I HAD THE SICKEST RUN
ON THE SLICKEST TRACK TROY BROSNAN SMOKED THE WORLD’S FASTEST RACERS IN CHAMPERY, SWITZERLAND, FOR HIS SECOND CONSECUTIVE JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. “I HIT ALL MY LINES IN THE WET LIKE I DID WHEN IT WAS DRY,” SAID 18-YEAR-OLD BROSNAN. SEE MORE ON TROY AND HIS PROJECT BLACK DEMO 8 AT SPECIALIZED.COM
038 BITS & PIECES What do the Pro’s ride?
Pro Bike Check Pro Check// Aaron Gwin
Words by JT
Aaron rewrote the record books big time this season. His incredible ﬁve World Cup wins from seven races left the rest of the men’s ﬁeld dumbfound and scratching their heads.
It had been a long time since an American had stood atop a DH podium at world level and his phenomenal speed and even more phenomenal consistency throughout 2011 assure us that we haven’t seen the last of the ‘Ginger from Colorado. As you are about to read, Aaron, is as down to earth and laid back as could possibly be. A far cry from your average super star athlete. We originally approached Aaron hoping to do a pro bike check feature on his new carbon fibre Trek DH bike, but it didn’t quite work out as planned... Mate, when we first asked you to do a ‘pro bike check’ for the issue you were a bit hesitant as you weren’t that sure of your exact specs and whatnot and as you told us your mechanic, Monk, is pretty much impossible to get a hold of, so instead lets keep this interview about life. So Aaron, what did you have for breakfast this morning? Well I had a breakfast smoothie and some frozen wafﬂes with peanut butter and syrup. If you’ve never tried pancakes or wafﬂes with peanut butter and syrup then you need to get your life together! World Cup riders tend to be incredibly particular about their bikes, their set-ups and often are endlessly searching for new components to test and study. You however on the other hand often come across in the media as a guy who isn’t that fazed, or even interested, in all the bike tech stuff, you just like riding them. Is that fair to say? I would say it was definitely like that when I first started but unfortunately as the past few years have gone by, I’m becoming more of a hassle haha. I wouldn’t say I’m too crazy but I do like things a certain way. Luckily, my mechanic Monk Dawg’s got my back, so there’s no need to worry. That said, can you tell us a bit about your 9.9 race bike. How does it ride? It rides like a dream! Ha, it seriously is pretty amazing though, I’m stoked on it. The bike does everything well and for a race bike, I couldn’t be happier. It’s a super fun bike to ride as well. What were the main differences you felt between riding it and the alloy frame you started the season off on? I would probably say how snappy it feels when handling, it can change direction super quick with pretty much no effort. Not a lot of riders would be comfortable swapping bikes mid way through a World Cup season, yet it didn’t seem to faze you one bit, or slow you down obviously? Trek gave me the choice to ride either bike at MSA. I had one day of riding on it previously and knew instantly that I would be racing on it. There was no geometry changes or anything so it was just 2 lbs lighter and better handling. Kind of an easy choice. Trek’s carbon testing is second to none so I wasn’t worried about reliability either. Are carbon fibre DH bikes the future for manufacturers across the board do you feel? I would say so. It seems to be headed that way at the moment, I guess time will tell. Tell us a little bit about the way you like your suspension set-up front and rear? Generally I run my stuff pretty stiff and fast on the rebound. Once you’re up to race pace I just find it easier to plow through stuff without losing speed. There’s a fine line though, I wouldn’t recommend it to the average rider. I’ll usually even back it off when I’m not at a race. It’ll beat you to death if you don’t ride it right. One of the best rider quotes we’ve ever heard came from your mouth in the days leading up to this year’s World Champs race when you were asked by a reporter if you were more nervous heading into the race than a standard World Cup? You replied, “not really, I mean we’re just racing bicycles after all.” What a humble and down to earth answer in such a high pressure, high anxiety moment. How do you keep such a cool head? Well I wouldn’t say it’s any big secret, just general knowledge! Bicycle racing is just racing bicycles, it’s supposed to be fun. When I first stepped on a bike at 3 years old I wasn’t thinking, man I sure hope I win the World Championships some day! I was thinking man this is awesome, I sure hope I can catch air someday! haha. To me bicycle racing isn’t my life, I don’t depend on it or the results for happiness. Sure I’ll get just as pissed off as the next guy when I lose, I’m competitive, but it isn’t everything and I know that no matter what happens, there’s more to my life than race results. What have you got planned for the off season? Well right now I’m hanging out with some friends of mine in Colorado. One of them is a pastor so we’ve been doing heaps of bible studies and stuff. Sounds boring but it’s not and actually the best thing in the world to me. I’ve also been eating my fair share of Cold Stone ice cream and Mexican food. Once I make it back home in another week or so I have a few small day trips planned to ride and stuff. I want to ride moto a bunch more this off season and go surfing with my Dad as much as possible. That’s about it though, I already can’t wait to get back to full time training again in a few weeks. So just trying to rest up and chill till then! Thank you for your time, all the best. Thanks guys, hope everyone down there has a great summer!
win AaronceG mber 24, 1987
DOB: De Bike: Trek Session 9.9 DH Height: 5ft 10in Weight: 165lbs om Web: www.aarongwin.c A US la, Resides: Temecu
One bling bike! So we took it to as ghetto a location as we could find.... //
[R]EVOLUTION PUTS OUT THE CHALLENGE TO GUN PHOTOGRAPHER STEVE HILLENBRAND AND QUEENSLAND’S DH/FR FORCE.... SPEND A WEEKEND RIDING AND HUCKING THE COOLEST SH*T YOU CAN FIND AND COME BACK TO US WITH THE GOODS!
Karl - Whip, Nerang Outlook
One of the coolest concepts of the annual Kokanee Crankworx MTB extravaganza, particularly from an aesthetic point of view, is the Deep Summer Photo Challenge. Basically the crème de-la-creme, most visionary MTB photographers from around the world team up with the stars of the sport for the better part of a week and shoot all sorts of magical goodness that sums up this amazing sport we love. Every year the results are nothing short of spectacular, with the finalists’ images stirring up emotions, drawing sighs of disbelief/wonder, and making calf muscles twitch across the world. After seeing the incredible imagery first-hand, we couldn’t help asking the question: why can’t we do something similar here in Australia? Sure, the gum-smothered rolling hills pale in comparison to the soaring peaks and spectacular scenery Whistler offers, but with the level and experience of both the photographers and riders down here in “‘Straya” on a dramatically increasing parabola, we thought we’d throw out the challenge for a High Summer Photo Challenge. Coffs Harbour lensman Steve Hillenbrand and local rider Sam Collins were chomping at the bit for another trip to south-east Queensland to shoot and ride with Oceania DH champion Rhys Willemse, up-andcoming ripper Brandon Yrrtiaho, and a host of other shredders, so we threw the bone to them. They didn’t just take that bone and run with it – they tore it into splinters and set a new benchmark for black-and-white action photography. Coming up with an ambitious theme of “space” – not the type with weird-looking aliens that look spookily like today’s catwalk models, but rather the idea of emptiness, the gap between jumps, the tight space between trees and sweeping panoramic views – Steve and Sam packed their varying hardware into the car and pointed the grill northwards for what promised to be a huge weekend. One thing you need to know about Rhys Willemse. He’s one of the most laid-pack guys you’ll ever meet. Few people carry the “she’ll be right” attitude with more conviction than this mushroom farmer from the Sunny Coast. We’d been talking with Rhys to line up some killer spots for the weekend for the better part of a month, asking him for location ideas that would suit the theme and style of photography we were after, and to pull in some riders he thought would be more than capable of throwing their rigs into a powdery berm or off some sphincter-tightening drop. Two days out from the shoot and nothing had been organised with any real gusto. We had Clear Mountain and Outlook in Nerang locked in as promising potentials, and Brissy dirt-jumper Karl Bensemann was working his arse off to get a brand-new 30ft bush hit running in time, but that was about the extent of it. “It’ll be alright, mate,” Rhys said with his usual grin. “It always works out.” Saturday dawned as a gloomy, humid sort of a day typical for this time of year in south-east Queensland, with the odd smattering of raindrops peppered the windscreens as the gang consisting of Rhys, Sam Collins, Brandon Yrrtiaho and cocky (but very talented) 21-year-old Liam Paiaro peeled into the Clear Mountain carpark. Although there aren’t any spellbinding views or hair-raising rock-gardens at Clear Mountain, it’s one of the better DH tracks in Brisbane, with plenty of doubles, step-downs and sweeping corners to get excited about. It didn’t take very long to realise this track didn’t have the X-factor we needed for shots – especially if we wanted to fill eight pages with stunning greyscale imagery designed to make the typical Revo reader get half-a-bar on. A lack of any serious rain in weeks meant the trails were skatey as hell and most of the hits were in varying states of disrepair.
Sam - Mt. Gravatt
After shooting several jumps and a couple of corners the crew were keen to move on to something bigger. Namely one infamous 30ft step-down. Steve took one look at it and the drab, arid, bush surroundings, nodded his head and kept walking down the trail intent on making a worthy shot. If this was the best Brisbane had to offer we were going to be pushing very runny shit uphill with a pointy stick all weekend. “I think the problem we had that day was a mixture of both flat
light and the fact the track looks like almost every other track in Australia. There isn’t really anything there that makes it stand out.” said Rhys,“We were a bit bummed when we returned to the car, but I spotted a flat area on the other side of the road with a 3-4m rock wall that dropped away into someone’s paddock. I looked at it and thought ‘shit – this could actually be pretty cool’. As I was still scoping it out Liam rolled in for a dummy run, then at the last second thought he’d go for it and launched off it. He cased the transition, but still rode out fairly easily. I hit it up next and it was actually a really nice, smooth jump once you made the downy. I’d say it was one of the easiest drops I’ve done, especially as it was pretty high!”
Karl, Rhys, Liam and Sam
concept & photos
About 6 months ago I decided to pack my bags and get out of Melbourne in search of the slow life. Its been so refreshing to bail on the big noisy city to the quite country side, looking up to see the bright twinkling light of the stars again, the vast expansion of the Milky Way across the sky on every clear night and to be able to lie in bed and hear nothing but the wind in the trees. It’s revitalising to be back in the country again. As good as it is out here, it does though have its downsides when it comes to riding, as places to ride aren’t as plentiful as they are back in the city. Asides a small skate park in town, you have to travel hours to ride your bike or suck it up and build something yourself. This is where Lachie has taken it upon himself to do just that. In his back yard is a big set of jumps, offering nearly everything you need to have fun for days on end. Though the work is hard and the maintenance is high, the rewards are bountiful. Now that I’m living with Lachie, we’ve been slaving away restoring the jumps to a prime state as well as having new additions to the lines. From all the hours of hard work which never seemed to end, the reward has now presented itself, ﬂowing trails within 50m of where we sleep at night, what more can you ask for. To celebrate we invited a small tight crew to come and christen the trails and give them their first real ride of the season. After riding long into the night, we relaxed around the trails with a few beers talking smack. I’m not sure why but for some reason we all got talking about why we ride? It sounds a bit deep I guess but the truth is each of us have such unique reasons for why we ride and why we love it so much. It was such a cool way to wrap up an epic day of riding with the boys. I wouldn’t swap my lifestyle or sport for anything. I ride because…
Dom sending it! //
The bicycle. The world’s most efficient mode of transport. The noblest of inventions. Complex by design, simple in nature. Outside there is no place we can’t ride. If no one has ventured there before, your tyre marks will be the first, but almost certainly not the last... Mountain bike riding is an adventure. It is an interaction with mother earth. When you’re in the saddle there is no time to think, only react. Riding an expression of your subconscious mind working in overdrive and the signature of your style. Although often taken in solitude, a ride is a journey best shared with buddies. Warm summer days. Endless trials. With every growing year fresh faces appear out on the trails as the next generations of riders enter the game and the evolution of riding continues. Regardless of age or skill we all leave behind faint track marks in the dirt. Our footsteps, the subtle signature of us mountain bikers, left on the earths crust perhaps forever...
“I still remember the first time I ever rode at Majura Pines like it was yesterday. For me it’s a pretty special place. I did my first ever race there, won a National Championship there (Under 17) way back in 1997 and after that, have spent probably thousands of hours, alone, training to be the best bike rider I could possibly be. This is my favourite part of my favourite trail in Majura and I always hit it first.
You come in hot and jump this log into a fast right-hand turn. It’s awesome and seeing this pic with David behind me reminds me of all the time I spent there when I was his age. It’s also where I first met David when he was about 4 ft tall and 12 years old so it’s a pretty cool shot with a lot of history there and I’m sure David will still be shredding this trail when he is my age.” JARED RANDO
WITHOUT GRAVITY ON YOUR SIDE MOST RIDERS WOULD CRINGE AT THE THOUGHT OF 10 DAYS ON A BIKE. MAYBE THE “BUSTING YOUR GUTS” CLIMBING OVER MOUNTAIN RANGES AND RIDGES IN AN ULTRA MARATHON ACROSS AFRICA OR SOME CANADA TO MEXICO ENDURANCE RACE. IF YOU HAVE GROWN UP WITH THOUGHTS OF WHISTLER IN YOUR BLOOD, YOU WOULD REALISE 10 DAYS OR MORE OF GRAVITY FED RIDING DAY IN AND DAY OUT, IS WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT. ONE BETTER, IMAGINE 10 DAYS OF WATERFALLS, BEACHES, REEFS, A HUGE VARIETY OF DOWNHILLS, FREESTYLE DIRT BOWLS, ALL MOUNTAIN RIDES, PARTIES, FRIENDS, PRO RACERS AND JUNGLE MOUNTAINS. Well welcome to the family, Gravitate is a festival on the warpath to core ride perfection.
The vintage action in effect!//
There were 64 separate downhills in Cairns, ranging from 1.5 minutes to 30 minutes long, all within an hour of the city. Some of these were helicopter drop only, others push-up's, with only a dozen or more shuttle-able. After years of devastating cyclones and torrential monsoonal rains, the less used tracks, slowly edged back into the jungles consumed by vines and scrub, never to be seen and heard of again. It’s the shuttle-able runs that only exist now, and that’s about 12 separate DH's. Gravitate was born out of pure passion for riding, a passion to ride with buddies and new friends, in a unique environment, riding truly crazy downhills and trails, in a town, way up north of Australia, steeped with incredible Mountain Bike history, and all year tropical ride culture.
But lets go back a year or so.... I came up with the Gravitate concept, hoping for a 20 year re-union between a bunch of mountain bike mates, who raced and rode everyday way back then. Gravitate was held in 2010, and became a smash hit immediately with everybody who had the guts to believe, embrace and celebrate this rare core culture. Everybody had so much fun, the same question was asked,, “Could we do this every year?” the answer was simple,, shit yeah. Gravitate 2010 was so much fun, a focused & creative group of individuals decided to take the ball and run with it. Along with the local bike club, they ended up elevating the concept beyond anybody’s wildest dreams in 2011. This years Gravitate was no exception, and by the look of the upcoming government & industry support, 2012 is heading for some major international festival status. The Cairns guys really stepped it up, and backed it up with some amazing results. Local rider Luke Morris would have to be the guy who generated the pre-event energy for the festival, combining 12 months of work, riding and negotiations to deliver an event to the local Mountain Bike Club. The Cairns Mountain Bike Club, is no stranger to hard work, over the years, its tireless crew of volunteers have been involved with World Cups, World Championships and National events. They know a good thing when they see it, and they all banded in with outstanding results.
Sam Meath //
Training with Rennie! //
Danza Joyce //
TRANSITIONCOVERT THE COVERT IS TRANSITION’S 6” TRAVEL TRUE DO-IT-ALL BIKE AND THE AMERICAN BASED COMPANY HAD BEEN HYPING THIS BIKE FOR A LITTLE WHILE NOW. I ADMIT MY IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS WERE, “HERE WE GO AGAIN, JUST ANOTHER COMPANY CLAIMING TO HAVE DESIGNED AND BUILT THE ONE AND ONLY ULTIMATE DO IT ALL MACHINE...” BUT AS YOU’RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT, I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO FAST TO JUDGE!
Hows the view? //
A - H
TEST S //
I began to fall in love with this thing from the second it arrived on my doorstep. Its frame packs superb feeling geometry and clean linkages. The 2012 Covert sports a massive amount of refinements that perfectly balance weight and strength to give you the total package. With the bike weighing in at a touch under 14 kilos, it was a breeze to ride up hills and ﬂy down the rocky slopes with confidence while sporting a huge grin. At the core of the Covert is Transitions completely new proprietary tube set designed in house. The new tubes create a stronger frame with better contact points for welding shock mounts, pivots, and the headtube. The result as I said previously is a top notch do-it-all package for the rider that demands their bike to do more. First ride was here and I was scratching at the walls to get it dirty. Basically the bike was almost spot on straight out of the box with some minor adjustments to the bars, fork, shock and stem. The Transition handled everything I threw at it with confidence and was unbelievable how adaptable it was to any trail or terrain. The suspension was set up to my weight and felt amazing. Throughout the whole
150/160mm it was constantly plush and no ﬂaws in it what-so-ever. We had all sorts of weather conditions on the test from hot dry rough trails to sloppy, cold and rainy conditions and this bike didn’t ﬂaw once in either. The front end was very stable under speed and pressure but was also very fun and enjoyable when on the back wheel. The Covert really showed what it was designed for when you gave it a long ﬂowy trail with the intention of pushing the riders limits, which I found the bike was very capable of and was easy to come out of your comfort zone with this trusty pushy. The only negative thing I could say about this bike was how easily you get carried away with its capabilities, as a few corners found out. We swapped out the spacers and placed a spacer on top to lower it a further 6 mm and it was just enough to make it a more aggressive feel and let the pressures down in the fork and rear shock to suit my weight and riding style. The Reverb seatpost and well thought out gearing were a huge stand out and made it that much more comfortable and enjoyable riding up the long boring hills. However I did find myself staring at a few nasty welds and that horrid front rotor but it was only
Strength from above, right underfoot.
Rider - Matt Hunter. Photo - Sterling Lorence