Stoke levels were high this past weekend at China Peak for the first stop of the VP Components sponsored California Enduro Series “Golden Tour” and the Kali Road Warrior program was in effect keeping people safe throughout the race weekend. The Golden Tour is a triple crown series within a series intended to spotlight top talent and events with the added bonus of being Enduro World Series Qualifier Events. That means more prize money on the line and valuable EWS points up for grab. It also means real rowdy trails and fierce competition.
The drive up to China Peak is as impressive as the venue itself. Passing through agricultural zones of the Central Valley and rolling through the foothills en route to the heart of the High Sierras is a reminder of the beauty and diversity found within the Golden State. China Peak is located near the end of a road that was originally conceived as a trans-Sierra highway connecting Fresno and Bishop. Due to the rugged Sierra Crest and Wilderness Areas blocking the way, the two segments were never connected which has left this area more isolated and undeveloped.
With the small mountain ski area vibe also comes the small mountain chairlifts. The lift line was stacked up all day as the trusty old two-seater worked overtime to get hundreds of racers and bikes up the hill for practice. Nothing but smiles and high fives though as people were undoubtedly glad to have a lift-assist. Passing over some sections of trail (including the super rowdy and freshly cut Stage 5), the chairlift also makes for great spectating, heckling, and line spotting.
Part of the charm of China Peak is the laid back atmosphere. All weekend long, people were posted up in the shade at the balcony bar, soaking in the sights, staying cool, and enjoying the vibe of the California Enduro Series scene. With the CES race weekend officially kicking off the Bike Park opening, it’s a great way to get things fired up for the season. The mountain is now open for business so get yourself up here!
Due to the higher elevations and clear blue skies, the sun was blazing hot all weekend. Thankfully, the hydration station was complete with a “mist’er” hose which provided racers with some much needed relief from the heat. Staying cool and hydrated was definitely part of the winning strategy for the weekend.
In addition to the shade and mist provided in the base area, there is a river running right through the middle of the venue which provides opportunities for swimming, fishing, and beverage chilling. The unofficial “Final Stage” of the race weekend is held at the swimming hole just upriver from the parking lot. This is always a crowd favorite for racers and spectators alike and usually generates some solid highlight clips as people jump, dive, flip, and spin off the rocks.
The Kali Road Warrior program is designed to help keep people safe at the races and sometimes that extends to spectators too. This little rider was ripping around all weekend and she chose to protect herself with this full-face helmet. In fact, she was dedicated to it. She was so stoked on the helmet that we agreed she should take it home. The force is strong with this youngster and now it is even stronger…and safer.
With this race requiring the use of full-face helmets, it is not uncommon to see some racers choose to bring both helmets (a half-shell to climb in and a full-face for timed stages). Another strategy that seems to work well is to remove the cheek pads during the climbs. This increases your airflow and breathability for those long transfers. Either way you decide to go, it’s definitely a wise choice to ride and race with a legitimate full-face helmet when you’re pushing the limits on such gnarly, loose, and technical terrain.
The parking lot at China Peak is just as exciting as the trails are rowdy. Making rounds through the caravan of adventure mobiles, it is clear that Vanlife (and hatchback/pickup/camper life) are alive and well in the mountain bike community.
Circle the Wagons! Some of the vans spotted in the parking lot were clearly more experienced than others. These dream machines got in early and scored the shady spots. It’s official, van-life is the new Enduro and these guys are winning.
Meanwhile, at the riders meeting, it was a perfectly crisp and clear morning. Racers rolled out as they were called and the battle would begin. With live timing, there was a lot of excitement and speculation about who might be on the podium after the last stage.
After a long and challenging day of racing, the awards ceremony was a change of pace. The fastest guys and girls took their rightful places on the podium. Some of them walked away with big checks and some with big bruises but all of them walked away with a sense of accomplishment for surviving the weekend and taming these super gnarly trails. This is definitely one of the most rugged and raw stops on the Golden Tour and sets the tone for the rest of the series to come. For complete race results click the link China Peak Results.
What is the Kali Race Support Program and who is the Road Warrior?
In an effort to support events and racers of all levels, Kali Protectives has launched a new Race Support helmet demo program in conjunction with the Kali Road Warrior.
We all ride and unfortunately, crashes do happen. Sometimes that happens at an event or race weekend, resulting in your helmet being damaged and unsafe to continue to use. But you have more racing to do. What now? When the Road Warrior attends a scheduled event, registered racers/attendees have the opportunity to demo a new Kali helmet at no charge. Kali is on hand to ensure riders can continue to compete without worrying about their helmet.
Currently, the program is limited to the West Coast, however, we are preparing to launch another Road Warrior and Race Support Program in Canada. Providing this initiative continues to be successful, we may establish Road Warriors in other territories.
If you would like to learn more about the Kali Road Warrior or possibly schedule him to attend your next event, shoot an email to [email protected].
Our second day of Crankworx Fantasy action is rolling out from Innsbruck, and we’ve got a Pike DJ from RockShox to give away to the lucky winner of the Pumptrack Daily League! Get your team together in the next 24 hours, and this sweet prize could be yours. Details below.
Pike DJ: Charge higher
Jumps are getting bigger, tricks are evolving further, and the slopestyle and dirt jumping crowd needs a fork that facilitates this progression. Enter Pike DJ: little brother to the award winning Pike, with the stout 35mm chassis, it is light enough to boost higher and stiff enough to shred berms harder, available in 100 and 140mm travel versions. The custom tuned Charger damper stands up on jump faces and the specific Solo Air system provides heaps of bottom-out progression to help butter the landings. Everything you love in Pike, but cleared for the biggest take offs.
Follow along with all the action as we go LIVE to the world for our first broadcast event of Crankworx Innsbruck.
Most people know Steve Smith for his accomplishments on two wheels. A force in the Canadian downhill mountain bike racing scene for years, Steve became an international star after securing Wold Cup victories at Leognang, Hafjell, and Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. These victories culminated into the overall World Cup Downhill title in 2013, downhill mountain biking’s ultimate prize.
Steve became a Canadian cycling legend.
Was that who Steve Smith was? A downhill legend? The guy on the Fox Racing poster? Standing on the podium at Monte-Sainte-Anne? Tearing up a volcano in Japan for Red Bull?
Was that who Steve Smith was?
To some, yes. But not to us.
endurofficials Co-founder, Rob Fraser, Left, Steve Smith, right. Mt. Prevost, 2013
Steve was a brother, son, and an inspiration. A fierce competitor and an honest friend. A humble guy from Nanaimo that achieved so much and made you feel like anything was possible.
A guy who loved the outdoors, loved camping and fishing and golfing, just like us.
A guy who cared about people, about his family, and about his community. Just like us.
He loved to laugh, loved to smile and loved life. Just like us.
Who was Steve Smith? He was a guy… just like us.
Phenomenally talented and driven, yes. But what made Steve so great was his incredible humility and grace in spite of his remarkable success.
Steve inspired people to be their best and do extraordinary things because he was a guy just like us.
Although it’s been a year since he passed he still inspires all of us at end?rofficials to be our best every day.
As a tribute to Steve, we’ve designed the Steve Smith Legacy sock. 100% of all profits from Steve Smith Legacy sales will be donated to the Steve Smith Legacy Fund to help young athletes achieve their dreams. To date, we’ve reached over 75% of our goal to donate over $10,000 and have no plan to stop.
Steve Smith Legacy Sock
If you’d like to join us in supporting the Steve Smith Legacy Fund, please click below to purchase your pair of socks.
CSixx, a South African based premium parts manufacturer has announced a partnership with former professional downhiller Andrew Neethling to supply him with their range of carbon mountain bike wheels and chain guides designed, tested and manufactured in Cape Town South Africa.After 14 years on the World Cup circuit, having raced for the likes of Global Racing, Trek World Racing, Giant Factory and most recently Polygon UR, Needles decided to transition into a ‘non-racing’ ambassadorship with Scott Bikes and cSixx for 2017.
XCM Wheelset with FOAMO’s inside
cSixx’s founder Mark Hopkins and Needles’ relationship stretches back 15 years to 2002 when the pair were locked in a battle for the South African National Downhill Title.Hopkins jokes how, at the beginning of the ’02 season he and the rest of the Elite field were wondering who this little shit was posting quicker times than them… the pinner was none other than Needles who was in his last year as a junior and routinely beating the rest of the competition, Hopkins included.
Needles would go on to win the National Downhill title overall in 2002 as a junior, with Hopkins winning the Elite title but having to settle for 2nd overall in the Championship.
Gravity Guide, DHI Wheelset with FOAMO’s inside
Hopkins and Neethling began working together when Hopkins co-developed Leatt’s DBX neck brace in 2010. “Andrew was the first South African running the DBX neck brace and his input as a professional downhiller was instrumental in the brace’s development”, recalls Hopkins.[QUOTE author=”Needles”]With our history during Mark’s days at Leatt, it was a no-brainer to call him up and propose riding his wheels in an effort to help cSixx further refine their rims as well as test prototypes. I’ve already put the +Plus and End rims through all sorts of hell and they’re performing superbly.[QUOTE]
South Africa is regarded as the epicentre of marathon racing, hosting the world’s most prestigious event, the gruelling eight-day Cape Epic every March. This competitive environment provides cSixx the ideal opportunity to test their marathon products. And now, with the addition of Neethling to the testing team, cSixx is poised to reap the rewards of his prolific travel schedule, where he’ll provide feedback on their Gravity focused wheels and chain guides from a global perspective.
The most progressive mountain bike movie of recent times gets the paper and ink treatment.
Feel it. Read it. Own it.
The Deathgrip Book documents the twelve plus months of shredding and filming that went into the making of Clay Porter and Brendan Fairclough’s landmark movie project. From the dust-storm berm destroying in South Africa to dank woodland steeze in California to lush Madeira to moonscape Utah, and with a stop off at home in the UK, get down with Deathgrip’s outrageously stylish crew over 172 pages of the finest printed matter.
Field notes from the movie’s cast and crew give unrestricted access to the world of Deathgrip, while epic galleries from a number of the sport’s best photographers give alternative angles on the movie’s standout moments.
Deathgrip Book is available worldwide now at Deathgripbook.tv, at a cover price of £15 + P and P.
Edited by James McKnight
Designed by Jon Gregory
Printed in the UK
Published by Misspent Summers
With Photography and Contributions from:
Jacob Gibbins, Ian Collins, Chris Seager, Duncan Philpott, Boris Beyer, Brandon Semenuk, Jens Staudt, Eric Palmer, Ewald Sadie, Chris Greenwood, Roo Fowler, John Asuncion, John Reynolds, Tom Bowell, Nikki Whiles, Cameron Baird, Ty Evans, Mike ‘Cow’ Rose, Kyle Jameson, Brendan Fairclough, Clay Porter, Olly Wilkins, Ryan Howard, Andrew Neethling, Nico Vink, Josh Bryceland, Sven Martin, Sam Reynolds.
This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting mountain bike seasons yet! Hazardous weather conditions, Rachel Atherton’s injury and the ‘wagon wheel’ discussion have mixed up the downhill competition while the cross-country races have witnessed surprising winners in the Women Elite and have seen Swiss rider Nino Schurter dominating the Men Elite category. All of this means we can look forward to some really exciting race action in Lenzerheide from July 7-9 during the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano. Get your ticket online!
Dominance in Downhill is so 2016 – It’s all about tight racing for the titles in 2017
The competition for the Downhill World Cup Title is closer than ever before! Both Aaron Gwin (USA) and Tahnée Seagrave (GBR) secured their first World Cup wins of the season in Leogang and closed in on the leading athletes in their respective categories. Gwin is homing in on the top spot, which is currently held by 35-year-old Greg Minnaar (RSA). Danny Hart (GBR), who won his first ever World Cup race in Lenzerheide last year and bears the rainbow striped jersey of the reigning World Champion, has been extremely unlucky so far: bad weather, a crash and a mechanical have prevented him from making his mark this season. Maybe Lenzerheide will be a good omen for the rest of his season?
“Lenzerheide is an amazing location with the lake right there. The triple jump line is a difficult one. I haven’t done it in a while. Some guys try it every year, others snap their bikes trying. It’s always great to have cross-country there as well because the pits are full and it is more of a spectacle.” – Brendan Fairclough (GBR)
“I think Lenzerheide is pretty difficult because the dust appears very quickly. The jumps are amazing. Otherwise, I think it is cool with more spectators. Downhill fans are solely there for downhill, but when cross-country is also happening, there are more girls around (laughs).” – Loris Vergier (FRA)
Hannah, Seagrave or Atherton? – Modified sections on the STRAIGHTline
Tahnée Seagrave didn’t only get her first win of the season in Leogang, it was also the first World Cup win of her young career. The 22-year-old is hot on the heels of Tracey Hannah (AUS), although the Australian has been nearly unstoppable this season, racing to the podium at every World Cup stop. Normally you would expect to see Rachel Atherton’s name appear on the top of the table, but the 29-year-old has to play catch-up now due to a shoulder injury sustained in Fort William. The Brit will most certainly be back on the track in Lenzerheide and will be gunning to be the fastest to cross the finish line.
Talking about the finish: the final track section and other parts will be remodeled in preparation for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2018. The world’s fastest downhill athletes will be confronted with quick bends and a 4-meter-high drop leading into the finish coral after the Ochsner Sport Cabin Hit. The start will also have a different look and feel to it due to a more direct route without the wide, steep berms – similar to 2015 – and a small rock garden. The skill of the riders will also be challenged in the run-up to Tschäffs Plunge. This section of the STRAIGHTline will not be as direct, has more curves and will be more technical before the tricky plunge in the woods.
“I did really well in Lenzerheide last year. Each track is very different and Lenzerheide has its ups. I just like fast tracks, I like jumps and I like tracks that are good fun. Saying that, I do prefer tracks that scare me a little bit as well.” – Tahnée Seagrave (GBR)
“I want to build up my confidence for Lenzerheide at Crankworx. I can’t wait to go as fast as I can in front of a home crowd. It is obviously a special race for me. I got into the top 5 last year and maybe I can achieve a bit more this year. I am going to try my best and do it for the fans.” – Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI)
Will Nino win again? – Additional track length and new possibilities to overtake
Olympic gold medalist Nino Schurter will be returning to a home track and crowd on Sunday, July 10. The Swiss national has been pressured by his opposition in the first races of the season, but did not let himself be deterred and won both in Nove Mesto and Albstadt. While Schurter is dominating the Men’s Elite, the Women Elite category has seen two different winners so far. 24-year-old Yana Belomoina became the first Ukrainian athlete to ever win a World Cup race and also leads in the overall standings. But it is a close call: only 80 points separate her from four others: Maja Wloszczowska (POL), Annika Langvad (DEN), Sabine Spitz (GER) and Linda Indergand (SUI). Indergand will be looking to impress in front of the Swiss supporters and will have 500m more track and additional opportunities to overtake to do so this year. The new loop includes more rock sections, a drop, and a 40 meter long, 22% incline.
Bike Festival with lots of Side Events – E-MTB, Full Gas World Cup Party and DEATHGRIP
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Lenzerheide has plenty more on offer for the thousands of visitors. The Full Gas World Cup Party will bring the stoke off the track to the dance floor on Friday and Saturday. All visitors can also take a closer look at the bikes and pits of pro teams in the Bike Arena and see what the mechanics and athletes are up to. There will also be a FLYER E-MTB Challenge at the E-MTB Center next to the Santa Cruz Corner and a Speed Challenge at the stand of Polar Cycling Computers in the Expo Area for those who also feel the need for speed. Bike fans can also look forward to an all-new Bike Movie Night on Saturday from 9pm. The showing includes the Trail Tales episodes by RIDE Magazine and 53 minutes of pure shredding action during DEATHGRIP the new film by Clay Porter and Brendan Fairclough, which also features superstars like Brandon Semenuk and Josh Bryceland.
This week we are releasing two instalments of our BCBR Experience both on the Sunshine Coast; Day 2 in Powell River and Day 3 from Earls Cove to Sechelt. These edits will again delve into our profiles for each stage of the race as well as highlight the identities of the communities that we are welcomed into.
Racers start Day 2 on the beach in Powell River.
Day 2 – Powell RiverIn Powell River, we have a basecamp like no other with camping right on the ocean and singletrack that winds through emerald green forests and over uniquely handcrafted wooden features. We celebrate the depth of history here through the culture and history of the Coast Salish People and watch how this small town adapted to recreational based tourism after the decline of the pulp and paper mill industry. Not only is it home to incredible mountain bike trails, but the Upper Sunshine Coast also boasts the longest hut-to-hut multi-use trail in Canada.
Year after year, the people of Powell River have come out in droves to welcome our racers and we cannot wait to be back sharing their special home once again this year.
Our basecamp in Powell River never ceases to thrill racers and crew alike.
Day 3 – Earls Cove to Sechelt
When racers arrive by ferry to Earls Cove on the morning of Day 3 they are embarking on the longest—at 57.1 kilometres—and most physical stage of the race. This point-to-point route will take them from the ferry terminal all the way into the town of Sechelt.
The Lower Sunshine Coast is home to the internationally recognized Sprockids Program and the Coast Gravity Park, evidence of the ever-growing mountain bike scene here. It is within this community, that five-time BC Bike Race Winner (three times as a team and twice solo), Kris Sneddon talks to us about the relationship between the generations of loggers and recreational trail users. A prime example of this is the two-kilometre stretch of trail that the racers will climb called ‘Frogger.’ Once a much shorter trail, it was briefly decommissioned when the forest block was logged, but following the completion of work, the forestry company had it remade as a longer—and improved—trail. Sechelt is a town that continues to adapt and adjust with its changing population and tourism.
Kris Sneddon (Fastest Man) and Lea Davison (Fastest Woman) show off their awards at BC Bike Race in 2014
Up next will be Day 4 and the racers’ journey from Sechelt to Langdale before hitting the trifecta of North Vancouver, Squamish, and Whistler. The countdown is on, stay tuned!
This year is looking good for Rose Rad Squad’s Jakub Vencl. He has nailed the first two Speed&Style events at Crankworx Rotorua and Les Gets, and is heading to Innsbruck this weekend as a wildcard for the Crankworx Innsbruck Slopestyle. In addition to being in the lead for Speed&Style Champion and a strong competitor in the Pump Track races, Jakub will now send it on the slopestyle course as well, making this his first slopestyle event in the FMB Diamond Series.
What´s your trick for acing Speed&Style, Jakub?
I’m super motivated, trying to do my best but at the same time trying to stay cool and focus on myself and not the others. I think I’ve been very consistent, not doing many mistakes. The race in Rotorua was really close and I had a bit of luck in there as well. Obviously, after the first Speed&Style win at Crankworx I had expectations for myself and Les Gets. My Rose The Bruce carried me well and I surprisingly ended up winning Speed&Style again. I’m looking forward to Innsbruck. I don’t feel too much pressure, I will just go and do my best, but I am highly motivated to compete for the Speed&Style Champion title. I just try to enjoy the ride and do my thing.”
e*thirteen is proud to announce that it has extended and expanded its partnership with Rémy Métailler through 2018. “e*thirteen has long been a fan of Rémy’s mind-blowing Whistler Bike Park edits and his blazing fast Rampage runs, so when the opportunity arose to have him on our wheels and cassettes, it was a clear choice.” says Chris Costello, e*thirteen’s sponsorship coordinator.
“Rémy has a massive following and increasing our collaboration with him nicely complements our partnerships with Whistler Bike Park and Cube Bikes.”
Starting in 2017, in addition to chainguides, Remy will also be riding e*thirteen’s World Cup winning carbon wheels and truly innovative cassettes—LG1 Race Carbon on his DH bikes and TRS Race Carbon on his trail and enduro bikes.
Alongside Aaron Gwin of the YT Mob and Team United Ride’s Mick Hannah, Rémy will be one of e*thirteen’s key wheel ambassadors. This year, he will focus on promoting the wheels and cassettes in video edits, urban DH races, and Red Bull Rampage. Rémy will also be one of just a few select athletes running carbon wheels in Rampage.
Métailler said, “I’m excited to continue and increase my partnership with e*thirteen and to use their new TRS Race and LG1 Race Carbon wheels. I already have spent some serious time on the wheels and the ride characteristics are particularly impressive. Knowing that I have some of the strongest wheels available will be a nice confidence boost.”
Ryan ‘R-Dog’ Howard and Bas Van Steenbergen light up the course where Tom Van Steenbergen executed the first double backflip in Dual Speed history. Photo: Clint Trahan
A new game launches each day with opportunities to win SRAM products, Fox clothing and more after each event. Watch Pinkbike and the Crankworx Instagram Account (@Crankworx) each morning for the prize of the day.
Grease lightening. Jared Graves shows the enduro crowd whose boss after a mechanical dashed his hopes at a top finish. Redemption for 2017? Photo: Clint Trahan
Crankworx Les Gets runs June 14–18 and Crankworx Innsbruck June 21–25.
Want to know what the Top of the World feels like? Win the trip to Crankworx and you could be riding it. Photo: Sean St Denis