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 masses...to 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 between...an affirmation that it's a great place to be, and a great thing to share.  Thanks to everyone involved.  Until next time!