News

Throwback Thursdays: Weir's 95-96 Race Results

30 October, 2014

Even the legendary Mark Weir had to start somewhere and in the awesome race resume above (big thank you to Anthony Medaglia for rounding it up) you can see that even in the beginning, Weir started full throttle.  Cross Country, Downhill raced in hardtail or even devoid of suspension class, didn't matter, Weir owned it.  In Weir's wording above, he had hoped to "improve my skills as an all around mountain bike competitor."  Remove around from that sentence and you have all mountain competitor.  Makes sense that the man (Weir is a man,) regarded by many as the Godfather of All Mountain, owned it - he rode 150 - 170 miles per week for crying out loud, of... everything.  What makes less sense to me is why he faxed it to DICRG - apparently that stands for Dental Implant Clinical Research Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan - perhaps a little sponsorship future planning with foresight that a life of shredding bikes is hard on the overall tooth count?  Can't say.  Can say that it's pretty apparent Weir's been a badass from the start.  Rad races in there too, Ring of Fire in Occidental, Downieville when it was still Coyote Classic, too many Lake Sonoma wins - you can tell sufferfest was Weir from the start.  Here's to Weir, riding everything before there officially was All Mountain, and to, well, dental implants.  Catch you next Thursday.

No Rest for the Winning, A Tribute to Marco

29 October, 2014

Marco abs-o-lutely killed it this season.  It became shameless.  In August, he didn't stop winning.  He even won the Pro GRT in Mammoth in September during the Kamikaze Bike Games aboard his enduro bike.  160/95mm convertible bike with a Lefty versus discipline-specific downhill pros aboard full-on downhill bikes.  He won it.  Then he went on to grab second behind Brian Lopes in the California Enduro Series Kamikaze Bike Games that same weekend.  Crazy.  He took first at Big Mountain Enduro's grueling 5-Day Ultra in Crested Butte, cleaned up multiple times at Northstar, owned the gnar gnar Dirty Sanchez - if there was a race, chances are you'd find Marco in the top 5.  He'd be standing up there, that part was for sure.  He took 21st in Chile, his second Enduro World Series race ever, then secured a top 20 at EWS Crankworx in Whistler - a course that left everyone wincing, limping, and licking their wounds.  I could go on and on, list everything and it could get overwhelming.  He did it all in the cool, calm, professional poise that doesn't usually seem to emanate from burgeoning second season racers - well, second full season pro anyway.  Interbike mayhem time he cruised by in his early 90s Toyota pickup and dropped off his Crankworx race rig and asked if we needed a hand getting everything together, he meant it too - he stayed and made sure he said hi to everyone; seemed as though he wanted to stay longer even, we just shooed him out while throwing tires around.  While we were setting up his bike in our booth, he was winning on his other bike in Crested Butte, it was crazy.

I could go on.

Instead, Marco kindly took the time to reflect over his season and respond to some questions I abruptly threw his way.  Enjoy his responses and some photos courtesy of Nick and Brandon Ontiveros of Big Mountain Enduro and, in the case of the lovely photo below and atop, Nate Byrom, may his soul find everlasting happiness and comfort at the local police academy.

The Dirty Sanchez, The Focused Marco.  First place, baby.  Photo: Officer Byrom

WTB:  What was your favorite course of 2014?  Favorite race?  Why?

Marco Osborne:  Favorite race course of 2014...? Wow, thats a tough one. I would probably have to say stage 5 of the EWS Crankworks was the best stage of the season. Known as the Top of the World, this diverse stage was about 23 minutes long at race pace and dropped from high alpine single track to flowy bike park trails all the way to the village.

My favorite race would have to be EWS Chile. It was only my second time out of the country and was absolutely amazing to see the Chilean culture and take in the South American atmosphere. The terrain was mind blowing, we were surrounded by volcanic boulder fields, huge glaciers and endless rutted-out singletrack. It was fall while we were there and all the trees and bushes were changing colors, the orange and yellow leaves gave the scenery a very unique and beautiful appeal.  All the stages were so enjoyable to ride and just put a smile on everyones' faces.  

 

Smiles on faces - Ben, Marco, and Jerome at BME's Crested Butte 5-Day Ultra Enduro.

WTB:  How’d you feel the overall season went?  At a certain point did you feel like you hit your stride?  Sure looked like it following you but I’d be curious if you started to feel better as the season progressed.

Marco Osborne:  I feel the overall season went great, no big injuries and only a couple of poor finishes. I feel I hit my stride about two different times this season, for the month of April and August. The month of August was unreal, I had a winning streak going for 4 weeks in a row. It was a remarkable way to top off the season. I owe it to my teammates, especially Mark Weir, these guys gave me the opportunity to represent Novato and team WTB/Cannondale.  

 

Marco owning the Northstar Enduro.  He seems to like winning at Northstar, does it a lot.

 WTB:  Is there anything you’re going to focus on in the off season?  Anything you’re looking forward to now that, I assume, most racing is over?  Spending time with family?  Shredding Marin?  Giving Ben Cruz a hard time?

Marco Osborne:  During the off season I am going to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and hopefully start a more structured workout routine. This winter I hope to get a road bike and start doing big rides once or twice a week. Now that the season is over I need to get back on my moto and twist some throttle. Brraap braap!! I would also like to go chase a couple big storms in Tahoe and ride my snowboard. I would like to spend more time with my family and my girlfriend Maya as well.

As for Ben Cruz, he always deserves to be heckled...  But, it's good that he is going to be living in Novato again, having another training partner alongside Weir is key. Looking forward to putting in big days at the ranch.

 

A healthy lifestyle and routine starts with IT being SENT.  Marco sending it, BME Moab, photo: Nick Ontiveros.  Now, onto getting pitted:

The WTB Hightail Saddle: It doesn't buzz your tire... so you can.  Photo: Nick Ontiveros / Big Mountain Enduro

WTB:  Is there anything you’re going to try to do differently for next season?  Training for anything in particular?

Marco Osborne:  As for next season, I would like to stay focused during the winter by riding my road bike and putting in solid workouts. I want just be consistent and get through the long season. I will try to dominate local events and try focusing on EWS events. The EWS is on another level, it's so competitive and difficult to even be in the top 20. So one of my biggest goals for the 2015 season is to place in the top 10 at an EWS stop.

Aspens, lay tuck tuck triple, Marco, Snowmass, another stellar stop on the BME tour.

WTB:  What was the craziest thing that happened to you over the season?  You raced a ton, traveled even more, there’s got to be something wild that went down – either on course or off.

Marco Osborne:  The craziest thing that happened off the track this season is probably not worth repeating. As for on the track, I would have to say winning the Mammoth Pro GRT on my Lefty equipped Cannondale Jekyll was pretty crazy. I surprised myself and everyone watching. I didn't intend to win that race, I just wanted to have fun.  I thought of it as just another added stage to the Enduro race and tried to enjoy ripping a rowdy course. 

Marco putting his Breakouts to good use during BME's Keystone stop.

Here's to another great season to our Novato native - may the pow be deep, the rest time revitalizing, and the road bike... well, the road bike not purchased, ha.  Well done Marco, we couldn't be more proud nor more fortunate to have such an incredible representative from our home in Marin county out subjecting race courses worldwide to speed and shame, all the while helping hone in our never-ending quest to refine and provide even better product.  Here's to Marco in 2014 and to a great 2015!

Throwback Thursdays: 2003 Interwolf 38/38

23 October, 2014

Many people clung to remaining InterWolfs with a sense of worth akin to cigarettes within prison - one's wealth could be measured in hoarded InterWolfs.  They were a tire before their time.  Fast rolling, bigger than most cross-like tires out there, available in a lightweight folding Race option if you hunted for it, volume with a rounded profile and nice rubber that was sticky enough without slowing you down.  Its discontinuation sunk the battleships of many.  A forlorn wail must have echoed when the 2010 Catalog hit print, devoid of InterWolf.

The description from the 2003 Catalog, when the InterWolf was first released and was only available in a Comp, wire bead version.  It later was available in a lighter, folding Race version.

We can all dry our eyes now, there is a more than worthy replacement.  The Nano 40 is, dare I say, just as good - how dare I?  Even Stevil HERE came to the same seemingly self-conflicted conclusion I just uttered - it's... yep, better.  More volume, somehow feels faster, foolish lateral grip - the Nano pattern really does rule and the Nano 40 feels light when you ride it.  A 40mm casing is a beautiful thing.  

Here's a shot of a new old Interwolf 38 (yes, yes, WTB will sell this one for $4.2 billion) draped over a Nano 40.  You can see similarities in the fast rolling centers of the two but you can tell that the centerline on the Nano 40 looks even quicker.  It is.  The Nano 40 is also a little bit bigger - that little bit somehow makes more difference than its little should when it comes time to fine tune pressure and assess what you can get away with while riding.  They're both great tires.  If you loved the InterWolf and think of that tire as the one and only tire, you might want to give the Nano 40 a shot - you might like what you try, perhaps embarrassingly a little more than you might care to admit.

The Show Must Go On... The Commute Continues

21 October, 2014

Location scouting for a Johnny Depp movie?  Not so much.

These guys get it - put an awesome route together, ping some contacts for potential product, do an awesome job broadcasting it - how awesome of a job?  Like so awesome I don't have to do any work.  Poof!  Stunning photos by James Adamson of Drop Media.  Ta-Da, insightful reflections by none other than Kurt Gensheimer, known by his pen name, the Angry Single Speeder.  Pretty much leaves me nothing to do... so I've written in tasteless captions.

Kurt's words, James' stellar shots (@_james_ adamson_ )

I think I know this one.  It's the 4,000 foot deep canyon he's talking about.

The Commute Day 2 

I don’t use the word epic very often to describe a day of riding, mainly because it’s a completely
hackneyed term in mountain biking circles. But today’s ride from Soda Springs to Foresthill was epic in
every sense of the word. Mind blowing views atop Royal Gorge, towering terrain with 4,000 foot deep
canyons, blackened burn areas, legendary trails dating back to 1850 and the final few miles ridden in the
dark in a complete downpour made the 67 miles and 9,700 feet of climbing a day we won’t soon forget.

 

Deep thoughts.  Trail Boss Tire.  Justin Schwartz.

What truly befuddled us was the fact that even though we started at nearly 7,000 feet elevation near
the crest of the Sierras and finished at 3,000 feet in the foothills, somehow we ended up climbing almost
as much as we descended, much of it on the legendary Western States Trail. The climbs were brutal at
times. The 1,800 foot vertical of hike-a-bike in 1.2 miles out of Last Chance Canyon was utter
punishment. The 2,000 feet of climbing in 2.5 miles out of El Dorado Canyon wasn’t much better. But all
that pain paid off huge dividends in the descent department. Steep and rocky with dozens of
switchbacks, Western States Trail is a rare treat that most mountain bikers will never get to sample. As a
bonus, aside from a hunter in a gunny suit, we didn’t see a single human on trail all day long.

Bridge to Terabithia.

Jamming through Foresthill in a complete downpour at dusk, Justin and I somehow lost James, who
didn’t know where we were staying. Completely drenched, cold and muddy, Justin and I made it to Sean
Allan’s house, our gracious host for the night. We waited anxiously for 20 minutes, hoping James would
find his way. Eventually he showed up with a huge shivering muddy grin. It was a monster day, and we
made it in one piece.

 

During the apocalypse, bikes will win.  Especially with Trail Boss tires.

 

Wear orange, avoid hunters, ride all day.  Foolproof.  Stay tuned for more.

Schralping to a City Near You... The Commute Begins

20 October, 2014

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

It has begun, the singletrack onslaught of good times, big miles, Big Gulps, possibly Big Bites (ok, I added that one, another 7-Eleven delicacy), the relative unknown, and, going out on a limb here, anguish.  James Adamson, Kurt Gensheimer, and Justin Schwartz, our hometown hero, are connecting Lake Tahoe to San Francisco through as much singletrack as possbile, carrying as little as is thought to be reasonable, and staying at friends' places along the way in a trip to be referred to as The Commute.

They started here:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Justin Schwartz, Marin shredder extraordinaire, Mount Tam Apparel Founder, rocking WTB Trail Boss 2.25 29" TCS Light tires and a Volt Team Saddle and.. a down jacket.  30 degree starting temperature at the shores of lovely Lake Tahoe.  Then, upward:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Day one now done, they spent the night in Soda Springs and their day wasn't without effort - roughly 55 miles and 7, 200 feet of climbing complete with a descent down the final steps of Hole in the Ground in rapidly approaching darkness.

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Real trails, real talk, real tire - the trio are all rocking Trail Boss tires for their journey.  You can see the aim of the game here is to carry enough water to not die, yet still have the bike as shredable as possible, hence the stay at places along the way and no bikepacking bags.  They definitely got their shred on:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

Castle Peak, leaning on swooping singletrack, covering tons of rad trail every day, can life get better?

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

Well, they faced this view this morning, we assume, yes, yes, dangerous when talking trips, that they get to descend into that, maybe wince their way out.  There was talk of a potential WTB Nevada City sleep over along the way, then the realization that Nevada City would involve really unnecessary climbs over foolish ridges and what appeared to be a paved descent - yuck.  So, looks like Big Granite Trail is what they're bombing on the way to Foresthill.  May the trails be tacky and the grins everlasting, good luck shredders.  You can peep their adventure as it unfolds on their Facebook page.  More to come as it comes in.

 

Throwback Thursdays: 2002 Gravel, errr... Monster Cross, ahhem... Mutano 44

16 October, 2014

Mutano Raptor 44/44 700c tires had the same beautiful wolf head logo stamping on their side knobs as their bigger casing, smaller diameter, 26" siblings.

There are many things that WTB has created early, perhaps before the market was ready for the craze that would catch on later.  We've already covered the rise and fall, and then rise and seemingly now fall, especially as I'm pretty sure it's currently fall, of press fit bottom brackets HERE.  Another example of this, still triumphantly living, is the 1999 Nano Raptor 2.1 29" tire, the first 29" tire before anybody liked 29", now called the Nano and still awesome and available in several sizes.  I digress.

For this post, we're talking gravel.  Gravel in the form of big, monster cross like tires ahead of their time, available in 2002:

There may or may not have been the term monster cross, there certainly wasn't the acceptance and embrace of gravel like there is today.  You can see that its description didn't necessarily do it an excessive amount of favors: 700c ATB / 29" was its prescribed category .  The Mutano Raptor 44/44 700c, man, can't mess with it, it was amazing.  It was a conglomeration of several WTB treads - Nano Raptors, Moto Raptors, and VelociRaptors were all claimed to have a hand in it, though I mostly see Nanos.  I like Nanos.  It was consistent, could dig, rode almost larger than its size, still wasn't all that slow but it certainly wasn't quick.  By late 2007, it had been cut from 2008 catalog sadly.  Those that got it back then really got it, unfortunately not all that many got it.

This one, above, is more worn but you can tell they owned many conditions when the tread was deeper.  Plus, their hot patch was purple and neon green.  Can life get better?  Probably not.

They had true, 44mm casings and tread widths, beasts unbefitting all but a handful of rad cross-ish bikes at the time.

They featured our DNA Rubber, they were awesome and appeared in this catalog:

For those of you who have gotten to this point, well, thank you.  Fear not, there's an amazing tire available TO-DAY to you, maybe not quite as gnar in block or girth but certainly rad and faster.  Yes, correct, I speak of the Nano 40, go out and BUY ONE at your local shop, they are orderable, if not available in stock from every shop.  Yep, every shop.  Peep 'em:

Old and New, New and Old.  The Nano tread pattern came along before the Mutano but the Mutano 44 came obviously before our new Nano 40, which is new.  You can see they're close and rule.

The Other Downieville

14 October, 2014

Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

It's easy to get in somewhat of a perfect (figurative) rut in Downieville.  Camp or stay some place, wake up, un-stiffen oneself preferably through coffee, make it to the home of the shuttles, Yuba Expeditions, ride the string of trails that never ceases to put a smile on your face.  Anybody's face.  What you don't realize, or I didn't realize, is that there's a whole 'nother side of trails.  Bonus.  Yeah dude, free trails, same trip, like 20% More Free on my cereal box, only far more than 20% More Free.  There's stuff like this:

Mills Peak scenic turn, Sierra Buttes and Packer Saddle in background. Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

And it's just waiting for you.  Cascading off the other side of the Sierra Buttes, visible in the background, is the Lakes Basin.  Yes, people know about this area, I've heard about it, but hadn't ever actually ridden it.  It's aptly named, riddled with lakes, you bounce about atop Granite spines and an undulating landscape.

Where we should have started but didn't: take shuttle to Packer Saddle, pedal along ridges to area of taken photo. Of course we tried driving as far out on bumpy roads as we could - did I mention we're lazy? Did I mention we don't have rad roads like that in Marin? Did I mention we retrieved the car in the dark. Did I mention I thought it was scary? Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

You still do have to work for it:

 

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, hike-a-biking sucks, like serious bummer duuude. You probably can ride up that, I'm sure people do, I certainly didn't. Photo Credit @GusGibbs

There are still sharp rocks:

 But there's sheer radness awaiting the other side of each climb:

Inga Beck. Perma Grin. Actually on the lead up to summiting Elwell but I'm pretending it's the reward portion for sake of post. Photo: @GusGibbs

And there's like, pretty stuff thrown in, flowers-n-stuff:

My Trail Boss 2.4s loved it and I loved riding them on it:

 

Yeah, it was rad.  Here's how you should do it: park a return vehicle the night before in the parking area right next to Gray Eagle Lodge right off of Gold Lake Highway.  Make sure you have a map and understand where you're going from Yuba Expeditions and book a shuttle for the next morning to Packer Saddle.  The next morning, take your shuttle to Packer Saddle and then pedal out past Pauley Creek Trail where the XC course traditionally goes down.  You take 93-3 and then veer up toward Summit Lake and then make your way to the lovely trail that has a horrible hike-a-bike going up the ridge to summit Elwell, it seems to be right next Oakland Pond.  You make your way to the top of the peak, ride incredibly technical but great trail down that progressively gets smoother and faster and spits you out right where you parked.  Or, do as Andy kindly told us, put on your big kid undies, and start and end by parking at the Lakes Basin Campground and make a 4 hour loop of the deal.  Either way, stop by Yuba Expeditions, talk to them about it and assess what you're in for, and buy a map.  Then again, doing another classic Downieville descent, as pictured below, ain't so shabby:

Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

Long live Downieville.  Throw in Mills Peak if you're looking for something smoother with fewer think about it turns and intersections. 

 

Throwback Thursdays: Weir Caught 'Crossin'

09 October, 2014

Bam, proof right here that Mr. Tough Guy, Mark Weir, often referred to as the Godfather of All Mountain riding in the US, has spent some time doing the unthinkable and racing a cross bike.  The jersey and relatively clean facial hair all point to perhaps 2003 - somewhere around that range.  The lovely rolling hills in the background could just very well be the backdrop of Infineon Raceway, formerly called Sears Point, a stone's throw from Weir's Novato turf.

So next time you nail that rockgarden line, giving yourself an air high five and thinking of Weir, just remember, even tough guys race cross.  The lure of cowbells and discomfort must attract all.  It is cyclocross season after all, grab some Cross Wolf tires and wreak havoc, even if it's dry grassy coned turns.

TwentyNineInches.Com Reports on Trailblazer

07 October, 2014

We have been riding the new WTB Trailblazer tires both here in the U.S.A. and in Europe on several different bikes and on vastly different trails.  We have already said much about this “B+” format, and what it may mean for 29″er riders, but now it is time to give you our final take on these fat, puffy interlopers on the mountain bike scene. The previous impressions from c_g can be seen here and Guitar Ted’s can be seen here. Now, let’s get to the final conclusions!

WTB Trailblazer 27.5 X 2.8″ Tires: Exclusive B+ Review: Final Verdict- by Guitar Ted

READ THE FULL RUN DOWN HERE.  Very worthwhile review with excellent questions posed, issues addressed, ride time thought over, and conclusions met reflectively.

Rodeo Labs Rocks the Nano 40 in Lost Park CO

06 October, 2014

Our friends at Rodeo Labs kept it real this past weekend.  People wonder what's up with the Nano 40.  I'll tell you what's up, you can really ride everything with it as Stephen Fitzgerald kindly displays in his excellent post that's got it all - true singletrack, seemingly abandoned fire roads, asphalt, gravel, the whole deal.  Big miles, out there, fall.  I miss Colorado and this post shows it in true fall splendor.  Breathtaking photos.  Plus, I really would want a mountain bike for plenty of this, it's amazing what you can get away with when you run a little bigger tires than you otherwise would.  So before I hijack more of Stephen's fine work, peep his post and wrap up video HERE.

1 2 3 37 Next »