Rachel Atherton & Loic Bruni
Nothing better than a rainbow jersey to silence doubts
is still a dangerous foe when she is injured, so you can excuse the press for assuming that the women's field had drawn alongside the veteran crusher this year and was finally in position to pour some water on her fire. Atherton's overall victory in the World Cup series this year was hard fought, but by season's end, it was clear that she was back on song. A winning margin of almost ten seconds at the Lenzerheide DH World Champs set the record straight. It was her fifth gold medal.
Specialized's Loic Bruni
was all business this year. The Frenchman is always smiling, but Bruni had an unmistakable look in his eye that hinted he was on the hunt. Working in the shadow of his friend, Amaury Pierron, Bruni's results steadily improved all season. Those close to Bruni said that he had one goal for 2018 - and when he went green at Lenzerheide, there could be no mistaking what had been in the Frenchman's sights. Bruni looks better in stripes. Welcome back.
End of season crusher
Two EWS wins in September announced Richie Rude's return, and shook up the front runners, including Martin Maes, who has recently shoved enduro down the gullets of World Cup DH, and series leader Sam Hill, who had been sailing through the season with relative ease. Rude won four out of eight stages in Ainsa, Spain, and every stage in Finale Ligure. Some say that the Yeti rider's reinvigorated presence on the top step is in support of close friend Jared Graves who was recently diagnosed with cancer. That's good medicine, Richie.
Aluminum Rim Makers
Ruaridh Cunnigham's 7.8-pound rear wheel
Ruaridh-Cunnigham (the EWS RC) Flatted 20 minutes into stage three a the Ainsa EWS race while defending a sixth place standing in the overall. Cunningham finished the stage, nearly destroying his rear wheel in the process. He and fellow racers used zip ties, a tube and an insert to nurse his Trek through the first day, but after that, the damage was monumental.
Rather than incur a five-minute penalty for a wheel switch, team mechanic Tyler West used hammers, hoof-trimming pliers, twisted spokes and epoxy glue to reshape the aluminum Bontrager rim into something that could finish the race. Ruaridh posted tenth in the final stage, 37th overall.
Clean sweep of the 2018 Junior Downhill
They say that luck and skill play equal parts in a championship victory. Vali Höll challenged that axiom by decisively winning every World Cup Downhill this year, then followed that with a gold medal at the World Championships.
When asked before the race, Höll said she was doubtful that she could follow a clean sweep of the World Cups with a win at the World Champs, but she aced the course, putting a little over ten seconds on her next rival. All eyes will be on her when Valentina steps up to the Pro ranks, where her Junior times would have placed her consistently in the top ten this year.
Interbike Trade Show
Mixed opinions and a small turnout in Reno, Nevada
When a large animal nears the end, it isolates far from its pack and awaits death in solitude. Interbike, the largest cycling trade show in North America, has been circling the drain for a while, and the move from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada, may signal its swan song.
Larger bike brands have pulled out of the show, preferring to host private launches to attract and defend their retail networks, while floor space is priced too high to attract startup brands who need access to retailers the most. Another factor may be that both shops and their customers have instant access to the latest and greatest cycling trends through social media.
To their credit, Interbike's management have been working hard at reinventing their show to be more relevant, and while the Reno Expo was a bit of a ghost town, their new Outdoor Demo venue at Northstar was applauded by all who attended. Worldwide, however, trade-only shows are declining in favor of public venues like the Sea Otter Classic. And, there's always Eurobike, which is being groomed by the powers that be to become the "one show" for the cycling industry. Miracles can happen - Interbike has ridden out some difficult storms in the past.
Santa Cruz Fans
Josh Bryceland and Santa Cruz part ways
Josh Bryceland literally grew up racing and riding for Santa Cruz Bicycles. Founder Rob Roskopp wasn't interested in a corporate powerhouse team when the Santa Cruz Syndicate was formed. He wanted to put together a racing family that reflected the riding-community vibe that the brand was built upon. That commitment forged an unparalleled bond of loyalty between Santa Cruz and its athletes. Reportedly, Josh's offer from Roskopp was simply "Be Josh and ride Santa Cruz bikes." The crew at Santa Cruz is going to miss the Rat. There is no escaping, however, that the journey from boy to man means leaving home to find your own way, and that's probably what's happening here.
Öhlins' New Product Launch
Unanticipated fork recall precedes the Swedish brand's 2019 roll-out.
Öhlins announced a recall of its RXF 36 29/27.5 air forks and all RXF 34 air forks only a week before the suspension brand was set to release its 2019 product range
. The timing could not have been worse, but I'll give them huge points for taking the safe route and not delaying the bad news until the press were safely back home after their rollout.
The culprit was a top cap on the spring side that might come loose and become a projectile. I measure the integrity of people by how they handle themselves when things go wrong, and in this case, Öhlins and Specialized are taking swift and proper measures to get their customers back on good forks. Click here
if you are affected by the recall.
BC Freeride Community
R.I.P. Ingrid Doerr
The BC freeride community lost one of their best on September 21, when Ingrid Doerr left us at only fifty years. We best know her as the founder of Roach and by her pioneering soft protective gear designs that set the mark for the entire genre to come. For many, Roach pads were the uniform of shred. Ingrid will be missed. Her family asks that donations to her memory be sent to animal rescue organizations.
Recovering from brain tumor
Jared Graves suffered seizures shortly after the Whistler round of the EWS and it was discovered that he was suffering from a brain tumor. It's going to be a tough road to recovery, in part, because the affected area is where motor activity is located. Send all the good stuff his way: prayers, healing vibes, happy thoughts, and if you feel inclined, a crowd-funding page
has been set up on his behalf. Heal up Jared!