• Jenny Rissveds: Bike Freak Interview

    Jenny Rissveds of the Scott Odlo MTB Racing Team is by far the largest mountain bike talent from Sweden. She topped off her second year as a professional with a victory in the U23 World Cup, winning all heats and picking up the bronze medal at the World Championships XCO in Andorra. Next season Jenny is turning her attention to focus on the Olympic Games in Rio as well as the European Championships in her home country.

    Click here to read Jenny's interview with Netherlands Bike Freak Magazine.

    jenny-rissveds-bike-freak-interview

  • Brian Vernor takes on a Legend: Yorkshire, England's Three Peaks Cyclocross Race

    3 Peaks Vernor 2Brian Vernor is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, photographer, artist and storyteller. More than anything, he’s a cyclocross racer. Here he talks about his experience tackling one of the most infamous cycling events of any discipline: Three Peaks Cyclocross Race.

    Ritchey Design: Three Peaks. What is it?

    Brian Vernor: It’s called a cyclocross race, but really it’s a long distance adventure through the English countryside. The course carries you up and over three significant peaks, all of which force you off the bike for an unreasonable amount of running, hiking and shouldering. I grew up in Santa Cruz, California and at the time it was (and still is) one of the hubs for cyclocross in the United States. I started racing there in high school and I heard whispers about “Three Peaks” from some of the elder statesmen of the sport who’d gone to Europe to race and explore the less conventional rides and races out there. Three Peaks was always discussed with great reverence. And fear.

    3PeaksCXbike-7014RD: Why fear?

    BV: Until I did it, I didn’t understand either. No amount of description does it justice. It’s just 38 miles, but it takes most people over four hours. And these are some seriously fit competitors. You spend half your time hiking and it’s just something none of us as cross racers normally do. It’s nothing like a conventional race.

    RD: Is it an open event? Can anyone ride it?

    BV: You have to apply and not everyone gets in. There are some arbitrary rules and you have to show some experience as a cross rider, and display some confidence that you’ll finish, and that you can handle yourself.

    RD: What’s the start like?

    BV: Terrifying. It’s 600 riders barreling down narrow country roads for the first five miles of the race. And the roads are open to traffic. There’s some hairy stuff going on but it sorts itself out pretty quick. Quite a few riders know they’re in it to survive and burying yourself in the first five miles to stay with the leaders is not worth the energy.

    3PeaksCXbike-6918RD: What are some of the memorable sections of the course?

    BV: Without a doubt, the first peak, Ingleborough. Most of the off-road sections of the course are not open to riding for the rest of the year as it’s a private land, so there’s no way to pre-ride things. As a first-time competitor your understanding of what’s to come is limited. You roll up on the Ingleborough climb, and you realize just what you’re in for once you’re forced off the bike by the steepness. It’s a 20% grade and over a mile long. You’ll be walking for 30-40 minutes. It’s memorable…it’s just not the sort of thing cross racers normally do. The scale of it is in your face, too. When you go hiking, you normally don’t see the top of the peak, but here (assuming the weather is clear) you can see just how far away the peak is, and it’s overwhelming to realize just how far you’ll have to portage your bike.

    3peaks beforeRD: How did you feel at that spot?

    BV: You kinda feel screwed. There’s a moment where your soul is crushed. You’re in over your head and nothing you did prepared you for this. The first peak is covered in grass, and the grass is right in your face. You’re crawling on hands and knees sometimes. It’s that steep. But really, it's weird because the same sense of dread hits you on each peak. At the bottom of each peak the task at hand is staring you in the face and it ain't pretty.

    3PeaksCXbike-6907RD: Sounds fun. What about the other side? Any near death experiences?

    BV: The descents off each peak are loosely defined. You just find your own line down…there’s very little course markings. People who’ve done the event a few times seem to know the better lines, so you try to follow riders who appear to know where to be, but they might lead you into a bog, or off a cliff, and then you’re climbing down a pile of loose rocks. You can go all-out and make up a lot of time descending aggressively but the risks are apparent. I’ve ridden cross bikes on trails my whole life and I took quite a few risks but there were still riders going faster. It’s SO rough…it’d be rough even on a mountain bike. You can’t always see what’s coming next, and it goes on like this for 25 minutes. All around you riders are crashing, and people are yelping with fear and pain, and you think “Oh man I’m glad I didn’t hit whatever that guy hit”.

    3PeaksCXbike-8840RD: What’s the ideal gear setup?

    BV: Conventional cyclocross bikes are mandatory, with 700 x 35c tires and drop bars. I chose the disc brake bike and that was a good move. Low gearing is key…I had a 36x34t and a decently wide range, as there are some road sections between peaks and you end up in pacelines working with groups of riders.

    3PeaksCXbike-8800RD: Here comes the standard cyclocross question…what air pressure did you run?

    BV: I ran 80psi in clinchers. Most people with experience recommended even higher than that. Keith Bontrager was there, and he was very firm in telling me to run very high pressure, recounting one experience he had (he’s done the event four times) where he had six flats. And the high tire pressure worked….I had a clean ride, everything worked, no flats or broken parts, just a couple crashes but nothing serious.

    Vernor_by-IzzyRD: This event is pretty personal to you, as a bike rider as well as a photographer and film maker.

    BV: I’ve raced cyclocross since I was a kid, well before I was a photographer and film maker. My first film project, Pure Sweet Hell, was about the US cyclocross scene, which at that time was still pretty small. It gave me an excuse to go deeper with the scene and people and it was a very positive experience. That experience lead me to make more films and also focus on photography. My interest hasn’t changed….much of my photography has focused on cross and it’s what I’m known for. It goes hand-in-hand: riding, racing and trying to capture the essence of it on film. When I’m behind the camera, I know what it’s like to ride and race and it creatively inspires me. Having thought about Three Peaks Cyclocross for 20 years, it was a pilgrimage to do it….but I also wanted to make a film project around this race because its lore and mystique are at the root of why I've raced and also why I picked up cameras. The earliest aesthetic seeds were planted in me by this race and I feel obligated to celebrate it. My film is as much about creativity and inspiration as it is about cyclocross.

    PSH-midwestshow_newThanks, Brian. Look for a new Brian Vernor film documenting his experience with cyclocross and the Three Peaks coming in 2016.

    Brian rode a custom painted Swiss Cross Disc with Zeta Disc wheels and WCS EvoCurve Bars.

    You can view the trailer to Pure Sweet Hell here.

  • Grinduro

    grinduro-mapIt hasn’t been a week yet since we struck out to do the Grinduro- an event orchestrated by Giro to benefit the Eastern Sierra Trail Stewardship. The event page boasted camping, epic views, challenging terrain and beer. Not being ones to shy away from epic events that ask for you to dig deep in the pain cave and be rewarded with libations and fireside tall tales from the ride, we signed up.

    The Grinduro was hosted by Quincy, a small logging town nestled in the eastern Sierras, about an hour and a half north east of Marysville, CA. It’s the kind of place Carver would have written about, where the hum of the sawmill always abuzz, and the nights come too quickly. In mid-October, the air smells crisp in anticipation of fall, and the trees are turning a blaze from the top down not even ashamed of turning too red too soon. Something about the timing and location of the event created an environment ripe for a ride with about 300 of your closest friend you won’t soon forget.

    RegsquatchyBurritduro

    Sean Post duro There are some rides you just know will stick with you. The Grinduro is one of those rides. The climbs went on forever, but so did the descents, and it felt like a way bigger day in the saddle than the stats added up to. The enduro format had me rethinking my pace and effort on non-timed sections, not that it made much of a difference…there was no way to save energy up a climb China Grade. The racing, the music, the beer and whiskey, and seeing all of my Northern California bike racing and framebuilding buddies made for a great weekend that was all over too soon. I want to go back next weekend. Or maybe the weekend after…I’m still a little sore. -Sean Coffey

    Quincy twilightferg and seanbarn with bike

    dusty k before That ish was gnar. So much climbing and descending enough to make you see double. Fire roads, single track, rocks, loose corners, good folks, so much food, Ray Barbee, whiskey, and suffering. The area was epic beautiful with miles of roads and trails you would die for…or from. Much love to Fergus and Sean from Ritchey for crewing up, couldn’t ask for a better or or dirtier team. Next time 650b hardtail! -Dustin Klein

    scenerysean flatinto the valleygearing downwaiting on colbyrock and stuff

    Ferg Prior Here’s the thing about an event like the Grinduro: it’s so far out of my element I really had no idea what to expect. Sure, I’ve found myself riding off road when the signs clearly stated “keep off the grass.” Yeah, I jumped a couple fences in my life to see where the damn road lead to. However, I’m not a man of dirt or gnar shredding some off road trail with any regularity. Rides like this aren’t in my vocabulary; tell me about high-banked tracks and technical crits and you’re speaking my language. Strangely, when Dustin and Sean brought this event up, it peaked my interest. Hell, why not, I remember saying. Cut to me 40 miles in, 4.5k feet of climbing behind me, a number of sketchy baby head laden descents later and I’m feeling like a million bucks. Even after the 18+% grade and fast technical single track, I felt myself hooked on the thrill of the event.

    sucky climbweepy tree house with bikeferg gettin itDusty k nappingdirtypost duro bike

  • Mr. 1000 Watts - Daniel Federspiel - 2015 MTB XC Eliminator World Champion

    Daniel-Federspiel-1
    Daniel Federspiel is World Champion again. After 2013, the Ritchey sponsored athlete was able to win the rainbow jersey again in 2015. Daniel, who’s roots are cyclo-cross and mountain bike cross country, has found his true passion in mountain bike eliminator racing since 2012, when he finished third at the world champion ships in Austria.

    Daniel-Federspiel-4

    We had the chance to talk to the powerful Austrian.

    How does MTB Eliminator racing work?
    Well, one race is only 1,30 minutes long and there are only four racers per heat. The course is one lap with lots of turns and obstacles.
    You could say it is like the first opening lab of a real XC race. It is full gas start to finish with lots of elbows.

    How many races did you have to win for the rainbow jersey?
    At the worlds, I had to go through five races, including the finals.

    What is the biggest challenge at an Eliminator race?
    Not to break anything or crashing.

    Do you know the watt power you put into the bike during the race?
    Yes, my absolute max was 2515 watts! During the 1,40 minute race I average close to 1000 watts.

    How many races do you do in one season?
    This year 16 plus I raced the Mountainbike Transalp for preparation.

    Any special training you can share?
    Sorry, this has to stay with me, I want to become World Champion again.

    You ride Ritchey bars, stem, post and saddle, anything specially made for you?
    No, it is all standard Ritchey products anyone can buy at a good shop.

    Daniel-Federspiel-2

  • N1NO Schurter Wins 4th XC World Champion Title

    What a year for Nino Schurter! After World Cup Champion now World Champion as well! N1NO is at his best ever.

    Andorra, in an exciting World Championship race against Julien Absalon, N1NO takes the rainbow jersey back to his shoulders. It's his 4th elite World Champion title- his 10th victory this season. What an incredible way to finish his best season ever.

    At the finish line where he wanted to be: N1NO At the finish line where he wanted to be: N1NO

    The pressure was tremendous. Coming to World Championships after winning three World Cup races in a row made N1NO the clear favorite for the Worlds title. Though, his experience of last year was still in best memories. Also coming of a winning strike from the World Cups, it was Julien Absalon to take the World Championship title in Hafjell 2014. N1NO did not want to have this happen again.

    The race unfolded in a perfect way for N1NO. First lap he managed to get down the technical section in first place while Julien Absalon was held back by some fast starting riders. After two days of rain the sun was out, but in some sections the track was still very slippery. Race deciding technically actually. Non of the racers got trough without little mistakes or crashes. Even N1NO had to get off the bike few times. But less than the rest of the field. He demonstrated once again: When it comes down to tricky sections, nobody can keep up with him.

    nino-2015-world-champ-7After first lap Julien Absalon closed the gap. While Jaroslav Kulhavy was out of contention with a broken rib, his country men Ondrej Cink showed an awesome day. He was the only one staying close to the leading duo and eventually won the well deserved bronze medal. At the front N1NO was playing yoyo with his big rival Absalon. Always gaining some seconds on the descents, to after let him close the gap again. Mid trough the race it started to look a bit different. N1NO made a mistake on a technical uphill and immediately Absalon launched an attack.

    One of the few times Absalon was able to put pressure on N1NO One of the few times Absalon was able to put pressure on N1NO

    Absalon was with no success. N1NO got back on and soon took the lead again. One and a half laps to go it was this one travers in the woods- full of slippery rocks and roots that made the race deciding difference between Julien and N1NO. Even N1NO gained only 4-5 seconds there, it added up to be 10 seconds at the end of the descent.

    A race deciding moment: N1NO looks back and than keeps going. A race deciding moment: N1NO looks back and than keeps going.

    From this moment on it was a race full out all to the finish. Sometimes Julien got closer to like 5 seconds, then N1NO would gain a bit again. One little mistake and the race would be totally open again. N1NO resisted the strong pressure of Julien bringing the 10 second lead to the finish line. The emotions were high, the pressure released and N1NO enjoyed the biggest moment of his #huntforglory campaign 2015.

    At the finish of his dreams. At the finish of his dreams.

    The neo World Champion stated: "This was one big battle all the way to the end. Some moments during the race I was not sure if I can actually win this one. This makes this 4th title a special one to me. It is awesome to win the World Cup but even better to win the worlds. So stoked to be back in the rainbow jersey."

    nino-2015-world-champ-1

    "It is awesome to win the World Cup but even better to win the worlds. So stoked to be back in the rainbow jersey."

    Nino Schurter, World Champion- World Cup Champion 2015
    SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

    Once again the two protagonist ruled the world of cross country racing this season. Even N1NO was ahead of Julien the last four races, we have to give lot's of credit to the best rider in history for still racing at such a high level against N1NO. And it does look like we are going to see more of this great racing next year in the Olympic season, even it is going to be Julien's last one.

    Top: Julien Absalon (silver)- Nino Schurter (gold) Ondrej Cink (bronze). Top: Julien Absalon (silver)- Nino Schurter (gold) Ondrej Cink (bronze).

    After a difficult last month our flying Dutchman Michiel van der Heijden went into the race with little ambitions. His shoulder is ok again, but after not seeing the finish line for quite some time his confidence was not very high. He managed to get trough in ok 34th place. This season in general leaves him room to improve for next year. We have all the confidence in him that he will be back on track in 2016.

    One big thank you goes to our two mechanics Yanick Gyger and Richard Nieuwhuis who worked day and night on N1NO's winning weapon: The SCOTT Spark 700. Also huge thanx to SCOTT, DT Swiss, SRAM and Ritchey and the rest of our sponsors for delivering the World Champion winning parts needed to make such an success possible.

  • #BEFOREPROJECT : Stage 11 of 2015 Vuelta

    Originally published on 31/08/2015 by Guillaume Prébois

    Stage 11 of Vuelta 2015 (Andorra - Encamp On Cortals)

    Our man, Guillaume Prébois, is back at it previewing some of the hardest stages the pros will tackle in the grand tours and giving us a layman’s perspective from his saddle. Tomorrow’s stage of the Vuelta has been touted as the toughest stage ever created in the history of this Grand Tour. Read on for Guillaume’s opinion.

    This is the first real mountain stage of the Vuelta 2015 and what stage! She would have been directly inspired by Joaquim Rodriguez, who in the Principality, is a national hero. All climbs are also marked by signs where his name appears. Andorra is a handkerchief wrapped into a tourniquet, the stage looks like the Amstel Gold Race in the sense that the race wraps around the same area and returns several times to the same place.

    PROFIL_2de83993-31ed-41c2-8036-c1fd0e91cef4_grande

    I urge all fans to come to compete in this relatively short route (138km) but muscular (altitude 5000m) and gorgeous (if the sun shines if the Andorran bowl becomes hellish cauldron and descents are Fast and dangerous).

    The pros have the chance to perform on closed roads, it is not our case. If the climbs are very quiet, the central axis that runs through the Principality suffers from heavy traffic mess of which there is little pleasure.

    I had already climbed twice the Coll de la Rabassa in the challenge 3 Great Tours in 2008 as it was in the Vuelta program. I have however discovered the Collada della Gallina (11.7 km at 8.5%) which was specially borrowed pouring asphalt for the Tour of Spain. It is classified "Especial", the equivalent of Hors-Category Tour de France, notably due to a very narrow and steep kilometers to 12% average.

    The beginning of the climb is dry, it rises quickly above the roofs of Sant Julia de Loria. It's easy to find a rhythm through many laces and switchbacks along the rise.

    IMG_0907_grande

    The slope remains high, at around 10%, before reaching a false flat that does not last more than 500m. Come to a junction where a small chapel is located, we take the right to attack the piece of resistance, recently asphalted (before this pass could be climbed by the east side). The road is very narrow, perfectly smooth and black, with a constant slope (12% over 1km) with the exception of a few hundred meters to 15%.

    IMG_0937_grande

    IMG_0945_grande

    There is still 4km to the summit, still very demanding, until the last 500 meters, when it becomes
    much easier.

    IMG_0955_grande

    At the summit, altitude 1910m, a monument marks the passage of the neck.

    IMG_0978_grande

    I repeat, if the rain falls on Andorra for the 11th stage of the Vuelta, Paradise will turn into hell. I was struck by the speed of descent and the few straight portions. The turns are often on slopes and call for good technique. At the bottom of the descent, it falls on Sant Julia de Loria, 500m from the foot of the ascent that is the other side of the tunnel.

    IMG_1513_grande

    The riders then head to the Alto de la Comella, classified in 2nd category (4 km at 9.5%), an intermediate collar, dry and stiff, which is mainly used to avoid the center of Andorra la Vella.Everything will depend on the climb to Els Cortals Encamp (8.7 km at 9.1%). I found the foot of the ascent particularly hard. After such a long stage, it will be ultra-selective.

    IMG_1514_grande

    IMG_0986_grande

    The first part of the climb is begins in the city, but it quickly comes out in a wooded area which then gives way to alpine pastures. In the middle of the climb, is a short ledge, but the slope again very quickly to the summit where a solitary cable car is located. Breathtaking views and sumptuous sites greet you at the top.

    IMG_1041_grande

    In conclusion, the Vuelta has a legendary stage. Rarely have so many passes been condensed in so few kilometers. The ascents are never long, but still harsh!

    Guillaume Prébois rides our Ritchey Superlogic C260 stem, Superlogic EvoCurve bar and Superlogic post.

  • Ritchey: Built by Legends

    Three legends, one great ride. See Tom, Frischi and Nino riding and talking about how they work together to make Ritchey components even better.

  • Built by Legends Teaser

    Racers like Nino are the foundation of Ritchey's greatness. See him in action here and stay tuned for the full story dropping later this week.

  • N1NO - the Hunt for Glory - Chapter 5 - "In Search of the Beginning"

    N1NO`s 5th chapter of his #huntforglory webisode is all about a journey to the roots of Mountain biking. The 3x MTB World Champion meets one of the Godfathers of Mountain biking, Tom Ritchey, at his home place in Skyline, Northern California. Tom Ritchey is the guy who was already racing bicycles, which we call "Mountain bikes" today, back in the 1970s on his backyard trails in the hills of Skyline and Santa Cruz. He built the first Mountain bike frame, and since those early days, every new invention has been chased by another.

    Over the years Tom's focus has shifted from frame building too component design, but his obsession with functional, lightweight and reliable equipment has not waivered. Many Ritchey designs and manufacturing methods have become industry standards.

    Mountain bike racing has always been something Tom Ritchey was passionate about. 3x World Champion Thomas Frischknecht was part of Ritchey`s Racing team in the 1990ies. Still today, Tom creates World Championship winning parts for the top guys- like N1NO. As a Co-Sponsor of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing, Tom contributes to the Team`s success with innovative products and his experience.

    N1NO and Frischi not only went out riding on the single tracks where Mountain biking was born, but Tom Ritchey also showed them where the first frames where welded and where all the inspiration came from. N1NO got to know more about the early days, and Tom Ritchey explained how Mountain Biking came into existance.

    Check out the youtube channel here.

  • N1NO - the Hunt for Glory - Chapter 4 - "There is no place like home"

    There is no place like home. Chapter 4 of Nino Schurter`s #HUNTFORGLORY shows the 3x World Champion in his familiar surroundings. Nino is known for being a professional mountain bike athlete, always on the run, and always busy. Yet Chapter 4 is all about Nino’s roots, where it all started, and what he is doing when not surrounded by cameras but rather by his family and friends. Check out where Nino takes you on a very private tour.

    Check out the youtube channel here.

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