This One Time, At Team Camp

Mar 15, 2017 at 13:42
by Nathan Hughes  


The morning commute with team manager Bernat Guardia.
The morning commute with team manager Bernat Guardia.



Off-season. A phrase that conjures mixed emotions... Sure, there are those able to regard it in a positive light—an opportunity for much-needed rest—time to relax the body and mind away from the saddle and the race track. For others it's all about the hard grind—a sufferfest spent putting in the hours with a brutal physical training regime that will allow them to climb another rung of the long ladder to the top. But sadly for many of us, it's a dull and dirty word… an empty chasm of nothing but a long, dark, lonely, cabin fever-inducing void that must be endured while the weather goes off the rails outside. There are also, however, the lucky few who continue to live the vida loca on bikes all year long. These are mainly pro riders blessed by the latitudes they call home. Australians, for example. And Californians.

Record levels of rainfall were (another) shaky start to 2017 for residents of Trump's South-west, but for the stars of Intense Factory Racing it was soon time to make off-season... very good... again. The long awaited team camp was upon them; a coming together of riders, old and new, with the management at the home of the legendary bicycle brand in the SoCal city of sun, Temecula. Testing, training, getting to know sponsors, and above all... riding, would feature heavily in a month-long schedule of nigh-on exclusively good times. Before anyone's eyes glaze over green with envy let's remember; the door is open. If you too would like to be a professional mountain bike racer and live this kind of a life there really is absolutely nothing and no one stopping you. Except; Aaron Gwin, Rachel Atherton, Danny Hart, Manon Carpenter, Troy Brosnan, Tahnee Seagrave, Greg Minnaar, Tracy Hannah, Connor Fearon, Emilie Siegenthaler, Loic Bruni… you know, those type of people.

What exactly goes on at Team Camp for the accomplished and privileged few at the sharp end of downhill racing, too often remains a mystery. Well, this time Pinkbike was there to share a piece of this American pie. Come aboard as we penetrate that warm and fruity interior, with a more than ride-rich highlight reel.



Intense Camp
Decades of heritage or not, you can't be caught standing still in an industry that moves on this fast. The aluminium workshop at Intense HQ is but a fraction of its former self and just a couple of expert fabricators remain on hand to build prototypes, of which two types, each in different sizes, had to be ready for testing with the arrival of the team.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Camp
Jeff Steber (above left), founder of Intense, remains well at the centre of proceedings. Even after some 24 years in the game, he's still got the bug, riding, digging trails and building bicycle frames himself.

Intense Team Camp
The long road to the all new Tracer, lines the walls of the workshop just two weeks before launch.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Camp
The old and the new… Pieces of history fill every nook and cranny at the HQ, but they're only gathering dust. It's time to look to the future and after some low-profile years on the World Cup scene, Intense know it. This is the year they fire-up plans to go big at the races and regain the kind of presence they had in the late 90s to early 00s. For that, you need to a build a solid team and Intense will be attempting it from the ground up with a bunch of riders with bright futures all committed to helping put the rock 'n' roll American brand back on the map

Intense Team Camp
Charlie 'Chuck' Harrison – USA.
Intense Team Camp
Dean 'Deanos Machinos' Lucas – AUS.
Intense Team Camp
Jack 'Shark Attack' Moir – AUS.
Intense Team Camp
Nik 'Nasty Jr' Nestoroff – USA.

bigquotesWe are very happy to continue the team with the Aussie boys, Jack and Dean, alongside our youngster, Nik. They are all great guys and better riders. For this year we've added Charlie Harrison, who I think is a great fit for us, being born and raised here in SoCal and of course already chalking up promising results at the races. It's a young and very talented team and we are looking forward to exciting times ahead. I would expect team camp to show a little more of their potential as riders and I'm hoping also prove a huge asset to our product development. We've got a lot of work to do on some exciting stuff in the pipelineJeff Steber

Intense Team Camp
The weapon of choice for the long season of competition ahead...
Intense Team Camp
the Sram-equipped M16C.

Intense Team Camp
Bad hombre's... The squad that spans the hemispheres is back in town.



//FONTANA//

Rain ruts the size of Horseshoe Bend had just written off many of SoCals most popular riding haunts, including a couple of the closest and best. Thankfully Fontana, aka Fontucky, not far from L.A., runs well rain or shine, so the boys found themselves back on the hill that hosts the winter series testing wheels and a fresh prototype from Jeff.


Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Definitely not camo... The IFR squad have all kinds of colors to roll out this season thanks to their new partnership with fellow California originals, TLD.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Considering the extreme wet the team found plenty of grip amongst the granite and put their new Enve carbon wheelsets to the test. Ignoring the infamously flat 'wall' section, the track offers a super easy shuttle and the chance to smash out many a consecutive lap, the perfect place to compare set-ups.

Intense Team Camp
Team mechanics, Ernie and Chappy, were there along with Enve's Eli for the regroup and to dial in the changes between laps.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Charlie Harrison is the man here at Fontana, winning about as many races as he enters in these climbs, here leading out the guys on one of the many winding paths of destruction.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp

bigquotesWe've got into some real solid testing and training here in Cali and I reckon everyone's feeling pretty on it coming into the start of the new season. After a long time riding at home alone in Aus. it can be hard to tell what kind of pace I'm at, so to get out with the boys for a month was an awesome way to gauge our speed and have a blast at the same time. There's a bunch of sweet tracks out this way, but that Fontucky bedrock holds a special place in our hearts.Jack Moir

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Thanks to a heavy lunch order of foot-longs, all with extra avocado, the squad made it all the way through to sundown and the best light of the day.

Intense Team Camp
Ernie packs up ready to head back to base for an evening on the tools with a delicious In 'n' Out Burger take-out for nourishment. Thick shakes and animal fries all the way.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
As the saying goes; a mechanic's work is never done, but a rider's... is. Or something. Dean takes flight after a long day behind bars.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
The hot-tub doesn't need the time-machine function when the good times are now... Definitely the 'happy place' for the boys at team camp, as well as for Jeff and Jenn (his wife and the Intense marketing manager). They had their own tub next door but rented their neighbour's luxury pad for the month to put the team up in style.




//SAN MARCOS//

Intense Camp
A washed-out shuttle road saw an end to the plan to session the more highly-acclaimed 69 trail, so the crew drove on towards Nik's turf in the city of San Marcos. As you can see he likes to scent mark his territory before getting down to it.

Intense Camp
Intense Camp

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
The ever good-natured, Bernat, has his work cut out keeping the boys out of harm's way.
Intense Team Camp
Cougars are about the least of it.

Intense Team Camp
Harrison preparing to drop into the biggest season of his young career.

Intense Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Nik's local mountain isn't the steepest, but it's an easy shuttle and another good hill to put in the laps and get up to race speed.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Camp
Spot the rider among the trees and the cougars.

Intense Team Camp
This year will be a big one for the 19yr old California local with the moto background. Stoked to be part of a full factory set-up this season, Charlie will now go toe to toe on an even footing with the American greats of the circuit like Gwin, Shore, Mullaly and Jackson.



//FILMING//

With a half-done team video that wasn't going to finish itself, the boys had work to do with bikes of all shapes and sizes. Making a dubious call, in light of recent conditions, the team decided to gamble on a trip up into the San Bernadino mountains, hoping they wouldn't have to break out the snowboards. Luckily the drive paid off and despite a good coating up top, the lower steeps were ready to rip after a little bit of graft on the mcleod. This is a legendary, but unofficial trail that has stood the test of time for over 20 years of big bike abuse, actually before a couple of the team were even born. Anyway, it proved to be a great choice to show the cameras what the guys could do and the loam was flying.

Intense Team Camp
Who doesn't love fresh donuts? Bernat signs his name in the lawn before the morning commute.

Intense Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
With the morning spent filling in clips for the Tracer launch video the crew couldn't wait to get their claws into the dark dirt for the team edit.

Intense Team Camp

bigquotesIt was awesome sending it out this way to film. It was a bit cold and snowy in the morning, but that just made it more fun as I'd never had the chance to ride in snow. By the afternoon it had all melted off and the track was running quick... Definitely one of the fastest and roughest downhill tracks I have ridden in Socal. The team camp 'routine' has been rad, I could get used to it... just riding all kinds of bikes, training and hanging out with the fellas. That's living, Barry!Jack Moir


Intense Team Camp
Dean is the only rider on the team who's had an elite podium and the champagne initiation from Greg Minnaar in Switzerland 2015 is a memory that surely can't be beaten. Maybe matched, though—watch this space.

Intense Team Camp
A nice solid POV shot, easily achieved, with plastic bottles.
Intense Team Camp
Stable as a horse's bedroom. Jack gets strapped in ready for action.

Intense Team Camp
Time was of the essence, with so much to fit in on the shoot...
Intense Team Camp
so priorities came first for the boys, as ever, such as tipping this boulder into the ravine.

Intense Team Camp
Sooner or later, shredding this old track to bits was back on the itinerary and it was obvious exactly why each of the four is a threat for the season to come, flowing through the gnarly ruts as if on rails.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Not a typical section of trail for your average Australian, but Jack's no average Australian.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Camp
Jake helps gets the switchbacks into decent shape ready for the next loam bombing of the Suspended Productions lenses.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
The Aussies smashing their way down through the ruts and onto the road-crossing.


Intense Camp
Charlie sees off the last of the winter snow headed towards the final field section and most importantly, dinner, on the last lap of the day.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp



//AIRTIME//

Built by Eric Carter and friends long back in the day, the iconic SoCal jump spot is just a stone's throw down the highway from Temecula. Overlooked on their 2016 team camp it was a must-visit location to put some respectable distance between the team's wheels and the ground.

Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Camp
With the management all about the airtime the team had some added pressure to go big and look good doing it. Bernat and Chappy up the ante.

Intense Team Camp
Intense Camp

Intense Camp


bigquotesThis was the first place I ever trained on a downhill bike so it was great to session it again with the boys... Jack and Dean are pretty aggressive looking on the bikes, both great to watch and Nik rides likes the miniature bodybuilder that he is, haha! I like to think my style's okay, but I couldn't really tell ya! I guess Ern-dog and Chappy stole the show today, though!Charlie Harrison


Intense Team Camp
Mechanic, Ernie, soaring like a majestic Catalan eagle.
Intense Team Camp
Definitely no match for the many styles of down-under from Mr. Lucas...

Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
The crew reloads the manual way.
Intense Team Camp
'Nasty Nik Jr', never afraid to go big.

Intense Team Camp
Moir owning the scrubs for the day, albeit in a narrow win over long-time sender of this spot, Chappy.

Intense Team Camp
The squad reflects on their squad goals.
Intense Team Camp
Intense FR are go! Nothing unmanly about good team spirit my friends.


//THE ENDURO SPOT//

Intense Team Camp
With just a couple of days to go before the new Tracer launch, we headed out late in the afternoon with Bernat for an enduro shoot, another quick trip from HQ. There's many a great fun lap to be had among the bushes and boulders at this place.

bigquotesLast year was my first as a Team Manager and man, it was challenging. I didn’t remember feeling so beat up after every World Cup when I was racing, but it was totally worth it. I made the statement to help my boys make it as World Champions and what can I say, I’m more than happy to be still involved in what my life has been spinning around for the past 15 years; DH racingBernat Guardia

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
SoCal sunset at its finest and despite World Cup DH retirement, this old guy's still got it.

bigquotesTeam Camp is my chance to make sure I still know how to ride! It's guaranteed to be a good laugh, ripping the trails and living the SoCal life with those, crazy guys. There are so many things going on at Intense in terms of prototypes and new bikes and it's great to have the factory team more and more involved with every new project. You know developments are in the right direction when you have bikes that get people excited to ride.Bernat Guardia


Intense Team Camp
Breakfast with Nik. Some would say six eggs just for him is excessive, but this is a man on a mission and with ex-bodybuilder, Brian 'Nasty' Nestoroff, for a father you understand the path he's on.


Intense Team Camp
Hosting Spomer of Vital MTB for breakfast and an all-important, USA versus AUS, grudge-match quiz.



//ONE LAST RIDE//

One of the last outings on the big bikes before the long flight home, well for 50% of the team at least, was a return to the San Bernadino mountains. With all the snow melted away on the upper slopes, the boys were able to pack in the shuttle runs. It would be the last training session together before the first significant regroup of the season in Rotorua, NZ.

Intense Team Camp
Ernie once again bringing that textbook style to the hill.

Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp

bigquotesI think the boys have gained some good momentum already and we are ready to put some statements on the table! Intense is back and is back for good! I can't thank enough everyone involved with this project, not only the sponsors but the people who put all their passion on making this team possible. Just come by our pits at the first World Cup and you will see what I’m talking aboutJennifer Gabrielli - Marketing Manager


Intense Team Camp
Back at base and hard on the chill once again.

Yes, indeed camp-life sure looks ideal. It would be remiss of us as journalists, however, to present this photo-set as a complete and thorough representation of what these pro-riders really experienced here in Temecula. The following list includes some of the aspects that, for better or worse, have been omitted in the pictures:

Gym sessions, protein shakes, bananas, foot-long subs, burritos, jerky, pancakes, fish tacos… let's just say 'food'; sleeping, stretching, Reflex Motocross, shoe shopping, California traffic jams, dirty laundry, surfing, sky-diving, Whatsapping, toilet blocking, BBQs, opening boxes of fresh kit, faffing, Instagramming, iPhones falling into hot tubs, XC riding, being sick in swimming pools, and rap music.


Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Nothing but Jack Moir floating blissfully on a giant white swan in a California infinity pool. A level of calm we should all be aspiring to.


bigquotesTeam camp was absolutely all-time with the boys this year. Definitely top of the highlights for me was getting thrown out of a plane for the team video... it was also the most nervous I got all trip, but hands down one of the best experiences. If I was forced to pick out a low point I think it would have to be losing a bet to Jenn and having my hair dyed a pretty horrific yellow come strawberry-blond. Two days and $150 dollars in repairs later I was back to my old self. Anyway, overall it was unreal here in Cali; Jenn and Jeff went all out giving us the best place to stay and train. How could it not put you in a good mood coming back to such a nice spot, having that hot tub with a view and some cold ones at the ready! World Cup season, here we come...Dean Lucas

Intense Team Camp
Intense Team Camp

Intense Team Camp
Look out for these not-so-far from Hollywood A-listers and their fresh new sound at a World Cup near you. It's the sound of speed so don't blink or you'll miss it.

86 Comments

  • + 24
 What a stack of bangers @natedh9. Great work sir, as always.
  • + 7
 Intense Factory Racing?

Maybe it should be "Intense Shipping and Receiving Racing "
  • + 1
 When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs, every morning to help me get large. And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a BARGE!
  • + 9
 First thing i noticed is that you hardly ever see Fontucky/Inland Empire with skies that clear - the rains we've all had throughout CA have scrubbed a shit-ton of crap out of the air and is making for epic photography and the breathing's not bad either. The plant explosion is going to be insane too - Mt San Jacinto is actually green this year! Unheard of. Too bad the EPA is getting kicked in the nards. Although, with the relaxed air quality standards, I can finally get my wood-burning helicopter project going.
  • + 12
 Those bikes look gooood!!
  • + 12
 Great photos.... its a shame spots just got name dropped. #fail
  • + 10
 Yea they f*cked up this isn't california it's Colorado isn't it?
  • + 12
 @Grizzlycycles661: for sure not socal, if these were my trails id be heated....... oh wait
  • + 16
 @samdone: yea there's no good riding in California it all sucks here we only have bike paths along the beaches and fire roads.
  • + 7
 fyi there's some sick dirt jumps at the end of the mission beach jetty.
  • + 23
 Dude! this is a joke, its one thing to shoot photos and ride on local illegal spots but to name and blow them out is shameful. NO NEED! For some reason over the years seems like it has become acceptable for pros from out of town to blow up our local spots for the sake of good training edit. Whoever wrote the content for this article should be ashamed, FREAKING LAME! Shame on intense
  • + 0
 @fedup2: as if i needed another reason to boycott Intesne....
  • + 13
 And that photo of taking a piss by a fence. No wonder people think mt. bikers are idiots...
  • + 3
 @fedup2:

There's no right way to do the wrong thing.
  • - 6
flag creativefletch (Mar 21, 2017 at 15:13) (Below Threshold)
 @fedup2: Pretty sure Intense didn't write or publish this article. The actual team launch video was shot at these locations and the locations were never mentioned on the edit or the PR about it.
  • + 7
 @creativefletch: obviously they supported it. It's clearly markieting their team, product and sponsors. Don't defend stupidity. Quick phone call to the writer and this is gone.
  • + 13
 Sorry about that folks - of course there's no gain for me or Intense to name these places - as author I just didn't realise the need to keep names under wraps at the time of writing. All spots mentions except Fontana removed now. Apologies again to all concerned.
  • + 4
 @natedh9: thanks man, much appreciated.
  • - 2
 @natedh9: it's really not a big deal. Crybabies just like to live in the past and pretend like everyone doesn't already know about these spots. Strava has made it so that anyone can find out about any area they might want to ride in like 2 minutes. I ride these trails and like 90% of the people I meet aren't even locals.
  • + 2
 @leftCoastBurn: easy to say until you show up and your home turf is shut down.
  • + 1
 @fedup2: I agree. Hit the nail on the head
  • + 7
 Such a shame someone would name drop like this. Not one of these spots is legal and all have been shut down once or twice. Sad!
  • + 9
 Its like a wholesome 50:01 road trip
  • + 4
 What??! Are you saying the Rat ain't a wholesome clean living kinda guy?
  • + 8
 Wow ????!!!! Way to expose... It was a good read until the when's whys and especially the where's...
  • + 6
 Ashamed at the article. Peeing on a fence? Really!?? Publishing trail names and the towns they are in? Fail. Fail. Fail on everybody involved in this. Boo
  • + 4
 Well, there is no urine on the fence so with the evidence at hand I would doubt he actually peed on the fence. The guy is like 16 or 17, when I was at that age I peed in a lot of places I would not as a mature adult. Have you ever been to the top of a race that does not have facilities? Or maybe even the top of a shuttle ride at a crowed spot? It is a pee fest, in fact Cam Zink was fined last year for peeing outside a facility. Lame pic for sure but I would hardly blame any DH rider for taking a piss somewhere he should not be. It happens.
  • + 4
 Really cool seeing those alloy prototypes, it looks like the one that has the tag hanging from it has the shock mount on the top tube and the one behind it has the shock mount on the downtube. Would be rad to see the progression from P1-final. Banger shots as always from Nathan!
  • + 6
 2 of these spots are illegal trails and they just put it out there for it to get shut down. what a bummer man. No respect
  • + 8
 ya man troopers be sitting at their desk refreshing pinkbike.com every minute waiting for the next "illegal trail" to be blasted.
  • + 3
 @otto99: lol you dont know ca fish and wildlife and other conservationists here then
  • + 7
 20 bucks the younger PB crowd doesn't get the title reference...
  • + 5
 I'm left wondering who stuck what up where this time
  • + 18
 This one time at band camp... someone made a bet, and now owes me $20
  • + 2
 Yeah you get your 20 bucks
  • + 0
 @OlavA: it happened in the hot tub
  • + 6
 Whatever happened to Palmer
  • + 5
 Nice edit, Now I'm going to invade your hidden trails hahahahhahahha!!!!
  • + 5
 @natedh9 Multiple Bangers!!
  • + 1
 Go Nik!!!

have been hearing about his path through second hand info (friend of his dad's)...sounds like a great kid with a bright future.
  • + 4
 is this a boy group?
  • + 1
 Wouldhaveletmego and they are not as capable as others.....because? Have you ridden the new M16C, the new Tracer, or the Recluse or any other Intense Bike? Just wondering.
  • + 3
 im digging the intense V10
  • + 3
 better kit than last year, that sucked da bobby
  • + 4
 Needs more photos.
  • + 1
 Have to agree with the first comment, some discipline will be required for this team to make the grade.
  • + 1
 ill be there this week thanks to the article. Thanks for the heads up. LOL
  • + 1
 Where's the spy shots of the new bikes?
With a new linkage design, there's at least 1 dh in 275 and 1 in 29. (AL both)
  • + 2
 Warren Kniss got so f*cked over by Intense.... :/
  • + 1
 Tight crew but they need to step up their beer game! Corona literally tastes like piss in a bottle!
  • + 6
 Sounds like you have a good understanding of what piss tastes like, hmm....?
  • + 5
 Born and raised in Germany, living in hop-heavy Bellingham - Corona is a sports drink Wink
  • + 1
 And when it's warm it takes like warm piss in a bottle. Where's the Socal IPAs?
  • + 1
 Agreed, or maybe their hydrating?
  • - 1
 @shaun-ridefast-michael: I also know what a dick looks like, and I see one right now and his name is shaun-dumbname-michael
  • + 3
 In fairness, Corona does taste awful. They stick a lemon in the bottle for a reason...the same reason they drown snails in garlic and parsley. This is a food website right? Smile
  • + 2
 @Beez177: calm your tits batman, you did leave "literally" in your comment, therfore you literally must know what piss tastes like. Deep breaths:-)
  • + 1
 The pressure washer made my cringe
  • + 2
 It made me cringe for more than one reason...the use of pressure on seals etc, but also mainly the whole CA drought thing. Definitely still something to consider when using water here.
  • + 4
 @cgdibble: I am avid pressure washer. I live in a condo (in SoCal and drought sensitive) with a chick so my bikes must be clean when I get home. First of all, pressure washers use far less gallons per minute than a hose. When you factor in the efficiency it is even less. Second, I talked to an engineer at Fox and he said as long as you are not putting the nozzle right on the seal for an extended period of time it is perfectly OK. Once you get more than 4 to 6 inches away from the nozzle the stream really is not that strong. Also I talked to the Trek mechanic that recently passed and he said way better than leaving the bike dirty. For me, I have cracked open a Cane creek 40 headset, a Sram GXP bottom bracket and a set of Hope hubs after many pressure washes. All were fine and had plenty of clean grease. The Hope hubs actually looked brand new. When I got my DVO suspension rebuilt I asked the tech if there were signs of moisture and he said “NO’. So not cringe worthy.
  • + 1
 Red on Red
its so WOW factor Big Grin
  • + 1
 "This one time, at band camp " Big Grin Big Grin american pie !
  • + 0
 Start off showing fabrication of Al prototypes. Then do photo shoot with plastic production bikes. Love the red PJ,s!
  • + 1
 just like boyband.
  • + 0
 帽子上的SB字母 让我大吃一斤!!!!!
  • + 0
 According to this, 'great' is a trigger word now lol
  • + 0
 Pretty cool press release.
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