Thursday, October 29, 2009

Banshee Bikes Signs Team Geronimo as Factory Team



Banshee Bikes ( and Team Geronimo ( are both pleased to announce their new partnership for the 2010 race season. 2009 isn’t even a memory yet, but Jay MacNeil, General Manager of Banshee Bikes, and Team Geronimo are busy preparing for a jump start on 2010 – ready to hit the National, International, and World Cup race circuits on Banshee’s new Legend Mk II DH bike and Rampant 4X bike.


Banshee Bikes is amped on teaming up with Team Geronimo for the 2010 season and beyond.

The Mk I, which was not available to the public, has completed 2 seasons of testing and 4 years in development, culminating in the introduction of the lighter, faster and more racer-dialed Mk II version. This is one screaming fast rig, and Team Geronimo is stoked about the upcoming season.


The Banshee Legend Mk I

“Its great to find such an amazing group of riders that have in their hearts the same spirit and passion for mountain bikes and the sport. It’s like an extended part of our family and I can’t wait to spend time hanging out and hanging on as I try to keep up with them out on the trails” says Jay MacNeil.

Team Geronimo is not a new team – they’ve been steadily gaining steam over the last two race seasons, but their all-star lineup has expanded by three riders for 2010. Brothers Michael and Brian Buell, of Colorado, have been holding the team together since its inception in 2008, and racking up some fierce results. Now they are joined by Rachel Bauer of Utah, Colorado, California (and everywhere else her travels take her with fiancĂ© Troy Walch), Graeme Pitts of California, and Cody Eichhorn of Australia.


No stranger to athletic competition, Rachel Bauer has been at the top of her game in Women’s Collegiate Track and Field and Cross Country for Fresno State University, and Alpine Ski Racing at the Pro level in both National and International competitions. She exploded on the gravity mountain biking scene in 2007, kicking butt and taking names. 2008 1st Overall Mountain States Cup Series, 2009 Colorado State Champion, 2009 2nd Overall Mountain States Cup Series, 3rd in both DH and 4X at the 2009 Pan Am Continental Championships in Chile, and 1st Angel Fire Pro Gravity Tour #2 are a few of her recent accomplishments. On the podium at Pan Am Champs, her Chilean competitor called her “vicious”. Don’t let that sweet smile fool you.


Rachel Bauer

According to Rachel, who raced for Banshee in 2009, “The Legend Mk I was an incredible and reliable bike to race – no mechanical issues and maintained throughout the entire season. Rampant was equally stable in 4X and DS, and it was a great training bike prior to the race season. There was instantly a level of comfort and familiarity that came with the Rampant, and when the Mk I came out, I was ecstatic!”


The Buell Brothers come as a pair - they are the brother team in the Rockies. Michael Buell is the senior brother, and lays claim to having competed in 3 World Cup DH races at Andorra, Fort William and Monte Sainte Anne, as well as many other National and International races. A consistent top 10 finisher pre-2009, Michael’s 2009 season suffered from an ankle injury early on, but he managed to make an awesome comeback with a few podium finishes and 4th Overall in the Mountain States Cup Gravity Series. Fully recovered and now relieved of team management by a professional staff, he’s ready to get back to the business of full-time training and racing on his new Banshee rides in 2010. He’s back!


Michael Buell

Brian Buell has frequent flyer status on the podium in the highly competitive Mountain States Cup Gravity Series, with a 2nd Overall finish in 2009. He was 2005 Junior Expert National 4X Champion, 2007 Collegiate National DH Champion, and has mile-long list of National podium finishes since then, including a bronze medal for this year’s 4X National Championships, and 1st place for DS at Colorado Crankworx. His International experience includes 3 World Cup DH races in Andorra, Fort William and Monte Sainte Anne. Better be wearing your sunglasses if he smiles at you, especially in the starting gate! Consistent, strong and great karma (with a capital “K”) – he is one to watch out for in 2010.


Brian Buell

Graeme Pitts is the baby in the group. At 19, he competed in the Pan Am Continental Championships in Chile, came home with UCI points, and pulled off a reputable rookie Pro year with a number of top 10 finishes against some tried and true competitors. In 2008, he was part of the formidable posse of the USA Junior Worlds Team in Italy after only 3 months in the Junior Expert class. Pitts will be spending the early part of 2010 in Australia with teammate Cody Eichhorn and his compadres. When the US race season starts, he will already have gotten into race mode at the Australian National Series, training with their top gravity riders.

Graeme Pitts

Cody Eichhorn - the wild card addition to the team from the Land of Oz. He will arrive from down under ready to race his first Sea Otter Classic – Eichhorn has been dreaming of spending his birthday at Sea Otter for a few years, and now it’s becoming reality. Managing to complete Uni (as University is called in Oz) while still racking up a huge list of podium finishes, Team Geronimo’s new Aussie competed in 2008 World Championships in 4X, a number of World Cup Races, Kokanee Crankworx, and was invited back to Worlds this year,

but was too busy traveling and racing with Pitts in the US of A. He took California by storm, acing out Eric Carter and Rich Houseman in the first round of 4X at Cal State Champs at Mammoth Mountain. He brings the Aussie flair and is an all around crowd pleaser.


Cody Eichhorn

Team Geronimo is also parent to an awesome Junior Development Team based out of Aspen Valley, Colorado. Managed by Brandon Turman, it is a collection of some of the hottest young talent in The Rockies and they are being mentored with Junior World Championships as the objective.

Plans are already in the works for Team Geronimo’s collaboration with The Wounded Warrior Project – returning, injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who are regaining their passion for life through bicycles. The team is working with WWP organizers to schedule coaching clinics and entertainment with these worthy riders who put themselves in harm’s way so we can all keep living our dream.

The Fall is traditionally time for sponsors to make choices; Team Geronimo shares that odious task and will announce the rest of its line up soon. Anyone interested in seeing their products on Team Geronimo/Banshee should contact

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ham and Steeze

The Ham and Steeze Jam went down at Post Office on Saturday and it was crazy!  If you’ve never heard of the Post Office jumps, let’s just say it’s one of my favorite places in the world!

The way it was set up was with categories of 13 & Under, 14-18, open, and pro.  It was a contest for all of the classes except pro, with pro being a big jump jam.  The day started out nice and foggy while the contest portion of the event went on.   It was cool to see a couple other riders on Amps out there!  Everyone threw down really hard, which was rad to see.  It was the coolest seeing some of the younger locals trying (and landing!) tricks like 3’s and tailwhips on bigger jumps than they’ve tried before.  Max Kauert got second place in the 14-18 class and won an Amp frame, so he’s psyched!  It’s gonna be cool to see that all built up.  After the rest of the awards were over, the Pro Jam started.  It was sick because it was a big sesh with all the locals, but with a little added pressure of the spectators and media.  Now was the time to throw down!  I felt good on the main set, throwing some tricks like back to back tailwhips, 360 1-foot x-ups, pendulums, a 270 on the big hip, and 1-foot x-ups to no-foot-cans.

I think I had the most fun with some of the trains we did.  Someone would yell out something like “360 train on the ___ line” and everyone who dropped in would have to do at least one 360.  It wasn’t always tricks, there were many good ol’ “Steeze Trains” where everyone would throw down their best style.  For about the last third of the Jam, everyone began seshing the trick jump, throwing everything they had.  It was going off with people throwing superflips, flipwhips, 3-whips, upside-down 3s, double tailwhips, a frontflip, cannonballs, giant transfers, super nothings, 3-flattys, and attempted bike flips.  I started out with the tricks I felt really comfortable with, like flip tables and no-foot-can whips.

I had been thinking of trying a 3-whip at Post for a while, since I recently learned them at the step-up.  With the crowd cheering, Black Sabbath playing, and Guy French killing it on the mic, I figured this was the time!  I ended up seat-landing it a few times, and got pedals on the 4th try!  It’s always sooooo satisfying landing a trick to dirt for the first time, and with a trick like that I couldn’t have been happier (or so I thought)!  I wanted to try some flip-tucks to dirt while I was at it and ended doing a whole bunch!  I went for a double whip as well and seat landed it!  I was sooooo stoked after that, and soon, the Jam began to slow to an end!  Tired and hungry, we all got some bbq and congratulated each other on all the new tricks everyone pulled!  What a day!  And no better way to end it than a nice mellow sun-down sesh back at the jumps with some smooth cruiser runs!  Thankfully not a single person got hurt the whole day!  That was probably the best day at Post Office I’ve had, seeing all of my friends throw down new stuff and landing a few new tricks of my own!  HUGE props go out to Justin Brantley for putting the whole thing on!

Here’s a few clips of me from the Jam!


Here's a cool video my friend Keegan made!

And another from Jordan at Pinkbike!

Anyway, solid day to say the least!  Can’t wait till the next Jam!


-Jack Fogelquist

I'm back.

Hey Guys,

I'm back from hospital in body at least... think my mind has some catching up to do still as painkillers and drugs have slowed it down.

Operation went pretty well, and recovery was generally good (after the first few days of vomiting... but that is to be expected really). I'm going to have to take it easy for a while just to get my mind back in the game (certianly don't think that designing bikes while at this level of brain activity is a good idea). I'm going to try and catch up with all the e-mails I've been send over the rest of this week, please bear with me. Sitting upright hurts quite a lot right now, so extended periods at my computer are not really an option, but that will improve quickly I'm sure.

What used to be my tummy! (at the bottom of the pic is where I had a wound drain in place, It was a small 5mm diameter tube sucking blood and fluid stuff out from inside me. I figured it was only a couple of inches long, but when they ripped it out of me it was over a foot long and went right deep inside me. the nurse who pulled it out got squirted and covered in blood from the puncture wound for her effort, it was like being stabbed in reverse!)

Just wanted to say thanks for all the kind messages I recieved, they all made a difference! Considering that 10 days ago I was totally disemboweled with my guts on a table next to me, I have to say that I am feeling surprisingly alive!

On a side note... I watched Jack Fogelquists new full length movie 'Locations' earlier on his pinkbike blog. Well worth checking out to see how many cool spots they have in his neck of the woods down in Ca. (you might have to friend him on pinkbike to see, I'm not sure?). Good work Jack!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fakawi Banshee Team podiums in Specialized DH Championship

4th UKDI-Specialized International Downhill Championships, Indonesia.
16-18 October 2009.

FakawiBanshee Team rider Gig from Thailand notched an impressive 2nd place losing to Risa Suseanty of Indonesia in the women's category.

Rizal "Redride" on the other hand managed a 4th place in the Men's Master A category. More pics to come...

gig podiums
Gig in her glory!

Rizal 4th place!
Rizal ..another podium

gig on speed
Gig on her Scythe. [Pic by Meita Glen]

Rizal in the air
Rizal on the Legend mk1, airborne at the rockdrop

Krempl pinning
Krempl, our Deity sponsor, pinning it!
The Claw! That's a 5m high road gap.. "That's the biggest road gap I have done in 3 years" claims the Claw!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vancouver finally gets some Dirt Jumps

I’m a few days late getting to posting about this, but on Monday night the Vancouver Dirt Jump Coalition received the answer they wanted from the Vancouver Park Board on a proposed jump


track in Vanier Park. Vanier Park, located in Kits Point, will be Vancouver’s first ’sanctioned’ mountain bike/ BMX park. The proposed track site drew some opposition from local residents and Squamish First Nation, but ultimately was approved by the board based on the recommendations of the Vancouver Park Board.

Vancouver is Awesome was able to get this quote from Chris Youg, lead member of the Vancouver Dirt Jump Coalition:

“Last night the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners voted unanimously in favour of the proposed Dirt Jump park in Vanier Park. With the Park Board office beyond capacity with BMX and Mountain Bikers, the group listened in on delegations presenting in favour of the park, with no parties speaking against. One-by-one the Commissioners expressed their positive thoughts about the project, and thanked those whose hard work has made this possible. Opinions were expressed to ensure that the park will be designed with elements for all levels of riding, from young children right up to advanced users. And, that the park should be designed in such a way to fit in with Vanier Park, which could be done with landscaping. The project was given the blessing by the Vancouver’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.”

“One of the delegates, a mother who came to express her thoughts commended the Park Board on the approval process. She was impressed, and expressed how pleased she was with the inclusion of the community, Vanier Park stakeholders, and interested parties all were heard on this proposal. Multiple generations were in the room with her to see a positive outcome, which will hopefully inspire more youth to be involved.”

“Very special thanks go out to Commissioner Sarah Blyth for her dedication to this project, and the rest of the Park Board Commissioners for keeping their promise of engaging the youth and keeping them active as one of their platforms. Mark Vulliamy and Park Board staff have also been vital to making the Dirt Jump park a reality.”

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This should be pretty cool and Freeride Entertainment are bringing you ’10 Days of Disorder’. Starting Monday October 19th, we will be broadcasting a full New World Disorder film, live on, every day until the release of New World Disorder 10 on October 28th. NWD 10, ‘Dust and Bones’, marks the final chapter in the most storied mountain biking movie franchise in the history of the sport and this is an opportunity to relive the evolution of freeride mountain biking over the last 10 years through the eyes of Freeride Entertainment and the New World Disorder series.

On Monday October 19th, tune into to watch a live stream of the first New World Disorder movie in its entirety, and each day after that we will be airing the next part of the series until showing NWD 9 on October 27th. On the next day we will be shipping NWD10, so order your copy now and be the first to own the final piece of the NWD decalogy.

Schedule on (Airing twice each day - 12:00pm PST and 7pm PST)
NWD1 - Monday, October 19th
NWD2 - Tuesday, October 20th
NWD3 - Wednesday, October 21th
NWD4 - Thursday, October 22th
NWD5 - Friday, October 23th
NWD6 - Saturday, October 24th
NWD7 - Sunday, October 25th
NWD8 - Monday, October 26th
NWD9 - Tuesday, October 27th

Head on over to the Freeride Entertainment store and pre-order your copy of New World Disorder 10 - 'Dust and Bones' now. DVDs should start shipping October 28th, so get your order in now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weather Changes

On Monday afternoon Martin and I rode Project Nine here in Fernie. The temperature was around minus 7, the skies were clear and the sun was out. The trail was snow and frost covered in some places but traction was pretty good for most of the way down.

(frosty run in on project nine)

Today Martin and I rode Red Sonja in about 3 or 4 inches of snow. The fresh snow on top of the leaves made things a little bit interesting. It took longer than normal to get to the top, but I do not think it took us much longer to get down. The snow made sliding in and out of berms a lot of fun.

(first tracks on red sonja)

(short sleeved orange banshee shirt)

Walking up the trail in the snow made me feel like a kid again. Riding down put a huge smile on my face and reminded me why I ride. I am sure Martin felt the same way and for me this was possibly the best ride in 2009 ... so far.

(took a little bit longer pushing up the trail)

(Martin and his snow covered wildcard)

I got a couple of helmets in the mail today from Kali, thought riding in the snow would be a good way to test them out. Here are a couple of shots of my bike and helmet in the snow.

And for the record I only fell down once. Keep riding.


Out of it

On friday morning I am going in to hospital for some more major surgery. I'm going to be opened up like a duffle bag for the second time this year to have all my gut pushed back inside me and have a sort of makeshift lower bowel made out of my large intestine to replace everything from the large intesting down that has was cut out of me in february. So I'm afraid that I am going to be out of contact for at least a couple of weeks while I'm in hospital recovering.

So please direct any questions you have to your local distributors, or if they can't answer, then send messages to Jay. But you should also know that he will be working double time to cover for me again, and is also in the process of moving country right now, so please be patient. We would both really appreciate it if you held off on any non urgent questions for a few weeks til I'm back, so that Jay can focus on getting ready for next production.

I am looking forward to getting this operation behind me, as it will hopefully be the last one I need, so although I am obviously not looking forward to it, I am keen to get it over and done with.

Thanks for your understanding.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I've been testing the prototype spitfire for a few months now, and figured that it was time to post up all the small tweaks and changes that I am making to the frame for production.

I have really enjoyed riding the spitfire this summer, partly because it was just great to get back on a bike again after surgery, but also because the spitfire kind of took me back to my roots of riding. When I was around14-15 I took my first real biking trip with a couple of mates up into the highlands of Scotland. I was on a full ridged back then that probably weighed significantly more than my spitfire, and was nowhere near as much fun. Over last 6-8 years I've been doing mainly free ride/ DH / DJ riding, so felt great to get back out in to the hills and enjoy the scenery with mates.

The blue points at the rear axle show the top out and bottom out positions for both geometry settings.

The spitfire has been the perfect bike to do this on, as it just makes climbing easy, and kills fast singletrack descents! I've really pushed the bike beyond what it is designed for to make sure that it is up to the challenge, and it has just shrugged everything off so far, and coped well with a whole variety of terrain. But the prototype was not perfect, It didn't quite feel the way I wanted it to despite getting close with some changes to suspension components etc. So I went back to the drawing board, and started altering it to further improve feel and performance. I also received a lot of help with ideas and suggestions from many a member of the bike community. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the design by throwing in ideas and suggestions. (A special shout out goes to the guys who have been actively contributing to the Spitfire thread on the mtbr forum, you guys got me considering options again, and pushed me to achieve the final version of the Spitfire.)

All changes have been made to improve performance and build options for riders, whilst taking into account strength, stiffness, weight and aesthetics. So what are the major changes to the Spitfire for production?

  • I dialed in the suspension linkage to work better with 2010 shock options. The proto felt slightly dead due to leverage curve shape. So I made the rate of leverage ratio change a bit more gradual, and a touch more progressive throughout, whilst adjusting the subtle pedal platform to be a little bit further into the travel.
  • The proto had an issue fitting some front derailleurs at bottom out, which was a stupid oversight on my part, so I fixed that, as well as making the axle path slightly more rearward to help the bike soak up harsh square edge bumps, as well as marginally increasing antisquat in early part of travel.
Tapered headtube with enough downtube clearance to run a fox 36 or RS Lyrik with zero stack.
  • The production Spitfire will have a tapered head tube (ZeroStack 1 1/8" top and traditional 1.5" bottom). This was not done for strength reasons, as there really is not improvement in strength no matter what you read (Unless you use massively wide tubes like new giants, where you can achieve a little bit more weld area, although I've achieved this with the hydroformed shape). There were 2 main reasons why I finally made this decision. Firstly, for 2010 nearly all single crown forks from major manufacturers will be offered with tapered steerers. And secondly, If people want to run a larger 160mm fork they can do if they have a straight 1 1/8" steerer, and a zero stack lower cup on the headset, whilst not throwing out the geometry. It also means that you can choose between zero stack and external bearing bottom race for different forks to fine tune your angles and BB height.
  • Head angle has been slackened very slightly. It would seem that a lot of people have been waiting for a short travel, light weight, slack bike, and who am I to disappoint them?
  • I've slackened the seat angle by 0.5 degrees to better suit riders who are running shorter a2c forks, but will still offer a great angle for those with larger travel forks. This also makes the front end slightly shorter. (My large proto felt a tad long for me 6'2" with a 70mm stem)
  • Geometry adjust is still there, but now I have slightly increased range of adjustment to 1.1degrees... yeah, OK not a big increase, but I felt I just wanted that tiny bit more while testing.
Slack and low setting

Steeper and higher setting (more like traditional trail bike geometry)
  • I increased the tire clearance. I haven't actually had any issues with my prototype, but just wanted to offer that bit more room for when the mud is gloopy.
  • I changed the shock bolts to 8mm diameter from 6mm. I think the strength gain is worth the weight gain.
  • The down tube shock mounts are a bit more splayed to further spread the load (again this shouldn't really be necessary, but I'd rather be safe than sorry).
  • The cable guides on the rear triangle have been switched to run underneath the seat stays, just to keep a cleaner look.
  • Added a brace between the downtube and the BB to help dissipate stress concentrations at this location. (again probably a little over the top, but worth the extra few grams I feel). I realise that a lot of people want this bike as a really aggressive trail bike, so I would rather make it overly strong than not strong enough.
Bottomed out in slack setting

  • Weight should stay around the same, I've saved material in some places and added slightly to others. My large prototype frame weighed in at 6.52lbs with shock seatpost clamp and all hardwear.
Hmm, I think that is it for major changes. I have made literally hundreds of small changes, but not worth mentioning here really. Sometimes I think I can be too much of a perfectionist... but then I remember you guys spend your hard earned cash on our bikes and I want you to love every aspect of them.

Thanks again to everyone who e-mailed me their thoughts or contributed to discussions. I have taken everything on board and tried me best to follow the general consensus.

The spitfire will be available in early 2010, stay tuned to the blog for more details on colour and build options, and costs, and confirmed weights closer to the time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fernie Fall

On Friday night Martin and I made plans to spend most of Saturday afternoon on our Wildcards. When we spoke on Saturday to set up a time to ride the temperature was minus seven. We decided to do a shorter ride to avoid the cold. When we got to the top of the climb my fingers and toes were pretty cold, but other than that I felt pretty warm. We planned to stop and take some pictures, we did not stop often but I think we got some good pictures.

IMG_5776 (Martin about to enter a tight “s” berm to jump to berm)

IMG_5736                      IMG_5740

(Rob entering and exiting a berm)

IMG_5748                      IMG_5760

(Martin entering and exiting a berm)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wildcard Version 2.0- More than just a dream?

A follow up response to

As my eyelids struggled to compete against the force of gravity, a few thoughts tripped on my mind’s doorstep. What if money grew on trees? What if first time homebuyers didn’t need a 25 year mortgage? What if I could change whatever I wanted on the Banshee Wildcard?

As my eyelids regained their crown as the daily Awake Champion, I began to contemplate the thoughts that only moments ago occupied my cerebrum. The first two questions were quickly dismissed as I remembered a wise and BIG philosopher once said, “Mo money, mo problems.”

But what if I could change whatever I wanted on the Banshee Wildcard? What would I change?

In my opinion, the Wildcard was initially designed as a slopestyle bike, but due to its versatile geometry it soon found its niche as a true jack-of-all-trades bike capable of slopestyle esque riding and freeriding. As a result, most riders who choose to purchase the Wildcard also spend a great deal of riding time on the trails.

With the above disclaimer in mind, there are three and a half revisions I would like to suggest. The first is revision is around the area of geometry. The Wildcard is an excellent all around platform suitable for climbing, jumping, descending, and cornering. However, I would like to see a slightly lower bottom bracket height of approximately ¾ of an inch (bringing the bottom bracket height to 13.15” on my current set up), and a slacker head angle by one degree (bringing my current head angle to 66 degrees), while the rest of the geometry numbers remain the same.

With a lower bottom bracket height, the Wildcard would have a lower center of gravity and in my opinion, be even better at railing through high-speed corners. With a slacker head angle, the Wildcard would be even more stable when pointed down steep descents. Of course the drawback of having a lower bottom bracket height means more bottom bracket, crank, and pedal smashes while having a slacker head angle means having a slower turning response for slopestyle maneuvers.

The second area of revision is around weight. While by no means heavy at 8.92lbs (for an anodized finish DHX air 5.0 equipped size small), a loss of ½ a pound would place the Wildcard ahead of its competitor the Transition BottleRocket and be one more reason to hand over the green (or brown bills) to Banshee Bikes.

The third area of revision is around appearance. With riding hotspots like Whistler peppered with wildly finished carbon fiber helmets and TLD superhero suits, riders are definitely spending money on their riding kits. My preference would be to see anodized links to colour match or colour clash the anodized finish on the Wildcard. Banshee specific decal kits (think Rock Shox like) for the wet paint Wildcards would also be a draw for all the sticker-crazed groms.

The last half revision is around price. The reason I claim this to be a half revision is because while the Wildcard is a fairly pricy frame, you definitely get what you pay for. It is a solid frame, backed by a great warranty, and a standup company. However in tough economic times, what will entice new riders to purchase a Wildcard over similarly priced frames? I believe my first three suggestions are the key.

Wildcard Version 2.0, am I still dreaming?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Minus 4

I came back to Fernie after Interbike and was not impressed with the temperature. I have not seen single digits on a thermometer since I left Canada in the fall of 2003.  A couple days later it rained in town and I awoke to fresh snow on top of the mountains.IMG_5692 (the view from my brother’s place, we are working on the inside but there is no furnace)

This week the low has been –4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit) and not only is there snow on the mountains but in the mornings there is snow in town. I have not given up on riding and have been going out every other day.


(there was a little bit of snow this morning, but nothing major)

I have been riding the same trail a couple of days a week. It is perfect for my Wildcard and can be ridden in under an hour. And with the weather changes it is almost like a new trail every time I ride it.

  IMG_5706 (at the top of my climb)

If you are some where warm enjoy it. And if you live some where and the weather is starting to get cold, ride as many days as you can before the snow comes.

Keep riding,


P.S. I love my Wildcard.


went on a photo mission with linden last night. no plan or photo in mind, just to capture something cool. i think we did it!

Testing testing 1, 2 ... Tree!

As many of you know I've been testing a Spitfire prototype for a few months now to see how it rides. Last weekend I headed down to the Scottish borders with my mate Alan to ride Innerleithen. This trip was mainly to test the Spitfire with a different shock setup, but also to have some fun on the national level DH courses on my big bike, and to get a bit more fitness back before I go in for more major surgery next week (I can hardly wait!...<- sarcasm!). I hardly got any sleep the night before the ride due to the gale that was howling at my window and the rain hammering the glass, and unfortunately the weather didn't look much better when I got up. Alan arrived and we loaded his car up with my spitfire and legend; his rune was already on the roof.
Typical scenery in the Scottish Borders

The drive down was pretty nice, as the rain has subsided and the sun was beaming. We did our mandatory on route stop at the shops and picked up some energy drinks for after the ride and muesli bars and bananas for good healthy sustenance. We drove past Glentress where there looked to be hundreds of riders as per usual, and 10 mins later arrived at an empty Innerleithen car park. I guess the weather had put people off due to the exposed nature of the trails??

The rain had stopped but there was still a strong cold wind (gusting up to 90mph according to the weather forecast I saw that evening) that meant we rushed to get bikes ready and head off to start the 20ish km XC loop. The first hour or so was spent on the long slog of a climb. There were a few semi tech sections with some smooth rock obstacles to get up and over, which in the wet was a bit tricky (did I mention the rain had started again?) as my tires liked to spin out from time to time, but I made it up most of it without dabbing despite being a poor technical climber. I have to admit that I needed to stop more than once to get my breath back and stretch out my legs a bit. Not sure if it was the cold, but my legs seemed tired from the start, maybe it was just one of those days?

I'd set the spitfire up in steeper taller setting for the climb to help with pedaling over anything technical. It worked really well. I was playing around a bit with pro pedal to see how it felt, and definitely decided that the spitfire really doesn't need it, it made little to no noticeable difference with pedal bob, as there isn't really any bob anyway, but when I came across a tech rough section the pro pedal made the bike feel a bit harsh and I felt I had less traction than with pro pedal off.

Alan on his rune battling gravity and the wind!

Things got pretty interesting / hilarious when we exited the trees as we approached the summit of the trail. This is where the wind really showed us who was boss (rain had stopped again thankfully). I have taken a couple of photos of the start of this section before the wind really kicked in. The gale was hitting us side on (luckily blowng more uphill than down), but made those switchbacks pretty crazy, as you had to try and balance on the bike on the single track against the power of the gusty wind which blew me clean off my bike twice and caused me to ride off into the heather a whole bunch of times. 90mph side winds on a bike are a blast... I was laughing my head off.

With the wind more behind him, Alan was off!

As we got to the top (we both took an unintentional shortcut straight over the deep heather thanks to the wind) we tried to shelter in a little wind hollow that had been made for such days. It didn't offer much protection, but helped a bit. We chowed down as quickly as we could, knowing that the whole trail was pretty much downhill singletrack from here on it. Woohoo!

Our shelter from the weather. And no, it was not sunny for long!

I took a couple of pics, as the weather was pretty epic (doesn't show too well in my little camera phone snaps I'm afraid), and then is started to hail! Ah yes, just what you want when in shorts and T-shirt in 90mph gusts... It was somewhat stingy!

Spitfire in its natural habitat.

The descent was great fun, fast flowy singletrack that the spitfire just carved up. The top section was a bit sketchy at times, as there were quite a few small jumps in the trail... but even these small jumps were dangerous with such a strong side wind, I almost landed off the side of the trail on one of them. so from that point on we were scrubbing our way down.

I know none of the photos really show it, but trust me it was crazy windy!

The trail varied a fair bit on the way down. It was nearly all flowy, but the terrain changed between gravel, rocks (including lots of nasty sharp ones that were hidden behind small drops) and really nice loamy sections through the trees. The one word that always springs to mind when I think of high speed riding on the spitfire is CARVE... you get that feeling like you do on ski's or a board when you perfectly hold the edge and accelerate out of corners. I was grinning the whole way down (in the rain... yeah it was back again).

Before we completed the loop we took a little excursion to hike a bike up the side of a fast DH run called 'make or Brake'. This was an open jump style run, a but like a-line, except smaller and on gravel. It was fun to ride down, but the wind really mean that getting air was not an option, so we had to take it pretty easy unfortunately. We then linked back up with the end of the XC loop and rode a really nice pumpy traverse section back to the car, where we sheltered from the horizontal downpour that was now upon us.

A couple of sannies and some energy drinks later and it was time to hit the DH course. At this point I grabbed the Legend... well wouldn't you? Alan once again grabbed his trusty rune (it really is a true do it all bike) and we hiked a bike for about 40 mins or so to the top of a run called Crest run. neither of us had ridden it before, but were both looking forward to that blind run where you have no idea what is coming.

It was a great trail, especially the top section which was pretty steep and technical, reminded me a bit of a cross between '19th Hole' in Squamish, and 'Ride Don't Slide' in Whistler. The later parts was more of a high speed loamy blast with lots of slippery tree roots. I was shattered at the start of the run, and by the bottom I was ready to call it a day. My body isn't yet back to real fitness, but these days certainly help.

We loaded up and headed home, where I had a nice beef stew for dinner. Perfect! It was a great day made even more memorable by the adverse weather conditions. Thanks Alan, and the trail crew who work on the trails down there! (Trail map for Innerleithen)

Quick, follow that sun!

You can follow some forum discussion about the spitfire here if you're interested. Feel free to chip in your thoughts. There is no doubt that my prototype is good, but in my opinion it isn't yet great. However the production frames will have a whole bunch of small improvements that will take it to that next level.

(Big shout out to Alan for picking me up on a bunch of occasions... I really should learn to drive sometime!)

This pic isn't actually from that day, just a nice one of the forth road bridge I took while out the week before.