40th anniversary

40th Anniversary

Celebrating 40 years

July 27, 2021

In 1981, three friends decided to start building their own mountain bikes to handle off-road riding around Vancouver. Forty years later, a lot has changed, but the big things haven’t—a lifelong obsession with bikes, and an unrelenting desire to design and build the best mountain bikes possible.

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the stories, riders, friends, adventures, failures, successes, places, and bikes that brought us from way-back-when to now. As we look back, we’ll also share where we’re going. Because from unexplored trails, to design breakthroughs, to the next generation of riders—there’s so much to look forward to.

Join us in looking back on the stories that make up forty years of bikes. It’s been an unforgettable ride, and it’s only going to get better from here.

 
Join us in our 40th Anniversary celebration. Send in photos of your favourite bike you’ve owned from Rocky Mountain and the stories behind them! We’re excited to share some of the stories we collect on Facebook and Instagram, as well as feature some on bikes.com. #RM40years #lovetheride
 
Partgez votre vélo
The Cultural Hubs - Owenhouse Cycling
Sweat the details - My Altitude's new clothes
Sweat the details - Roy's 2005 RMX Canuck Edition      Sweat the details - Dan's 1996 Altitude
The Cultural Hubs - Cycle SolutionsThe Cultural Hubs - Over The Edge Fruita
The Cultural Hubs Squire John's and Fly Gurlz      The time I rode 200 miles in Nepal
That time when - That time when my brother and I rode the dry Spanish desert to the lush mountains of Andalusia.
That time when... we got Riga'd trying to find Tenquille Lake      Sweat the details - Alex Volokhov's 2007 Switch 2.0
That time when - A childhood dream came true
That time when... Dave bought his first Rocky Mountain      Sweat the details - Vaea Verbeeck's 2018 Altitude
That time when - Wade won RampageThat time when the adventure took us to Norway      Sweat the details - Carson's 2018 MaidenThat time when we designed a bike from nostalgia
Previous 40th Anniversary Mentorship The progression in mountain biking has been remarkable, particularly when you look to the younger riders in our sport. Every year there are more and more up-and-comers who’ve been able to unlock a skillset that many of us are still working to understand, let alone replicate out there on the trail.
Next 40th Anniversary The 150 Year Old Rocky Mountain Dealer (Wait, what?) There aren’t many bike shops anywhere that can claim a longer history than Owenhouse Cycling in Bozeman, Montana. Because over a century and a half ago.
40th Anniversary

The 150 Year Old Rocky Mountain Dealer (Wait, what?)

July 22, 2021
There aren’t many bike shops anywhere that can claim a longer history than Owenhouse Cycling in Bozeman, Montana. Because over a century and a half ago, Owenhouse was an old timey general store that, to be honest, we’ve only ever seen in westerns. Selling saddles (for horses, not bikes). Farm stuff. Tractors. Big bags of sugar and grains (We made that part up, but probably!). Of course, way back in 1879, bicycles were a pretty hot new fangled tech. So, Owenhouse Hardware Co. sold those, too.
 
 
“We started selling bikes back in the late 1800s,” says Eric, the fourth generation in his family to run the shop. “That’s just where you bought bikes then. Over the years it’s grown from a little segment of our business into a full fledged bike shop.”
 
 
Despite Owenhouse not opening a full-fledged bike shop until the 90s, Eric grew up with a work experience that any current or former bike shop employee will know all too well.
 
“I was really young, 13 or 14. Breaking down cardboard, taking out garbage, sweeping floors.” The not-so-typical side of the story is how Eric ended up taking over the family business as his responsibilities grew. At the same time, Bozeman—a popular but still “secret gem” of an outdoor destination—was changing, too. “Bozeman’s always been changing. The outdoors has always been a part of Bozeman from the ski side, but more and more people were heading here for the riding.”
 
 
Bike shops weren’t new territory for Bozeman at that point. But the bike thing was working for Owenhouse. Sales were good. People were buying them. They had good brands on their side (Owenhouse picked up Rocky Mountain in the 1990s). So rather than wait for someone else to really blow up the space, Eric made the call to focus that 150 year old store way more on bikes. And if you’ve read any other articles in this series of shop features, you’ll recognize a trend that Eric picked up on: grow the community. So, Eric started a local cycling team.
 
 
“We realized there was a real need in Bozeman for a youth program. So we had this grassroots effort to become part of the bicycling community. From that came Bozeman Youth Cycling.”
 
Going into its fifth year, the program has seen massive growth. BYC now has 400 riders between its Youth and NICA program starting out as early as Grade 1 and through to high school.
 
“We love seeing whole families get involved. It starts with the kids, then some parents get going too, trying to stay ahead of their Grade five or Grade six kid.”
 
 
Change might be constant in Bozeman, but in Eric’s mind, that’s no bad thing. As the BYC program grows, as parents get into it, and as emerging riders learn solid foundations in trail etiquette and building, the vibe is infectious. Non-riders and a growing demographic of new riders have picked up on the vibe, and frequently pop their head into Owenhouse—talking about the positive experiences they’ve had with BYC members on a personal and community level. If you’ve ever visited Bozeman, it checks out. It might be one of the friendliest places in the world, and that quality has not been lost in translation.
 
150 years is a long time. No doubt, when Owenhouse transitioned to focus more on bikes instead of hardware store stuff, some folks were left disappointed (even though Owenhouse, to this day, still operates as a hardware store in addition to bike shop). And that makes sense. Change is complicated. But when done right, change can also create exciting, new, incredible things. In Eric and Owenhouse’s case, that’s manifested itself as a growing, friendly, excited community of riders, trial builders, parents, kids, and shop workers. And with miles and miles of fast, long, flowy trails in every direction (not to mention some stellar road riding), the future of bikes is bright in Bozeman—in large part thanks to one shop’s 150 story.
 
Previous 40th Anniversary Celebrating 40 years We’re looking back on 40 years of good people and good bikes. Join us.
Next Feature The Jank Files - Season 3 Episode 2 The Rocky Mountain Race Face Team was back in La Thuile, Italy to test out the infamous steep and gnarly tracks that descend below treeline. With another week of back-to-back racing, Jesse Melamed, Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, and Rémi Gauvin’s days were packed full of gnarly rock gardens, unforgiving terrain, and the occasional Michelin Star dinne
40th Anniversary

My Altitude's new clothes

June 23, 2021
We launched the new Altitude back in September 2020 - but I’ve been lucky enough to have been riding this bike since last April. My name is Stephen Matthews and I’m the Brand Manager for Rocky Mountain. I look after our content, athletes, and in general, play a role in how our brand shows up in the world. I’ve also been lucky enough to help out our R&D team by logging trail time on pre-production frames and supplying my feedback.
 
When I first built up my Altitude, I knew it would become the go-to bike in my stable, and after 13 months (and 3 very different looks), I can comfortably say that’s true.
 

Canadian Camo

Stephen Matthews Altitude - Canadian Camo
 
When we first built up the new Altitude frame’s, I knew that our enduro team, The Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, was keen to take these bikes to the world’s stage before we were ready to launch to the public. We partnered with RideWrap to come up with custom vinyl wraps that allowed the bikes to be ridden in the public eye but hide the paint schemes until we were ready to launch.
 
Build highlights
Frame: Altitude, size XL, RIDE-9 Position 3
Suspension: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 170mm / RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Cockpit: Chromag Cutlass 31.8 770mm / Chromag Ranger 40mm stem / 1.5 Angleset
Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, 170mm cranks w/ 34T chainring, 10-50t cassette
Brakes: SRAM CODE RSC w/ 200mm rotors
Wheels: Zipp 3ZERO MOTO
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF MaxxGrip EXO / Minion DHR 2 MaxxTerra EXO+
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb AXS
 
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Canadian Camo
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Canadian Camo
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Canadian Camo
 

Jurassic Park

Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jurassic Park
 
Jurassic Park came out in 1993 when I was only 5 years old, and my parents took me to see it in theatres which left me completely mind blown. In the years that followed, my grandma only had 3 movies at her house for when we visited; Jurassic Park, The Neverending Story, and Fawlty Towers (taped from TV, of course). By the time we were teenagers we’d worn out the VHS tapes. Now, I’m under no illusion that painting a bike like a Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle was a good idea - but in my defense it was a better idea than buying a Ford Explorer and painting it that way. The guys at Fresh Paints of Whistler entertained my 5-year-old self’s dream…so, ”hold onto your butts”.
 
Changes from previous build
Paint scheme: Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle (1992 Ford Explorer XLT)
Wheels: We Are One Union / SRAM X0 hubs
Tires: Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip DD / Minion DHF MaxxGrip DD
 
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jurassic Park
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jurassic Park
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jurassic Park
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jurassic Park
 

Jaded

Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jaded
 
After 8-months of Dino DNA, I’d had enough. The joke had run its course and I just couldn’t stare at the ridiculous paint scheme any longer as I climbed the North Shore mountains in my backyard. Once again, my friends at Fresh Paints of Whistler were there to help make a change (they were surprised I lasted as long as I did). This time, we went with a metallic jade wordmark on a gloss black frame, keeping the T-rex on the top tube in honour of the previous design.
 
Changes from the previous build
Paint scheme: Gloss Black / Metallic Jade
Suspension: FOX 38 170mm / FOX DHX2
Cockpit: OneUp Handlebar 35mm rise / OneUp 50mm stem
Wheels: Race Face Turbine R
 
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jaded
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jaded
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jaded
Stephen Matthews Altitude - Jaded
 
In what was a challenging year for the world, this bike was with me on so many great rides and left me with unforgettable memories from the trail. To this day, it remains as the go-to bike in my quiver and with a fresh coat of paint, it’s ready for another season.
 
 
 
Previous Feature The Jank Files - Season 3 Episode 1 After what felt like the offseason that would never end, the Enduro World Series came back and kicked off with a double-header in Canazei, Italy. Our team of Canadians, made up of Jesse Melamed, Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, and Rémi Gauvin were anxiously awaiting the return to racing. And the long lead up to departure was well worth the wait once they landed in Italy feeling prepared, motivated, and excited.
Next 40th Anniversary Sweat the details - Roy's RMX Roy is a passionate rider from Edmonton, Alberta, who sent in the story of his RMX to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary.
40th Anniversary

Sweat the details - Roy's RMX

June 17, 2021
Roy is a passionate rider from Edmonton, Alberta, who sent in the story of his RMX to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary.
 
My first Rocky was a 98 Element Race, which got me into XC racing, the following summer I bought a 99 Vertex TO. Both bikes were amazing and cemented my love for your brand! In 04 I bought a mint condition 03 Kona Stinky 9 (impulse purchase lol) which got me into freeride. It was a fun bike, but it just wasn’t a Rocky. So, I told the service manager that I wanted to buy an RMX frame and build it up using as many components as possible from the Stinky. In the fall of 04, he called me, telling me to come down and look at the new catalog that just came in, and more importantly the Special Edition RMX Canuck frame. I immediately ordered one in and decided to build with all new components because it was just too amazing to put ok’d components on.
 
Felix Burke Instinct
 
Early in 05, the frame arrived and the build began. I decided on Saint and Diabolus to be the main component groups. When it came to the cranks, I told the service manager that I wanted polished Diabolus, he said they weren’t available. So, we tried several Race Face cranks that were silver, I didn’t like any of them. I was talking to the Rocky Rep (Keith I believe) about the cranks, and he said “let me look into this for you” he called Race Face and convinced them to produce one set of polished Diabolus Cranks specifically for my bike, my mind was mind blown by this!
 
Felix Burke Instinct
 
Did the build and rode it around the city for about a month or so, doing the urban freeride thing. Took it to opening weekend at Kicking Horse, when I returned home it was stolen along with the Stinky. I recovered it about a month later and enjoyed it until the fall, at which time I sold it to a local shop. It hung in that shop for a few years till it was sold, no market at the time for it here in Edmonton. The fellow who purchased it crashed it on his first ride and broke his collarbone. That scared him so bad that he hung the bike on a wall for about 10 years, before deciding to sell it on FB Marketplace, where I happened to see it, so I immediately bought it back, this was in 2018.
 
Felix Burke Instinct
 
In January of 2020, I took it to Hardcore Bikes in Edmonton for a complete rebuild. They stripped it down to the frame and went over every component. Replaced all the bearings, cables, and housing. Next, I took it to Rocky Mountain Auto Salon in Canmore, where they did colour correction, paint restoration, custom self-healing wrap, and full ceramic coating.
 
It’s only been ridden twice since the rebuild and restoration, it’s just too nice now and I don’t want to beat it up.
 
Frame: Rocky Mountain RMX | Size: L
Fork: Marzocchi Monster
Shock: Fox DHX5.0 | 600 spring
Stem: Funn Head Huncho
Handlebars: Race Face Diabolus | 660mm | 40mm| 31.8
Grips: Lizard Skins Palm Grip
Brakes: Shimano Saint BR-M800 | M06 pads | SM-RT80 203mm | SM-RT80 203mm
Shifter: Shimano Deore XT SL-M750
Derailleur: Shimano Siant RD-M805
Crankset: Race Face Diabolus | 175mm | 32t-22t
Cassette: Cassette: CS-M760 | 11-32t
Chain: Dura-ace CN-7701
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT 2x
Pedals: V-Sixty B-87
Wheels:  Shimano Saint M800 hubs and Sunringle Double Wide rims;
Tires:  Nokian Gazzaloddi jr. 26x2.6 | Nokian Gazzaloddi jr. 26x2.6
Seatpost:  Race Face Diabolus | 30.9
Saddle: SDG Belair
 
Jordon at Mud, Sweat & Gears Edmonton did the detailing for the photoshoot. Photos were taken by Lance Ghostkeeper at Ghostkeeper Photography.
 
Jesse Melamed Instinct Powerplay Vancouver
 
 
 
Felix Burke Instinct
Felix Burke Instinct
Thomas Vanderham Instinct
 
 
Previous 40th Anniversary My Altitude's new clothes When I first built up my Altitude, I knew it would become the go-to bike in my stable, and after 13 months (and 3 very different looks), I can comfortably say that’s true.
Next 40th Anniversary Riding Bikes and Baking Pie with Cycle Solutions What does it take to make a mountain bike shop work in a small logging town, tucked next to the Atlantic on Newfoundland’s West Coast? Ask Cycle Solutions founder Peter Ollerhead, and he’ll come back with two big things: put in the work and bake some good pie.
40th Anniversary

Riding Bikes and Baking Pie with Cycle Solutions

June 07, 2021
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
 
What does it take to make a bike shop work in a small logging town, tucked next to the Atlantic on Newfoundland’s West Coast? Ask Cycle Solutions founder Peter Ollerhead, and he’ll come back with two big things: put in the work and bake some good pie.
 
Peter started Cycle Solutions in Corner Brook, Newfoundland in 2003. Ever since he’s been building. Building a business, building trails, building community. Today, riding and trail building has a “cool factor”—especially now that pro snowboard photographer and Rocky Mountain ambassador Dru Kennedy is working with Cycle Solutions. But 20 years ago things were different (to say the least). Getting a shop going meant building more places to ride, first.
 
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
 
“I would be at the trails by myself. Six to ten hours a week on my own, just trying to bake enough pie for people to have a reason to buy a bike,” says Peter. Those earliest days were back in 1994, which mostly involved “following loose trails through the woods trying to find the best line for ripping single track.” A couple decades and a bunch of pie later, Corner Brook is now—quite possibly—the best kept secret in Canadian riding.
 
The secret sauce, of course, is largely in the trails. But community elevates Corner Brook to something special. One major component? Wheels of Thunder—a trail riding and building program for kids and teenagers kickstarted by Cycle Solutions in the early 2010s.
“We try to keep it pretty loosely structured, make sure the kids are having a lot of fun,” says Peter. It’s a structure that works. “The kids that started last year, they’re coming back this year,” adds Dru. “Now they have the skills and know the trail network, and they’re helping us out on rides as tail gunners or head guides.”
 
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
 
Dru, who started riding six years ago to fill his off-season from snowboarding, is now responsible for building some of Corner Brook’s best known trails—and keeping the community game for trail build nights. “28 people showed up last night 33 people showed up the week prior, everybody was there for about four hours. That’s huge for a town of 30,000.”
 
After decades of building trails and community, the Cycle Solutions crew is keen to share the results of that effort. Beyond trails, extensive gravel and road riding loops tie the experience together. Because, from Peter’s perspective, trails are just the tip of the iceberg—it’s the destination that really counts. “No one person is going to come out here for two days. They’re going to come for a week and they need enough to ride.”
 
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
 
From the start, Cycle Solutions has built its business around Rocky Mountain. “They’ve always coincided with what we’ve wanted to do here and supported our trail building,” says Peter. “We’re a small shop, but they’ve made a huge effort with us, which really stood out.”
 
And while on opposite sides of Canada, Rocky Mountain just happens to suit Corner Brook’s coastline and terrain really, really well. “Our landscapes are pretty well the same, except our mountains are just old,” says Peter. “Big fjords, massive climbs, exceptional coastline, our coastline is rough and rugged.” Sure, there might be similarities, but don’t mistake Corner Brook for a carbon copy of, well, anything in the world. “You can ride on an incredible coastline with icebergs and whales in the background.” Worth the trip, definitely.
 
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
 
Cycle Solutions Dealer Feature Riding in Corner Brook
Previous 40th Anniversary Sweat the details - Roy's RMX Roy is a passionate rider from Edmonton, Alberta, who sent in the story of his RMX to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary.
Next 40th Anniversary The Whoppers that Sparked a Mountain Bike Destination Every story’s gotta start somewhere. Consider Fruita, Colorado. Now an internationally renowned mountain bike destination, the Fruita story starts in 1994. At the home of the Whopper. Burger King.
40th Anniversary

The Whoppers that Sparked a Mountain Bike Destination

June 04, 2021
Every story’s gotta start somewhere. Consider Fruita, Colorado. Now an internationally renowned mountain bike destination, the Fruita story starts in 1994. At the home of the Whopper. Burger King.
 
At that Burger King, Troy Rarick met with John Olden—the then rep for Rocky Mountain, and currently our Sales Manager. Troy had an idea to open a bike shop in Fruita: Over the Edge (OTE). If that seemed like a stretch to John, maybe that was understandable. Fruita was on hard times. So hard, in fact, that it had recently declared bankruptcy. But Troy had a vision and a plan. And that plan involved far more than a bike shop. John was in.
 
 
“We bought the corner building in town for $26,000 and started refurbishing it,” Troy recalls. “But simultaneously, we’d go north of Fruita and start building trails. We knew people were going to come. We started building trails before we even had a cash register.”
 
What Troy had in mind for OTE was building a community, not a store.
 
“That’s what defines Over The Edge. We built trails, we put on the [Fruita Fat Tire] Festival, we wrote the guidebook, we drew the map. We ran the effort from the ground up.”
 
 
Along for the ride in those early OTE days was George Gatseos. Still in high school back in 1995, one of his early tasks was painting the store’s first sign. Since 2010 he’s run OTE Fruita and the iconic Fruita Fat Tire Festival—now gearing up for its 25th anniversary.
 
With tourism and word of mouth being such a huge driver for business (both for OTE and Fruita in general), a solid rental fleet of bikes was pretty much a must from the very beginning. And as visiting riders increased, so too did the demands for a growing rental fleet—which can come with its own problems. “I was seeing the attrition rate on that early [non Rocky Mountain] rental fleet, and the work of the staff to keep them going,” says Troy. “That turned me to Rocky. The bikes were durable, and they’d had our backs this whole time. John Olden’s been a beautiful friend and mentor to me through this whole process.”
 
In non-pandemic times, visitors show up from California, to New Zealand, to Europe. Day in day out, Instincts and Altitudes get ridden—hard—on Fruita’s now-famous trails by riders hungry for a taste of what’s made Fruita a destination these past two and a half decades.
 
Part of that global appeal is the diversity and breadth of trails themselves. “Wade Simmons could come here and have fun,” says Troy. “So could your kid cousin from Ontario. It brings in a really wide swath of people.” Something for literally everyone, then.
 
 
As destinations crop up as famous as Fruita, it’s perhaps rare that at the core of the destination lies one shop—like OTE. That could be for a range of reasons, but talking with Troy and George, you get the sense that it’s primarily because of a simple ethos: ensuring that every visitor regardless of age or skill level has the chance to “love the ride.” From humble beginnings to international recognition, they still appreciate anyone who takes the time to visit and ride the trails—and folks feel that when they walk in OTE’s doors.
 
“We were just so thankful that anyone would come in at the start,” says George. “We’re still that way. Even though we do a lot more business now, we’re still grateful for every rider who comes in.”
 
Community matters, but with community can sometimes come the risk of exclusion or insider versus outsider ethos. That’s 100% not the case with OTE. Maybe it’s the humble beginnings, maybe it’s the breadth of trails, or maybe it’s just a bi-product of good people loving bikes. Whatever it is, riders across the globe can be thankful for the Whoppers and cold fries that helped make OTE happen way back when. Here’s to more Whoppers, droppers, and good times in Fruita.
 
Previous 40th Anniversary Riding Bikes and Baking Pie with Cycle Solutions What does it take to make a mountain bike shop work in a small logging town, tucked next to the Atlantic on Newfoundland’s West Coast? Ask Cycle Solutions founder Peter Ollerhead, and he’ll come back with two big things: put in the work and bake some good pie.
Next 40th Anniversary Sweat the Details - Dan's 1996 Altitude From Germany to the east coast of Canada, Dan's 1996 Altitude made the cut of belongings that were coming with him when starting his new adventure on a new continent.
40th Anniversary

Sweat the Details - Dan's 1996 Altitude

May 21, 2021

From Germany to the east coast of Canada, Dan's 1996 Altitude made the cut of belongings that were coming with him when starting his new adventure on a new continent.

 
This is my beloved Altitude from 1996 (15th Anniversary edition).
 
As a boy, I always loved biking, especially BMX. When I was 15 (1987), the first Mountain bikes came out in Germany and I loved this kind of sport immediately. I lived in Leverkusen (close to Cologne) and nearby we had some beautiful forests with hills to climb and to go down. I started biking on a Raleigh, then got a Scott and later on a Diamondback. Bikes from the USA and Canada have always had some magic for bikers in Germany. In the bike magazines that I read; I fell in love with Rocky Mountain bikes. And at age 24, I finally broke the bank and got a Rocky Mountain Altitude frame from 1996 (15th Anniversary edition) at my local bike shop
 
Even though I liked my other bikes a lot – the Rocky was exceptional. The riding was amazing. The frame is a Tange Prestige Ultimate Superlight with Ritchey chainstays. Man, this bike was fast and climbed like a goat. I treasure it so much.
In 2003, I moved to Canada. And I sold almost everything I owned. But I would never sell the Rocky. So, the Altitude travelled with me – back home to Canada – where it was originally built.
 
I still ride it today. It's still fast and climbs as ever but it’s a bit comfier (cane creek seat post suspension, RockShox Recon, full XT, German Magura hydraulic brakes. Thank you, Rocky Mountain, for building bikes that stay with you forever. I love the ride!
 
Previous 40th Anniversary The Whoppers that Sparked a Mountain Bike Destination Every story’s gotta start somewhere. Consider Fruita, Colorado. Now an internationally renowned mountain bike destination, the Fruita story starts in 1994. At the home of the Whopper. Burger King.
Next 40th Anniversary That time when my brother and I rode the dry Spanish desert to the lush mountains of Andalusia. Mountain biking and furthermore, mountain culture is embedded in my identity and even in my genome.  From family blood to the town, I grew up in, I have deep roots in mountain culture. 
40th Anniversary

That time when my brother and I rode the dry Spanish desert to the lush mountains of Andalusia.

May 20, 2021
 
That time when my brother and I rode the dry Spanish desert to the lush mountains of Andalusia. A taste of both.
 
Mountain biking and furthermore, mountain culture is embedded in my identity and even in my genome. From family blood to the town, I grew up in, I have deep roots in mountain culture. What's interesting about where Cody and I traveled is that one place made us feel at home while the others made us feel like aliens.
 
Mid-winter 2019 my brother and I packed up our bikes and climbing gear to head for Spain. Calgary > Frankfurt > Madrid, this was our first overseas trip and as we drove our rental van south into the Spanish sunset, we had no idea what to expect. 5 hours later we rolled into the desert near Almanzora where Cody and I laid our heads down in a cluttered and cold Air BnB. The small cots layed up on cold marble tiles gave us a short night's sleep before rising to the landscape that was still a mystery to us.
 
 
The January sun sat low in the sky, its brightness pouring onto the dry and rugged massif of the Sierra de Los Filabres range. What Cody and I didn't realize was that the economic crisis in 2008 stopped British investors and developer's dead in their tracks. This is what explained the ghost town feel that rippled through the streets, we were in the middle of nowhere... The architecture was hugely contrasted between slum and forgotten suburbs. Half assembled giant statues and water fountains with abandoned machinery scattered the towns. Stray dogs and cats littered the streets we rode through.
 
 
The people we came across glared. Spending their days drinking coffee or wine, cigarettes delicately balanced in their chapped fingers. We stuck out like sore thumbs, especially at the corner cafes dressed in our premium outerwear alongside our flashy bikes. It was eye-opening for us to see a dissected and barren part of Spain and with our sheltered upbringing, we felt homesick. It's funny how out of place we felt, clinging to our dear bikes, the only thing familiar to us.
 
 
The riding itself was what kept us there for as long as we could stand it. Big day rides with long descents spitting us into beautiful white villages for homemade soup, fresh bread, and coffee. Other than these outings there was really nothing for us to do. Two friendly Canadians felt unwelcome in this small town. We'd sit in our small cots for hours in between our rides scrolling through our phones. There was something missing.
 
 
The riding was unlike where we had been, the trails in El Chorro were built specifically for biking and had an amazing flow to them. Not only was the riding more exciting, but the people also made all the difference. Carlos at the local bike shop was incredibly kind, including us on shop rides and pointing out local gems as well as the people that filled the hostel, being vibrant and generous. The time slipped by as we ticked off rides finishing off the days with beer and cards. Along with the amazing dirt, the rock was outstanding. My brother and I pulled out our rope and buckled into our bike helmets to share some of the classic multi-pitches and crags with the Irish. When it came time for us to head home, we were not ready. This place had a great vibe. The riding, the food, the friends, and the climate made it a complete paradise. But it was time to get back to work and catch our flight from Madrid.
 
We spent a day in Madrid drinking at local cafes and visiting museums. People dressed in fancy clothes, wearing expensive shoes, with salon-fresh haircuts. Again, we stuck out, looking rugged from 2 straight weeks of riding. Once again, we were reminded why we choose to stay in our beautiful mountain towns.
 
 
I don't regret going to the desert. In fact, it made our time in the lush El Chorro that much more special. The real difference and conclusion we had was that; connecting with people gives you energy. The dose is subject to the person but connecting is essential and we'd notice how much easier it was when you share a common passion, that being: The mountains!
 
 
Previous 40th Anniversary Sweat the Details - Dan's 1996 Altitude From Germany to the east coast of Canada, Dan's 1996 Altitude made the cut of belongings that were coming with him when starting his new adventure on a new continent.
Next 40th Anniversary The Phone Call that Launched a Movement And as the first all-women’s mountain bike trade team in North America, Fly Gurlz racers from across Canada lit things up season after season. Maybe it was the emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. Maybe it was the “don’t take yourself too seriously” vibe. Or maybe it was the “can’t miss it” Hawaiian themed jerseys. Whatever it was, it was lightning in a bottle
40th Anniversary

Alex Volokhov's 2007 Switch 2.0

May 06, 2021
Alex Volokhov Switch 2.0
 
"This was my first high-end, proper dual-suspension mountain bike. It will always hold a special place the memory bank. Watching the guys ride these bikes in the movies made me want one more than anything. Few summers of working my butt off in between grade school and the dream came true."
- Alex Volokhov
 
Frame: 2007 Switch 2.0
Fork: Marzocchi 66 Shock: Marzocchi Roco
Stem:Raceface Diabolus
Handlebars: Raceface Diabolus
Brakes: Avid Juicy 5
Drivetrain: Sram X9
Crankset: Raceface Diabolus
Wheels:  Mavic DEEMAX
 
Alex Volokhov Switch 2.0      Alex Volokhov Switch 2.0

 

 

 

Previous Feature Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team - Suspension testing With the Enduro World Series kicking off in June, Jesse Melamed, Rémi Gauvin, and Andréane Lanthier Nadeau met up with our suspension partner, FOX, to dial in their Altitude's for the season.
Next 40th Anniversary That time when a childhood dream came true. That time when a childhood dream came true, and I joined the Rocky Mountain freeride team.
40th Anniversary

That time when a childhood dream came true.

April 28, 2021

That time when a childhood dream came true, and I joined the Rocky Mountain freeride team. Growing up in British Columbia, Rocky Mountain was a staple brand, and joining forces was a standout memory for sure!!

Alex Volokhov Slayer

Alex Volokhov Maiden

Alex Volokhov Rocky Mountain Freeride Team

 

Previous 40th Anniversary Alex Volokhov's 2007 Switch 2.0 "This was my first high-end, proper dual-suspension mountain bike. It will always hold a special place the memory bank. Watching the guys ride these bikes in the movies made me want one more than anything. Few summers of working my butt off in between grade school and the dream came true."
Next 40th Anniversary Vaea Verbeeck's 2018 Altitude For its first trip, I took it to New Zealand which was my first time in this dreamy country that I now call my home away from home. That added to how special it made this bike for me. It was also part of a shift in my career; veering off of world cup downhill racing and starting to lean towards Crankworx events.

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