Archive for May, 2010
In an event that resembled a cross country race in terms of the tactics used, this last weekend saw Matt Page, riding for Wiggle, take the UK National 24hr Champion’s title at the inorgral event in the Scottish borders.
As 24 hour racing gains momentum, there are a number of events that stand out. Mountain Mayhem, 24 hours of Adrenaline, SITS, and a few others. What all of these events have in common however, is that although solo riders are there and taking it seriously, they share the course with pairs teams, teams of 4 and teams of five. Many of these people are there for the festival experience of racing, not necessarily to contend places.
24hrs of Exposure is an event set to change this. For solo riders only, to prove that they had what it takes to wear the National Champion’s jersey for a year.
While Team Topeak Ergon and Ergon 24 were sadly missing from the event owning to scheduling clashes and injury, Ergon was still represented. Matt Page sported a set of Ergon GX1 on both of his team bikes (in Limited Edition White, and Team Edition Green). Matt, who has the choice to ride any products that online retailer Wiggle stocks said of Ergon “I won’t use any other grips, these are the bees knees” when he switched to them last year.
Everyone at Ergon would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Matt for his win, and to the other winners on the day too, and all those who took part.
More details can be found here.
Bike Park season is now fully underway. It seems almost every weekend a different park is opening its lifts to the bikers. It’s an exciting time of year for those adrenalin seeking, lift loving riders. Unfortunately it can be a bit of a painful time as our bodies try and adjust to the seemingly endless vertical descending. This past weekend I was able to head up to Whistler for my first day of the season in the park. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hands we able to endure the entire day. Keeping your hands on your bike can become quite harder then you’d think towards the end of a day, and Ergon has found a way to almost alleviate that problem.
This will be my 12th season riding in the Whistler Bike Park, and I still enjoy any day of riding on that hill. I started back in the day with poor brakes and short travel. Before the trails were machined or buffed. I guided, coached, raced and pretty much lived in that park. Over the years the bikes evolved as technologies have increased. The common theme seemed to be finding ways of making the bikes safer and easier for the rider, so that the sport can reach new levels and attract new riders.
Rider’s personal goals for a day in a bike park seem to resemble that of basic survival. I’d like to think that I’ve figured out tricks and tips to help make the most of your day. But it still seems no matter how much training or riding you do prior to a day in the park, your hands will still fail you. Throughout all those years, as certain as taxes, your hands are never ready for the challenge.
For those that may not have experienced a weekend of park riding and think that downhillers are weak, there are a few forces at work to destroy your body. And that’s if you don’t crash! The amount of vertical you can ride in a day is hard to recreate at your local trails and your muscles take awhile to get used to the constant strain. Compound that with the never ending vibration of braking bumps. It seems no matter how well your forks are tuned, most of it transfers directly to your grips. There’s the constant pull of gravity keeping your body’s mass forward, weighting your hands. Finally toss in the “This isn’t the trail I thought it was” Death Grip and your hands are done.
We’ve all been there, your mind is so excited to be riding, the endorphins are flying through your system, but your palms are getting blisters and that little finger on the end just refuses to close. You almost have to peel your hands off the bars at the base and can barely hold the pint glass at lunch. After lunch the thought of your hands touching your handlebar makes you cry a little inside. A great day with great riding, friends and amazing trails, brought to an end by poor hand management.
In the past to help solve this problem you’d learn the trails. Find out the smoothest lines, learn areas where you could relax your hands or even take one off the bar and shake it out. You’d drop your heals to help keep the weight on your pedals and try to avoid that dreaded Death Grip. These little tricks throughout the day could translate into extra laps in the afternoon, delaying your bodies inevitable shut down. Much like how suspension and brake technologies have improved and allowed us to push our riding further, Ergon has found ways to extend our hand’s life and therefore the entire riding experience.
Ergon has spent so much time and effort in creating the most comfortable and supportive grips I’ve ever used. I have average sized hands and thanks to an active lifestyle, they have both suffered tendon, ligament and bone injuries. Over the winter or non-bike park months, I use the GA1-S for all my riding needs. Once the lifts start running I switch over to the GA1-L. I find the extra material around the grip, which gives it the larger diameter, really helps to cushion the small trail vibrations. Those deep lunges during Yoga class you curse kept the legs solid and my Ergon GA1’s keep my hand pain free and strong all day. It was one of the best starts to a season of down hilling I’ve ever had. I’m not a fan of training, so I’ve got to give Ergon a lot of credit for my amazing weekend of riding. For anyone planning a trip to a Bike Park, these grips are a definite must!
Words/Rider: Jonathan Duncan of NORCO
Photos: Cadeyrn Craig
Irina Kalentieva and Wolfram Kurschat get top ten places at the World Cup in Offenburg. Mennen finished 44th, Lakata fought his way up to 63.
The World Cup in Offenburg was once again a race not to be underestimated. Wet and poor conditions during the training days prior to the race, contrasted with all day sunshine and heatstroke risk for the race itself. On race day, more than 20,000 spectators lined the course, pushing every rider to their limit. “It is really impressive. The organisers put together such a great event. I want to thank the spectators. You really feel them willing you on”, Kurschat told us, after the race.
Kurschat was once again showed what his strength is. After the start he found himself in 26th place in a field of 277. The 2nd lap saw his offensive begin. By the third lap he was in 10th position and his push forward still wasn’t over. He moved up to 8th place, and split times around the course put his lap times faster than the riders leading the race. On the seventh and final lap, on the last climb, he lost a place finishing 9th – the highest placed German at their home event.
Kalentieva made no secret of her love for the event. “A World Cup is always special. It means more than most races. Offenburg takes this and enhances it. It is a priority of mine to ride well here.” It was a priority that she took seriously, finishing in 8th overall – not a podium like in the previous two years, but still a sign of strength.
The lead up to the event had left Robert Mennen also unsure of his chances. The previous year he had finished in 80th position after a hard race. This year he had a better start position, had the experience and pulled himself up to 44th. It is worth remembering that this is in a field of 277 riders.
For Alban Lakata the Offenburg race was preparation for the Trans-Germany, which starts in two weeks. That isn’t to say that he didn’t give it his all – a World Cup is a World Cup after all. After the race, Lakata didn’t know what to make of his 63 position. “It was neither one thing, nor the other. I am not happy with the result, but the race didn’t go too badly either.”
Ergon USA just returned from a 1 week trip to Koblenz, Germany….home of Ergon International. The time was spent at the office shooting videos for our website, as well as talking about new products and how to improve the old products. The week was capped off with a trip to Offenburg to take in the Offenburg UCI MTB World Cup! What an AMAZING trip with fantastic people! Below are a selection of photos from the week and weekend.
Designers at work at Ergon.
What a great week! Amazing things are coming from Ergon! Stay tuned to our blog, facebook, and twitter for the latest information.