Sunday, May 31, 2009
James getting some decent air off a roller. James is my older brother. He is an animal on a bike, his favorite move is the side mount and he likes long walks on the beach. Sorry ladies and gents ... he is taken.
Penny right behind him. Penny is a female racer here in Taiwan, she likes to ride fast and will jump pretty much anything we tell her too. Careful boys she is single.
A little while later some people showed up. While James and Penny kept riding they were pretty happy with just watching.
Most of the guys who showed up were riding full on DH bikes. A couple of them started to follow James and Penny down the pump line but were having some trouble with the corner at the end. James showed them how to get it done.
If you missed yesterday's definition of an ampersand here is another ... click me
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Rob and Jim
p.s. if you want to see an ampersand click here
Jay says... just grab the embed code and copy and paste... it will look like this
Friday, May 29, 2009
Short Version: Hurt my knee, bought a knee brace, broke knee brace, hurt my knee.
I have ridden a number of hard tails in the past including the specialized P3, but no other hard tail that I have ever ridden compares to the banshee amp. I have only had the Amp for about a month, but it didn't take long for me to discover that this bike was special.
Not only is the Amp a great DJ bike, it is also a smooth ride. Just like a nice asian gal, the Amp is smooth through the corners and pumps fast over the rollers.
Pain hurts! haha I grew up playing sports so I am no stranger to a little pain. And if you want to improve on your bike, then you are bound to have a crash or two. I just wish I was 18 again, I would even settle for 26. I started riding a bike a little late in life and need to make up for lost time. Living in Taiwan I can ride all year round so I can improve quickly, but trying new tricks requires a bunch of crashes. And Crashes and injuries go hand in hand... I have been trying to learn how to tail whip and after about 100 crashes, I almost landed one.. but on the one that I almost landed I left my left foot behind me and rolled over on it pretty bad. My ankle is still not 100%, and I walk with a slight limp most days. I am slowly getting back into the saddle and hope to be tail whipping soon.
I modified a jump today and we were hitting it to see how it felt... It just wasn't throwing us up enough.. it threw me funny and I came down on my sore ankle, and then Rob (Goulet) crashed and re-hurt his bum knee. ( I am sure he will tell you about it) But watching him go down and seeing how much pain he was in, was not a pleasant sight... But hey, crashing and pain is part of this game!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My brother; James and I have been working on a couple of mountain bike trails in Taiwan for the past couple of years. If you do not know where Taiwan is, there is a good chance that something on your bike was made here. When we started building just under two years ago I used to ride with a group of riders that ride the same trail every weekend. They wake up early and battle with the hikers and walkers to go up and down a mountain here in Kaohsiung. For me it was pretty frustrating to be going downhill at a decent pace and meeting an elderly Taiwanese couple walking up. I would slow down and let them pass and then continue on with my ride. It would be a decent trail if it was a bike trail and not a walking path. At about this time I started hearing rumors about a downhill race course a little ways out of town. One weekend the group of riders took me out there. The trail was not the best but the good thing about it is there was no one there. It was the first place I had been in Taiwan where there were no people. After the first weekend I started going out during the week to work on the trail and then riding it with my friends on the weekend. I made a trail branching off from the original trail which was eventually used as the new race course. The problem was that the dirt was hard to work with and forming and shaping jumps was a major chore. After a summer riding in Whistler, Kamloops, Fernie and Hinton we came back to Taiwan with a better idea of what we wanted in our trail.
After doing some searching James found a better place for a trail. It was in the middle of a bamboo forest and we did not have much space to work with so we tried to make the best of it. We started with a small drop to a small gap to another small gap. It was a lot of fun, we had something new to ride and our Taiwanese friends enjoyed it. But as our skills improved the gaps started to grow. As the jumps started to get bigger fewer people came out to ride. We built a second line with smaller jumps in hopes that everyone would still ride there. But they would not practice on the smaller jumps and ended up getting hurt on the bigger ones.
Fast forward to a year and a half later, we are still in the same location. We are still building jumps and trails. We are stilling riding there every weekend … and we are doing it alone. There are less than a handful of people who ride our trails. We have spent hours shoveling, shaping jumps, fixing landings and riding. We have invited riders, bike shop owners, grandma’s riding to the supermarket to get groceries to come ride with us but it is still just the two of us.
The people who show up and ruin lips, case landings, ride through corners … we do not get mad at them, we do not hand them a shovel and tell them to fix it. Usually we give them a couple of pointers or suggest that they should try something a little easier. But nine times out of ten we do not see them again. Once or twice in a month there are signs that someone has been there or someone will show up. But more often than not it is just me and James. Digging and jumping …
We have been trying to get more riders involved in the digging and riding process. I met Jay at the Taipei Bike show. He said build a pump track style trail. Everyone can ride them from beginners to pros. “Mike Weir put one in his back yard.” So we started small with a couple of rollers. We showed the beginners that it was a good place to start. But they still seemed more content to riding over jumps that are way beyond their skill level. But we were not negative about it; we fixed the jumps and kept on making the pump track; which I have been calling the single slalom line, longer. It is a fun trail that we have been working on for the past month or so. But the only people who ride it are us. The Taiwanese riders say it is not fun enough, so they continue to ruin jumps. But as the jumps continue to get bigger and the single slalom line continues to get better and longer. Will it attract more riders or deter them. We are stuck in a Catch 22, we build lines and jumps for less skilled riders to ride, but they will not ride them. We turn the beginner lines into more advanced trails, riders get hurt and they do not come back. We will even stop riding the advanced jumps and ride the easier trail in hopes that they will join in. But usually they will ride above their skill level or sit on the side and watch. All I am left with is questions and maybes. Maybe they see us riding and do not realize the number of hours we have spent there, do not realize that we spent days and days hitting a five foot gap jump, that we have spent almost as much time digging as we do riding. And how do you create a healthy mountain bike scene in Taiwan. (Maybe it is the bicycle community in the south of Taiwan. I have heard rumors of things being better in the north. )
But at the end of the day I am left with a smile on my face from riding and dirt everywhere from digging.
Happy trails and if you ever find yourself in Taiwan. Give us a call.
Rob and Jim Dunnet
Keith and Jay, can you produce a Banshee Big Wheel bike for all us "big kids" ;)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Photos by Bryce Piwek
Downside No foot can
Invert table on the Hip
I kicked this downside whip so hard that my shoe fell off haha
Trying new styles
So this was my third ride on my new Rampant and i have never rode anything like it, The way the bike handles and how fast it is puts me in aww i can not put my rampant into words
Watch for a video on the Rampant coming out soon!!!!!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Mountain States Cup gravity season kicked off this weekend in Angel Fire New Mexico. On their world cup dh course, the pros threw it down through the endless rocks of Angel Fire. Banshee had not one, but TWO Legend MK1s raging the mountain.
Rachel Bauer had a strong race, looking fast and smooth. Bauer racing pro women finishing a full 18 seconds before second place.
Curt Clemetson took 5th in Cat 1 40+
Monday, May 25, 2009
So this post should have been done like a month ago but with getting the 2010 spec done and a bunch of other stuff I never really got the chance to finally write it. I knew it was going to be a big one as my 10 days in the Philippines was jam packed with events and cool little things that happened throughout.
I had already been in Taiwan for 2 months prior so there was no problem getting used to the time change – when Brian Lopes and Hans Rey arrived for dinner they were noticeably worked and you can’t blame them as its a very long flight from LA.
The first night I stayed in Manila before the road trip to Subic Bay where the event was being held. It was to be quite the event to as there was a road race, triathlon, XC race, DH race, 4X, BMX, DJ contest as well as festivities at night.
On the trip up we hit a bit of a snag as one of the group was in a lot of pain and had to get taken to the hospital – diagnosis kidney stones. Good thing it wasn’t too serious and Bikeman, an English Chap that runs the Flying Ball shop in Hong Kong, was able to make the start of the Triathlon – I have to say I've never seen so much pink in my life; both him and his bike.
When we stopped we picked up Justin from Dirt Rag and I had lunch with him while waiting for the prognosis. Justin was a super cool dude and I was surprised and a little puzzled to find out he was actually an engineer but worked at a magazine. You can’t fault him for that as I’m sure that's a pretty sweet gig and not all of us are cut out for the regular 9-5
It was quite the cooker out and when we arrived in Subic I took a little pic… something must have been wrong because there's no way it could be over 50C outside and guessed it must have had something to do with the engine heat but still when we were moving the temp was hovering around 35C something this Canadian kid is NOT used to.
We unloaded all our gear [beer] where we were staying, an old military housing complex that had been and actually was still under renovations, and then started looking for food and went to check out where everything was going to take place.
It was quite a large convention center when we pulled up and the front was for registration and the large room in the back is where I’d be making my presentation. Of course I had nothing prepared, reminiscent of my college days when everything was always rushed at the last minute but I managed to pick a topic and banged out a decent power point presentation in a about 6 hours or so.
Then it was off to Vascos for some dinner, as Brian and Hans had arrived and need to get some food before they passed out. Vascos was the coolest resturaunt with a Parrot out front to greet you on entry and the dinning area puts you right out over the ocean. It doesn’t have air conditioning but there were plenty of vertical waving fan things from the roof that kept the heat at bay. The place is owned and run by what seems to be a -now local- American treasure hunter of sorts. There a pictures all over of him pulling up stuff from the water and the place is littered with his spoils – there are canons, swords and other trinkety things super cool.
I should jump in here and say the Philippines is so western when it comes to Asian countries and its super easy to get around and figure stuff out. Everyone seems to speak English and there’s a ton of western food if you’re not the adventurous type. It also has a real feel of Mexico in parts .
Marty and Paki who were with us for dinner invited us out on their boat for a quick sail around the bay at night. Man that was so much fun and all of us were so hammered… it was awesome. Not to worry about getting around completely plastered as the boat was big enough to have a 3 man crew so we didn’t have to worry about driving. I will definitely be back to party with those 2 dudes again!!! I know Justin probably feels the same.
Nick [the Chief], Robby and Rizal flew in from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to take part and Rizal was going to be my teammate on TEAM BANSHEE where there’d be 2 of us riding Legends. It was fun to catch up and talk tech about bikes and stuff.
At this point in the trip its starts to become a bit of a blur as I was rushing around getting things sorted for my presentation, regi for the the race, and try to get in a pre run and check the course out. All i know was I did manage to bang out a well received presentation on bike suspension. I just kept it to the basics and didn’t go into the infinite details that lie within – something that Keith would have been better off at anyway. I talked about how all bike suspensions can be broken down to either being a single pivot or a 4bar and what defines each. The goal was not to make it a Banshee sales pitch but rather an instructional type of presentation.
At the end I grabbed all my gear as fast as I could and loaded into the truck for the mountain so at least I could get a run in before it got dark. Seeding started at 10am and I still hadn’t seen the course yet.
I wasn’t too happy with my riding and realize i’ve spent too much time working and not enough time riding. I’m really hoping that changes the summer. Its hard to do sometimes when you travel around so much, but its good to know riding a bike is like… riding a bike… it won’t take long to get my old form back and a couple days at Whistler and i’ll be boosting large again.
It was very cool to meet Lopes and Rey. They definitely are icons in the industry but you’d never know that when they’re bro’ing down with everyone. I have to especially say Hans is super cool, laid back, and he never seems to mind signing autographs, getting his picture taken and just being a great guy.
Brian definitely had his game face on and wasn’t taking this race any less serious then any of his other races. The year prior he only pulled out first by less then a second and this year the gap got even smaller. He was friendly but you could definitely tell he had a job to do. After the race he loosened up but I guess when you’re at that calibre you have a reputation to maintain and winning or losing can directly affect your pocket book. He looked smooth and he was fast and he’s got many a year left in him racing with the best in the world.
Race day came and I had a pretty decent run. Rizal beat me and I swore never again hahaha but the guy is fast so I didn’t feel to bad with a 12th place finish. I think the class was fielding around 40 and the course was definitely short and smooth. With a couple nasty rock gardens and sections with super steep drops and bigger jumps I’m sure I could have placed a higher but you can’t pick your courses and that's racingDebbie ,whose a photo journalist from Action Asia Magazine in Singapore, was there to document everything and it was super cool hanging out with her on the last couple days before she traveled south to go diving. I don’t know if after here 301st dive she finally ran into the whale sharks that seem to have eluded her for so long but hoping she did.
May 26th Update: Debbie informs me it was her 431st dive and yes she did see a whale shark but it was only a baby... but that's still a whale shark. I've also added a link to her pics from the festival below
L – R: Boss, Debbie, KidI think the highlights of the trip for me was meeting new people, experiencing the hospitality of the riding community there, and seeing some familiar faces again. Of course I could go on and on about lots of other cool things during the trip but as I left it always comes back to the goodtimes with special people.
I want to thank the guys from Fakawi for showing up because it just made the trip all that cooler.
L – R: Robbie, The Chief, Goyo, Me, Rizal The biggest thanks goes to Goyo for organizing everything, always taking time out of his busy schedule to make sure all of us “foreigners” were well taken care of, and just being a great guy. This was an amazing way to remember your late father Terry Larrazabal and I know he’s looking down on the event with a big smile on his face.
Not all photos are mine so big thanks to Justin from Dirtrag and the Fakawitribe for letting me poach more then a couple