• #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.

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    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.

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    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%.

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

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

  • N1NO - the Hunt for Glory - Chapter 3 - "The First Big Battle"

    At World Cup races it's all about the #huntforglory! These are the moments that motivate me to give my all so that I can achieve my goals. Nove Mesto, with its superb atmosphere and great riding is definitely one of my favorite races- I love to battle there.

    Check out the youtube channel here.

  • Mission Workshop and Bike Magazine Present Ask A Founder with Tom Ritchey

    Bike Magazine and Mission Workshop present a talk with Tom Ritchey in their "Ask a Founder" series, in which they put one of mountain biking's original characters in front of a crowd for a no-holds-barred Q & A session.

  • Tom Ritchey: A Tribute to Jobst

    1-tom-jobst-sonora-pass-snowJOBST BRANDT was 6’-5” with a voice like Darth Vader, and he was full of opinions.

    As a young bike racer I was at times very much influenced by the many aspects of Jobst’s personality, which was just as powerful as my own father’s influence in many ways. When you boil it down, Jobst was a tough guy. He wasn’t always an easy fellow to deal with, but he taught me some really valuable things, about cycling and about engineering…his influence on me was certainly positive.

    Jobst was a lifelong cyclist and a fixture in the Northern California cycling community in the transformative 1970's and 1980's. Jobst was a different sort of rider, through and through. He was the force behind these huge, unusual rides happening in Northern California. It was a small, brave and slightly crazy group of us riding road bikes up into the fire roads and cow trails of the Santa Cruz Mountains, long before mountain bikes.

    2-jobst-riders-houseMy dad started going on Jobst’s rides and when I was 14 or 15 years old, and he was introduced to his epic rides and rigid set of logic and principles as a German engineer. His rides went deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains on road bikes, and there were no cell phones of course. Self-reliance was key, in how you rode, and what you rode. If you broke down out there, nobody was going to wait…you really were on your own, so there was an unspoken pressure to not ride any questionable equipment. And Jobst would let you know if he thought your bike wasn’t up to snuff.

    We were all on tubular tires those days and bikes were not as durable or as capable as they later became. The bike industry hadn’t yet developed modern test standards to refine equipment, so from Jobst I learned the concept of ‘personal fatigue testing’. The world may never know how many cranks and BB axles that Jobst broke. He’d try to help, too. While riding in Europe he’d visit Cinelli, DT and Campagnolo and try to share his opinions on how to improve parts, but they weren’t ready to listen.

    3-peterjobstalpinerd1988800Jobst had an impact on the bike industry that not everyone is aware of. For Ritchey, he really helped shape my design and engineering principles. He had a tremendous respect for standards in design, and how standards evolve to be standards for very good reason. Jobst taught me the importance of simple structural and mechanical formulas of triangulation when it comes to frame and component design. He’d reference bridges and say, “See? That’s the strongest way to build a structure.” As an early framebuilder it was an honor for me that Jobst asked me to repair his (quite large) Cinelli frame when it cracked. In time I’d repaired his bike in so many spots that he said, “Well Ritchey, you might as well just build me a frame.”

    In those early years Jobst even redesigned the Ritchey logo. My first bikes had a simple “T.Ritchey” on the downtube, but Jobst crafted the more elegant ‘Ritchey’ that still adorns the downtube of Ritchey bikes to this day, with a bar connecting the “R” to the “Y”.Jobst also designed the shield head badge with the overlapping “TR”.

    butanoridge1981800Jobst also helped the Avocet brand take off. He even named the brand, and he was the first one taking tread off road tires to introduce the first slick road tires. People associate it with Avocet but really Jobst was behind it.

    Jobst was a fountain of new information to me, and not just engineering and cycling. He was a consummate birder. I knew nothing about birds, but Jobst would go on and on about bird sightings on rides. He was also the one to teach me how to find Chanterelle mushrooms. And he was big on cameras, and always had a Rollei 35 with him.

    gate101984800Most notably, Jobst knew rides that nobody else knew. If I found narrow tire tracks way off the paved roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I knew they were his. And it wasn’t’ just around here, either. For years, Jobst was taking these month-long mountain trips in the Swiss Alps along with Peter Johnson and Bill Robertson. I didn’t get there until ’87 or ’88. Jobst choreographed my route through the Alps, making sure I rode all these secret roads and old Roman pathways that didn’t exist on a map, so you’d see things that few people even knew existed.

    Amazingly, he was a proverbial camel and never carried water. His bike didn’t even have braze-on’s for water bottles. Despite the desolate routes Jobst would ride, he always knew where the drinking spots were in the mountains. There were North coast rides that he’d decline to do with me…I think it’s because he didn’t know where the water was along the route.

    silverfallsj1988800I’m lucky to have had Jobst in my life, he was a great man and his spirit lives on in the way I ride, and the bikes and components I design.

    -Tom Ritchey

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    Photos: © Jobst Brandt and Ray Hosler

  • N1NO - the Hunt for Glory - Chapter 2 - "On the Go"

    Being on a professional MTB team, there is a lot of travelling involved- before and during race time. Nino Schurter and SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing spent a decent amount of time in South Africa and California preparing for the upcoming World Cup season, which starts the coming weekend in Nove Mesto / CZ Republic.

    South Africa is where the team heads every year to start their season. Unlike recent years, Nino Schurter kicked-off the pre-olympic race season at the the Bonelli US CUP and the Sea Otter Classic in California. "At Sea Otter, my team mate Jenny Rissveds and I competed in four races, and it resulted in 4 podiums. It was a very cool experience to race in California and definitely felt good to bike where MTB was born," Nino says.

    Chapter 2 - "On the Go" gives an inside view into the team`s life and all the preparation professional racing requires. “Everything we do in 2015 has just one goal: to be the most fit possible for the Olympic Race in Rio in 2016.”

    Check out the youtube channel here.

  • N1NO - The Hunt for Glory - Chapter 1 - "Work Hard Play Hard"

    Nino Schurter belongs on the list of the most successful mountain bike athletes in history. The 3 time World Champion is the leader of SCOTT Odlo MTB Racing, the international XC team run by bike legend Thomas Frischknecht. “N1NO – The Hunt for Glory” is Nino Schurter`s first set of “webisodes.” The new video series features various chapters illustrating Nino`s colorful life as a professional mountain bike athlete during the pre-olympic year. It´s not only about how Nino prepares for the biggest goal of his career, the golden medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but it‘s also about shredding trails, travelling around the world, and all the fun that mountain biking brings.

    "I am stoked to release the first chapter of N1NO – The Hunt for Glory. My first webisode is all about the MTB racing lifestyle, cool trail riding, my training workouts plus a good amount of behind-the-scene footage of a mountain bike athlete`s life. Rio seems to be far away, but in fact the 2016 Olympic Games are just around the corner. Check out what my Hunt for Glory looks like”, Nino says.

    Check out the youtube channel here.

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