Page 1

mountain bike magazine

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine

INDIA | ISSUE TWENTY FIVE January, February 2015

200


freerider EXCLUSIVE STORY | Epic trails in Switzerland | 8 TRAIL STORY | Top 5 Indian MTB destinations | 17 HOT EVENT | Rampaging | 26 TRAIL STORY| Project Solo - Spiti | 40 EXPOSED & FRAMED| Sean St. Denis | 48 RIDER PROFILE | Rajas Naik | 54 HOT EVENT | Bali Bintang | 60 FRESH JUICE | Five Ten shoes + more | 65 WHATS UP | News | 66


Cover: Cam Zink 360’s this 40’ drop for Best Trick at Rampage 2014. He would stomp this twice in typical Zink style for a 2nd place as well. Photo: Malcolm McLaws

Contents: Andi Wittmann getting “High in the Indian Himalayas” somewhere near Leh. Photo: Vineet Sharma Editorial: Having fun in Manali - The mountain biking capital of India. Photo: Vineet Sharma


2014 witnessed wicked mountain biking events, some of the best riding, more innovative gear, more exposed trails and ended well with positive vibes and happy riders. I’m really excited to write this note for our third printed collector’s edition which has a sick looking cover featuring Cam Zink and great stories inside. Apart from adding another edition and expanding our team, we have also revamped our website for 2015 which is more interactive than before and will help you to keep yourself updated on what’s happening in the mountain biking culture of India, Nepal and Bhutan with exciting stories, reviews, videos and lot more. As 2015 has stepped in, lets gear up for more action and we invite you to be a part of Indian mountain biking action this year.

Vineet Sharma

Founder, Editor-in-Chief | vineet@freeridermag.in


The Team: Editor in Chief: Vineet Sharma vineet@freeridermag.in Deputy Editor: Vinay Menon vinay@freeridermag.in BMX Agent: Dipak Panchal dipak@freeridermag.in Photo Editor: Malcolm McLaws malcolm@freeridermag.in Himalayan Trails Minister: Naveen Barongpa

Contributing Editors and Photographers | Issue # 25 Lukas Keller, Martin Bissig, Malcolm McLaws, Sean St. Denis

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #410, Sector: 10 Panchkula (Haryana). INDIA. ........................................................ Special Print ‘Collectors Edition’. For sale in selected stores only. E-mail us for more details. www.freeridermag.in ........................................................ Feel free to write, contribute or advertise. E-mail at: vineet@freeridermag.in | vinay@freeridermag.in

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 or content.


FR MTB MAG | 8


Words: Lukas Keller | Photography: Martin Bissig

Step by step, we are pushing our mountain bikes slowly through the crowd of people. We hear voices in countless languages not understandable to us and the click of the camera shutter release buttons. Definitely the opposite of what we expected on a mountain ridge at about 3000 m. But the whole thing here in Zermatt is simply a bit different and the rack railway, which took us from the village centre to the Gorner Ridge in a half an hour, transported also, apart from a few bikers, hundreds of tourists into the mountains. All with the same goal: to cast a glance at the most famous mountain in Switzerland, the Matterhorn.

The scene here on the Gorner Ridge is bizarre: in this high alpine setting, countless tourists are buzzing to and fro, trying to find the best place for their souvenir photo. And to add the final touch to this romantic postcard-like scenery, Bernese mountain dogs and long-bearded men with alphorns are available for photos, against payment of a fee of course.

FR MTB MAG | 9


This whole ado is too hectic for us and we are glad, after finally having left the crowds behind us, to reach the trails. It is for the first time that we can take a look at the Matterhorn without ruffle or excitement. It shows itself in very good spirits today. Majestically sits this pinnacle of a mountain enthroned, overlooking the valley before a steel blue sky. Although it is not for first time we see the Matterhorn, we are once again fascinated and impressed by the incredible beauty of this mountain. Only hardly can we tear our eyes away from the view, but the trail down to Zermatt is also covered with superlatives, as described.

So we release our brakes and set ourselves in motion. Smoothly and with a lot of flow the trail lays over the mountain meadows. Deep in the valley to our left is the Gorner Glacier, flanked by the over 4000-meter-high Castor, Pollux and Breithorn, and, right before us, the Matterhorn ascending into the sky. Even if it seems difficult at the look of this panorama, we must, however, devote our attention entirely to the trail. Meanwhile, the nature of our route has in fact changed, leading now downhill on steeper and rockier grounds, forcing us to choose a more careful line. Upon reaching the forest boundary, the trail becomes again easier and smoother. The non-slip forest soil is tempting us to increase the speed and thick roots and ground waves are used as ski jumps for joyful leaps. We finally reach Zermatt with a broad grin on our faces. We left behind us 1500 meters of the finest single tracks.

FR MTB MAG | 10


The long run costs large amounts of energy and Adrian, our guide from the bike school in Zermatt, is leading us to a restaurant in a small town above Zermatt. Time seems here to have stood still in the last hundred years. In one of the wooden houses with stone foundation typical for this region there is a small restaurant that serves local specialties. A KäserÜsti (a cheese potato cake topped with Gruyère cheese) and a homemade rhubarb tart refill our energy tanks. Although the cozy atmosphere invites to lingering, Adrian is urging us to set out. Too many trails are still waiting to be explored.

FR MTB MAG | 11


FR MTB MAG | 12


FR MTB MAG | 13


To save time and energy, we take again the train as a climbing aid. This time, an underground funicular takes us on the Sunnega. After a short but steep climb we turn off onto the next trail. Adrian has picked something technically challenging this time. The path is steep and splinted and serpentines encourage us to prove our skills and pop a wheelie. Further down, the road suddenly levels out and continues almost endlessly on soft forest floor towards the valley. It is one of those trails where one neither has to brake, nor step on the pedal, and still has the right speed. Were you to seek the definition of the word flow, here you would strike a bonanza. The trail suddenly spits us out of the woods and we are back in Zermatt in the valley station. Without further ado, as our guide suggests, we head right back for the Sunnega train. We realize that such a trail is simply too good to be ridden on only once.

FR MTB MAG | 14

A few hours later we are sitting in Zermatt in a garden restaurant and end the day with a well-deserved beer. Swiss flags are hanging above us and in front of us, at the far end of the valley, glows the Matterhorn red in the gloaming. It seems as if it were taken straight out of a painting. A kitschy but fitting backdrop for the closing of a memorable day. We cannot remember having ever ridden on so many different trails in only one day. Zermatt, renowned as a tourist destination, has a huge infrastructure of cable cars and many of the railways transport also mountain bikes in the summer. Since there is hardly any time wasted for ascents, one can concentrate on descents all day long. The area offers a wide network of trails for all levels of difficulty and is, therefore, suitable for beginners and professionals alike. Although we were on the road all day, we have seen only a fraction of the possible routes. We will come again!


Info Zermatt:

Location/Arrival (how to get there) Zermatt is located in the Canton of Valais, in southern Switzerland, near the Italian border. The car-free Zermatt is accessible by train, taxi or helicopter. The train journey to Zermatt is quite an experience. Car drivers can easily park their vehicles in a car park in Täsch and continue their journey by train. There are trains from Täsch leaving every 20 minutes and the trip to Zermatt takes 12 minutes. Airline passengers take the train directly from the airport and reach Zermatt from Zürich Kloten Airport in 3½ hrs., from Geneva International Airport in 4 hrs., and change in Visp. Alternatives: taxis, helicopters (Air Zermatt), Glacier Express.

The best season

July - October. At higher altitudes, in some cases snow is still to be expected in spring and autumn.

Tips

Depending on the area and season, there are very many hikers on the road in the region. A considerate behavior on the roads is, therefore, important. A bell is recommended. Depending on the routes it is recommended to ride during the off-peak hours.

Bike shops

Bayard Sport, www.bayardzermatt.ch Slalom Sport, www.slalom-sport.ch

Guiding/Bike riding technique Bikeschool Zermatt, Adrian Greiner, www.bikeschoolzermatt.ch

Maps/Guides

Single trail map Zermatt/Saas Fee, www.singletrailmap.ch Super trail map Zermatt/Saas Fee, www.supertrail-map.com

Downhill route

For downhillers, on the Sunnega there is a technically challenging downhill track that goes down to Zermatt. Any further information is accessible on www.zermatt.ch

FR MTB MAG | 15


harma By: Vineet S

Rich culture, best spices, great food, highest mountains, adventure everywhere. Welcome to India with your mountain bike and here are top 5 highly recommended epic mountain biking destinations that you must check out.

FR MTB MAG | 17


#1

Manali, a Himalayan town located in the beautiful Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley. The small town is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. Also known as The Mountain Biking Capital of India� Manali offers all kind of natural trails that serves the needs of a DH rider who is looking for big mountain riding to XC enthusiast who craves for challenging climbs, singletracks and lot more. Manali also works as base camp for all riders heading towards long distance riding towards Leh, Ladakh. Contact Himalayan Mountain Bike Network for local trails and guiding for great experience..

FR MTB MAG | 18


#2

FR MTB MAG | 19


This second largest district in the country has surreal landscape that would attract any mountain biker. Leh has been a target for many mountain bikers since decades as it also gives the opportunity to reach KhardungLa, the highest motorable road in the world. Leh is also a home to some wicked big mountains that works like a perfect dream for any Freerider who wants to test his bike and his limits in the Himalayas. That is why famous riders like RenĂŠ Wildhaber, Andi Wittmann, Guido Tschugg and Kelly McGarry have been here with their bikes. Leh is definitely one of the best places that should be on your list. We suggest you to travel towards Leh by road instead of flying here, as you will see some epic places to ride all the way. Not to mention about some of the highest passes in the world that you will be crossing.

FR MTB MAG | 20


FR MTB MAG | 21


#3

If Enduro is on your mind then look no further. Pindari Glacier is probably the finest place to ride your bikes. This glacier is found in the upper reaches of the Kumaon Himalayas, to the southeast of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot. To reach here you will be crossing some of the most beautiful Himalayan villages and natural trails packed with epic sceneries that you can only dream of. Female Downhill world champion Tracy Mosely has also enjoyed the ride to this glacier recently with her crew. Special guided tours are also offered with professional riders who know the region very well. The state of Uttarakhand is filled with many un-touched trails that are waiting to be explored.

FR MTB MAG | 22


#4

Located in southwestern Indian state of Kerala; Munnar is a small hill station located in the Idukki district (Western Ghats). This place is full of tea gardens and riding the man-made trails topped with natural singletracks through them is bliss for any beginner to expert rider. Here you will ride in some of the highest tea estates in the world. Kerala is also famous for long distance bicycle tours which shows you the other side of this big country. Contact Mountain Bike Kerala for ultimate singletrack guided tours in Kerala.

FR MTB MAG | 23


#5

Coorg is completely worth the time and effort taken to get there. It’s also located in the Western Ghats and if you happen to be a mountain biker looking for some All Mountain trails, then this is just the place you should be heading to. Located 6 hours away from Bangalore; Coorg aka Kodagu is another great hill station of South India famous for its coffee and pretty girls. It has lot of private coffee plantation areas which are packed with some sweet trails for all level of riders. A lot of the places here are accessible by jeep tracks – be it the numerous waterfalls and streams, the highest peak in the region Tadiyandamol or the flowing meadow like hilltop of Kabbe Motte. We highly recommend to make Honey Valley as your base camp and you can check a lot of wicked trails and wildlife all day long.

FR MTB MAG | 24


FR MTB MAG | 26


Words & Photography: Malcolm McLaws

Tom van Steenbergen’s front flip attempt over the massive 70’ Canyon Gap could have made him a podium winner except he crashed and survived. Balls to the wall move for sure. FR MTB MAG | 27


Paul Basagoitia and KC Deane’s crew hiking towards the build ridge, KC Deane and Paul B digging their line on the edge of a 100’ cliff, the Band you needed to get in with a team to build... this mine.

Makken, Kyle J and R-Dog are part of the Fest Crew checking out the Go-Pro stepdown that is 50 feet out, by 25 feet down 3 shot of the Fest Crew riding into the Go-Pro drop during practice.

FR MTB MAG | 28


The view of the swollen Virgin River behind our campsite where the most Rampage riders stayed, cell phone advisory of the flood warnings and Red Bull update for closure... Bernard Kerr has a way to pass the time... going shooting.

It takes all sorts of vehicles to make Rampage work like a music truck and a side by side. Randy Spangler working the water truck and a quad used to bring tools up the only road into the site.

FR MTB MAG | 29


Cam Zink guinea pigs his big drop during practice. He would later spin this drop twice during his finals runs. Fearless! FR MTB MAG | 30


Graham “Aggy” Agassiz sealed up first place in Quali’s with this huge drop. He would later injure his knee and couldn’t compete in finals.

FR MTB MAG | 31


FR MTB MAG | 32


Red Bull sponsored Szymon Godziek came all the way from Poland to pull a gnarly back flip on the 70’ canyon gap.

FR MTB MAG | 33


Rampage winner Andreu Lacondeguy flat spins the last feature as the sun sets in Virgin, Utah FR MTB MAG | 34


Ryan “R-Dog” Howard is the all American stylish rider who rode Rampage like a boss.

Diamond Back rider Carson Storch was a rookie at Rampage but that didn’t stop him from going big. He ejects on this backflip but got up to finish his run.

FR MTB MAG | 35


Brendan Fairclough built this canyon gap with his team from Britain. He nailed this gap and the following one during Rampage...Rowdy!

Jeff “Herb�Herbertson was a digger for Tyler McCaul last year. This year he killed it at his first rampage as a rider for 7th place

FR MTB MAG | 36


FR MTB MAG | 37


Rampage winner Andreu Lacondeguy holds his trophy and points out his support of Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine with a sticker on his RV. First or last-This is my year!

FR MTB MAG | 38


FR MTB MAG | 39


on

s& Word

n ay Me n i V : y graph Photo

FR MTB MAG | 40


The ‘Himachal DH MTB Trophy’ in Solang Valley got me to the mountains earlier in July. With a week full of digging at Ski Himalayas Park and racing over the weekend, the Solang stay was wild. As the event dust settled and riders exited Manali town, I packed my gear for ‘Project Solo’.

FR MTB MAG | 41


Spiti region was marked on the map and an SUV ride began from Manali thru the mega mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Metal bridges, prayer flags, snow-capped mountains in the horizon; a 12hr photogenic drive got me to Kaza. The main town in Lahaul/Spiti region. Straight to a small low lit room for the night, I unpacked in one of Kaza’s easy to find homestay facilities. Planning for the coming week of action I charged all the cameras and set my bikes suspension for big hits! Next morning while wandering in Kaza’s market with a momo breakfast, I spotted some potential riding slopes nearby. As the bright sun baked the ant hills I hiked the near perpendicular slopes one foot jam at a time. Using the bike as a digger, the mornings were spent climbing in Kaza. A few of the hills around town have jeep tracks going all the way up to small villages on the peak. With a week full of uphill and downhill on walking trails & sharp flaky chutes, it was time to exit Kaza’s hot days.

FR MTB MAG | 42


Kaza is connected to many smaller villages along the Shimla Highway with state transport buses. Bad roads, weather, mechanicals make this 2 or 3 Buses a day plan pretty interesting. After waiting for a full day I got a ride to my next spot, Tabo. With bike and bags on the roof, Himachal Road Transport bus cruised through some potential riding zones and made it to Tabo Bus Depot by early evening. This little village has one of the most beautiful monasteries around Spiti region. With a time warped state of mind I went looking for some big cliffs and steeps that I’d seen in the pictures.

FR MTB MAG | 43


Tabo has a very strong history with Buddhism and the location takes you in with its silence. You will be humbled with the humongous mountain faces insight. As I wandered through the landscape hiking up and blasting down I noticed the natural caves of Tabo. These natural formations hold high significance in the religious lifestyle of the region. Shining bright was a 20ft or something cave drop! I’d seen these cliffs in the images and was finally pulled in to the real zone. With a smooth take off and NO landing this one was sketchy to the core.

FR MTB MAG | 44

But a week full of riding with no big air was getting to me. I needed my punch of hang time! After spending a day cleaning the landing patch, moving boulders I was ready to hit the Tabo Cave drop. Only problem was, there was a small banking wall made to stop the soil from washing off the mountain. There was no way around this wall which stood very close on my run out patch.


FR MTB MAG | 45


FR MTB MAG | 46

As the noon sun was setting up in the cold village, I set up my tripod and cameras for the air show! Some of the village folks had seen me clearing the landing, setting up the dropin a day earlier and were curious to see what I was upto and got their camera phones out to get a clip of the fun. With cameras rolling and clouds moving fast, I cranked off the run in towards the lip. With perfect speed I sent it off the cave top! That was my time of meditation in Tabo!! As I landed clean and gained speed on the landing patch the banking wall clipped on my pedal throwing me off the bike and also wrecking the bike in the process. Sure someone was watching from above as I missed the wall and only the bike got it! An experience it was. As I high fived my new buddies, beer came in along with Thukpa (Noodle Soup) for the evening. Pondering on how the weeks in Spiti region were spent I feel a few weeks are not enough to explore this vast mountain scape. With a wrecked bike and bruised self it was time to hitch a ride to Manali town and hop on a Pune bound train. ‘Project Solo’ 2014 in Spiti is gona go into the books!!


FR MTB MAG: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Sean: I’m just a regular guy that works a regular job that loves taking pictures and sharing them with everyone. I work in a bike shop as a bike mechanic in Whistler,BC, Canada. FR MTB MAG: Do you shoot anything else besides mountain biking stuff? Sean: I was told to pick one medium of things to shoot and get good at that. But I love to shoot everything and try to shoot everything as best I can. Weddings, lifestyle, skiing, rock climbing, surfing, biking, city life, landscapes and even boudoir. FR MTB MAG: Is photography your full time profession or do you have another job? Sean: Photography work is mostly to help pay for the gear/ toy that I love to shoot with. I work at a ski/bike shop called Summit Sport in in Whistler, BC, Canada.

FR MTB MAG | 48


FR MTB MAG | 49


FR MTB MAG: Do you ride besides shooting photos? If yes what are your favorite places to ride? Sean: I love riding! And its even fun when I get to do both at the same time to shoot biking! I love riding anywhere in Whistler or pretty much any place that I am located with my bike. So every where.

FR MTB MAG: Some locations on your wish list that you haven’t shot yet? Sean: Always wanted to shoot RedBull Rampage. Really want to get to New Zealand to shoot Crankworx in 2015.

FR MTB MAG | 50


FR MTB MAG | 51


FR MTB MAG: Tell us who your main clients are. Sean: Anyone that appreciates my work. But Crankworx has helped me out a ton. FR MTB MAG: Any three favourite riders you want to include in your shoots? What location would you prefer? Sean: I like shooting with my friends, like shooting with anyone that needs some sweet photos and appreciates it, and really just about any pro rider because who doesn’t like seeing sick lines and tricks and in any location as every place has its own beauty. FR MTB MAG: What does your Camera kit consists of during photo shoots? Sean: Canon 5Dmk3, Sigma 50mm F1.4 art, Sigma 120-300 F2.8 Sport, Sigma 15mm F2.8, Canon 24-105 F4, Canon 600EX-Rt Flash and Canon Speedlite transmitter. A couple extra batteries, too many high speed cards and a carbon tripod to help save weight. Usually around 40lbs. I leave a lot of other lenses at home. And sometime have room for water. FR MTB MAG: Share your most memorable photography moment? Sean: This years Crankworx I was lucky enough to be invited into Deep Summer and got 3rd place amongst some pretty big names. FR MTB MAG: Any shoot in the coming season that you are excited about? Sean: Im hoping to get to travel to Crankworx New Zealand. Really just any place new. FR MTB MAG | 52


FR MTB MAG | 53


FR MTB MAG | 54


Why the peoples champion?? Let me tell you Rajas has been riding since the very beginning of the scene here in Mumbai, and the one thing that i always see in his riding is consistency, the consistency to progress his own level. We have competed back in the day, and he’s kicked my butt most of the times, but what makes him legit is that he has always shown gratitude towards everyone may it be riding friends or rival competitors. His riding itself expresses him in the most transparent way, a very strong mix of calm, confident and deep maneuvers something which is very close to meditation and i wouldn’t deny the fact that I’ve heard him chanting mantras in between his combos. He’s played a key role in getting the ball rolling towards the newer style of Flatland riding, his front wheel variations and the in between quick whips are the most acclaimed at shows and events. He always gives time to younger riders, helping them understand the physics of the trick. Rajas has a great audience for his technical riding and his never give up attitude, at so many events I’ve seen the crowd cheering him only to see him finish his line of tricks, and he has always taken a bow and said “all for the crowd”, undoubtedly making him the most looked up Flatland rider in the country. We got him talking to us this time, probably the first time all of us get to know what makes him such a great rider.

By: Dipak Panchal | SharpTune

FR MTB MAG | 55


Rajas tell us a little about yourself? First of all Hello To all Riders In India as well as my fellow riders In foreign countries family and friends know me as a simple guy who is not much complicated in nature. I stay in Mumbai, India. My day starts with practicing flatland in the morning and ends with hectic work as I am In the media industry.

How did you get into bmx and how long has it been since you’re riding? Honestly the truth is because of my childhood friend Shailesh, I used to watch this guy popping “Wheelies” and doing “Frame Stand’s” on his “Piranha Bmx” (Indian BMX with good geometry) and he used to take me along with him to Carter Road (most happening spot in Mumbai- Bandra). Back then in 2001 there was a wave of BMX riding In India and lot of local riders use to show off their tricks and use to compete with each other to prove themselves, but all with a fun and friendly approach. In 2003 all crazy things were being picked up by riders, we started practicing old-school tricks watching DVDs of our favorite riders and to mimic them. It has been a good 10 years of riding including old-school days. FR MTB MAG | 56


Besides riding flatland, what is your profession?

Where and whom do you ride with?

Besides flatland I work as a Sound Engineer for a TV channel.

I practice daily at a place called “Garware” which is about ten minutes from where I live. The surface there is not really flat, but i manage in my own way. It is difficult to find a flat spot In this busy city, I am lucky to have this place to ride, It’s like something is better than having no place to ride. Usually I ride alone in the mornings but on the weekends i ride with my Team Sharptune or with my buddy Shailesh who is a Flatland rider too.

Why are you so hooked to flatland when everyone gives up when the progression slows down? Initially when I started riding BMX I never thought of all these things because the only motto behind riding flatland was sheer passion and love towards the sport and now also If anything happens like “Progression is slowing down”, It’s only because of my passion and dedication towards Flatland, that keeps me hooked to my sport and never stop until I’m satisfied with my riding ability, but that’s never going to happen. Fingers crossed.

What motivates you?

What is the reaction of people seeing you do tricks at off hours? In India people have a different mindset and they have their own views about BMX as a sport, some think that I’m a fool and some people think that I do nothing in life and I’m a careless person. I’ve stopped bothering about this now, i just ride.

Failure.

What does flatland give back to you?

Who are your favorite riders, national/international and why?

More confidence, and it gives me the feeling that i have conquered all the negative aspects in my life.

This is a tricky question, well my favorite riders are Alex Jumelin - FRA and Justin Miller - USA. Because mostly they do tricks on the front wheel (I am a front wheel rider). In India all riders are like my brothers, I respect them that they have chosen the most difficult discipline in the BMX World.

Describe your routine/ how you warm-up and build up the session, the list of tricks that you have been working on? I prefer about ten minutes of warmup because of the short time limit i get, (about one and a half hour). My practice starts with daily routine combos like “Front Wheel Turbines” “Hitch Hiker To Tail whips” and some “Scuffing”. I have been working on a combo known as the “Rolling FireHydrant to Cliff Hanger” which is still a work In progress.


How do you see the newer rider’s progress and who are your favorite young guns from the Indian scene? Actually I’m very happy to see young riders taking so much interest in this sport especially in India because the nature of the sport itself is very tough and frustrating at times and not to mention that it takes a lot of time to get dialed with the tricks. But I am glad that these young guns have chosen this discipline and they are promoting it. My favorite riders from the scene are Yusuf Shaik, Shahbaaz Khan and many more who have started riding, ride hard- ride safe.

What are the 5 tracks that you could always land your combos on? I don’t listen to music while riding so I don’t have much to say one this.

FR MTB MAG | 58


What would you tell the younger riders who look up to you as a inspiration? Be original with your style and don’t take Flatland Lightly.

What have you learnt from flatland? Try and try until you succeed. I also apply this principle in my life.

Last words and shout outs. To all the fellow riders, promote Flatland as much as you can because if we promote flatland, only then the next generation will know this sport and can enjoy the happiness and can feel the zest connected to Flatland. Take care all of you. FR MTB MAG | 59


Words & Photography: Vinay Menon

FR MTB MAG | 60


Highlight of our 2014 season clicked off as ‘Asia Pacific DH Challenge’ in Bali, Indonesia was marked on the calendar. Being our second time attending this power packed event we knew a thing or two about Bali’s crazy life. Teaming up in November for the race were Ignatius Chen, Gautam Taode and Piyush Chavan for ‘Men Open’ and myself lining up in ‘Master Expert’ Category.

Landing into Denpasar late in the night followed by an hour long cab ride to our accommodation near the race venue got us set with Bali’s ocean breeze. The weekend approaching the Race day we got ourselves a rental SUV and scooters! The quick throttling scooters easily available in Bali were our speed weapon for the daily commute. With new race gear and fine-tuned bikes ready for Sunday, it was time for the track walk and practice runs.

FR MTB MAG | 61


The Bukit Tengah DH course had been beefed up for 2014. The start gate pushed you onto a course featuring double jumps, small drops, rock garden and a new feature at the finish zone – a ladder bridge followed by a hip jump! Adding to the excitement of a fast course, the racer start list looked heavy as well. World’s biggest names in downhill racing were set in the Elite category. Speed demons like ‘Sik Mik’ Hannah, Remi Thirion, Wyn Masters, Kazuki Shimizu were joined by the Coastal Crew to bomb down the 1.8km loose & dusty course. With a wide ocean on one side, Bukit Tengah slope lit up on Race Sunday with riders shuttling up the hill for a 7AM practice run. Following our seeding run results, our Final Runs were slated around 1PM. Ignatius had beat himself up in the practice run and suffered broken ribs. With pain killers in his belly, Iggy opted to race his final run. “No DNS” was his moto! Hitching a ride up in the pickup van GT, Piyush, Iggy and me were getting the pre race boost! The most exciting part of a race is before and after the race. Everything in between is too much fun to remember!

FR MTB MAG | 62


As the clock ticked on my final run, with a small crash and a derailed chain I crossed the finish line grabbing a 6th in “Master Expert”. As the “Men Open” category started out, I was glued to the finish time screen. With Iggy going across the finish line in one piece, Piyush styling the final table in spite of a crazy crash 100mts from finish line, our eyes were set on Gautam’s final run. As the top 10 kept changing, GT blasted through the Finish arch with a time that put him on 4th! As 5 more racers had to go, we were eager to see what would unfold. As the time kept ticking, GT hooked on to a 5th spot! Which meant we had a podium finish for the first time in an Asian level DH competition.

FR MTB MAG | 63


Tri Colour flashing on the podium as Gautam posed for the 5th spot was something we were in Bali for. Our plan was to see at least one of us in the top 5. And we got that! The “Bintang” of our gang was Gautam. A 6th spot for me was an improvement from last year’s 9th. Eighteen year old Piyush successfully completing his life’s first big international race and Ignatius not getting a ‘DNS’ we were all fired up to close the Sunday in Bali with a party bomb at Sky Garden! And an explosion we did, as one of us was untraceable until sunrise and other ones flat on the floor! With the race dust settled and Gautam & Piyush heading back to India, Ignatius and me got our bikes on the power scooters and went looking for hidden trails around Chandidasa area. Walking trails leading to temples and small villages were our zones for the remaining four days before returning to India. All in all with two top 10 finishes, a podium, high fives, beaches and partying for two weeks brought our Bali visit to a wrap. A new season fast approaching, race plans have already begun!

FR MTB MAG | 64


The 5.10 Impacts have been around for quite a few years now. Used by some of the top pros and amateurs alike the ‘Impact’ has seen all styles of riding. From Freeriding, trail sprints to Downhill racing this bestselling mountain bike model from Five Ten comes in a bombproof construction. With a thick leather upper build, a heavily padded tongue and ankle support, the ‘Impact 2 High’ will run strong for multiple seasons. With a stiff mid sole and Five Ten’s Stealth rubber outsole, traction with comfort is achieved. Our test crew raced and hucked the ‘Impact 2 Low’ and ‘Impact 2 High’ for a few months and haven’t come across many flaws in the build. However, the soft outsole started to peel a little from the front part of the shoe within a few rides. The knob pattern on the soft sole grabs the pedal pins like a fly on honey. We had to lift our foot and step back on to adjust on the pedals, just sliding into position is a little difficult on these. Ankle braces may not be needed while using the ‘Impact 2 High’ as it comes with ample padding to save you from crank arm hits. Though there is less pedal feedback with this model, once you get used to it you wouldn’t go back to skate shoes! With the thick leather upper and tough sole, the ‘Impact 2 High’ does add a few grams to your kit. But with its added safety and pedal grip you won’t be disappointed. Retailing at around INR 6000 the Five Ten ‘Impact 2 High’ is definitely a good buy as it incorporates great features and durability at an affordable price.

We sourced this second pair of pedal by Wellgo which is a well-known name in the industry. This time we tried the Wellgo MG 14 platform pedals which are made of magnesium and are pretty light in weight; 290g a pair. The product finishing is great and these pedals are intended for MTB or BMX use. The platform size is big enough and will keep your foot comfortable. The Wellgo MG-14 pedal comes with 8 replaceable spikes on each sides which will ensure grippy ride all the way if combined with a good platform MTB shoes. These pedals run on fully sealed bearings and a CroMoly spindle and will not disappoint you on those demanding ride conditions. Wellgo MG-14 is available in black, red, silver, titanium and white color options. We tried the titanium colored version but the paint quality is not so great as it starts coming off in couple of rides. But the overall performance gets 5 stars and so is the price. These pedals are retailed for INR 5500 but can be sourced for INR 3500 +/- which is not heavy on the pocket for a good quality pedal.

FR MTB MAG | 65


Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival is first of its kind mountain biking festival in Manali – The Mountain Biking Capital of India, where mountain bikers from all around the world ride and party together for 1 week in the summer holiday season. This festival will host the 2nd Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy; which is the highlight event during this festival. This race will be held in Solang Valley which is 12Km away from the main town of Manali (Himachal Pradesh). Other mountain bike races, demos, workshops, camps, concert and bike expo will also be conducted during the Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival. In simple words; Ride all day – Party all night. Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival is scheduled from 11th to 14th June, 2015 by Himalayan Mountain Bike Network. More info available on www.himalayanmtb.com

This past summer, Darren Berrecloth, Garrett Buehler and Chris Van Dine embarked on a mission to find a lost Incan road in the middle of the Peruvian Andes mountain range. As the trio pedal up and shred down countless peaks and valleys, long days drive each athlete to the dig deep to pass the unknown terrain, never before ridden by bicycle or any other machine. The goal: Find and ride a lost ancient Inca road. Encountering sleeting snow, and accompanied by horseback support, the trio were able to discover an ancient inca ruin – the trail possibly Manco Inca used when he fled, after first revolting the Spanish colonial conquest of the land. More information as well as the whole film on www.redbull.com/chasingtheinca FR MTB MAG | 66


Profile for Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #25  

Issue #25 - January 2015 SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION # 3 Printed

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #25  

Issue #25 - January 2015 SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION # 3 Printed

Advertisement