Going into its second year, the SRAM | TLD Team’s young squad of Luca and Walker Shaw, alongside Cross Country specialist Russell Finsterwald, are set to take on the UCI World Cup DH and XC circuit, and the Enduro World Series in 2015.Luca Shaw | Gravity
— “I take confidence from knowing that I have the best support in the world and have such a great opportunity to tap into my potential.”Russell Finsterwald | XC
— “Starting each and every race knowing you have the best equipment is a huge confidence booster and is no doubt a huge part of the teams success thus far.”Walker Shaw | Gravity
— “I am excited that the offseason is over and I can get back to what I love most...being at the races.”TROY LEE
- “Man, it seems like the most bitchin stuff you do comes from where there is a need, and from thing’s you are really into. So when SRAM had the idea last year to make this race team a reality, we jumped on board to do something cool for 2014 and make a little plan for the future. With a year under our belts, the experiment really resonated with people. I really think with a cool brand like SRAM behind this—making the best components for the bike and our TLD crew making the best components for your body—it really is a match made in heaven. When I started my Moto team 11 years ago, I was the only gear company to have its own factory team, everyone thought I was nuts. I will give em’ that, but here we are today with the only gear company with a factory race program, winning races, aiming for championships—which I want us to do with the SRAM | TLD Racing Team. It is cool to have our own team, learn from the team and have something people want to be a part of. I mean, I know I am not fast enough to get on the team, but I can dream about it…haha.”
Luca - "Coming off the first season with the team, I achieved a lot of my personal goals as a junior, and had some of the best times of my life. For this coming year I couldn’t be more motivated and excited to get back on the road, racing as an Elite. 2015 has all the right ingredients to be a huge year for me and the whole team. With a year of experience, I think the SRAM | TLD team will be better than ever. I have had a great offseason, with a couple of big changes to keep things fresh.
Walker and I are on board some new Santa Cruz frames, which have been a great change for us. It took a little bit of time to adapt to the new suspension design, but now that I am comfortable on it the bikes, they feel like an extension of my body. I couldn’t be happier to work with all the great people at SRAM and TLD again this year. We have such a unique team dynamic that really keeps things fun and light. This makes all the difference when you are traveling for weeks at a time. We really enjoy each other and have the time of our lives.
I am really looking forward to racing with the Elites all season at the UCI World Cups. I want to keep progressing as a racer and improve throughout the year. I take confidence from knowing that I have the best support in the world and have such a great opportunity to tap into my potential. I would also just like to thank everyone at SRAM and Troy Lee Designs who make this team so special. It really is a dream situation for me and I really appreciate the support—it is second to none.”
Below: Luca's Santa Cruz V-10 loaded with SRAM X01 DH | SRAM Guide RSC Brakes | RockShox BoXXer World Cup | RockShox Vivid R2C | TRUVATIV Boobar
- "In SRAM | TLD’s first year on the circuit, I think we did a good job of stamping our name as a force to be reckoned with. This year, I think all of us—both riders and staff/sponsors—are looking at taking the success we found in 2014 to another level.
Working with the SRAM | TLD program has been an incredible experience. Starting each and every race knowing you have the best equipment is a huge confidence booster, and is no doubt a huge part of the team’s success thus far. This year I am hoping to step it up on the World Cup circuit and keep working my way toward a spot at the Olympic Games in Rio. I also want to put together a solid ride at the US National Championships in July. Hopefully the guys at Troy Lee Designs will be designing a new stars and stripes kit after that race!
I think our team is unique in the sense that we truly pick the best equipment for the job. We are able to ride whichever bike and whatever components we think will get us to the finish line the fastest, something most teams don’t have the opportunity of doing. SRAM is the leader in innovation on the trails and always having the latest and greatest equipment helps us out even more.”
Above: Russell's Trek Superfly set up with SRAM XX1 | SRAM Rise 40 wheels | Avid XX Brakes | RockShox RS-1
Walker - "Going into my second year with the SRAM | TLD Team, and second year as an Elite I am feeling extremely positive. I am excited that the offseason is over and I can get back to what I love most...being at the races.
I achieved some big personal goals last year that I was very pleased with, but also had some reality checks along the way. It was my first season remaining healthy that I’ve had in a few years, so there were definitely a few ups and downs maintaining fitness the entire duration of the long year. I really struggled at times, although moving forward I now understand the things I learned along the way. Those tough times helped me clearly see where I was at and what I needed to work on, while constantly reminding me how much I love racing and how motivated I am to get to the level I know I am capable of reaching.
I feel great on the new bikes this year. There is no doubt in my mind that the bike I have is just as good or better than anything else out there. So many things make this team unique and truly special, but, personally, the one that always comes to mind first is the awesome people involved. I feel so lucky to be able to race alongside my brother Luca as well. I learn a lot from him, and I know he would say the same. We want each other to succeed, and it's so nice to have someone with me that cares enough to be so brutally honest with me when I need it most.
There are so many things that I look forward to when we go to a race, on and off the bike. I consider all the SRAM people involved to be some of my best friends out there, and the twenty or so times I see them per year never seems to be enough. I am such a huge fan of the sport, and I feel so fortunate to get a "behind the scenes" look on such cool, people-driven companies like SRAM and Troy Lee Designs."
Below: Walker's Santa Cruz Nomad set up with SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC Brakes | SRAM Roam 50 Wheels | RockShox Pike RCT3 | RockShox Monarch Plus | TRUVATIV Boobar
Video by: Mind Spark Cinema
Photos by: Adrian Marcoux