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Review: Foundry Broadaxe


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Tools, in the most basic sense, empower you. They’re an investment in the future; they will help you accomplish things. Foundry Cycles, as a brand, has really pursued the marketing their carbon fiber bicycles as tools. In the hands of a skilled user, or rider, the tool will be transformed into a beautiful thing. Dirty, but beautiful. My tool was the carbon fiber Broadaxe B2—a 29er hardtail, sporting the middle of the three SRAM drivetrain packages. The price for the three Broadaxe models ranges from $3,000 for the X7-equipped B1 up to $5,600 for the XX-equipped model.

“Stealthy” is how I would describe this bike. Its lines are symmetrical and clean and seem to flow uninterrupted, fore and aft. If you appreciate a matte, primer gray paint job on a classic muscle car, you will like the looks of the Broadaxe. Internal cable routing, tapered head tube, the new SRAM X0 Type 2 rear derailleur, Press-Fit 30 bottom bracket, 15mm thru-axle in the front, and a 12x142mm thru-axle in the rear make this bike a caucus of the latest standards and tech—the Broadaxe is kryptonite to retro-grouches.

Read more in our long-term review.

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Jay Petervary wins Arrowhead 135


Photos by David Gabrys/45NRTH

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The frozen feats of strength known as the Arrowhead 135 started Monday morning and 45NRTH sponsored rider Jay Petervary took the win in his first attempt, finishing the 135 miles in 20 hours and 11 minutes.

Though it was his first crack at the race, Petervary is no stranger to these types of races. He has won the Iditarod Trail Invitational (350 AND 1,100-mile versions), the Tour Divide and now the Arrowhead.

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Armed with nearly a full fleet of 45NRTH gear, he likely stayed pretty toasty warm, even as temperatures hit -30 degrees overnight.

Check out the amazing photo gallery from David Gabrys of 45NRTH of the action here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Petervary set a record in the Arrowhead. The record is actually held by Todd McFadden at 14 hours 20 minutes.

 

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Video: The making of ‘Get High’ in Slovakia


Think those videos you see of amazing mountain adventures just come easy? Think again. Some aspiring filmmakers from Slovakia got in touch with their story of their adventure in the West Tatras mountains and how their new film “Get High” came to be.

By Zuzana Triebusnikova

One and a half year ago I did not know almost anything about mountain biking. Now I can say that I know more about it and have seen more videos than a regular rider. Peter Lengyel has infected me with his passion and showed me that it is possible to do what you like.

He had this video in mind for a long time. Thus, when he was ready to make it I wanted to take part. Even though it is a short movie, it took a lot of work, effort and planning. It is almost no budget movie. No budget, because we had only family support (borrowed cars and some equipment) and a borrowed bike for 2 weeks which Peter have not ridden before. However, without the priceless help of our friends, the video would be impossible. The biggest thanks goes to Juraj Lovás and Michal (Sakso) Stiksa who filmed the entire video.

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So we had two weeks to film it. As you will see from the pictures, the weather was not always pleasing us. Rain, snow, fog, drizzle, wind, sun, we had all kinds of weather…

Keep reading…

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Fat Bike Summit brings trail users together


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Photos by Griff Wigley

The Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop was held on January 9 and 10 in Cable, Wisconsin. This gathering brought together over 70 advocates from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin devoted to improving off-road cycling and fat biking in winter. The event was sponsored by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) and hosted by Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA).

Read more about the event here.

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Trailer: From Where We Stand


There’s little doubt the mountain bike industry is heavily focused on the West Coast, but what about the rest of us back east? There is no shortage of amazing trails and beautiful scenery, so why don’t we see it represented in elite-level mountain bike filmmaking? FatTireFests is here with a response: a new series highlighting the best of the “other” coast.

Read more about From Where We Stand here.

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Breck Epic – Checking into the Single Speed Frat House


By Montana Miller,

On the last day of Breck Epic, the fastest single speeder gets to shave his pubes. The slowest single speeder gets glue those pubes to his face.

I’ll be racing all week, and posting updates and results here. I really hope I don’t lose. I already have a beard.

A couple weeks ago, I headed out of Pennsylvania. I’ve been on the road traveling around Colorado, riding everyday and trying to adjust to the altitude.

The Monarch Crest in Pocha Springs, Colo.

Breckenridge, where each of the Epic’s six stages start and end, is at 9,500 feet. Coming from sea level, a hard game of checkers is enough to make most people see stars. And the stages head up from town, topping out at over 12,000 feet.

At this point I feel pretty well adjusted to the altitude. Instead of making me dizzy, the thin air just burns my throat when I breathe.

Half of the single speed field is staying in the same house. We got into town on Wednesday night.
Since everybody else just got to altitude, my friend Gnarmire decided we needed to hike a 14er to get acclimated. After repeatedly saying that I didn’t want to go, I was peer-pressured into going.

We walked up a mountain for three hours. It sucked. Over 13,000 feet, every step felt like a huge effort. I wanted to be on my bike so badly. At least the view from the top was neat.

Quandary Peak in Breckenridge, Colo.

Walking downhill for an hour was worse than going up, but we did run into some goats. I’ve seen internet videos of mountain goats lapping up pee for its salt content, so I decided to see if they would be attracted to my urine.

When I unzipped my pants, the goat family looked offended. One dropped his horns and got ready to charge. So I scampered away without peeing in one of their mouths. Maybe someday.

After the hike, we got back to the house where 14 of us will be spending the week and did some furniture rearranging. The guy who paid the security deposit has a steady job, so we’re not afraid to break things.

Then there was some cowboy hat hot-tubbing, chicken grilling in the rain, and writing code.

 

Not a very wild first evening, but at least there’s some booze in the lettuce crisper.

Packet pick-up is today, then the race starts on Sunday morning. There’s 240 miles of racing ahead of us. The house will be weird, and the race will be epic. I can’t wait. Check back every afternoon for updates.

The race is the self-designated Single Speed Stage Race World Championships. It’s a legitimate world championship because there’s one Canadian registered.

For pictures of the trails we’ll be riding all week, head to the Breck Epic Facebook page: facebook.com/breckepic.

 

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First ride with a new trail buddy


By Matt Kasprzyk

I have a new riding buddy.

Royal Zero the Zombie Killer has been a part of my pack for about 17 months now. He’s not a fox. He’s about a year and a half old Shiba Inu, one of the oldest breeds in the world, despite almost going extinct after WWII. My goal has always been to develop him into a great trail dog.

I’ve been nervous about the task for a couple reasons. Shiba Inus are notoriously independent dogs and can be a challenge during obedience training. Because of this it’s suggested that they always be on a leash. Obviously not a good thing if I have aspirations of training him as a trail dog.

On top of that, Shiba Inus were originally breed for hunting. Not only is there a temperament barrier to overcome, I have to also train him to suppress thousands of years of instinct when out on the trial. This wasn’t the best choice of dog if all I was after was a good riding buddy.

So from early on we kept him well-socialized and active with lots of exposure to people and other dogs. This seemed to have a great affect on his personality, as any trainer would predict. And although he’s just recently started coming on rides, Zero has spent a lot of time outside playing and hiking.

One of the techniques we’ve learned through obedience classes is that in high stimulus settings you need to have an “uber” treat as a reward. Something your dog wants above anything else. For Zero, it’s a ball. Not food, but rather just a ball to chase. Sticks work almost as well. So when hiking I’ve always tried to keep him engaged on what I’m doing, whether it was kicking leaves for him to bite or finding sticks and throwing balls to play fetch with. Also make sure your dog is the right age for prolonged exercise.

Zero has also learned a lot from another Dirt Rag office trail dog. Josh’s riding buddy Toby has been a great influence on Zero when off the leash. Once you’re accepted as pack leader I think it gets much easier. Keep him focused on you, keep him safe, and have fun. There’s a strange primal enjoyment to riding with your pack.

 

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Ticks suck!


If you mountain bike, you will interact with ticks, and tick-borne illnesses can be deadly. Here’s what you need to know.

 

By Gregory A. Cummins, D.O., M.S. American Board Internal Medicine Fellow Candidate, American Academy of Wilderness Medicine

Illustrations by Andy Jones

Ever notice that your biking game just isn’t up to your usual pub crawl bar-to-bar speed? Been achy, run down, sick? And you only had four microbrews for breakfast? It could be that you’re more of a lightweight than in your younger days. Or, it could be that you picked up a little friend while biking.

Ticks cause more disease in the U.S. than mosquitoes or any other critter you can see with the naked eye. If you mountain bike, you will interact with ticks. Just because you’re bigger, and hopefully smarter, does not mean you will win. Ticks transmit diseases that can kill you. More often, they simply maim and drag you down for a bit. Several friends and fellow mountain bikers I know have been sick from tickborne diseases, including a recent master’s MTB Champion. In fact, I picked up a case of Lyme disease at a family reunion four years ago.

Anyone who spends any amount of time in the outdoors is subject to tickborne diseases. Others in your house, non-bikers (spouse, kids, friends), are also subjected to your wild ventures. Pet owners in particular are exposed—so if you take your dog (or cat) biking, listen up. Ticks often come home on your clothing, or your favorite riding friend’s fur—thus subjecting the innocent and unsuspecting to your wanderings.

Most tickborne diseases occur in the warmer months, April through October or so. However, ticks can be found year-round, even in the middle of winter on warmer days. Some ticks have been documented to go for more than 13 years without a blood meal. To oversimplify, ticks reproduce by oral sex (the male inserts his sperm into the female’s reproductive organ via his mouthparts—the same ones he uses to suck your blood.

Ticks can mate and lay eggs even after their brain equivalent has been surgically removed from their body (kind of like the average college student). Each female tick lays 2,500 to 5,000 eggs. Larval ticks, which can transmit disease, are often less than one millimeter in diameter. Hundreds to thousands of them can get on you from one egg batch, if you stop or sit in the wrong spot. Nymphs are about 2-3 millimeters, making finding them on you quite challenging. Adults also transmit disease, but because of their size, are often easier to find before transmission of disease occurs.

Ticks feed slowly. Most ticks are on you for about 24 hours before they begin to really feed—it takes time to get the juices flowing— juices that thin your blood so the tick can feed, and help to cement it into your skin. Oh, and those juices from the tick gut are infested with disease-causing bacteria. If you are astute and check yourself very carefully (more on this and other removal tips later), you can prevent most disease transmission. Many diseases require the ticks to be on for 24-48 hours before disease transmission occurs. Others however, transmit disease in six hours, some in minutes.

The top three tickborne diseases you will encounter in the U.S., in order of prevalence.

Lyme Disease

Lyme is most common in the northeastern states (roughly Pennsylvania/Maryland, east to the coast and north into Canada), and the upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan peninsula. Ticks that transmit Lyme disease (LD) are the deer ticks, or Ixodes ticks, most often the nymphs, which are only a few millimeters in size.

A few days to a few weeks after a tick bite, a rash may occur in about 75-80 percent of patients. The rash is often concentric reddish rings alternating with whitish rings, with a pale center, the infamous bulls-eye rash. About half of the cases may also have low-grade fevers (less than100 degrees Fahrenheit), body aches, etc. If untreated, there may be myriad arthritic, neurologic and other systemic complaints.

The key is to diagnose and treat them properly and early. Antibiotics in pill form treat early disease, are well tolerated, inexpensive, and prevent the more severe chronic problems. More advanced disease can be very debilitating, usually requires intravenous antibiotics (read as NO RIDING) for 6-12 weeks, and are very expensive, so get treated early. There is a close cousin to Lyme disease, in the southeastern third of the U.S., called Southeastern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI). It is very similar to Lyme, but with less severe consequences, and is transmitted by the Lone Star tick. Treatment is the same.

Ehrlichiosis

Say what? This disease just became recognized as a human disease in 1990, though it has been around much longer. First diagnosed and recognized in Arkansas, it is now present and known throughout the world, and in nearly all states. Many different species and all stages, except the larvae ticks, transmit Ehrlichia.

Symptoms occur within three days to two weeks of a tick bite; symptoms include body aches/sore muscles, back pain, headache (sounds like the after-effects of any great ride), high grade fevers, (usually more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit), and sometimes other symptoms such as abdominal issues.

This disease can get you real sick, real fast. Often, hospital stays are required, sometimes in intensive care. It carries a 3 percent fatality rate, despite proper antibiotics. Do not miss this one. It is also called the “spotless spotted fever”, as in Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as only about 20 percent of people have a rash with Ehrlichiosis. To diagnose this disease, a good history and examination is all that is needed, though labs confirm it. Again, a simple antibiotic pill (the right one only), will treat it, and prevent any further complications.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Nearly 97 percent of the cases come from east of the Rocky Mountains. The Appalachians account for most of the cases, though there have even been isolated cases in the South Bronx. The wood ticks or dog ticks primarily transmit RMSF. The disease is transmitted in only six hours, so check frequently in areas where this disease is found. Symptoms are present within two days to two weeks of a tick bite, and can get bad very fast. This disease can become fatal in days in some cases, and carries a 3-5 percent fatality rate treated, over 30 percent if untreated.

Symptoms include headache, body aches, and fever, present in 70-90 percent of patients. The rash is a fine, red, sometimes blackened rash, and present in 85-90 percent of people. Many people have severe headaches due to bleeding issues within the brain, cough due to severe lung involvement, and other serious symptoms.

Again, with early diagnosis and treatment, antibiotic pills work just fine. There are a plethora of other tick diseases that you can encounter biking in the U.S., not to mention worldwide. Babesiosis is a malaria-like infection, with cyclical high fevers. Many diseases may be transmitted by the same tick bite.

A viral infection called Colorado Tick Fever, and a bacterial infection called Tick Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF), can both be easily encountered on a ride in the Rocky Mountains, especially if doing a hut-to-hut type of trip. There are many other spotted fever illnesses found worldwide, often similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There is a virus in Russia, called Russian Spring-Summer Encephalitis, which carries a 50% fatality rate. Luckily, there is a vaccine—if you plan to ride in eastern Europe/Russia, get the vaccine.

Tickborne Disease Prevention

If you don’t mind the use of chemicals, use a permethrin containing product on your clothing/ gear, but don’t get this on your skin. Permethrin kills ticks on contact, and lasts through many washings. Higher containing DEET products can be used on skin, and deter or kill ticks. Shaving your legs like any good roadie will help your tactile response to feel ticks on your minimally stubby/hairy legs, and you can get them off before they attach.

I personally just check myself real well for ticks while stopping to fix a flat, look at a map, or immediately when done with the ride. Change your clothes BEFORE getting into your car for the ride home. Bag your clothes to isolate them. Ticks will live for weeks in a car or house, without a blood meal.

You will wind up with ticks on you at work if you drive to/from the trailhead, then to work on Monday. I destroyed some ticks from my research that had been unfed for more than two years, and were very vigorous and hungry. Look carefully for ticks, and use a mirror, or a good friend/spouse/significant other/riding buddy, whomever, to check the nooks and crannies you can’t quite see or reach. Ticks like highly vascular areas, like your grundle, armpits, scalp, etc., so look really well there. Launder your clothes when you get home.

Dry what you can—a hot clothes dryer kills most (not all) ticks. Another trick is to fumigate the clothes in a bag with a rag soaked in permethrin, before laundering. Check your trail dog (or trail cat) upon returning home. Use Frontline/Advantage/Advantrix or equivalent on your dog if he rides a lot with you. Doing so prevents the female ticks from feeding and dropping off in your yard, leaving thousands of larval ticks behind.

What to do it you have a tick on you

Keep some fine-tipped tweezers in your bike bag. Firmly, though gently, grasp the tick as close as you can to the skin. GENTLY and steadily, retract the tick straight out, in the direction it is attached. It will almost always withdraw, making a clean exit. Clean the area with an alcohol wipe, and place antibiotic ointment on it. Watch for local infection, or a rash or other signs and symptoms at a later date.

Tick bites can get infected, as they don’t clean your skin before they violate your space, so watch for that also. Save the tick in a jar of alcohol for a while in case testing or identification is needed. I slap them in between pieces of clear tape if nothing else. Larvae, or “seed ticks” can be removed with duct tape, or scraping along the skin with a credit card or driver’s license. In most situations, no need to seek medical care unless any signs/symptoms.

What not to do

Whatever you do, skip the old remedies. DO NOT: light a match and touch the tick; use your bare fingers (always use tweezers); cover the tick with fingernail polish, petroleum jelly or any other lube, etc. Doing any of these will highly increase the chance of disease transmission (you will cause the tick to puke into your body—and remember the secretions part above, thus injecting a lot of bacteria into your bloodstream).

If you don’t feel well, and are reading this, you very well may have a tickborne illness. These very often mimic a typical summer cold. Explain to your doctor that you are a mountain biker, and spend a lot of time in the woods riding and building trails. If your doctor doesn’t listen, well, find a new one who does. History is key in making a diagnosis, especially with tickborne diseases.

Find a good general internist, family practice doctor or infectious disease specialist, but don’t seek out a “Lyme disease specialist.”

Disclaimer: Any concerns, see your doctor. I am a doctor and avid biker. Please don’t sue me for disagreeing with me or if you get ticks. I have no control over them, and they are responsible for their own actions, as are you and I. Just remember, TICKS SUCK!

More in the Mag

This article originally appeared in Issue #155, along with detailed maps of tick species’ ranges and additional information about how to spot them. You can order a copy in our online store, or order a subscription to see all our features as soon as they’re published.

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UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals, USA Takes On The World (Party)


This coming weekend the best riders and biggest international trade teams in the world are coming to Windham, NY to compete in the UCI World Cup Finals! This is a landmark event, as the Mountain Bike World Cup makes its return the US for the first time in five years. The fanfare, competition level and energy will be at an all time high, as the pageantry and global importance of this event combined with the historical significance of this season’s epic series culminates at Windham. All season the world’s best racers and teams have traversed the globe racing towards the glory of becoming UCI World Cup Champions. The making and breaking of people’s dreams are all on the line as the World Cup Champions will be crowned in Men’s and Women’s Downhill, 4-Cross and Cross Country racing. More than just a bicycle race, the World Cup is a celebration in the spirit of competition and global unity.

This is an event of major significance for the future of American mountain bike racing. For the first time in years, there are US riders in the top 5 overall in the World Cup points standings: Cross Country racer Willow Koerber (Subaru/Gary Fisher) is currently ranked 3rd in Elite Women, while Aaron Gwin (Yeti Cycles) sits 4th place in Elite Men Downhill. Additionally, Windham area native and US. Olympian Todd Wells also sits in 13th in Elite Men’s Cross Country, while, Mary McConneloug and Georgia Gould sit 9th and 11th respectively in Elite Women Cross Country. All have legitimate shots at improving their overall ranking on home soil. Elite Cyclocross racing phenom Katherine Compton leads the charge of many more American riders looking for glory this weekend. Our riders’ home turf will definitely be a field-leveling advantage, as nearly all on the World Cup Tour have never competed at this first-time venue.

Official on-course inspection and training begin on Thursday, then racing kicks Friday with DH and 4X qualifying. PRO XC and 4X finals Saturday, then the DH Finals on Sunday. YOU can race the Worlds, too! There are full classes for non-UCI downhill and cross country citizen racing that anyone can enter, on Sunday. There is also a full compliment of other activities and entertainment both on site and in town, including free concerts, big-wheel racing, and a huge block party to celebrate the world coming to town.
Truly, there has been nothing like this on US soil for many years, and history will be made this coming weekend. If you are not already committed this coming weekend, this will be a phenomenal experience to take in.

More info can be found here: www.racewindham.com

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Come and Gone Review


In 1986, Joe Parkin was a fresh-faced American teenager with a bike, a spare set of wheels, and a dream of becoming a pro cyclist. While his peers were cutting their teeth on the US circuit, he flew to Belgium and embarked on a hard-fought European cycling career built on blood, sweat, and countless Kermis races. Parkin’s 2008 memoir A Dog in a Hat details his whirlwind journey through the European professional cycling ranks at a time when Americans in the sport were quite rare.

Professional cycling is a fickle sport and in late 1991, Parkin finds himself unsigned for the upcoming season. He returns to the United States without a team, a career, or a country that felt like home.

Parkin’s recently released second memoir Come & Gone: A True Story of Blue-Collar Bike Racing in America, picks up the story as he chases a professional cycling career in the United States. Despite landing a coveted spot on the Coors Light team, Parkin has difficulty relating to American road cycling culture and his motivation begins to wane. After three grueling seasons, he finds himself in the familiar position of being without a contract as the Coors Light sponsorship falls through.

A twist of fate leads to Parkin to contact the Diamondback team, where he quickly trades asphalt for mud and signs a pro-racing mountain bike contract. Parkin feels a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the sport he once loved. Dirt riding is just plain fun and Parkin is hooked.

Far from being a fairy tale, Parkin’s professional mountain bike career threatens to become a string of underwhelming performances peppered with a few brilliant races. Spectacular crashes, mechanicals, and tactical mistakes consistently derail his chances to shine on the national and international stage.  Yet, he steadfastly chases the dream of nailing that perfect race and hammering home the big win.

Come & Gone
is an unflinching look at the grueling and often mundane world of professional cycling. Dirt geeks will appreciate the historical context as Parkin races in the blossoming mountain bike scene of the 90′s, and competes against legends such as Ned Overend and Tinker Juarez. Parkin’s humility, humor, and at times, indignation combine into an engaging coming of age story on the bike.

Ronit Bezalel is an award-winning filmmaker and sports journalist based in Chicago.  Her work can be found at ronitfilms.com.

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