Dear Mountain Bike Friends,
After much reflection, I have decided to postpone the US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking until further notice. I wanted to thank everyone for their continued support through my time with the Pro GRT and into the USGP of Mountain Biking. Unfortunately, my plans to help rebuild the US race scene by combining downhill, enduro & other disciplines have yet to bear fruit. Although I do believe that program I developed can be & will be successful, it will have to wait until a further time.
Don’t worry… I’ll still be around. You can’t get rid of me that easily! I will continue to grow my race team - the “ARMA Energy MTB” professional mountain bike team – into one of the premier race teams from the U.S. In addition to national caliber downhill racing, we will be expanding into Enduro and World Cup racing for the 2014 season. I will also be focused on my bike shop(s) – the “BIKE VAULT” & “T.RYX Recumbent Trikes” based in Escondido, CA.
I urge you to continue to support U.S. racing, as we will be. Until a true national caliber series can be developed & be sustainable, there are plenty of regional and local events to support.
Thank you all once again for your support. I will see you at the races!
If it wasn't for the colorful and diverse landscapes that decorate and geographically define our country, where would we ride? Landscapes is a film series that celebrates and depicts the fruit of the earth's time and toils with the elements that have helped to create and shape the terrain we mountain bike across today. Volume Two of Landscapes showcases several sides of the multi faceted trail systems found in Durango, CO. This elevated, mountainous country provides a plethora of variation and trail options for any mountain bike adventurer to explore.
Situated at 6,512 feet above sea level in the lush Animas River Valley, Durango, Colorado is a town that is as rich in culture, history, and outdoor recreation as the surrounding ore laden San Juan Mountains. The former mining town has it's own quirky, laid back vibe; an eclectic mix of mining town meets mountain town meets the west.
With a long standing reputation as a bicycling mecca, Durango turned out to be an optimum choice for us to spend time exploring on two wheels. Spiraling outwards from the hub of downtown, the countryside is magnanimous.
The ever present contour of rugged mountain peaks that define Colorado's high country seem to be synonymous with the horizon in nearly every direction.
The riding found in the higher elevations can be grueling with arduous ascents, sometimes leaving you thinking that your oxygen just might have been stolen from you like a thief in the night. But it doesn't really matter, because the descents and the surroundings, along with the whole experience, completely overpower those minute grumblings. Especially when you blast down the mountain with an ear-splitting grin while your entire focus and being are trained on the trail as it flashes by before you and still winds downward thousands of feet below you.
We spent some time wandering through the high country in the outlying mountain passes sprawled around Durango, it was as if you're taking a step back into time.
Abandoned ghost towns, ripe with dilapidated wooden buildings, endure the harsh winters and picturesque summers slowly succumbing to the inevitable forces of nature and time.
Old abodes, equipment, mines and mills in various stages of decomposition are often in view, blending in with the natural surrounds, silent and weather-beaten monuments of a time passed.
These artifacts of a different era made for remarkable, exploratory stops during our adventures in the high alpine single track wonderland.
Many of Durango's different riding areas provide trails that make their way through twinkling groves of aspen and meadows stippled with an abundance of flowers that range from every colour under the sun. This scenery is definitely more noticeable when you stop for a ride regroup.
There are numerous trailheads and trails to be found scattered everywhere about the city, it seems. An added bonus is that all of these different, local riding locations are unique unto themselves.
Rocky terrain and scrub brush dominate the landscape with clay coloured earth cushioning the tires' tread in some of the trail riding regions.
One of the things that makes this mountain biking haven stand out was the ability to spend a day on a trail that carried you through stands of pine passing an occasional crystalline lake if that is what you were in the mood for.
Or if you wanted a completely different ride the next day, it wasn't a problem to hit up a trail with manmade features including jumps, drops, and berms.
We happened to be in Durango during the summer months in which monsoon season dictates the weather pattern. Once this tumultuous weather hits, many a trail day can turn into an electrifying adventure.
A ride would start out with perfect, textbook weather. Over a matter of a couple hours, our senses would become bombarded with brilliant flashes of light accompanied by the sounds of roaring thunder.
The thunderheads sometimes brought moisture that turned the dirt into tacky trail heaven, or on other occasions, completely saturated us and the trail completely with torrents of rain. Whatever the ensuing weather brought, we knew we were always in for a thriller, hair-raising time.
Whether it's after spring snow melt, during the warm, sunny months of summer, or in the autumn, Durango is definitely a place with a genuine multitude of trails to ride and enjoy on a mountain bike.
Projekt Roam was founded by husband and wife, Colt and Jessee Maule in 2010. It has been their mission to travel North America in search of places that celebrate the unparalleled beauty and freedom of not only the bike, but the terrain we ride as well. Plan your own trip to Durango, CO and check out more photos, film, and riding locations throughout North America at www.gravityrideguide.com.
Thanks to our sponsors for some great product and to all of our new friends who have helped us out along the way, ride on.
Words: Jessee Maule
Photos/Film: Colt & Jessee Maule (Filmed May 2013)
Riders: Colt Maule & Jessee Maule
The boys over at Banshee Bikes sent this along today it is a good read on wheel size.
"You may have read certain online and printed marketing startegies which talk about wheelsize with a significant bias towards one size. The size they promote will always be either the only size that the source company produces, or the size that they want to push. Intentional marketing spiels are often very misleading and can skew the purchaser's judgement.
I feel it is my duty to set the record straight by writing a series of blog posts that kick off with this one, which addresses two key components of wheel size: weight and dimensions (and little bit of strength thrown in for good measure!). I plan to give unbiased information that you may find useful when deciding what size hoops you want your next purchase to be.
I can offer nonpartisan information (actual facts, rather than marketing blurb) as here at Banshee we offer all 3 mountain bike wheel sizes. We let the customer decide what they want rather than force it upon them, so have no reason to promote one over any other.
Every wheel size has its pros and cons, so picking the best wheelsize for you really comes down to personal preferance. The main things to consider when picking wheel size are your riding style, riding purpose (style or speed), the terrain you ride, and rider height, but there are also many other factors. I'll try my best to cover the main ones.
The following camparisons for this whole series are based on using Maxxis High Roller II 2.3" tires on each wheel size with same rim width for all sizes.
Any comparison I do will be relative to 650b wheels since they are the middle wheel size and so it makes the % change figures clear and consistant.
Dimensions: (Outer tire dimensions taken from official Maxxis 3D files)
Straight away this table is likely to cause some confusion... because as you can see, none of the rims or tires match up to their name sake. You can find out why this is the case by reading from a master of bike knowledge Sheldon Brown.
However, one point to notice is that while 650b is marketed as 27.5", it is only 1" larger diameter than 26", and 1.5" smaller than 29", so it is significantly closer to 26" than 29. The 650b tire (often marketed as the 27.5") does not actually fall equally between the 26" and the 29" tires, so the characteristics of the 650b are far more similar to 26" than 29" wheels.
Obviously, tire and wheel build weights can vary significantly for all wheel sizes. So I'm sticking with 2.3" wide High roller II 3C/EXO/TR. For the wheels, I will use Stan's ZTR Flow EX wheels for each size.
Static weight (the weight of an unrotating wheel) is often emphasised by marketing teams. But it only really matters when you lift the bike on and off a rack or carry it on your back. However, static weight does have an effect on the...
Moment of Inertia
Moment of inertia is resistance to angular velocity change about an axis of rotation. Basically, the higher the moment of inertia of a wheel the harder it is to accelerate (and decelerate). This is far more significant than static weight when riding a bike.
Moment of inertia is related to both radius and mass, as Moment of Inertia (I) = Mass x Radius². A low moment of inertia results in a fast accelerating wheel (easy to start spinning). The flip side of this is that a high moment of inertia is harder to decelerate (harder to stop spinning), and so the wheel will carry the speed better once rolling if all other factors are equal.
The below table shows approximate moments of inertia by using the BSD as the effective rotational radius for all wheel sizes.
What these numbers illustrate is that if you ride flowy trails that do not require lots of braking and accelerating back up to speed, then a larger wheel might be a better choice. However, if the trail demands regular braking and pedaling up to speed again then a smaller wheel might be better suited.
If using the same effective components, then as the wheel size increases the weight and inertia increase accordingly (as you would expect)... but because inertia increases at a rate that is proportional to the radius squared, it goes up more steeply than weight as the wheel size increases.
A factor that is strangely often overlooked by marketing teams is that of the strength and stiffness of the wheel. I find this particularily strange as wheels cost a lot of money, and are subject to a lot of abuse, and personally the lifespan of a wheel is a significant factor to me when chosing what set to invest in.
If comparing like to like wheel builds (same rims, hubs etc), smaller wheels will always inherintly be stronger than larger wheels. This is due to wider gaps between spoke eyelets and poorer spoke triangulation etc. So strength to weight ratio is something that will always be won by smaller wheels.
It is however easy enough to compensate for this by getting stronger and stiffer wheels, but they do generally either weigh, or cost more. So something has to give.
It doesn't stop there....
Weight, dimensions and strength are obviously very important factors to take into account when considering what wheel size to choose. But... there are other factors too! And if this mini-blast of physics chat hasn't put you off too much, stay tuned for future blog posts about topics where bigger wheels have the advantage."
Perfect sunny conditions prevailed for the final World Cup race of the 2013 season here in Leogang, Austria, where Trek World Racing’s remaining uninjured downhill riders Neko Mulally (USA) and George Brannigan (NZL) had solid qualifiers Saturday. Neko had a career best qualifier coming in 7th place, and George had top 10 splits on his way down the hill, but 400m from the line had a crash which cost him time. However both riders went into the finals today knowing they had top 10 pace.
George went off about 1 hour before Neko and had a great run going. His run put him into the hot-seat as fastest rider at that point but only after unclipping his foot on the approach to the same corner where he fell in qualifying, crushing the family jewels.
“Yeah that was a pretty uncomfortable way to finish the run, but overall it was going well until then. I’m sure I lost a few seconds and even though I’ve ended up 13th for the day, I was having a solid top 10 run until that mistake. Considering I also hurt my shoulder in the crash yesterday and it wasn’t that good today, I do know the speed’s there and I feel 100% back to my best now”, said George shortly after leaving the hot-seat, where he sat for close to an hour.
Neko was on a great run as well and would have slotted into 3rd at the end of his run, and a guaranteed top 10, but lost 3 seconds in the final sector after making an error while pushing hard.
Neko said: “I knew I was having a great run, perhaps my best ever in World Cup racing and as I got towards the lower section of the course I made the conscious decision to keep pushing. Sometimes it’s easier to back off when you’ve had a great run for most of the course, but really great runs only come when you push the whole way. It can be riskier and unfortunately for me I did make that one mistake, but I’m glad I pushed for the result rather than be conservative. Finishing top 15 overall for the season was my goal, and today I achieved that”.
Team Owner Martin Whiteley summed up the Downhill season. “Injury definitely played a big part in our 2013 season. Aside from George’s knee recovery which we were aware of coming into the season, Brook’s shoulder injury before Andorra had a big impact for us. Then with Greg fracturing his collarbone and separating his shoulder in South Africa, it made for a tough time. Having said that, we have an awesome group of riders and there is strong team unity, and for me that’s very positive. Neko and George have done a great job these last 2 World Cup races and I know we’ll be back very strong in 2014.”
Next month Neko and Greg are planning to race in Mexico at the Taxco Downhill, and some other events may be announced in the coming days.
2013 UCI Leogang Junior Men Qualifying Results
|2||WALLACE Mark||CAN19950601||DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING||+1.350|
|4||VERGIER Loris||FRA19960507||LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC||+3.397|
|5||JONES Michael||GBR19950222||FMD RACING / INTENSE CYCLES||+4.774|
|6||GRAHAM Innes||GBR19960703||MS MONDRAKER TEAM||+6.075|
|7||ALGARRA NAVARRO Daniel||ESP19950314||SPAIN||+6.338|
|10||COLOMBO Francesco||ITA19951209||TEAM AIROH AXO SANTACRUZ||+6.916|
|11||ZABJEK Jure||SLO19951011||UNIOR TOOLS TEAM||+7.512|
|14||GANNICOTT George||GBR19950311||DIRT NORCO RACE TEAM||+9.563|
2013 UCI Leogang Women Qualifying Results
|1||ATHERTON Rachel||GBR19871206||GT FACTORY RACING||4:00.974|
|2||RAGOT Emmeline||FRA19860527||LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC||+1.579|
|3||KINTNER Jill||USA19811024||TEAM NORCO INTERNATIONAL||+4.123|
|4||CARPENTER Manon||GBR19930311||MADISON SARACEN DOWNHILL TEAM||+6.243|
|6||CHARRE Morgane||FRA19900609||MS MONDRAKER TEAM||+8.720|
|7||NICOLE Myriam||FRA19900208||COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION||+12.603|
|8||SEAGRAVE Tahnee °||GBR19950615||FMD RACING / INTENSE CYCLES||+12.697|
|9||HANNAH Tracey||AUS19880613||HUTCHINSON UR||+14.367|
|13||CERNILOGAR Zarja||SLO19891218||BLACKTHORN GT||+21.859|
2013 UCI Leogang Men Qualifying Results
|1||SMITH Steve||CAN19891125||DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING||3:30.029|
|2||HANNAH Michael||AUS19831121||HUTCHINSON UR||+1.213|
|3||ATHERTON Gee||GBR19850226||GT FACTORY RACING||+1.263|
|4||BRUNI Loic||FRA19940513||LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC||+1.935|
|5||BLENKINSOP Samuel||NZL19881028||LAPIERRE GRAVITY REPUBLIC||+3.250|
|6||BROSNAN Troy||AUS19930713||SPECIALIZED RACING DH||+4.025|
|7||MULALLY Neko||USA19930219||TREK WORLD RACING||+5.172|
|8||PEAT Steve||GBR19740617||SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE||+6.040|
|9||GUTIERREZ VILLEGAS Marcelo||COL19900509||GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM||+6.258|
|10||BEER Nick||SUI19870917||DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING||+6.376|
|11||BRYCELAND Josh||GBR19900323||SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE||+7.317|
|12||BEAUMONT Marc||GBR19840925||GT FACTORY RACING||+7.855|
|14||FIGARET Faustin||FRA19931107||TOPCYCLE BY TREK||+8.129|
|15||THIRION Rémi||FRA19900423||COMMENCAL / RIDING ADDICTION||+8.247|