The Jank Files - Episode 4
There’s something special about being able to race at home. Fortunately for this crew, they get that opportunity every year at the Enduro World Series in Whistler. Jesse, Rémi, and Andréane all live in the Sea to Sky corridor and are proud to race on their home tracks in front of their friends and family. Crankworx is an festival for mountain biking, as it brings riders together from all over the world. For the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, that means their American teammate Peter Ostroski comes up to join the crew and put down some fast times!
From sketchy lunch laps on the North Shore, fancy showrooms, fresh kits, and taking the top spot of the team podium; this is Episode 4 of The Jank Files.
Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore
A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC, RideWrap
Back and forth, forward and back. Mastery on the bike comes from constant repetition. Whether it’s your hundredth time down a trail or you’re about to drop into a new one for the first time, steady, well-rehearsed motions are what will get you through. So, ride fast and send it deep because the Slayer is built for those who charge.
The Jank Files - Episode 3
Rounds 4 and 5 of the Enduro World Series were scheduled back to back this month. With only a few days in between each race, the schedule presented the perfect opportunity to set out on a European road trip. Crossing Italy and ending in France, the hot temperatures, cold gelato, lengthy playlists, and wild bike races were an incredible recipe for spending a few weeks abroad.
From dirt kart racing and glacial river baths to podium finishes and the hospital visits. This isn’t your average Euro trip; this is Episode 3 of The Jank Files.
Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore
A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC
THE SLAYER – Official Trailer release
“In a small mountain town, a new terror haunts in the woods.” Watch the Official Trailer for THE SLAYER – coming August, 2019.
In one small town, trick-or-treating turns to terror. Scott Secco’s THE SLAYER brings a rider’s worst nightmare to life, as they fight to survive against an unstoppable killing machine. The film, from the writer-director, features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the iconic horror films of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Watch it, if you dare.
#TheSlayer #RockyMountain #LovetheRide #OfficialTrailer #Trailer
2019 C.O.R.E. Ambassador Summit
Once a year we take the opportunity to open our doors to our extended Rocky Mountain family, our C.O.R.E. Ambassadors. The program came from the mind of Wade Simmons, who recognized that there were amazing riders representing Rocky Mountain across North America and wanted to officially bring them into the fold.
The acronym, “C.O.R.E.”, stands for Cyclists of Radical Endeavors and refers to a group of Rocky Mountain ambassadors who share a passion for riding, contributing to their communities, and spreading the love for our sport. We have 23 C.O.R.E Ambassadors throughout North America that cover North Carolina to Ontario, California to Squamish, and everything in-between. After extending invites to the entire crew, 13 of them were able to make it for the 3-day riding adventure, starting with a look inside our North Vancouver R&D Centre.
Hosted by six staff members that live and breathe to ride bikes, the weekend kicked off with a tour through our office and machine shop, the breeding grounds for where our engineering dreams become a reality. From theorizing about the future to designing and testing prototypes, it all happens here in our own backyard. Research and development are engrained in Rocky Mountain’s history and being located at the foot of the North Shore has its advantages.
Pedalling from the front door of our office, we headed to Mount Seymour to ride a classic lap down Dale’s Trail to Forever After. Aside from being a great route for the North Shore newcomers, we wanted to show off the trail work that we’d been doing on Forever After. As a part of our contribution to the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), we’ve taken on building and maintaining Forever After through their The Trail Adoption Program.
Wade led the next lap, which was a healthy mix of fast, flowy, and some North Shore jank. He’s the man with the plan and always makes sure every ride is unforgettable. From the top of Mount Seymour right back to the office, the C.O.R.E Ambassadors were treated to a backyard BBQ and cold “Prime Time” beers from Bridge Brewing. An appropriately named beer for the vibe set by Day 1.
Since the North Shore is just the tip of the iceberg for riding in British Columbia, we decided to take our guests up the Sea to Sky corridor to Squamish. A few of the riders were living their best life taking the “Prime Time” mantra to heart but managed to rally together for another day of riding.
Joined by local C.O.R.E. Ambassadors, Greg Day and Dwayne Kress, and our Pacific Northwest Tech Rep, Pat Cox, they set the route to take advantage of all that “Canada’s Outdoor Capital” has to offer. Known for its grippy granite slabs and flowing singletrack, the stark contrast between trail sections caught a few people off-guard. Once everyone understood just how much traction you had on Squamish’ slabs, everyone began to open it up and get a little carried away with the rock roll runouts.
Dropping into 19th hole is like a rite of passage in the Sea to Sky. It’s been a classic shuttle lap for decades and boasts non-stop technical moves from top to bottom. With inspired confidence from our lunchtime pints of cheer, it was a turn and burn situation into the woods. From rowdy fall-line segments to new berm work on Pseudo-Tsuga, everyone’s smiles were a mile wide by the time we were back in town.
After a full day of unbelievable riding, the gravitational draw from the beer cooler was stronger than the desire to clean up and shower. It was great to see how yesterday’s strangers were now friends, and that was just after a few hours of riding. That’s what makes mountain biking special, the culture of forming new relationships all by having fun on two wheels. As the sun set, we were drawn to the dance-floor of Squamish’s one and only night club. People in this town can be a bit too serious about their daytime activities, so tend to skip out on additional hours of beers drinking and dancing – but we aren’t locals in this town.
Maybe next year we’ll call this the “Glutton for Punishment Tour” because Day 3 started with a brutal climb up Debeck’s Hill. The amount of riding over the past few days was taking its toll, but the ambassadors pressed on. One pedal stroke at a time, we climbed up the 15% chunky road approach to Rigs in Zen and more recently built Pleasure Trail.
We took a healthy break at the top to rest our weary legs, refuel with bars and snacks, and prep the guests for a seriously rowdy descent. This is a trail with tight moves and rollovers, and the lines that were the go-to in 2004 are now completely bombed out.
About half way down, there’s a newer trail that’s popped up on the map called Pleasure Trail. Built between granite slabs and navigating down massive cliff faces, at the moment we’d say this is one of Squamish’ best laps! The crew made it to the bottom with all parts intact and still had the strength to high-five and hold a beer.
Back at the hotel, we recounted the amazing moments and were as excited to be done as we had been to begin. The comments from the C.O.R.E. ambassadors on the trails, the areas, and the amazing experience showed us they understand why it’s so important for Rocky Mountain to be located here. They took the memories of the experience home with them and now feel even further engrained in the Rocky Mountain family. That, in the end, is exactly what we wanted to do, and we can’t wait to do again.
Todd “Digger” Fiander and the Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons, are two of the most well-known characters on the North Shore - and for good reason. Digger’s spent his life building trails and features that have influenced riding networks around the world and Wade was right there with him to help make them famous with his skills on a bike. The two have worked side-by-side for over 20 years wandering the woods, sharing laughs on the trail, and filming for Digger’s North Shore Extreme movies.
From all the years of trail building, both of Digger’s knees deteriorated to the point of needing replacement. When it came time for the surgeries, the NSMBA put together a GoFundMe to help make his recovery a little easier and many people in the community came forward to support. Both the surgeries went as planned but his ability to pedal a regular mountain bike just wasn’t there. He hadn’t ridden any the trails he helped build in over 10 years and the future of him as a rider was uncertain.
"Mountain biking on Vancouver's North Shore, or the world for that matter, would not be the same if it wasn't for the trail building vision of Digger. I owe him a lot for helping to kickstart my riding career. I've known the guy for more than 25 years and live just 3 blocks away from him. Hell, I probably see him too much! - Wade Simmons
All joking aside, witnessing Digger’s knees deteriorate over decades of demanding trail work was heartbreaking. It was painful to watch him move through the forest and even worse to watch him lose the ability to do what he loves - building trails. Once his knee surgeries were confirmed, it dawned on me that an eMTB could play to his favour and get him riding the trails again. It had been over 10 years since he'd been able to do so that was it. I had to get him a bike." – Wade Simmons, Godfather of Freeride
Wade saw the surgeries as an opportunity to help out a friend who had given him so much over the years. It was his idea to support Digger with an Altitude Powerplay, because he knew the assistance from the bike’s drive system would help get Digger back riding. Digger’s rehab started with laps up and down Mountain Highway on Mount Fromme, but he soon pushed outside his comfort zone onto many of the singletrack trails he’s helped build.
“Thank you very much to Wade and Rocky Mountain for getting me an Altitude Powerplay. It's helped me to get out and ride every single day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that!” - Digger
If you ride the North Shore regularly you’ve probably come across Digger throwing dirt, cracking jokes, and tuning up the trails. We’re stoked to have him working on the local trails, but if anyone deserves to get out and ride them, it’s him.
A film by Union Production Co.
Featuring: Todd “Digger” Fiander and Wade Simmons
Director: Andy Rogers
D.P. and Editor: Dan Barham
Additional cinematography: Chad Jones
Motion Graphics: Simon Edwards
Executive Producer: Stephen Matthews
The Final Trans-Provence
Story by Peter Ostroski
What makes the Trans-Provence different than all the other stage races? It’s the combination of a massive amount of vertical metres descended, the number of hours in the saddle, countless switchbacks executed, and the camaraderie formed between riders. In my mind, it’s one of the hardest mountain bike events in the world as it tests your physical, mental, and mechanical stamina over six unrelenting days. This year marked the 10th and final year for the Trans-Provence and it finished just as it started – incredibly. This race has always delivered the ultimate adventure for like-minded riders looking to move through the mountains, interpret trails on sight, put down some fast times, and feel a true community vibe.
I was anxious about heading into the Trans-Provence. It’s such a legendary event with a long and documented history. But even though my anxiety was growing it shifted to excitement as soon as I arrived in Barcelonnette, France to kick things off. The schedule was set for the next six days, and although it was daunting the vibe at camp couldn’t have been more relaxed. New riders were introduced, past riders were reunited, and everyone was stoked to get going as we organized our tents and gear.
The Trans-Provence is all about blind racing so when you’re charging down old donkey paths, predictability goes by the wayside and the good choices you make begin to outweigh the risky ones. It’s quite unlike an EWS race that lasts only one day or two. At the Trans-Provence, you’re tasked with managing your own decisions and support to sustain nearly a full week of racing.
We were greeted by unfamiliar but awesome trails day in and day out. As the entire group rode through the Maritime Alps, we navigated everything from high alpine singletrack to technical rocky crags at sea level. The style and flow of each trail changed dramatically, putting even more strain on our bikes, body, and mind. Even though I was completely exhausted, it was the other racers at the Trans-Provence that helped to keep me going in the adventure. Riding with friends, swapping stories, and having coffees in small villages made for an unforgettable journey.
The idea behind the Trans-Provence is simple. You camp in tents and change locations each morning, manage your own gear, keep your bike and body running, and get through each day. It sounds simple enough, but I can assure you it’s far from it as you navigate from valley to valley and cover hundreds of kilometres and descend the height of Mount Everest two and half times.
The Trans-Provence is a race model that’s influenced an entire culture of mountain biking and pushed the limits what’s possible from an event. It truly is an incredible mountain bike adventure.
Words by Felix Burke
Like a relentless metronome and a to-do list that never ends; Work, school, errands, and whatever other tasks I have often make me feel like I’m stuck in a hamster wheel. Yes, these are things that have to be done, but as I get busier in life, I also realize that I need to reserve some time to do what I love - the things that keep the kid in me stoked! No surprise here, I love riding bikes. The feeling of covering ground fast, seeing new places, and going on a spontaneous adventure, means that I can get a much-needed escape from the hamster wheel to nowhere and get lost without starting much further than my front doorstep.
A good start to any adventure is with pizza and maps.
Quinn and I, both students at the University of Victoria and full-time bike racers, do our best to fly by the seat of our pants and battle against conventional schedules and normalcies. But as hard as we try, we still have to hand in assignments and play by the rules. When Scott suggested this rather epic ride, with his experience in balancing a full-time job and going on amazing adventures, it didn't take much convincing to get us on board.
Chain lube and tire pressure, the classic last-minute preparation.
With hundreds of kilometres of trail stretching north of the city, the ride Scott suggested was destined to be filled with wrong turns, epic bonks, and (hopefully) second winds. These are the things we live for! So, despite the heavy grey clouds casting gloomy shadows over Victoria, we loaded the bikes, grabbed some snacks and set out for the hills.
Scott: "I was really excited for the potential of this ride. The idea of leaving the city and getting to a point on a map that I've only driven to was exciting, but I had no idea what it would look like along the way."
If you're going to meet anywhere, it may as well have sumptuous coffee.
The plan was to follow Victoria's intricate network of bike paths to the edge of the city and connect with the Sooke Wilderness Trail to head north. From there we’d meet the "Cowichan Valley Trail" to bring us further north to the shores of Shawnigan Lake. Once at our turnaround point, the Kinsol Trestle, we would head to the coast and board a small ferry to bring us across the Saanich Inlet to Brentwood Bay. From there we would cruise the country roads back into town and re-enter our normal day to day with a healthy fill of exciting memories after 140km of southern Vancouver Island's finest riding.
...but we all know what caffeine intake leads to.
With cold temperatures, wind and rain, the weather wasn’t overly inspiring. But while most of the city chose to spend the day huddled in their blankets, we followed Victoria's bike path labyrinth while weaving in out of neighbourhoods and along industrial parks until we got to the edge of the city.
Quinn: "It was raining hard enough that I think it had all of us second guessing what we were heading out to do, but no one was ready to admit it. We rode through downtown and onto the ‘E and N rail-trail’ which is home to some of my favourite graffiti."
A little respite from the rain on our way out of the city.
As we left the city, the world got greener and we began to feel smaller. The roads narrowed, the houses became sparse, and sooner than we expected it was just us, the trail, and the torrential rain.
Into the hills we ride
This first section of the Sooke Wilderness Trail had all of our adventure taste-buds firing. This ribbon of fine gravel took us through a sea of green and a tall trees until we were faced with the trail pointing its way directly uphill, disappearing into the fog far above us.
Follow the trail, deep into a world of giants
The climb over the top of the Malahat summit was steep and unforgiving. In some sections we had to fight for every metre, grinding the chain over the chainrings and pushing hard on the pedals. It was here where our thoughts went blank and our focus narrowed on heavy breathing and our immense discomfort. The sweet escape.
The summit was a relief, and with the climb behind us and a descent to look forward to, the three of us laughed at the ridiculousness of our situation and edged forward. Maybe part of it was that we were three mountain bikers on gravel bikes and felt a little silly, but I think the majority of it was that we were too tired to think properly. All that was in our minds is that it was time to shred down instead of suffering up.
There is only one way to get through the mountains, and that is to grind.
Scott: "I was surprised with how dialled a lot of the Sooke Wilderness Trail and Cowichan Valley trail were. Each section was a bit different, and fun to ride for what it brought to the variety of the ride. Riding the downhills were surprisingly fun in a 1980's mountain bike kind of way - haha!"
Quinn: "The descent into Shawnigan was really rad as we were all seeing how sideways we could get on the gravel switch backs!"
Gravel bike shredding. It's real and it's rad!
What’s the optimal granular size for gravel? The answer is whatever we were riding here.
The descent from the Malahat brought us into the Cowichan Valley, where we welcomed the flatter terrain, using it to our advantage to cover distance quickly. We rode through a tunnel of trees and along the banks of Shawnigan Lake until we reached our furthest point from home, the Kinsol Trestle. Built in 1944, it is one of the tallest railway trestles in the world at 44m high. A worthy objective for the day's mission.
The Kinsol Trestle was the northernmost point of our route.
Leaving the Kinsol Trestle behind, we turned on a forestry road named “Koksilah Road”, a name that made the three of us chuckle in our bonked-state. The plan was fuel up on the in-house roasted coffee and pastries at the Drumroaster Cafe in Cobble Hill, as we were soaked to the bone with dwindling spirits.
Quinn: "For the thirty or so minutes before the Drumroaster stop I was really wishing we were there already. I was getting in serious need of a sandwich and coffee, and to be honest, a break!"
Through a tunnel of trees on the Cowichan Valley trail
We’d been battered by the rain since the beginning and the humidity was now working its way into my camera lens. As we left the café in Cobble Hill, I’d worried I had done some permanent damage to the lens but knew I couldn’t do anything about it until we got back. At this point, I wasn’t even sure that we were making it home in one piece.
The warm drinks and food at Drumroaster Café were well deserved and did their part in bringing us back to life (kind of). As we sat there watching the rain from the inside out, it finally came time to ride and all that lay ahead was pedalling into the downpour.
Quinn: "When it was time to get going again, we walked outside to some serious rain. It was not the moral boost I was looking for."
Scott: " Walking out the door of the coffee shop to hammering rain was not how I wanted to take on the rest of the day. We settled into the wetness and I opened my eyes to the details that make this area so special. The colours, the unique farmhouses and farm animals, all which seemed totally unfazed by the weather"
"It was pretty cool to have the horses let us pet them, and then one nibbled on my facial hair. Weird, but I'll take it.” - Self-proclaimed horse whisperer, Scott Pilecki.
From the café in Cobble Hill, the plan was to ride to Mill Bay and catch a ferry across the inlet, rather than riding back over the Malahat pass. However, after a long day of battling the elements that had left us exhausted, we missed a crucial turn and wound up lost.
Scott: "We checked the map again and realized the mess we were in. Shit! It was about 5:30pm, raining, and if we wanted to go to Mill Bay to complete our route there was a chance we’d miss the last sailing. It was too big of a gamble, so with fading light we made the call to put our heads down and head up the Malahat.”
The Cowichan valley is a full of twisty roads surrounded by unique scenery
The descent back down the Malahat, a notoriously dangerous section of the Trans-Canada highway on Vancouver Island, was made especially sketchy by the rain and the fleeting light. Hyper aware of the roadside debris and unpredictable driving from cars to our left, our eyes were wide behind our glasses but our lips were closed tight. It was intense, and as soon as we’d made it down the pass we collectively agreed that now was the time, if any, to have a drink. Luckily for us, Quinn had been carrying 4 Hey Y'alls, a B.C. hard iced tea drink, in his pack for the entire ride. He was just waiting for the right moment to share them with us, and this was it.
Quinn: "Before the ride I thought it would be fun to shotgun some Hey Y’alls when the moment was right. I threw a few in my pack before we left and, after surviving the Malahat, I knew this was it. A quick shotgun, made possible by the OneUp EDC tool, and it was time to make the push for the final 15km home."
With a little bit of liquid courage flowing through our veins we pedalled the last 15km together, swapping stories from the day, laughing at what had happened. They were the kind of laughs where you don’t even know if it’s funny, but you’re so tired that it’s all you can do. The laughter kept the discomfort in our heavy legs away, and as we rolled by the familiar landmarks and usual scenery, it was obvious that nothing had really changed here, but for us everything was different. In just 12 hours, we’d had more new experiences than a week of what running the hamster wheel can offer. We’d climbed mountains, defied the weather, and overcame stressful situations. Scott even had his facial hair munched on by a horse!
To us, rolling through familiar neighbourhoods was a welcomed return to our normal day to day. The ride we’d accomplished had left its mark and was exactly what we all needed. Today’s the perfect example of why bikes are the ultimate tool for the modern adventure.
Scott herds the Rocky Mountain athletes. He is a connoisseur of most things fine and is a black hole of conversation. Scott was riding a large Rocky Mountain Solo flaunting a Topo Design handlebar bag and conveniently carrying his OneUp Components 100cc pump and tool. The rain and cold were no match for Scott's Revelation jacket and merino wool Desperado Henley jersey.
Quinn is a hardman of bike racing, a lover of Whole Foods and tequila, and a proudly known as “The Dog Whisperer”. Quinn's Solo was equipped with OneUp Components EDC tool and pump, and he chose to run Maxxis Ravagers 650b rather than a more standard 700c wheel. His insulating 7mesh mission jersey, Oro shell, and thick skin kept him warm the entire ride.
A sushi-holic with roots in both BC and Quebec, Felix is a strange animal with XC fitness and DH prowess. Felix's used his dropper post equipped Solo to get as sideways as possible on the gravel corners and kept the grit out of his bum with some 7mesh MK3 bibs and Farside shorts. He stayed warm thanks to his Corsa jacket and Cypress vest.
Return to Riva
Since 1994, the Bike Festival in Riva del Garda has served as the unofficial kick-off to the European riding season. Over the last 25 years, the festival in early May has been a welcome excuse to bring riders together to catch up over an espresso, ride their bikes, and learn what’s new in mountain biking after the long and cold winters in the Alps. Rocky Mountain has been a part of the festival since the first year and is proud to be celebrating the legacy of epic rides and good times.
What started as a tiny festival with only 20 brands present has grown into a major event with a worldwide presence. Our distributor, Bike Action, set up shop at the festival back in 1994 with a small tent, a couple of chairs, and a fully stocked fridge of beer and wine. At that time, the Bike Festival was our first chance to show off our Canadian frames in Europe, including the radically designed Wedge, the Stratos, and an all-new steel Altitude.
Over the years, the event grew from its humble beginnings to include more than 150 exhibitors, nearly 50,000 visitors from countries around the world, and a lineup of 2500 racers for the Rocky Mountain Marathon XC race. In particular, the Rocky Mountain Marathon has been our pride and joy over the last 8 years, helping to push the limits and lungs of xc racers early in the season.
From the original appearances of the Froriders and the European premiere of Kranked – Live to Ride in 1998, to having Wade Simmons come back again year after year to ride Riva’s aggressive trails, the Bike Festival has always had a strong freeride presence. In the spirit of pushing the limits of mountain biking, Wade is back again this year but this time he’s riding there over 3 days on his Altitude Powerplay. Once he arrives, you can join him for a daily ride at 1pm on Saturday and on Sunday. Or, if you’d rather learn about fixing your bike on the trail, Julia Hofmann is around giving mechanic clinics every day at 4pm. As always, there’s plenty to do an see in the pits of the Festival.
“The thing about Riva is the riding there is hard. It’s rocky, it’s steep, and going down is as hard as going up! I’ve been to the Bike Festival so many times and when people ask me about the riding there I always say, ‘Good riders love Riva, because Riva is gnarly!’” – Wade Simmons.
Riva del Garda sits along the northern shores of Lake Garda in Italy, and its picturesque patios are renowned as the perfect place to unwind after a demanding, yet amazing ride. This mountain biking destination has incredible views of the Southern Alps and is filled with both beginner and advanced-level trails. Anyone who is interested in exploring this area would benefit from checking out Bike Festival where participants can demo a bike and join a guided ride. Or they can spectate and enjoy the many shows and competitions available.
Whatever the motivation for attending the Bike Festival in Riva del Garda we’re sure that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Whether it’s freeride legends, marathon racing, or eMTB adventures, at the Bike Festival in Riva it’s all about having a good time!
The Jank Files - Episode 1
Long flights, technical tracks, and practicing all week in the sunshine only to end up racing in the rain. The best way to describe enduro other than flat-out demanding is to have a laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and call a spade a spade. It’s janky. It's nearly impossible to find your flow between travel, practice, and race day, but when you do and it all starts to click into place, it becomes one of the most rewarding ways to ride a bike.
This is the second year for the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, with Jesse Melamed, Rémi Gauvin, and Andréanne Lanthier Nadeau lining up to race a full EWS season. Gaining momentum from last year, they’ve become experts in navigating the jank and have officially hit their flow with a strong start to the 2019 season.
From deep ruts and jungle vines to backyard skateboard sessions and race pit DJ’ing, this is Episode 1 of The Jank Files.
Presented by Maxxis
Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore
A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC