Helly Hansen riders win the TransRockies

Helly Hansen is proud to announce that pro mountain bike riders Andreas Hestler and Seamus McGrath have won the 2006 TransRockies stage race, edging out their closest competitors by almost 3 minutes. This marks the third consecutive victory for Hestler and the first for partner McGrath. __Often referred to as the ultimate test of physical endurance and mental determination for mountain bike athletes, the TransRockies is a 7 day, 600km stage race which sees riders crossing back and forth over the Continental Divide as they grind their way up 12,000 meters in the majestic Canadian Rockies.
Aside from the obvious physical and mental strain, this year’s competitors had to deal with challenging weather conditions, ranging from scorching heat to torrential rain and hail. Hestler and McGrath were protected from the elements, thanks to an outerwear sponsorship from Helly Hansen. __“Having our outerwear covered was a load off my mind as I knew I could be warm and dry for all stages of the TransRockies” said Hestler. “When you are tired and cold, you can’t focus on your performance. Being comfortable despite the changing conditions made a huge difference” _
For more information on the TransRockies, click through to: www.transrockies.com

About Helly Hansen:
Helly Hansen has manufactured technical outdoor apparel since 1877.Today the brand is recognized as a global leader in technical apparel and footwear designs for a range of alpine and water sports activities. Helly Hansen products are distributed in more than 40 countries. Helly Hansen’s American operations are based in Seattle, Wa. For more information on the summer 2006 collection or to locate visit www.hellyhansen.com


Zany Japanese

They have come through and posted a very small video of the finals at Rotorua. The video captures the amount of spectators that come out to events such as this in countries other than the U.S. There is also a small clip of Sam burning through some turns.


More to come soon...


Sam is the man!

Sam Hill just won the Worlds in Rotorua, New Zealand. I don't have a pic of him right now so lets just stare at Peatys Worlds bike. Thank you Mama Sessler.

Sam Hill 3:11:03
Greg Minnaar 3:15:25
Nathan Rennie 3:17:16
Steve Peat 3:17:92
Chris Kovarik 3:18:04

I stayed up like a nerd watching the Tissot times updates. Kovarik was in the lead until Hill kicked him out with a 7 second lead the others quickly fell into place. Mick Hannah and Cedric walk away with 6th and 7th. I will post some pics when they are available. Until then check out this video of seeding that some Japanese guys took. Apparently Sam thought it would be faster to jump all the turns. Kids these days. Skinsuits galore!



2006 Worlds Qualifying

The qualifying results for Downhill are in. The course in Rotorua, New Zealand is extremely fast, most riders are sporting skinsuits in an effort to shave time. Nathan Rennie posted the fastest time of the day with 3:12:00, fellow Syndicate rider Steve Peat was on his heels at 3:12:35. Greg Minnaar, Marc Beaumont, Mick Hannah and Sam Hill all trail behind but it is anyones race. Mud tires are on just about every rig and the course conditions don't appear to be drying up. In the Juniors the top American time came from Andrew Pierce of Go-Ride, qualifying in the number ten spot he will still need to make up about 15 seconds if he wants to podium. Tracey Moseley was able to edge out Sabrina Jonnier for the number 1 spot and KHS must be tickled pink to have Melissa Buhl in the third spot for today. The racing is going to be very tight and everyone not present at the race will be patiently awaiting any video footage we can get our hands on. Stay tuned.


New Bits & Kiwis

Burgtec has been pretty busy refining the Penthouse pedal and producing direct mount stems for Marzocchi's 888 and the Rock Shox Boxxer. The both models are available in two reaches 40 and 50mm, they both come in black and are supplied with Ti bolts. Give em a ring if you are interested or drop a line with the boys at info@fifthdistrictcycles.com they will get the goods for ya.

On to gambling. The LitterMag Website has the OTB all setup simply give them a visit and place a free bet on who you think will win the Worlds in Rotorua, New Zealand. You fill in the blanks with the names and times down to the hundreth (two digits to the right of the decimal!). The winner who picks the exact time will win a truck load of free merch from all sorts of expensive companies. You may even win a complete bike.
Updates from the races are coming in slowly but the pictures of the course look beautiful, very green with rich black soil.
IronHorse Bikes even equipped all of their riders with new frames as a way of saying thank you. Each rider will now be sporting a 2007 Gold Sunday. Getting anxious to see what kind of photos that Gary Perkins of FLIPPER will be taking, his site should be updated as soon as the racing is finished.
Speaking of photos this one of Syndicate rider Nathan Rennie was snapped by the good guys at Transcend Magazine.

These photos were taken by Momma Sessler of her boy Steve Peat profilin on the hill, the big water gap and Cedric gettin loose in the soil, nice bike Cedric! The new 2007 Commencal DH now sports a one piece top-tube 150 rear spacing, wider bottom bracket shell and adjustable drop-outs.

2007 Commencal line up.

Here are some of the newest frames and complete bikes from Commencal for 2007.



Disappointment is a 3-stage process.
1. Making a bad decision.
2. Compromising yourself to make it work.
3. The humiliation of reality.

Breaking things is a fact of life. We are all trying to break our own records by breaking out of the mold. We break the bank in the process sometimes. We can break preconceived notions and even break our hearts. Nothing is more broken than a spirit that does not try again, even if that cost them another 1000 bucks.

Photos of destruction provided by the good people at Farkin.net


Snowshoe Race Report

We have been to Snowshoe West Virginia entirely too many times. The drive is long and the people are, well let’s just say they have most of their teeth. Usually the event is the NORBA National race that we are attending but this past year NORBA moved onto Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. We all remember that debacle. So we are here to race the third race of the Powerade Series. Snowshoe is known for its abundance of rain and the redneck mud it creates, entitled “redneck mud” for its color and stubbornness. This race we were in for a change, a little sunshine and dry conditions were a great welcome for the weary traveler. We are heading down 216, which is a stretch of two-lane road that is riddled with sharp turns fog and deer. The deer would be our problem. He was a happy little guy frolicking in the woods never expecting that his world would collide with the quarter panel of a diesel truck. He lives on with the knowledge of denting and scratching
Marvin’s truck and living to tell the tale.

We arrive in Snowshoe around 10 pm and decide to save some bucks and sleep in the truck. As roomy and spacious as the commercial will lead you to believe, the interior cab of a Ford F-350 is a little cramped for this 6-foot downhill racer.
It is incredibly difficult to sleep and after what seems to be hours of tossing and turning and the occasional nap, what seems to be an eternity reveals itself as merely 30 minutes.
The morning greets us and I have pulled almost 2 hours of precious sleep. We decide to search out coffee and a WV breakfast. Practice starts at 10 am and we are anxious to ride having not put any real time on the bike since Whistler we are hoping we are ready for the challenge. As we start down the course the speed reveals itself, the course is a long 2.75 miles winding in and out of the western territory of the park. A few man-made obstacles such as a twenty-five foot road gap help present us with ye olde “Cohones Check”. This is going to be fast.

We meet with fellow HHMA team rider Matt Slater exchange travel stories and continue to practice. After practice we head over to the other side of the mountain and watch the Dual Slalom event, as the name ensues Dual is a race in which to riders race down a given course with each rider dodging around his or her colored flags. As the practice is underway we decide to rinse off some of the mud from our bikes and make plans for dinner.
We eat and it is good. We also check into our hotel and sleep in large beds, I’m happy.
The next morning we head out and prepare for practice and our race runs.
We are able to get two practice runs in just to find our race runs scheduled for 1:30 and 2:00 plenty of time to get the nervous jitters and let our muscles get too cold.

As 1:30 rolls around chaos creates delays and I don’t get into the start house until 2:45.
The audible beeps and I push off, this is a long course and I don’t want to exhaust myself to early, one of the hardest things to do in a long race run is to hold back, I do my best.
As I hit the fire road section I hit the step-up jump and clear the 15 feet to the transition giving me much more momentum for the long descent. I remember to breathe and to just have fun. I pedal my way out of the woods onto the slope and hit the large jump at the bottom crossing the finish line with a time of 5:01:05, good enough for 4th place and the cash payout. Marvin has some bike issues, which cost him a decent run, but we all have smile on our faces. The gods smiled down on us and held the rain; we almost were able to give them an animal sacrifice at the start of this trip. Maybe ‘almost’ is good enough for them.


Whistler Report Part 1

“All I know is that I woke up in a creek!”

That could quite possibly be the quote of the year. This year’s annual trek to Whistler, British Columbia was not without incident. No, the bikes were not stolen but a broken bone, separated muscle 2500 dollars worth of Canuck medical care and some great stories are what we came back with.

Let me set the stage for you. Wendy, Will and Mike were the virgins and the returning champs were Jen, Marvin, Ned and myself. Two of the virgins would meet their doom on the first day of riding. But I am getting a head of myself.

We arrive in Seattle late on Thursday night. When I say ‘we’ I speak of Jen, Marvin and myself. We have plans to stay the night right in SeaTac at one of the cheaper motels. We are picked up by the courtesy shuttle and witness the sandman visit the driver, luckily the curb woke him up. Should have been a hint. Next, whoever was in charge of cleaning up the crime scene in the room before we got there, should be fired. The smell in the room was horrendous, almost made my nose bleed; I think Marvin even cried a little. It was bad. Hey! We are from Baltimore we can do this.

The next morning we take a cab and pickup the truck from the rental lot.
We pack up after breakfast and head out to Bellevue, located right outside of Seattle, to meet and greet with the Helly Hansen US office.
Nice digs, the people were absolutely great they gave us a tour and shot lots of shit with us about the new mountain bike specific line for 2007. It was great to be able to put a face with a name. (We will have more info on the 2007 line in the next few days.) After spending time with HH we set out for the drive up. We decided to take a new route through Vancouver and try to cut some car time out of the trip. It seemed to work as long as you didn’t get lost, we got lost. Back on the highway again we finally arrive in Whistler and find our luxurious accommodations. We begin to meet up with the rest of the crew as Mike and Ned arrive a few hours after us and Will and Wendy a little while after them. We have dinner and take a look at the Slopestyle course.

The next morning we wake early and dress for battle. We mount our trusty steeds and march to the frontlines. For those of you who do not have your finger on the pulse of mountain biking, Whistler happens to be the best place to ride your bike, gravity assisted of course. We ride all the trails we can find from the very top of the mountain to the mid-mountain station.
Hours pass and soon we are feeling the effects of exhaustion and that’s when Mike and Will’s trip takes a bad turn, on the very same section of trail they both hurt themselves. Will places his hand down during a fall and breaks one of the small but necessary bones in his wrist. A few hours later Mike has a small hiccup there and twists his ankle severely separating the muscle form the bone. The next day they will collectively pay about 2500.00 for some face time with a doctor.

Over the next few days more and more people pour into town with eventually 45-50,000 people in attendance at the peak. It is stunning to see so many people out for a bicycle event. This is no small town battle of the bands, where the crowd is filled with the girlfriends of the other bands. These are actual spectators. Many of these people have never seen an event of this nature. Some do not even ride a bicycle, yet. To have that kind of cheering section is unbelievable. These people are rooting for everyone!

As we go to register for the two races we are flabbergasted at the prices. Almost 120 dollars to race a single event! Have I ever mentioned how broke we all are… We do not have the funds to do this. We have traveled far to be here and we are enjoying ourselves regardless of the racing so it seems the crowd of spectators just got a little bit bigger. We continue to ride each day savoring every minute of riding and every foot of trail. We are greeted by many friends from the bike world and get to catch up and swap stories, picking up where we left off.

The day of the Slopestyle competition was eye opening. These guys must be injecting pure insanity right into their veins. Giant man-made obstacles littered throughout the course with riders being judged on fluidity, creativity and overall craziness. Some incredibly huge stunts and many pairs of huge golden cohones were scattered about. Visual adrenaline. The winners ended up being those with the cleanest runs that could pull a trick off the 35 foot video screen drop. (See pic) They are either all winners in my book or all stupid, I guess it depends on the mood.


Some news.

How have you been? I have been busy, that’s for sure. The Whistler trip was fantastic and the report will be up in a few days. Lets dive into some more current news:
*Nico Vouilloz came out of retirement to win the Megavalanche!
*Jared Graves and Fabien Barel are both injured and will not be competing in the Worlds
in New Zealand.
*Bernadito Pizzaro is in a coma after surgery in Vancouver from a bad fall in Whistler.
*John Kirkaldie is going into retirement at the end of this season.
*Pastrana pulled a double back-flip at the X-Games.
*The next installment of “Kranked” will be premiering at Interbike along with “NWD7”.
*Sam Hill is really fast. He won the Garbanzo DH.
More to come. I promise.



Specialized is making some pretty serious headway in the 'all-mountain' product category. Supposedly, their '07 flagship bike weighs around 27 pounds and has about 6.5" of travel.
Also noteworthy is Specialized branded front and rear suspension. (they're Fox products) This suspension trend includes previous players Cannondale and Scott, although they don't license an independent suspension manufacturer.
Whether or not 'all-mountain' is a needed product segment–time will tell. It is a compromise at the end of the day, but each year 'all-mountain' bike technology seems to narrow that compromise.
Right now though, strength of frame construction is an issue with 'all-mountain' bikes. That amount of suspension (exceedingly more and more efficient) makes a bike maybe more capable than its lightweight construction allows.
I guess 'intended use' plays a role in protecting the manufacturer from would-be cliff dwellers. But its a point we should take seriously.
Look before you leap. (into the market, etcetera...)