Sunday, August 30, 2009

Legend Podiums In Australia - Again!!

Hey All,

The 2009 Downhill season in Queensland Australia finished yesterday with the final round (round 6) of the Sunshine Series held at Upper Brookfield 30km west of Brisbane. This is one of my favourite tracks as it has a bit of everything but due to the dry weather conditions experienced over the past 3-4 months, the track was very loose and dusty and this made it even more challenging. I raced Under 19 Male category and was fortunate to qualify 1st for the race. My race run was conservative to say the least because I was still haunted by my crash last week after qualifying 1st and this kept playing on my mind (Dad says I have to build a bridge and Get Over It!!). I had a clean run albiet slower than I would have liked but still managed to get the win and put the Legend on the podium again. As a result of the win I managed to place 2nd overall for the Sunshine Series 2009 and brings to an end a fantastic result for the Legend in my first season of racing it.

Now the training starts in earnest for the Australian National Series which is to be contested at various tracks throughout Australia and will include the National Championships at Eagle Park Adelaide South Australia in January 2010. I am really looking forward to this series as a member of Team Banshee which is being formed under the close eye of Darren Boman - Barspin Imports and Australian Agent/Distributor for Banshee Bikes. I will keep you updated on our training and race results as they come to hand.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ball’s Palsy

While walking up to the top of some classic Fernie single track. My brother and I  started talking about stories I have heard of Dangerous Dan and Lance Armstrong riding and building while going through cancer treatment. I started to think about what it would take to keep me off my bike. This summer has been one of the best summers I have ever had on my bike. I have been able to ride some amazing trails and meet some amazing people. The times off my bike have not been so good. The first ride back in Fernie I hurt my knee again and it has been pretty sore for the past month or so. While taking a break from my bike I went to Northern Ontario to visit some family. I was helping my dad clean up the yard around his house and I was bitten by a wasp and had an allergic reaction. I broke out into hives, I was so itchy I was going crazy. It took me 48 hours to be back to normal.

rob1 IMG_4885

This past Saturday I woke up and when I went to brush my teeth the right side of my mouth would not work. Later on I realized that the only way I could close my right eye was to close my left eye. After three hours in Fernie Emergency I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy (we have been calling it Ball’s Palsy). Basically the nerves in the right side of my face are inflamed causing that side of my face to be paralyzed. I have been on medication for the past five days that makes me feel pretty sick.


I have been on my bike twice since I was diagnosed (I should be fine) and that is pretty much the only time that I feel good. Anything from riding down the side of the road to riding down a classic downhill helps put everything into perspective for me. So what would it take for me to stop biking?

Get on your bike and smile … even if only half of your face works.IMG_4863

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Banshee Wildcard- Long term review

Banshee Wildcard Review- Part I of II

This summer has been my favourite summer of riding period. With frequent trips to the Whistler Bike Park, a few excursions to the north shore, dirt jumps, and street rides, I can honestly say that I’ve have had more fun riding ma bicyclette than ever before.

I began this summer on a 2007 Santa Cruz Bullit, and as a true gearwhore addict, couldn’t resist the search for that ultimate and last fix. Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to have a Banshee between my legs (yikes!). Here are my thoughts on the new Banshee Wildcard.

What’s in a name?

Over the last few years, bike companies have made a concerted effort to use a new software program called the Labeltron 2000 to name and categorize every single type of bicycle found in their product line. Fresh and sticky labels that read “Downhill”, “Freeride”, “Cross-Country”, “All-Mountain”, “All-Mountain light”, “Enduro”, “4X” and “Slopestyle” grace the pages of glossy catalogues and flash websites found on the interweb.

But seriously, what’s in a name? Aside from helping marketing guys earn their big bucks, a name or label helps potential customers convey the type of bicycle they want to their friends, bike shops, and fellow bulletin board members.

When I heard that Banshee was going to produce a “Slopestyle” bike, I was immediately curious to see what Banshee had to offer. I mean Banshee had a reputation for building indestructible tank bikes that were frequently equipped with 3.0 meats, chromo cranks, and Monster T’s; not exactly something I was interested in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Banshee had something new up their sleeve. One might say, a wild card of some sort.

Specs and Geometry

The label Slopestyle conjures up different images for different people. Some mountain bikers see Slopestyle as a passing fad where mountain bikers do dated BMX tricks on really big jumps, while others see Slopestyle as the progression and future of mountain biking to the mainstream. For me, I see Slopestyle as a venue to create a lightweight and versatile ripper of a bicycle suitable for an assortment of different terrain. Slopestyle bikes often make great versatile rigs, especially for smaller riders. And for me, most of the features I look for in a bicycle are found in Slopestyle labelled bikes.

Desired item/ Found on the Banshee Wildcard

Full seat tube (14.5”)/ Yes

Low stand over (27.4”)/ Yes

ISCG chainguide mounts/ Yes

Slack(ish) head angle (67 degrees)/ Yes

Light weight (8.92 with a DHX air 5.0)/ Yes(ish)

Decent top tube length (21.9” for a small)/ Yes

Short chainstays (16.8”)/ Yes

Low bb height (13.9”)/ Yes

1.5 Head tube/ Yes

When all was said and done, and the Microsoft Yes chart was completed, I knew I had to contact Banshee and order myself a new frame.

My Banshee Wildcard looks like this:

 and weighs

Spec wise 

I have my Wildcard built up to be a versatile little rig that can climb up Fromme comfortably, and with the drop of a seat post, bomb down Whistler’s finest trails. Suspension wise, it’s equipped with a Fox Float 36 and DHX air 5.0. A Chris King 1.5 Devolution headset, Thomson X4 stem, and Easton Havoc bar keep the cockpit tight. Juicy 7’s with Goodridge housing slow me down in style, and Sram X.9 and X.0 keep my shifting needs happy. Hadley hubs, Mavic EN 321 rims and Bontrager Big Earls keep the wheels spinning. Truvativ Stylo cranks, E-13 LG1 guide and Atomlab pedals keep the cranks turning. A non-bling notable includes an OEM speced seat post (gasp!)

Geometry wise 

The sum of the parts above result in a tight little package with a 67 degree head angle, 27.4” stand over height, 13.9” bb height and a 34.63lbs digital scale weight. Overall, I’m happy with these numbers, but woud be happier to get my Wildcard down to sub 34lbs. 

But how does it ride?

How a bicycle rides can be very subjective. One rider’s claim is another rider’s joke. Don’t laugh; remember how well 24” rims and dual 3.0 tires rode? That’s why I find it is essential to give set up numbers.

I run a fairly firm set up for my 160lbs weight. I run 6.3” of travel in the front via a Fox Float 36 and 5” of travel in the rear via a DHX air 5.0. I set up my DHX air 5.0 with 175psi in the main chamber, 150psi in the boost valve, the bottom-out resistance fully cranked, and my rebound set at 8 clicks from the fastest position. Ordinarily, I run my rebound fairly slowly, but on the Wildcard, it begs to have the rear end lively to pop off jumps. 


The Wildcard has the benefit of a near full seat tube length. At 5’7, I have enough seat post on the small frame to get full leg extension for extended climbs. With a fairly steep seat tube angle of 73 degrees, the Wildcard allows me to get centred and also over the front of the bike if need be for steep climbs. This puts me in a comfortable position for cleaning Fromme’s switchbacks as well as tackling more difficult uphill trail conditions.

The DHX air is a great match for the Wildcard. I made a deliberate effort to climb while sitting and standing, combined with and without the propedal lever engaged. To my surprise, the Wildcard climbed amazingly well and exhibited minimal to no suspension bob (with the propedal lever engaged). Given the right gearing, the Wildcard is capable of taking on extended climbs, and with the right build kit, would even make a decent All Mountain style bike.


The Wildcard loves to be ridden hard. With a 67 degree head angle, short chainstays, and a relatively low bottom bracket height, it absolutely rails. One of the first things I noticed while riding my bike on A-line was how comfortable I was getting my weight over the front wheel and really digging into the turns. I felt like I was riding in the bike, rather than on top of it. Cornering in the Wildcard feels like being in a powerful, quick steering, low slung sports car with deep bucket seats and a full tank of gas.

As a smaller rider, I really appreciate the stand over on the Wildcard. It gives me ample inseam clearance to comfortably manoeuvre and finesse the bike over slow technical trail obstacles like rocks, roots, and skinnies.

Braking on the Wildcard is relatively smooth. It exhibits much less brake squat than a true single pivot bike like the Santa Cruz Bullit. Banshee has done an excellent job with its faux-bar design, creating a laterally stiff rear end, with mild mannered braking properties.


The Wildcard is very stable in the air. It has plenty of pop off the lips and is easy to toss around for whips and transfers. The travel ramps up nicely and provides a firm platform to boost jumps with.

One feature on the DHX air I found very useful was the bottom out adjustment. Prior to its adjustment, the Wildcard felt very lackadaisical in the air, and sucked up jumps like a downhill bike. It felt sluggish in the bottom stroke of its travel and seemed to wallow in its travel. However, after fully cranking the bottom out adjuster, the Wildcard came alive and it’s been good times ever since.

The Midas Touch

Banshee is a great company to deal with. Their customer service is absolutely amazing. Any questions I had regarding the Wildcard were quickly answered with a prompt, polite and enthusiastic response. It’s great to see rider operated bike companies like Banshee out there in full force, and the passion and enthusiasm they bring to the sport. This is something big bike companies should take note of.

Banshee also includes nice touches like an extra derailleur hanger, touch up paint, and bushings to keep your ride looking and feeling fresh. My Wildcard is anodized black. In addition to being lighter than the painted frame, it resists scratches better, and is easy to wipe off after a long muddy ride on the shore.

The Fine Print

Price. At a MRSP of $2056 Canadian dollars, the Wildcard isn’t exactly a bargain. At this price point, there are plenty of other options worth looking at. Expensive tooling, high-end quality and production, extensive research and development, and limited runs all come at a cost to the consumer. But the old adage “You get what you pay for” can definitely be heard whispered throughout the trails. Whether you choose to hear the whispers or not is up to you.

Final Thoughts

The Banshee Wildcard is the real deal. It corners, descends, jumps and even climbs well. Whether these features equate to the ultimate Slopestyle bike, it’s not for me to say as I don’t think I can back flip X-up over a 30 foot gap well enough to properly put it through its paces. Fortunately riders like Banshee’s Alan Hepburn can put the Wildcard through its paces and seem to be doing a very good job at it too.

What I can say with confidence is that Banshee has produced a real winner in the Wildcard. It excels in a variety of conditions and is an absolute blast to ride. Does this mean that the marketing guys need to create a new label for the Labeltron 2000?


Banshee Wildcard Review- Part II of II

Three quarters of a year worth of bum sits later on the Banshee Wildcard and here we are.  A follow up review is on tap.….Inquiring minds want to know.

As indicated in my original review, the Wildcard weighed in at a very functional 34.63 lbs.  While neither heavy nor light, the Wildcard never truly satisfied my deepest functional weight weenie desires.  To clarify, a functional weight weenie is a bike consumer who displays sincere motivation towards reducing the weight of his/her bicycle without sacrificing the ride integrity of said bicycle. 

In the quest for optimal and functional weight weenie savings, new parts had to be ordered.  So, what’s new?

Generic seat post = Thomson Elite 

Truvativ Stylo cranks = Race Face Atlas FR

8” front rotor = 7” front rotor

Atomlab (old school) pedals = Kona Wah Wah pedals (OMG, WTF, BBQ, A Kona branded part on my bike)

Worn 7spd Sram cassette and Sram chain = New 6spd chopshop Ultegra cassette with cross step Sram chain.  Ask master mechanic Axx from Team NSMB for detailed setup instructions.

The last time I weighed the Wildcard was before the new 6spd geared setup and it weighed a claimed 34.1lbs.  After the new 6spd setup, I’d like to think that it weighed sub 34lbs.  However, I do realize that without a scale shot, a claim is just a claim.  But I’m claiming this weight like a gold miner staking land.

My Banshee Wildcard now looks like this:

and now weighs

So, what else is new?

If you look closely at the tires, you’ll notice that I’ve crossed over to the dark side.  No more single ply tires, just serious DH meats.  A Maxxis Ardent 2.4” with triple compound in the front and a 2.35” super tacky Highroller in the rear.  Follow this thread if you’re curious about my decision to switch to DH tires.

The result is a significant weight gain and a final weigh in at 35.38lbs.

A spec sheet with weights and parts is all fine and dandy, but the best upgrade any mountain biker can get is an optimized bike suspension setup.  For years I’ve setup my own suspension based on general manufacturer guidelines and the F-word…..Feel. 

For years I’ve been content with my own suspension setup.  This is where James at Suspensionwerx comes in.  I’ve heard rumours of this mythical legend working his mysterious voodoo craft on bicycle suspension.  And to be honest, the service he provides is 150% legendary.  He began by reducing the travel of my Fox Float RC2 from 6.3” to 5.5” to better match the rear end travel of my DHX Air set at 5”.  James broke out his trusty calculator/ruler and asked about my weight and riding style. He set the sag, compression, rebound and bottom out adjustments.  After a few more adjustments, a series of test rides occurred and voila, a World Cup tuned suspension setup.

Front Fox Float RC2 = 7 clicks high speed, 9 low speed, compression 75psi.

Rear Fox DHX Air = 125 psi compression, 135 psi Propedal.    

Specs and Geometry

With the new suspension setup, the geometry on my Wildcard has changed.  The bb height is now at 13.75” and the head angle is 67.5 degrees. 

But how does it ride?

The new parts and Suspensionwerx setup has made the Wildcard an even better ride.  The suspension travel is way more active than before.  This is great for descending and has made the Wildcard feel like a mini-DH bike when riding on the shore.  A new air suspension sensation for me is having the little stuff soaked up while not bottoming out roughly on the big stuff.  My previous air suspension setups have been on the firmer side to prevent harsh bottom outs.  The steeper head angle combined with having the suspension sit in its travel, coupled with real DH meats makes the Wildcard carve bermed corners like it’s on rails.  

However, there are some minor tradeoffs with this type of suspension setup.  When climbing out of the saddle, the Wildcard exhibits significantly more suspension bob.  I usually climb while seated, and the new plusher setup has not bothered me enough to use the rear lockout for climbs. 

Since Whistler Bike Park has opened, I have had the opportunity to jump and corner the bike at higher speeds.  With the new Suspensionwerx set up, the bike rides equally well over the small stutter bumps as it does floating in the air and hooking up in the corners.  It is the most well rounded set up I have ever ridden.     

The Fine Print

Well, you might be wondering if I’ve experienced any problems with the Wildcard.  I’ve only had one minor issue so far.  After a couple of really muddy rides last season, the Wildcard developed a loud squeak in the rear triangle.  After a through cleaning and generous gob of Phil Wood grease, I have been squeak free ever since.  This squeak free period has included some of the nastiest mud, and snow rides mother nature has graced us with.

The anodized black finish on my Wildcard has been very durable, but I have seen a few Wildcards with the wet paint finish that don’t seem to be fairing as well.         

Final Thoughts

The Wildcard has been a fun, solid, and reliable ride.  It’s been relatively trouble free and with the right suspension tweaks, has the ability to be an absolutely amazing ride.  The Wildcard has made me happy enough to keep it for another season.  And for those who know and ride with me, that’s saying a lot.   

Although there is a new generation of young rippers repping Banshee frames, most of the people I ride with continue to be underwhelmed by the Banshee name.  Perhaps a ghost of Christmas past, riders sometimes still mistake the Banshee of new with the Banshee of 3.0 Gazzi past.  



Mythic Rune test - MBR magazine

I'll let the test do the talking.... all images / text copyright MBR magazine

Rob c

Monday, August 24, 2009

Interbike - Viento


I had all but a few minutes to bang these out before it had to go in a box and get shipped to Canada. I think it looks great… Keith is meh. I guess it different tastes for different people so we’ll have a couple other options available. The blue like the Black Rune with the orange links will only be available as a complete package so will be very limited and be pretty rare to see on the trails. I wish i was able to get a weight on this bike before I shipped it out but it was light… like around the 25ish area but i’m thinking it might even be lighter… I’ll try to get it weighed within a few weeks. Ok its not stupid light but its also not an XC race bike either and can handle trail and most all mountain applications.

Technorati Tags: ,

Why Doesn’t Anyone Make a 29er Downhill Bike?

A little interview I did for 

posted by Editor - July 13, 2009 - 10pm EDT

why doesn't anyone make a 29er downhill mountain bike by specialized banshee norco santa cruz niner and foes racing

After watching footage from the first few UCI World Cup downhill races this year, we’re sitting around the office blown away by the speed at which the riders could seemingly fling their bikes over some seriously gnarly roots, rocks and drops.  We also noticed that some of the rocks and root “cavities” (the gullies between big roots) seemed to occasionally be just a hair too much for the bikes, forcing the riders to navigate around some obstacles rather than bomb over them.

Not being big downhillers here, we got to wondering why no one was running a 29″ wheel on a downhill mountain bike…at least on the front.  As we all know by now, a 29er’s larger wheel rolls over stuff easier, and some of the bits on the World Cup downhill courses were seemingly just beyond the capability of a 26″ wheel to get over (even with 8″ of travel!), but could have been tackled by a 29er.

So, in typical Bikerumor fashion, we called the experts.  Lots of them.  We wanted input from big brands and small, global companies and boutique DH specialists.  We also wanted a dedicated 29er brand…so we went overkill and interviewed the folks from Specialized, Foes, Banshee, Norco, Santa Cruz and Niner and asked them the following three questions:

  1. Why don’t downhillers use 29″ wheels, at least on the front?
  2. Has your company or any of it’s factory riders ever tested or prototyped a 29er or 69er downhill bike?
  3. Anything else you could add on this topic?

Read the rest of the article here…

Mythic Rune wins MBR test with 9/10

We've just had the great news that the Mythic Rune we put up against a Morewood in Mountain Bike Rider (MBR) magazine here in the UK won the test with a healthy 9/10

I have not seen the magazine yet as only subscribers have a copy (and the Freeborn Horsham guys) but should get a copy from the newstands next week

I did meet the guy who tested the Rune for MBR at my local skatepark last weekend, and he was raving about the bike, so I'd imagine the test is full of praise!

I do know they installed the K-9 1.5" angle cups which apparently slacked the head angle to 65 degrees for the MegaAvalanche race...

more info coming soon, with some scans from the mag


Rob c

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Juride vids and a party invite

Julien my European distributor just sent me a couple vids that he wanted to share. Check'm out.... I really want to try his bike park... looks like fun.

A teaser for our bike party wich will happen in two weeks, The last edition it was 2500 persons on the place!
The rider is Sakoline too with his scythe!

A very funny trail we built in our mountains, riding in those little stones is like powder skiing ;) riders: Zwo and Sakoline( scythe and WC)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Paradox

Ok so I don’t have much experience riding 29rs but I do have a lot of riding experience and DSC_0307 this weekend racing my Paradox in what i thought was an AM race only to see my competition in full face helmets, chest and leg armour on bikes such as Trek Sessions and M6’s made me scratch my head a little.

I hadn’t seen the course so me and Ryan took a ride up – ok Ryan pushed his bike while I rode since he was on a full boinger and hadn’t made the mistake of bring a knife to a gun fight.

DSC_0142 The Paradox rocks on the tech uphill and the seating position was just as i hoped. Centered in the saddle for all but the steepest quick bursts where you could just nose up a tad but not as much as other bikes I had ridden. The 2.3 WTB stouts felt great and I never felt any loss of traction. The conditions were dry but not dusty and the ground was not loose for the most part but was gravely with some uphill rock gardens that you had to pick your lines. I love the way the Paradox gets over stuff on the uphill when things get chundery.  My XC background was mostly riding the North DSC_0306Shore where one of our fun things was to see who could get up the technical stuff. We’d slam it into the lowest gear we had and just giver into what we thought would be the line that would give us the best traction and the greatest chance of throwing ourselves up and over what would be technically a drop if you were going down.

I wish I had the Paradox back then, and I can’t wait to get it back to the Shore to try some of my old lines and see what happens. DSC_0139The 29 front really helps and the momentum that it carries keeps the bike moving into these tech sections. Long story short it was welcomed on the tech uphill sections.

So on the downhill that was another eye opener. I’ve ridden a 26r Scirocco for a long time. I commuted on it for 2 years back and forth everyday from my home to the office and had it in the air; dropping the Aline and GLC at Whistler at its most extreme. There was nothing DSC_0267sm I wouldn’t hit on that bike that I wouldn’t do on a full suser. So while I think Whistler will be a bit much for this bike i was pleasantly surprised that it did give me the confidence that I used to feel on the Scirocco. The only part that I think I’ll need to get used to is in 2 corners where i nearly blew my line because I wasn’t use to pulling the front wheel over on this size. I was in the first portion of my DH run and the bike was running hot… I suppose the centripetal force was more then i was used to and I didn’t compensate. It took me but fractions of a second to correct but it was something that wouldn’t have happened on the 26 front.

DSC_0141 The 120mm fork felt like a 160mm. It really was amazing to get the same feeling from the front end as what i’ve previously experienced running a 6” fork. The back end was super sweet… it tracked precisely, I felt very comfortable leaning it over in the corners, and it felt like a softtail as the backend was much softer then what i’ve experienced riding through the chundery braking bumps on Aline [Whislter] with the Scirocco.

DSC_0282smI’m still a little sketched out catching air on this bike. I think i’ll try to keep practicing on it to see if i get used to it but my gut tells me all but the straightest lines jumping will be hard. I don’t think i’d be comfortable hipping or transfering this bike but a straight lined drop and maybe even a small kicker will be pretty sweet. The backend is short enough that when i did a slower speed jump i was able to pull the front end up and not nose in to the landing. Having a bike you can “wheelie” is of benefit especially if you want to hit some small air drops. This truly is an AM style bike if for no other reason that its possible to do this.

DSC_0319 I have to say its going to be a fight getting this thing away from me. I thought I was done with hardtails after riding the Legend last year, but just as I found new love for riding with the Scirocco, I am now –even after riding bikes for so long- finding the fun that I had only experienced when i had first started riding. I’m so stoked on this bike and want to visit all my old haunts again to see and compare… hell you may even seem me at Whistler on it!!!!

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rain Rain …

For the first month we had nothing but clear skies and warm temperatures. Three weeks ago I went to Ontario to visit family and it was cold and rainy the whole time I was there. I got back to Fernie a week ago and it has been cold and wet for the past week. We have been riding in the rain for the past week, but have not been taking any pictures. There was a break in the rain yesterday so we took my brother’s truck, the camera and our bikes to session a couple of jumps on a trail called Dopamine.

  IMG_4494 IMG_4594 IMG_4630IMG_4550IMG_4616 IMG_4565  IMG_4599 IMG_4610   IMG_4508

James has been building a couple of jumps just off of Dopamine. Here is a shot of one of them. They are a work in progress.


Check out the sign on the stump underneath this little jump. “Mushroom Head”


Enjoy the pictures.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Interbike – Paradox [Oh and its my personal bike!!!]

UPDATE: So I've been getting some questions about when the Paradox will be ready for the public to get their hands on. We'll the good news is they've already been shipping to customers for 2 weeks now so if you want one then its no problem getting one

Yeah this is my keeper as I gave my green one away. I don’t think its gonna be pretty for the show as I plan to ride it home tonight. Who needs pretty bikes at the show anyway… if its beat up a little you still get the general idea of what it’ll look like in the store right?? Besides how am i gonna walk past this bike everyday knowing I could be riding it? I’m only human and a weak one at that so really its not my fault and can’t be blamed.



Technorati Tags: ,



Here are pics of Kurt on his XL tearing it up at the 24hr race in AB Canada.

Big thanks to Sean for the photos. He’s got some other ones here of the other racers.

Armstrong, Bauer top podiums at Snowmass mountain bike races

by Catherine Lutz, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Monday, August 10, 2009

While a certain seven-time Tour de France winner was celebrating his first fat tire victory in Snowmass Village on Saturday, Aspenite Rachel Bauer was steadily defending her lead on the dusty mountaincross course.

A few rounds later, Bauer edged out five other pro women to take first place in the Blast the Mass mountaincross finals — one of two pro-level racers with an Aspen address to earn the top spot in the four-discipline mountain bike event.

“I wasn’t the strongest rider, but I had the best descents,” said Bauer, who got fourth place in the pro women’s downhill on Sunday. “I was able to defend the lead and hold off the other girls.” (Jackie Harmony of Tucson, Ariz. and Martha Renn of Avon took second and third places, respectively.)

The other Aspen racer was Lance Armstrong, who smoked the field in the pro cross-country race with a time of one hour, 51 minutes and 18 seconds — completing two laps of the course which entailed 11.4 miles and 2,346 vertical feet of climbing.

Along with some local cross-country pros, Armstrong had spent a few days before the race riding the course to familiarizing himself with it, said a race organizer.

“And he was familiar,” said Keith Darner with Bigfoot Productions, which puts on the Mountain States Cup race series. “On the road climb from the start/finish to the singletrack he was at probably double the speed of the next pro.

Darner said Armstrong has visibly improved his technical riding since last year, when he placed second in the Leadville 100 endurance mountain bike race.

“I thought this race would be considerably closer because he’s a roadie,” said Darner. “This course had some challenging technical climbing and descending.”

Armstrong finished a little more than three minutes ahead of Jay Henry of Avon, who is the points leader in the eight-race Mountain States Cup.

Len Zanni of Carbondale finished third, nearly 6 minutes off Armstrong’s time.

Darner said an estimated 300-500 people thronged the start of the pro cross-country race, and about 450 people stuck around to see Armstrong receive his award.

“Normally you can hear crickets at a cross-country start,” said Bauer, “but it was lined on both sides. Lance brought people out.”

Far from feeling overshadowed, Bauer said it was boost to the semi-obscure sport of competitive mountain to have Armstrong show up at a regional race.

“He’s definitely brought a lot of people to the sport and to the weekend.”

Darner credited Armstrong with being gracious for staying 45 minutes after the awards ceremony to sign autographs and talk with fans.

“All we can say about Lance attending our event is that is was very positive and his sportsmanship was amazing,” said Darner.

Several other locals had podium finishes in the weekend events, which also crowned the state champions in cross-country, downhill, super D and mountain cross.

Snowmass Village’s Bryce Gordon won the 15- to 18-year-old division men’s category 1 cross-country race, and Mike Scanlon of Snowmass Village took the top spot in the men’s category 1 40-49 class. (Categories denote levels of skills, with category 1 corresponding to the old “expert” class. Category 2 is the former “sport” class, and category 3 is beginner.)

Jason Lapointe of Carbondale and Joel Mischke of Basalt took second and third places, respectively, in the cross-country race for category 1, ages 30-39. Lauren Ziedonis of Aspen took second in the women’s 19-29 category 1 race. The podium in the women’s category 1 40+ race was dominated by locals: Aspen’s Anne Gonzales in first, Aspen’s Pam Seidler in second and Carbondale’s Jacqueline Wood in third.

Steve Valenti of Basalt took first place in the mountaincross category 1 race for 30- to 39-year-olds. And Aspen’s Christen Boyer took second place in the category 1/2 women’s division for mountaincross.

Full downhill results were not available on Sunday, but no locals placed in the top three spots in the pro division on Sunday afternoon.