Sunday, May 31, 2009

June's Featured Rider: Stephanie Nychka

Stephanie Nychka is one of those riders who’s simply inspiring. She’ll hit jumps and stunts with the same confidence and aggression as the pro guys, and she bounces back from setbacks and injuries a stronger rider than ever. She created and produced the two SlopeSistair women’s slopestyle events in 2005 and 2006, and is in the midst of preparations for the 3rd SlopeSistair, which will be held at The Ranch in Grand Junction, CO on August 28-30, 2009.--FF

Name: Christina Stephanie Danya Nychka
Hometown: Beaverlodge, Alberta
Current Residence: Seattle, WA
Age: 29
Favorite type of riding: Slopestyle, A-Line-ish trails
Why you ride: The progression in this sport is unlike any other I've ever experienced, and being good can happen as easily as you allow it. And it feels good to be good at the sports you love! My development as a rider has been proportional to my love for riding. It makes me smile big.
Sponsors: Transition, Dakine, Five Ten, Skull Candy, Smith Optics, OGIO

I went to university to play volleyball, but ended up living with roommates who rode bikes, which is how I was introduced to riding. I met my fiancé, Joel, while riding during that time. After we were engaged, he began chiropractic school and I moved to Europe to play volleyball professionally. While I was there, he passed away suddenly and I was completely uprooted. The only thing I knew to do was finish what we began together, so I transferred to the chiropractic college he had attended in Minneapolis. There was nowhere to ride though--bikes or boards--and I needed that release. I moved to Whistler and took 8 months off of school to ride bikes and to organize SlopeSistair.

It was during that break that I knew I wanted to be a chiropractor for the right reasons—for myself, and because I love being able to give back to sports and athletes. Since I graduated, I’ve become involved events around Seattle, and have been traveling a lot to work with athletes—and firefighters, policemen, and other professionals. I love my job!

I raced bikes for a couple of years starting in 2000. I rode for, and even though I didn't like the intensity and pressure very much, I did fairly well, finishing 2nd overall in the 2002 Canada Cup series. I wasn't a smooth rider, but I wasn't scared of much. Prioritizing my skills has definitely changed a bit since!

I gravitated towards slopestyle because it was a combination of so many other disciplines: speed control, fluidity, style, yet it was unique for its absence of a clock. I love the challenge and adrenaline and risk that goes into hitting big jumps and drops. I prefer Boneyard-style jumps and drops—the one-hit, choose-your-own-adventure trails. Your personality and riding style are mirrored in your flow and feature preferences, no two riders ever look the same.

I think the most important riding skill is so basic—and something I didn’t learn how to do until two years ago. One of my favorite people to ride with taught me how to work the trail, how to pump the terrain and use the bike’s suspension. It looked sexy when he did it, and it made me feel sexy once I learned how to do it! I still have a ways to go and its something I probably should have learned first, but better now than never, right?

I’m a more confident rider now, and I know it’s a skill that will transfer to every aspect of riding whether it be dirt jumping, xc, slopestyle or downhill. Whistler`s Crank It Up trail is a fantastic place to practice. Bottom line: Go back to the basics--BMX & pumptracks are the best places to learn how to handle a bike.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sundance Showdown Results

The first race of the Utah Downhill Series was held at Sundance, UT last weekend. Ana Rodriguez posted the fastest women's time in the downhill, winning the Cat. 1 race. She was also the only female competitor in the Super D. I'm sure we'll see more girls out at the next race, the Bountiful Bomber, which takes place next weekend in Bountiful, UT. For more information about the series, visit

Cat 1 Women
1. Ana Rodriguez
2. Joy Sather

Cat 2 Women 13-18
1. Natalie Dehlinger

Super D
Cat 1 Women
1. Ana Rodriguez

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

US Open Downhill Finals

Miranda Miller scored the biggest win of her career to date with just .09 seconds to spare over Kathy Pruitt at the US Open downhill in Vernon, NJ. Miranda was just .49 seconds in front of third-place rider, Fionn Griffiths, who was the leader coming out of qualifiers. Talk about a tight race!

Pro Women
1. Miranda Miller
2. Kathy Pruitt
3. Fionn Griffiths
4. Melissa Buhl
5. Micayla Gatto
6. Katrina Strand
7. Joanna Petterson
8. Karen Eagan
9. Stephani Gubernat
10. Alexis Wruble
11. Rebecca McQueen
12. Katie Holden
13. Lauren Petersen
14. Rae Gandolf
15. Allie Burch
16. Linden Lane
17. Amanda Pilling

Amateur Women Junior
1. Lauren Daney
2. Taylor Allison

Amateur Women
1. Johanne Tuttle
2. Rosy Metcalfe
3. Rebecca Gardner
4. Hannah Trimble
5. Becky Bagley
6. Desiree Saad Miles
7. Meredith Mansfield

For more information, visit

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angel Fire Chile Challenge Results

The Angel Fire Chile Challenge took place at Angel Fire, NM this weekend. Intermittent rain showers, one thunderstorm, and 75-degree weather in between made for exciting riding conditions all around. Leana Gerrard won the 4X, which is held on one of the biggest mountaincross courses ever, Joy Martin won the Super D on her V10, and Rachel Bauer took the downhill win by about 20 seconds. I'm still looking for the amateur mountaincross results, so I'll post those soon!

Pro Women
1. Rachel Bauer
2. Darian Harvey
3. Jackie Harmony
4. Jennifer Wolf
5. Addie Stewart
6. Stephanie Leonard
7. Connie Misket
8. Michelle Rivera
9. Lisa Reinhard
10. Joy Martin
11. Julie Olson
12. Kimber Gabryszak

Cat. 1/2 Women
1. Christen Boyer
2. Soraya Khalje
3. Katy Monger
4. Rosie Bernhard
5. Erica Phillips
6. Melissa O'Connell
7. Liana Gregory
8. Tara Alcantara
9. AnneMarie Hennes
12. Billie Mohrbach
13. Kristin Buell
14. Stephanie Jury
15. Lana Lawson
16. Margaret Gregory
17. Brittany Engleking

Cat. 3 Women Junior
1. Sarina Adams

Pro Women
1. Leana Gerrard
2. Jackie Harmony
3. Darian Harvey
4. Michelle Rivera
5. Stephanie Leonard
6. Joy Martin
7. Addie Stewart

Super D
Open Women
1. Joy Martin
2. Connie Misket
3. Michelle Rivera
4. Jessica Kirkpatrick
5. Mary Hoyle
6. Lynn Bush
7. Lindsey Bishop
8. Lianna Miller
9. Sarah Teacher
10. Sara Landis

Women 18 & Under
1. Alicia Rose Pastore

Women 19 +
1. Eden Sierra
2. Erica Phillips
3. Christin McCurdy

Sunday, May 24, 2009

US Open Giant Slalom and DH Qualifying Results

The first races of the US Open in Vernon, NJ are over. Jill Kintner bested Melissa Buhl in the Giant Slalom, a mini-DH/super-DS course where one rider at a time raced the clock. Fionn Griffiths holds the fastest time from the downhill qualifier, putting 8 seconds between herself and second-place rider Rebecca McQueen. The downhill finals will be held today at Diablo Freeride Park!

Giant Slalom Finals
Pro Women
1. Jill Kintner
2. Melissa Buhl
3. Kathy Pruitt
4. Fionn Griffiths
5. Joanna Petterson

Amatuer Women Junior
1. Taylor Allison
2. Kiri Graves

Amatuer Women Senior
1. Rosy Metcalfe
2. Hannah Trimble
3. Becky Bagley

Downhill Qualifying
Pro Women
1. Fionn Griffiths
2. Rebecca McQueen
3. Katrina Strand
4. Kathy Pruitt
5. Micayla Gatto
6. Katie Holden
7. Melissa Buhl
8. Alexis Wruble
9. Karen Eagan
10. Stephanie Gubernat
11. Allie Burch
12. Lauren Petersen
13. Miranda Miller
14. Joanna Petterson
15. Amanda Pilling
16. Linden Lane
17. Rae Gandolf

Amatuer Women Junior
1. Taylor Allison
2. Lauren Daney

Amatuer Women Senior
1. Rosy Metcalfe
2. Johanne Tuttle
3. Rebecca Gardner
4. Hannah Trimble
5. Becky Bagley
6. Desiree Saad Miles
7. Meredith Mansfield
8. Walesa Pronce

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One More Reason to Ride in New Mexico

The races at Angel Fire this weekend may be getting all the hoopla, there's another New Mexico race happening next weekend. The Pajarito Punishment is being held May 30-31 at the Pajarito Ski Area. Never heard of it? Me neither. Check it out:
$20 day passes and $80 season passes! Heck yes!

More information about the race is available at

CCCX #5 Results

The 5th race in the CCCX downhill series was held at Toro Park, CA last weekend. Sharon Hill represented for the women with the fastest time. The final race in the 6-race series will be held June 7 at Toro Park.

Expert Women
1. Sharon Hill
2. Megan Zemny

Beginner Women
1. Ayshe Tuncer
2. Jill Henrich
3. Kim Krueger

More information is available at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Diablo Gravity Series #1 Results

Diablo Freeride Park in Vernon, NJ held it's first downhill race of the season on Sunday. Several athletes got out to dial in the Park before this weekend's US Open. Allie Burch continued her winning ways in the Pro downhill, though she claims that Lauren won the beginning and end of the course, while she just made up time in the middle. Whatever, Allie. You're fast.

Pro Women
1. Allie Burch
2. Lauren Petersen

Amateur Women
1. Becky Gardner
2. Marielle Lueker
3. Kendra Wheeler

You can learn more about the series at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Thaw Downhill Results

Ashland, OR hosted the Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival this weekend. If you haven't been to Ashland, it's definitely worth the trip. There are trails just above town, so you can shuttle up and ride all the way back to your house....or the coffee shop where you can get giant chocolate cookies. The downhill course is pretty smooth and really pedally, with lots of tight switchbacks. Leana Gerrard put her cornering skills to the test and took the win over Mariska Chuse.

Pro Women
1. Leana Gerrard
2. Mariska Chuse

Cat. 1 Women
1. Cierra Smith
2. Sandra Ross

Cat. 2 Women 29 & Under
1. Jen Schenk
2. Amber Brock

Cat. 2 Women 30+
1. Elaine Bothe
2. Melissa Boyd

Cat. 3 Women
1. Barbara Jones
2. Ruby Tidd
3. Claire Wright

Full results at

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vallnord World Cup Results

The third downhill and 4X races in the World Cup series were held at Vallnord, Andorra this weekend. Sabrina Jonnier took her second downhill win in a row, which also gives her the lead in the series. In 4X, Jill Kintner and Jana Horakova took each other out in a corner, giving Fionn Griffiths a clear path to victory. She held off Anneke Beerten for the win. Anneke maintains her lead in the series. The next World Cup 4X and downhill races will be held at Ft. William, Scotland on June 6-7.

1. Sabrina Jonnier
2. Emmeline Ragot
3. Tracy Moseley
4. Celine Gros
5. Myriam Nicole
6. Mio Suemasa
7. Florian Pugin
8. Melissa Buhl
9. Fionn Griffiths
10. Anais Pajot
11. Emilie Siegenthaler
12. Katy Curd
13. Micayla Gatto
14. Petra Bernhard
15. Miranda Miller
16. Diana Marggraff
17. Claire Buchar
18. Anita Molcik
19. Jessica Stone

1. Fionn Griffiths
2. Anneke Beerten
3. Jana Horakova
4. Jill Kintner
5. Emmeline Ragot
6. Melissa Buhl
7. Caroline Buchanan
8. Rachel Seydoux
9. Joanna Petterson
10. Mio Suemasa
11. Diana Marggraff
12. Angelika Hohenwarter
13. Lucia Oetjen
14. Helene Valerie Fruhwirth
15. Eva Castro Fernandez
16. Neven Steinmetz
17. Anita Molcik
18. Sarsha Huntington
19. Steffi Marth
20. Katarina Tothova
21. Esther Leroy
22. Tereza Votavova
23. Maria Sanchez Veliz
24. Romana Labounkova

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The East Coast Rides Again

The snow has melted, the daffodils are blooming, and it’s almost time for the guys to get out there and mow the lawn while we ladies hit the resorts that have already opened for mountain biking season. Quite frankly, the East Coast has it going on, and to prove it, I'm going to take you on a little road trip.

The adventure starts with a warm-up in the Big Apple. New York City’s Highbridge Park features dirt jumps and a pump track right in the middle of urbania. Although there are no lifts here, it’ll do you some good to pedal around after a day of eating at any of the fabulous places in the city.

Heading away from the skyscrapers and concrete of New York City, travel northwest into the rolling hills of rural New Jersey and into the parking lot of Mountain Creek’s Diablo Freeride Park in Vernon. This is pretty much the East’s first and premier freeride park. After a day of world-class freeriding, take a day--if you can spare it--and play in the water park.

From New Jersey travel back into the Catskills of Upstate NY to ride another one of New York’s gems, Plattekill. What Diablo is with it’s groomed and buffed out jumps, landings and berms, Plattekill is its au naturale opposite. Its fast trails and legendary steepness lends itself to well-honed riding skills. It’s a little local place with gritty charm and now offers riding camps, racing, a dual slalom course, and $199 season passes before 5/15/09! Camp in the parking lots and make sure to say hi to Laslow.

Just a few minutes up the road is Hunter Mountain where flowy, mellow trails are not as knuckle whitening as at Plattekill, but still offer fun and challenge for riders of all levels. Hunter Mountain would be a perfect place for the fledgling gravity rider to hone their skills and gain confidence. Rental and guided ride packages as well as hourly mountain bike lessons are available.

The fourth destination, Catamount, is just getting into the gravity and freeride scene. Catamount offers a skills park, lift-served downhill riding, and dirt jumps. Freeride Foundation's field team (AKA Mrs. Allegra Burch) has not yet had the opportunity to scope out this area in detail, but we’ve heard positive things from riders of all abilities.

Now we'll travel north and cross over into Massachusetts to ride Jiminy Peak. The riding starts to get back into a mix of natural techi-ness and flow. Again, the Freeride Foundation field team cannot provide the gritty details, but Jiminy Peak has been advised as a place that must be ridden.

A short and scenic three-hour drive puts us back in New York and in the wilds of the Adirondack Park. We travel towards Lake Placid, the home of the 1981 Olympics and breathtaking eastern mountain views of Whiteface Mountain. Whiteface is a gem, although not for the faint of heart. Nicknamed “Iceface” for bare spans of windblown Canadian shield, it boasts miles and miles of trails that swoop through loamy wooded sections and plunge down shelves of rectangular rock. This is where the legendary 5k Downhill Race takes place, and don’t be fooled, it’s legit.

Whiteface also has a pump track at mid-mountain that’s a replica of the municipal pump track of Stowe, VT. If you go, find Downhill Mike in the shop and tell him Freeride Foundation sent ya. Make sure to check out The Flume swimming hole while you’re there!

No trip would be complete without ice cream, so off to Vermont we go. After spending time guzzling maple syrup and recovering from Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia induced brain freeze, we roll over to Killington, VT to work off some of those calories. Again, sadly the Freeride Foundation field team is lacking in details, but reports say Killington is fun, fun, fun and very welcoming to women. From what we understand, there is something here for everyone. Hucks, leisurely descents and high-speed sections. We’re hoping to see good things on the riding front coming from Killington!

“Live Free or Die!” Ok, we accept. Helloooo Highland Bike Park of New Hampshire! This former hole-in-the-wall ski resort was snapped up for a song by some local riders and turned into a mountain bike Zion. Dirt Jumps, well built stunts, flowy trails and a lift--Highland Bike Park has it going on. It plays host to numerous major slope style events and has an overall great scene. Good food and frosty beverages are available on-site.

Note: Freeride Foundation’s East Coast field tester had a little trouble wrapping her head around Highland at first, but once she started trusting all of the features, all was well!

Just in case we hadn’t gotten our fill of maple and creamy frozen treats, we head back to Vermont and visit the legendary Mt. Snow. Mt. Snow has hosted national and local races nearly since the inception of the sport of mountain biking. Mt. Snow’s trails are FAST and may the lord have mercy on your soul if it rains. There is freeriding here, which is worth checking out along with the amazing scenery.

Don’t forget your bug spray and to stop in the deli in the village and get yourself a “Vermonter” sandwich. Apple, bacon and ham drizzled in maple syrup and snuggled between two thick slices of French toast!

This concludes our lift-served East Coast road trip. However that’s not what the East Coast is all about. Simply epic trail riding abounds in every one of these states, and even more lift served gravity action is available as you travel south into Maryland (Wisp) and West Virginia (Snowshoe).

Hopefully everyone will have an opportunity to come out here and ride. You’ll get more bang for your buck than nearly any state in the West and be no more than five hours from one of the world’s premier cities.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CCCX #4 Results

The fourth round of the 7-race CCCX series was held May 3 at Toro Park, CA. Sharon Hill posted the fastest time for the ladies, and was also the only girl to break 7 minutes on the Super-D-style course. The next race will be held May 17 at Toro Park.

Expert Women
1. Sharon Hill
2. Kelly Moore

Sport Women
1. Kelly Johnson
2. Ashley Hernandez

Beginner Women
1. Ayshe Tuncer
2. Kim Krueger
3. Dede Cowden
4. Andrea Locke

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Allie Wins at Massenutten!

Our own Allie Burch took the win at the Massenutten Yee-haw downhill race in McGaheysville, VA this weekend. This race was part of the USA Cycling Gravity Calendar, and kicks off the East Coast racing season.

Pro Women
1. Allegra Burch
2. Stephanie Gubernat
3. Lauren Petersen
4. Hillary Elgert
5. Ellen Adams
6. Alicia Jakomait

Cat. 1 Junior Women 18 & Under
1. Lauren Daney

Cat. 1 Senior Women 19-29
1. Kristine Koch
2. Kristin Cousin

Cat. 1 Master Women 30-39
1. Rae Gandolf
2. Tamara Peloquin

Cat. 1 Master women 40+
1. Vicki Koch

Cat. 2 Senior Women 19-29
1. Hannah Trimble
2. Marielle Lueker

Cat. 2 Master Women 30-39
1. Kelly Hazlegrove

Cat. 2 Master Women 40+
1. Anna Cain

Cat. 3 Master women 30-39
1. Leanne McCann

Results and standings can be found at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jonnier Wins at La Bresse

Sabrina Jonnier returned to the top of the podium at the second World Cup downhill race of the season. This weekend's race in La Bresse, FRA saw Sabrina best current World Cup points leader Tracy Moseley by 5 seconds. Tracy has been consisently winning races this season, but Sabrina was on her home soil and proved that she's still very much in the game. The next World Cup race will be held in Vallnord, Andorra next weekend and will be the third stop for both downhill and mountaincross.

1. Sabrina Jonnier
2. Tracy Moseley
3. Myriam Nicole
4. Mio Suemasa
5. Emmeline Ragot
6. Celine Gros
7. Fionn Griffiths
8. Melissa Buhl
9. Floriane Pugin
10. Emilie Siegenthaler
11. Petra Bernhard
12. Miriam Ruchti
13. Joanna Petterson
14. Diana Marggraff
15. Helen Gaskell
16. Anita Molcik
17. Jessica Stone
18. Antje Kramer
19. Micayla Gatto
20. Caroline Sax

We found these results on

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chalk Creek Stampeded Results

The Chalk Creek Stampede is the first gravity race of the 2009 Mountain States Cup calendar. The event, held in Nathrop, CO last weekend, included a dual slalom race and a mountaincross race. I always have trouble figuring out final placings from dual slalom brackets, so visit for the full results. Rachel Bauer took the dual slalom win and Bobbi Kae Watt took the mountaincross victory.

Dual Slalom
Pro, Cat. 1/2 Women
1. Rachel Bauer
2. Christen Boyer
3. Jackie Harmony
4. Neven Steinmetz
(then, I'm pretty sure it's:)
5. Jessica Vogt
6. Katy Monger
7. Lana Lawson

Pro, Cat.1 Women
1. Bobbi Kae Watt
2. Neven Steinmetz
3. Jessica Vogt
4. Jacquline Harmony
5. Rachel Bauer
6. Christen Boyer
7. Michelle Rivera
8. Catherine Cantway

Junior Women
1. Lana Lawson
2. Danika Gillespie

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ranchstyle Results

The Grassroots Cycles Ranchstyle contests were held at The Ranch in Grand Junction on April 25-26. There were clinics, rides, a dual slalom race, and a slopestyle contest. Jackie Harmony won the dual slalom, and we have insider information that tells us that Tammy Donahugh slayed the slopestyle course.

Dual Slalom
1. Jackie Harmony
2. Tammy Donahugh
3. Bobbi Kae Watt
4. Nadia Steinbrecher
5. Erin Borg
6. Marissa Doss
7. Sara Landis
8. Katy Monger

For more information, visit

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pro Gravity Tour Round 1 Results (aka Fluidride Cup!)

The first round of the newly-formed Pro Gravity Tour was held this weekend in Port Angeles, WA. The racing was also part of the second round of the Fluidride Cup series. Katie Holden took the Tour lead with a commanding downhill win (and she's our Featured Rider for May too!).

Pro Women
1. Katie Holden
2. Kathy Pruitt
3. Katrina Strand
4. Abigail Hippely
5. Darian Harvey
6. Sondra Williamson
7. Leana Gerrard
8. Dawn Lambert
9. Joy Mutoli
10. Rebecca McQueen
11. Jennifer Wolf

Cat. 1 Women
1. Chelsey Stevens
2. Cassandra Stamm
3. Shelby Reilly
4. Kat Sweet
5. Susan Del Pino
6. Brook Shore

Cat. 2 Women
1. Alexandria Bicknell
2. Kathy Malvern
3. Jessica Serdowich
4. Amanda Markell
5. Summer Northern
6. Jen Schenk
7. Lisa Ness
8. Ashley Smeltzer
9. Asta Sestrap
10. Yvonne Gillette
11. Hailey Soukkoth

Cat. 3 Women Open
1. Rachel DeLateur
2. Amy Torget
3. Shelly LeCuyer

Cat. 3 Women 18 & Under
1. Paige Norman
2. Cheyenne Smith
3. Adrianna Moroz

The next round of the Pro Gravity Tour will be held at Angel Fire, NM May 22-25, and the next Fluidride Cup is June 26-28 at Mt. Hood, OR.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May's Featured Rider: Katie Holden

Katie Holden is a talented downhill and dual slalom racer based in Whistler, BC. Katie has quickly become a podium threat at North American races, and she has her eyes on top 10 finishes at the two Canadian World Cup downhill races this season. She's studying Destination Resort Management and will be working for Tourism Whistler this summer and through the Vancouver Olympics. But Katie isn't all work and no play, she's an absolute riot to hang out with, and she's always ready to ride.--FF

Name: Katie Holden
Home: Whistler, BC
Age: 24
Favorite type of riding: Downhill
Why you ride: I love it!
Sponsors: Specialized, Race Face, Sunline, 661, Leatt, SRAM, 5.10, Crankbrothers, Smith, Gamut

When I was young I always wanted to go to the Olympics for swimming or be a sled dog racer in the Iditarod! Although the sports are different, I feel like I am not too far from my childhood dreams.

In high school we had a week out of every year called Focus Week where we would get out of class for a week and go on a trip with a teacher. My trip to Greece and Italy was canceled because of September 11th. So, I had to pick another trip. All of the trips were filled up except a bike trip and a film festival. I can barely sit through a movie, so I chose to go on the bike trip. I had absolutely no interest in biking. I didn't even want to go, but I went and it changed my life. The camp was led up by Simon Lawton (formerly of DownhillNorthwest now with Fluidride) and Damien Smith (now a Yeti World Cup mechanic). They got me so stoked on riding. I was super into softball and soccer and I quit both of those shortly after the camp. All I wanted to do is ride. My life has revolved around biking since that week!

I rode Whistler for the first time at the end of the 2002 season, but I got hurt so that was the end of that. Luckily, it made me like biking even more, so the following summer I came back. I have been here for 2 winters and every summer since. I love it here, so it is pretty much my permanent home now. Whistler is hard to explain. I love it because I can bike, ski, snowboard, hike, go to the beach--basically I can do everything that I love to do. But beyond that, Whistler is rad because of the people. There are so many passionate, hard-working, driven people in this town that it really motivates me to be better at everything. In the summer, I'm pushed to be a better biker. In the winter, I'm pushed to be a better skier. In the gym I'm pushed to work harder than I thought possible. The sense of community here is incredible!

People give me a hard time about it all the time, but riding chainless has done so much for my riding. I ride chainless a lot. When you are riding without a chain you just look at the trail differently. You are looking at how the natural terrain can make you go faster. Not only do you gain speed in technical stuff but you have much better traction, because you are not concerned about braking. You are concerned about increasing your speed and keeping your rhythm. If you are having a hard time riding a section, take your chain off.

Another piece of advice is to ride with people who are better than you. Sure it can be intimidating but it will make you a better rider, I promise!

Houffalize 4X World Cup Results

Jill Kintner won the World Cup 4X race in Houffalize, Belgium, after maintaining the lead in the final for nearly the entire race. Second-place rider Jana Horakova tried to chase her down, but was unsuccessful. Anneke Beerten came in 3rd, but keeps her lead in the World Cup 4X series.

1. Jill Kintner
2. Jana Horakova
3. Anneke Beerten
4. Romana Labounkova
5. Melissa Buhl
6. Anita Molcik
7. Emmeline Ragot
8. Lucia Oetjen
9. Diana Marggraff
10. Joanna Petterson
11. Fionn Griffiths
12. Helene Valerie Fruhwirth
13. Mio Suemasa
14. Katarina Tothova
15. Steffi Marth
16. Rachel Seydoux
17. Sarsha Huntington
18. Angelika Hohenwarter
19. Marielle Jonker
20. Eva Castro Fernandez
21. Tereza Votavova
22. Elfriede Lehmann
23. Stephanie Teltscher
24. Neza Knez

We found these results on

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Houffalize 4X World Cup Qualifying

The second round of World Cup 4X this season is underway in Houffalize, Belgium. There is only cross country and mountaincross racing in Belgium this weekend. The only gravity participants from the US are Jill Kintner and Melissa Buhl, and they're killing it in a field that stacked with talent. Jill qualified first over Anneke Beerten, and Melissa qualified 5th. The finals will be held later today.

1. Jill Kintner
2. Anneke Beerten
3. Romana Labounkova
4. Jana Horakova
5. Melissa Buhl
6. Emmeline Ragot
7. Anita Molcik
8. Lucia Oetjen
9. Diana Marggraff
10. Joanna Petterson
11. Mio Suemasa
12. Fionn Griffiths
13. Rachel Seydoux
14. Sarsha Huntington
15. Katarina Tothova
16. Angelika Hohenwarter
17. Steffi Marth
18. Marielle Jonker
19. Helene Valerie Fruhwirth
20. Neza Knez
21. Eva Castro Fernandez
22. Tereza Votavova
23. Elfriede Lehmann
24. Stephanie Teltscher

Friday, May 1, 2009

Downhilling on the Cheap

As I was getting ready to leave the bike shop after a ride, a group of kids flocked through the door, and surrounded my downhill bike, which was propped up in the window.

This particular shop primarily sells cross country and road bikes, so to see a “real live” downhill sled sitting there was an anomaly. The shop owner was chatting up the young “regulars” when I heard him say and point at me, “That’s hers. She races downhill.” Suddenly their attention and questions shot in my direction.

Them: “How much did you pay for that?”

Me: “I had to mow a lot of lawns to get that.”

Them: “How much would you sell that for?”

Me: “I can’t afford to sell it.”

I then recognized one of the kids in the group. “Hey, I remember you.” I say. “I saw you doing some flatland trials stuff in the pavilion at the park. You’re an awesome rider!” I remember being impressed by him.

The conversation moved into which bike might be best for him, where he’d actually be able to ride it, etc. He was so fired up about riding but nearly deflated when he saw how much the bike he really wanted was going to cost him, not to mention the other expenses. That’s when it dawned on me that, damn! This sport IS expensive when you look at everything in one big chunk.

In these tough economic times many of us might be in the same situation as these guys. We want to ride and race every weekend, but as they say, “No dough, no show.” We’re stuck wishing we could afford a new downhill bike (or wishing we could ride the one we already have every weekend), but the cost of everything that goes along with it seems too prohibitive.

The good news is that we don't have to resort to a life of badminton and mall walking. There are a lot of ways for riders of all incomes, ages, and ability levels to get our gravity fixes on sweet, sweet singletrack.

Where to Save the Money

Rent bikes.
The initial investment of a full downhill rig is staggering. Figure dropping at least $2000 on a worthy used downhill bike, or if buying new, plan on spending that much just for the frame. If you have the money, go for it, but those that can’t drop that kind of coin on a bike that can only be ridden in one direction, fear not. More and more resorts, shops, and riding spots offer a full line of very nice downhill bikes for rent.

For example, Diablo Freeride park in NJ rents Jamis Dakar BAM I and II between $89 and $99 a day while Whiteface Mountain in upstate NY rents Giants for a few dollars less. That amount might seem like allot, but figure this: If you get to Diablo five times this year and rent, you’ve spent about $500 to ride a fully pimped out ’09.

And, if you bend a rotor, break a lever, or explode your derailleur, as long as you've opted for the insurance, you don't have to worry about throwing more time and money into getting it fixed before your next day on the dirt.

If you rent next year, you’ll spend the money on a pimped out ’10 while all of your other buddies are still riding and making credit card payments on their old beat down rigs. The best part is that no matter what, you don’t have to do any wrenching or buy any new parts! It's also a great way to test ride different brands to find out which bike you'd really want to buy, when you've mowed your 212th lawn.

Sure, you can hide the fact that you listen to Celine Dion on your way to the resort, but otherwise, driving by yourself is lame. It's dumb to spend money on gas to go ride while there are 3 empty seats in your car and plenty of other gas-money-paying people going riding at the same place.

If you start talking to other riders on the chairlift, at lunch, or in the parking lot, you'll be surprised by how many people live near you and are willing to carpool. If you're having trouble meeting folks in person, start up a ride board at your local bike shop or check out the Freeride Foundation forum to see with whom you can carpool. Other places to check are, and

Not only will your wallet thank you, but you'll connect with riding new buddies and improve your overall riding experience at the resort and closer to home too.
Carpooling is smart for many reasons...

Bringing your own food from a grocery store is going to save you more than you realize. Pre-made sandwiches purchased from fast food joints or Seven-Elevens are gnarly, expensive and give you gas that can't be used to get you home. Resort food is often overpriced and lacking in selection.

By bringing a cooler packed with a well-thought-out selection of cold cuts, bread, peanut butter, jugs of water and other bulk goodies is going to give you more energy, more food, and more money in your wallet. Plus, you can swing by the car at any time for a quick snack. We all ride better and smarter when we're well fed.
Well-fed riders are happy riders.
Lift Tickets.
Many places are still offering deals on a summer season pass. If you know you’re going to ride any one place often enough to use it, then go for it. If not, honestly assess how often you’ll be going to the same place. For example, there are at least nine lift-serviced downhill areas within five hours of New York City. With that many places to explore, is a season pass to one resort really going to pay off?

Just like skiing, generally you can score a better price by buying a two-day ticket. For example, Plattekill in NY offers an all-day ticket for $30. However if you’re there for two days in a row, the 2nd day is only $10 more. (One day for $30 or two days for $40).

Look for other packages. Hunter Mountain in NY offers a “Freeride Package” that includes rental, lift ticket, and a guided summit tour for $99.

Afternoon sessions generally knock a few more dollars off the price of a full-day pass. This might be an excellent option for early season riding. If you’re not sure that you can ride the entire day, why pay for it?

Ladies’ Days.
Some resorts offer a "Ladies’ Day" where women ride for free. Not only are these events generally incredibly fun, you can’t beat the price! Just pay attention to Freeride Foundation's blog here, sites like Decline or, and your favorite resort's event calendar to find the specials.

Get involved.
There’s a good chance if you volunteer your time and efforts into trail maintenance, course marshaling for a race or other random jobs around a mountain you’ll get comp’d a pass. Or, you could get a job working lifts, trails, or at a resort shop and get a your season pass paid for while you make a little extra cash.

Where Not to Skimp

Get your own lid if you’re going to be riding more than once. A proper fit is critical. Helmet padding packs out and the medium you rented two weekends ago may not fit you the way it did the last time you rented it. Also, helmets are not designed to take blow after blow. You don’t want to take the chance of using a helmet that’s already been "trail tested" and have it fail when you’re noggin is in it.

Plus, you sweat a lot when you ride, and so does everyone else. You're more likely to wear your helmet properly if you know you're the only sweaty head that's been in it. There are plenty of full-face helmets out there in reasonable price ranges. Just be sure to try it on and make sure it fits properly.

Get yourself some good full-fingered gloves. Might I suggest the Kona Supreme Gloves? Very "handy" to keep all of your digits protected for when you get a bit closer to the ground or trees than you planned.

Protective Gear.
While you can rent downhill suits, shin, elbow and knee guards, I would suggest making the investment and buying your own gear, again proper fit is paramount. You want to make sure that the knee/shin guards fit your legs and don’t slide down your shins. Same holds true with a downhill jacket that offers spine protection. If you have a suit that “kinda” fits, and shifts when you land on a rock, that could very well be the difference between having spent the money for something that fits well and works vs. never walking again. Besides, there’s nothing worse than putting on someone else’s pre-worn sweat-soaked squishy pads against your skin. Click here to check out some options from Fox.

Now you can compare the cost of buying vs. renting a bike, pack your car full of friends, go to the closest resort offering a sweet lift ticket deal, and know that you're getting the most bang for your buck this season. And hopefully you can convince a few friends that riding downhill isn't too expensive, and they'll join in on the fun as well.