Altitude

Feature

Gullyver's Travels: Episode One

January 13, 2017
Words by Geoff Gulevich
Video by Damien Vergez

I've crisscrossed the globe as a competitor for many years, but I rarely ventured beyond the mountain resorts that contests are held in. As I get older, I've started pushing to escape the industry bubble and get off the beaten path more. The premise behind Gullyver's Travels is to motivate everyone to step outside of their comfort zone and explore new places. 

Episode One takes place in the French Alps and features long time friend and Rocky Mountain teammate, Tito Tomasi. A world traveller who also happens to be a phenomenal mountain biker, Tito has ridden some of the most remote places on earth. His personal motto is vive la vie, and we intended to do just that.

Our mission began in the village of Abriès. We pedalled as long as we could, before the grade forced us to dismount and carry our bikes. We reached the Malrif Lakes, which sit at about 8,000 feet, and set up camp for the evening. Just before the sun dropped we got a fire going and filled our stomachs with beer, bread, meat, and cheese—we were in France after all.
 
 
 

The next morning, an early rise followed by four hours of carrying our bikes on our back was all made worth it when we arrived at the snow-covered summit of Grand Glaiza. After enjoying the spectacular views, we pointed our bikes down the 10,800 foot descent that lay in front of us.

Once back in town, Tito and I parted ways. He was off on another adventure and I was off to Bike Park Chatel for some big rig rippin'. It's no wonder why the Bike Park Chatel locals are all shredders, the park is filled with trails that have great flow and a number of sizeable features. 

After two days of racking up vertical, it was time to head home. A big thank you goes out to Tito for being an amazing tour guide, and to Bike Park Chatel. Their hospitality is always second to none.

Until next time, see you on the trail!

— Gully

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News

Mountains as Far as the Eye Can See

July 20, 2016

Mountains, mountains, mountains. As far as the eye can see. We are definitely in the Alps…

Words by Remi Gauvin, photos by Matt Wragg

La Thuile 2016 will go down as the most descending in 4 days I have done to date. In those days we descended 15,000m, wore through brake pads, and made a short career of tires. We also had a lot of fun.

La Thuile is on the French-Italian border near the famous mountaineering towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur. Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, loomed over most of the stages throughout the weekend, but the weather played nice.

Stages were almost all accessed by lift with the exception of stage one. This meant that while our legs were fresh at the start of each stage, the long steep runs were punishing on the rest of our bodies. Riders were complaining that their arms were dead by the end of each run. All stages were physical in their own way and each one had a solid dose of climbing. The energy we saved on the transfers was more than spent on the stages.

Stage 1 started across the valley from the ski resort, and was the one stage without chairlift access. We climbed Col San Carlo and then up into the alpine, 900 meters above La Thuile. The stage started with some typical tight European switchbacks before passing through grass fields and dropping into the woods below. Alex Cure and Andreane both finished 4th on this stage.

For Stage 2 we headed back to the lift and made our ascent to the start. This stage started in the alpine, flagged though rough rocks and gorse bushes, only burned in by the countless riders who were sent to ride through it. Next we cut through a farmers cattle field—in practice we'd encountered a herd of stubborn cattle here, and they could not give a damn if there was a bike race happening where they wanted to graze. Then, finally ending on an old access road that zig-zagged across the bottom of the hill. Andreane finished a career best 2nd place on this stage and Florian took 3rd in the men’s field.

Stage 3 was one of the fastest stages of the weekend, but also one of the longest, with a brutal climb at the bottom. Fast rock faces and high speed corners in the alpine, twisty woods in the middle, followed by some of the best steeps of the race. Just when you thought it might be all over the course turned a sharp right and sent us onto a gravel road pointing right back up the hill. During the race the crowds screamed at you to pedal, while your legs screamed at you to stop. Stage 3 one of the best of the weekend, but it was also one of the worst of the weekend.

A night off to reflect on the days racing went by quickly. Soon we were back on the top of the mountain about to drop into Stage 4—one of the longest and most physical stages of the race. It seemed that it was always just slightly flatter than you wanted.  A gravel road climb in the middle of the stage had me seeing red into the next section, and hanging on by a thread by the end of the stage. Andreane showed her fitness once again and backed up her first day with another 2nd place.

Stage 5, although not extremely physical, was very technical. Steep off camber sections meant that you had to be precise and patient in during the stage in order to shine. 

The final stage of the weekend stage had a mixture of the highlights of every stage of the race. Tight switch backs, technical off cambers, steep chutes and a solid climb in the middle of the stage. The bottom was lined with spectators as you entered the finish area. It was a great stage to finish the weekend on.

Florian Nicolaï said that although he was happy with his 5th place result, he didn’t perform his best in a few of the stages and it cost him. Nevertheless, his consistant performance bumped him up into 3rd place in the Overall category.

Jesse also felt that his 13th didn’t reflect his pace this weekend and a few mistakes on Stage 5 knocked him back in the overall. After injury troubles the last few rounds, it's great to see him smashing stages again.

Andreane was of course over the moon with her result. 3rd place in her first real race of the season!

Once again the team as a whole performed spectacularly. We were the number one team on the weekend and added 100 points to extend our lead in the Team Overall. Andreane finished a career-best 3rd, while Florian finished 5th in the men’s. Alex finished 11th, Jesse 13th and I finished 23rd. Seb also took 2nd place in U21, keeping pace in his season-long battle with Adrien Dailly.

Next stop, Aspen!

— Remi Gauvin

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Media Review

Thunderbolt & Altitude Lauded at the Bible of Bike Tests

January 27, 2016

We're honoured to have two bikes selected to be in Bike Magazine's 2016 Bible of Bike Tests. Both the Altitude 770 MSL and the Thunderbolt 799 MSL were lauded by testers, and we're proud of how they stack up against the competition.

Altitude 770 MSL

"Compared to some of the other all-mountain bikes, it felt downright ethereal. This was refreshing and liberating when it came time to hump uphill, and the Altitude has the steep seat angle and clean suspension kinematics to hustle upward with an ease that will endear it to XC racers and all-day climbers alike. The absence of heft and sense of balance persisted when pointed downhill too, making for a nimble ride aided by neutral handling and an effective, supple suspension."

Full Round Table video, review, and Q&A here.

 

Thunderbolt 799 MSL

We've been blown away by all the ladies ripping it up on the Thunderbolt, so for this year's Bible of Bike Tests we floated the idea of their women's bike testers evaluating it. We had them try the top-of-the-line 799 MSL model just to be cheeky, but don't worry: we make Thunderbolts across most price points.

"It “climbs like a cheetah on speed,” wrote one tester, while another noted: “This bike is built to go fast." (...) The XC-trail nature of the Thunderbolt was a perfect match for the Kingdom Trails network, which largely consists of buttery-smooth dirt ribbons twisting through tight trees, with an occasional root section mix in, and short, punchy climbs and descents. The 27.5-inch wheels, 16.6-inch chainstays and 44-inch wheelbase (size medium) no doubt aided in the Thunderbolt’s exceptional maneuverability through the forest mazes, and its rocket-like acceleration points to its astounding 25.5-pound weight. Testers also remarked that the bike descended with more authority than expected, with its 120 millimeters of rear travel feeling deeper than the number purports."

Full Round Table video, review, and Q&A here.

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Rally Team Overall Podium

October 06, 2014

After seven rounds of incredible racing we're massively proud of our young Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team for taking 2nd in the Team category of the Enduro World Series. 

The last round in Finale Ligure was super rocky, with striking mediterranean views everywhere. The team held it together to finish the season strong!

 

Thanks to Florian Nicolaï, Alexandre Cure, Jesse Melamed, and Isabeau Courdurier for absolutely smashing it this year, as well as Lilian, Nico, Peter, Maurian, Jordan, and everyone else who was part of this effort. Huge thanks especially to Fred Glo, as well as Chris Ball for a great season of racing.

The team could not have done this without the steadfast support of its sponsors. Thanks to:

Urge Bike Products, Shimano, Maxxis, Stan's NoTubes, Fox Racing Shox, Raceface, Royal Racing, 7 IDP, WTB, Smith Optics, Cane Creek, e13, Honey Stinger, Kicking Horse, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos.

Photos by Matt Wragg, whose images have kept us in awe of enduro racing all year.

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Feature

Altitude Sickness — Highs & Lows at EWS #5: Winter Park, Colorado

August 06, 2014

Photography by Matt Wragg. Words by Isabeau Courdurier.

After a season opener in Chile and several races in Europe, the Enduro World Series traveled to the North American continent. At over 10 000 feet of elevation in Winter Park, Colorado, this race promised to be one of the most physically challenging races of the season. Having endured nearly 36 hours of travel hell, the Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team got back together in Denver, but without bikes. Three days before a race, that’s cutting it a little too close for comfort, and the Denver airport had several very pissed off Frenchies in it.

Once in Winter Park, we met the rest of the team: Peter from Alaska, Jordan from Whistler, and Francesco from Chile. Eventually our bikes arrived.

Friday

Warming up normally gives you an idea of how painful a race is going to be, and I was already worried for Stage 1. This flat stage was a massacre for me! The rest of the guys struggled as well, with only Flo and Jesse ranking in the top 30.

On the more technical Stage 2 we made up some time, but at the end of the day our results were still disappointing: Flo in 16th, Jesse in 21st, and Alex and Peter both needing to push harder to break into the top 50.

Saturday

Stage 3 began with a steeper, rocky section that suited me quite well, but it was followed by a long, flat, pedal section where I struggled to maintain the gains I had made. Stage 4 was very short, with no climbs, and I earned my first stage podium of the season - 3rd!

It’s hard to breathe at this altitude, and the terrain is very different from what we are used to racing. While Jesse had a solid day—9th, 14th, and 6th—, both Flo and Alex struggled to maintain their form.

By Stage 5, we were all exhausted. Alex crashed because he “saw two trees when there was only one,” and I slipped back to 7th place on the stage. Despite this, we improved our results as a team today, the toughest day of the race.

Sunday

Stage 6 was a controversial one for racers. Lots of us felt that the flat, smooth, XC course at 10 000 feet was not up to the standard that has been set by the many excellent EWS stages this year. Already out of my element, I missed some tape and ended up going off-course, costing me even more time on this stage. Everyone else was able to push through and maintain their positions.

Finally, the 7th and final stage of the weekend was on Trestle Downhill—by far the most technical and aggressive stage of the weekend! Definitely the best way to end the race. We all have solid runs, with Flo taking 6th, Jesse 10th, Alex 18th, and Jordan 30th. I was really happy with my 7th place on the stage.

After a brutal weekend, our Canadian Jesse was the fastest on the team here with a well-deserved 15th place overall. Going forward it’s clear that our young team needs to strengthen itself to threaten the podium when the races are physical, especially at altitude. We are also gaining experience of how to manage energy and maximize time gains.

Next, we visit Jesse’s hometown of Whistler to enjoy some of the best riding in the world. These two weeks there are going to be full of adventures and fun times, and we’re all looking forward to the Crankworx stop of the Enduro World Series!

--

The team rides the Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL Rally Edition, with Shimano components and footwear, Maxxis tires, Stan's NoTubes wheels, Fox premium suspension, and Raceface cockpits. The team wears Urge bp Archi Enduro and Endur-O-Matic helmets, and is also supported by the following key sponsors: Royal Racing Clothing, 7 IDP Protection, WTB Saddles, Smith Optics, Cane Creek headsets, e13 chainguides, Honey Stinger energy gels, Kicking Horse coffee, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos ski resort.

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News

Rally Team Heats Up in Chile

April 21, 2014

First Enduro World Series race, first podium for our new Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team!

The team traveled to Chile for the first EWS of the season with optimism. Our French riders Florian Nicolai, Isabeau Courdurier, and Alex Cure were joined by Canadian Jesse Melamed to battle it out with the world's best on Chilean soil. After two days of racing on some of the most unique and beautiful trails we've ever seen, Florian put down a blistering last stage to pass Martin Maes for 3rd place in the Overall category behind Jerome Clementz and Jared Graves!

The final results for the team were:

  • Florian Nicolai — 3rd Overall
  • Isabeau Courdurier — 5th Overall
  • Alex Cure — 7th Overall
  • Jesse Melamed — 30th Overall (coming back strong after several crashes!)

The team was aboard the Rocky Mountain Altitude 770 MSL Rally Edition, with Shimano components and footwear, Maxxis tires, Stan's NoTubes wheels, Fox premium suspension, and Raceface cockpits. The team wore the Urge bp Archi Enduro and Endur-O-Matic helmets. The team is also supported by the following key sponsors: Royal Racing Clothing, 7 IDP Protection, WTB Saddles, Smith Optics, Cane Creek headsets, e13 chainguides, Honey Stinger energy gels, Kicking Horse coffee, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos ski resort.

Congrats to all involved and we'll see you in Scotland for Round 2 of the Enduro World Series.

Photos by Matt Wragg.

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Rocky Mountain – Urge bp Rally Team

February 03, 2014

Rocky Mountain Bicycles has joined forces with Urge Bike Products to launch the ROCKY MOUNTAIN – URGE bp RALLY TEAM, a dedicated Enduro World Series race team for 2014. This new team of 4 riders is grounded in the successes of both URGE bp and Rocky Mountain's previous Enduro team efforts at the French, North American, and Enduro World Series levels.

  • Florian Nicolai (Age: 20) — 13th overall in the 2013 EWS, 3rd overall in the 2013 Enduro Series French Cup
  • Jesse Melamed (Age: 21) — 6th at the 2013 Whistler EWS
  • Alex Cure (Age: 20) — 19th overall in the 2013 EWS, and winner of the first ever EWS stage (Punta Ala, IT)
  • Isabeau Courdurier (Age:19) — 2013 Enduro Series French Cup Winner, and 4th women at the 2013 Val d'Isère EWS

The team will be aboard the Rocky Mountain Altitude 770 MSL Rally Edition, with Shimano components and footwear, Maxxis tires, Stan's NoTubes wheels, Fox premium suspension, and Raceface cockpits. The team will wear the Urge bp Archi Enduro and Endur-O-Matic helmets. The team is also supported by the following key sponsors:

Royal Racing Clothing, 7 IDP Protection, WTB Saddles, Smith Optics, Cane Creek headsets, e13 chainguides, Honey Stinger energy gels, Kicking Horse coffee, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos ski resort.

We are also excited to announce a Development Program under the ROCKY MOUNTAIN – URGE bp RALLY TEAM program, helping grow the future of Enduro racing. This program is aimed at North American and European Enduro riders looking to get to the EWS level of racing. Development riders will be racing their local enduro events, with a chance to get additional race experience at various EWS events throughout the year. Maurian Marnay (FR) and Antonin Gourgin (FR), among others, will be part of the 2014 Development Program.

Tags: Enduro, Altitude, ews

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Media Review

Altitude Rally Edition Wins "Race Ready" Award from Enduro Magazine

October 04, 2013

With equipment we would trust to succeed in any enduro race, [the Altitude 770 MSL] creates an advantage due to technology — true to the motto "I am faster than you."Enduro Mountainbike Magazine

Read the full review here.

Check out our Altitude Rally Edition bikes here.

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News

New Altitude Rally Edition Bikes

July 11, 2013

A race-ready enduro bike.

Straight out of the box, Altitude Rally Edition bikes are ready for any Enduro start-gate. Featuring premium race-tuned suspension, DH width bars, 1x10 drivetrains, and burlier wheels, our Rally Edition bikes are ready to put power down between the tape and smash berm after berm.

Altitude 770 MSL

Rally Edition

  • SMOOTHWALL™ Carbon Front Triangle / FORM™ 7005 Series Custom Hydroformed Rear Triangle / ABC™ Pivots / Tapered Head Tube / Press Fit BB / Internal Cable Routing / ISCG05 Tabs / RIDE-9™ Adjustable Geometry + Suspension Rate
  • 66.2° - 67.8° headtube angle
  • Full-width bars provide a more aggressive cockpit for increased control
  • Wider rims provide a bigger footprint, with more rubber on the trail and more wheel stiffness for confident cornering
  • 160mm Fox 34 Float Kashima FIT CTD fork
  • Custom tuned Fox Float X Kashima CTD shock
  • Avid Elixir 9 Trail hydraulic disc brakes provide more power and modulation
  • E-Thirteen TRS+ Chainguide and SRAM X9 1x10 drivetrain is ready for charging out of start-gates
  • 142mm E-Thru rear axle increases stiffness
  • Internal cable routing keeps cables neatly stowed, with service-friendly ports
  • Internal “Stealth” dropper-post routing tucks the housing inside the frame for minimal clutter
  • BB92 pressfit bottom bracket provides maximum lateral stiffness

Altitude 750

Rally Edition

  • FORM™ 7005 Series Custom Hydroformed Frame / ABC™ Pivots / Tapered Head Tube / Press Fit BB / Internal Cable Routing / ISCG05 Tabs / RIDE-9™ Adjustable Geometry + Suspension Rate
  • 66.2° - 67.8° headtube angle
  • Full-width bars provide a more aggressive cockpit for increased control
  • Wider rims provide a bigger footprint, with more rubber on the trail and more wheel stiffness for confident cornering
  • 160mm X Fusion Sweep RL2 Air fork
  • Custom tuned X Fusion 02 RL Remote shock
  • Avid Elixir 7 Trail hydraulic disc brakes provide more power and modulation
  • E-Thirteen LG1 Chainguide and SRAM X7 1x10 drivetrain is ready for charging out of start-gates
  • 142mm E-Thru rear axle increases stiffness
  • Internal cable routing keeps cables neatly stowed, with service-friendly ports
  • BB92 pressfit bottom bracket provides maximum lateral stiffness
 

 

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Feature

Fourtitude

July 03, 2013

Rocky Mountain's riders are a diverse bunch, and we take pride in that. Our Altitude platform is equally diverse, so with this Fourtitude video we set out to explore what four very different riders could bring to the Altitude 790 MSL.

Wade Simmons, Andreas Hestler, Thomas Vanderham and Geoff Gulevich all ride the 5.18 lb Altitude 790 MSL frame in the video. The Ride-9 system allows them to set their geometry and suspension rates up in a variety of ways. Wade runs it slackest; Thomas runs it in slacker & progressive (forward & down, aka "Vanderham Mode"); both Dre & Gully run the bike neutral & progressive (furthest down).

Wade wanted to showcase the kind of "steep & deep" technical riding that he enjoys on a daily basis. These natural steeps lurk on Vancouver's North Shore, but rarely see bikes that aren't full travel downhill rigs. We're pretty sure The Godfather would be stylish on an old 10-speed too, but it's always humbling to see him bring flow to the burliest lines.

Andreas "Dre" Hestler is an Olympian and has plenty of experience racing TransAlp and Enduro events, so it's no surprise that he coaxes blistering speed out of the Altitude. For Fourtitude he took it to Squamish, where he gunned for some Personal Bests on one of the nicest trail networks around.

Thomas Vanderham likes to take each new bike to Kamloops - a landscape he knows and loves, and the Altitude was no exception. For its maiden voyage he took it out for some true trail blasting, from corner slashing to his patented whips.

Geoff Gulevich is better known for his slopestyle riding, but he was excited to bring his playful approach to the Altitude. He decided to shoot his section on a short road trip through Oregon, where he had a few tricks up his sleeve.

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