Max is hard at work.

Prototype Commencal DH bike spotted at the Vigo, World Cup. A source states that this is the "2009" DH frame. It sports a squatter swingarm, lower shockmount all squeezed together with a more compact linkage system. The shock is mounted to the top of the down tube and sits farther forward than previous. The top tube seems to be round and meets the downtube earlier for a larger weld surface. You can really see the differences compared to this years frame, pictured next to it.

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R & D for 500, Alex.

Kovarik's M5
Rennies V10
Fairclough's RN01

Following in the footsteps of Dave Smith and the other goofballs from Idaho here are some pics from the pits of Vigo. The main thing these bikes all have in common are that they are new, lighter versions of their predecessors. The Intense M3 is now the M5, more stand over height a reduction in frame weight and a slightly shorter wheelbase. Ditto for the new Santa Cruz V10, with the addition of carbon links and a cleaner dropout. As for “bicicleta misteriosa” known as the Honda Rn01, there is increased stand over, slightly thinner swing arm and a slimmed down Showa fork.
These prototypes show the desire to refine a product and the testing that these athletes perform is an integral part of the R & D process.
That is “Research and Development” not “Ride and Die”.
Just some eye-candy.

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French kiss from e.13

“Nico has established a career of dominance on the World Cup circuit, mostly using custom equipment to capture his titles. Last year during his Megavalanche wins, he used a Dura Ace crankset with a custom chainguide to race. __Now that Nico is coming back to the World Cup downhill circuit, he’ll need the very best in chain retention systems, which was why, after a decade of custom guide use, he chose to join the e.thirteen team so he could use the race-winning LG-1 for his world cup races. ‘I'm very happy to ride with an e.thirteen chain retention system. I always rode with a handmade chain guide. I found the e.thirteen LG-1 ready to go, efficient and light!’ e.thirteen has already established another strong season of dominance and podium appearances, and now that Nico is on board, we can expect to see even more e.thirteen action at the races.”

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Light Costumes

Along with the light bike trend is a whole new breed of 'athletes'. These guys are NOT invited to the in crowd? You decide, this guy will definitely hang out with you, if you're down...

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Light bikes

Following trends is what makes the industry (world?) go 'round. Building your bike as light as possible is your current invite to the 'in' crowd. Here's an example; 39 pounds with a less than svelte coil fork.

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Massanutten Race

Jon Kranzel ripping it up on his Commencal. pic by Damian Breach
Massanutten, Virginia was the second stop of the Gravity East Series. The race takes place on a Saturday so that you can see mama on Sunday. The course is the original course of the 1997 Grundig sponsored World Cup race. A lot of history for this little resort. We arrived Friday morning for practice and to complete registration. We got out on the trail around noon and tried to sort out all the track details. Still awaiting our Commencal Supreme DH frames we were again on the Mini DH with 6 inches of travel. This little point would come back to haunt me. The trail is the same every year but the lines change conforming to the embedded roots and rocks littered on the trail. Getting up to speed was a bit of a task for me, I had just found out that the previous weekend I had cracked a rib in Reading. Lungs sore, I pushed on and by the end of the day found myself asleep in the pits exhausted from practice. “Marvelous” on the other hand was charging he had really tackled the course and his line choice was fantastic. Keeping up with him was a task in and of it self. We got some advice from Tony and Dane from Reading Racing and sought out accommodations at a local inn. The older couple who ran the place were really nice and thought we were crazy for choosing to ride down the mountain. Dinner was superb…by now you must know my desire for all things edible. A good night sleep and we were setting out to the mountain with breakfast in hand. Practice was a lot easier for me, I was keeping good speed and Marvin had to really try to shake me off his wheel. At this point we begin to notice all the riders that have shown up. This Gravity East thing may work out just fine. 11:30 Racer meeting, 12:00 Racing starts. Massanutten Mountain does not go willingly, you must pay the toll. Luckily for us the Reading crew paid the toll for all the riders, I stopped counting at around the 10th flat. This little detail would also come back to haunt many of the racers during their runs. Dane Clay would be the first to get bit by the “Pinch” snake followed by Marvin and about 18 other racers. It is really too bad for Marvin, like I said he was charging! As I lined up at the gate, I surprisingly had no pre-race jitters; a stronger force was in control like a magnet it was pulling at my gut to reach the bottom, that power was hunger. I was famished! I bolt out of the start gate bmx-style and made my way to the first rock garden, launching off the first platform rock, I begin to pull up for the log kicker only to smash to the ground. Hitting the ground hurt! I stammer to my feet and regain control of my unwilling steed and try to make up precious time. I begin cranking through every single section pre-jumping every root and rock searching for the backside, cut a few corners tight and sprint out to the last fire road. With the bike completely pedaled out I shift down and crank up the incline back to single-track. I gap the first rock section the step down the next root section, pinned on the last bit of track before the rock section. Two 9-inch trees that stand guard at the top protect the last rock garden. You must fish between them at speed and prepare for the rock assault. As I barreled toward them I realized I had never had to negotiate between them at this speed. Turning, my front wheel bangs into the base of the tree to the right sending my poor shoulder, into the left. I had come to a sudden stop. Having to unclip and get myself trough the trees cost me a lot of time and mentally I was starting to give up. Trying to pedal in the rock section to regain time was tough. As I cross the finish line I felt defeated in a major way. I finished in 9th place. I am happy to have gotten 9th and happy not to have really injured myself. Good friend Jason Guenther pulled a 2nd place win and Mike Crnjarich pulled a 3rd place win for his class. Marvin and I were really pushing the envelope with these bikes on this course. Diablo Domination’s first race is this coming weekend and then of course is the U.S. Open. We should have our big bikes by then, at least we hope.
We would like to thank:

Commencal Bikes
DT Swiss
Crank Brothers
Super Feet
Mountain Khakis
Smith Optics

Check out Damian Breach's report on the race including some beautiful photos and some wild video of fans at LitterMag

Ohh I almost forgot, Dough-boy needs a new bike!

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Flipper is Back

It is that time of year. The World Cups have started and the races are in full swing. For those of us that don't have the "skrilla" to travel to all of these fabulous venues, we have an answer. [Flipper] Gary Perkins is one of the most outstanding photographers in mountain biking. His work is seen in just about every single print publication highlighting our sport. He is present at every World Cup and major race that falls in between. Always on the heels of the pros. After every World Cup I excitedly sit and click through each of his images. He has the ability to create giants from men and women that simply pedal a bicycle. What can I say? I'm a bike geek and if you have read this far so are you. Do yourself a favor and check out his work. That way we can all "travel" to the World Cups. Thank you Gary.

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Vigo Mens DH Update.

Here are the Mens DH results.

1 Marc Beaumont 2.37.21
2 David Vasquez 2.38.57
3 Greg Minnaar 2.39.09
4 Steve Peat 2.39.22
5 Sam Hill 2.40.76
6 Gee Atherton 2.41.39
7 Mick Hannah 2.42.71

Big congratulations to Marc Beaumont, his conditions were dry in his race run as opposed to all the other riders. But thats racing. Vasquez was on fire! Great to see him take the 2nd position, Lord knows the his confidence could use it. The Mens World Cup field is such a tight group of guys that is ever changing it good to see things get the old "Shake n Bake".

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UCI World Cup 1 Vigo

Rock on 4X, rock on...

Vigo, Spain brings the first stop to the World Cup series. Peaty qualified first in the DH as Gee Atherton took the win in Mens 4X. Last heard that Mr. Marc Beaumont was in the DH hot seat completing his run on the dry track that is now filled with mud and hail from the afternoon rains. Some good news for Commencal with Dan Atherton taking qualifying in 4X and his bro taking the win. Romain Saladini takes 5th in 4X. Some sad news is that Commencal pretty girl, Rachel Atherton broke her arm and will be out for 6 weeks to recover. In womens DH, Sabrina the Teenage Witch took the win with an alomst magical gap, I'm sure she is hoping that her Sam will meet her on the podium. Well see. He has done it before, taking a win in 2005 with the worst conditions during his run and beating the mens field by 8 seconds. Bastard! On a side note: Kiwi QuikSilver, Sam Blenkisop qualified 10th with a 2:36. He will be giving alot of these vets a run for their money.

1 GBR19850226 ATHERTON Gee 45.92
2 USA19710906 LOPES Brian 45.58
3 CZE19810401 PROKOP Michal 45.40
4 NED19780519 WICHMAN Joost 46.16
5 FRA19861010 SALADINI Romain 46.00

1 NED19820707 BEERTEN Anneke 53.13
2 USA19811024 KINTNER Jill 1.03
3 ESP19770825 CASTRO FERNANDEZ Eva 56.01

No, no thats not a girl thats Duncan Riffle, simple mistake.

1 Sabrina Jonnier 2:52.72
2 Tracy Moseley 2:59.99
3 Emmeline Ragot 3:02.28

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Snowshoe Series Update

The Snowshoe Race Series has been in a state of limbo regarding pricing. Initially the pricing brokedown to almost $100 for a single race. This caused many area racers to scratch it off the schedule. They went back to the drawing board and were able to reduce the price and hopefully still attract a decent crowd. Here is what Snowshoe had to say:
"After many discussions and debate I finally have some concrete answers for you guys on entry fees for this season. We will be offering a discounted two day trail pass for race entrants at $50 for saturday and sunday of the events. Race entry will stay the same at $25. This will bring the total entry fees to 75.00 total for the weekend and 25.00 for season pass holders."

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Duryea Race Results

Marvin gettin his pedal on!
The race results from this past weekends race have been posted on the Reading Racing site. Congratulations to friends Eric Charles, Andrew Farrell and Kevin Liebig. A great start to the season.

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Duryea Downhill Race recap.

Reading Racing put together yet another great race in their hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. The course started at the top of the hill next to the fire tower. It winded down the hill crossing the street several times. Nothing too crazy, some rock gardens and some steep sections that were pretty dry. We showed up on Saturday morning looking to get some more time on the bike and secure our “lodging” or floor space. First ones to the top we had met up with Kevin Liebig and the three of us set out on the course. Marvin was the first to spill with a super-moto style slide across 20 feet of asphalt. I ate a plate of dirt with a high-speed digger, in a poor attempt to squeeze two lines together. Some scrapes and bruises but all in all we were happy to just be riding. After such a long winter it was great to see so many excited riders out and about all with that same itch. The STD of biking had infected all of us. We were treated to some great food by some of the course marshals from the area and many a chuckles from their take on the whole “downhill” thing.
Race day was a little brisk but the sun warmed many of us as we waited our turn at the start gate. Jon Kranzel was the first team rider off the gate and into the woods. Ned would follow several minutes after. Ned’s riding skills have improved so much over the past few years and his confidence on the bike is evident as he rides. I was the third team member to start and then a little ways behind me Marvin would head out. My run was fast at the start, faster than I had been in practice. A few little details here and there would keep me worrying till the bottom and the long flat straights would test the lungs. I chose to jump the bunker and strained to keep it upright on the asphalt afterwards. The next small wood section would be my favorite, a fast entry upon a 6 foot roller would let you hop to the next and pump through the tight single-track. It was all behind me now. As I spotted Jesse, our gracious host the night before and currently the course marshal for the first dry steep section. I knew I was close to the end, close to water and close to regaining my breath. At the bottom we waited for Marvin and the rest of the Pro field to cross the line. Greeted by friends and fellow racers we all sat lamenting on our runs, the mistakes, crashes and flats. We all had a great time we won some prizes and got the first race out of the way with no major injuries to the body or the wallet. Lots of smiles. Thanks for the floor Fred.

A fast track, great organization, funny friends, superb weather and a gun-toting pizza patron made the whole weekend complete.

We would like to thank:

Commencal Bikes
DT Swiss
Crank Brothers
Super Feet
Mountain Khakis
Smith Optics

Team rider Jon Kranzel keeping it tucked!

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L2? you sunk my battleship.

The L2 is exactly what Caanondale Cut Team manager Aaron Chase broke in a nasty spill during the Qashqai Urban Challenge. The injury will take a long time to recover from his current issue is how he will return to the U.S. With his diagnosis the pressurized cabin of an airplane can be very dangerous. We will give you an update as it becomes available. Get well soon AC.

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Fontana Norba Results

Photo by www.sicklines.com

These results come courtesy of Dylan Dean. Big props to Marla for coming out to race DH.

Men Pro DH
1 Cody Warren
2 Nathan Rennie
3 Justin Leov
4 Andrew Neethling
5 Chris Kovarik
6 Eric Carter
7 Jared Rando
8 David KlassenVanOorschot
9 Amiel Cavalier
10 Duncan Riffle

Women Pro DH
1 Kathy Pruitt
2 Claire Buchar
3 Marla Streb
4 Lisa Myklak

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Drop it like its hot!

The outstanding human beings at 4130 who pump out the Dirt Magazine that I'm constantly raving about. Have decided to make a pivotal change, they are going from bi-monthly to monthly. Every 30 days they will hopefully be churning out those lovely buttery pages of perfectly baked bicycle goodness. Chocked full of stunning photography, killer design and words that mean something. Lets all cross our fingers and say a silent prayer in the hopes that they don't run out of material. Fairclough is on the cover of the latest mag ripping a whole in the earth with his new Honda...on flat pedals.
Thank you Dirt...

Our boys up north responsible for Marky Mark have a new trick up their sleeve. E.13 is making some limited edition parts in different colorways, such as this LG-1 that looks like it is comprised of marshmallow. The new gear will be available on May 7th so if your fast and can give Tobler a call you may just be able to scoop up the sweetness before its all gone. For those of you already sick of the "white" craze in the bike industry, they still sell black. So stop whining.

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