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Tuesday
Aug192014

2014 BLUEGRASS ENDURO TOUR DUBLIN-Djouce Mountain

The 4th round of the Bluegrass Enduro Tour in Dublin-Djouce mountain this week end was run over two races: the men's race was on Sunday, and the other reserved for women, on the same track was held the day before. A world first, and a dream opportunity for novices to take part in their first Enduro; in a relaxed atmosphere against an idyllic background.

In Dublin, Bluegrass and the local organiser Biking.ie had put on a great sporting spread offering participants a course made up of magnificent trails around the Irish capital city, starting and finishing at the spectacular Powerscourt waterfall. The number of participants had intentionally been limited to 50 lucky riders due to logistical constraints involved when organising a race over three different locations around Dublin all on the same day.

Two 'fun' days of full on competition with all the ingredients which make the Bluegrass Enduro Tour such a great success. Impeccable organisation, a brilliant atmosphere, and, in keeping with tradition, no one is allowed to ride the course in advance of the race.

 
The day started with breakfast at the base of the waterfall, before setting off by bus towards Ticknock.

Once all the bikes had been unloaded from the trailers, the riders set off on a 2km liaison climb to the first start line of the day. The fabulous view over Dublin Bay was enough to have made the trip worthwhile.

Special 1
There was a highly technical section through the forest which required frequent short spurts, then further along a very fast section, and finally, just before the finish, a hard climb - with such a lot of energetic pedalling, the competitors were immediately in full swing.
 
Women's race
Michelle Muldoon clocked the best time in front of the German rider Hannah Roether who was less than 3 seconds behind.  It had been a really close fight.

Men's race
Daniel Wolfe straight away took the lead. The real surprise was New Zealander Reon Boe who clocked up the second fastest time on his DH bike!

This appetizer boosted the riders' moral. They took on the following 2km liaison climb with a smile!

Special 2
The rapid pace allowed the best to absorb the bumps on the ground almost without losing speed. For the rest, the day was going to be longer and tougher!

Women's race
Michelle Muldoon was once again the fastest just ahead of Hannah Roether.
Juliet Elliott, the English ambassador of fixed gear, came in 5th which is promising as it was her very first Enduro.
 
Men's race
Daniel Wolfe was the fastest, but hot on his heels came Pearse Griffin who was up for contesting his supremacy.

Another shuttle took the competitors up to Ballinastoe for a lunch break. Pasta salad and sandwiches were on hand to recharge the riders' batteries before taking the shuttle bus then pedalling 1km to the next start line.

Special 3
A new landscape, the backdrop of flower carpeted hills and lakes almost made you forget the difficulties of the track which was very technical right from the start, followed by a good minute or two of pedalling before taking on a long section where you could pick up speed right up to the finish line.

Women's race
With the fastest time in the first three specials of the day, Michelle Muldoon was well set for final victory.

Men's race
Daniel Wolfe was once again first and seemed to be untouchable. The fight for a place on the podium was going to be tough.

3km of climb later...

Special 4
The longest of the day. A mixture of highly technical sections and other faster sections scattered with jumps, then long sections of pedalling and a fast final section. Enough to make even the most resistant riders tap into their energy reserves.  

Women's race
After a disastrous start (18th in Special 1), Orla Mclean gave the other race favourites something to think about by coming in first in the 4th Special.

Men's race
All the Specials were closely fought races - amongst the junior riders, Conor Lavalle seemed to finally get the better of his rivals.

Refuelling with bananas and cold drinks was very welcome before the 5km liaison which took the riders from Ballinastoe to Djouce.

Special 5
The shortest of the day. The course started off fast, then there a short sharp climb once again but the riders' bodies to the test, the end of the race which was faster was nothing short of pure pleasure.

Women's race
The best time was once again made by Michelle Muldoon followed by German Hannah Roether less than 3 seconds later.

Men's race
Just as in the Special before, Jonathan Maunsell had the second best time behind Daniel Wolfe.

One last effort, a 2km liaison which consisted of a fast climb took the competitors to the start of the final race.

Special 6
Without a doubt, this was the most technical – lots of roots, tight bends where it was difficult to keep up speed, then a really fast downhill section through the forest before the final sprint for the finish.   

Women's race
A victory (of honour) for Orla McClean in the last special as the overall victory was Michelle Muldoon's in 33'11".  German rider, Hannah Roether a regular on the Bluegrass Enduro Tour, took 2nd place with a time of 35'34".  Consistent throughout the day, Kate Fluker, New Zealand's XC national champion, took the third place on the podium with a time of 36'31".   

Men's race
A flawless race for Daniel Wolfe who led throughout with a time of 25'43" ahead of New Zealander Reon Boe, who recently came 3rd in the Megavalanche, with 27'02".  Pearse Griffin, with a time of 27'15" completed the podium.

FULL RESULTS

Tuesday
Aug122014

Justin Leov's Diary 2014 EWS Whistler

August 11, 2014.

I've had hard weekends before, weekends when you just will yourself on to get through, but this was the toughest week by far in my Enduro career. Rewinding back to Colorado, after the race we spent two days testing with Fox and Trek and had some great results from suspension tuning. I was then on-route to Quebec to be at the Downhill World Cup to help Trek World racing in my coaching role. It was as always, a busy week and in hind site I didn't get the rest I really needed after having such a demanding race in Colorado.

Landing in Vancouver Sunday night I caught an early shuttle up to Whistler Monday morning and checked into our condo. I was still getting some knee trouble so I booked in for some sessions with the Physiotherapist at Back in Action and arranged a sports massage as well. Through the week things were going great, finally my knee was starting to get back to normal with the help of acupuncture and taping. I was getting great power in my training sessions and my bike was fast as a result of the tuning.

Thursday morning I got up to do a few short sprints to get my legs into race mode and on my warm down ride back to the condo I suddenly started to feel low on energy and sick for the first time. By time I got back to the condo and had a shower I was trashed and rolled myself into bed for the rest of the day with a fever. I figured it was possibly a result of the Physiotherapy and massage sessions releasing toxins into my system. With some heavy days about to approach rest was my only option.

Friday morning I woke with a really sore throat, my fever had reduced so I made the decision to try and practice a little bit on Stage 1 and 2.  I have learnt that when I am sick it is so important to rest as much as possible, but with limited practice I needed to be on the hill. I rode both stages 1 and 2 twice then a slow run down stage 5, keeping my heart rate on or below 120BPM in an attempt to look after my body as much as possible. Even with taking it easy I still found it a challenge and after 5 hours of riding my body was telling me it was more than it wanted to do.

When I got back to the condo that afternoon I noticed my throat was getting worse, I was getting tingling in my fingers and toes and a rash was starting to come out on my face. I had an early night and woke the next morning to all the cuts on my body looking inflamed and sore. Despite this I got my kit on and headed over to stage 3 to practice it twice for the morning. With the climb taking just over 40mins I did the same as the previous day with keeping my heart rate around 120BPM or lower, not an easy task on a steep climb!

I had one more stage to practice and I could access this one from the top of stage 5 for one run and then ride back up from the bottom for the second run. After completing my second run I headed home and felt pretty hammered. The tingling now was a lot worse in my hands and feet and getting my gloves off was a now a bit of a challenge.

I rested up for the afternoon, but come the evening I went to the bathroom to check my throat and when I opened my mouth was horrified to see blisters all over it. By this time it was 10pm and I knew I needed to see the Hospital. Ray my team manager took me down the Whistler Medical but being after hours and with limited staff around we weren't able to get any treatment, a blood test with results not to come in until after the race would mean I was on my own. I was told by the doctor that it would be unwise to race, this wasn't the first time and probably not the last time that I have heard this in my career. I got out of the hospital around 1am I headed home and went straight to bed.

Race day- I woke up and was actually pretty nervous. Not because of the courses or how I would be for the races, but the thought of what if something did happen to me as a result of the big effort I was about to put my body through. I shut that off in my head and got organized for the day. My plan was to listen to my body on the stages and not take risks where I could risk crashes. I didn't need any other hindrances this weekend. Just survive!

Stage 1: We had about a 1 hour a climb to reach the start, I managed to ride feeling okay and had a descent warm up on the steep terrain. Stage 1 and 2 would be similar terrain, loose, fresh and hard to carry speed. Dropping in for stage 1 I was surprised how blown out the course was. Being freshly cut and with the high volume of riders it had seen every corner had huge holes. It was easy to get caught up and the feeling of going over the bars at any moment was there. I took it very easy and finished out the stage with the taste of blood in the back of my mouth.

We had a 40 min climb back up for stage 2 so keeping the water and nutrition on the climbs was really important. Around 30 degree heat always meant staying cool was difficult so searching for the shadows and staying out of the sun was also something I was mindful of.

Stage 2: It felt very much similar to stage 1, awkward and blown out with some tight and technical rocky lines. I felt a little better in the run but was still on safe and steady mode.

The transition to stage three was a longer one, we had to cross the valley and climb up a reasonably steep four-wheel drive track. Luckily most of this climb was in the woods so it was cooler, at this point in the day the heat was over 30.
 
Stage 3: This was a better suited track for me, it was a little more open and not as freshly cut. Dropping in once again I was really surprised how blown out and wreaked the trails were. I had a much better run and had an opportunity to put in a good time. I had also just found some confidence in the fact that my body was holding up. I kept thinking just get through the next stage then we would have a gondola and chairlift for the final stage.

The transition to stage 4 was across the other side of the valley so it meant a good hour of climbing in the roasting sun. I drank over 2 liters of water on the climb and was nearly out by time I got to the top. I have to admit I was starting to hang, the heat was getting to me a little bit and my hands and feet really starting to hurt where I had the rash

Stage 4: This was the most technical of the weekend in my option. Really dangerous terrain if you got it wrong and a lot of bike wreaking sections. My plan was to ride smooth and look after my bike. With the last stage being so long (over 20 mins) it was important to have a good bike for it. Dropping in, my run felt good, I slowed myself down in a lot of the sections I would normally have attacked and I keep it a clean safe run. My throat was on fire when I crossed the line and I was glad there was icy water at the finish line to cool me back down.

We had a 30 min transition to get back to the pits and then a little bit of time before we had to be up for the final stage (top of the world). Having the condo's so close to the pits allowed me to come back and make some quick food, shower up and get my bike checked over. Pulling off my socks was now difficult and the blisters had come up all over my feet and between my toes. All I could think was just one more stage!

On the Gondola and up the hill for a final time it was a better feeling being able to watch as we climbed up the mountain from the gondola instead of sweating our way up. For the last stage I had one plan, flat out from the start to the finish and give everything I had. This stage would suit my Remedy 29er, it wasn't as tight as the other stages and being longer I knew if I could hold on I would improve some positions.

Stage 5: From the start of the stage I seemed to straight away find a good speed, my hands hurt before the start but when I was in my run I didn't feel them anymore. I worked on being as smooth as possible and let the bike carry speed out of the corners. Everything seems to play out to plan. Coming into the finish line I felt like I had put in a solid effort and was super surprised I had made up enough time to sit me in 6th overall for the weekend.

I couldn't believe I had been able to pull off a day like that, let alone finish inside the top 10.  My next stop after the race was straight back to hospital. They had my results and were able to diagnose me with Hand, Foot and Mouth and prescribed the next week to be in bed recovering. After that massive effort I was happy to oblige!

I learnt how tough the mind and body can be this weekend, you can push yourself a lot further than you think. I also learnt how important it is to hang in there. Points are points and you need to fight for every single last one of them to stay in the chase! I've had a few rounds now where things just haven’t worked out, but that’s racing and I know its just a matter of time before one will go my way.

Next and final round will take place in Italy next October. In the meantime I'll be visiting home - New Zealand - and I'll be back in Europe for the Bluegrass Enduro Tour of Castelbuono in Sicily end of September. See you there may be!

- Justin -

Monday
Aug112014

BRYCELAND SMASHES FIELD IN WINDHAM AND GRABS WORLD CUP LEAD WITH OVER 1000 POINTS!

Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland stormed to the top of the podium once again at UCI Downhill World Cup #6 in Windham (USA) on Saturday, August 9.
His winning margin of 1.581 seconds was a country mile on such a short course. The result marks his third podium and second win of the season, now placing him squarely in the lead overall with 1007 points. 

“I'm still in awe that I'm leading the World Cup,” said Bryceland. “I could hear the crowd from the bottom cheering for Gwinny in the finals, so I knew he had had a good run. I put that out of my head and took a few deep breaths, and then gave it everything I had.”

Teammate Greg Minnaar, the reigning World Champion who was recovering from knee surgery earlier in the year, finished in eleventh to consolidate his sixth place in the overall rankings. 

“I was refining my bike settings during the week and I felt like I had it dialed in for the qualifier, but I missed getting up to speed in practice.“ explained Greg. “Finishing 11th isn't acceptable to me” he added, suggesting the best is still to come from the South African this season.

Steve Peat was the first to congratulate Josh as he crossed the line, visibly ecstatic at the continued rise of his protégée.

“Ratboy rules!” exclaimed Peaty. “It was another great event at Windham, and my bike was rad. I'm just gutted to be leaving without a decent result, but this place has always had mixed emotions for me over the years!”

The Syndicate are now amped for the final round of the World Cup in Méribel (FRA) set for August 21-23.  Will Ratboy be able to retain his lead and take his first World Cup title?  The whole mountain biking World will be tuning in live to find out!!

Windham Results: 
1st  JOSH BRYCELAND (GBR)    2:24:332 
2nd  AARON GWIN (USA)             2:25:913  
3rd  TROY BROSNAN (AUS)         2:26:455 
11th  GREG MINNAAR (RSA)        2:28.540 
43rd STEVE PEAT (GBR)              2:33.488

Monday
Aug112014

Brook MacDonald Races to the Podium in Windham

In an exciting and closely fought round 6 of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Windham, USA, Trek World Racing’s Brook MacDonald made his 2nd appearance on the 2014 World Cup podium with a 5th place ride on the fast, rocky and short track. His podium ride also marked the 40th World Cup podium for the Trek Session since the team started; the most successful downhill bike in recent history.

Fellow Kiwi George Brannigan also had a great ride improving on his qualifier to move into the top 10, landing a solid 8th place. The result good enough to launch him into 17th overall giving him protected rider status going into the next round in France.


Local hero Neko Mulally was on a flyer of a run, 3rd fastest at the 1st split and destined for the podium, when unfortunately his front wheel washed out in a blown out berm, and he went down. Amazingly he salvaged the run, finishing with enough points in 25th to move up in the overall standings to 9th.

Greg Williamson also moved up 5 places in the overall standings after his steady ride to 22nd place. After qualifying in the top 20 he was a little disappointed by his conservative run, but learned a lot from the experience.

Unfortunately for Laurie Greenland, the UCI doesn’t afford protected status for the top 10 juniors and so a puncture in qualifying left him out of the finals on Sunday.

Brook said: “Always stoked to get on the podium and now I have two of these under my belt for the season, my confidence has lifted greatly. I feel great on the bike and can’t wait to lift my level even further coming into the next two big events”.

Neko said: “You have to really lay it on the line with a track line this and I was so happy with how I was riding the final. The crash came out of nowhere and I was on the ground before I knew it, but thankfully with my 3rd place qualifier I’ve earned enough points to improve my overall. Keen to take my current form to France for the finals”.

George said: “I had a lot of fun on my run, this track is pretty wild and you have to push it to get a result. Really happy to get protected status and to know I’m riding at a great level at this end of the season”.

The team’s next race is World Cup Round 7 in Méribel, France, on August 22 and 23.

Friday
Aug082014

Magura USA Restructures Staff

Beginning August 1, 2014, Magura USA began their exclusive partnership with Bosch as North American Service provider.  Magura's responsibility will include providing dealers with spare parts, a toll-free hotline, dealer training and orientation for Bosch e-Bike systems.  

As a result Magura has restructured staff responsibilities by promoting Jeff Enlow to President of Magura USA.  "With the new structure at Magura USA, a strong synergy has been created for both Bosch and Magura to grow, educating and training dealers together.” “Magura has been providing dealer clinics and supporting OE business for the last 15 years in US market and that’s just what Bosch needed in a service partner".  

Additional staff changes at Magura USA include promoting Buck Mitchell to Operations Manager and Matt Enlow to Inside Sales Manager.  Tony Ballantine remains National Sales Manager and Jude Monica remains Technical Sales Manager.  Monica will also head up the Bosch technical training project.  Technical Sales Rep Mike Mantione will be focused on dealer clinics for both Bosch and Magura.  By Jan 2015 Magura will also hire one additional technical rep to help with the increased Bosch business.

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