Dirt Rag Magazine

Rebecca Rusch versus Jay Petervary’s Backyard Fat Pursuit


By Rebecca Rusch

Photos courtesy of Salsa Cycles

Why does riding and pushing a heavily laden fat bike up and over the Continental Divide in February through the dead of night appeal to anyone at all? I’m not sure I have the answer, but I went searching for it when I lined up for Jay Petervary’s inaugural Backyard Fat Pursuit in Island Park, Idaho.

I got more than I bargained for. I went all in and came away with a pulmonary edema and a DNF.

Read the full story


25th Anniversary: 25 years of dirt to dish


dr-anniversary-logo copyThis year is a major milestone for Dirt Rag. We’re celebrating 25 years of printing the magazine. The ‘Rag has gone from being hand-stapled in Maurice and Elaine Tierney’s basement for East Coast consumption in 1989 to where we are today in 2014: enjoying rapid circulation growth and distribution across the globe.

As part of the celebration our next issue will feature special content that’s sure to become a collector’s item. One feature story, written by Gary Boulanger, is an inside look at the history of Dirt Rag with an inside view of how it all began and how we got to where we are. As part of that, I’d like to share a few extra stories over the next few weeks that came out of Gary’s research. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do and will look forward to reading this special feature when it arrives on newsstands April 1 or in your mailbox even sooner if you’re a subscriber (hint, hint).

Read about some of Dirt Rag’s not-so-illustrious moments here.


First Look: Six $2,500 trail bikes spend a week in the Shenandoah Valley


Jeremiah Bishop showing us the locals know how to have fun.

The leaves have changed and are falling fast, the mornings are met with frost, and the sunscreen is packed away. The days are growing shorter and the riding season is becoming shorter still. But before winter begins to blow its icy breath upon the landscape, we have a lot more riding to do.


Chris Scott is the driving force behind Shenandoah Mountain Touring and the Stokesville Lodge.

With a lot of product testing still to be done, we packed up the ol’ Dirt Rag van and headed south to Stokesville, Va., to meet up with Chris Scott and the gang from Shenandoah Mountain Touring. Bunked up at the Stokesville Lodge, we brought a gaggle of trail bikes to ride this week that will likely be bike shops’ bread and butter come spring, all ringing up the register at about $2,500.

See the bikes and more after the jump. Read the full story


Mountain Bike Oregon – A 3-day dream vacation

By Stephen Haynes

Twice a year, in the tiny town of Oakridge, Oregon, Randy Dreiling and Oregon Adventures host Mountain Bike Oregon with the help of trail maintenance and advocacy groups the Disciples of Dirt and Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, as well as many local businesses and volunteers.

Now in its ninth year, Mountain Bike Oregon is a well-oiled, all-inclusive festival that brings together hundreds of riders from nearly two dozen states (and beyond) to sample what many consider Oregon’s premiere mountain bike trails, with shuttle service and guides included in the price of admission.

For $430, you get a spot to pitch your tent, breakfast, pack-your-own style lunch, dinner (with vegetarian options), free beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards, nightly spectacles such as bike toss and mini bike races, an expo area with bike demos, yoga classes, ladies-only rides and clinics, and enough stunning scenery to keep your mouth agape when it’s not smiling from the onslaught of awesome singletrack.

I rolled into Greenwaters Park on the shores of the Willamette River just before noon on Friday, quickly established camp and headed straight for the guide tent to suss out something to ride on.

Helpfully assisted towards a departing shuttle, I found myself in a van, in a strange town, with nine people I’d never met before, driving to a trail I’d never heard of. I was becoming slightly nervous at the prospect of potentially being in over my head. It bears mentioning that this was the first time I’d ever been shuttled anywhere before. All of my experiences in the short time I’ve been mountain biking have included riding uphill before I get to ride down. In this case, my fears were unfounded as the smooth singletrack and stunning scenery were all that awaited me. My biggest problem was cramping up from having not warmed up at all…

The other component I wasn’t wholly prepared for was camaraderie. Turns out, sitting on a school bus for 45 minutes and then enjoying hours of amazing singletrack with 20 other folks is a great way to get to know people. Who’da guessed?

The guides do an amazing job as well, both as guides and ambassadors for the area. Their knowledge of the trails and friendly demeanor makes it feel less like being “guided” and more like a buddy showing you around. The guides’ system of client control allows faster riders to move ahead and lets slower riders not feel like they’re getting dropped.

Of the trails I rode, ATC (Alpine, Tire Mountain, Clover Patch) stands out as the highlight of the trip. The scenic terrain includes stunning vistas of the Cascades, open glens with fantastic wildflowers and stands of old growth forest that had me pretending I was on a speeder flying through Endor (one insanely fun section of Alpine Trail is even called “Jedi”). It’s not all downhill on this one though—you’ll have to work for some of the fun. With 2,300 feet of climbing, your legs will know you’ve been riding all day. The plus side to that number is that there is 5,500 feet of descending… Keep smiling.

In addition to the standard list of guided trails, there are several additional “add-on” rides and activities available. For $30 you can do the Moon Point ride, a 16-mile screamer with more than 4,000 feet of elevation loss, proceeds from which benefits Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards. For $50 you can do the Entire Middle Fork, a 32-mile technical challenge. Or for $25 you can do a rafting trip down the Willamette River. Sign up for these when you register to make sure you get a spot.

While the atmosphere is friendly, the beer pours freely and the trails are seemingly without limit, MBO is not for beginners. A certain level of skill and confidence is definitely required for the trails that the festival promotes. They do offer a lower rate for non-riders to come and enjoy the event as well as reduced rates for children. There is enough riverfront and hiking trails to keep most kids happy, should you be turning it over in your head.

For what was once a logging industry hub and now turned outdoor enthusiast Mecca, I’d say the town of Oakridge and the folks at Outdoor Adventures have the right ingredients to make Mountain Bike Oregon a long-lasting and unforgettable event. MBO is offered twice a year with sessions in July and August. They cap attendance and space fills quickly, so book early.


Dirt Rag #172 is here

Get your copy here.



On the Cover

Our own Adam Newman was at the Fort William World Cup downhill in Scotland where he caught GT Bicycles’ Gee Atherton with deadly focus in his eyes as he rode to victory.


Catching Up With Juli Furtado

After her legendary race career ended Furtado became somewhat of a recluse. Now, with a new bike brand in her name she’s ready to be back in the spotlight.



Remember Spooky Bikes? We do and they’re back in business. Also, an inside look at the Dirty Kanza 200. 


Longer Than Life: Team Seifert’s Ultimate Mission 

By Karen Brooks

Two Iraq war veterans embark on a special mission at the Trans-Sylvania Epic stage race to honor a fallen comrade and friend.


Haste Ye Back!

By Adam Newman

Get a first hand look at the chaos of a world cup downhill from a first time attendee. Adam not only sets the scene but also provides travel information should you want to attend next year (and yes, you should.)


Welcome To The VooDoo Lounge: The Joe Murray Interview

By Gary J. Boulanger

Joe Murray probably isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to mountain bike pioneers but his design legacy has affected nearly every aspect of off-road riding today.


Access: The End Of The Road

By Frank Maguire

Copper Harbor, Michigan is an unlikely place that has become a must-ride destination in the U.S. Here is why you need to go.



Women’s Bikes:

  • Trek Lush 29SL
  • Raleigh EVA 29 Comp


  • Cannondale Trigger 29er 1 long term test
  • Kona Raijin Ti hardtail
  • Specialized Enduro Comp 29 SE


  • American Classic’s affordable wheelset
  • Helmets from Bell and Uvex
  • Magura’s new TS6 fork
  • Riding kits from Gore and The North Face
  • And a lot more…

Get your copy here.


Movie marathon: New vids from MacAskill, Peaty, Garcia and more

Imaginate, Episode 5

After the release of Danny MacAskill’s most anticipated film to date, the final episode of MacAskill’s Imaginate looks at some of the challenges around the project and finally lifts the lid on aspects that up until now, have been a guarded secret!


Trailer – Anthill Films’ ‘Not Bad’

This is a tale of epic adventure. A tale of seven brave riders who set out from the four corners of the globe to gather together under one roof in a town located at the ends of the earth. A tale with no beginning and no end but where a few things happen in between. Things like eel fights. Yeah that’s right… f’n eel fights. So watch this movie. Why? Because it’s ‘Not Bad… 30 days of bicycle tomfoolery in New Zealand’.

A new short film from the crew who brought you The Collective, Roam, Seasons, Follow Me and Strength in Numbers. Starring: Brandon Semenuk, Brook MacDonald, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul, Andrew Shandro, René Wildhaber and Ryan Howard.


This Is Peaty – Andorra WC Preview

Let Peaty take you down the 2013 Andorra World Cup course…


Cedric Gracia – Through My Eyes #1 – Punta Ala

The Brigade, with Cedric Gracia and Bryan Regnier, was at Punta Ala this week-end for the first Enduro World Series, in Italy.


Crankworx Les Deux Alpes


Whip Off

Air DH


Amazing stop-motion film by Binary

Check out this amazing stop-motion video by Binary

"Take three parts equal love for shooting photos, editing video, and riding bikes. Next toss in that nagging impulse to do something different, even if it requires hours of torturous work, and this video is what you get.

In case your eyes deceive you, this is a stop-motion video. Every frame of the video is a photograph, the rider and the bike laying posed on a concrete floor. The ground and trees were later drawn on each photo with a digital pen.

Weeks of planning, thirty-five hours of photography totaling 1,000 pictures, followed by 50 long hours at the computer editing photos, audio, and video. 10,000 minutes of combined work for a two minute video? All worth it if it puts a smile on your face and sparks some creativity in your mind. Thanks for watching."

Check out the behind-the-scenes feature on their blog, where you can see how each shot was painstakingly set up frame by frame. Talk about a passion for your work! 


Down and dirty with local framebuilders in Napa

By Gary J Boulanger. Photos by Maurice Tierney.

Yes, there were winners and prizes in multiple categories at the 19th annual Skyline Park Mountain Bike Race June 23 in Napa, Calif. Yes, there was awesome wood-fired pizza served under the big oak tree afterward. And yes, local rider Levi Leipheimer won the Pro/Expert category at the site of the 2008 Singlespeed World Championships and the 1999 Grundig UCI World Cup cross country race.

The highlight, though, was the Race Your Maker component, organized by Soulcraft Cycle’s Sean Walling and race co-organizer Curtis Inglis of Retrotec/Inglis Cycles. Custom framebuilders from the greater Bay Area camped and raced together, much to each other’s delight. Theirs is a tight-knit fraternity, reliant on camaraderie and friendship, not bitter competition. It’s doubtful the owners of Trek, Specialized and Giant would camp, eat, drink beer and race against one another in a similar environment.

With 8.5-mile loops of mostly narrow singletrack and gobs of technical climbing and descending, it was a memorable day in the saddle, with the proceeds supporting the Eagle Cycling Club and local trail maintenance.


Chris Schierhotz, Curtis Inglis and Sean Walling.


Mark Norstad, Jeremy Sycip and Jeff Hantman.

In addition to Walling, Ingles, Steve Rex, Rick Hunter, and Jeremy Sycip, other Race Your Maker builders Cameron Falconer and Todd Ingermanson (Black Cat) joined the party but didn’t race. Ingermanson is still recovering from a bicycle-car accident on Tunitas Creek Road this past April, but it didn’t keep him from enjoying the company of friends (or slicing a gazillion strawberries for Sunday morning pancakes). Jocularity and entertainment was infused consistently by Napa’s graphics guru Ken Prosser, and was fully supported by Oakland artist and Clif Bar curator Jeffrey Hantman. All this tomfoolery was fathered by Paragon Machine Works owner Mark Norstad, who always enjoys a party with friends.

Rolling thunder

As the 90-degree heat was dropping in the late afternoon on Saturday, the Race Your Maker clan gathered at Skyline Park to pitch their tents and saddle up for a group ride. This was my first time riding what my friend Anthony Mangieri has called a ‘brutally intense’ course, and he was right on the mark. As a roadie who dabbles on the trails, like my buddy Steve Rex, the highly technical trails were a tad eye opening, but not overwhelming.

The shake-down ride was a holy terror of intense climbing right away, which is something I can handle. I’ve ridden with this crew on the road and dirt during last year’s King Ridge Gran Fondo, and they’re fit and fast when they need to be. Afterwards, Race Director Dave Pruett and Prosser made fajitas for the crew, as we traded stories of eclectic artists and funky childhood experiences around the picnic tables into the night.

Weaving a thread

Another highlight of the weekend began a few days before, when a simple email thread among the builders about logistics and food evolved into a light-hearted dig on Asian-made bikes, with Falconer feeling the brunt of it based on a carbon Santa Cruz frame he received in a trade. The friendly banter continued over the weekend, reinforcing the Makers’ focus on American-made bikes, and the importance of resource sharing to support each other.

Roadies unite!

Rex and I finished the first lap of the race together, and I asked him when he last raced a mountain bike. “Twenty four years ago,” he said with dirt and chocolate energy gel splattered all over the back right side of his jersey, evidence of a crash. “It was right before I got married, then life kind of got in the way.” My last race was the 2005 Chequamegon 40 in Hayward, Wisconsin, which I enjoyed on a fully rigid steel 29er singlespeed with drop bars, in homage to the early pioneers of mountain biking, mixed in with a little dose of youthful over exuberance.


Anthony Mangieri posing with his Steve Potts.

Mangieri, who owns Una Pizza and raced the 2008 Singlespeed World’s on the same course, finished fifth in Sunday’s singlespeed category, earning a belt buckle for riding fully rigid. His custom titanium Steve Potts disappeared under his skinny body, clad in a retro La Vie Claire racing kit, with tattoos covering most of his exposed skin. He relocated his pizzeria from the East Village of New York City to San Francisco in 2010 to be closer to the trails and his custom builder friends, from whom he owns several bikes.

Alive and well

According to Dirt Rag publisher Maurice Tierney, the good old local mountain bike cross-country race is still alive.

“Skyline Wilderness Park is the antidote for all the less-than-technical riding in the Bay Area,” he said. “A great mix of fire roads, death marches, and technical downhills. Proudly, I was the last finisher in the 40-plus Sport category, thank you very much,” Tierney said with his trademark Cheshire cat grin.

“I had a blast.”


Surviving Trans-Sylvania, one pedal stroke at a time

By Vicki Barclay

Ah, the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic. For being a local race, you challenge me in so many ways! I laugh out loud when I read about all the signs of “overtraining” and think about how they relate to one’s general well-being during stage racing: Lack of appetite, yep; low heart rate when racing, uh huh; difficulty sleeping, you betcha; emotionally unstable, oh boy!!

By Stage 7, I could not believe how much I had come apart at the seams. I was sick with a chest infection, had road rash on my knees and elbows (my one wish not to happen during TSE before our wedding!), and had to gain back the remaining 41 seconds from Andrea Wilson that were lost during our 30 minute detour at the R.B Winter stage. Truthfully, I just didn’t know whether I had one last race effort in me. In previous years, the final stage had been party pace, with the GC positions firmly decided. This year, Andrea asked if I wanted to ride party pace. I said, sure, if you give me my 41 seconds. She said no. The duel was on.

I knew Amanda, bless her sports psychology brain, would have something motivational to say the morning of Stage 7. Like previous days, I thought to myself, ok, today Amanda is going to give you some motivational advice and it’s totally not going to work. But each day thus far she had proved me wrong. Take Friday for instance, the start of the “Queen” stage, when the temperatures were set to climb into the 90’s and I had to gain back 17 minutes and 41 seconds from Andrea. I had been looking particularly glum at the start. How was I going to pull this off when I was feeling sick? “If you don’t have the power, just ride smooth” Amanda said. And you know what? I cleared the entire ridge that day, and brought back the 17 minutes.

So there we were at the start of Stage 7, with those 41 dang seconds hanging in front of me. After searching un-intentionally for some sort of solace from various people (who mostly looked like deer in headlights at my uncharacteristically lack of composure), Amanda looked me straight in the eyes, and simply, but rightfully said “just pedal Vicki”, and with that we took off. Amanda set me up to be first into the single track (where she was unfortunately then knocked off her bike), Sarah soon caught up with me, and we pushed the pace until we knew we had a comfortable lead. Riding behind Sarah, I could have wept for the support shown for pink that day.

Richie O’Neil was at the aid station, as he had been religiously every single day with our bottles to hand. Sue and Amanda caught up and we almost relaxed to party pace. Sarah was on for the win, and she deserved to take it. We crossed the line as we had most days 1-4, mission complete, and with all the aches and pains of the week already reducing in magnification.


I guess what I am saying is that Stage 7 was my most memorable stage this year, because I managed to pull myself together with the help of my teammates and gain back all the time that I had lost during the Stage 5 detour. But there were so many other highlights to the week my brain is still digesting them! For example, I love this video of the women’s peloton on Stage 3 and all the muddy photos that went with it. I also loved the course changes that Mike and Ray came up with for Cooper’s Gap Stage 2, that pair seriously know how to put on a good race. Each day it was amazing to see the pink train powerhouse take some form of the top three steps on the podium.

Our week would not have been possible without the support that we have behind the scenes, in particular: Richie and Jared for providing awesome mechanical work; Rich for looking after me and providing housekeeping while I was off my feet; my coach Chris Newell from Sublime Athletics for providing hard workouts and great feedback; Mike Bush for providing technical support and taking cool pictures; and Cindy for visiting and championing our efforts as well as the providing the best sponsorship a group of girls could ask for: 4 girls, 7 days, NO flats.

I would also like to thank all our other sponsors because each of your products was used to their maximum each day during TSE: Stan’s NoTubes; Cannondale; Kenda; Verge Sport; Magura; Uvex; Griggs Orthopedic; Gu Energy; Elete Electrolytes; Fizik; 3T, Northwave; Crankbrothers; ProGold; King Cage; ESI Grips; SRAM; Light and Motion. Also, a special shout out to Bruce Dickman from ProGold for providing all of the TSE racers with ProGold products (essential before, during, and after racing) and doing a great job announcing each day.

Of course, now that I am back at work and it’s all over I wish we were still racing. The TSE hangover is always a difficult one to recover from, especially after saying goodbye to Sue, Amanda and Sarah. I have raced my eyeballs out over the past 8 weeks though, and I hope to use the next few weeks to let all that goodness soak into my legs, let my body fully recover from being sick, and then start preparing for the second half of the season. I am already excited!

Keep reading

Click here to read all our dispatches from Trans-Sylvania.

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