Jérôme wins the French Cup in Raon l'Etape!

22 May, 2017

Photos by Kike Abelleira

The second round of the french cup took place in Les Vosges mountains, where Jérôme has again shown his domination on his favorite terrain! Fresh new tracks have been especially built for the course which makes it even more exciting. The french format is extremely demanding : within 2 days, in between racing and training, Jérôme rode more than 90km and 3300 + elevation in total!

A tight round!

The French enduro top names were attending the 6-stage race. With a total time of 22:16.198 of racing, Jérome takes the victory with 4 stages win,  in front of a strong Elliot Trabac (+6') and his teammate Rémy Absalon (+25') ends up in 3rd position. Ludovic Oget (+31') (Giant) finished 4th and the 5th place was taken by Youn Deniaud (47').

Jérôme : "In between the two EWS, it was a challenge to race. But it was closed to home and it gives me a good interval training. On top, it's good for the mind to have a victory, and I would like to keep this speed for the next round in Ireland!"

Full results : here

Jérôme, in the scratch podium, has showed his uncontested talent.

Last stage 6 jump is always the best place to play with the public.

Dark dirt, dense trees and mossy rocks make up the stages in Raon l'Etape.

Jérôme's father has again gone back to work! He helped Jérôme during the first year of the EWS in 2013 where Jérôme won the title!

The loamy dirt of Raon l'Etape is incredible, and the riders have appreciated the new stages the organization has built for the event!

Racer's Perspective of the 2017 Dirty Sanchez Enduro

18 May, 2017

Words by Jordan Carr

Captions by Clayton Wangbichler

Photos by Abner Kingman and Jeremiah Newman

I’d heard the murmurings from many of my racer friends, about Dirty Sanchez this or Dirty Sanchez that. Its catchy name, invite-only registration style and rowdy, no-holds-barred party reputation piqued my interest when I first heard of the event. Luckily, the event fell on the weekend after Sea Otter Classic, a weekend I had free and would already be in the area for work. I was psyched that it all came together.

Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

With many similar style events taking place on public lands, permitting can be a huge challenge. TDS is a unique model in that it takes place exclusively on a privately owned, built and stewarded trail network near Grass Valley, California. This unique property is the result of lots of hard work and negotiations by the generous and enthusiastic Ron and Debbie Sanchez. Who, with immense help from their son Casey, daughter Carly, Mark Weir and many other Grass Valley locals and trail volunteers, are able to put on the growing annual event.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

After a few busy days at Sea Otter, I was excited to finagle my way into the event and spend a weekend shredding new trails with friends new and old despite my lack of preparedness. TDS is run as a simple enduro-style format, meaning short, timed segments interspersed with non-timed transfers or shuttles. Seven stages filled both Saturday and Sunday for a total of fourteen stages, with a mix of shuttle and pedal transfers between the stages creating a communal vibe of extensive shredding with an eclectic group of top-notch riders.  

Friday’s practice was highlighted with seemingly endless shuttle runs aboard Polaris side by sides as we grappled with the technicalities of each stage.  Signs emblazoned with photos of cheap cans of beer marked each track as we piloted our way through the rocky, jump laden tracks in hopes of finding the fastest, yet most attainable line choices.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

After a full day of thrashing our bikes, tires and bodies, we set off for Ol’ Republic Brewery to start a night of antics among the TDS community. The emphasis on social time is what makes the TDS unique from a lot of other races out there. Riders are not only encouraged, but it is expected that you’ll be a part of the parties both Friday and Saturday night during the event, making for a solid weekend of mountain biking in its truest form.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Saturday was filled with more rugged trails, high-speed jumps, gripping shuttle rides and copious amounts of Ol’ Republic TDS Beer at the end of the day. Somehow I kept things moving forward.

Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Saturday night brought more debauchery this time without having to leave the venue. The evening began with amazing wood-fired pizza, libations and a whip contest, later finishing off with s’mores, spectating RC truck races, and roman candle firework wars.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The final day brought more great trails and a full day of riding. After two full days of bashing rocks and a long night, I awoke a bit stiff and sore, but enthusiastic nonetheless. Unfortunately, stage 4 of the day sent me off a road gap and sailing into the a tree and a forest of poison oak. Though I walked away with only minor bumps and bruises, and quite of bit of future poison oak rash, I decided my focus was fried. Racers continued to shred the final three stages and I was glad to get to see the event from the spectator’s eyes for a short bit.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Whether you get invited to race at the TDS or not, it is one of the most enjoyable events to attend. Ron, his family, and all the local trail stewards have created a world-class trail network and an amazing event. Cheers go out to everyone who makes this event happen both from the volunteer side to the financial contributions from companies like WTB, Cannondale, Camelbak, Ol’ Republic, Red Bull, and many other great local partners. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Need a greater taste of this year's TDS? Here's a handful of photos to hold you over until 2018:

The fastest riders made this section look easy by skipping over the tops of the rocks. Marco Osborne took the approach of making sure none of his tires even hit the rocks. Less trail contact equals Marco taking the top spot. 

Noah "Bearbait" Catropa G'd out in the corner and somehow his bike still has some travel left in it. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The whip-off competition went into the night on Saturday, as the participants fueled off the stoke of oner another. When whips weren't enough, riders started manualing into the whips, then manualing out of the whips, while some even through some 360s. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

This isn't a "throw down some laps and leave" sort of race. If that's your approach, you're doing it all wrong. Good food, sufficient libations and great times are in abundance during each of the evenings. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Coming all the way from the rolling hills of Arkansas, Tandie Bailey brought her Midwest skills out to the rocky playground coined the Sanchez Ranch. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Nathan Riddle's line is always the correct line. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He remains Velcro'd to the ground when it seems impossible to do so. No need for flare when you have blazing speed on your side.

Antoine Caron taking the outer, yet more consistent, line during practice. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The 2016 TDS delivered full-on "bring your mud spike and best luck with you" kind of weather. While the weather was warm and sunny for the entire weekend this year, the streams were at full flow. Some of these streams also happened to be the trail at times. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

WTB and TDS are for the children. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

We followed up TDS weekend with the annual WTB Semper Fi Fund Mountain Bike Skills camp, where a group of 15 service members join us for a few days of riding with Mark Weir, Jason Moeschler and the rest of the WTB crew. Here are two of the service members, Ryan Beamish and Arthur Sykes displaying proper SENDAGE during practice. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Ariana Altier (kicking up dust in the photo above) gave reigning champion Joanna Petterson a run for her money throughout the entire weekend. With four stage wins and a second place overall finish, there's no doubt she'll be a contender for the top spot in future years! Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Taiwan's Most Famous Dan (likely called Dan Chiang by his family) had laser focus the whole time and it paid off with an overall second place finish! Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Both of them hit the can, but who whipped it better? Mason Bond (left) or Duncan Nason (right)? Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Polaris provided a handful of rigs for the event. I'm sure they were returned in "excellent" condition. Just a bit of dirt and scratches. It'll all buff out... Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Cory Sullivan taking the inside line. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

99% of the time, Bobbie Chandler is a master of style and grace. This is what he does during the remaining 1% of his day. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Lauren Gregg coming in hot! Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Take a second to see how it's done, then show everybody else how it's done. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Taiwan's Most Famous Dan showing us that the start is just as important as the finish. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The band could be heard from everywhere on the course throughout Saturday. Although the trio transformed into to a group of bearded Vikings on Sunday. We're not sure which provided more support for the racers, but we support both ensembles. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

SEND IT LARRY! We looked through 80 photos of riders hitting this same jump and there's no doubting that Larry Sussman boosted it the highest. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

And the winner of the spirit award is.....Aaron Bradford, the Baron of Radford! Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

"Scott Countryman...who is he!?" We heard that many times throughout the weekend as a stage win and incredibly smooth style earned him a third place podium spot. Turns out, he's a super shredder atop a Kona Process 134. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Whips became bigger, longer and more stylish as the night went on. 

Nick Dru is a demo driver for G-Form Protectives. Does this count as product testing or proof of product function? Either way, he walked away unscathed. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

It seems a bit unfair to follow up the previous photo with one of Marco Osborne absolutely crushing the same section of trail, but meh, that's what Marco does. He constantly shows us that our struggles aren't his struggles. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

This is Louisa Sussman. Not only does she shred trails relentlessly, but she also builds the meanest wheels this side of the Mississippi. Lucky for us, she does it for WTB, from the Nevada City office. She's the best. 

Dan "Danimal" Riley sits in the hot seat as Ty Hathaway delivers a whip and point. 

Jace Moeschler, son of Jason Moeschler, leans up against a tree while deep in thought about the future race win he'll experience here. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

For all you ladies out there...interested in getting this guy's digits? Whelp, here you go: 415-389-5040. It also happens to be the number to call if you have any questions for or regarding WTB. That'll be Jordan Smoke who picks up the phone when you call Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm PST. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

CLEAR THE COURSE! Jed Colvin has the important role of making sure the stage is clear before sending 80 racers down it. Luckily this approach didn't clear out the spectators as well. Hey, at least his knees are protected. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Whoever said the go-around isn't as much fun certainly hasn't seen the smile on Liz Miller's face in this photo. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Bike the heart of Los Angeles

16 May, 2017

Word and photos by Brian Ohlen A.K.A. Spoke'n'Fly

Video by Brian Verner

When dreaming of the next big trip or adventure, the destination is often the first thing to decide upon. More often than not, exotic and distant locales pique the interest before local ones. We're all explorers, and what’s more exciting than going somewhere you’ve never been? While there will always be that destination bike trip in the back of the mind, it’s the local, unplanned ones that keep us sane between trips. It’s with this sentiment that I’ve come to seek out and revel in mini bike-fishing rides and tours. Due to time and distance constraints, these often take place closer to home, or closer to wherever I’m sleeping that night. On my recent tour down the Pacific coast, I had such an opportunity in the most unsuspecting of locations; Los Angeles. I was planning to stay with a friend in Silver Lake and for the few days leading up to my arrival he suggested fishing the Los Angeles River. Being a man of small towns and quiet streams, I was pretty skeptical of the fishing opportunities L.A. had to offer. My perception of the poor water quality provided many opportunities for ‘brown trout’ jokes to my constant amusement.

At this point of my tour, the West Coast had seen one of the wettest winters in recent memory, L.A. included. I was warned that the river was particularly messy due to the deluge of water that swept all manner of garbage downstream. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but also wasn’t too surprised to find trash 20 feet up in trees as well as homeless camps lining the river (true of everywhere I looked in L.A.). I felt pretty out of place, far from my natural habitat...until I saw rising fish. The fish that call these waters home were not the trout and steelhead of my dreams, rather carp and bass. Despite this fact, my heart still raced at the site of a stirring fish and the prospect of a tug.  

We rose early to catch an L.A. sunrise over mountains, skyscrapers, and palms. City streets and bike paths led to the river which flows through concrete walls yet still lined with bushes and trees that found purchase in the cracks. The carp were not hard to find, but proved hard to catch. A point made painfully apparent by my lack of experience with this species and the fact that I was throwing steelhead flies with a heavy rod and line. A local fishing report recommended using tortillas. I left all my tortilla fly patterns back at home.

Despite coming up empty handed for the fish, the morning was not a total loss. Pedaling back home, we stopped at a Cuban cafe for the best cup of coffee of the trip, and void filling egg and bacon croissants. While I’m not convinced L.A. is in my future, it was pretty novel to indulge all my obsessions in one unlikely spot. Who can argue with a morning filled with fishing and breakfasting all within a bike ride of home? 

Rough Roads and Chickens at the 2017 Bantam Classic

12 May, 2017

Words by Yuri Hauswald   @yhauswald

Photos by Alex Brookhouse of Capo Clothing.

At one time in Petaluma’s history, it was considered to be the center of the chicken universe. True story. Hundreds of chicken coops dotted the pastoral landscape, and with the booming Gold Rush population in San Francisco, there was an eager and ready market for eggs, which meant that profits for the locals were, literally, coming home to roost. Speaking of roosting, there are miles of  empty, bucolic roads that twist and turn, that dip and dive through the rolling, verdant farmland that surround Petaluma and are ideal to ride a bike on, even if the road surfaces are less than perfect.

There’s been a little ride happening in the Egg Basket of the World for the past five years which takes its name from one of the feathered fowl that used to roam these hills. I’m talking about the Bantam Classic. Born from a desire to honor the Belgian Classics by riding some of the “worst” roads our county has to offer, and to celebrate the vibrant cycling community, the event has become more a party than a bike ride. Now don’t get me wrong, with the likes of Katerina Nash, Barry Wicks, Alison Tetrick, Geoff Kabush, and Levi Leipheimer all having attended, and in some cases won it multiple times over the years, the ride IS hard. And fast. But oh so fun when you finish to my mom dancing atop Spring Hill Road dressed in a chicken suit. And that’s where the beer comes into play thanks to local libation purveyor, Lagunitas Brewing Company.

You hear that? That’s the Bantam crowing. If you like bantams, bikes and beers, heed the call of the Bantam next year. I guarantee you will have a good time.

Lourdes Race Report by Pivot Factory Racing

09 May, 2017

Words by Aari Barrett - Pivot Factory Racing Team Manager

Photos by Boris Beyer

As you you now know our first World Cup is done and dusted, it’s a good feeling to get a grasp of how all the athletes compare after the off season. We had a mix of all seasons this week in Lourdes with a bit of snow, wind, rain and sun!

We arrived in rain and snow but thankfully the sun came out to turn on for the first day of practice. Everyone was having an amazing time on the fresh and fast track...smiles all round! Bernard was feeling great from the get go setting the 3rd fastest time in practice just 0.6 off first!

First WC qualifying for the season had everyone on their toes raring to get it over and done with. Team pivot all had top qualifying runs with Emilie fitting into 6th in Females.  Rupert 25th on what he though was a safe run,  and Bernard 9th on a clean run. The times super close with only 2.6 sec between the top men’s qualifier and Bernard. This meant it was all going to be laid down for the race runs as podiums all round were in sight.


There were speculations of rain for race day but everyone were hoping the rain would hold off until the evening or even the next day.

Emilie went up for the race ready to roll and was feeling great on the course and was confident for a good result. She started off looking great on course from what we could see on the live big screen. Unfortunately a crash threw her to the ground which put her 12seconds back. Emilie hopped back up and continued riding full pace, putting in a solid bottom split and finished up in 10th.

Rupert came down being up by 1 second on the first split (which he kept the number 1 split time overall) so obviously started off on a scorcher, he looked super fast and smooth! Rupert held onto his run all the way down and came flying into second place on the hot seat. Rupert wasn’t expecting to stay long on the hot seat as he thought he had a little more in the tank but turns out he was on there for a fair while! The weather started to turn and we all looked at each other thinking what if Rupert holds this position… Rider by rider came down and slotted in behind Rupert so things were starting to look extremely well for him.

The weather started to pack in big time three riders before Bernard, we couldn’t see Bernard in the start gate due to the torrential rain, and the wind was blowing a gale from the side. We still thought if anyone could adapt to these conditions and pull off a podium placing it would be Bernard. He appeared from the start ramp to sliding around the first corner which was now clearly obvious the rain had heavily saturated the track… It looked like riding on ice! Now the race had turned into more of a survival mode to get down opposed to finding time and pushing the boundaries finding every split second possible.

Bernard had a slide out putting him down in the mud, but thankfully stayed injury free! He finished safely but there was no way in the conditions he was able to match the times of the riders earlier in the dry. Every rider bar one came off in the mud following Bernard. Not the finish Bernard was after but still the second best rider that qualified in the top 10 and came down in the rain. On the bright side our main man Rupert finished in 6th position 0.01second off the podium!! Not even the blink of an eye would fill that time difference and his best result to date!!

Overall great weekend in the saddle for the team, well done to all of our riders and a massive congratulations to Rupert for his best World Cup result yet.

EWS Tasmania with Lauren Gregg

26 April, 2017

Words by Lauren Gregg

After spending the week following Rotorua EWS training in Queenstown, New Zealand, I flew north up to Tasmania hoping for some redemption (and less mud) at the second round of the Enduro World Series.

I met up with my teammates at the small airport in Launceston and we trekked across the beautiful countryside to our house in Derby, near the start of the race. Derby is a small Tasmanian town settled for tin mining, with a current population of just over 200 people. Exploring the frontier of the bush and the tiny mining towns in the area felt like going back in time, and right away I knew this was going to be one the most unique destinations I’ve ever been lucky enough to race.

We went on a quick spin and hiked most of the stages in the days leading up to practice, and I was super stoked to race the rocky loose tracks of the Blue Derby trails. Dry loose rocks are way more my style than mud and roots! Practice went well and I loved the fact that the course was a great variety of every type of riding, from fast flow trail to big jumps to full on gnarly rock gardens and drops. My setup was rolling through all the various terrain really smoothly and I felt confident after practice.

The weather was sunny and bright during our track walks and practice, and I was crossing my fingers for a dry race, but dark thunder clouds started rolling in the day before the race and my heart sank a little when we realized we were in for another epic day of brutal conditions.

The rain started coming down hard right as we set off on race day. After an hour-long climb to the top, the Pro Women dropped into Stage 1 during a torrential downpour that made it almost impossible to see the trail. I couldn’t believe we were going to have another super wet day on the course, but I was determined to push through and take what I’d learned from Rotorua to have a better result this time around.

Apart from a few mistakes, Stage 2 and 3 went well. But as we started our climb up to Stage 4, the rockiest stage by far, the rain started to pour down even harder. Again, the wet weather pushed me to the limit and I had a big over the bars crash in one of the rock gardens. The cockpit of the bike took a big hit and I broke my shifter levers and ripped out my dropper post cable! I was so gutted and wasn’t sure if I should try to continue, but I hustled to the top of the next stage to try to sort out my bike. I knew I couldn’t safely drop into Stage 5, the steepest of the stages, with a dropper post stuck in the “up” position, so I was considering what to do when another competitor, in a panic, asked if she could take my rear break. The conditions had taken their toll on her bike as well and she’d lost hers. She assumed I was not going to be able to continue, so she removed my brake only to realize it was internally routed and she couldn’t use it.

I was left at the top of Stage five with a broken dropper post, no shifting, and no rear brake (almost in tears). I wanted so badly to finish this race, but it seemed like the cards were all stacked against me at that point and there’d be no way I could continue. New to the EWS scene, I’d never experienced any situations like this, but all I knew is that I wanted to continue if there was any possible way. The Pro Men got to the top of the stage, and seeing I was in need of some help Yoann Barelli saved the day and offered me some zipties! I realized I’d be able to ziptie my seat down and I feverishly got to work replacing my brake and ziptie-ing my seat. Just as I was running out of time, and with my brake cable still pulled out of the frame and wrapped around my crank, I rolled down Stage 5 and was back on track!

I sorted my brake at the bottom of the stage, but I was already way behind schedule. After already pedaling for 5 hours, I had the most difficult transfer stage in front of me and was stuck in one gear with a seat post now stuck in the down position. I considered if it would be possible to make it to the top of the 1-hour singletrack climb to the next stage, and immediately decided with fierce determination that I was going to make it! I sprinted out of the saddle in a middle gear for one hour straight. It was one of the most physically demanding feats I’ve ever accomplished, but I made it to the top of Stage 6 before my cutoff.

Although I wasn’t able to shift and pedal through the Stage, I’ve never had a bigger smile on my face flying down the trail knowing that I was going to be able to finish the race! I even hucked and smoothly cleared one of the more gnarly rock sections for a crowd of amazing spectators.

After Stage six, I sprinted the short transfer to the top of the final stage and caught up with the rest of the Pro Women. They had all seen me at my lowest moment, with my bike in pieces at the top of Stage 5, and their faces when they saw me victoriously pedal up to the group was truly priceless. They were all so supportive and excited to see that I had made it! It was an awesome feeling rolling through the line, and I had actually made up enough time to drop at my correct start time into Stage 7.

I crossed the final finish line absolutely over the moon to have finished. I had pushed my body to the absolute limit, felt like I had probably been a bit hypothermic all day out in the rain with no jacket, the bike beneath me was in pieces, but I HAD FINISHED! After a facing a nearly hopeless situation, it was the most gratifying finish line I’ve ever crossed in all my years racing. I didn’t care how cold or muddy or tired I was, I was in full celebration mode back at the race village.

I’d learned a lot from Rotorua that allowed me to persevere through the conditions and finish in Tasmania. Both races saw so many racers not make it through, and finding some redemption in Tasmania by crossing the finish line made all the suffering and hardship of the races worth it. Although it would have been great to have better conditions, I know it’s experiences like this one that will make me a better rider and stronger racer in the future and I’m grateful to have been pushed like this and to have learned so much. (I’m also grateful to be sitting on a plane headed towards some better riding weather, as well!)

I’ll be able to take these races with me and hope to smash the North American Enduro tour back home this year! Even if the races are wet, I’ll be ready now.

The Desert is Calling…

14 April, 2017

Words by Jordan Carr and Lani Bruntz.

Red rock glows in the early morning sunshine and the pungent smell of sage fills the air as we fire up the stove for a fresh cup of coffee. Early season trips to the desert have become a luxury we’ve come to desire as snow continues to pile up in the mountains. Although the seasonality of the mountain landscape offers a rhythmic rise and fall of emotion and motivation forcing one to embrace winter’s shorter days, cold mornings and lack of dry trails. But for many, a quick jaunt to the desert offers a needed escape to warmer and drier locales.

Desert landscapes like Sedona, AZ or Moab, UT, have become distinct mountain bike destinations for their inherent beauty, mild climates and expansive open spaces. In the spring, these popular destinations become overrun with mountain dwellers seeking solace in dry trails and warm desert sunshine. One local explains it well “How do you know it’s spring in Moab? All the license plates turn green.” Meaning the green license plates of the Colorado tourists, of which we are included.

Recent spring wanderings in the desert included a trip to Sedona, a bikepack trip on the Black Canyon Trail north of Phoenix, and a few days at the spring Outerbike in Moab.

Wrapping up our winter events with the Silverton Whiteout, a 10-hour fat bike sufferfest or party ride depending on your perspective for the day, before taking a hiatus from the snow for red rock, sand and sunshine.

Posting up in flip-flops and shorts.

The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) is a 77-mile singletrack that parallels Interstate 17 and offers a variety of experiences through the Sonoran Desert landscape, including saguaro forests and rugged canyons. It is the perfect excuse to spend a few days in the desert with friends. We chose to ride the trail over three days in March.

Desert colors were in rare form this season with the massive spring rains received and dirt conditions were quite prime as well. Though the moisture made for great conditions, river crossings along the route were also at an all-time high.

Beautiful camp spots are plentiful along the BCT.

Desert life makes for great #Vanlife. Enjoying a cool Moab evening with friends is a great way to top off a great day of riding world class trails.

Desert weather conditions are often optimal for enjoying a beautiful night beneath the stars. We try to enjoy as many of these as we possibly can. Beware though, spring in the desert can often be cold, windy and sometimes wet.

Stopping at National Parks has become a tradition within our travels, despite being quite a bit more crowded than most public lands we visit, they are national parks for a reason and beauty abounds. We spent a day in the Grand Canyon following our time on the Black Canyon Trail and managed to find some quiet places down near the Colorado River.

"The Volcanic Park"

04 April, 2017

Pucon, situated in Chile, is one of the most popular holiday destination for Chilean. Above a huge lake, the volcano Villarica is overhanging a majestic forest. The locals start building some trails and invited Jérôme to ride them. Never against new experience, we made the trip down to spend some good time on perfectly shaped terrain with so many natural features and a beautiful background. What an atmosphere ! Riding on the sandy volcanic ground is an experience that Jérôme has again translated in style on his new action video: Discover the "Volcanic Park" video - Filmed and edited by Radfocus and Quatro Vistas

PinkBike and Youtube

Pucon is as busy as a city center during summer times with lots of shops openned until midnight that matches with Chilean way of living.. The local community are pushing to create trails! They've already built a nice pump track for kids near the Villarica lake! MTB is growing everywhere, expect to see more talented Chilean riders in the future! Thanks a lot to Antonio Leiva for the guiding, Refugio 555 for the trail building and Memos Portales family’s for the warm welcome!

EWS Round 1 with Lauren Gregg

03 April, 2017

Wow, what a hell of a race. I left the US in high spirits for my first experience racing internationally. I knew it would be one of the hardest races of my career so far and anticipated some early season issues dusting off the cobwebs and getting back after it so early in the year. I was not prepared mentally or physically, however, for what Rotorua threw at us for the first round of the 2017 Enduro World Series

After a few days wrangling bike bags and flying across the globe, I arrived in Rotorua 10 days before the event. Although it was raining the week before I arrived, I was graced with sunny skies and perfect conditions that week. I spent some amazing days exploring the forest and riding with friends. Although I had been a bit nervous about the tricky roots and steep gnarly tracks in Rotorua that I had read about, I was feeling really good that week and was stoked to race the trails. After they released the course on Sunday, all riding on the tracks was stopped until practice.

Then we started to hear the weather reports rolling in. All the competitors who braved the Rotorua EWS in 2015 told me they were still reeling from the wet, almost unridable conditions that day. Hearing the horror stories of the 2015 race made me a bit nervous, but we all crossed our fingers that the rain would hold off this year.

At the Riders Meeting on Friday night, the race organizers assured us that very little rain was predicted. They made a contingency plan to cut out one of the seven stages if there was rain, but they had faith in their forecast and told us we would be racing the full course. Based on this prediction, I decided to run Vigilantes front and rear, rather than my Warden mud spikes.

Practice on Friday was rainy and wet, but I was surprised at how well my tires responded on the roots, and the mud was no problem. Saturday practice saw a brief break in the weather and the tracks were running perfectly. I felt really good on Saturday and I crossed my fingers that conditions would remain the same for race day.

Unfortunately, they did not. On Sunday morning, race day, the rain started to come down about 30 minutes into our hour and a half climb up to the start of the first stage. On the start line, I was prepared for the tracks to run similarly to the wet and muddy trails during practice on Friday, but once I hit the course I realized I was in for something totally different. I hit greasy mud like I’ve never ridden before. The rain mixed with a couple hundred riders dropping in before the Pro ladies made for a track that this California girl, with no experience in the mud, simply did not know how to ride. I got to the bottom of the first stage, which took me about twice as long as it should of, discouraged and demoralized.

At first I wanted to drop out of the race. But then I realized, even if my result was already shot,  if I wanted to get anything out of the day I needed to keep going and use it as a learning experience. After losing time on the Stage and in a mental battle at the bottom, I started sprinting up to the second start to try to make my tight transition time.

On my way up, I also made a decision to stay positive and do everything that I could to try to have a fun day on the bike, regardless of the conditions. I lost lots of time on that first stage and at the bottom, which put me behind schedule and made my tight transitions even tighter, but I dropped into each stage and did the best I could fighting my way through the mud.

Tensions were high out on the course. I knew my result was shot, though, and I at least was able to offer a little comic relief and positivity for the spectators. We all had a good time as I struggled my way through the mud, picking up momentum and starting to find a groove until suddenly and inevitably ending up lodged deep in the mud. My goal to have a good time was achieved by simply making sure to laugh, rather than cry, when the situation got comically demoralizing. This was not the day to learn how to ride in the mud, and my stages were disasters, but the spectators did mention that I was the only rider with a smile on my face at the finish lines. The kiwi fans were awesome and they did a great job keeping me in high spirits. Hands were slapped, laughs were had.

After being behind schedule right off the bat and sprinting to the tops of the transfers with no real time to eat or drink I started to bonk on the fifth transfer stage, 5 hours into the grueling ride. I finally had to stop at a water station to refuel, and I knew I was in trouble with the way my body was feeling. This early in the season, this was one of my biggest days on the bike already, and fighting the mud made it especially exhausting. I pedalled as hard as my body would let me, I made it all the way to the very top of the mountain to Stage 5, but I just missed my cutoff by minutes. I asked if there was any way I could continue, but my race was over. I was a gutted, but under an umbrella and fighting off the cold wind and rain I was able to cheer off the Pro Men as they dropped into Stage 5.

Myself and another competitor who had also missed her start time were then at the highest point on the mountain, and a local course marshall pointed us down another track he recommended as his favorite trail on the mountain. It did not disappoint! We screamed down a 15 minute flow trail in perfect condition (it’s amazing what a difference 300 riders will make), with amazing wide open New Zealand views up top before ducking back into the forest for some amazing jumps and berms. Our consolation prize was one of the most fun rides of my trip for sure.

I learned a lot from this race, both about how I need to practice in the mud and more varied conditions, as well as about how to control my mental game and stay positive on race day. I know that I need to stay calmer on courses that are uncomfortable- I think that would have helped a lot. I learned that I need to focus more on nutrition and hydration, even if the conditions are distracting. I’m excited to use this experience to make myself a better rider and racer. I’m grateful to have competed in an event that so many riders that I look up to called the most mentally and physically challenging race of their lives. It certainly was the hardest race of my life! After the race, I learned that conditions were much more challenging than they had been 2 years ago and many riders and organizers considered this the most challenging EWS race to date. Hearing how much everyone struggled on course and seeing how many Pros also were not able to make it through to the end helped me not get too discouraged about my result.

Now, moving forward on to Tasmania for some redemption in the second round of the Enduro World Series. Let’s cross our fingers for no rain!

Rad People Who Ride: Sam and Julie Tickle

30 March, 2017

We were introduced to Sam Tickle in 2010 through an ESPN series called The Unstoppable Tour, wherein an unstoppable human is given a task that would sufficiently stop the ordinary specimen. 30 sports, in 30 days, in 30 states. Lucky for him, the California leg involved meeting up with Mark Weir, Jason Moeschler and Ben Cruz for a shred fest on the legendary private ranch in Novato, California. One thing was immediately certain...Sam would not be faltered. The loose and off-camber laps of the Novato ranch do not allow much room for error and are far from forgiving. Yet it will still no match for Sam's ability to overcome regardless of what lies in his path. 
Years have passed and we now partner with Sam Tickle and his role with the Semper Fi Fund, where he applies this same "get it done" approach, to help us put on the WTB/Team Semper Fi Mountain Bike Skills camp. We get to spend nearly a week with Sam every year, as we invite recovering service members of the US Armed Force to come ride with the WTB family to share good times on incredible terrain. The other 47 weeks of the year, we enviously follow Sam and his wife Julie as they travel around the country with their fifth wheel and wake up to a new trail every day. 

Sam and Julie Tickle

Notable passions, feats of accomplishment, interests, goals, phobias and unusual experiences: 

We moved out of the rat-race of SoCal in June and are now living lean in our fully-reno’d fifth-wheel RV, traveling to all of Sam’s Team Semper Fi Outdoor Program events around the country.

Notable Passions:

Sam: Working with injured, ill, and wounded service members and helping them pursue recovery through sport.

Feats of accomplishment:

Julie: I had the privilege of supporting our nation’s top athletes while working for the US Olympic Committee/US Paralympics. Creating opportunities for everyone to push their physical limits and redefine what is possible is a mission I care deeply about.

Sam: I was a Navy Helicopter Pilot for over 11 years and flew in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as humanitarian support in Hatti and New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Several years ago I starred in a documentary series and commercial featured on ESPN called The Unstoppable Tour which was sponsored by EAS Nutrition. I competed in 30 different sports on 30 consecutive days in 30 different cities. This included swimming the Hudson Bay, climbing in Zion, playing football with Larry Fitzgerald, surfing, boxing, running a marathon and on day 26 I got to ride with Mark Weir, Ben Cruise and Jason Moeschler at the “Ranch” in Novato. The goal was to promote proper nutrition and importance of living a healthy lifestyle. This experience not only changed my life but it renewed my passion for riding bikes.


Sam: SNAKES! I won’t go near them.

Julie: Fear of missing out….Squirrel!

Unusual Experiences:

Sam: Despite not watching much TV, Sam is obsessed with College Football, specifically The University of South Carolina football (where he did his undergrad). Julie has reluctantly embraced this fanatical embarrassment, and even included a lifelong promise of support in their wedding vows.

 Julie: On our first date (me learning to surf) I unintentionally strangled Sam with my leash while he was pushing me into a wave. So other than looking like a drowned rat myself, I nearly killed my future husband. Romantic.

Favorite WTB product:
Julie: I love the Vigilante and Trail Boss combo

Sam: The American flag inspired Semper Fi Volt saddle. It’s an incredible design on everyone’s favorite saddle, and hey, proceeds go to a great cause!

Favorite Ride:

When we lived in SOCAL it was Big Laguna Trail/Noble Canyon. The ride is unusual for the area as it takes you through evergreen forests and meadows before heading back to the sandy dry desert and rock gardens.

Now that we are nomads we are constantly on the search for that next fast and loamy ride!

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

Sam: I was into BMX as a kid but I bought my first bike from my High School track coach to get around when I went to college. I rode that bike into the ground but after that, I went through long periods of not riding at all while I was deployed overseas. When I finally was stationed back on the west coast I took two weeks of leave, bought a new bike and drove across the country, trying to hit all the top riding spots along my route. I thought I knew what riding was until I had my first experience riding with Weir, Moeschler and Cruz. They completely changed the way I rode and how I looked at mountain biking. It has been my favorite thing to do ever since.

Julie: I moved to Colorado from western NY in 2007 which opened a whole new world of activities and introduced me to adventurous friends to try them with.   My very first ride EVER was Slickrock. I endo’d hard within the first five minutes which miiiiight have scared half of my group enough to make them turn around. I continued, finished the ride, and have been hooked ever since.   For me, mountain biking combines all things that excite me; physical and mental challenges, exploring the great outdoors, scars, dirt and post-ride beers!

Tube or Tubeless, why?

Tubeless!!!! And if I could figure out a way to avoid throwing a tube in my pack, I’d do that too. Just say NO to tubes!

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Julie: The Grom-dog, snacks, and a sense of adventure if you’re riding with Sam. We are normally out WAY longer than expected due to Sam’s desire to “explore” on and off trail and we need the snacks just for survival sometimes;-) Ask Grommet, we accidentally took her the wrong way on her first training ride as a pup, adding miles to the adventure.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
Sam: #1 Witnessing a near-death deer experience for Julie on the Monarch Crest trail in CO. We were bombing a ridgeline when out of nowhere, a buck streaked across the trail within feet of hitting her. That buck never stood a chance!

 #2 Watching Mark Weir duct tape Team Semper Fi member and double amputee Dan Riley’s prosthetic legs to the pedals of his tandem mountain bike and shred the Ranch with Dan locked in, no matter what happened!

Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Earn your turns! Volunteer, build and maintain trails. and CLIMB!…it’s more rewarding for you and others if you’ve gotten your hands dirty and put in the sweat equity.

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

The Semper Fi Fund and Team Semper FI

The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities.

Rated one of the top veteran non-profits in the US. Focused on using donations properly, with only 6% overhead.

Instagram and Facebook: @openspace.smallplace

Our personal travel blog and social medial pages that keep our friends and families in the loop. Through our lifestyle we hope to inspire others to live life to the fullest in whatever way possible.

Julie’s design and photography website.

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