It’s hard to imagine a more unassuming guy than Joe Breeze. Unlike his contemporaries Gary Fisher or Tom Ritchey, who are easy to spot in a crowd, Breeze could be the guy standing in line in front of you at the grocery store, or your friendly neighbor who always greets you with a wave and a smile. Of course, if you live in Fairfax, California, there’s a good chance he is both of these things.Tweet Print
A long-standing Pennsylvania tradition, Bilenky Cycle Works has hosted a… unique cyclocross race each winter through a salvage yard. There are no UCI officials measuring tire widths, the barriers are not to spec, and #handupsarenotacrime.
This Saturday the annual event was pushed to new levels with the influx of humanity (and inhumanity) in town for the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships. The Junkyard Cross was tapped as a qualifying event for the Big Show, with heats of riders dualing for a finale and a chance to race in the Sunday’s main event. If you favored style over speed, you could still enter Sunday’s Everyone’s A Winner race, complete with universal #1 number plates.
There were a few scary moments, and likely some flat tires, but overall the event was one of the most amazing spectacles I’ve ever seen. Until Sunday that is…
Stay tuned for more!Tweet Print
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 storyTweet Print
It’s a little late for Halloween, but HELLTRACK is coming to Portland’s Lumberyard indoor bike park November 23.
The first ever race will wind through the park and out in the parking lot with jumps, obstacles, wooden features, and even a costume contest. Any kind of bikes are welcome, though there are special classes for DJ and BMX bikes. Read the full storyTweet Print
Back in June, two Dirt Rag staffers headed south—REALLY far south—to Peru for the Inca Avalanche, a crazy, mass-start, high-altitude, oxygen-deprived marathon nearly 6,000 feet down the mountain.
Matt and Stephen had an amazing adventure, and some mishaps, and you can read all about them in the current issue of the mag, but take a look here at some of the sights and sounds of what went on way down south, way up high in the mountains.Tweet Print
Words and photos by Adam Newman.
The week-long celebration that is Crankworx climaxes each year with the Canadian Open Downhill, a three-minute blast down some of the most technical riding on the mountain.
The highlight, of course, is Heckler’s Rock, where beer-soaked fans were pre-gaming as early as 10:30 a.m. for the 3 p.m. finals.
An ominous sign when walking down to the Rock.
We all know what fuels this party.
Even hooligans have rules, and this one was strictly enforced.
Well… I guess so, yeah.
Oh, yeah, there’s racing too.
The chairlift passes directly over Heckler’s Rock, and some passengers put on quite a show.
This guy doesn’t even have shoes on!
Canadian junior national champion Mark Wallace enjoying the home crowd.
Attempts to keep the track clean almost lead to disaster.
The guy in the jorts needs to put down the phone and pay attention.
Mitch Delfs shows he’s got the moves off the bike as well as on.
Nudity was the theme of the day.
You’ll find a few more obstacles on the Canadian Open track than you would at a normal DH track.
Loic Bruni wasn’t distracted by the on-course scenery.
Canadian hero Steve Smith rallied after an early crash to claim his second straight Canadian Open win.
And there was much rejoicing.Tweet Print
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.
By Karl Rosengarth. Illustration by Stephen Haynes.
Team Dirt Rag is going racing. This time we’re headed to West Virginia for the Big Bear Ultra and Ultra Light on Sunday, August 4th. This fifth race on the WVMBA Ultra Series calendar promises 50+ miles of mostly singletrack racing through the rugged mountains near Hazelton, just east of Morgantown. Competitors in the "Light" version will sample roughly 23 miles of singletrack sweetness (or is that roughly sample, heh, heh).
The Big Bear Lake trails rank near the top of my list of my personal favorites. I look forward to challenging myself on the 50-miler. My Dirt Rag cohort Stephen Haynes has let better judgment rule, and has opted for the 23-mile light version. Either way, with the promise of ample aid stations (with food and water) the racing action promises to be fast and furious.
Dirt Rag is kicking down a free pint glass and sample of our fine publication to the first 100 racers who roll through the registration line. The early bird gets the worm, so don’t be late! Or better yet, join us for the free primitive camping the night before, right at the start/finish, in back of the Big Bear Lake Community Center.
Dirt Rag is also issuing "The Pace is Right" challenge to all Ultra racers. The rules are as follows: The Ultra racer (regardless of sub-classification) whose official finish time is the closest to the official finish time of me, Karl Rosengarth, without finishing faster, wins some Dirt Rag swag. The winner will be announced during the official awards ceremony, and you must be present to win and collect your swag. Decisions of me, Karl Rosengarth, are final. If something bizarre happens, or I DNF or DFL (could happen), I’ll make it up as I go along.
We’ll see you at the races.Tweet Print
By Karl Rosengarth
Team Dirt Rag will be throwin’ down at the Cheat Mountain Ultra and Ultra Lite Sunday in Beverly, W.V. The fourth race on the WVMBA Ultra Series calendar sends Ultra riders on a 40+ mile romp through the rugged Cheat Mountain Wilderness, including a 12 mile gravel road climb that should sort out the starting field in fine fashion and avoid any singletrack logjams.
The Ultra Lite option promises a 17-mile singletrack pummeling, with the start/finish on top of Cheat Mountain, eliminating the long climb at the start. Just the ticket for less-than-ultra-fit riders who still want to punish themselves, such as yours truly.
Dirt Rag is chippin’ in and giving a free pint glass and sample of our fine publication to the first 100 racers who roll through the registration line. The early bird gets the worm, so don’t sleep late! Hint: there’s free tent camping at 4-H Camp Pioneer near Beverly, W.V. (which is the spot for registration and the Ultra start/finish).
Dirt Rag is also issuing "The Pace is Right at the Ultra Lite" challenge to all racers competing on the short course. The rules are as follows: The Ultra Lite racer (regardless of sub-classification) whose official finish time is the closest to the official finish time of me, Karl Rosengarth, without finishing faster, wins some Dirt Rag swag. The winner will be announced during the official awards ceremony, and you must be present to win and collect your swag. Decisions of me, Karl Rosengarth, are final. If something bizarre happens, or I DNF I’ll make it up as I go along.
Find out more about the Cheat Mountain Ultra at this link. We’ll see you at the races.
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.
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.
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.”