This weekend in the Dyfi Forest the 2017 Atherton Academy intake enjoyed a weekend riding with the Trek Factory Racing DH team. It was wet, windy and hard work but the three young riders dug in and showed us the kind of talent and determination that earned them these coveted training places. There were smiles for miles as Mille Johnset, Luke Williamson and Jamie Cable shredded Dan Atherton’s Dyfi trails, chilled at the skatepark and collected their specially designed 2017 team strip.
Dan Hearn was on hand to capture some of the action.
The weekend started with a meet at Atherton HQ. It quickly got like Christmas as iXS protective gear, Bell helmets, and new team strip and casual wear were fitted and distributed. Team Director, Dan Brown and Dan Atherton gave a short welcome while Head Technician, Joe Krejbich made sure that set ups were optimal on the Trek Session 9.9s.
Jamie ” like Christmas morning!”
I’m delighted to be working with these three young riders. Without taking anything away from what they’ve achieved so far, all of this year’s intake have so much to learn and such potential for growth that it’s going to be very exciting to be a part of that journey. The primary objective for all three of them this year is to gain a solid foundation of race experience.—Dan Brown
Browny leading by example.
We’re all passionate about creating a pathway to World Cups and a pro riding career. Ours is a young sport so there are many young talents out there who are in the dark about the opportunities available. A huge driver for me building these tracks is so that young riders can rock up and ride here on the same facilities that World Cup pros are using for their training, that they get to see real early that there is no reason that they can’t be the best.—Dan Atherton
Joe casts an expert eye over Mille’s Trek Session.
One of the most exciting things for me this weekend has been watching Jamie and Luke ride together and learn from each other, they are pretty much from polar opposite ends of the scale. Jamie relies 100% on his skill, Luke leans on his strength and power more so over the whole track they are pretty equal but you’ll see Jamie pulling away down the steep sections, Luke is faster where it’s flat – it’s partly physical make-up, partly what they are used to riding.—Dan Atherton
Luke and Jamie.
During Saturday night’s skate park session and Sunday’s DH shred the team were joined by Rachel and Danny Hart so the Academy had the advantage of two World Champions to follow down the trails!
It’s awesome how these guys would just watch us and then learn from that, if we did tell them something once, that was it they got it instantly, that’s so refreshing.—Dan Atherton
Mille Johnset. (Racing Youth Year 2)
16-year-old Mille has been working with us for a couple of years now, in last year’s first full season with the Atherton Academy she took a spectacular win at Fort William BDS (16 seconds clear of the field), the Scandinavian Cup and the Norwegian National Champs – despite 10 weeks off the bike with a liver injury.
Dan in the observer seat as Mille goes on the attack!
I spent a lot of time this weekend riding behind Mille, watching her throw herself into every corner! She doesn’t back off for anything, she’s so brave and her passion shines through in how she rides. Every corner, every pedal stroke she hits it with her full heart. After so long at the top of the World Cup game, Rachel has learned to become a very calculated rider but Mille reminds me of how Rach was when she was young.—Dan Atherton
Jamie Cable (Racing Youth Year 2)
Jamie is the least experienced racer of this year’s intake but he is a passionate and dedicated rider who has put in unbelievable hours on the bike to achieve the extremely high standard required to be invited to the Atherton Academy.
Does Jamie’s style remind you of anybody?
I got to know Jamie when I was running some Tuesday night coaching rides with the kids from the local school. There were two kids, in particular, Jamie and Tim, they were always pushing each other on, Tim’s already doing really well on the national XC races and Jamie’s gone a different way to focus on DH. The first thing I noticed about Jamie was his balance, years riding the Dyfi trails on his hardtail had taught him well! He’s so focused and single-minded, absolutely lives for his riding and his digging. He reminds of how we all were when we started out.—Dan Atherton
Luke Williamson ((Racing Youth Year 1)
At 14, Luke Williamson has seven years race experience behind him, first at the motocross track and since 2014 on a downhill bike. He has a series of local wins to his credit and in 2016 was 4th Overall in the British Downhill Series Juvenile Class (despite missing Fort William) and 2nd overall in the Pearce Cycles Series.
Luke! It’s easy to forget he is just 14 years old…
Luke is strong! A really powerful rider though you wouldn’t necessarily think so just to look at him, he outputs a hell of a lot of power in every pedal stroke. Maybe at 14 he relies a little bit on that strength but underneath and underpinning that there is a very talented rider. He’s really focused and already one of the most professional young riders I’ve ever seen.—Dan Atherton
Just a few days ago Fox Head gave us all a tease of Ride Your F#%king Bike, their upcoming movie, and the world premiere is set to go down in SoCal on March 3rd. The movie, which is “Powered by Chainsaw” in memory of the late, great, Stevie Smith—an integral member of the Fox Head team who was going into his sixth year with the brand—will see all ticket proceeds from the premiere go to the Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation. Tickets are available in limited quantities, so you’ll want to jump on it quickly.
Earlier this week Cycling UK launched its report “Rides of Way: Cycling UK’s Off-Road Report 2017” at the London Bike Show hosted at the ExCeL centre in London. The report’s findings are based on a survey conducted by the cycling charity with off-road advocacy group, OpenMTB, which ran for eight weeks from August to October 2016.
A first of its kind in the UK, Rides of Way provides unique insight into the current off-road cycling scene based on the 11,482 responses the initial survey received. Cycling UK believes the report will be of particular use to decision makers at a local and national level, major land owners, the cycling trade and campaigners who are looking for up-to-date information on the cyclists who take to the UK’s trails and tracks every day.
The report covers motivations for riding off-road, the impact it has on physical and mental health, riding habits, tourism benefits, the impact of technology and what the community believes is the best way of maximising the benefits of off-road cycling. In addition, Rides of Way looks specifically at the differences in the thoughts, attitudes, and experiences of women who ride regularly.
Among the findings of the report are the following:
– Health and fitness are top motivators for riding off-road for both men (31%) and women (26.3%)
– 91% rate off-road cycling as fairly or very important for their mental health, and 90% for their physical health
– Two-thirds cycle straight from their front door to ride on Rights of Way
– One-third of cyclists ride regularly on trails whose status they do not know, with a further 74% considering the current Rights of Way unsuitable
Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK Chief Executive, said:
“Over 30% of the 3.5 million bikes sold every year in Britain are designed for off-road use. That’s a lot of people who are looking to buy a bike purely for leisure, whether that’s riding with their families or heading to the trail centres, but there have been very few organisations doing anything to represent their interests. It’s time someone stood up and championed this silent majority. Cycling UK’s Rides of Way report shows most people are clearly frustrated by a system which could be much more accessible. There is so much more we can do to make off-road riding easier without creating conflict, and that will be Cycling UK’s goal as it launches its off-road campaign in the spring.”
Jon Snow, Cycling UK President said:
“Cycling UK has been at the vanguard of opening up thousands of miles of off-road access for cyclists; from winning the rights to use royal parks in 1885, to gaining the right to cycle on bridleways and long-distance cross-country routes in 1968 and successfully campaigning for the ‘Right to Roam’ in Scotland in 2003. Scotland has shown how it can be done with respect for all users and the environment, and for greater access to our green and pleasant land. It’s about time people in England and Wales enjoyed the benefits too.”
Tracy Moseley, Cycling UK Off-Road Ambassador, and Downhill and Enduro World Champion said:
“Cycling UK knows there’s room for vast improvement, and being sensitive to the concerns of walkers, horse riders and landowners, it is looking to work with all of these groups to open up our landscape responsibly. There’s a lot to be gained for everyone by increasing access: from the physical and mental health benefits for the riders to reinvigorating the rural economy through increased tourism. The winds of change are blowing in 2017 and, together with this report, I’m looking forward to helping make cycling off-road more open for everyone.”
As one of its first actions with its new campaign, Cycling UK will look to draw up codes of conduct with other user groups, such as the British Horse Society, and will promote responsible off-road cycling behaviour.
Hard copy versions of Rides of Way are available at Cycling UK’s stand at the London Bike Show, Stand No. LB1412, and for download here.
BTR announces a new trail-building-specific tool; the Tough Rake.
As one of the few suppliers of McLeod rakes in the UK with our Trail Tool, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to produce a broader range of dedicated tools for building bicycle tracks. First of the new additions is the Tough Rake, which is exactly what the name suggests—a rake that’s well ‘ard! Just like a spade is a spade, the Tough Rake really is a rake that’s tough.
The new Tough Rake was originally built for sculpting the jump lines of Spooks Trails but has plenty of uses beyond dirt jumps, or even beyond mountain biking…
Made for breaking up, moving and packing down soil, the Tough Rake comes into its own when building dirt jumps and trails. Its 40cm wide head takes the hard work out of dragging earth and sculpting contours. The teeth are aggressive enough to bite into and move packed soil, and the straight back creates smooth lines with ease. Once you’ve created the shape you want, the Tough Rake is strong enough to tamp down your creation.
The head of the Tough Rake is fabricated from high strength, high toughness steel, and zinc plated for longevity. The wooden handle is 30mm diameter and 1.4m long and is secured into the head by a taper and two screws.
The Tough Rake retails for £80, plus £15 shipping to the UK (international shipping available). It’s available now from btr-fabrications.com
For 2017, IMBA Italia organizes in the region of Trentino in partnership with Val di Sole its Third Official IMBA Italia trail building school, with the support of the two main sponsors 4Guimp and Buff and with the support of Vittoria, WD40 and Selle Italia. The Tourism Agency of Val di Sole organizes thanks to its operational branch, Comitato Organizzatore Grandi Eventi, international events and races, and it is also designing an important and ambitious master plan around cycling. Val di Sole (Trento) is working towards a network of new trails and linked services for the riders. That is the reason Val di Sole was glad and happy to host IMBA Italia to organize in a trail building school to educate and train staff and volunteers that will create and maintain the trails. The goal is to have more and better mtb trails.
It will be a great chance to gather and to discuss mtb trails in a world-renowned mtb destination.
4Guimp has once again confirmed its support to IMBA Italia with one of the brands that it imports: EVOC. Enrico Guala and Andrea Balli, 4Guimp co-owners, are well known in the mtb circuit. However, not everyone knows that 4Guimp was started 11 years ago to develop an early day Bike Resort. Enrico and Andrea have been passionate trails advocates since the beginning and that passion translated into the support to IMBA Italia. NOV.ITA Srl is the Italian distributor of Buff and it has confirmed its support again after 2016. Buff® and IMBA Italia share the same values: respect for the environment, the preservation of trails and facilities that allow all to enjoy the outdoors, no matter the sport. Buff® belongs to EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association) and it promotes projects to protect nature and to safeguard life in general.
This mission is carried out in the production process, with promotional events, and in any other activities purposely consistent with that “green’ approach. TBS’s are possible thanks to IMBA Trail Solutions, thanks to the support of IMBA Europe, and with the logistical help of Happy Trail MTB.
Participants will learn all of the basics of trail maintenance and construction according to IMBATrail Solutions curriculum (the international standard for over 30 years). The Trail Building School (TBS) course will last one weekend. Instructors will be Mark McClure, professional trail builder with IMBA Trail Solutions, and Edoardo Melchiori, VP at IMBA Italia and IMBA Europe board member. Mark McClure will lecture in English while Edoardo Melchiori will translate into Italian both the theory and the practice.
The format involves four hours of theory and 12 hours of practical work on actual trails. There will be 40 participants from Italy and other European countries. These are some of the things participants will learn:
Characteristics of a sustainable trail,
The importance of a good design,
How and where to use rocks,
How to design with the right gradient,
Criteria for multi-use trails,
Water shading and erosion,
Tools and safety,
How to deal with trails that are not sustainable.
Price of the course is € 170.00. Reduced price for IMBA Italia members and supporters € 150.00. All participants will receive handouts in electronic format (Italian or English). Upon completion, participants will receive a TBS IMBA Trail Solution Certificate.
All participants will receive the following welcome kit:
– Note Pad Val di Sole
– Val di Sole World Championship t-shirt
– Bike land keychain
– WD40 lube product
– Fender Mudguard Vittoria
Aston Tutt, Harry Barrett, Riley Scott and James Elliott will form the 2017 Madison Saracen Development Team, headed up by Jack Geoghegan.
The quartet aged from 14 to 19 years old, will also get the opportunity to train alongside and receive advice from the Madison Saracen Factory Team – as well as pitting alongside them at the British Downhill Series.
Madison Saracen started out in 2011 as a grassroots development team, with the aim of progressing riders from the highly competitive British scene onto the world cup podium. However, with its growing international presence, the team split into Factory and Development divisions.
With world cup podium performances from both Matt Simmonds and Manon Carpenter in 2014, junior, Matt Walker completed the pathway in 2016 when he stepped up to the Factory squad and won his first junior world cup in Cairns. For 2017 the development team starts afresh, with a team manager who has been on a development pathway of his own. Jack Geoghegan, part of the original team six years previous, has since taken on the role of brand manager at Saracen HQ and will also oversee the development team.
Having been a part of the original line-up back in 2011, I can’t wait to give something back. I can still remember how I felt when I lined up for those team photos way back. Having been involved in the development of the Saracen Myst – from racing the first generation to helping to create the latest carbon model – it has been an exciting journey and one I can’t wait to continue.
I’m convinced the four riders we have chosen will have a big role to play in the future of an already storied history of great British downhill racers and that’s a big motivation for both the Factory Team and myself.
I’m confident that all four are in a great place to learn and push their limits, with everything provided to be their best, with the ultimate opportunity to step onto the world stage. – Jack Geoghegan
I’m delighted to see a return of the Madison Saracen Development Team. We could see a hotbed of young talent emerging once again in the UK and Jack has seized the opportunity to help and support these great riders.
We have had a huge success with our development team riders in the past and I see once again the potential for us to develop UK talent right through to joining the Madison Saracen Factory Team, competing internationally. Right now though I hope they are ready for a fun season of racing and riding together and I can’t wait to get on the hill and try to keep up with them! – Will Longden, Team Manager of Madison Saracen Factory Team
Madison Saracen is gratefully supported by Madison Clothing, Saracen Bikes, Lazer, Bliss Protection, Maxxis, Shimano, Fox Suspension, PRO, Animal, DT Swiss, Dragon, Finish Line, Park Tool, Stealth, Ogio, MuleBar and Outdoor Tech.