It’s Mid-June and if you are a fortunate resident of the fine province of British Columbia, you will know it’s been a fort night or two, since we last saw the sun. Words to describe the past month would line up something like this… Rainy, pounded, poured, soaked, saturated, soggy, pruned, pickled, to put it bluntly wet became an understatement two weeks ago. “Spring 2012″ has officially been retitled “Monsoon Season”. But like most weather woes, one hits a point where he accepts the soak, spins wheels, splits puddles, and has smashing good time. I teamed up with Gravity and my buddy Dave Peacock set out to have some fun in natures sweat lodge. Four days, two days of digging, two days of filming, and one hell of a good time amidst a sky full of soggy assailants. Boom! Monsoon Season ain’t so bad. Love the Soak.
Gravity Components headed down from Seattle to attend the fourth round of the North West Cup at Ski Bowl, Mt. Hood. Gravity Pro Racer’s Kyle Thomas and Charlie Sponsel were both in attendance along with Gravity’s Mike Estes, Scott Kemp, Mike Lawless, The Ministry of Descent, and newest Gravity Homeboy Adam “Smokey” Wright. The Gravity Crew was grillin’, chillin’ and down hillin’ the whole weekend. If you made it out there was a good chance you got a free burger off the Gravity Grill, listened to Mike Estes’ antics on the microphone, and even got to check out Gravity’s new Ice Grey Colorway!
Kyle Thomas ripped his shoulder out of socket during Pro Seeding and popped it back in mid run to qualify in 3rd place. Kyle is probably both tougher and faster than you. Here he shows his ability to shred through the pain on his way straight to the podium.
Scott Tucker, Casey Northern, and Petr Kakes are the men responsible for such a great series of events in Port Angeles and Ski Bowl. If you see these guys tell them thanks for an awesome job! These dudes are always welcome to a brat n’ beer from the Gravity tent. Scott Tucker: more cheers, more beers!
Logan Binggeli took the win at Angel Fire New Mexico aboard his KHS DH 300 decked out with Gravity Components.
Logan Rides the Gravity Light 7050 Cranks, 800mm bars, direct mount stem, Gravity Light pedals, post, and Orbit Option Headsets!
Check out their video from the event!
The USA Cycling Pro Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) continued with its fourth race over the weekend, the Mountain States Cup – Chile Challenge in Angel Fire, N.M. Logan Binggeli (Saint George, Utah/KHS) descended to victory in the pro men’s race while Jacqueline Harmony (Sedona, Ariz./IXS-510-Smith Optics) earned the women’s win; both taking over second place in the overall standings.
Binggeli edged second-place finisher Ben Furbee (Los Osos, Calif./KHS) by just over one second, covering the approximately 1,000 feet of descent in 5:46.14. Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah/Specialized USA Gravity) completed the run down Angel Fire in 5:48.79 to earn the bronze.
With the victory Binggeli moved into second position in the overall standings, 70 points behind overall world cup leader Aaron Gwin (Temecula, Calif./Trek World Racing) who has won two of the four Pro GRT races thus far. Gwin’s teammate Justin Leov (NZL/Trek World Racing) holds a firm grasp on third-place in the Pro GRT’s overall with four of six races completed.
Harmony ran away with the women’s victory at Chile Challenge, besting her closest competitor by 17 seconds. Wendy Palmer (Moab, Utah/Chile Bieks-Shamano-Fox-Sombrio) clocked a time of 6:54.25 to earn second place while Katy Hanlon (Avon, Colo./Mojo Wheels-Monster-Nema-Spy Optics) was third.
With the win Harmony propelled herself into second place in the overall standings, 55 points behind Lauren Daney (Stafford, Va./DRD Intense) who holds the Pro GRT lead with two races remaining.
|USA Cycling Pro GRT Standings:
In front of a huge home crowd siblings Gee and Rachel Atherton narrowly miss a double victory as they both podium at the British round of the UCI World Cup.
Qualifying in style with nearly 10 seconds advantage over the rest of the field Rachel was looking good for taking her first World Cup win on home soil, however she hadn’t bet on the Scottish weather taking a turn for the worse. Waking up to heavy rain on Sunday morning meant the course ridden on previous days was now looking and riding considerably different. The conditions caught Rach out as she rode her final practice run of the day, slipping off one of the many man made obstacles she fell heavily injuring her neck, receiving some quick treatment from the teams physio Rachel was left sore but still confident going into her race run.
World Champion and current World Cup leader Emmeline Ragot set a blistering time as the finals kicked off, her time of 5.25:027 was nearly 15 seconds slower than Rachels qualifying run the day before but with the weather making such a change to the track it proved to be very strong as rider after rider failed to topple the Frenchwoman, it was looking like a tall task for Atherton to challenge. But challenge she did as she went through the first interval time 1.7 seconds faster, losing time through the middle sector Rachel trailed 2.4 seconds at interval two, a strong lower section meant Rachel dived for the line missing the win by just 1.3 seconds.
“I was just too cautious all the way down, I really didn’t want to throw it away, Emmeline is riding well at the moment and I can’t afford to hold anything back if I’m going to win” commented a deflated Rachel. Trailing Ragot in the overall series by 120 points Rachel moved up to second in the series overtaking 3rd place finisher on the day Myriam Nicole.
In the men’s event it was another wet affair as the rain continued to hammer down throughout the 80 finalists runs, qualifying in second spot behind team mate Marc Beaumont Gee was chasing a repeat of his 2010 result where he claimed the win on his way to winning the World Cup title. It was the current World cup leader Aaron Gwin however that set the early pace, he suffered two crashes in Saturdays qualifying and started further back in the field. His time of 4.48:210 was the time for Gee to beat, Gee didn’t hold back as he went quicker at interval one, an offline stall in the woods meant that advantage was lost coming into Interval two, 4.1 seconds down Gee pushed hard and clawed nearly two seconds back but it wasn’t enough to topple Gwin or second placed rider Danny Hart slotting Gee in third, this left fastest qualifier Beaumont the only one who could stop Gwin. Marc who’s been on great form of late had his dream whipped from beneath him as he slipped on the first wooden board walk crashing had on to the rocks off the side, nursing his bike down after the crash he could do no better than 66th leaving Gwin with his second win and Gee his third podium place of the season.
Gee closed the gap to 60 points on second place Greg Minnaar in the overall but he still sits in third spot while Beaumonts crash moved him back to seventh, for the second event running the team took the team prize and continue to lead the standings as the series now moves over the Atlantic and into round four which takes place in Mt St Anne, Canada.
All Photos: Sven martin
Check out what we’ve been up to this year….
Last fall, Justin Olsen, Eric Porter, Kelly McGarry, Haruki “Harookz” Noguchi, and Stephen D’arrigo spent 8 days floating down the Green River in South Eastern Utah with Mountain Bike racks attached to their rafts, searching for unique and unridden terrain to ride.
Bike magazine is running a full feature article covering the trip in the July issue, which is hitting the shelves now. To coincide with the print article this video “Down River” video was just released showcasing their adventure, shot and edited by Gravity Homie Justin Olsen. It is an all encompassing video illustrating what happened on this trip.
“Down River” – Shot and Edited by Justin Olsen, Featuring Gravity Riders Eric Porter and Kelly McGarry, Still Photography by Harookz, River Support by Stephen D’arrigo.
All photography shot by Harookz
Rachel Atherton shines bright in Val di Sole
Riding her first World Cup of 2012 Rachel Atherton of GT Factory Racing took to the top step of the podium to celebrate an impressive win in front of a huge crowd in Val di Sole, Italy today.
Having missed Round One in South Africa in favour of recovering her shoulder after surgery, the youngest Atherton sibling was keen to make her first World Cup of the year one to remember. The steep and brutal track on the lower slopes of Val di Sole is one of the toughest on the circuit with new and old sections deep in loam hiding huge roots and rocks that were taking casualties all weekend.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Rachel take second spot behind the current World Champion Emmeline Ragot despite battling with back markers on her run. Trailing the French woman by 6.6 seconds, Rachel had some work to do during Sunday morning’s practice. Working hard on her lines and bike set up she finished the session happy and ready for the finals. Times were toppling as we worked through the woman’s field with an almost constant change to the top of the leader board. It wasn’t until Frenchwoman and number three seed Myriam Nicole blasted on track that a significant lead was had. Her time of 3:53.921 was a huge 10 seconds clear of the field and looking good for the win. However next up was Rachel. She charged out of the start hut and put in a really strong top section clocking 1.9 seconds faster than Nicole, keeping up this progression through the second split where her lead improved to 2.7 seconds. A little bobble on the lower section didn’t deter her as she flew across the line in 3:49.436 seconds, 4.4 seconds quicker than Nicole, a good 7 seconds faster than Ragot’s qualifying time and a massive 12 seconds quicker than her own time from Saturday. This left Ragot on track – she went through the first split down on Rachel, the second split was a similar story, but on this track time can easily pulled back and she rode the bottom section really strong but it wash’t enough to topple Atherton. Arms aloft Rachel marked the start of her World Cup season in style showing she will be one to watch as the season progresses.
“I’m made up with the win today, I put in a big effort to pull back the gap on Emmeline, my bike was working so well despite me nearly throwing it away up there in a few places” commented Rachel after the race.
It wasn’t just Rachel who was on form over the weekend as brother Gee and team mate Marc Beaumont both qualified well on Saturday, 4th and 3rd respectively. With the course getting more and more beat up as the race went on the pair were in for a rough ride.
Gee was up first and he was chasing a great ride from Cameron Cole of New Zealand. Gee started strong, up at split one by 1.8 seconds and then pulling that out to 3.6 by split two but fading towards the bottom due to his arm injury sustained in Friday’s practice. He still managed to hold on to the top spot when he crossed the line 1.4 seconds up on Cole. Now was the time of Beaumont, a long term GT rider and previous winner on this course, Beaumont put in a strong ride clocking a 3:19.514 and slipped into 2nd spot behind Gee. With the top two seeds left on track the team was hoping for a double win but it wasn’t to be as Minnaar got stronger on the lower part of the course and edged Gee’s time by just 5 tenths of a second despite being a second back on the top two splits. Last man on the hill and favourite for the win was American Aaron Gwin, Gwin rode out of his skin and took the win in style, a good margin ahead of the rest of the field.
Marc and Gee’s performance was enough to concrete them in the top 5 in the overall with Gee sitting in 3rd spot while Marc is 87 points behind in 4th. The pair trail Gwin and Minnaar who are tied on points at the top while Rachel is up to 4th despite only riding the one event. This strong performance from the team meant that they also took the team prize from the event and also the overall lead in the team standings.
Moving on now the team head straight to the biggest World Cup of the year, Fort William in Scotland. Racing in front of the home crowd will hopefully give the team an extra boost as they aim to take more podium spots in Round three.
All photos: Sven Martin
In his first domestic appearance within his new discipline of Enduro racing Dan Atherton took a podium finish in the 3rd round of the UK Gravity Enduro Series.
Riding in glorious conditions made a welcome change to the 287 riders who made the trip up to the North of England to tackle the six exciting stages. With the stages varying in length from 2.5 minutes to 4 minutes things were a little on the short side to what Dan’s been riding and training for recently, this didn’t stop him on Saturdays seeding stage however, taking the win by one second ahead of Alex Stock.
Sunday kicked off with one of the shortest stages, just over two minutes long with a mixture of flowing singletrack and a tough fire road climb, luck wasn’t on Dan’s side however as he snapped his gear cable and got stuck in hardest gear at the middle point of the stage, leaving him to power his way to the finish. He took third just two seconds down, he scrambled to get the bike fixed in time for stage two but just managed to make his start time. A little flustered with time to make up he went a little too hard out of the blocks, overcooking a corner he crashed off the side of the track, picking himself up quickly he rode the rest of the stage with his rear brake up in the air, not the best start with two issues on two stages.
Stage three saw some controversy with a few top riders cutting a corner, Dan followed the trail and came in third two seconds down on the fastest rider. The next stage was the most technical of the race, Dan rode strong and took the win clawing a little back on the leaders.
This left the final stage which was a re-visit to the seeding stage, having won the previous evenings stage made Dan the favourite for the win, he had no problem delivering making another two seconds up on the leader Alex Stock. It wasn’t enough however to take back time for the overall win but it was a good performance all the same, second place just five seconds back.
“I felt strong out there, I was riding better in my race runs than I was in practice which I haven’t done for a long time, getting use to these shorter courses will take a bit of getting use to, you really can;t afford any mistakes and today I made two big ones. Hopefully I’ll be able to race in the UK again soon” explained a fairly happy Dan.
Dan will now be joining the rest of the team at the Fort William World Cup for his first downhill event of the year before heading onto numerous Enduro events across Europe.