Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Want a Free Entry to the Santa Cruz Coppermine?

Free stuff, we all love free stuff and here's your chance to get a free entry to the Santa Cruz Coppermine Epic.
Hurry, this competition will finish at the end of the month.....but it's easy as one, two, three.

1) Go to the Coppermine Epic facebook page.

2) Post a picture of your Santa Cruz Bicycle....you're allowed to be in the picture too.
Here's one of Damian Stones of Firepit.co.nz fame

3) Post why you just bloody love your Santa Cruz Bicycle, e.g......"I love my Jackal because it just rails the pump track"......as seen in the above picture.
4) Yeah, the free entry will go to a current Santa Cruz owner, but who knows, maybe we have another competition next month, maybe we won't....although I do have an idea for the next competition already...but it might be really hard.

SMALL PRINT, we, the Coppermine People will decide on the free entry, we'll take bribes, but it might not help your cause....but then again, you'll never know until you try.

Did I miss anything?

Firepit Dirtpark - Spring Dirt Jam video

BIG THANKS to Damian Stones for a great day.


Firepit dirtpark spring jam 2011 from bikeworks on Vimeo.
Firepit dirtpark spring jam 2011



www.firepit.co.nz

www.facebook.com/Firepitpumptrack

twitter.com/pumptrack



Santa Cruz pump track enduro

Pump track King and Queen flying lap

Straitline Whip off



http://firepit.co.nz/2011/10/07/firepit-spring-dirt-jam/



Sponsors:



- Straitline components - http://www.straitlinecomponents.com/

- Santa Cruz Bicycle - http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/home/

- Hyperformance hardware - http://hyperformancehardware.blogspot.com/

- Spoke - http://spokemagazine.com/

 - Bikeworks

Momentum Trail Concepts - Make Great Trails and Ride Great Bikes


Friday, October 21, 2011

Petrol Head Friday - 2012 Toyota Camry

It's a funny old world, the Toyota Camry is a very important car for Toyota, so you want to make sure you appeal to a wide market.

No prizes for guessing which advert I prefer.





Yeah, you need email access in your car....and that's still not a big dog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nelson Super D Series - Board Member's Rules.

Nelson has a Wednesday night Super-D series......which can only mean one thing.....all the people that I usually ride with will be entering......and of course since they're all a competitive lot, we can continue with the board member's rule 'fastest time, buys the beer'.  It's the simple things.
Chris Burr bought all the beers last time....third fastest time overall too.

Ben Warrick - A Quick Report about the Trans-Provence


If you haven't heard of the Trans-Provence, best you click on the link and school yourself up.  It's a 7 day AM race around Europe with some very technical sections.
It's also limited to 55 people, not many......on ya 'to do' list yet?

Ben Warrick was lucky enough to be one of this years entrants...below is his report and there is a great write up on Anka Martin's blog too.


Trans-Provence, The battle for Monaco. 7 days of gnarly descending, gruelling climbs and epic carries awaited. After arriving in Nice, bikes were built and expectations high. 
"The best week ever on a bike" quote from a mate was what had got me there. Nothing could have prepared me for what we were going to encounter. 15,000 vertical metres of epic rocks, roots, dirt and clay tested man and machine to the limit. To get across just how steep and technical the trails are is impossible. Mark Weir summed it up best when after finishing a stage he proclaimed "that's above my pay grade"  Never before have I felt gravity like it, I'm sure it pulls harder down there in the maritime alps. I've always maintained that DH racing is the hardest competition out there, try doing 3-4 races a day, carrying bike and kit up between them. A war of attrition like never before, my new Ibis Mojo HD had done me proud, every mil of my 180 TALAS was appreciated. i needn't have worried about having been over biked. Frustrated by foolish tyre choices had left me out of contention from the early stages, I was left hungry for day stage glory. With the bike setup sorted the only weak link was me. Moments of flow (well ish.) had me in the top 5 on a couple of days, seeing my name up on the screen was good. Suddenly I wanted it there again. Inevitably this lead to crash mistake and crash but for the first time in my competitive history I'd been in contention.

Ash had done us proud, i salute him for even considering racing through the terrain we did.  Great camps, great food and great people finished of the most fun it's possible to have on a bike in a week.


Trans Provence Day 3 from Trans-Provence on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Anja McDonald - Love NZ

You may of seen Anja with her Blur LT carbon on the giant sized bill boards for the Love NZ Campaign


Now here's the youtube clip.


17 seconds of fame too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dave Sharpe IS Living the Highball Life

Dave Sharpe has something to write home about, the new Santa Cruz Highball.  You can read more about Sharpie's adventures here;

With a couple of assignments due by Friday, I've been coming up with new and exciting ways to procrastinate. Walking, spending more time a'strumming my geetar - even housework! The logical progression of things sees me now performing a 'review' of sorts, of nothing other than a Santa Cruz Highball.Now, I'm no Richard Cunningham (although I am laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant) so bear with me.

I picked up a Highball frame courtesy of some mean hooking up from Stylie and Bicycle as a replacement for my previous carbon 29er. Starting with a bare frame is always heaps of fun, and lets the new owner spec the machine out just 'so'.

I've popped a bunch of XTR on my Highball (Brakes, shifters, derailleurs, pedals), with an Easton cockpit, some HOT (but wonky, and mockery inducing) Rotor cranks, Fox suspension, and some plastic wheels. Bike weight is ~9.4kg with no unreliable components - the only weight weenie part being the Tioga saddle, which has more recently made way for my preferred Fi'zi:k Aliante XM.

Build aside, I was particularly interested in the way the Highball frame handled the rigors of the varied riding and terrain I intended to throw at it, and how it compared to my previous steed. The numbers are different on paper, but sometimes going from frame to frame they make an imperceptible difference to the ride, handling and general "feel" of a bike.
The frame I am using as a benchmark (and spent about 11 months aboard) is a Niner Air 9 Carbon. (This isn't a "head to head" as such, but handy to have a reference point).

The geometry of the Santa Cruz is only a little different from the Niner - it's slightly slacker in the head angle, with a lower BB. This part of the equation seems to add up for me - the Highball feels more stable, and I instantly felt a little more comfortable on the descents. The lower BB feels like it keeps the bike more 'planted' when the going gets steep or rough - with these two subtle but important geo differences, the Highball feels fantastic to descend on. Yes, it's still a carbon hardtail, so will punish poor line choice where a fully might allow more ploughing and gnar-steamery. On familiar trails where line choice isn't an issue the Highball certainly gets down to business.

Another thing I really liked about the Highball frame was the standard threaded BB shell - while it may be retro, it was lovely to be able to fit the quality bottom bracket I already had, not having to worry about pressfit (and the associated "standards"). The Highball takes a mixed inset headset - Chris King call it the "type 3" (now with split ring!), which are now fairly easy to find. Also, the chainstay clearance seems fantastic with regard to newer two chainring setups - I haven't heard of any issues running the range of systems available, from the "trail" XTR (26/38T rings) through to the race XTR, with 28/40 rings. I'd assume the same could be said for the Truvativ cranks. Rear tyre clearance is pretty good too - I'd imagine a 2.4 would be a little toight, but anything around a 2.0 - 2.2 is great.

For me, it strikes a very good balance between a bike that feels snappy at "race" pace on singletrack, yet encourages a bit more fun and enthusiasm when descending. The low weight is an added bonus.
I've deliberately neglected to mention how fricking AWESOME this frame looks too btw - I'm a matte fan myself, but the Black/Red gloss is also cool (if you're into that sort of stuff).

So, who is the Highball made for? I reckon it's a pretty versatile wee beast - with the setup I'm running it's probably tailored more towards the XC racing side of things, but as I've said, it's comfortable on long rides too. Throw on a 120mm fork and a slightly burlier build, and you've got a very capable and versatile hardtail that still weighs less than most bikes on the start line of your local XC race. I'd recommend the Highball to anyone looking for a high-end 29er hardtail, but doesn't fancy the all-out XC geo of most of the other offerings, but instead wants something a little more fun - that's what it's all about (yeah!), and the Highball delivers.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Petrol Head Friday - New BMW M5

BMW have the knack of making great fast salon cars, that don't look like they are fast.  There is a now a new one, the new BMW M5.  Best your quickly brush up on your BMW M5 facts, by clicking here;

Now check out the Stig doing what he does best with the new M5.


Good to see that things have progressed for the better.



More M5 testing


Want one yet?

And hopefully the new one will come out with an estate (station wagon)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hannah Thorne's Report on the BC Bike Race

Hannah Thorne finished in 2nd place in her first attempt at the BC Bike Race.....then she went on to win the TransWales, but that's another story.

Here's Hannah's report.

BC Bike Race 2011

It was a relief to finally arrive in Canada after ash clouds and earthquakes threatened our departure. But we made it, minus our bikes that overnighted in San Francisco before rejoining us 24 hours later.
Our pre-race week was spent in Vancouver, with our friend Joe Sales very kindly ferrying us around and showing us the sights. He and his son Paul and their crazy Australian dog Kevin treated us to some awesome North Shore and Squamish trails. In Vancouver, we were kindly put up by Georgina (a friend of a friend) who didn’t know us from Adam but nonetheless made us feel very at home, even entertaining us with a margarita evening.

Day 0 (aka day before race start) saw Marc (my partner and team mechanic) and I make the perilous journey across Vancouver in an enormous RV Marc was charged with driving from place to place during race week for Team Rabbit Ranch Racing, also from NZ.
At race briefing, as with all races in foreign countries we were warned of the dangerous wildlife which could potentially ruin our holiday. This time it was black bears and cougars (“fight to win” if you encounter these) and grizzly bears (adopt foetal position and await painful death). This was about all I took away from the race briefing before we were herded onto the bus, ferry and another bus to Cumberland on Vancouver island.
Here I met up with fellow kiwis (and Christchurch evacuees) Bridget and Craig with whom I shared many laughs throughout the week. At the pasta dinner in Cumberland that night we also became acquainted with Huw and Mark (aka team Scumbags, a comedic duo from Wales) and the cast list for the week was mostly complete.

Day 1 – Cumberland
Finally, after months of build-up I was in the start chute, heart hammering at over 100bpm, “Welcome to the Jungle” blaring from the speakers amping up the crowd. The start was an insane sprint off the line as if it was a short-track XC race and not a seven day endurance race. I hadn’t anticipated such a frantic start and suffered badly in the bottleneck into the first piece of singletrack.
With a sizeable trail network including trails such as “Thirsty Beaver” ,”Teapot” and “Buggered Pig” I figured we would be in for a treat in Cumberland. The first descent did not disappoint and was a fairly steep, fun, rocky, rooty affair where I was able to make up some ground. I had to grit my teeth and try to hang on along the flattish gravel road section in the middle before we hit more rooty, fun singletrack (woohoo!) again to finish.

I managed to pull off 3rd place in the Open Women’s category, before uncharacteristically and confidently proclaiming “I can do better!”
We dined in style that evening at the only Japanese restaurant in the one street that makes up Cumberland, and crawled into our tents ready to sleep before 10pm.
Day 2 – Campbell River
We awoke in Cumberland and after breakfasting on sautéed potatoes with maple syrup and chatting with Mark Weir and Brian Lopes (as you do) we jumped on the bus to Campbell River.
After again letting myself down against the roadies on the 7km gravel road sprint for the singletrack and finally clearing the bottleneck of people struggling to negotiate a 3 inch thick “log” across the trail, I started to have fun.  The majority of the course was rooty, rocky, slippery, techy gnarliness, followed by a final fast, flowy descent back into town, all set in the moist lush green ferny forest. This was one of my favourite days and I managed to sneak up a spot on the podium into second place.
That evening we gorged ourselves once more on a pretty amazing spread and were tucked up in our tent next to the sea as the sun was barely setting.
Day 3 – Powell River
Today involved some travel before we could race: a 45 min bus trip to Little River and over an hour on the ferry to Powell River. We were greeted by cheering locals as we walked in procession through the small town: hundreds of lycra-clad bodies each carrying their special little red gear bag must have been an interesting sight.

Today was hard work. An essentially flat/undulating course with roots everywhere – on the uphill, downhill and flat-made for very slow progress and provided a good upper body workout. I was involved in a tussle for 2nd place with my friend Yeti Beti (US rider Wendy) who would repeatedly overtake me on the gravel roads, then I would pass her on the singletrack before I was finally able to pull clear on a short downhill section.

My body was feeling pretty beaten up after the day’s efforts and to add insult to injury we had to queue for the showers as the organisers had wised up to the fact that there were about ten times more men than women at the race. All showers had been converted to unisex. It was a little disconcerting to see random male heads popping up over the tops of the cubicles whilst completely naked!
We camped by the sea again in probably the most beautiful campsite all week.

Day 4 – Earl’s Cove to Sechelt
After a quiet night in Powell River, we were on the move once more. A bus and very scenic ferry ride took us to the start line in the Earls Cove ferry terminal. This would be the longest day so far, and with a late morning start it was hard to engage the brain and body for another day of above threshold activity.
I felt very lethargic climbing out of Earl’s Cove and was passed by several girls on the long and exposed climb up and along a grassy ridge largely on 4WD track. The temperature was the highest it had been in the last few days.   I was frustrated.  “Damn this 4WD track? What’s wrong with my legs? Why am I so slow?”  As the day progressed and we headed into the trees for the odd bit of singletrack and the climbs got more technical I sighted my targets and was able to reclaim second place, feeling strong again. At the aid stations, I stockpiled Clif Shotbloks(like really good wine-gums) and kept shoving in the calories and guzzling water.
At one point I encountered a guy who was having chain troubles. He grudgingly made way but not before he had informed me that I better watch out because he was “really fast on the downhill”. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this, but didn’t see him again until a lot later – boys!  The day ended with a long descent to the town of Sechelt where the curry and noodle van awaited.  Marc was quite excited to share some Thai noodles and race stories with me, but after a big day I sort of forgot to stop eating after he had to go sort out some mechanical crisis with the Rabbit Ranch boys....
After the stage I started to sneeze and feel an unpleasant scratchy feeling at the back of my nose. It was official – I had a cold. I was immediately plunged into a deep depression at the thought that my race was over. Thankfully Bridget was on hand with her mobile pharmacy and provided me with a cocktail of “cold-be-gone” remedies. I had finally jumped into second place open woman overall and wasn’t keen to give it up.

Day 5 – Sechelt to Langdale
After a ropey nights sleep I awoke feeling decidedly rough. Marc dutifully shot off to the pharmacy for my decongestant of choice –Otrivin and also came back with a freshly baked croissant as I hadn’t quite been able to stomach the bagel with melted cheese that I had picked up at breakfast. We were informed that today’s ride had been shortened to 30km from the initially planned 40km(hooray) so I hoped this would act as a “recovery day” for me. I started well on the steep, loose, rocky 4WD track climb but soon lost my advantage and watched my rival Yeti Beti’s long skinny legs and lycra-clad rear power away from me on her wagon-wheeled hardtail up the smoother gravel road. I couldn’t quite hack her pace today and in a defeatist moment decided on a “damage limitation” strategy hoping I would feel perkier tomorrow.

I struggled on the final downhill largely due to my anger at the fact we were 30km in according to Garmin nerd and where the hell was the finish line? Er, not here and not for another 10km it turns out.  I cursed the Ewoks for their out of control construction of “skinnies” and I struggled to follow the bits of course- marking tape intermittently dispersed amongst the trees. I was passed by Jen, the race leader. “Grrr local knowledge, grrr damn Ewoks, I feel like crap, when will this end?”  This was not my best day and it was a shame as I’m sure I would have loved the descent if I hadn’t been so annoyed.  My usually super grippy Maxxis Crossmark and Ikon tyres weren’t feeling so good and I seemed to be bouncing off every tiny little root.  I put this down to me “riding like a Muppet” and ploughed on towards the finish. As it turns out, overnight in secure storage the helpful race mechanics had kindly pumped my front tyre to 36psi thinking my usual 20psi was too flat!! Marc said there were lots of happy faces at the finish, so maybe a return trip might be in order to appreciate it.
I was back into third overall but not far back. I boarded the ferry with a face like thunder but was soon lulled into calm by hot chips and the exchange of amusing race anecdotes with Bridget and Craig. We arrived in Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver to a wintery blast.
We racers were bussed up to Squamish where the rain was lashing down and the wind was doing a good job of trying to rip the tents out of the ground. After reconstructing our half-erected tent and mopping up the large pool of water inside, we were hopeful of a dry night. Our campground for the next two nights was the Squamish Recreation Centre, surrounded by trees and large snow-capped mountains. It was very beautiful despite the first dose of crappy weather during the race.
Day 6 – Squamish
Every dog has his day and today was mine.
 I had woken many times in the night unable to breathe with my nose and cheek submerged in a puddle of drool. I was then rudely awoken 30mins before the official wake-up call by Johnny foreigner having a loud cell phone conversation in the tent opposite. I felt decidedly below average. Drugs were required. I snorted decongestant from an industrial American sized bottle (the size of a chain lube bottle) and guzzled vitamin C, a mysterious “cold and flu” tablet that Bridget promised me was really great and a caffeine tablet. Thirty minutes to race start and I felt knackered. It was time for a ten minute power nap. I woke at 8.40am, grabbed my bike and wrestled my way past a few beer-bellied guys (“we’re all racing for a podium position, you know”) in the already packed start chute.
The start was the usual panicked surge for the front and as per normal the roadies came out on top. A fairly sustained gravel road climb weeded out a few who only had gas in the tank for the first ten minutes. Then we were into the first singletrack bottleneck “The Tracks of Hell” – another Ewok construction over swampy ground. I just managed to keep balance at the snail’s pace of those in front and avoided piling headlong into a bog.
Thirty minutes in and it was time for a gel. I grabbed and guzzled the first one to hand and realised too late that it was my super duper GU Espresso gel with extra caffeine. As a caffeine sensitive soul I wasn’t entirely sure how my mega dose of caffeine would pan out. Pretty good as it turns out. I felt high as a kite as I motored past people on the next climb then was in heaven as we descended Half Nelson – a wide, fast, bermed, mini 4X track through the trees : ) I caught Mark of Team  Scumbags , who obligingly responded to my polite “out of my way hardtail rider” request. Another short climb where Mark promptly passed me again took us to Pseudo Tsuga for another fast, flowy descent. With heaps more singletrack including a rocky, rooty, slippery descent down Powerhouse Plunge, the roadies were soon left behind and I was able to power on, eager to reach the finish before the caffeine high wore off.
I finished the stage 1st in open women – so great to finally get a stage win. This was topped off at the stage awards later that evening with the news I was the women’s winner of the “Race Within a Race” (the fastest combined time on two timed downhill sections).  I apparently resembled a stunned guppy fish at the news. Some guy called Brian Lopes won the men’s race (probably the only time I’ll ever make the podium with this guy!). I am now the proud owner of a limited edition freeride top with the BCBR psychotic bike-riding bear logo as a souvenir. Big thanks to Joe for the trip to Squamish to scope out Half-Nelson and Pseudo Tsuga prior to the race!
All in all, this was a great day achieved without the abuse of any UCI banned substances (I checked).
Day 7 - Whistler
After one last night under canvas it was time to pack up and bus to Whistler for the final stage.
 I got a good spot in the start chute thanks to Mark and Huw who manhandled my bike over the railings.  At the sound of the hooter, the roadies started to surge past me once more and I felt like I was going backwards as we hit a short, sharp climb. That was until I received a welcome and not so subtle shove up and over the rise by Craig on his way to the front of the pack.  Then we were into the long climb up Blackcombe mountain past the Olympic luge track and on upwards. My legs were heavy and burning from 6 days of hard riding. At the top we were disappointed by a rough gravel road descent (well all of the Santa Cruz riding Kiwis were!) before we reached the singletrack we’d all been waiting for. I was forced to follow a brake dragger and skidder to the bottom of the short steep descent before we ascended again towards Comfortably Numb via a new uphill track called Yummy Nummy.
I heard very few favourable accounts of this rooty, slippery singletrack climb, where at times it was  impossible to maintain momentum in the crocodile of riders slipping off roots and falling by the wayside. After what seemed like an eternity of smacking my knees into the toptube and using every last ounce of energy left in my body, we reached the junction with the Comfortably Numb descent. This was gnarly on an XC bike, even one as capable as my Blur XC. There were lots of rock slab roll-overs, sharp rocks and plenty of opportunity for an O.T.B excursion. Local knowledge would have been a massive advantage here I realised as I gingerly approached each roll-over searching for a line and for the course marking tape. I was relieved to reach the bottom without any O.T.B mishaps or torn sidewalls. The last couple of k’s were spent in the Lost Lake trails(really fun) before a final sprint to the Olympic plaza and the finish line.
I finished second open woman overall which was a great achievement for me and well beyond my expectations. It was great to finally find a race where a technically competent rider was sufficiently rewarded against the gravel grinders.  My bike (Santa CruzBlur XC carbon) with Fox F120 fork was superb and only once on the descent of Comfortably Numb was I wishing for something slightly bigger (a Blur TRc, perhaps!). I would love to do this race again -the riding is amazing fun and the school camp atmosphere of a stage race makes it all the more enjoyable.
“Fight to Win”
Thanks to Marc, R&R Sport, Matty Graham of Exponential Performance for whipping me into shape, Stylie at Hyperformance Hardware for my awesome Santa Cruz Blur XC and Fox Racing Shox for the smooth ride.

Bicycling Mag give the Santa Cruz V10 Carbon best DH bike for 2011.


I love mine....you can read the whole article here;