mountain bike magazine
Issue 06 | November 2011 | Free Download www.freeridermag.in
We wish our readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance as this is the last issue of the year. We will be back soon with new and exciting content from India, Nepal, Bhutan and other countries. Vineet Sharma Editor-In-Chief COVER - Rider: Sahba Rowshan|Photo: Dhruv Sharma| Location: Ladakh, India
L A I R O IT
Winters have started but the riding scene continues and growing bigger every day. Freerider MTB Magazine crew finished the road trip in Spiti Valley, and the riders from Pune and Bombay enjoyed the high altitude gravity in Leh. I would like to announce some changes in Freerider MTB Magazine by welcoming Vinay Menon to the new team. Vinay is a passionate mountain biker who also loves photography and has contributed in the previous issues of the magazine. The magazine will continue with the same motive and passion with the new crew and new style.
CONTENTS EXCLUSIVE STORIES Riding High.........................3 Nine Knights.........................9 The Ladakh Files.........................17 HOT SHOTS Professional photos.........................25 WHATS UP The Mountain Queen.........................28 OctEleven.........................30 New Stuff Avid Elixir 7.........................34
The Team: Editor in Chief: Vineet Sharma email@example.com Deputy Editor: Vinay Menon firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editors and Photographers Reuben Krabbe Bastian Dietz Lars Scharl Sahba Rowshan Dhruv Sharma Kevin Pabinquit Dan Wright Rocky Khatra | Hrishi Mandke
Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #2434-A, Sector: 39-C Chandigarh. 160036 INDIA. ........................................................ This magazine is intended for free distribution and is only available through our web portal
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NOTE: We have done our best to make sure that all content in this issue of Freerider mountain bike magazine is accurate, but would emphasise that we at Freerider mountian bike magazine accept no responsibility for any errors in the magazine/content or any errors caused to your computer while reading our magazine.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY VINAY MENON & MUGOO | TEXT BY VINAY MENON
The vast hostile landscape of Leh-Ladakh region has been on my check list for quite a few years. Summer 2011, I got that dialled. Joined by one of my riding buddies Mugoo, a workaholic bike clown, we hopped on a Jammu bound train. With no seats available, the train ride was spent vertical, jumping seats, trampling over luggage cases and sleeping passengers. Continuing into a cycle rickshaw, a fueled rickshaw and a super slick cab ride through bad weather, we reached the lazy, mountain city of Manali. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 3
Switching on to a 4am Bus to Leh, our bikes thrown on the roof, the rally grade bus drive began from Manali. Non existent roads, landslides, cloud burst situation, washed off roads, snow clad mountains, bags falling off roof rack, frequent army check posts, super high altitude and its low oxygen levels welcomed us through the breathtaking drive from Manali to Leh.
During the drive, Mugoo was hit by the high altitude grumpiness with a head blasting illness and Dot4 fluid running down his nose. Landing in Leh city, surrounded by big mountains and a blue sky, we were all psyched up to build our bikes and hit the deserted landscape.
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Still struggling to acclimatize we headed out to scout for some ride able lines around the Leh town area. After a bit of cruising through the arid landscape we spotted a decent ridge line only few miles off civilization. In forty degree Celsius noon sun I started my two hour hike up the mountain, as Mugoo stayed at the bottom of the hill with all the gear.
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We bumped into a few of our photographer buddies from back home, while riding around in Leh market! Along with one of the citys leading bike tour operators, a quick visit to Khardungla was set. Being the highest motor able road on the planet, Khardungla did not disappoint. Some high altitude oxygen deprivation later we decided to session a bit (lower) at the ridge zone around town we had seen earlier.
The sun still throwing the crisp light, I strapped up and started the two minute descent down the massive ridge. A little over the bar action down the ride caused a bruised ankle, keeping me off the bike next day. I kept the wheels spinning through rest of the trip with an ankle brace. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 6
Post some image captures in the evening light, we descended back into the city area through some monastery trails. With locals and visitors packing up the little city streets, weekend in Leh town area looked pretty colourful! After only a few weeks in the region and riding just about five percent of the territory, we still kind of feel we belong to the mountain land of Leh. With all its great food, super weather and wonderful people, Leh has embedded the mountain dust in our systems now! I canâ€™t wait to throw some more of the 40a durometer rubber on fresh mountain slopes!
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Before we could take all the Leh oxygen in, it was time to pack up for hometown. On our way back we opted for the alternate route out of Leh City. Another bus ride to Srinagar through Dras and Kargil. Leaving the city late evening this route sees quite a few road trippers cruising. Continuing into the night the hip-skip dodge the cliff drive was sketchy to say the least. As our bus driver kept sleep tossing aided by some â€œorganic jointsâ€?, the squeaking wheels and the horse saddle like seats kept me awake! Armoured corp trucks, Army personals with LMGs, army check posts were the site through Srinagar and Jammu. A nights stay in Jammu and a train ride with sleep killing Ticket checkers, Pune it was. A tripping good ride indeed!
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY LARS SCHARL | TEXT BY BASTIAN DIETZ
Neukirchen ,Wildkogel, in Austriaâ€™s Hohe Tauern National Park, Salzburger Land is a mountain resort renowned for its stunning beauty, awesome terrain, and friendly locals, and for six days in August this year it held up its hand to be called the new centre of European freeride mountainbiking by presenting the Suzuki Nine Knights MTB event. From the 21st to the 27th of August 2011, the best riders from across the globe joined together with the sports premier photographers and film-makers in an event designed to showcase the best elements of freeride mountain biking.
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The numbers involved were staggering: 2,457 metres of trail dropping 458 vertical metres; a specially designed ‘Castle’ situated at 2000 metres altitude with a 6 metre drop-in, twin speed jumps and a 15 metre superkicker; 400 tons of earth; 30 cubic metres of wood; 14 riders with 32 bikes and 161 spare inner tubes; 5 photographers; 5 video cams; 4 cars; 3 vans; one helicopter; countless hours preparation and planning for six days of one event, at one spectacular location, led by one man; that’s how the Suzuki Nine Knights MTB event at Neukirchen am Wildkogel hosted by Andi Wittmann stacked up this year.
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But of course it is about more than just the numbers. The real stars of the show are the riders: Germany’s own freeriding champ Andi Wittmann invited the cream of world freeriding to take part in this unique event and the list of participants is impressive. Yannick Granieri and Pierre Eduard Ferry of France, Timo Pritzl and Amir Kabbani of Germany, Austrians Niki Leitner and Andi Brewi, Swedes Martin Söderström, John Alm Högman and Linus Sjöholm, and last but by no means least, our friends from across the pond, Canada’s own, Kurt Sorge and Geoff Gulevich.
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Our Nine Knights and the wild-card competition winners threw down the gauntlet like their medieval namesakes and stormed the ‘Castle’ and trail with some of the sickest moves ever attempted. This gave the invited photographers and videographers a collective ‘photogasm’ and the results of their work are truly exceptional.
Still photographers Markus Gerber, Harookz, Mattias Frederiksson and Stef Cande competed in various photographic competition categories across the six days and produced some fantastic work. The team from People Grapher who filmed the event and the Red Bull Media House team with their helicopter-mounted Cineflex camera and high speed Phantom camera also provided some amazing film of the riders and the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIJUWGdUlC8 Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 13
The list of tricks that went down is longer and greater than can be expressed on the printed page alone, however, some notable efforts rate a mention. Swede Martin Södertsröm’s triple tailwhip and his ‘best trick’ category winner Barspin to Tailwhip. 360 Table Tops from German Amir Kabbani, Flatspin 360s and Flipwhips in the cleanest of styles by Frenchman Yannick Granieri. Outrageously massive Superseaters from John Alm Högman and Spaniard Beinvenido Alba’s No-Hand Frontflip, all showing just how good these athletes are and how far the sport of freeride mountainbiking has progressed.
The first four days of the event consisted of the riders challenging each other for the benefit of the asssembled media, and the weather could not have been more obliging. However on the Saturday, the day set aside for a public competition where over 2000 locals and fans were expected to attend, the fickle mountain gods delivered snow and wind gusts of 100km/h, making the conditions too dangerous and miserable to proceed. Unfortunate for all involved but that’s life in the mountains. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 14
Giving the last word to host Andi Wittmann: “The Suzuki Nine Knights was the culmination of a vision we had for the sport of freeride mountainbiking, about bringing the best elements of athlete, place and media coverage together in such a way to show the world what we are capable of doing and all the fun you can have doing it. It was a week where all the hard work and effort in organising the event came together in such a awesome way that we can’t wait to step up again and do it next year.” The results of the individual competitions at a glance: Ruler of Big Air 1. Yannick Granieri (FRA) | 2. Bienvendio Alba (ESP) | 3. Martin Söderström (SWE) & Amir Kabbani (GER) Ruler of the Trail 1. Pierre Eduard Ferry (FRA) | 2. Geoff Gulevich (CAN) Best Style 1. Martin Söderström (SWE) | 2. Kurt Sorge (CAN), Yannick Garnieri (FRA) & John Alm Högmann (SWE) Best Trick 1. Martin Söderström (SWE)– Barspin to Tailwhip | 2. John Alm Högmann (SWE)– (huge) Superseater
Photo Contest: ‘Best Big Air’ – Harookz (CAN) ‘Best Trail Shot’ – Stef Cande (FRA) ‘Best Black & White’ – Markus Greber (GER) ‘Best Creative Angle’ – Markus Greber (GER) ‘Best Lifestyle’ – Harookz (CAN)
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAHBA ROWSHAN & DHRUV SHARMA | TEXT BY SAHBA ROWSHAN
In S pla epte the n wa mber 2 wo s to rld rid 008, , so e d tw un ow o fr n ds i sim the ends ple fou ; Dh Ou rig r ma ruv r ht? in p and be first T low his ass Sah sto the p is a es o ba t he w t o a rid bri n th (me f e b p of amo s a sm ef e M ) he me a ack Jalo us J c a cou an ade Un ters h dow ri pa alori ll villa nt ali â€“ d o f s of p g o n i s, w as Leh ut to ec tur rtu gh. t o o s u a T n . h r ri hig Ma inc ned f ately he e Jibhi, ich i Our lled J de hw nal s l r r a i w , s e o e b a i o i an . o v m h y h de ase m t v a u , i i e ti , c r w w cid r hic d La any ed d dra arma jeep on dr h is a 310 as to nestle h a da wh to s ma c to had op ppr 0 m d g lso kh e o t w e ere tar tica r o x t t hap to fi ne t lea lly o ock g ther as ov imate ers, a o pe nd ar er a p n n k nt l som r y l d i a d the ng the 1 2 n e o 0 be e n pas coo wa n an s, as 00 m 000 som ew s a lant y to d th the ete nd e o trail e in roa rs! t b h e we e f th s, o f c d had ore w pass line e h ur , igh ma e t to h g e est in o ret t j e e in urn p .
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After speaking to some locals, we decided to go to another village, it wasnâ€™t as high as the pass, but with the promise of lush single-track winding through alpine forests, it was the next best thing. We stopped for some chai and Maggi at a local shop at the drop off point. With our big bikes, Darth Vader type helmets and strange padding, the local kids as usual, were an intrigued bunch.
The trail started off with a long and windy piece of single track that was uphill at times. The beauty was inescapable, after spending one year away from the mountains, we definitely felt at home. As we continued on the trail, we came to a small village, at this stage, to be honest, we were lost.
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But figuring we were on the right side of the mountain, we decided going down was the best idea. And so we went down, through winding single track, through corn fields, cobbled village paths and stairs till the sun set. By the time it was dark, it began to rain, while Dhruv decided to get back to the road, being the stubborn person I was, I decided to keep riding down the trail to see where it went.
This was probably a bad choice, given I had almost $1500 of camera gear and no water proof bag, the trail however, just got better as I went ahead. There were long, steep and flowy sections of single track caressing the side of the mountain, breaking intermittently through the occasional step farm followed flights of rocky stairs that were spaced perfectly far enough for me to roll over. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 19
As all good things come to an end though, the trail did end, and I was reminded by the darkness and the rain, that I was indeed lost. I eventually managed to carry my bike through some bush and hike back to the road, which led me back to the hotel.
Our second ride took us to Manali and up to the Rohtang Pass, which, at 3978 meters, is the gateway to theLahaul and Spiti valleys and the first pass on the way to Leh, and also the first trail on our main plan. The idea was simple, since there were no forests on the mountain, we would ride straight down the face of the mountain. Easier said than done! We started on a ridiculously exposed trail with a vertical drop of at-least a 100 meters. Dhruv volunteered to go first, so you my dear readers can see what it looked like. Riding down a bare mountain face in the Himalayas is relatively straightforward; you need to hold your line, avoid getting impaled by the gargantuan rocks and most importantly; try not to ride off a cliff to your death. All of which, we somehow managed to do. As we got to the bottom in one piece, we were greeted by our trusty friend Curren with the Jeep, some hot tea and dinner.All was well! Our next destination would be by far the highest, and the most spectacular. TsoMorririlake, at 4595 meters, with its crystal clear blue waters and snow-capped surrounding mountains is perhaps, the closest we could get to heaven with our hearts still beating in our chest. And now we were going to ride there!
â€œAir density decreases as altitude increasesâ€?: Like most remote riding destinations, we had to earn the ride in TsoMorriri, but pushing your bike above 4600 meters, every step becomes arduous. We pushed for over an hour only to gain a few hundred meters of elevation. But on this day, that was high enough, when we got up we were greeted by a post card view, the wind had stopped, and the surrounding mountains were reflected, perfectly still in the lake.
After shooting some panoramas, we headed straight down, this was a bomber run!Pinned down and hanging on for life,even with my full suspension setup, I gathered so much speed that the vibrations from my suspension actually blurred my vision near the end of the run! With one more mountain to climb though, we had no time to rest, and not long after, we were again up above the village.
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The second climb took us till just before sunset, with the sun almost fading, the sky turned into a kaleidoscope of colours, each being reflected perfectly in the lake. With the sky lit and the clouds glowing in sunsetâ€™s gold, we descended again; It was a short trail, carving its path on the right side of the mountain and then leading to a few twisty switchbacks before arriving at the top of the monastery stair case, Dhruv went left to find a path to the village, and I decided to ride down the wall beside the stair case, which had a small drop at the end. I caught up to Dhruv and by then we were absolutely exhausted, with sore aching muscles, but big smiles around.
There is only one thing more entertaining than riding down the side of a monastery, and that is letting a dozen children monks play around with your bike, there is an almost universal fascination amongst children when they see a purpose built mountain bike!
Our last ride, took us to the village of Shey, here, we were just scoping the terrain for some lines, trying to find natural drops in the lunar landscape!We spent some time hitting small drops and riding lines with multiple hits. And then, it the distance, a small cliff caught my eye, the closer I got to it, to more rideable it looked. I told myself, “you wouldn’t do that, it’s too risky” and kept looking for other lines, but the voice in my head wouldn’t go away. The more I looked at it, the more plausible it became.The run in was very sketchy, I had to ride between two stupas to get to the drop, but the landing was steep, and clean. After a bit of banter between the logical me and the rider in my head, I decided to hit it.
Now normally, you would take a few run-ups to a drop you haven’t hit before, especially when you haven’t ridden for a year. So I walked over the run in, and scoped out the landing, and then decided to do a run up. The first run up; you twist your grips, you try and get your pedal in that perfect position, take deep breaths, you tell yourself you can make it, you tell yourself it’s just a run up. I looked to my right and saw Dhruv in the distance, ready for the shot. With static running through my gloves, I grabbed the bars and pedalled towards the lip, and then it hit me, I had to it, now. There wasn’t going to be a run up. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 23
It takes less than a few seconds from when you take off, and when you feel your body compressing into a landing. But every time you hit something for the first time, your mind automatically processes everything in slow motion. It’s like those HD shots from the bike movies, time slows down, you hear nothing but the sound of your spokes spinning, until you land, and then everything starts running in real time, in full volume. With that drop done, we wrapped it up.In retrospective; it wasn’t one of those 30 foot bangers you see pro’s hitting like it’s no one’s business, but it made me push myself, and that’s what mattered. All in all, we didn’t get to ride all the passes, but we did find some unexpected gems such as the Jibhi trail, the drop lines in Shey and post card views in T soMorriri. Until next time… there is so much more to explore friends! So keep pushing and keep riding. Juley!
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Epic shots by professional photographers from around the world
Photo: Reuben Krabbe | Rider: Evan Medd | Location: Banff, Alberta Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 25
Photo: Reuben Krabbe | Rider: Cavan Brady | Location: Whistler, BC
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Photo: Kevin Pabinquit | Rider: Jordan Smith | Location: San Luis Obispo, California
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TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY
BY DAN WRIGHT
On the trail of training and racing this season; Nirjala Tamrakar has just returned from the UK on the high of a big WIN at ENDURO 2011 in the womens 20 mile, technical cross country category in heavy rain and deep mud. These conditions didn’t slow her down at all and she came in a massive 3 minutes ahead of the girl in 2nd position! Her race sponsor QOROZ Professional Titanium Bikes courtesy of CEO Chris Davies loaned her their superb Mountain WON full XTR bike to race with and are now designing and building a bike specially for Nirjala to race with which will be branded after Nirjala’s racing Nickname “The Mtn Queen”!
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Nirjala spent the month of September before the ENDURO training in the UK with the UK Men’s Cross Country Veteran Team rider Richard J Cross and with Rickie Cotter, the 24 hour race Female British Champion. She also hung out at a big brand company Noah’s Ark Bikes in Gloucestershire where she was introduced to riders from all over the UK National scene and managed to get several top tips on bike maintenance from their in-house mechanics and their Director Chris Hart. The mountain biking diva recently won MTB Himachal Race this year where she competed in for the 3rd time in 3 years and where she WON the female race in the last 2 years. In amongst all this training and racing around the World Nirjala even found time for a second UK wedding blessing this summer to her husband Dan with all his family in the picturesque riverside town of Ross-on-Wye in the 16th Century Wiltons Castle. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of Miss Mtn Queen – Nirjala Tamrakar as she continues to prepare and train for qualification to next years Olympics in the UK.
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n e v e l OctE Y BY HRISHI M
XT BY VINAY M
Y MENON | TE ANDKE & VINA
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Monsoons through and itâ€™s time to shred the hard pack trails again! This October, Pune, my home city is where my buddies and I decided to dig the twenty six inch knobbies. Ignatius Chen Chin Fa and NileshDhumal from Bengaluru showed up with the legendry 1985 Suzuki 800 and their DH rigs strapped on the grey haired roof. Joined by GautamTaode (Pune), who was off the bike for 3 months with a broken collar bone and HrishiMandke, one of Indiaâ€™s nuttiest Streetbike Freestyle riders behind the camera, we were hill bound through the crazy Pune traffic. Slashing through classified trails and railing exposed corners in the winter noon sun is what all of us mountain bikers ride for. Jetting through two days of secret trail action with crisp sun and clear skies over our helmets, we decided to navigate towards the good old Pune city trails in the woods.
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Some of the oldest trails which all of us have grown up riding still shines between the ever encroaching concrete virus. Tree clad singletracks with tight turns and hidden rocks, is what keeps calling us back to this rocky hill. Often used by walkers over the weekend, these trails are best ridden at dawn or noon. And thatâ€™s exactly what we planned and executed. Morning till sun down on a weekday, the trails were relished to their peak!
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With some decent stills and video captures on our memory cards the OctElevenPune, dig those knobbies mission, was wrapping up. With more ride plans and bike upgrades typed into our phones, its time to disperse.
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PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY VINEET SHARMA
AVID ELIXIR 7 We recently got our hands on the 2012 Avid Elixir 7. These heavy duty brakes are designed for cross country riding to Downhill Mountain biking and feature a redesigned tool-less dial compared to its previous brothers. Elixir 7 are updated and packed with totally redesigned internals and better air management system. The modulation is super and we noticed increase in power compared to the previous versions of Elixir range. The caliper design has also been changed and reduced in size. Avid claims Elixir 7 features most of the stuff found in their top of the line Elixir 9! The new caliper allows more heat to escape from the system, which we found correct. We would recommend Avid Elixir 7 for those of you planning to upgrade your bikes!
Some technical specs: Leaver Material: Carbon Fiber Lever, Aluminum lever option, Aluminum Body Caliper Design: 2 Piston, Forged 2-piece Aluminum, Adjustable Banjo Pad: Sintered, Top Loading Mount: Ambidextrous Adjustments: Tool-Free Reach Adjustment, Adjustable Banjo, Tri-Align Caliper Positioningâ€¨ Special Features: TaperBore Technology, MatchMaker Compatible, Split Clamp Weight: 350grams - with Carbon Blade Option Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine | 34
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK Photo: Vineet Sharma | Location: Manali, INDIA
NEXT ISSUE COMING SOON
Issue # 6 - November 2011