Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gettin' Down with Papa Smurf, Al Green, and Double Vision

Gettin back on the bike after a broken shoulder with Adam (Lunchtime) Wadas.  Middle of February.  Super good XC ride at 18 road with the Transition Bandit.  So good we stayed and ran Kessel shuttles and drank PBRs til we couldn't see.  

More shoulder (and mental) rehab at Loma with the Bandit.  Another banger day in FEBRUARY.  Unseasonably warm and sunny.  Yes please.

March trip to Moab with Jed Sims, the TR250 and the Bandit.  3 day weekend with Half Enchilada shuttles, Magnificent 7 cherry poppin', Chili Pepper DH runs, and killer 100 foot straightlines just off the Sand Flats road.  The best big bike jibs in Moab were right in camp!

Pink van, Hot shuttle driver, Jedi, Al Green, Half Enchilada, Bluebird, Boom.

May means time for a PNW road trip and big mexican road sodas.

OREGON.  Holly with a post ride brew in Oakridge.  Lots of shuttles here.  Chose to bring the Transition  Double along this time.  Rode every thing from XC to flowy jump trails to full on techgnar.  The Double went  
into Honey Badger mode, it didn't give a shit.  Chewed up logging road climbs, railed berms, boosted jumps and even knocked off a couple large cliff drops.  Definitely the most versatile bike in the quiver.

More Oregon goodness.  This is Holly at the top of a 15 mile downhill.  OK.

Gettin' back on the big boy horse.  Granny's Kitchen pro line at Blackrock.  Top ten trail in my book.  So fast and smooth.  The double asked for more.

Pit stop in Portland at Voodoo Donuts before heading up to Bellingham and the best trails in the Northwest.
Stay tuned for more Grassroots Cycles and Transition assisted bike riding in 2012.  James would say Boom.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Snowmass Enduro Master of the Mass

This was the first of many enduro races of the season for the Roots.  Sean Shuman, Noah Sears, Kyle Fissel, Jesse Ruland, Eric Landis, and I (Sara Landis) headed up to Snowmass on Friday morning to begin a three day, four stage, enduro race through beautiful single track, creek crossings, tight trees, jumps, rocks and berms.  We had one bike to cover the gamut of racing and could only change tires and pedals for each stage.  It seems as though the 29er is beginning to have an edge as far as the all mountain bike goes as everyone but the Landii had a large wheeled steed.
Top of  Super D Course 3500' above the finish line!

Sara on the Super D course

The first stage was a 8.5 mile 3500 foot descent Super D course that took even the fastest pro’s 23 minutes to ride down.  It began at the very top of the Elk Camp Chair and ended on a service road near the rodeo parking lot and had everything you could ask for.  Although littered with mechanicals and small scale crashes, everyone had a fantastic run down.  A tough climb in the middle seemed to separate out the riders but all and all it was amazing.  We all had some catching up to do for Stage 2 though.

Sean – Pro – 15th Place
Noah – Pro – 28th Place (Flat tire)
Jesse – Pro – 25th Place
Eric – Pro – 21st Place (Mechanical)
Kyle – Am – 10th Place
Sara – Am – 3rd Place

The second stage, on Saturday Morning, was the one I dreaded most, the cross country.  It was a 9 mile loop with about 1200 ft of climbing.  Once again, we had some great single track and of course a trek on the fire roads but ended on Valhalla, the new jump trail in Snowmass.  It turned out not to be too terrible as it only lasted about an hour and it definitely made some changes in the overall standings.  Kyle had “food poisoning” making his trip fairly miserable but he managed to complete the trail in pretty good time, he still beat me!  

Cross Country Results: 
Sean –10th
Noah – 24th 
Jesse – 25th 
Eric – 7th
Kyle –13th
Sara – 3rd 
Noah using his skills to keep his competitors behind him through the creek crossing
Stage 3 was my overall favorite of the weekend.  It was a chainless downhill down Valhalla, a top to bottom trail full of incredible corners, wooden bridges and jumps that kept you using all of your skills to get down in one piece.  I loved this trail because I am not much of a jumper and as the weekend progressed, I was able to get more and more air over each jump. Since I didn’t have to worry about over jumping like all of the rest of the guys, I could just let go of the breaks and fly!

Proof that my tires left the ground (at least a little bit)
 There was definitely some good competition between Eric and Sean and they both planned on taking the win but Steve Wentz inched his way to 1st beating Sean by 1 second and Eric ended up 5th.
Sean keeping it low over a lippy jump.

29" Flow Train from NoahColorado on Vimeo.
Chainless Downhill Results: Sean - 2nd, Noah – 17th , Jesse –16th  , Eric – 5th, Kyle – 7th , Sara – 2nd

The 4th and final stage was run on the Pro Downhill course on Sunday and although everyone was used to running it on their big bikes, it didn’t slow anyone down to use their smaller all-mountain ride.  I was quite impressed with the aggression down the course.  I think the times were similar to those during an actual downhill race!  Our team was definitely in their element and riding fast, trying to show those cross country racers what was up.  Sean had a great run down the mountain and was pinning it when he slid out in a corner near the bottom, still ending up 12th with an overall of 9th

Sean dropping the road drop on the DH course

 Noah and Jesse both had good runs down ending up in 18th and 20th and overall they finished in 26th and 24th.  Eric was determined to win one of the stages and came as close to winning as possible but lost out to Steve Wentz by .01 seconds for a 2nd place finish.  He worked his way up to 10th for the overall on the weekend.
Eric looking through the corner on his super fast run down the DH course

Kyle got a flat tire near the road drop high up on the course and preceded to ride the hell out of the tire until it finally fell off of the wheel and destroyed the wheel as well but still finished 13th and 11th overall.
The result of a long ride on a flat tire. Check out the tire looped through the frame on the right!
The girls were supposed to run the big course but the rider in 1st place was very uncomfortable on our practice run so we raced down Scorch which had not been ridden at all and was not terribly fun or long.  We got 1 practice run on it and raced so it wasn’t super fun but I finished 3rd behind a girl that just joined in for that stage and ended up 2nd overall for the weekend but earned my first paycheck of $100.00!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trestle Gravity Series at Winter Park (DH and Air DH)

Noah and I headed out to Winter Park the weekend before last to race the first two of seven races in the new Trestle Gravity Series. There is something extremely fun about riding at a resort for 3 days straight and throwing in two entirely different, low-key downhill races. How could we pass that up!?

For most of the weekend I was on my brand new Transition TR450 and had only two practice runs before the first race as it started at 10:30am. Coming off a Canfield Jedi, I thought the 450 would feel pretty foreign… boy was I wrong. It was so easy to ride, I was able to hop on and immediately start killing it! For the first time ever, I didn’t touch one knob on the shock out of the box and was amazed at how well it performed. It performed so well that I pulled out the best race result of my life with it!

Saturday was a traditional Downhill race that started on Search and Seizure to Trestle Downhill, and finished on Witness. This course had a great mix of high speed berms and rollers up top with a rougher, high speed downhill throughout the remainder of the track. With only two practice runs in the morning, Noah ended up 11th and I pulled out an amazing 4th place (my best finish ever!) in the Pro class, even with some fast, well known racers competing.

 Sunday’s air downhill race was a completely different animal. I had ever raced something like this, a race on the upper portion of a jump trail called Rainmaker. You could think of it like a long, huge, rough, and gravity fed BMX track. It was about a 50/50 mix of trail bikes and full DH bikes at the start line. I used my Transition Bandit, and Noah pulled out the big guns with his Santa Cruz V-10 Carbon. Being able to scrub speed over jumps was the only way to do well on this track. Because we didn’t have much scrub practice, Noah and I didn’t do quite as well in this race, but it was still awesome none the less. Noah placed 13th and I came in 9th in Pro. The spreads were much tighter in this race.

 If you haven’t made it to Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, CO yet, get there! Noah and I both became significantly better riders after 3 days there. They have more than enough DH/freeride trails to keep any level rider busy for a few days. However, before you go, make sure you stop into Grassroots to get your brakes and suspension tuned up because you and your bike are going to take a beating.

 Peter Knepper (Team Racer/Rider)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Crested Butte Wildflower Rush MSC #3

The Crested Butte trails are definitely a local favorite & Grassroots Cycles has a great relationship with the lift served resort mountain.  When a great event such as the Mountain States Cup “Wildflower Rush” goes down on the same weekend as the Crested Butte Bike week, Chain-less World Championship & Fat Tire 40 people come out of the woodworks & things get crazy!  
Below is a video on Crested Butte's website from the weekend featuring Jesse Ruland (at 14 seconds in) & Eric Landis Jumping the top rock garden  (44 seconds in).

Crested Butte Bike Week from Crested Butte on Vimeo.
Dont forget also about the "Crested Roots" video we shot with the mountain last fall!

Crested Roots on Pinkbike

These are not the 2 Beaver.

For many of us the week started out with sampling some of the classic high alpine trails such as Deadman Gulch or Dr’s Park. These usually consist of beautiful but leg numbing climbs which reward you with some of the best & flowey descents in the world.  Add in multiple creek crossings wildlife sightings, such as 2 Beaver in our case, & the experience is world class.
Eric & Sara heading out for a trail ride.
Navigating one of many refreshing creek crossing.
Sara getting ready to head down.
Racing got under way Saturday afternoon with the first of 2 Super D races.  This Super D is a race that had a mass start with racers sprinting up a wide open hill to be the first one to the single track heading downhill.  Once you get to the single track it is difficult to make passes but not at all impossible.  From there it is a 10-15 minute run which includes several uphill sections testing the riders physical stamina along with their technical downhill bike handling ability.  The first day of SD racing went down a relatively tame trail while Sunday morning brought on the air time as they raced down the Timeline trail which it littered with huge drops & jumps!
Noah laying down power

Jesse riding smooth
Several Grassroots riders rode great in this event including Noah sears & Jesse Ruland.   Noah races in the highly competitive Pro class & Jesse in the Open Men 30+.  This was Jesse’s first time racing Super D & none of us knew what to expect.  He said I am going to out power the competition at the start then out ride them down the trail.  That is exactly what he did earning 2nd the first day & winning the 2nd day!   

Noah has been training hard & although he had a tough first race came back strong in SD2 with a 14th against some of the best in the country.  Good work Boys. 
Jesse on the top of the box. #1!
Sunday brought on the Downhill race.  Crested Butte’s track is a super fun mix of rough rock gardens & wide open fast sections with lots of corners & pedaling opportunity.  Hold speed & ride loose is the name of the game here.  Along with Noah & Jesse racing this event we also had Pro’s; Eric Landis, Craig Carlson, Andrew Templin & Cat 1 Riders Curt Clemetson,  & BMX phenom Derek Johnson.  

This was Derek’s first real DH race riding a borrowed Transition TR250 with single crown fork on it.  He was a little under gunned but rode his best coming down safely in 28th Cat2 19-29.

Derek racing hard.
Curt Clemetson looked great in practice putting down impressive runs & looking dialed.  He thought he was on a winning pace but had a flat in his race run.  Even with that came in 5th in Cat1 40+.

Yea Curt!
Jesse Ruland came out of the gate apparently swinging because he did not make it into the first tree section before going down hard enough for him to forfeit finishing the rest of his run.   I can only hope winning the Super D earlier that day took the sting off. :)
Looks like Jesse's medals are healing.
Noah was also dirty at the bottom of his run indicating he fell down but had a huge smile on his face.  He felt good & was going fast when he went down.  That’s racing he’ll get ‘em next time.  

Noah Goon riding before the race:)
The Pro’s were feeling good & ready to throw down against the formidable riders from all over the country.  Qualifying got underway which is a seeding run to place the riders in order, the fastest going last, for the main run.   In the finals Andrew Templin had a solid run placing 27th leaving Craig Carlson & Eric Landis to battle it out for fastest Grassroots rider of the Day.  Craig beat Eric at the first DH race of the season in Angel Fire & a healthy team rivalry may be in play as they raced hard.  Craig threw down big time with a 3:47:66 coming in 15th place.   

Eric had his sights on a podium run & was feeling great coming into that last run of the day.  He cleared the big rock garden jump in the top section only a few riders were doing but made a mistake & over cooked a corner costing him some time.  Coming across the line at 3:45:70 in 10th place he was stoked with his run & knows he is making progress & has more to work on!  

Big thanks to Grassroots Cycles & check out all the team sponsors at the top right.