Watch Sam Hill’s 2017 Enduro World Series journey here.
Geek out with our bike checks with Aussie riders racing Whistler’s EWS, here.
James ‘Cannonball’ Hall was the darkhorse of Aussie enduro pinners this year, privateering to 55th overall in his first EWS season. We caught up with him before Finale – check out our interview and his Whistler race video here.
The Maydena Bike Park crew have been working like dirty trail building dogs, pumping out a huge amount of trail ahead of the 26 January opening date. As you can see, it looks ridiculously good. Moving to Tassie, anyone?
Don’t know what the Maydena Bike Park is all about?
A lot! The first stage of the 20+ trail gravity network is just about complete, with the finishing touches underway in readiness for open day. This includes the first stage of jump trails, offering a wide range of jump options for beginner through to pro-line trails.
There’s been a lot of talk about the hand built nature of many of the trails, and come opening day eight or more hand built trails will be ready to roll, providing a more natural, technical trail experience.
Team, this place is going to be sick. Can you believe just how insanely good Tasmania has become for mountain biking in just a few years? It’s mind blowing.
In addition to all out gravity trails, there are two contouring link trails that will be completed for open day. These allow the network to be ridden in a ‘trail riding’ fashion, taking longer to get down the hill, for those who may be a little overwhelmed by the massive 820m vertical offered in the park.
The multiple building fit outs are nearly complete too, which will house the park’s two cafe and beer garden. Plus a massive pump track will be in place, fully asphalted, of course.
Team, this place is going to be sick. Can you believe just how insanely good Tasmania has become for mountain biking in just a few years? It’s mind blowing.
Easter in the Alice is the best way to explore one of Australia’s most unique and frankly under-rated mountain bike destinations; hundreds of kilometres of single track is accessible literally a few minute’s ride from the centre of town, the landscape is one of the most stunning you’ll ever see, you’re practically guaranteed blue skies, and the riding is fast and furious.
We’ve visited Alice Springs numerous times now, exploring the endless trails, soaking in the serenity of being in one of the most amazing places in Australia. Take a look below!
What is the Easter in the Alice?
Easter in the Alice is a three-day cross-country stage race, 31 March – 2 April 2018, taking in the best trails that Alice Springs has to offer. The event is an official stop for the MTBA National XCM Series too. You can race just one stage, or do them all, or there’s the Easter Mini too, for those who don’t want to tackle the longer distances.
Interestingly, the Easter in the Alice has over 30% female entrants! That’s more than twice the average mountain bike event. We put it down to just home welcoming the race environment is – the Alice Springs crew know how to run an event with a friendly vibe.
The format is very family-friendly too. All the racing takes place in the cool of the morning, so you’ve got the rest of the day and evening to see what this beautiful part of Australia is all about.
Why enter now?
If you enter before the end of the year, you’ll save a full $50 off the regular entry price. Three days stage racing for $140, that’s a bit of a bargain. All the details are right here.
It’s an exciting time for local riders, with the Hornsby MTB Trails just re-opening fully this past week. Over the past 18 months, the trails have been in something of a state of flux – the huge quarry that’s located near the trails was picked as the repository for untold tonnes of dirt and rubble, excavated as part of the huge North Connex tunnel project in Sydney’s north.
With literally hundreds of trucks coming and going each day, it was deemed too dangerous for riders and the trails were closed. But amazing behind the scenes work from key folk in the Hornsby Council Bushland Department, Synergy Trails, the Connex group and the Sydney North Off Road Cyclists made it possible for the trails to not only re-open but to grow.
The whole layout of the park was reworked, and two culverts under the roadway were installed, resulting in nearly two kilometres extra trail, plus a new jump park. With the new layout you can ride the trails repeatedly with different routes for a different feel each time, using a variety of climbing and descending options. Future expansion of the trails into the valley floor is in the long-term thinking too. The trails are open now, just in time for summer, so get to it! For more info, head here or check out the SNORC Facebook page.
It was a day of playing the long game – over 600 riders lined up at 1800m above sea level ready to take on the 4.5km track. Although not super technical, there’s a stack of steep banked berms and rolling traverses so cornering and pedalling ability was paramount.
“The track was dry and rolling fast by the time I raced, so I just set my pace as it’s just such a physical course, happy to win this one but looking forward to the downhill Sunday” said Dean Lucas winner of the Pro Men’s.
Lucas set the pace winning in 7:47:55 just .68 of a second ahead of enduro specialist Josh Carlson with Thomas Crimmins edging into third spot on the podium.
The women’s pro category saw 19 year old Sian A’Hern first down the mountain, just ahead of Tegan Molloy, with super mum Claire Whiteman jumping into third.
The hotly contested u/19’s saw young pinner Kye A’Hern lay down a hot time of 7:57:51 with Harrison Dobrowolski only a mere one second behind.
As the afternoon light crept across the finish arena the crowds gathered on the side of the hill for the always impressive SRAM Whip Wars. Over 100 riders took on the 30 foot jump – they were judged on the biggest sideways whip with air, style, steeze plus crowd pleasing tricks filled the rider’s pockets with cash. Trick of the day definitely went to Nik Barber who launched a massive backflip that saw the massive hillside crowd erupt with applause.
“Just go for it, don’t think about the consequences and hope for the best” said Central Coast rider Duke Millington who landed top spot on the podium in the Pro Men’s.
“I’m just so stoked to win, I’ve been looking up to these guys since I was a kid and it’s crazy to be on the podium with them” he said.
Day 1: What a way to kick off racing for the Thredbo Cannonball MTB Festival, Thursday was the Maxxis All-Mountain Assault – two things the competitors were happy to see, the sunshine and the finish line!
A packed field of close to 500 lined up at the top of the Gunbarrel Express around 1790m above sea level, they took in the amazing views and took in deep breaths for the seven kilometre, 450 vertical metre descent to the village.
After a week of rain, the weather turned it on with loads of sunshine and a big blue sky. The track conditions were primo, starting out wet in sections swinging to sweet and tacky once racing was underway, getting faster and faster as the day went one.
The pro division saw Ben Forbes repeat his 2016 win, hitting the line at 12:37:22 around seven seconds ahead of Josh Carlson with Scott Graham nudging into third. In the pro women’s Sian A’Hern took the win only seconds ahead of Claire Whiteman and Tegan Molloy in third.
“It’s was great out there, it’s a really long time to be on your game, you have to be out of your seat the whole way, it was gnarly, but great to take the win” said Forbes.
When riders were asked to describe the race they said “it was brutal” with technical descents, natural features, jump options and pinch climbs, it pushed even the most seasoned enduro rider. This is one of the longest enduro race tracks in the country, so solid slabs of time were won and lost, but in some categories it was only a matter of seconds that separated the podium places.
“It was a massive day of racing – sunshine, record number of riders and a fantastic track that just kept on getting better and better as the day went on. The next few days are set to be epic with everyone raving about the Flow and Downhill track conditions” said Tim Windshuttle – Thredbo MTB Assistant Manager
Day 2. Two gates, two mates, one winner….The crowd gathered, the clouds parted, the track was swept and it was game on in the fifth edition of the ROCKSHOX Pump Track Challenge.
The social event of the Cannonball MTB Festival took place as the sun went down, but there was plenty of action to light up night and fire up the field.
The track was in top shape with world class showdowns revving up the 1000 strong crowd. Riders raced the clock to narrow down the field of 300 to the top 8 in each category.
The new dual format saw head to head Pump Track racing in the upper categories Racers dropped in on opposing sides of the pump track, meeting in the middle for a side by side battle to the finish.
In the Pro Men’s, proving he is a quality all-rounder, Thomas Crimmins set a blistering pace in qualifying before meeting up with his mate David McMillan in the final. Crimmins crossed the line first by the narrowest of margins to McMillan with Duke Millington coming in third.
“Great atmosphere, big crowd and a fun format of racing made for a fantastic event” said Thomas Crimmins.
It was a parade of women’s world beaters with Danni Beecroft, who is more at home on the downhill track, taking the win. Sian A’Hern maintained her podium place of yesterday to ride in second with BMX rider Harriet Burbidge-Smith coming in third.
“I loved the dual format, it’s good to battle it out amongst each other to see where you are at, it really pushes you to the edge, so much so I almost crashed” said Danni Beecroft.
The young guns scorched the course burning out of the berms and over the rollers at pro pace. Local kids Thomas Krpan, Jackson Connelly and Angus Falconer impressed with their speed and agility filling 1,2,3 on the podium in the u/15 men’s category.
Metaphorically there may not be a better way to justify the ebbs and flows of good and bad that everyone undoubtedly experiences. What sets certain people apart though, is their ability to ride the waves in their own, unique way. Erkki Punttila knows that the best way to reset is to embrace the tides and sail away into a different mindset.
The setting is the far north of Finland in the Lapland area. It’s north of the arctic circle. It’s dark and cold; exactly what you think northern Finland would be like in the depths of autumn, except it’s also stunningly beautiful. Erkki’s path has led him to sell most of his possessions and move his life onto a sailboat.
The S/y Sanibonani was built in South Africa in 1978. She has a luxurious history of cruising the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but now she’s finding her home in the cold waters of Finland. “Living aboard a sailboat has been a great experience,” Erkki said. “Extremely limited storage space makes you focus on the stuff you really need. Enjoying a sunset with good coffee really beats having eight pairs of shoes you never wear and a metric ton of random stuff around you.”
Erkki’s preferred method of transportation while in port is his Unit X. “I had the Unit on deck ready for grocery runs and the occasional bike packing trip,” he said. “In the spring, the boat was still bound in the ice so I had to haul 20-litre diesel canisters for the heater with the bike, which was no problem with a sturdy front rack.” Erkki’s need for adventure runs deep and recently, he took his Unit X to explore Finland’s largest national park, Lemmenjoki.
Known for its gold-digging claims, Lemmenjoki spans 2,850 square km and is peppered with huts where travellers can spend the night out of the extreme cold.
Follow along with Erkki as he traverses Lemmenjoki National park during Finland’s centennial year alongside herds of reindeer and takes in the astonishing views from one of Finland’s greatest treasures. Sometimes the best way to find yourself is to get lost in the beauty of nature.
Watch Erkki’s previous video here, another amazing journey.
In 2017, Moir took the 2nd podium spot at the World Cup in Fort William, and kept it close to, or inside, the top 10 in the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup — except for in Andorra. When he’s close enough to a round of the Enduro World Series, and his schedule allows, he’ll throw himself into the mix there, too, and he’ll finish in the top 10.
“Well, I’m always working on constantly everything. I never take the approach that I’m doing as well as I possibly can…” – Kelly Slater
Watch him on the bike, though, and the tall Aussie’s style makes it look like he isn’t really forcing the issue, almost like he’s out for a warm-up lap. It’s a look, maybe even a stigma, that many tall riders share, and Moir is quick to point that out. Look a bit closer at Jack’s style, though, and you might be able to see an influence from surfing — which makes sense when you consider that the Intense Factory Racing rider has been riding waves on one form of board or another since he was old enough to walk out into the water by himself.
Ask him about his moniker “Shark Attack Jack” and he’ll nonchalantly tell you a story about being bitten in the leg a decade ago. It was an injury that required roughly 500 stitches but did little to keep him from getting back in the water and on the board.
When injury derailed his 2015 season, Jack persevered, fighting back in 2016 to take one World Cup top 10 and the Crankworx DH overall title
Moir won the opening round of the Crankworx DH Series in Rotorua, New Zealand, and seemed poised for the repeat. That win, plus an 8th at Crankworx Les Gets and a 3rd at Crankworx Innsbruck meant he held the series lead going into the final round at Crankworx Whistler.
Sometimes, though, the best you can do comes up short of the win. And short of the championship. And that’s racing.
Jack is decidedly pragmatic about the whole thing. In his eyes, when you’re healthy, you need to take advantage of it and race. And ride. And remember why you started doing all of this in the first place.
In Whistler, for example, even before the dust had settled completely, Jack was off for a few more laps with his mates. Sometimes the shark gets you, but you never quit.
Video by: Mind Spark Cinema
Photos by: Adrian Marcoux & Sven Martin
Words by: Joe Parkin
Regardless of where a customer purchases a new Intense they can enjoy the same high-end, world-cup proven mountain bikes Intense has always offered for substantially reduced pricing.
“Our bikes are the best they’ve ever been.” says Founder/Designer, Jeff Steber. “But the high pricing was keeping them out of reach for a large majority of riders. We felt like we needed to find a way to bring the prices down so that more riders could experience our bikes first-hand”.
The new website intensecycles.com.au, is loaded with all the information you need to choose the right bike for you, get technical support, find answers to your questions, and learn more about our company’s rich heritage.
Australia-based customer service team
Got a question? Want some advice? You can rest assured that you can contact our Intense Cycles Aussie based customer service team for all your enquiries. Our experts are here to help.
Whichever Intense bike you choose, it will be delivered to your door 95% ready to ride, with just some small assembly required. Each bike comes with a free custom accessory box that includes all the speciality tools needed to finalise assembly (RRP $200). There is also a “how to” video on the website where Intense Factory Racing technical director, Chappy Fiene will guide you through each step of the process.
“The bike industry has changed,” says Intense CEO, Andrew Herrick “And the way we shop has changed. This new program is our plan to bridge the gap that can sometimes separate great riders from great bikes, and make it easier for riders everywhere to own a world-class bike brand like Intense.”
499 entries (preferable to 500 in the world of singlespeeding) entertaining over 2000 spectators spread around a twin loop course featuring mainly well-established, old-school trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest network. There were over 100,000 video views and tens of thousands of photo views on the event Facebook and Instagram (@sswc2017) pages within 48 hours of the race finish.
It was another raucous, colourful event with extravagant costumes lighting up a cool, windy and overcast day.
No tattoo, no title, but both Sam and Janine had no doubt about that when asked the question by one of the MC’s, Craig Pattle, immediately after crossing the finish line. Janine wasn’t sure exactly where she’d be inked. Sam had no hesitation, much to his mother, Sarah’s horror.
“Yeah, definitely, I’ve been planning to get one on my butt for ages.”
It was that kind of a race day.
As the last riders straggled in, the competition to decide the venue for the 2018 championships began – Bend, Oregon in the USA versus Prince Edward Island in Canada.
The Americans had come to win at any cost, while Canadian, Bruce McPherson was much more laidback. He’d combined a trip to the world championships with his honeymoon.
Part one of the challenge was four members of each team riding a 16” bike point to point, head to head for 10 metres, drinking a beverage, then spinning around with head to a broomstick in a traffic cone, then trying to ride the bike back.
After dispute and discussion and a captain’s run-off. Canada prevailed.
Part two involved being doused in mud, then sliding as far as possible down a plastic sheet, with the volunteers from the Lake Okareka fire brigade hosing down the plastic. The geothermal mud was supplied by the team from the Rotorua Mudtopia Festival debuting from December 1-3. There was only centimetres in this, but USA clawed one back.
So, it was all to play for at prizegiving at the Pig and Whistle Historic Pub that evening. Again, all four team members fronted up to eat fresh fronds of Pikopiko (New Zealand fern), Kina roe and Hapuka eyes. There was a lot of gagging – not all from the competitors. The Bend crew took this one in decisive fashion and SSWC2018 returns to the USA for the first time since Anchorage, Alaska in 2014.
For the volunteers from the Rotorua Singlespeed Society it was another succcessful event, a second world championship (the first was in 2010) to go alongside three New Zealand Championships and an Anzac Championship.
“We have such a brilliant team,” said Society president, Gary Sullivan, adding with a laugh: “Volunteers, sure, but at the same time, highly fine tuned event professionals.”
His mountain clothing company, Nzo, was the main partner of the event and did all the design work.
“We are just one of a long line up of local businesses, charitable trusts and the Rotorua Lakes Council who all contribute to make our events as special as they are.”
The event benefits Lifeline Aotearoa, New Zealand’s mental health helpline.