Tomorrow's Shredders Learn from Today's Pros

20 January, 2015

Riding steep gnar is fun, even when you're not riding steep gnar. So why not practice for it? Jason graciously coaches proper descending technique. 

Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir just finished a weekend of helping coach a NorCal high school racing league skills clinic at Camp Tamarancho in Fairfax, CA.  Why?  Because they care.  The more youth on bikes, the more adults we have later advocating for trail access and bicycle communities.  The more parents we also have wanting a positive outlet for their kids - in favor of bikes and access for bikes.  Fostering future shredders today equates to a better tomorrow.  It is an infallible equation.

So what'd the future shredders learn?  Of course Team WTB instilled deep secrets of successful competition:

The Weir Scowl.  Competition is as much mental as it is physical.  Why not psych out your opponents with a fearsome look of watts and power?  Who better to learn from than master of the fierce himself, Mark Weir, strangely seen smiling in the background?

Things progressed on to dire essentials, like berm slashing, shown above.  I imagine the conversation went something like this "So, XC's fun and all and I'll tell you later how I drop Weir when he's being nasty, but let me first tell you a little something about apexing lovely sweeping berms, like this one here."

 There were also deep thoughts, careful rumination over what the day to day life of a professional mountain biker entails, as exemplified below:

Tomorrow's Shredder: So you're telling me that if I work hard, ride even harder, I don't have to shave every day and I get to have a sweet huge mustache like you?

Weir, musing: You have learned well, the opportunities are limitless.

There was thoughtful care as can't be avoided:

Jason Moeschler was on site to lend a hand when things got dicey practicing rolling over logs.  Some people can't help... but... help.

Probably most heartwarming of all was the understanding that this is only the beginning.  More generations will follow in the footsteps of these budding riders and racers.  Jason has been coaching since the league began hosting clinics, roughly around 2002.  22 girls showed up on Saturday and 31 boys Sunday.  14 outstanding coaches made it happen.

The next NorCal skills camp will be 2/7/15 at Camp Tamaracho Boy Scout Camp in Fairfax and is aimed at Intermediate and Advanced riders.

Got a son or daughter interested in honing in their skills?  Sign up your shredder HERE.

Here's to cycling's future and a HUGE thank you to all of those at the NorCal High School Cycling League!

Current shredders in the background, tomorrow's shredder in the foreground.  The NorCal kids were great at inspiring Jace to ditch his training wheels... we'll see if it actually happens.  Finger's crossed!

Ask Us Anything 1/22 on Pinkbike

16 January, 2015

Got a question about tubeless?

Want to know why we're so passionate about TCS?

Fine, want to make fun of Mark Weir?

Ah ha, got your attention.

Yes, this coming Thursday, 1/22 from 10AM - 12PM PST, you can itch all those petulant curiosities of yours regarding tubeless.  This is your bike.  This is your bike on tubeless.  Any questions?  Does tubeless make my bike look fat?  The opportunities are endless here people.

So, from 10 to 12 Pacific Time, zing your carefully formatted wonder at Chris Feucht (manager of new product development,) Jason Moeschler (global OEM sales manager,) or Mark Weir (tough guy, Team WTB.)  They'll get right back to ya - why not ask the pros?

Remember, Thursday 10 to 12.

Throwback Thursdays: '89 Ground Control Extreme Drawings

15 January, 2015

Obviously bigger is better.  I came across this lovely illustration while digging for material.  In August of 1989, it was certainly known that a larger contact patch is superior to a smaller contact patch.  Funny, right now with the craze of fat bikes and plus sized tires, this certainly seems to be becoming known again.  Also tucked away were some sweet drawings of dirt movement and extreme schralpability through a vector diagram depicting cornering loads on the contact patch:

As threatened, cornering loads, I do not lie:

And, also helpful, I found a simply effective setup guide for Speedmaster pads:

They came from sheets titled like this:

 And this:

And that's just it, WTB's been trying to make mountain biking better since the start.  From understanding contact patches and appropriate brake pad set up to simplifying and standardizing tubeless, it's a never ending quest for perfection for the rider.  Here's to more years of advancement to come!

Rad People Who Ride: Chris Spilly

13 January, 2015

Duuuude, it booms, echoes, reverberates, emanates, and resounds from within Spilly.  Whether it's during a ride, recounting a ride, or on the way to a ride, you're going to hear it.  When I first had the pleasure of getting shamed by Shane, we both laughed over being lucky enough to know Spilly and beyond that, hearing him say duuuuuude.

Spilly is one of the people I've been holding onto in my back pocket for this series - he, along with the others featured obviously, embodies somebody who deeply cares about riding and tirelessly implements it into his life.  What really is the most boggling of all though is how well Spilly weaves it within being a well-rounded person.  It's beyond that though, he's an exemplar person, a truly good person who shines in all he does.  He runs a successful business providing constant attention and follow through AND he's a good dad.  A stellar dad.  If I had my sights set on dadhood, there would be nobody, I really mean no one, who I would rather model my meager attempt on than Spilly himself.  It's incredible.

Like Shane, if you mention his name, you usually get some body roll backward sway, eyes regain focus on reality moment in return.  An overly long ride perhaps fleetingly relived.  Every ride involves adventure.  Nope, not the overused word of 2014/15 bike/overland/motorcycle/#anyoutdoorindustry word of now, I'm talking deep, don't know if I'm gonna make it home type.  The second worst bout of poison oak I've ever suffered through involved a short cut, my fault, around a ranch on private property then hurtle over barbed wire fences, followed by post hole worthy stomps though coyote bushes seething with poison oak.  We scaled a ridge through eye level twigs of gnarled, impenetrable scraggly pine then the road that was supposed on the other side wasn't on the other side.  The sun... was setting.  Spilly picked up my bike - you see I was lassoed by stinging nettle, hoisted it above his head, and matter-of-factly commented, "Duuude, your single's lighter than mine."  Unflappable.

So when he called me and told me we had to head up to Mendocino to shred trails in our now annual tradition, I told him on one condition - he had to agree to fill out the Rad People Who Ride questionnaire.  I hung up and rang Abner Kingman, another rad dad, and told him it was time to pack his wet weather camera gear.  What followed was the combination of insatiable trail thirst and shamelessly gorgeous eye candy from Abner.  Enjoy.


Spilly lives for trail, no joke, and lemme tell ya, this is a trail worth living for.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Name: Chris Spilly

Home Shop and City: Tam Bikes, Mill Valley


After the ride, it's the After Ride. The bat cave, Spilly's garage, where all good trail nuances are discussed.  Photo: Abner Kingman 

Favorite WTB or Freedom product: Weirwolfs, their kinda like having sandpaper on your tires when you need it. My new favorite is the Vigilante / Trail Boss combo. 


Every ride involves something like this, it is completely normal to worry about being swept away or what will haunt you 2-3 days after the ride.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Favorite Ride: Any long ride with good friends or especially with my kids. Both of my little kids love being on the bike and it’s awesome to be able to pass on all these little gems we have in our backyard. Road trips are always awesome to obscure places. There are so many great riding opportunities we have out there, just takes a little digging to get to the good stuff.


This is also common, though only on longer trips.  The ride time must surpass the transit time and is not up for discussion.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it? Got schooled by a friend that's twice my age - been chasing that same guy ever since. Riding has taken the place surfing which unfortunately I can't really do much anymore unless I'm in warmer water. I completely lose all feeling in my hands cause of the cold water. There's a similar taste of comradery, adventure and family you get with riding. 


There often is some sort of self-penance or unavoidable anguish.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Tube or Tubeless, why? Tubeless - love hearing those things pop when ya get them seated right!

Why? Tubeless just works ………


But every pedal up is more than rewarded down.  How can you say no to this?  Photo: Abner Kingman

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride? Friends, laughter, stormy weather and shoes. For whatever reason, I'm known to forget my shoes and have had a few rides in flip flops which isn’t super fun. I really like riding in messed up weather, something about being out playing in the mountains when everyone else’s watching some sporting event on their TV.



 The stormy weather part is for real.  Here's how it goes: you commit to an upcoming ride, the weather turns, you're still riding AND, get this, it's fun. Photo: Abner Kingman

Craziest things you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride? A good friend lathering up Chamois Butter on his face thinking it was sunscreen. Maybe it's a Crested Butte thing? Can't make this stuff up - he knows who he is!

A small film crew way deep out on an obscure ride. Seemed like they had a box full of toys and the cast looked a little too done up for a PG movie. The friend I was riding with wanted to get cast on the spot as an extra.

 Better believe Spilly said "Duuuude" during this mid-ride tale.  Photo: Abner Kingman

Most important lesson to teach the groms?  Ride a hardtail on occasion. It'll teach you a few things about good line selection. You just can't cheat it.

Left my wallet in… (fill it in): Hid my wallet in the guts of dashboard wires on some long ride. Hid it and forgot I hid it so well. I couldn't find it and thought someone stole it - eventually found it with some deep dredging / digging / maybe even bribed my kids to look for it.


Every ride is always worth it - whether skirting poison oak, scrambling across wet logs, wondering where we're headed - worth it, worth the journey.  Photo: Abner Kingman.

Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog? My family and wife. Sometimes I bust out the story describing the deep understanding my partner has with my riding. A long time ago, on our honeymoon in Hawaii, (yes, I brought the bike) we actually argued because I stopped riding my AM ride because of numerous lava rock flats. Every ride I did ended up with me hitchhiking back to the resort. I was messing up her AM Yoga thing on our honeymoon - funny stuff.



 Always an adventure, yep, the real kind.  Never know where the road will take you.  Here's to people like Chris, to loving riding, and living rad.  Photo: Abner Kingman 

Throwback Thursdays: The Return of Drop Bars?

08 January, 2015

Todd DeAngelis leading Joey Peterson, roughly 1985.

I recently went on a singletrack fest group ride and encountered a curious situation.  Strewn about were different people's takes on appropriate set up for the all day affair.  I saw 26", 29", 27.5"; full suspension, single speed, hard tail, no suspension.  Big packs, small packs, frame packs, and no packs.  Like all mountain biking, everybody has an opinion.  But then I saw it.

A brand new Marin carbon 29" hardtail - with Trail Boss front, Nine Line 2.25 rear, and Volt of course, but...

Drop bars.


 Yes, I admit, I shuddered a little bit.  But the wise historic owner went on to say that he could easily swap tires, putting on something smooth and comparatively narrow and have his road bike too.  The bike weighed nothing.  Then I got to wondering if that'd been his setup more or less since forever.  They were WTB drop bars on there after all.  Long since discontinued, never since forgotten.  New old stock someone here had snuck his way.  It got me thinking.  Dangerous, I know.

Are drop bars coming back?

I can't say.  But I can say that if you look at the pictures above and below, you see the same story from roughly 1985-86.  Light, nice mountain bikes also with WTB drop bars.  Could make some sense.  Here's to Yogi Berra's Deja vu all over again.  Happy 2015.


Casey Kunselman, around 1985.  Photo Coutesy:

Flashback Fridays: Early 90s Dirt Touring & Bikepacking

02 January, 2015

It's no secret that people have been loading their bikes with overnight gear and heading into the wilderness for quite some time.  Just take a look at this Pearl Pass post here and you see that bringing the keg to the woods is an integral part of mountain biking's history - some even claim it's the reason for its very birth.  Regardless, the need to get out there, and stay out there, has always been there.  These photos verify that too, though they're later - maybe 91 or 92 based on that yellow and black Hardrock loaded up against the wall, sporting some nice WTB Specialized tires too.

Large water bottle, semi-adequate sleeping provisions, sweet early 90s Nikes that I want, and... the rest is simple, pedal into the woods and stay there.

Head scratching and squinting around here seems to conjure some notions of some friend's ranch in Buena Vista (for some unknown reason resistingly pronounced B-Yune-Ah-Vistah) and then mountain bike assisted camping.  Sounds good enough for me.  There were colorful characters:

If you're not gonna wear mom jeans... wear mom sweatpants.  Better yet, wear turquoise ones revealing purple socks and white high top Reeboks that I feel like were only worn by hot chicks wearing leotards performing that forgotten pastime called calisthenics.  Man, I really miss the late 80's / early 90s

But there were the same things prevalent then to what kinda sorta plagues bikepacking now.  The head down, is my rig gonna hold up and is this really a good idea moment of wonder beforehand:

The maybe if I ride in a quick circle in the parking lot that means my bike will hold up for the whole trip rumination:

Or maybe he's just checking out those sweatpants.  They could almost be referred to as Hammer Pants, something I call the Trail Boss because he pedals too hard for me to keep up.

And there's the quintessential park the truck now it's real, we really have to leave and I hope to see my truck again some day moment:

So for 2015 you should go and sleep in the woods and you should pedal your bike to get there.  Take the mountain bike or throw some Nano 40s on the cross bike.  Who cares, just get there, it's something WTB's been doing since day one.

Throwback Thursdays: 1999 Speedmaster Rim Artwork

25 December, 2014


Throwback Thursdays: '96 Mountain Bike Germany Pad Review

18 December, 2014

Elevated chainstays, a nice an taut elasticized cinch strap flowing in the breeze of what looks to be an epic skid... Vans sneakers - what's not to like?  In 1996, people were getting pitted, sooo pitted, too, even in Germany.  Yep, this is Mountain Bike the German one.


Simple.  I'm being encouraged to reach the German market.

So, listed below you can read a review of the WTB Gripmaster Dual Compound brake pads.  You can read it, if you speak German.

I'm pretty sure what it says is:




Because, I'm probably wrong, but I've been told by a semi-reliable source that Rad, in German, means Bike.  So apparently Rad People Who Ride means Bike People Who Ride - seems a little more redundant and with less pop in German.

Regardless of what Rad means in German, it's also safe to say that the review must have glowed because the pad holders were beautifully made and the pads themselves... made sense.  Of course you need multiple compounds.

So, my late 2014 prediction for 2015 - seems to be what everybody does this time of year... dual compound disc brake pads.  If they already exist, no worries, just give me a piece of the pie.  If they don't yet exist, back off, my pie, you can pay WTB for the early 90's idea.  Gripmaster pads first came out in 1990 - I actually have a copy of the press release where the Trail Boss was the contact for media, and then shortly after, WTB added multiple pad options: dual compound, abrasive, along with the conventional ones.

Another good idea from the past for the future?  Perhaps.  Or just more rambling.  Either way, Happy Holidays from WTB.


Throwback Thursdays: Long Term Advocacy

11 December, 2014

Effective bicycle advocacy isn't something you do in the short term.  It takes time.  You win some, you lose some, you don't lose sight of focus nor goal.  In 2000ish, Deb Hubsmith, executive director of MCBC at the time, and Richard Olken, executive director of Bikes Belong joined WTB and TAM shredders on an outing.  A field trip if you will.  Like all good field trips, there was a group shot:

The WTB employee on the left is smiling because he is riding a Marzocchi Z1.  When you ride a Z1, everything is fun.  Whatever happened to the Z1s of yore?

Where the sidewalk ends, it turns to dirt.  Where the dirt ends, it turns into closed tunnel.  That's exactly what they were after.  Richard Olken was kindly providing input and recommendations for the Transportation Reauthorization Bill, the hope being that one day the Alto Tunnel would open to cyclists.  Like any good cyclist, Olken spent some time also perusing WTB's finer bikes hanging around the shop:

Yes indeed, Mark Weir's shred sled.  From bike paths to big drops, it's all about two wheels and a grin.  WTB and TAM have been devoted to bicycle advocacy for quite some time, shortly before these photos, TAM and MCBC wrote the white paper describing the Safe Routes to School Program as well as Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, based on the Delft Experiment of 1998.  Later, Deb Hubsmith went on to run the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a multi-million dollar federally funded program with inspiration and pilot programs taking place right here in our home town.  Long term advocacy never rests, just like long travel bikes never disappoint, here's to bicycle futures.

Rad People Who Ride: Jon Pritchett (Dr. P)

09 December, 2014


Mention Dr. P or Dr. Pritchett to anybody who shreds trail in the greater Nevada City area and you'll immediately elicit a smile, perhaps even a laugh.  Every associated story following then seems to involve Poison Oak or some sort of equally unpleasant irritation or pain being addressed in a borderline humorously direct manner.  Following that, you usually receive some sort of tidbit or encore that is so compassionate it's heart meltingly thoughtful.  Stories that come to mind - Cortisone shots, a prescribed beer before a shoulder reset during the past TDS, which Dr. P kindly supported, a take not one or two but five Advil prescription, and the never-ending riding buddies story that began with broken Enduro meets broken finger at Jon's local shop, Tour of Nevada City.

Dr. P believes in bikes and believes in helping people - any tale irrefutably confirms this and in this day and age of health insurance squabbles, premiums, deductibles, carriers, HMOs, preferred provider networks, and past due bills, it's refreshingly sincere to find a doctor that can't help but... help.  It's rad.

You'll find him at The Dirty Sanchez Enduro, at the bike shop in a state of disbelief over yet another part disintegrating beneath him, towing his kids around the neighborhood on his cargo bike, helping someone in need, or, shredding - he definitely does that.  So enjoy Jon's responses, he's incredibly deservingly rad and sure does shred.

Name: Jon Pritchett

Home Shop and City: Tour of Nevada City, Nevada City California

Favorite WTB or Freedom product: 3 here:

#1: the Volt Saddle is as good as it gets (period.) I use one on my MTB, same saddle on my road bike and same on cross bike. It's perfectly designed. It allows you to stick to the saddle on the sweet spot on long climbs without ever putting pressure on the wrong areas. My favorite attribute, its tough as nails. I've never broken one. This is a huge compliment. I break EVERYTHING, so whenever there is a product that I can't break, I'm loyal forever. I've broken 9 bike frames, countless components, and just about everything in between in the past 10 years, including a titanium road bike frame.

#2: WTB made a tire a few years ago called the Weirwolf LT 2.55 29'er. It didn't look like much but it had a giant contact patch and I could run them at 20psi in front and 22psi in back (tubeless of course.) They were amazing for all around conditions. The big bulbous shape made them float through mud, sand, loam, duff and they were stout enough to bomb big nasty descents. I still have a few I'm hoarding!! PLEASE make more!! 

"...float through mud, sand, loam, duff..." Dr. P is not one to worry over conditions that would deter others.

Or, favorite WTB or Freedom related memory (please elaborate):

Last year, 2013, at The Dirty Sanchez Enduro, I was working Medical Support for the event. I'm a physician and take care of most of the local cyclists. They all know I'll help 'em in a pinch and they know I'll never tell 'em not to ride, regardless of the injury. I also carry a big ass medical bag into the backcountry on all day epic rides. Anyway, working the TDS event and made it through the whole race without having to do much of anything. Then I got to the afterparty, just parked the Jeep and someone said, "Hey Doc you got any bandaids?" I turn around and 'someone' was bleeding from their forehead via a big gash. I had dropped all my doc stuff at home, so I had to go back home and get my goodies. I came back and it was dark and everyone had been hydrating copiously with hoppy beverages. The only place I could find to work was a picnic table out back. I got my patient prepped for the suturing but it was clear I needed help. So, I casually said out loud, "I need some assistants out back." The first two volunteers.........Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir. Yup, the two WTB stud pro racers. Mark did flashlight duties and Jason was my scub tech, clipping sutures and blotting away excess blood. They both did an outstanding job. Our patient is well healed and completely normal (well kinda normal) to this day.

Favorite Ride: Bowman Mtn trail, Grouse Ridge non-motorized area, Tahoe National Forest

Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?

I played D-1 college football and was a lineman (6ft, 275lbs). I finished my college career and went to medical school and started getting really fat and un-fit. I tried running but my knees were kinda shot after football, so I bought a Mountain Bike and biked my way down to 200#. Then I got into racing, and then it just became part of my life.

Tube or Tubeless, why?

Tubeless, With regular tube tires I'd have to run 40psi to avoid pinch flatting (with my weight above 200#.) I jumped on the tubeless bandwagon the first year they came out. I run tubeless on Mtn, road, 'cross, everything.

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?

Cell phone, multi tool, air source (usually CO2)

Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?

I rolled a 3 foot rock drop and blew out both of my chain stays at same time. Have no idea how I didn't die. My bike was converted from a 4 inch travel bike to a 10 inch travel bike in an instant. There was some serious exposure to my left with sharp nasty rocks everywhere. Didn't even wreck, was able to unclip and bail off the back. 

Most important lesson to teach the groms?

The Art of Suffering. I coach a grade school mountain bike team (Grass Valley Charter School) and the first 1/2 mile of the ride is 250 vertical feet climb to a trail system. It looks like the trail of tears, with children in all sorts of anguish, some walking their bikes, others grinding it out. They're REALLY tough kids. I love 'em all

Left my wallet in… (fill it in): my Nissan Xterra with my dog to 'protect' it. Someone came in and stole it, with my dog in there. Could only imagine how it all went down???

Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?

My Family. They are always supper supportive. Being a doctor, a dad, a husband, and a cyclist is a precarious balancing act. My wife uses the term "bike widow" and "bike orphans" to describe some of our weekends and 'vacations'. And a shout out to BONC (Bicyclists of Nevada County,) it's our local IMBA advocacy club. They do a ton of work to keep existing trails open and help get new trail on the ground.

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