Flip through its pages to find out what Floyd Landis (yeah, that one), a leopard print-clad Sue Haywood and Ray Petro of Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park are up to these days. Our editors also tested a bunch of new bikes and bike racks, and picked their favorite cockpit setups. As usual, our columnists are on point as they consider mountain biking in relation to life’s eccentricities, and our writers introduce you to two people devoting themselves to giving back to mountain biking—one using a chainsaw and the other using her skills and her voice.
Because this is an extra-special issue, we are re-printing the full intro letter from Mike, our editor-in-chief. If you still don’t know what’s up, it will explain. Then, grab the issue and dig in. Enjoy it and share it with a friend when you’re done.
Words: Mike Cushionbury
We were not even a full mile into the ride and I was already gumming up the works.
After floatplane-ing to the remote Lorna Lake in the South Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, the plan was to ride to a campsite, spend the night and then ride back to the Tyax Resort the following day. At about 0.8 miles, after a short muddy singletrack, we came to a rickety bridge crossing a flowing river. When I say “rickety” I mean four untethered logs that rolled and flexed with every step, two of which were wet and slippery.
The first few in our group made it safely across. As I weaved and sidestepped like a drunk trying to ice skate, my cross-country shoes slipped and I set the bike in the river for balance. At that point the rushing current grabbed it and took control. My main mistake was now realized: I should have held the bike downstream from the bridge, not up. Like a violent shove from a mosh pit bully, the bike was stuffed under the bridge and gone from sight.
Luckily, my friend Andrew Juskaitis from Giant Bicycles (and rightful owner of this brand-new yet fully submerged trail machine) along with enduro racer Adam Craig jumped into the river to catch and save the most important tool I needed to get out of the middle of nowhere and into camp some six hours later.
I realized a few things in the following moments after they finally handed me the fished-out bike on the other side of the torrent: One, I’ll never be a master-class balance beam gymnast. Two, you can fully submerge an $8,000, 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 0 for a few minutes underwater and it will still perform as good as new. Three, luckily, carbon bikes don’t really float or that thing would have been gone. Four, you can really, really submerge a Lezyne Super GPS underwater for a few minutes and it won’t miss a beat.
Bike-turned-boat disaster averted, I also learned I wasn’t done learning. Just 0.2 miles later, we embarked on a huge, 45-minute hike-a-bike followed by multiple deep river crossings, which taught me a thing or two about how the friends and acquaintances you ride with often are the real personalities that make this mountain bike lifestyle so great, because of the vault of random experiences you’ve undoubtedly shared, and will share.
Back at camp (yes, I finally made it to camp in one piece), we ended the adventure as all good ones should end: with food, drink and stories. Hanging out at the lake and later next to the fire pit, we all swapped stories of the ride as well as some “back in the day” tales. The next morning, riding back to the lodge, Andrew and I joked about all those old-school SoCal races we did together that mean nothing yet everything to us now.
This brings me to our second annual Personality Issue. This time around you’ll read less about current racing superstars and more about regular riding folks or retired professionals who are just like most of us—tied to the sport in some way and doing what they can to give back or just enjoy the friends and experiences they’ve made along the way. It’s an intertwining of history, adventure and also some real darkness. When all that is added to the mix, it makes the best, most flavor-filled kind of gum that holds this vast group of local as well as world-known personalities together, which make up our random sport.
Columns and Readings
“I believe that aggression makes it possible to dose out the trains of sand in our hourglass.” – Bama
“I find that, in general, my wanderlust is often trumped by proficiency at being a homebody.” – Stevil Kinevil
“And while there’s a weight and a mass to everything I’ve built in this town, I often wonder what happens to it when I’m gone. Does my own legacy have roots, deep or shallow?” – Watts Dixon
“I have a message for all of you: The bro-ification that today afflicts our trails will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end.” – Tech editor Eric McKeegan
“I can’t find an argument that will convince me that a bike with an electric motor is somehow not motorized. Call it pedal assist, call it Category 1, call it what you want: It’s motorized and therefore should be allowed only where motorized vehicles are allowed.” – Rebecca Rusch
Our writers and photographers visited Floyd Landis at his new marijuana shop in Leadville, Colorado; sat down with “real American hero” and former cross-country racing national champ Sue Haywood; and Ray Petro, the founder of Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park.
We also introduce you to Chainsaw Don and his flock of crows, and Tammy Donahugh, a former pro who is now at the forefront of coaching mountain bike instructors to impart riding skills to the next generation. We also bid a sorrowful farewell to friend, bike shop owner, longtime Dirt Rag columnist and mountain bike culture caretaker, Jeff Archer, and checked in on Charlie Cunningham’s long road to recovery following a bicycle crash.
Reviews and Stuff
Our testers hit the trail on the new Rocky Mountain Pipeline 770 MSL, Cannondale Habit Women’s 2 and the Ghost SL AMR X LC 8. Also, our editors named the products that make up their favorite cockpit setups, and we put several rack setups from Thule and Yakima through the daily-life ringer.
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Cover photo: Ryan Creary captures Hayden Genoud splitting a gap in Kicking Horse Mountain Bike Resort, Golden, B.C.
“Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes.” — Karl Kraus
Columns and Readings
We let you know why eating noodles is awesome, inform you what your soul muscle is and what it feels like to get “new bike wood.” And to quote this month’s Rant, “What I don’t want is to plunk around on some heavy, underpowered e-bike that needs to be charged for longer than it will run.” This Rant is a must-read.
We go deep this issue with a first hand account of what it’s like to race a World Cup downhill as an underdog team.
We also spend five, first-hand experience-days deep inside the Colorado Trail Race: “I snap, scream at the mountains, suggest that they enjoy eating Popsicles made out of feces. The mountains just stood there, unoffended.”
Reviews and Stuff
We present to you the ultimate guide for Suspension Setup. All the know-how and real world education you will need to maximize your bikes performance: tips, set-up advice and a collection of the newest forks on the market tested from Fox, DVO, Manitou and many more.
• Santa Cruz Hightower
• Trek Fuel EX 9.9
Grab a copy on a newsstand near you or pick it up digitally here and now. Want to subscribe so that we are delivered straight to your mailbox? Do that here and now.
On the Cover
Photo: Ryan Creary
“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Columns and Readings
Watts Dixon writes about learning to love bicycle retail again. Bama issues a call for us to remember that “this sport was birthed from the greasy … loins of hairy hippies” and that we ought to grab a shovel and get gritty, again. Stevil remembers the person who inspired him to get on a mountain bike in the first place, and Rebecca Rusch challenges us to re-think our ideas of what “winning” means.
We also review a whisky, check out some cool bike shops and bring you sneak peaks at new bikes.
Features: Beyond the Bike Park
The three features in this issue take fresh looks at three, well-known bike parks: Whistler, Park City (Utah) and Winter Park (Colorado). Three first-hand accounts take us on unique adventures through these much-loved landscapes.
Reviews and Stuff
We took all three versions of Specialized’s current Stumpjumper (the 27.5, the 29er and the 27 plus) and put them to the test in an in-depth faceoff. Each one gets its own ride review followed by a comparison of why each tester would choose one of the three and for what type of riding. We also “reviewed” a 1984 Stumpjumper, which you can read about online now.
Our four-page wheel size explainer delves into the stories of different tire widths and which we’d choose for what applications. A handy chart guides you to choosing the perfect wheel size for your preferred riding style. For example, if you have ever uttered the words “26 for life,” go buy a Yeti SB66 on eBay and a pile of Maxxis Minions and stop reading about new bikes.
We’re giving away a 2016 Trek Fuel EX 9 27.5 valued at $4000. Enter to win the bike!
On the cover
Rolling Stones Trail at Blanket Creek, Revelstoke, British Columbia. Photo by Ryan Creary.
The Dirt and Readings
It was one of the muddiest and hardest Dirty Kanza 200’s in the event’s history, we have proof in The Dirt and Readings. We also show you why Pennsylvania’s Trans-Sylvania Epic is one of the funnest singletrack summer camps of the year. Plus, 2016 bikes from Pivot, Scott, Specialized and Trek in Inside Line
Riding, Racing and a Can Of Beans, by Eric Porter
Author and photographer go to Ecuador to ride for a week and then race the famous Vuelta al Cotopaxi, a two-day event that circles around the base of a volcano. It seems a can of beans and tortillas carried over from the U.S. was the only thing that got them trough it.
A Traveler’s Guide To Riding In Alaska, by Dejay Birtch
We cover all the hot spots to ride in and around Anchorage, including Hillside and Kincaid, the Kenai Peninsula and Seward with words and stunning photography.
The Commute, by Kurt Gensheimer
“The shore of Lake Tahoe was 15 feet lower than it should have been in late October. Where boats normally docked, James, Justin and I sat on a pile of small rocks looking out at the glassy morning horizon. Temps were in the low 20s, but the sun and still air made matters feel warmer. We had 420 miles of hard riding to our destination, San Francisco, with nothing more than an Acre Supply pack containing barely enough clothes to endure sub-freezing temperatures and maybe a downpour. But downpours had been (and continue to be) in short supply in the Sierra Nevada. We were more concerned with wildfires, which are impossible to pack for.”
Need A Lift?, by Morgan Lommele
Check out this inside look in our Access Action section on how ski lifts are helping make mountain biking even better by opening access to a wider range of trail opportunities.
STUFF — Product Testing
- Plus-Size: We examine this growing wheel and tire combo and offer three different bike tests showcasing the style
- Trek Stache 9 29+
- Jamis Dragonslayer
- Rocky Mountain Sherpa
Also in this issue:
- BMC Speedfox SF02 29
- Santa Cruz Highball 27.5 CC
Three bike travel cases:
- EVOC Bike Travel Bag
- PRO Bike Travel Case Mega
- Scicon Aerocomfort MTB Case
Get A Copy
Get a copy of Dirt Rag #186 in our online store or at your nearest newsstand. Or quit putting it off and order a subscription and you’ll never miss one
On the cover
Gettin’ after it in Sedona, Arizona, by Emily Walley.
The Dirt and Readings
This month we travel to the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival and road trip to 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Also, featured columnist Stevil Kinevil laments being off the bike for a bit due to a nasty crash. Plus, Catching Up With Aaron Chase and a close look at Victor Vincente of America’s classic “Topanga!” in Specialty Files
Searching For Alpine Gold in Nelson, British Columbia, by Hailey Elise
There’s a local saying in Nelson, British Columbia, that claims that those who come never leave. Follow along as we travel there to discover not only the culture and atmosphere that keeps people in Nelson, but also the rising mountain bike scene that has become an integral part of building its captivating lifestyle.
Anza-Borrego Desert Bikepacking, by James Murren
Southern California’s Anza-Borrego State Park is comprised of more than 600,000 acres and has more than 500 miles of doubletrack that is paved and/or some combination of dirt/sand/rock. It provides the perfect backdrop for a solo bikepacking trip that becomes as much a personal exploration as a physical one.
The Real Neko Mulally: An American Tale, by Brice Shirebach
Get an exclusive, inside look at American downhill sensation Neko Mulally as the author interviews not only the man himself but his immediate family. It’s a compelling insight to a great American story.
- Side by side comparison of Kona’s Process 134 SE and SL
- Pivot 499SL Carbon
- Fyxation Blackhawk fat bike
- Shimano’s electrifying XTR Di2
- RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair shock upgrade
- And a lot more.
Get A Copy
Get a copy of Dirt Rag #182 in our online store.
On the cover
Evening moodiness at sunset captured by Ian Hylands
Mark Weir reflects on chasing the sunrise and why it’s the most motivating time to ride in. Ever wondered why mountain bike stage races cost so much? Trans-Sylvania Epic promoter Mike Kuhn tells you why, plus a 1982 Fat Chance in Specialty Files.
Moab BLM bans e-bikes from all non-motorized trails and Dirt Rag goes to the famous Bilenky junkyard cyclocross.
Under the Big Top, by PJ Disclafani
Check out our annual Literature Contest’s winning essay. Author PJ Disclafani claims it is indeed inspired by real events from his days working in a bike shop.
Fat Biking Through The Arctic, by Bjorn Olson
The author and his girlfriend aim their fat bikes straight at Alaska’s frozen Arctic. It wouldn’t be a true adventure without mishaps and a few broken bike parts.
Musings On East San Diego Singletrack, by James Murren
Travel to two famous riding locations, the Cuyamacas and the Lagunas, in this first person account of chasing singletrack and enlightenment.
Rank and File: Full Suspension Trail Bikes Under $3,000
We test six great full suspension bikes with prices ranging from $1,875 to $2,599. Brands included are Cannondale, GT, Giant, Kona, Niner and Santa Cruz. Also showcased are other exciting options all within the same price range.
Long Term Tested:
- Borealis Echo fat bike
- Yeti SB5c
- Scott Spark 700 SL
- Bell Super 2R helmet
- Shoes from Shimano and Specialized
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On the cover
This year’s Red Bull Rampage winner Andreu Lecondeguy shows some attitude. Photo by Malcolm Mclaws
Stevil Kinevil laments being lost and alone, Bama connects the hug of Lady Winter with drinking a 40 under a bridge, and we catch up with the “Fit Chick,” Selene Yeager.
What went on at IMBA World Summit 2014? We have it here as well as an inside look at why Epic Ride’s Grand Junction Off-Road should be on your event bucket list.
Rampage—Behind the Shovel, by Malcolm Mclaws
Our reporter/photographer was smuggled into Red Bull Rampage’s new venue under a tarp in a truck bed daily for almost a week to get the story no one else did—the painstaking process of building death defying lines from untouched earth in Virgin, Utah.
North Carolina’s Appalachian [Beer] Trail, by Logan Watts
The idea was to piece together a five-day bikepacking route that would traverse each of the four major trail networks in the area. Each day would also need to connect to some of the finest beer breweries in the country. It was a remote, difficult and thirst quenching adventure.
I Fought The Law (And the Law Won), by Frank Maguire
The strange true story of rouge trail builder Jeff Clayton.
We pick our favorite bikes and gear of 2014 with products from Cannondale, SRAM, Kona, Salsa, Niner, Shimano, Santa Cruz and more.
Plus long-term reviews:
- Cannondale Trigger 27.5 Team
- Lapierre Zesty Trail 929
- Pinarello Dogma XC 9.9
- Raleigh Eva 7.5
- RockShox Bluto fat bike fork
Get a copy
As always, you’ll have to head to your nearest newsstand to see the whole issue, or quit putting it off and order a subscription and you’ll never miss one.Tweet Print