be racing these trails! This is the kind of singletrack you want to ride again and again. “It was unreal out there,” frothed Tupalski, “the berms and jumps were so flowy.”

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Today’s stage also put on show just what mountain biking, and this event in particular, has come to mean to Margaret River. The day commenced with a neutral rolling start out of Xanadu Winery and through the main street of town, where hundreds of people came out to witness the spectacle of 1100 colourful riders of all shapes and sizes embarking on a day of razzing through the trees. Just as we’re starting to see in regional towns all across the country, mountain biking is creating jobs and fuelling opportunities in Margaret River, and the locals are embracing and supporting it.

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Flow.

The enthusiastic local spirit extended into the trails too, at Heckler’s Corner, where a rowdy home-grown crew busted out the airhorn, a chainsaw and just about anything else that could clang or bang, to pump up riders. “The crowd was next level,” said Mark Tupalski. “It was almost like racing in the Czech Republic,” added Kyle Ward.

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Mullens. All grins in the singletrack.

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Without wanting to labour the point again, it’s super uplifting to see local riders opening their arms to out-of-town riders like this. Unlike in surfing, for which Margs has traditionally been known, territorialism doesn’t seem to be an issue for mountain bikers; we’re all one big tribe.

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Russell Nankervis has been racing super consistently into fifth place. His brother Tasman is no slouch either. Good genes, or sibling rivalry in action?!
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Tupac slots into another tasty berm.
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Tupac and PVDP cop a heckle.

While the time bonuses from last night’s Redbull Sundown Shootout saw things tighten up a little in the top ranks, the stage finished without any change to the overall leaders. Mark Tupalski holds a fragile lead of less than thirty seconds over Kyle Ward, with Craig Cook, Jon Gregg and Russell Nankervis rounding out the top five. Peta Mullens had a tougher day in the office, telling us “I kept getting dagged on the climbs and ended up dropping back a couple of bunches.” Imogen Smith maintains second, though she too had a hard day of it with a couple of crashes taking their toll. For the riders whose main aim was survival today, Colonial Brewery proved just the ticket – recovery lagers all round, please!

And just like that, we’re into the final leg for another year, as riders push on north to the top of the Cape at Dunsborough. Come back tomorrow, same Flow place, same Flow channel – see you there.

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Big Morgs on the charge.
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Conor McGrory is one of two hand-cyclists racing. He only got his new machine a couple of weeks ago, and has launched into the deep end with Cape to Cape. He’s a serious legend – we’ll have more about his unique hand-cycle up on Flow soon too.
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Appreciate the patience involved in luring these ducklings over for this shot, please.
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Ghost Riders on the Weir.
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We told you the locals were supportive. Braving the drizzle to cheer on the riders.
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Mike Blewitt. Toowong’s finest.
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The Hairy Marron is Margaret River’s brand new, super cool bike shop and cafe. These guys are passionate as they come, so make sure you support them when you’re in town!
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Kyle Ward and Tupac roll in together. Tomorrow is shaping up to be a good battle!
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Colonial Brewery’s scientifically formulated recovery fluids.
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All the essentials are that-a-way.

Cape to Cape MTB – Day Two: A Blissful Twisting Mixture

“I think I’ll take my recovery a bit more seriously today… Less beers, more protein,” ruminated a groaning punter, lying in the grass at Xanadu. Good idea, mate, but let’s not take things too seriously here. After all, you’ve got plenty of excuses for letting your best intentions slip when the race finishes at a winery.

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Jarrod Maroni, a classy bike rider, in a tunnel of green.

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Tupalski in front on the first descent, dictating the pace.

After a postcard perfect day one, the flawless porcelain skies didn’t make a return appearance for stage two – weather patterns shift and shuffle a lot on this deep southern coastline. The trails are just as variable too, as riders found out during today’s 57km run to Xanadu Winery, just outside Margaret River.

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Dwarfed in Boranup Forest.

A spitting rain farewelled riders as they departed Hamelin Bay (each stage commences where the previous one finishes), the huge pack surging and splitting on a steady four kilometre climb.

The lead group quickly established their own race within a race, barrelling into the loamy Sam Hill downhill, with Mark Tupalski up front. Mid-pack, odours of cooked brakes filled the air, and creative overtaking manoeuvres caused some consternation, as 1100 riders threaded through damp bush, before a charge up the tarmac to Boranup.

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At the head of the field, the magic loamy singletrack beneath the towering Karri trees was chewed up at frightening speed. “When I finally got a chance to look down, my computer said we were at over 35km an hour through the singletrack,” said Mike Blewitt. For those riding at a less frenetic pace, this was a chance to settle in and enjoy the perfect grip and mesmerising flow of the tunnel-like trails.

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Hoverbike.

Friendly singletrack met hostile coastline in dramatic style soon enough, after a sandy, rocky doubletrack descent, and the onshore winds that flattened the surf put a welcome hand on the back of wearied legs on a seaside fireroad grind to Conto Springs. The view of churned surf hammering into this exposed coastline is a stunner, but we doubt Kyle Ward had much of a chance to take it in, as he opened up and attack with 25km to go, building a 45 second gap that he’d maintain till the end of the stage.

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There are a number of hand-cyclists taking part in Cape to Cape this year. And they’re all much tougher than you.

The promise of wine is a powerful lure, and row after row of vineyards served as an assurance of relief to come, as riders buried themselves on the final ten kilometres of the stage, passing through the vineyards that are one of Margaret River’s drawcards. A final hammer along the tarmac home undoubtedly had some exhausted riders questioning just why Xanadu Winery made their driveway so long (three kays!) and with so many curves. But the pay off wasn’t far off, in the form of beverages, massages, burgers and a nice soft lawn on which to cramp violently.

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Ethan Kelly bombs towards the coastline.
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Course-master Rohin Adams and the troubled Indian Ocean.
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Riders were frothing about this killer descent, with its great views of the ocean from top to bottom.

For the race leaders, there was no change in the overall standings. “I went out pretty hard, despite my coach Mark Fenner telling me to just do enough to hold onto my lead,” said Peta Mullens, who extended her lead by another couple of minutes over Imogen Smith. Kyle Ward’s attack chops the lead of Mark Tupalski significantly, and with the time bonuses on offer at the Red Bull Sundown Showdown this evening, we could see a shuffle at the top.

There’s plenty of racing left in this event yet, including tomorrow’s singletrack feast in the killer Margaret River pines trails. See you then!

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Crazy Trek Man (we don’t know his real name, but we do know he’ll do a sweet bunny-hop kick out if you scream at him enough!).
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Riders scored a blissful tailwind on the way to Conto Springs.
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WA’s infamous pea gravel. All the traction of greasy Teflon.
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Fat Bikes have been a worthy option for stages 1 and 2, with plenty of sand.

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Hay. What you taking a photo of?

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The last third of today’s stage passes through pastural properties and vineyards. Alongside what we found out are electrified fences. #shockingdiscovery
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Pumped to be on the home stretch, powering into Xanadu Winery.

Cape to Cape MTB – Day One: Enter the Sandman

The 3.5 tonne lens assembly housed within Cape Leeuwin’s lighthouse spins on a bed of liquid mercury – it’s what allows this massive beacon to keep on turning so frictionlessly, day and night, making sure the 28 wrecks off the Cape don’t become 29.

For 119 years, the lighthouse and its keepers have stood watch over this far-flung bit of Australian coastline. And for the past seven of these, they’ve also seen off thousands of mountain bikers, as they start their four-day journey of the Cape to Cape MTB stage race.

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The Margaret River breaks were HUGE today.

Liquid mercury might keep the lighthouse lens spinning effortlessly, but it’s willpower alone that keept the wheels turning for most riders on this very spectacular but also very tough introduction to Cape to Cape.

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Stage one is the shortest of the event in terms of kilometres, but it packs a wallop, both physically and visually, that ensures it will stay with riders well after they’ve scraped the black dust out of crevices they didn’t even know existed. Sand, grit, loose climbs, hellishly fast fireroad descents and a stretch of beach (thankfully rideable, with the tide out!) define day one, which finishes up by the water in Hamelin Bay, after 39km of racing.

It was a dramatic day and beautiful beginning to the race; searing blue skies, a fighter jet fly-over right on the start, and even a proposal as Margaret River local legend Brooksy dropped to one knee for his gobsmacked partner Diane. What a way to kick things off!

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The tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. Even taller than PVDP.

The racing was dramatic too, the absence of any big teams of riders making the racing a much more solo, every-man-for-himself affair. Elite men’s defending champion Mark Tupalski dropped the hammer, hard, opening up a ninety second gap that couldn’t be shut down. “Tupac just went, up heartbreak hill, I was trying to chase him but my heart rate was up at 203 beats per minute,” explained a pretty shellshocked looking Rhys Tucknott.

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Cape Leeuwin, viewed from the lighthouse’s peak. In-fricken-credible.

“I’ve had a tough week leading up to the race,” said the ever-relaxed Tupalski, “I was in bed with a fever for five days, so hopefully I can recover ok and back up for the next three stages.” Without his Torq team around him, it’ll be a serious battle.

Masters hardman John Greg showed a few young lads what it’s all about today too, driving the pace of the chase to put himself into second place overall – bloody impressive stuff, especially considering he’s got at least 15 years on most of the crew he’s racing against. It’s his sixth Cape to Cape in a row: “It’s just a nice part of the world to come spend a few days, and the camaraderie is great.” WA’s Craig Scott, of the Giant Bootleg Brewery team, took out third.
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The women’s elite race was all about Peta Mullens and Imogen Smith. And while Mullens took out the stage, her lead was only just over a minute, a gap that Smith knows can be closed down easily over such a long race. Mullens doesn’t plan on racing defensively though: “I should probably just mark Imogen the next few stages and make sure I stay with her, but I don’t like to race like that,” laughed Mullens, who admitted finding the sand of today tough, “I was born to ride, not run, so all the times the sand forced me off the bike weren’t fun.”

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Stage one’s first climb is hot, exposed and steep.
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“I just hit the dropper post and hooked in!” Van der Ploeg came hauling into the wild first descent with a massive drift!

With a smaller than usual elite field, the vibe of the race today had an awesome laidback feel; rather than listening to whippets talk all about tactics or nutrition, we enjoyed wandering around the beautiful finish area by the sea, overhearing snatches of tall tales about near misses or busted bikes, conversations about cramps, witnessing people tackling personal demons or crushing personal bests, seeing smiles and grimaces, the air thick with satisfaction and cursing.

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Oh yes, it was a dusty day out there!

And that’s what Cape to Cape is really about – the ladies and fellas out there just having a crack. As race director Jason Dover remarked to us after pointing out a rider who’d run 20km after ripping off a derailleur, “those guys are the real legends.” Too true.

For stage 2, the race departs Hamelin Bay on a long, 57km stage to Xanadu Winery just outside Margaret River. Along the way, it’ll thread through the ancient Karri forests of Boranup and endless rows of the vineyards that makes this region so delicious. It’ll be another visual feast and an awesome day of racing no doubt, so swing on by tomorrow eve for more!

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Composed and in control, Tupalski had a massive gap by kilometre 18.
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Mullens will have three full-on days ahead of her if she’s to hang onto her lead. Can the National Road Champ stay away from Bailey?

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Not styling, crashing. A common sight today in the powdery, sandy conditions.
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Grovel, grovel, grovelling up Hamstring Hill.

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A enthusiastic and vocal crowd welcomes Mark Tupalski to Hamelin Bay.
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The Badger. So beard, so dirt.

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Cape to Cape MTB 2015 Starts Tomorrow!

The eighth edition of WA’s legendary stage race, Cape to Cape MTB, gets underway tomorrow and we’ll be bringing you daily updates so you can see just why this event is so damn amazing!

We’ve arrived in beautiful Margaret River this afternoon to an absolutely idyllic scene: sun, bikes, beers, some lacklustre fishing and lots of banter.

Take a squizz below to see why we love this place so much, and make sure you check back over the next few days to follow all the action in paradise.Cape to Cape Arvo 1-4542

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First Ever Australian Enduro Champs Crowned

Chris Panozzo (VIC) and Em Parkes (ACT) have been crowned as the inaugural Mountain Bike Enduro Australian Champions at a thrilling event presented by Mountain Bike Australia in Palm Cove, Far North Queensland. 

The Enduro discipline, also known as Gravity Enduro, has been Mountain Biking’s fastest growing competitive category in recent years. 

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The popularity stems from Enduro racing mirroring the riding that mountain bikers participate in with their friends, transitioning up hills and then racing down.

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The event started on both weekend days in picturesque Palm Cove, with a transition ride taking riders to race stages at the iconic Smithfield Mountain Bike park, the venue of the 2014 and 2016 Mountain Bike World Cups.

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With 2015 World Champion Jared Graves (QLD) absent, competition was fierce for the green and gold title in the men’s event.

Chris Panozzo (VIC) came into the event as the favourite, confidently winning the 2015 National Enduro Series.

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The fastest rider in the prologue on day 1, Panozzo was almost untouchable on race day, winning 4 of the 5 stages to take the overall win by 10 seconds.

“It’s pretty exciting to be the first Enduro National Champion” said Panozzo. “It was difficult out there today, a big day with changeable conditions, with rain during sections changing powdery dry trails into slippery clay”. 

Panozzo is now looking ahead. “The focus is now on solid training over summer, racing some Aussie downhill events with an eye on the Enduro World Series in 2016”.

Second place went to Berend Boer (QLD) and Shannon Hewetson (VIC) rounded out the podium in third.   

In the women’s event, the favourites were 2015 National Enduro Series winner Jaclyn Schapel (TAS) and Em Parkes (ACT). 

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Parkes has had a landmark 2015, winning the Under 23 Cross Country National title and finishing in the top 10 for the Eliminator discipline at the World Championships. 

She would end up with the perfect race day in the Cairns rainforest, winning all 5 stages to record her second Enduro race win in a row to take the win and the National title.

“It feels great” exclaimed Parkes reflecting on taking another National title. 

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“It was a nice experience to re-ride some of the world cup cross country course – it was a positive feeling to ride the A-lines, and it gives me good confidence going into the Cross Country World Champs in 2017”.

Jaclyn Schapel took second place for the Elite Women and Angela Williams finished third.

The Mountain Bike Australia 2015-16 National Series encompassing Cross Country, Downhill and more commences in November, with information available at www.mtba.asn.au     

Crocodile Trophy Stages 1-3 Urs Huber and Sarah White defend Elite leads

STAGE 1 – Smithfield (5×6.5km laps/33km/900m)

Italy takes the lead at 21st Crocodile Trophy

The Italian Nicolas Pettina wins the first stage of the Crocodile Trophy with a respectable lead of 3:18.07 minutes at Smithfield MTB Park in Cairns ahead of Urs Huber from Switzerland and the Australian Brendan Johnston. It was a hot start to the nine-day mountain bike stage race in Tropical North Queensland and the local racer Sarah White took full home advantage, taking an almost 6 minute lead in the elite women’s against the German Regina Genser.

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Nicolas Pettina

Nicolas Pettina credited not only his cross-country race background for his win against one of the most high-profile elite men’s line-up in the history of the Crocodile Trophy. He also blamed a lucky charm – with his luggage still lost in transit he raced in the event cotton t-shirt and is cheekily contemplating keeping it that way.

“Today was a great start to the race, I love racing these kinds of trails – they suit my cross-country background extremely”, the Italian National Marathon U23 Champion said at the finish of today’s race, that he completed in 1h30:42.98 and which included five laps of a 6.5 km circuit at the Smithfield MTB Park just outside of Cairns. 

Crocodile Trophy promotes mountain bike destination Tropical North Queensland internationally

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive officer Alex de Waal said the Croc Trophy attracted widespread international media coverage, which was invaluable to the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region.

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“Mountain bike enthusiasts around the world know Ride Cairns is a world-class mountain biking destination with exciting trails across a diverse range of landscapes, including World Heritage rainforest, thanks to the publicity generated by the Croc Trophy,” he said.

“This helps raise the profile of Cairns and Great Barrier Reef as a must-do destination for recreational riders and encourages travellers to explore our region further.”

Urs Huber from Switzerland proofs that the event’s powerful media campaign with distribution of reports, photos and videos all over the world not only attracts new racers every year, but also tempts them to come back. Ever since winning this event in 2009 and 2010, the Swiss Marathon Champion Urs Huber had wanted to race the Crocodile Trophy again.

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Greg Saw and Matthias Grick

“Following the race reports and the transformation of the event since them made me curious to race all the different terrains that are included now – I extremely enjoyed the Smithfield trails today”, he said and admitted that the hot temperatures and midday sun were tough on the body, but added that he was excited about the coming days and the challenges ahead, which will include bridging the almost three and a half minutes gap to Pettina.

The Australian National Marathon Champion Brendan Johnston took out the third spot today (+3:35.69 min) and said that he was looking forward to tomorrow’s marathon stage from Cairns onto the Atherton Tablelands. 

Local lead in elite women’s

Two riders are competing in the elite women’s category in this year’s race – today Sarah White from Cairns took full advantage of racing on her home track and won against the German marathon-athlete Regina Genser only 23 minutes behind the men’s winner in a time of 1h53:39.92. “I tried to stay calm today and had a strong race”, said the 35-year old local rider and added that she would relax on the beach this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s second stage, which will take the riders to Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands. 

After a neutral start at The Esplande in the centre of Cairns at 9:30am, the official race start will be 12 km outside of town and the total elevation to cover will be 1500 m.

TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 1h30:42.98

2. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 1h34:01.05 + 3:18.07 min

3. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 1h34:18.67 + 3:35.69 min

4. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 1h34:53.44 + 4:10.46 min

5. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense Tow-Car // 1h35:23.60 + 4:40.62

 

TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 1h53:39.92

2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 1h59:25.30 +5:45.38 min


STAGE 2 – Cairns-Atherton (74km/1500m)

Urs Huber takes overall race lead with stage win at Lake Tinaroo

Urs Huber (SUI) claimed today’s stage win at Lake Tinaroo ahead of Denmark’s National Marathon Champion Sören Nissen and yesterday’s winner, Nicholas Pettina (ITA). The Australian Brendan Johnston finished ex aequo in fourth with double-Crocodile Trophy winner Ondrej Fojtik from the Czech Republic. The Australian elite female, Sarah White, increased her race lead in the women’s to a respectable 23 minutes, winning her second consecutive stage ahead of Germany’s Regina Genser.

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Johnston Dam
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Soren Nissen

Today’s second stage of the Crocodile Trophy was a 74km marathon from Cairns onto the Atherton Tablelands. After a 12km neutral ride through the tropical city on a misty morning, the climbing started and the official race start for just before Copperlode Dam, the town’s water reservoir. Being used to training and racing in the European Alps, the Swiss marathon athlete Urs Huber coped with the 1500m of elevation and early wet conditions well. After 2h28:13 he crossed the line, just half a minute ahead of the Dane Soren Nissen.

“After losing a bit of time yesterday, I knew today I’d get the chance to make up for it”, said Huber. “The Danish and Italian riders kept up with me all day and just before the finish I attacked and was able to stay ahead of Nissen”, he recounted.

The two had a good gap to yesterday’s winner from Italy, Nicholas Pettina who finished in just over two and a half hours with a gap of about five minutes. The Czech Ondrej Fojtik and Australia’s Brendan Johnston followed ex aequo with a gap of almost seven minutes.

This result shakes things up in the overall standings – Huber takes over the race lead and has a gap of 1:24 minutes ahead of Nissen. Pettina is in third ahead of Johnston and Ondrej Fojtik.

Sarah White puts a line in the sand: 23 minute gap after two stages

In the women’s classification, Cairns-racer Sarah White increased her gap to the German Regina Genser to 23 minutes. Coping with the conditions well and banking on her knowing the trails through the Dinden State Forest and Barron Creek National Park well she can rest easy tonight on the shores of the picturesque Lake Tinaroo.

Notably missing from today’s stage plan was the grueling climb over Mt Edith, which is dreaded by returning Crocodile Trophy racers. “We work closely together with local councils, mountain bike clubs and riders who always give us input about more ideal and sometimes new routes. Over the last three to four years our stage plan has evolved and has been very popular with our racers. But we like to keep it fresh and interesting too”, said organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher who founded this iconic race in 1994.

For now the Crocodile Trophy will set up camp in Atherton until Wednesday morning. After an 18km neutral ride from Lake Tinaroo to the town of Atherton, tomorrow’s stage will have two 27km loops in the Atherton Mountain Bike Park in store for the racers. With the so typical bush single trails it has become one of the most popular cycling destinations in Australia. The race with then set up camp for two nights on a nearby farm for a classic 80km marathon through the Herberton State Forest on Tuesday.

STAGE 2: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 2h28:13

2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 2h28:44 +00:31 sec

3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 2h33:04 +04:51 min

4. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) #17 // Force KCK / Progress Cycles // 2h35:06 +06:53 min

4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 2h35:06 +06:53 min

STAGE 2: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 3h42:07

2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 4h00:03 +17:56 min

OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 4h02:14

2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 4h03:37 +01:23 min

3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 4h03:46 +01:32 min

4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 4h09:24 +07:10 min

5. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) #17 // Force KCK / Progress Cycles // 4h11:50 +09:36 min

OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 5h35:46

2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 5h59:28 +23:42 min


Stage 3 – Atherton Mountain Bike Park

59 (77) km / 1300 (1500) m

Urs Huber and Sarah White defend Elite leads in Atherton today

Urs Huber scores his second stage win at the 2015 Crocodile Trophy ahead of the Australian Brendan Johnston and the Italian Nicholas Pettina. Sarah White stays in the overall women’s lead with a third consecutive stage win in Atherton today.

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Urs Huber

The most typical terrain that you would encounter as a mountain biker in Australia are narrow trails, lots of small pinch climbs and to make a local rider’s heart skip a beat, they are packed with rocky sections, tight corners, switchback climbs and big berms. The first reactions in the finish of the two top elite men’s finishers reflect this uniqueness nicely: 

Urs Huber said that it was the toughest Crocodile Trophy stage he’d ever ridden and that’s coming from a two-time winner of this iconic race. “My whole body aches, especially my lower back, that was hard work today”, he said after a race time of 3h01:57. 

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With 39 seconds gap in second was Australia’s Marathon Champion, Brendan Johnston – according to him today “was exactly what I love about mountain biking – I’d rather do 100km on this sort of terrain than race on a road or fire trail”. 

The 24-year old rider from Canberra, who is holding the leader jersey of the fastest Australian in the race, explained that it was his first stage race that runs over such a long distance and that his strategy was to take one day at a time. “Urs [Huber] and I race together all day today and with 2km to go he attacked. My plan is to race a smart race, we still have six stages to go and the really long days are still ahead”, said Johnston, who kept his overall fourth spot.

Brendan Johnston
Brendan Johnston

Asked how he was coping with the Crocodile Trophy camp life he said that it was an additional challenge, because you had to be organised, but that he enjoyed it. “I’ve heard so much about this event in the past and this is all part of it.”

Italy’s Nicholas Pettina was again in third with a gap of 2:39.6 min to Huber. He praised the trails and said he enjoyed race in Atherton and that he was content to still get a podium spot today and moves up the overall ranking into second spot ahead of Denmark’s Soren Nissen, who finished fifth today behind Spain’s Milton Ramos.

Sarah White still feeling strong after stage three

The Cairns local racer was again in her element today. “This was just too much fun today”, she beamed after 4h06:24 back at the event centre. “Don’t get me wrong, it was tough and when we were on top of the first climb rain set in, which made some of the rocks really slippery. It took all my skill to stay upright and I’m glad I could keep my lead”, she admitted and added that she was respectful ahead of tomorrow’s stage in the Herberton State Forest and even though she now has a 37:26 minute lead, she indicated that she was still watching two German women closely.

Sarah White
Sarah White

One of them is the elite Regina Genser, who finished in second with a gap of 13:44 min today. Still buzzing with excitement she recounted her race in the finish: two crashes, a flat tire and a slipped chain, but she said she was happy and still couldn’t believe what was on the menu for the riders today, “I’ve never ridden so much single track in one go ever! You don’t get that in Europe anywhere, especially not in a marathon, what an experience!” She added that tomorrow’s stage should suit her, “I don’t mind climbing.”

Strong field of amateur riders impresses also in overall rankings

The second rider to watch is Kristin Endres, the amateur female racer from Darmstadt who actually held the second position outright among the women after yesterday’s stage. A considerable number of riders suffered mechanicals on the tough terrain, she said, but was spared herself. “I love riding on single trails and in the forests near my home and the second half of today’s loop was so scenic and pretty – I was flying, it felt like dancing. But it was tough and towards the end it was almost overwhelming”, she said. Today she finished in 4h29:32.6 and leads the women’s amateur category by almost one and a half hours. These women don’t leave anything out on track and are racing hard every day.

The leader jersey for the amateur men stays with Germany’s Christian Leschke from Nuremberg; he leads ahead of fellow A2/30+ racers from Australia, Lincoln Carolan (+59 sec) and Bart Duraj (+12:30 min).

Tomorrow’s stage profile includes massive climbs taking the riders from Atherton onto the top of the Great Dividing Range in the Herberton State Forest and will be a classic 80km marathon with 2200m of elevation.

STAGE 3: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 3h01:57.0

2. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 3h02:35.8 +38.8 min

3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 3h04:36.6 +2:39.6 min

4. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense- Tow Car // 3h06:59.2 +5:02.2 min

5. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 3h07:19.0 +5:22.0 min

STAGE 3: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 4h06:24.0

2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 4h20:08.0 +13:44.0 min

OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:

1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 7h04:11

2. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 7h08:22 +4:11 min

3. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 7h10:56 +6:45 min

4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 7h11:59 +7:48 min

5. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense- Tow Car // 7h17:29 +13:18 min

OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:

1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 9h42:10

2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 10h19:36 +37:26 min

For rider lists and results, visit www.crocodile-trophy.com

Chris Panozzo: On Rails at Mount Beauty

Chris Panozzo is not afraid.

Show him a dusty berm or two and you’re guaranteed a display of brake-free, full-speed cornering commitment. Watch what happens when he’s unleashed on his home trails of Mt Beauty as the Shimano/Trek racer prepares for the National Enduro Champs.

This Gnarly Crash Couldn’t Stop Nicholi Rogatkin

Nicholi Rogatkin has had a breakout year. After proving himself on the FMB World Tour by ending up in third place in overall points coming into his second appearance atRed Bull Rampage, he’s been working hard to improve his skills in a big mountain venue.

In Thursday’s qualifying round, however, Rogatkin suffered one of the scariest crashes in Rampage history (see it in the video below). But as medical personnel attended to him, he stood, wiped himself off and put his helmet back on. The tough-as-nails Boston rider then proceeded to sail over the hugely intimidating canyon gap and followed it up with a backflip at the end of his run.

His unwavering drive to mount up and complete his run surely earned him a new legion of fans, not to mention a truckload of ironman points. Despite not qualifying for Friday’s final, Rogatkin proved he could hang in the often unforgiving world of big mountain riding.

 

On Track With Curtis Keene – Almost Doesn’t Count – S2E7

Every Race is a story. The transfers, the perfect lines, the mechanicals and the crashes are a part of every racer’s tale.

In this episode of On Track with Curtis Keene we explore 3 different stories from what is consistently one of the toughest (and paradoxically most liked) races in the Enduro World Series: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

Follow Curtis as he struggles with injury to make the starting line. We track BC transplant Josh Carlson as he puts together a dream run of stages at his “home race” and we follow young gun Richie Rude who has apparently decided that concepts of age and experience don’t actually count for anything at all.

 

Crocodile Trophy 2015: Racers from 17 Nations assemble in Tropical North Queensland

One sleep to go until the 21st Crocodile Trophy starts in Cairns on 17th October. The Crocodile Trophy is Australia’s and the World’s oldest and most iconic mountain bike stage race. It is endorses by the International Cycling Federation (UCI) with the highest possible category “S1” and offers valuable points to participants towards their international ranking. It calls the holiday paradise that is tropical North Queensland home and its 700+km stage plan from Cairns to Port Douglas is unique – every day is different!  

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From the rain forests into the Outback and back to the beach: during the nine days from Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands, Skybury Coffee Plantation and Wetherby Station to Port Douglas the competitors from 17 countries are in for a treat: jungle, single trails, river crossings, steep climbs and fast descents, old mining towns in the Outback, huge farms and the fertile Tablelands await them.

This year we are excited to present a high-profile participant line-up including some of the best marathon and endurance racers in the world, who will fight for the podium spots in a gripping race until the final day:

 – Greg Saw from Australia: the Crocodile Trophy Champion from 2014 will be at the start to defend his title.

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 – Brendan Johnston: the Australian Marathon National Champion will challenge the international contenders on his home ground.

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–  Urs Huber from Switzerland: one of the most successful endurance mountain bikers in the world a double Crocodile Trophy Champion

–  Ondrej Foitek: this Czech racer has claimed the Crocodile Trophy victory twice as well. 

–  Soren Nissen from Denmark is regarded as the dark horse among the elite field.

–  Nicholas  Pettinà, the Italian Marathon National Champion

–  David Rosa: the Portugese rider was unlucky last year when he did not finish the Crocodile Trophy due to an injury; this year he has his eyes on the overall win.

–  Rotem Ishay: this nine-time National Champion from Israel will have some aces up his sleeves.

 

Apart from ringing names from the mountain bike athletic scene, at the start of the 21st Crocodile Trophy there will also be government and some interesting industry representatives, including:

– The Hon. Paul de Jersey, Governor of Queensland will attend the official race start at Smithfield MTB Park on 17 October.

– Mr Craig Crawford MP, Member for Barron River, will join us at the race start in Smithfield on 17 October

– Koenraad Vanschoren from Belgium from BEMC, which is one of the biggest mountain bike stage races in Europe, will stay in Australia for four weeks with his family and will participate in the race.

–  Joko Vogel, the organiser of the Swiss Epic event will join the event for the last three stages

– For the first time we will have a Para-Olympian at the start – Arnout Matthys from Belgium will participate in the race.

We expect over 100 cyclists from all over the world and Australia, for many this race is the challenge of a lifetime and for everyone it is an experience that they will never forget.

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Ten Grand $lam! – Rotorua’s Giant 2W Enduro Announces $10K Prize

The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro mountain bike race series is one of the biggest Enduro events in the Southern hemisphere, and caters for a wide range of riders on the world-renowned trails of Rotoruas Whakarewarewa Forest. In its three year history the event has attracted some of the worlds top riders, and the announcement this morning of the Ray White Real Estate Ten Grand $lam will make them even keener to return.

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James Alexander (aka Geeza) local Enduro rider and Auctioneer/Sales Agent at Ray White Rotorua said his principals Tim O’Sullivan and Anita Martelli were thrilled to be involved in such an iconic local event and keen to back it with a decent reward.

The Giant 2W was already boasting a huge cash prize pool, along with tens of thousands of dollars worth of product prizes, and now the organisers have announced the Ray White Real Estate Ten Grand $lam, a $10,000 bonus prize for any rider who can win all three races this season in the open category! With the round winners receiving $500 per race 1 & 2, and $750 for the final, the Ten Grand $lam winner would ride away with $12750 plus a possible maximum of $750 in stage win bonuses. That makes the Giant 2W Enduro the richest Enduro series in the world in cash prizes.

Prize money is equally divided between men and women in the Giant 2W events, and the Ray White Ten Grand $lam is no different: a woman has the same chance as a man of sweeping her open category in the three rounds, and picking up the cash.

Should both male and female categories produce a winner of all three rounds, the $10,000 bonus prize will be split between them.

Competitors in the six stage shuttled and non-shuttled event categories are given six hours to complete six downhill stages, which can be attacked in any order. Most will choose to have uphill transport included in their entry, but some hardy types will ride to the start lines of all the race stages. Riders must work out their strategy for the day, complete all the stages, and get back to race HQ before their allotted time runs out to avoid time penalties.

The formula has proved to be very popular, and the Giant 2W races are sell outs. An additional 25 spaces have been added to the races, bringing the total places available to 450 per race. With the addition of the Ray White Ten Grand $lam they are sure to disappear!

Introducing the Giant Yarra Valley Cycles Team

2016 Giant Yarra Valley Cycles Team comprises of Liam Panozzo, Joel Panozzo, Aiden Varley, Aaron Gungl and Baxter Maiwald. The team traveled to Mt Beauty for some practice and filming before the first round of the Victorian Downhill Mountain Bike Series the following weekend.

2016 Giant / Yarra Valley Cycles Team Launch from Giant/Yarra Valley Cycles Team on Vimeo.

Giant / Yarra Valley Cycles Team are proudly sponsored by:
Giant Bycycles Australia
Yarra Valley Cycles
Troy Lee Designs
Maxxis
Sram
Rock Shox
Sony Action Cam
Five Ten
ODI
OGIO
Evolution Sports and Fitness

Filmed and edited by Jake Lucas Media

As The Crow Flies – Trek and Adelaide Football Club

As The Crow Flies documents the journey between Trek and the Adelaide Football Club to create a custom Project One bike to honour the Club’s 2015 Indigenous Round jersey and raise funds for the Adelaide Football Club Indigenous Programs Foundation.

Trek partners with Laurie Nona, the artist behind the Adelaide Crows’ Indigenous Round guernsey, to create a custom Project One bike that honours the rich history of indigenous athletes in Australian Rules Football.


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The best part…the bike could be yours! Donate to AFF legend Andrew McLeod’s Crows Children’s Foundation charity ride for the chance to win this truly unique bike: http://ow.ly/T38yT

MTBA National Enduro Champs Course Map and Video Previews

The crew at RideCairns and MTBA are ramping things up ahead of this month’s National Enduro Champs, to be held on the legendary trails of Smithfield 17-18 October. Starting at gorgeous Palm Cove, riders then head into the jungle, for five stages of racing on a wicked looking mix of trails.

Take a look at the course map below, then watch the POV previews of each stage in full. Stage 2 looks absolutely sick!


The Cannonball MTB Festival 2015

In case you’ve not been paying attention for the last few years, Thredbo is on a mission to reassert itself as Australia’s premium alpine mountain bike destination. After a little while lying low, the Thredbo team have been investing in new trails, better infrastructure and new events like the Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival.

We’ve been to the last two editions of this awesome long weekend, and we like what it’s all about. With multiple events across the three days, it brings a bit of a festival vibe to Thredbo and the racing is top notch, with a big prize pool attracting a lot of fast names.

Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-9 Angus Maddern looking stylish in his race run.

Make sure you check out our coverage from last year, and watch our video wrap up from 2013 too.


Read below for the official lowdown from Thredbo, or just take our word for it and get amongst it!


The Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival returns to Thredbo in December 2015, promising a spectacle of dirt, vert and freewheeling action. Pros, rising stars and amateurs of the mountain biking world alike will take on five incredible events over three big days, for a share in a massive prize pool of over $45,000.

The headline event the Australian Open Downhill, races on the famous 3.5km Cannonball Downhill track, it promises a ride of intense, non-stop gravity that will challenge every rider both mentally and physically.

Attracting riders from around the world, it comes as no surprise that Thredbo’s Toyota Cannonball Festival was voted MTB Event of the Year at the 2015 Mountain Bike Australia Achievement Awards. This year, the action packed weekend includes the side-by-side SRAM Dual Compressor, RockShox Pump Track Challenge on Thredbo’s new look pump track, the ODI Whip Wars Big Air, Maxxis Flow Motion Cup and the jewel in the crown, the Australian Open Downhill.

The festival runs from 4-6th December and will showcase the diverse terrain on offer in the Snowy Mountains, highlighting why Thredbo is Australia’s home of Gravity Mountain Biking.


Australian Open Downhill – Sunday, 6th December

The main event, the Australian Open DH on Thredbo’s famous Cannonball Downhill, will take riders to their physical and mental limits. The 3.5km course of fast, intense, non-stop gravity starts at the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift and will be the best one yet. We will see the return of the old favourite, the no holds barred Thredbo Fire Road and this is exclusive to the Australian Open DH. Along with other substantial changes that will widen sections and add more fall line riding, this event also has the biggest prize purse on the Australia DH calendar.  Online entry closes midnight, 2ndDecember 2015.

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Maxxis Flow Motion Cup – Saturday, 5th December

The Kosciuszko Flow Trail is the track for this one, it winds down the famous ski runs. This all mountain race is about endurance as there is 5km of flowing single-track to negotiate on varied terrain plus the odd flat pedal, this event can cater to most levels of riders and bikes.  Online entry closes midnight, 2nd December 2015. 

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RockShox Pump Track Challenge – Friday, 4th December

Get ready for the ROCKSHOX Pump Challenge on Friday night. See Thredbo’s new look Pump Track on the Village Green in full flight as the smooth momentum masters set the perfectly sculpted course on fire. A test of ultimate skill and stamina, as riders pump, double and manual around the 2-3 lap course without a single pedal stroke.  Online entry closes midnight, 2nd December 2015. 

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SRAM Dual Compressor – Friday, 4th December

Racing at its most raw, the Dual Compressors crowd-pleasing format pits two competitors side-by-side to battle each other and the clock as they race to avoid elimination each round. The finely tuned course of jumps, berms, rhythm sections and drops makes for a gruelling battleground, challenging both pump-track specialists and the true downhillers. Riders will race on equal course side by side before integrating and pushing one another through to the finish.  Online entry closes midnight, 2nd December 2015.

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ODI Whip Wars – Saturday, 5th December

A crowd favourite will see the best riders in the country send their bike sideways off a purpose built show-time jump at the Thredbo base. This will see a mix of downhillers and free-riders come together to settle the debate of the King of Style. You may not win the main event, but you may take home some cash for a crowd-pleasing trick.

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*Entries available on the day.


With revamped existing tracks and a fresh new trail network, 2015 delivers 25 kilometres of epic riding to the region, including the latest and greatest Thredbo All-Mountain Trail, which promises unrivalled views down the Thredbo Valley towards Jindabyne. Boasting tracks for all abilities including downhill, cross country, all-mountain and a BMX style pump track, there is lots to love about riding in Thredbo this summer.

To ensure the weekend offers just as much off the trails as on them, both sides of the resort will be pumping during the iconic mountain biking celebration. Across the three days, Thredbo village will play host to DJ’s and live acts, with the region’s stellar offering of bars and restaurants also open.

Inviting riders of every level, registrations are now open via the Thredbo eStore with a 15% early bird discount for those signing up before midnight 31 October 2015. Visit www.thredbo.com.au/cannonballfestival for full event details or join the Thredbo MTB Facebook page for all event updates.

Accommodation options throughout the Village will help spectators and riders to be well rested ahead of each massive day. The layout of Thredbo ensures all accommodation is only a short walk to the Cannonball event hub, chairlifts and village activities. Options include catered lodge style hotels, luxurious apartments and self-contained units.

To check out awesome festival packages, please visit Thredbo’s website  or call the Thredbo Resort Centre on 1300 020 589, or visit FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Ridiculous Bikes – Roost Carbon

Poking fun at future mountain biking standards based on current rate of change.

13 Speeds 11-53T cassette, 1500mm wheelbase prone geometry, 188mm dropout and huge BB spacing are all not patented and is free for use by all drunkards.
Full geometry will not be released due to the waste of time from measuring.

Disclaimer:
This full 3D video was not meant to diss anyone or discourage change in the MTB industry, there are no affiliations to Club Roost products and the video was created for fun in one afternoon 
after an awesome trail ride! Cheers.

188mm Dropout Spacing, 1500mm Wheelbase and general proportion shown in the video is to scale.

Original 3D model was derived from Grabcad’s J. Deschamps and was heavily modified, setup, textured and remodeled by Patrick Ng