Good Month / Bad Month: June 2018

Jul 6, 2018
by Mike Levy  

Amaury Pierron

Double World Cup wins

Pierron came agonizingly close to notching his first World Cup win a handful of times over the past two seasons, but the Frenchman is quickly making up for lost time by winning two on the trot in 2018. His first came at Fort Bill by just 0.27 of a second over Loris Vergier, and the second was by 0.508 of a second over Aaron Gwin on the Leogang track. Is it just me or is World Cup racing tighter and more exciting than ever?

Tracks don't get any more dissimilar than Scotland and Austria, too, proving that while Pierron's winning margins were tight as hell, he's clearly a boss on all sorts of terrain.
Commencal Vallnord Team 2018
Two (tight) wins on the trot for Pierron.


Joey Schusler's 'RJ Ripper' puts things in perspective

The hucking, jumping, trick-throwing video genre is so saturated that unless someone is doing something completely bonkers, it all kinda looks the same. I mean, killer riding and whatever, but now that everyone has a Canon 7D and a skilled buddy who's happy to send it, the "shreddits" have become a dime a dozen. Thank the lord for Joey Schusler, though, who knows how to tell a hell of a story. He did exactly that in 'RJ Ripper,' a mini-documentary about Rajesh Magar, who is not only Nepal's fastest rider but also someone who has overcome odds that would have had most of us brushing off mountain biking as a fantasy. Schusler says it best: ''Since learning to ride on a beat-up clunker, to becoming the four-time National Champion at age 21, RJ’s story is one of boundless childhood dreaming and unstoppable determination, forged from junkyard scraps and tested on the rugged trails of the mighty Himalaya.''
Photo by Joey Schusler
Schusler's movie about RJ might be the best thing on the internet right now.

Tech Dorks

So. Much. New. Gear.

If you're as much of a tech dork as I am, June was a hell of a month. With about a zillion bike checks from multiple World Cups, Enduro World Series events, and Crankworx, there was no shortage of gear to nerd out over, while Öhlins' long-awaited new downhill fork was finally released to boot. e*thirteen's TRS Plus 12-Speed Upgrade Kit is worth a mention, too, as it's a do-it-yourself shifter conversion that takes your 11-speed clicker to 12-speeds. Neato.

And speaking of 12-speeds, Daniel Sapp, a new editorial addition to Pinkbike, reviewed SRAM's relatively inexpensive NX group, while RC checked out perpetual shredder Kirt Voreis' prototype, 27.5'' wheeled Niner.
One of one, but Yordanov could be convinced to make a small batch of frames.

Probably the most interesting bit of tech to pop up in June was Aston's look at the carbon Sequence downhill bike, a one-off project by Vladimir Yordanov that uses a dual-link layout to deliver 200mm of travel. It also happens to be gorgeous. Speaking of downhill sleds, Specialized's prototype was caught by Ross Bell's camera at Fort Bill. And Fasst Company's press release for their $499.99 USD Flexx handlebar, while looking interesting and worth reviewing, also had some of the best comments under it that I've seen in ages. Don't discount it quite yet, though, as I remember chuckling over Revolution's Suspension Grips... Until I tried them. Shoutout to Dom Wrapson's unreal breakdown of World Cup weekends, too. If you're a die-hard racing fan and/or stats nerd, Dom's number crunching is a must-read.

Adrien Dailly

World Record Swellbow

Lapierre's Adrien Dailly had a good start to the season, but it all went sour when the Enduro World Series racer went down in Peille while training, breaking his elbow badly enough that surgery was called for. Dailly posted a photo of his pre-surgery elbow on his personal Instagram and the Frenchman might have set a new record for the best (worst?) swellbow on record - so gnarly. He also earned himself a 20-second time penalty at the Colombian round after him and two others were caught "illegal shuttling,'' although it sounds a bit like they just went up the wrong road to me.

Dailly has won before, and he's come close to winning again in 2018 with a 2nd overall in France behind Richie Rude, but it's looking like his injury will cut this year's racing short.
Adrien Dailly
I'm not an elbow doctor, but I don't think it's supposed to look like that.

Specialized's EWS Team

Results that don't reflect the talent

The irony of the Enduro not being able to win an enduro race in recent times may be worth a giggle to some, but I'm sure that no one at Specialized is laughing about their team's 2018 EWS season. It's been a rough one so far, and it didn't get any better last weekend in Austria. Graves described what happened on is Instagram: ''A weekend to forget for me. I just couldn’t stay with on my bike and find any consistency, then I had the biggest crash I’ve had all year on stage 5 and spent 10 minutes on the side of the track and being looked over by some medics further down before I rolled on to the finish, but my race was over.''

''There’s so much more to a successful EWS than people would know and that the race results show and there’s 2 sides to racing, when everything is going well and things are clicking, and the exact opposite of that.''
Jared Graves weaves his way through the slippery jungle.
It might have been a rough season so far, but I still think Graves will win one before it's wrapped up.

His season started off with two DNFs, too, followed by a 30th in France, which really underlines how fickle enduro racing can be - there are just so many variables in play that can make even the fittest, most skilled racers look like they're pack fodder. Graves certainly ain't pack fodder, though, and while the overall is way out of reach, it'd be no surprise to me if he pulled out a victory or two before the season is over.

Curtis Keene isn't having a much better time of it, either, with the American sitting in 42nd overall after a string of results that are well below what he's capable of. It all adds up to a team ranking of 25th, although that's a bit misleading as other teams have more racers contributing to their points haul at each race meeting. Either way, you can bet that Graves and Keene are a hell of a lot better than their results say, so expect a turnaround at some point soon.

Luca Shaw

A flat tire and a crash mean no World Cup wins. Yet.

Luca Shaw is going to win one of these things soon, but it hasn't been in the cards quite yet. Many have predicted that Shaw will be the next American to break out, and his first place qualifying run at Fort William confirmed that he's more than ready. As the last man down the hill, Shaw was up by a second at the first split, but this racing game can be cruel and a flat tire took away any chance of a first World Cup win. Next up was Leogang where it was the same story in qualifying: Luca in first place. Unfortunately for the young American, it was sorta the same story on Sunday; he was the last man down the course and was up at the splits, yet again, but a crash oh so close to the finish line ruled out the win.

Interestingly, Amaury Pierron took the wins in both Fort William and Leogang after Shaw went out at both races, but that's racing.
Steve Peat Greg Minnaar and Luca Shaw inspect the rear flat which deflated Luca s race run.
Stay patient, Luca. It's coming.

EWS Dopers

EWS + UCI = more drug testing

It's been in the works since the Enduro World Series' inception, but the announcement that the EWS will be working with the UCI still came as huge - and controversial - news to the racing community. Our interview with Chris Ball, the Managing Director of the EWS, shed light on why it makes sense for the world's premier enduro racing series to team up with the often maligned Union Cycliste Internationale, and Ball sums it up well: ''We are voluntarily implementing neutral governance, removing ourselves from potential conflicts and ensuring the sport’s fairness. 'Did X rider deserve this penalty?' 'What’s the fairest process to determine Y?' That’s the crucial aspect for the sport, and that’s what this agreement is about. Sport, fairness, growth.''
Chris Ball
Chris Ball, the Managing Director of the EWS.

Some fans are concerned that the UCI, which many feel hasn't done right by mountain bike racing, will only mess up a good thing, but Ball is insistent that nothing will change on the outside: ''Ultimately we remain in control of our series. Our structures will remain the same. We will help the UCI write the rulebook for enduro globally, that they can then apply to the wider National Federations.'' There's also the addition of the 'Trophy of Nations' that's essentially a Motocross des Nations for enduro racers, which sounds pretty rad.

Perhaps the biggest upside to the new relationship will be additional drug testing, which isn't cheap or easy to implement. The EWS has, by its own admission, not been able to implement extensive testing thus far in its short history, which is something I've written about before, but bringing in the UCI means that the CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) will be testing to WADA's protocols. ''Testing costs money, and now the next step is to roll out more testing,'' Ball explained. ''The EWS will ramp up the amount of tests we pay for, and over the next 3-5 years, we’ll dramatically increase our doping controls.'' How much do you want to bet that we'll see results get shaken up and possibly some unexpected retirements? It's all for the better, though, and as much shade as the UCI catches, I'm sure that the partnership can only be a good thing.

Posted In:
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  • 91 1
 I am an elbow doctor. He’s fine.
  • 21 0
 I stayed at a holiday in express last night, just drain that elbow.
  • 12 0
 Doctor Steve, will this still cost him an arm and a leg?
  • 44 0
 That's just an integrated elbowpad
  • 53 0
 Doesn't look too humerus to me
  • 6 3
 @andrewslice: Model Name: ARMageddon Enduro Pad
  • 8 1
 Do you own a Yeti with Enves that gets ridden twice a year?? I kid, I kid.
  • 5 0
 @boxxerace: Well if it isn't Mr. McGreg with an leg for an arm and an arm for a leg.
  • 2 0
 Duct tape will do.
  • 4 0
 Bad month for Mike Levy who thinks there's a "u" in Colombia.....
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: and thinks Levi is spelled with a 'y'
  • 1 0
 Is anyone really concerned about UCI dope testing???? Herbal concentrates are legal right? Just ban the juice freaks.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: Ya, I used to wear Levi's when I was a kid. Never wore Levy's. Never will. Wink
  • 84 4
 Specialized still slowing down the worlds fastest racers
  • 10 11
 Their strategy to sell more tires, not by making better ones, but by making worse ones which fail regularly, seems to be working.
  • 18 3
 @enrico650: I honestly don’t care about his results. He’s proved himself plenty of times in the past and he’s such a chill dude he’s marketing gold to me an many others.
  • 9 0
 @enrico650: "More like keep him from signing elsewhere, riding a decent bike, winning everything, and proving what garbage Specialized bike are" - Most PB commenters

Really though, if that rumor is true, I hope whatever role he moves into keeps him racing and riding very publicly, like a slightly less cool version of Jill Kintner. I've run into him a couple times on the local trails, and have friends who ride with him now and then when he's in town and he's a solid character. Weird how bad luck strikes though, he, Graves, Rude, Gwin and Cody Kelly seem to be pretty good friends, they ride and train together a ton, and all of them seem to be on the struggle bus in one way or another at the moment.
  • 7 0
 Stumbling across Keene's Red Bull TV show got me motivated to get back on the bike a few years ago. I hope he keeps racing.
  • 32 0
 It’s been a great month for UK riders, we are riding in this mythical stuff called dust! I once thought it was as rare as unicorn poo but have been proven wrong
  • 2 2
 fuck-this-weather, seriously
  • 23 3
 I don't see EWS cracking down on drugs as a bad thing #doperssuck
  • 40 3
 It's a bad month for EWS dopers. Great thing for EWS fans.
  • 7 1
 That may be the only positive thing about UCI getting into EWS. But still, there will be some exceptions for big names like in road just like the test Froome failed and still got out of it.
  • 14 1
 I bloody well hope that none of the top EWS racers dope and hopefully i am not proven to be naive.....
  • 12 2
 If UCI is considered "good" on doping control, than EWS must have been handing athletes EPO.
  • 25 1
 @lRaphl: Exactly. UCI brought in to 'reduce doping' is a laughable joke. Road racing has been full of dopers for years and UCI turned a blind eye at best. Of all the riders in the tour during the 'Lance years', the entire top 20 has been disqualified for the wins due to doping. UCI LOVED the extra money Lance brought in. Therefore they did nothing to pursue him until after his $$ train was over. #uciisajoke
  • 35 1
 Good luck coming up for a way to test how dope Sam Hill is. Maybe measure his balls?
  • 5 1
 @Boardlife69: Well, the bigger the balls, the less chance of doping there is!
  • 3 0
You’re onto something there.... perhaps ball measurement could be a cheaper alternative? Take a string, start at the anus, go to the balls and wrap around once. Perfect standard.
  • 2 18
flag diego-b (Jul 6, 2018 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 I'm highly suspicious of Mr. Sam Hill in this regard... He is, in fact, a great MTB Rider but beating a DH local on his home trails (Gutierrez) who is about 10 years his junior... and being as consistent as he has been these seasons considering his age is suspect.
  • 6 0
 @diego-b: @diego-b: You do realize that peeps in there 40's do the best in endurance races right? You're not done in this sport at age 30 like say the NBA.
  • 4 0
 There won't be any dopers in the EWS, possibly a few asthmatics though.
  • 12 0
 June = me finally back on the bike after a massive crash left me in the hospital. It was a good month.
  • 11 4
 MTB is gnarly Im not sure why some rider choose not to gear up ? I have to wonder if he had good elbow pads on would he have been able to pick the bike back up and finish the race and not have to sit the rest of the season out? It seems like gear is smart for a racer as it allows you to keep racing and also screw unnecessary pain. if gear allows me to ride more and take less time off Im all in!
  • 2 1
 @rockchomper a couple years ago, I started wearing knee pads and they have since saved a full season and multiple flesh wounds. A couple weeks ago I went down and got a bunch of stitches in my elbow. Elbow pads would have saved a trip to the ER which means more money for beers and tires. Putting elbow pads on here on our for the same reason of riding more and minimizing injury. Only downside is it's super hot.
  • 17 0
 There has been a bunch of discussion on pads, but just to be clear: Dailly broke his radius head by putting his arms out in front of him and his elbow tried to bend the wrong way, not from any impact.

So in this particular case elbows pads wouldnt have helped, but i'm not saying dont wear pads...
  • 2 0
 @thorowitz: I wear the full 661 Evo compression long sleeve jacket with D30 and its a little warm but the mesh material helps alot, after a few minutes I forget its there and it has saved me from many crashes at the bike park! I will not ride gnarly terrain without it. like you stated it saves money and pain in the long run.
  • 6 1
 @Mugen: Thats a bummer, but im also referring to the mass amount of injuries popping up in racing this season from EWS to DH and even the freeriders! It seems like gear is becoming uncool to wear, which is really odd considering the new advancements in gear make it light breathable and under a jersey they become almost invisible.

also thanks I was wondering how the crash went down!
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: i read olecrane injury somewhere, scratches on this elbow, and no swell in regard of the radius head....
  • 2 1
 @rockchomper: Or people are choosing to wear what they feel is comfortable and being as confident as possible is safer than gearing up with as much protection as possible........
  • 1 0
 @rockchomper: there is always a positive side about pads and protection but there is also always a negative side of it.
Wear too much and you can’t move as freely as you would like to and could prevent a crash (flexibility is super important in mtb) wear to little and you crash you might loose a year of riding or racing
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: I agree movement and confidence is key but with new armors like xmatter and d30 it's not restrictive at all or at least to me it has been that way in fact for me it adds some confidence knowing when (not if) I slam it will help alot
  • 2 2
 @rockchomper: "it's not restrictive at all or at least to me it has been that way in fact for me it adds some confidence"

Yes and not every pro rider out there feels the same way as you.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: im not referring to the pros it seems like less people in general are wearing gear.. not mad and not saying it should be mandatory.. just confused as why with new gear being so much better that old gear why less people are rockin gear? the main thing to me is it seems smart for a racer as missing a race due to an injury can stop your season.. which for a racer is the last thing they want...

But maybe you're right maybe most people feel more restricted in it than I do..
  • 11 0
 Is " Niner 27.5 ironic contradiction or both? Big Grin
  • 4 0
  • 7 0
 Its ironic because 29ers are trendy now.
  • 5 0
 Graves back to Yeti, please!!
  • 5 0
 That thumbmail made me think it's a very bad month for Aaron Gwin's thumb.
  • 3 1
 Bad month for North Shore mountainbiking.
  • 4 0
  • 1 0
 @railin: Also wondering why
  • 1 0
 Dear pinkbike. We are normal people. God bless the pros and their booboos but June is good for us little ones.
  • 2 2
 That'd be a good photo to use for an elbow pad advertisement...
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