The 2020 Olympic XC Course
Olympic XC Racing in Tokyo is Going to be True Mountain Biking
From the looks of the 2020 Tokyo test event, everyone is in for some proper XC racing next summer. Athletes from many countries traveled to Japan in October to get a first look at the XCO track that will be used for the 2020 Olympic games. Many athletes took tumbles and there were no complaints about a lack of technicality. Historically, many Olympic XC courses have been more of a drag race, requiring a lot of fitness and minimal handling skills.
The venue in Japan looks to be to the advantage for a technical rider. There are steep climbs, rugged rock (boulder) sections, mandatory jumps, and more. Any rider looking to win on fitness alone is going to be sorely let down.
In the trial race, Nino Schurter and Jolanda Neff took the wins, Schurter in a sprint but Neff by over a minute margin. No matter what, ...it will be interesting to see what happens here in less than a year.
Red Bull Formation Helps Push the Movement Forward
"It's more than just "women's Rampage." As Katie Holden explained
, "Formation is a women’s freeride progression session, and an opportunity to give the girls the tools to learn, grow, and push women’s freeride forward."
At the 2015 Rampage site, Micayla Gatto, Tahnee Seagrave, Vaea Verbeeck, Veronique Sandler, Hannah Bergemann, and Vinny Armstrong created their own lines. Casey Brown, Tara Geiger, Michelle Parker, Rebecca Rusch, and Jill Kintner, along with a host of other industry veterans were also in attendance.
Additionally, Katie Lozancich and Michelle Parker were there shooting photos. Paris Gore, Carson Storch, and Tyler McCaul, all RedBull Ramage veterans on the bike and with the camera, were also there to provide some mentorship.
There were two days of digging, a day of rest, then two full days of riding. Holden explained that it's not a competition, but a way for athletes to grow. "On a top level, we have three “Pillars of Formation” that are goals for each of the athletes here. The goal is for each of them to progress and develop as a freeride athlete, develop the future of women’s freeride, and refine one’s personal brand and leadership skills."
We're looking forward to seeing how Formation progresses in the years to come!
Healing and Progress
Brook Macdonald is on the Bike
It's been a very rough couple months for the Bulldog after a crash at Mont Sainte Anne left him unable to feel his legs and with broken two vertebrae. After surgery, he left the hospital with screws and rods stabilizing his spine and a long road of recovery ahead of him.
Back home in New Zealand, Macdonald has been working hard with physiotherapy sessions. This past week, he was able to get on the bike for one of the first times since his spinal cord injury.
Jordie Lunn Passes Away After Crash
There have been several deaths of friends in the mountain bike community in the last month including Jordie Lunn.
Jordie was a pillar of the mountain bike community and one of the friendliest and kindest people many of us have ever met.
Jordie's riding was on a level of its own and the only thing bigger than his style on the bike was his positive impact on the sport and every person he encountered. His infectiously positive personality will be forever remembered. Our thoughts are with Jordie's family, friends, and loved ones as well as the family, friends, and loved ones of the other mountain bikers who have passed away this month.
Northern Hemisphere Flow Trails
With Winter Closing in, Many Flow Trails and Bike Parks Will be Hibernating Until Spring
It's that inevitable time of year when many mountain bikers in the Northern Hemisphere have already or are going to be calling "last lap" until the spring thaw. Numerous bike parks transform back into ski resorts and bike trays on the lift will be replaced with chairs for snow sliders.
For some, the winter is a time to focus on a different skillset - whether on the bike or by partaking in a different sport altogether. For those willing to travel, there are lift access trails in warmer climates and there are still a few hold-out DH worthy spots open all winter long, like Windrock, TN. For other riders, the winter is a time to rest up, heal up, fully rebuild their bikes, and be ready for the first chair come spring.
Rampage Proving Grounds Qualifiers
Proving Grounds Riders Narrowly Miss the Top Ten
The Marzocchi Proving Grounds qualifier event in September acted as a feeder event for Rampage for the first time ever. The five riders who made it into the big event faced a mountain of worries. New contestants had to find room in the already developed zone to dig new lines, and then face off with Rampage incumbents, who were riding familiar lines they had built last year.
The competition was fierce on the day of finals. Despite incredible performances, none of the five made it into the top ten which leaves them undoubtedly disappointed that they're not automatically re-qualified for next year despite having put down world-class runs. Proving Grounds winner Reed Boggs and Joyride winner Emil Johansson would score highest of the qualifiers with 80 and 79 points, respectively, with Boggs ending up in 11th, and Johansson in 12th. Let's be clear, anyone who has a clean run or is even at Rampage is already deserving of a trophy.