Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Year Well Spent

Photo Credit: John Gibson
Had the world really ended this past Friday, December 21st, at least I would have felt satisfied because I got to ride THIS trail...and that overall, the last year was well-spent and well-lived.  Now the only thing coming to an end is the year itself, and it would appear that the show will certainly go on.  Therefore, there is no need to become too sentimental.  Rather, in the spirit of celebrating the end of the year, a nullified-apocalypse, and all the sweet trails we rode in 2012, time for a toast (in videos and photos) to 2012 season.

To start with the good stuff, the video below really captures the spirit of what we mountain bikers (and anyone who enjoys the sun on their face and wind on their skin) celebrate for 'time well spent'.  To the Mountains, Kona Style, shot by Sherpas Cinema in Revelstoke, BritishColumbia this September (See: The Real Deal in Revelstoke).

...but prior to this...

A year ago today I was already hard at work with the boys at HSP Seattle to build a training program and chase some lofty goals for the 2012 season

Personal photos

The loftiest of goals was to do well with my recent election to Olympic Long Team for London 2012.  I was selected as 1 of 8 men to compete for 2 spots on the team going to London in August. This meant reducing my time behind the desk with my employer, Ridgeline Energy, and figuring out how to step up to the plate.

In January I blew off the best ski conditions of the year and spent an epic two weeks riding the desert roads (and trails) of Arizona - a respite from the PNW winter, and a chance to really dial my fitness for the big races to come

Personal photo
Personal photo

..the races...which started off by outrunning 500 people at the start of the 24hrs in Old Pueblo and dodging cactus all night long.  

Photo Credit: Sterling Lawrence

That was a good prep for when things got serious during a few trans-continental trips to race the XC World Cup and make a run at the London Olympics - from South Africa to Belgium to Czech Republic, to France -  a trip to London may not have been in the cards, but I made a admirable effort, and had the time of my life along the way

Personal photo

Photo Credit: Canadian Cyclist

By the time I got back to the states, summer race season was well under way, and I flew the Kona cross-country flag high in the Pro XCT, Cross Country, Short Track, and  Marathon Nationals, the Whiskey 50, and other great races around North America

Personal photo
Photo Credit: Whiskey 50 well as my debut racing in the Enduro scene...which I'm sure to do more of in 2013!
Photo Credit: John Gibson
With the Europe adventures already feeling long behind me, and the fat-tire racing slowing down, I began my first full season of cyclocross with the Kona 'Cross team, getting into the mix at the USGPs and other terrifically muddy races from Seattle to Louisville, KY

Personal photo

Photo Credit: Joe Sales

Along the way were plenty of adventures with friends back home, exploring the incredible variety in the outdoor kingdom of the Pacific Northwest

Personal photo - The Mt. Adams Ski Bike Epic
Personal photo - Angel Staircase, Washington state
Personal photo - Lapping Whistler bike park

The icing on the cake was a week long, helicopter-escorted trip to the Kootenay’s to film with Konaworld and Sherpas Cinema Kona’s 2013 All-Mountain and Rove bikes.

Photo Credit: John Gibson

Photo Credit: John Gibson

Photo Credit: John Gibson

Photo Credit: John Gibson

So with that, here were are, wrapping up 2012, and cheers to a year well spent.  And to many more to come! Happy holidays, and happy new year!

Personal photo

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

an eccentric view

After gallivanting around with helicopters and camera crews in the Canadian Rockies, it was time to hang up the mountain bike and bring the Kona vibe back to the racing jump back in with the mud-laden, tire-gluing, beer-filled, barrier-jumping, badasses of the US Cyclocross scene.  World class racers and hecklers alike flocked to Fort Collins, Colorado for Round 2 of the USGP of Cyclocross.  Barry Wicks, Alice Pennington, Demo Dave and myself were there to represent.       

my new cyclocross bike was was so light and swift, I could barely hang on to the handlebars (Photo Credit: Demo Dave)

meanwhile, Barry the Boss heads to the Kona encampment to don his race suit 

on Demo Dave's trailer, a quiver of  well-glued tires for all conditions...

...and sparkling new bikes, that pre-race sheen that is so uniquely pleasing on a cyclocross bike...because of how trashed they can get by the end of a race

!warmup! to prepare for "the perfect hour" of fast lines, hard accelerations, tight corners, bottlenecks, run-ups, and lots of heckling.  Always extra [fun] when it all takes place 1 mile above sea level.  Ouch (Photo Credit: Demo Dave)

Kona's new 'cross colors are blue like the Colorado sky (Photo Credit: Demo Dave)

Barry (l) and Spencer (r) on Day 2 of the USGP.  The drier weather turned the previously greasy soil into bulletproof "blue-groove", making for insanely fast, bumpy conditions (Photo Credit: Demo Dave)

Cyclocross is also for geeks.  I'm the "blue" line.  This is what starting in the back of a UCI C1 cross race looks like.   After a very  mediocre result, I wished to dissect a bit more of my race experience, and understand quantitatively what I had to show for my efforts (23rd overall). I came up with this chart, based on individual lap times:  Vertical-axis = lap time rank (i.e. 40th fastest on lap 1, 10th fastest on lap 2, etc.), , Horizontal-axis = lap #.    While 23rd place is nothing to write home about, I was satisfied that I got faster throughout the race, and that I was putting in top-10 lap times.    

Fort Collins was a great event and a good warm up for a big 'cross season.  Yet to come are Boulder, Cincinnati, Louisville, Seattle, Portland, Bend, Madison, and more.  (Photo Credit: Demo Dave)

In the meantime, keeping it real during the mid-week.  A lucky first-class upgrade on the way home to motivate me for non-bike work and the week to come.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Real Deal in Revelstoke

It's not every bike ride that you need to check your balance against the prop-wash from a helicopter hovering just above your head as you careen down unknown alpine singletrack..being filmed in the process!

Sarah and I spent last week based in Revelstoke, British Columbia with Kona Bicycles and Sherpas Cinema  to showcase Kona's new 2013 mountain bikes in some of the best riding locations that North America has to offer.  What we came away with was nothing less than legendary.   A fabulous crew of people, perfect weather, world class terrain, the best cinematographers and photographer in the biz, top-notch equipment...not to mention a helicopter, a faithful dog, and an amazing chef (thanks again, Eddy!)

[good] photos courtesy of John Gibson
Rider Eric Goss waiting for the "GO" signal from the heli before dropping in on Frisbee Ridge above Revelstoke.  
Sarah blazing a smooth line through Keystone Standard Basin aboard the new Satori.  It tends to be a real boy's club around Kona, so it was great to have Sarah there to showcase some serious talent from humanity's better half!  Note that she only started riding mountain bikes a couple years ago...and now she's good enough for the movies!! A total natural...and I'm sure that hockey background helps.

Head Sherpas cinematographer Eric Crosland, one of the masterminds behind great works such as the recent ski epic "All I Can"
Finding the right spot on Frisbee Ridge
Demo Dave delivering us safely and swiftly to the trailhead aboard the trusty Kona Team Truck

We spent all day on trails like this!  Keystone Standard Basin.  If you're curious about this area, check out the crew at Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, the best at capturing the adventurous, natural-resource-driven sense of place that is so easily felt in this corner of the world.

OG mountain bike photographer John "Gibby" Gibson thinking about his next lunch break.  It was such a pleasure to work with Gibby through the week - he's seen it all!  I can actually credit Gibby with indirectly influencing my initial attraction to the sport. It was one of Gibby's pictures that captured my imagination when I picked up my first mountain bike magazine back in 1997.  I've had the picture on my wall for years, and it was great to finally meet the man behind the shot!  
Another legend, Joe Schwartz, long-time Kona rider, one of the pioneers of the freeride scene.  My friends and I definitely used to get stoked watching Schwartzy tear it up in the NWD and Kranked films.  It was cool to think of two riders with such different riding backgrounds to meet in the middle on the all-mountain scene.  Getting to know Joe and dropping in with him on these great trails was a highlight of the year.  
Sometimes the prop-wash from the chopper was strong enough to knock you off balance

Aboard the newly redesigned Abra Cadabra at Keystone Standard Basin

Eddy Marcelet of Kona - logistics master, grill artist, chef extraordinaire!  Incredible meals waiting for us at the beginning and end of each day!
outrunning the heli 
Kona Marketing Director Mitchell Scott lining out the crew on the final shot of the day
Aboard the new Rove in Meadow Creek

some cold Kootenay brew at sunset

I came away from the Revelstoke shoot with a fresh sense of things, a reassuring sense of the depth of the experience that is cycling.  Amidst my own personal swirl of racing, results, training, travel, sponsorship, image,  career, hobby, road, off-road, day-job/bike-job, skinsuits and body armor, and everything in affirmation that it's a great place to be, and a great thing to share.  Thanks to everyone involved.  Until next time!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Days...

big days on the bike are good for the soul

while there is a lull in the race activity, not letting a summer weekend go to waste

10k+ of vert in just under 50 miles - Greenwater area trails

In many ways, getting rides like this under your belt are more satisfying than making a big deposit in the bank account

Rendezvous Hut in Winthrop, WA

Staying well-fueled

Analog map!

Good spot for lunch

Up and over Angel Staircase, Okanogan Nat'l Forest

View from top of Angel Staircase, 8000' AMSL

Sarah shredding...

...still shredding


Summit Trail en route to Horsehead Pass...

Up and over another 8000' pass...then 7 miles of downhill back to the truck

On the edge at the top of Cutthroat Pass - note Reverb post + Entourage = incredible backcountry bike

Putting the Entourage back to its primary use after 2000' climb