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Behind the Scenes: Trail 429 Launch

by Pivot Cycles
April 12, 2021

My forehead pushed into the airplane window as the clouds parted and we descended over Seattle. If you live in the arid American West, you never forget the first time you fly into the Pacific Northwest. It’s a region and ecosystem teeming with life that leaves a lasting impression on you. Our journey would take us far outside metro Seattle, to a place with no stop lights, only accessible by boat or plane.

An hour-long ferry ride through the San Juan Archipelago took us through hundreds of islands between Vancouver Island and the continental mainland. Our destination, Orcas Island, is the largest of the San Juan Islands and bears a distinct horseshoe shape. We were there on assignment to create a launch video for the newly designed Pivot Trail 429 mountain bike.

It’s no surprise Pivot chose this location for the launch video. When they approached me about the project earlier in the year, I was thrilled to be able to film in such an incredible location, but I knew there would be inherent challenges. Rain, wind, short days, and incredibly low light canopy forests would all have to be taken into consideration. Also, due to seasonal closure, we’d be filming in December, one of the more wet and cold months on the island. From our initial conversations, we knew this project had to be different than your normal shred edit. Not only did we want to retain a high production value, but the focus needed to be on the environmental experience, rather than the product alone. For many people, myself included, mountain biking is the experience of going to incredible places. Showcasing that experience was at the center of our creative efforts.

Orcas Island is an incredibly unique and beautiful place. Within the San Juan Islands it has the most year-round residents, the highest point of elevation – Mt. Constitution – the most varied mountain terrain. Indigenous Coast Salish communities inhabited the island for generations and written records describe abundant Salmon, shellfish, and deer. The hunter-gatherer Lummi Tribe seasonally traveled around the archipelago. With intimate knowledge of local ecology, they developed an innovative fishing technology known as reef netting, a technique still used by sustainable seafood cooperatives today. In more recent history, local citizens and land managers have realized the importance of keeping Orcas Island protected from unchecked development. Currently, a large number of nature preserves protect more than 19,000 acres within the San Juan Islands, some of which have become public land.

With over 5,000 acres of dense, dank forest, Moran State Park is the largest track of public land in the San Juans. The Civilian Conservation Corps under Roosevelt’s New Deal worked for years to improve infrastructure and trails, ultimately building a road to the top of Mt. Constitution. This paved road is a huge part of the appeal to mountain biking on the island. From September to May, when the trails are open to biking, riders from all around the region flock to the park to shuttle up its steep grade. And after a few loamy laps among giant, old-growth conifers, it’s easy to see why. Three-hundred-year-old trees surround a mountain lake that sits just a mile from the sound. Over 200 species of moss flora blanket the island. Vistas in any direction reveal more wilderness, more mountains, and more islands. In a time where development and urbanization are the norm, the island forests give you a ticket to step back in time, to experience temperate landscapes in a more natural state.

Pre-production involved extensive scouting and planning. I created detailed flight plans with sectional charts that required approval by the State Park System before we could fly the drone. We’d be filming with two different camera systems, a Red Dragon 6k on tripod and handheld, and a Sony A7S III on a gimbal. The recent release of this camera and increased bit depth would allow for it to be paired with the Red. Using this small camera on a gimbal was essential to moving quickly and getting dynamic and fast paced shots to accompany the more static shots of the A camera. To say I was impressed by the performance of the Sony would be an understatement. It’s a bomber, weather sealed camera that just continued to perform, despite the cold and wet conditions. The files captured were mind blowing, with a huge amount of dynamic range and latitude for grading. The Red, on the other hand, would require a lot more attention and protection. An umbrella was on deck at all times to keep the upper vents protected from rainfall. And the extreme low light under the canopy of trees would sometimes create a situation where I had to push the ISO so high that the files just fell apart. But when the light was adequate, the camera performed incredibly. All of the time lapses in the film were shot on the Red, as well as the motion portraits of the riders. The Red has this advanced color science that just makes skin tones look amazing. Ultimately, the footage used in the final film would be about 60% from the Sony and 40% from the Red Dragon.

We worked with two local riders, both with incredibly competent and creative riding styles. I appreciate Pivot Cycles’ decision to feature local riders in many of their bike launch videos: in this case it really allowed for more authenticity when it came to showcasing the riding. Over the course of three production days we used every ounce of available daylight to capture the assets needed for the launch. A Sprinter van transported gear and bikes and sheltered us when downpours became too intense for shooting. We went into this project knowing we’d face adverse weather conditions, but I don’t think I truly understood just how wet it would be. Everything just stays soggy, and it takes an immense amount of work – combined with a miracle – to keep expensive camera equipment from the same fate. That, combined with low temps, made shooting both logistically and physically challenging. Hands never truly warm up, batteries constantly drain, and our camera lenses accumulated condensation. Both our riders were troopers but asking them to dive into technical terrain when conditions were subpar made for lots of hard crashes.

After days of searching for blue skies, we found a shimmer of hope in the forecast. Yet as we moved around the mountain, we got quick glimpses of the clouds breaking, and then were immediately be socked in again. We had already gotten so many great clips, but at this point capturing some beautiful light would really bring together the whole story. We’d see portions of the mountain in the sun, make a collective decision to move there, only to be under cloud cover again.

Reflecting on the production, I realize I’m beginning to understand what separates successful shoots from those that fail to deliver. You can have the world’s best equipment in the most incredible locations, and the defining success factor will always be the humans.  Surrounding yourself with a hardworking and dedicated team that can rally together to weather the storm will always be the most important variable. Staying present during the shoot, experiencing the natural world in all her forms, and being part of the right team: these are the inherent challenges and rewards of any project.

Finally, after relocating multiple times in the Park, we tried the lookout one last time. Just as we all second guessed the time we wasted chasing the sun, it happened: An hour before sunset the clouds parted, the fog rolled out, and we were rewarded with some of the most beautiful views I’ve seen in my life. I launched the drone, hit record, and captured what would become the final scene of the film. The warm light spilled onto the riders as they pedaled out to the edge of the overlook. It’s a scene that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

The Orcas Crew, pictured above. From left, Matt Jones, Drew Bennett, Luke Patton, Stephanie Ignell, Joel Brideau, Cody Wethington, & Matthew DeLorme

Words: Drew Bennett
Cinematography: Drew Bennett & Matt Jones
Photography: Matthew Delorme
BTS Photography: Cody Wethington & Luke Patton
Riders: Stephanie Ignell & Joel Brideau

 

Pivot Cycles
Pivot Cycles

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Fear and Progression – A Dynamic Duo

by Kelsey Timpany
March 29, 2021

We have all been there.

That one feature that stops you dead in your tracks, that jump we always avoid or that ride around we always take. While it may feel as though most of the internet is conquering bigger and more daunting jumps, for many riders the struggle with fear is still very real. And although fear is uncannily natural and can be healthy, it can also be debilitating. 

I am lucky to have access to world-class knowledge here in Queenstown – in particular the insanely inspiring and talented women who are learning, competing, and pushing from beginner through to the world stage. The recent ‘McGazza Fest’ in honour of the late Kelly McGarry highlighted the level of womens’ riding today and how quickly it is progressing. It was truly amazing to watch ‘the girls’ absolutely nail it – hitting jumps that are notoriously deemed male only and working through this stigma and fear like real (dirt!) Queens. 

I’ve tracked five ladies with varying experience and biking backgrounds but show the process of overcoming fear is slightly different for everyone, yet the end goal is the same once conquered – euphoria!  

 

Ellie Chew 

From double back flipping the Nitro Circus mega ramp on her BMX, to sending Dream Track on her mountain bike, Ellie is bringing a whole new level of excitement to the mountain bike industry. @ellie_chew

Most terrifying event and why:

“Practice at the Vans BMX Pro Cup in Huntington Beach 2018 – I wanted to backflip the ramp to ramp box jump in the middle of the bowl. We only had a very short practice slot and lots of riders dropping in frantic to get their practice time too. I had never backflipped to concrete before, and I had to get it done before competition time if I wanted a chance at podium. I was scared to crash and not be able to ride the competition if it went wrong, but I was actually more scared of the disappointment I would have with myself if I didn’t do it.”

What do you define as scary? 

“For me, there are two types of scary. One being the un-enjoyable scary where you don’t want to ride a feature or jump and it’s just stupid so it’s scary. The main type of scary that affects me is when you know you can do something, but there’s a little voice in your head that doubts you, and the only way to break through that little voice telling you not to do something (like a new jump or trick) is to trust yourself, and that type of scary is the one that gives you the jitters.”

How do you tackle fear? 

“When it’s a situation where I have time to process, I tend to break everything down and evaluate the situation – I ask myself why I’m doing it. Am I doing it for me, or am I doing it for someone else? Is this smart or is this dumb? Can I do this? And if all that checks out, I just switch off the voice in my head telling me I am scared to do it, and believe in myself and get sendy”

 

Vinny Armstrong

Known for larger than life whips and for crushing it in Utah at Redbull Formation. @vinnyarmstrong

What do you define as scary?:

“Spiders”

Most terrifying event and why?:

“Formation in Utah because it’s so exposed and the risk factor is really high. Also riding an actual Rampage venue is pretty exciting and hectic.”

How Vinny tackles fear:

“I take a deep breath and push out all the thoughts of fear and what might happen. I believe in myself that I do have the skill to be able to do whatever it is that I’m going to do.”

What is the motivation?

“That feeling of reward after nailing something terrifying, knowing that I can do it and it isn’t as scary as it looks.”

 

Brooke Thompson

Bike Park Patrol Guru and world-wide sender – Brooke is renowned for her ‘get it done’ attitude. @bwookiie

Brooke’s take on fear:

Something dangerous or high risk that spikes my heart rate when you think about it. For me it’s big jumps but it is also what I want to be good at. I want to experience the feeling of hitting massive jumps and being in the air for so long. Thinking about it scares the sh*t outta me. Mentally being scared of something is such a push and pull feeling. Knowing you want to try something but almost every bone in your body wanting to stop you. Calming those thoughts with logic and giving whatever scary task it might be a red hot go”

Brooke’s thought process on tackling fear:

“I find it as a task that I have to get done. I literally just fake positive thoughts in my head. Because if I don’t, I’ll get too scared and have a full mental block. So if I’ve set out to tackle something so scary I just have to give it a go and trust my skill. This is also super interesting because I trust my friends so much and I know they won’t make me try something that I don’t have the skill for.”

 

Kara Lee


Kara only swung a leg over a mountain bike less than 6 months ago and is progressing in impressive leaps and bounds. @karanicolelee

What has scared you the most on your mountain bike journey?

“The first time I accidentally went down a steep trail into a rock drop on my mountain bike. Luckily, fun and adrenaline kicked in!”

What do you define as scary?

“I think the underlying idea going through my head when I’m scared is that I’m going to get hurt, it’s not even the pain that freaks me out but the thought of the recovery process after the fact. But being scared in general to me is most definitely a mental block for going out of your comfort zone.”

What helps you overcome fear?

“Having a solid community around you that encourages you and is patient when progressing is so so huge. Queenstown most definitely has that, from day one not even knowing how to position yourself on a bike to going doyou will have a huge hype squad right there with you.”

 

Linda Paluc

One of the most talented riders to come out of Slovenia, Linda now calls New Zealand home and is an incredible advocate for women in mountain biking. @linndsie 

Scariest event you have ever partaken in?:

“Certainly hitting Crabapple in Whistler for the first time in 2016. There were only boys riding so I was literally pooping myself. They didn’t give me much confidence with classic boy comments like “just don’t break and you’ll be fine”. Just as I was about to drop in, Casey Brown rocked up and she led me in with loads of certainty and appropriate speed. God, I was the happiest, most euphoric person on the planet when I did it. I found them so easy and was knocking myself on the head for not doing it earlier, which is literally the case with every fear I have.”

What does fear feel like to you?:

“My fears transpire physically. I can turn my mind off, not think about it at all, but it seems like the subconscious manifests itself in a few physical symptoms, like sweating and feeling like I’m about to poop myself.”

Overall thoughts and feelings?:

“The feeling of overcoming something that scares me is EVERYTHING. Overall, I’m starting to learn how to love fear and use it to my advantage. It makes me feel SO alive if I come into it with the right mindset.”

Kelsey Timpany – me!

I recently struggled with fear at the NZDH Nationals to the point where I could hardly pedal to the chairlift, let alone hurtle down a gnarly race track. What pulled me through in the end was how disappointed I would of been in myself if I had bailed and wanting to feel the satisfaction of completing my first National Champs. I visualized and tried to embody the high I would get at the finish line took a few deep breaths and dropped in. Talking to other racers they all said the same thing as soon as you are on track the fear instantly disappears!

Now, a few weeks on, I am so proud of what I was able to achieve and can’t wait to build on that experience and ultimately put myself through it all again…..

In conclusion, if you’re scared, you’re exactly where you should be. It doesn’t matter if you are racing National Champs or mustering the courage to ride a technical line – fear will always present itself in many forms. The above girls are some of the finest examples of how utlilizing this can be a powerful tool to get the job done and take your riding to incredible heights.

How do you control your fear when mountain biking? Please share below – I’m really curious to know how you use fear to your advantage!

Until next time!

Kelsey Timpany
Kelsey Timpany

27 years old and hailing from little New Zealand, Kelsey is here to share tales of mountain biking from down under.

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Wild Rye x Pivot Apparel Collab Launch

by Pivot Cycles
March 8, 2021

Pivot Cycles’ engaged audience as measured by web traffic, social media followers, and dealer survey, averages 16% female-identifying. We’re not afraid to share that statistic, but we’re also not afraid to say, “that’s not good enough”. It was that feeling that led us, in the fall of 2019, to cold call Wild Rye. It was a humorously middle school-ish e-mail: “Hi, we’re Pivot Cycles and we think you guys are cool. Wanna do something together?” Fortunately, the up-and-coming Sun Valley-based women’s technical apparel manufacturer responded in kind: “Hell, yes.”

That call has blossomed into an evolving brand partnership, underscored by a shared passion for highly technical and innovative products, and giving voice to both brands’ commitment to elevating female-identifying riders’ voices. Today we launch our first seasonal collaboration with Wild Rye, bringing to life a beautifully crafted three-piece apparel collection, new rider stories, athlete involvement, event collaborations, and future products.

Elorie Slater, Pivot’s Marketing Director, had been riding in a Wild Rye kit since 2016. After thousands of miles of abuse, the merino wool jersey and technical short were still in amazing shape. “I just knew, from my own experience, that Wild Rye values materials integrity like we [Pivot] do. It was a no-brainer to reach out.” From their first conversation, Slater and Wild Rye CEO Cassie Abel saw the potential for collaboration. “Pivot is a natural fit. Not only does the brand recognize the importance of speaking to and elevating female-identifying riders, but Pivot’s commitment to product resonates with our own product-first ethos”, says Abel.

It is not by coincidence we launch this partnership on International Women’s Day.  With the annual theme “Choose to Challenge”, IWD 2021 speaks to our commitment to challenge gender bias in our sport, our workplace, and our riding communities.   Pivot Cycles deeply believes in elevating the experiences and voices of female-identifying mountain bikers, from our Marketing department with a 50/50 gender balance to our podium-winning professional female athletes to the young riders we mentor as the underwriting sponsor of both Arizona and Utah’s NICA leagues.

“The ultimate goal,” says Abel, “is supporting female-identifying riders.” “We’re stronger together,” adds Slater.   We’re looking forward to co-hosting in person events in the fourth quarter of 2021 and exploring more opportunities with Wild Rye in years to come.

 

The Wild Rye x Pivot spring collaboration collection includes Wild Rye’s flagship Freel women’s mountain bike short, Mia Tank, and new Edith 5-Panel Camp Hat. The collaboration will be available for purchase on PivotCycles.com, Wild-Rye.com, and at select bike dealers across the US.

Pivot Cycles
Pivot Cycles

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Bike-love

by Kelsey Timpany
February 25, 2021

Welcome back for round two! Coinciding with Valentines month, what better excuse to give this column the big ol’ ‘bike love’ theme and maybe get a little sappy. Valentines day isn’t widely celebrated in New Zealand, we tend to take more of an ‘every day is love day’ approach, so it takes me a bit to get gushy… To get into it I will quote Hugh Grant from his 2003 block buster hit, Love Actually – “Love really is all around” and when paired with all things ‘mountain bike’, I reckon that’s pretty spot on.

The many faces of bike-love

Do you remember your first love? Close your eyes and take yourself back – can you remember those butterfly moments, the giddy feeling and your stomach doing somersaults? No? Me neither. Does the thought of riding your bike down a sun kissed mountain ridge, schralping up the inside of a freshly built berm, fist bumps and high fives after nailing a feature bring on these warm fuzzies? Yes, me too!

Bike love, in my opinion is a slow burning flame that sings unconditional love. Your bike is your tool to opening a whole realm of opportunity, gratitude and appreciation and it will always be there for you. There’s moments of utter bliss when you are climbing or descending and have thoughts of “There is no better feeling than this”, “Shivers I’m glad I actually dragged my butt out”, or for me lately – “I wish everyone could see and feel what I’m experiencing, right here, right now.”

The best way to get to the bottom of this expansive theme is to break it down to my top three reasons why I love mountain biking. 

Pushing, learning and perfecting. Photo: Jake Hood

 

Connection and Community 

The connections and people that come hand in hand with mountain biking are second to none. True salt-of-the-earth people are to be found within this special community and your bike is simply the tool-of-choice that connects us together. True inspiration and stoke can be shared over beverages and tall tales told of near misses, gnarly shoots, bad taping jobs at races, tricky features and more. Having the common ground of riding often breaks social barriers and brings different people together. Some of my best friendships are due to mountain biking – I am yet to find these types of friendships and support in other areas of life.

The community brings out the best in people, uniting us in many ways but mainly for our pure stoke and passion of riding.

The worst part of any mountain bike ride is when its over…. unless your’e getting food after! Photo: Chris Dunn

 

Thrill and Adventure

The need for speed and intense experiences is something that lives in most mountain bikers and an element that keeps pulling us back for more. Every pedal stroke gives you the power and freedom that other activities, such as golf (no offence, just a great example) lack.

The mental and physical challenge of completing a huge ride in the red zone, feeling the good kind of muscle ache at night, or putting away a technical feature with confidence, speed and flow are a few of the components that can be achieved through mountain biking. The internal satisfaction you feel can put you in such a good head space, leaving you feeling on top of the world and itching for more.

 

Pushing each other, together or alone. Photo: Jake Hood

 

Outlet for us to BE

We all need an outlet, something to do or somewhere to go when we have pent up energy, stress or the need for fun.

Or is it the escape? Getting out in nature, away from the bustle of everyday life and putting all your energy and focus into the trail in front of you. There is a magnitude of studies that highlight the therapeutic potential of extreme sports and outdoor activities – without getting too deep or scientific it is safe to conclude regular riding can positively impact your mental health. Natural endorphins to relax your mind and boost your mood, the encouragement of healthier habits, increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain to help creative thinking are just scratching the surface!

 

Even if that outlet is party laps with your pals!

 

Unity and Confidence 

When you unite a group of riders who share a love of biking, you begin to create something so powerful it can start some serious movement! Case in point the Womens’ movement in mountain biking that is building more and more momentum and I am so excited to be experiencing it at it’s core! Key athletes are using their following and status to bring light to the gap between equality within the mountain bike community – whether it be more variety in womens’ specific technical gear through to equal prize money or recognizing that women deserve a place in the mountain bike community. Seeing these ambassadors speak up from a place of love for the whole biking community is so inspiring and you can see it trickling down through every level, all the way to your local tracks. Truly spectacular!

Ladies Jump Night with Mons Royale, a perfect example of the community coming together to help achieve their goals and have fun. Photo: Chris Dunn

The confidence I have been given from Mountain Biking is one of the most invaluable assets, and it’s not until I have sat down to write February’s column have I truly realised the extent of it. Carrying over what I learn from the love of riding makes me compassionate, a better friend, worker and community person. Having the support of Pivot who see and share my vision and passion has amplified this, all because well, ….bikes! And as always, For The Love Of It.

Everyone has their own reasons for why they love mountain biking – if something from the above discussion resonates with you – then you yourself are a participator of ‘Bike-Love’. I would love to know your top reasons why you ride in the comments!

Switchblade love…. Photo: Linda Paluc

Kelsey Timpany
Kelsey Timpany

27 years old and hailing from little New Zealand, Kelsey is here to share tales of mountain biking from down under.

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For The Love Of It

by Kelsey Timpany
January 22, 2021

Well hello there!

Welcome to my corner of the digital world, where I am proud to be publishing in the Pivot Women’s community. I’m glad you made it here, this could be the start of something special. Like my Switchblade. That’s special.

There is a growing world-wide community of female mountain bikers who are wanting to progress, learn and express their riding talents across all styles. And that’s special too. With disciplines such as women’s Freeride gaining traction (thanks to a few key players), now more than ever it is so important to nurture these special experiences!

Kelsey Timpany Photo: Jake Hood

To start, a confession: I am no expert. I just love riding my bike. I’m 27 years old, from Queenstown, New Zealand. I work in Real Estate as a means to fund my adventures, with a side of racing and a wicked social life. I ride because I simply love it. That’s really my strongest resumé building as a mountain biker! Although you may have seen Pivots Cycles’ Switchblade release video ‘The Cellar’.

Kelsey Timpany Screen grab from “The Cellar” click on the image to watch some great Kiwi acting and shredding

I cannot guarantee my acting has improved, but my bike riding and motivation definitely has! And it has brought me to this place and this purpose: to show and tell how riding bikes simply ‘for the love of it’ can really change your life. Seriously! I am beyond stoked to be given this space, where we can share a monthly dialogue that is relatable, helpful, and motivating. As female-identifying riders, we often create these safe spaces together.

Kelsey Timpany A recent ‘funduro’ with an epic bunch of girls, all stoked on riding.

I first got into competitive cycling at 14 years old when my hometown built the first indoor Velodrome in New Zealand. I was recruited by my PE teacher due to my longer than average femurs (go figure). After years of tears, road miles, headwinds and magpies, I realized the only times I was truly enjoying riding was cross training on my mountain bike. The ability to get out in the incredible backcountry of New Zealand and escape reality to a place where I was content and focused was a feeling I couldn’t shake and where my passion for riding was ignited.

Track cycling in 2008 Kelsey Timpany Competitive track cycling in 2008. Might start wearing this aero helmet at a few MTB races…

I lost touch with riding for about 6 years… University, growing up, a stint aboard Super Yachts, snow seasons, a few Camino’s, world-wide nannying, soul searching, soul destroying and more. I had been living in Whistler BC for three years when, in the summer of 2017, I saved $300 and brought a 2007 Kona Stinky Garbo edition from a kid in East Vancouver. My Stinky was quickly banned from every bike shop due to ‘liability’ but I was determined to make it work and literally rode it until the wheels fell off. That summer was a pivotal moment (get it ?) and the catalyst of great things to come. I was the only girl in our friend group who rode the Whistler Bike Park. I had to learn to keep up or get left behind. It was brutal. I terrified myself every day and there definitely a few come-to-Jesus moments. When I look back now I would not have had it any other way – the support and stoke from my friends set some solid groundwork for the rider I am today. Cheers boys for eventually accepting me as one of you and the endless banter and good times.

Kelsey Timpany Some of the legends who strengthened my love of the mountain bike lifestyle.

From that summer onwards I was fortunate to travel the world with my bike, adventuring and racing the odd race or two. Progress happened in leaps and bounds, but what really solidified my lifestyle was honestly the people. Ahhhh, the people! The friendships I have from mountain biking is on par with – if not better than – the physical challenges. At the risk of being mountain-bike-cheesy, is there anything better than sharing your stoke with like-minded people after a day of shredding over a cold brew or two or around a campfire?! This is a yarn worthy of its own blog which I will save for another day.

Where to now?

I’m living back in Queenstown, New Zealand. Surrounded by an epic Mountain Bike community, with so many friends and riders. This place is literally a breeding ground for up-and-coming talent, and every summer more and more women are out on the trails being nurtured in this incredible sport. This is what motivates me to progress and – yes – sometimes push hard. Seeing the top boys and girls hitting huge features, putting down wicked race runs I can’t help but think…. if they can, why can’t I? And if I can, why can’t you? I hope that little voice lives in every woman on the trail.

Kelsey Timpany mtb Coronet Peak – Just one of many incredible riding locations in Queenstown. Photo: Callum Wood

Regardless of current travel restrictions and the uncertainty of race events, we are – in many ways – more connected with the world than ever, thanks to technology and world class content, much of which I see as challenging us all to be wholesome and motivated riders. This is where my story will continue, with my arsenal of Pivots; carrying on the stoke, on the racecourse or not, on backyard rides or big adventures, riding alone or in a group….but always for the love of it.

Kelsey Timpany Photo: Jake Hood

 

Kelsey Timpany
Kelsey Timpany

27 years old and hailing from little New Zealand, Kelsey is here to share tales of mountain biking from down under.

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P21E

by Pivot Cycles
December 21, 2020

When Training is Sport

Growing up in the Philadelphia’s suburbs, mountain biking wasn’t really in the scene for 7x Cross Fit World Games competitor Chris Spealler.  But bicycles were there, and he and his buddies discovered every hidden path.  Now, as a member of the Pivot Factory riders’ family, mountain biking gives Chris an outlet for the dual passions of sport and family.   Competitor, teacher, and author of the Pivot 2021 Enduro Training Plan, Chris champions the goal to #useyourfitness.

Chris is the kind of rider that can tell you in detail about his first bike…and the one he bought with his grass-cutting money in the 6th grade…and the one his father gave him as a high school graduation present.   And he’ll be honest that he didn’t ride bikes during college, where he competed as a nationally ranked Division I wrestler.  During his senior year he finished in the top 20 nationwide, reaching the second round of the National Championships.   With an unrivaled work ethic, Chris frequently jumped up one or two weight classes and wrestled heavier athletes.

Fresh out of college and ready for ski bumming, Chris moved to Park City, Utah.   He brought the high school graduation bike with him and began exploring with new friends and wrenching at a local Park City bike shop.  True to his nature as a relentless competitor, Chris once did the E100 – on a whim.  The mountains, however inspiring, did not fully fill the void of having something to train for in the gym.   A friend referred Chris to CrossFit.com.  He visited the site, did one workout, and was hooked.   With CrossFit, the training felt like sport, and that “suckered me in for the rest of it”, as Chris puts it.

By 2011, the CrossFit Journal was referring to Chris Spealler as legendary, a story that began with his appearance at the first ever CrossFit World Games in Aromas, California in 2007.    Chris earned a reputation for mental toughness, outright strength, endurance, and training innovation.

And still there was a bike.  Chris discovered gravity; dirt jumps and flow lines in the Park City mountains where he trained.

It was natural for Chris to transition from competing to training others, always with the encouragement to train for life outside the gym.   For Chris, this means time on the bike, with friends and with his sons.  Chris currently rides a Pro XT/XTR Switchblade and will tell you openly that “progressing on the bike is all about the journey”.   Mirroring the #useyourfitness ethos Chris teaches through Speal Programming, he trains to ride, and he rides because he loves it.

When Chris called and said, “how about I build us an Enduro training plan?”, we were all online researching kettle bells and medicine balls before the conversation was over. The Pivot 2021 Endurance Training Plan – P21E – is a comprehensive off-season strength training plan.   The purpose of the P21E training plan is to help you develop a well-balanced base of GPP (General Physical Preparedness).  We will be sharing access to two complete 9-week training blocks, prepared by Chris and focused on the whole body strength necessary to tackle all mountain riding, to help you prepare for the upcoming season.

Training begins January 4th.

From Chris: 

“My goal is to provide you with a simple and effective program that utilizes minimal equipment, while helping educate you for valuable training styles in the future. 

Many of the workouts you encounter are likely to be shorter in duration than you may be used to. There is a good reason for this…. intensity. When we are able to shorten the time domains of our fitness training it helps us boost our intensity which often yields more results. Intensity is especially important when it comes to the kind of well-rounded fitness we can apply to anything; an explosive technical climbing move on the bike, for example. This may take a bit of “practice” for some of us to learn how to take our longer duration efforts and give it our all in a 20 min window or less.  Think “FTP” test and you will get the idea for the purpose of the workouts. Having said that, this is all about moving WELL. You should be focused on quality mechanics and loading that allows you to complete the movements with solid technique, even at fatigue. Once you have that dialed in you can ratchet up the intensity on your workouts. Some will feel “easier” than others which is normal. 

The purpose of this style of training is to target often neglected areas as we become specialists. I love riding my bike just like you. I also know that all the bike riding in the world won’t make me strong, it will make me better at riding my bike. If we can approach our general fitness with a broad scope and build a bigger base, it in turn allows us to become better at the very things in which we want to specialize. Simply, you have a bigger base to build from.” 

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Women on the Western Wildlands Route

by Pivot Cycles
November 9, 2020

Photos by Myke Hermsmeyer

The adventure may have started in grim weather, including fresh snowfall, but as the miles passed, the skies cleared, and the simplicity of the trip settled in. Early in 2020, with the rapid cancellation of racing the season’s racing, Chloe Woodruff, Kait Boyle, Evelyn Dong, and Rose Grant decided to take on a starkly different kind of challenge – the 289 miles that make up Segment 3 of the Western Wildlands Route. The four set out on a bikepacking adventure that would leave a lasting mark and greater bond between them.

The effective “wiping clean” of the 2020 calendar impacted life beyond racing world, making it difficult to focus and stay motivated at home. “It was a tough spring to process what was happening,” said 2020 Olympic hopeful Chloe, “I felt a tremendous sense of loss and sadness at times, and yet, also feelings of relief and opportunity.” Being a bit of a frontierswoman, Rose tossed out the idea of a bikepacking trip. “The thought of bikepacking with a small group of close friends felt fitting and fulfilling; while also giving a fun adventure to look forward to,” said Rose. For Chloe, it was the right kind of ‘crazy’ for the summer of 2020. Planning really started moving after she convinced Evelyn and Kait to join the adventure.

While Chloe, Evelyn, and Rose were venturing into a bit of unknown, Kait is an experienced veteran, the co-founder of the Western Wildlands Route , and program coordinator for Bikepacking Roots. Several calls, emails, and gear orders later, the groundwork was set for a 4-day adventure that would take the quartet from Darby, Montana to Stanley, Idaho.

The meeting point was Rose’s hometown of Darby, Montana. Greeted with unusually cold and rainy weather, some last-minute gear and setup changes were required. “The first day was spent making sure we had enough cold and wet-weather clothes and setting up our bikes,” said Chloe. Kait looked over everyone’s setup and was often heard saying “you don’t need this, or that, or that.”  However, whiskey, chocolate, and anything to keep warm and dry was deemed essential.

Once underway, there was nothing to worry about other than pedaling and chit-chatting; days and nights were filled with eating snacks, enjoying camp meals around the campfire, and long sleeps tucked inside sleeping bags.  For four women accustomed to standing on the top of the podium, there was joy in setting aside competition and riding simply for the purpose of moving across the beautiful landscape of Montana and Idaho.

The lighthearted mood made traversing the route’s several mountain passes tolerable and, dare say it, fun before returning to civilization along the banks of the Salmon River. Within miles of their final destination in Stanley, dirty and smelly, the ladies book-ended their 4-day adventure with a dip in a roadside hot spring and take time to reflect on the impact this uniquely different trip had on each of them.

“The space that this trip provided for connection between the four of us girls was rich and grounding, and so good for the soul. I am so grateful for the friendship that I get to have with each of these women and am so excited to do this again!” – Rose

“When we started talking about this trip, I remember everyone immediately committing, without even having dates or a location figured out. We were just that ready for a different sort of adventure and excited to spend some time together. At the end, I felt restored from the trip and grateful for good friends.” – Chloe

“This trip was nothing less than a really good time with two old friends and one new friend whom I’m really glad I got to meet. Learning from Kait was a huge part of the trip, from how to pack a bike to seeing how she keeps on keeping on through everything life throws at her. Oh yeah and riding with Rose and Chloe in a non-competitive scenario where they’re not crushing me was nice too.” – Evelyn

“Bikepacking has inspired my career as a mountain biker. I co-created the Western Wildlands Route from the belief that bikepacking in wild landscapes inspires adventure, gratitude, and connection. I had the opportunity to share the world of bikepacking with these three incredible women whose lives have been dedicated to mountain biking. To share a new way of moving on a bike and the adventure, connection and inspiration it offers was deeply fulfilling, and I left with three deeper connections and a great adventure amidst a pandemic.” – Kait

 

If you would like to learn more about the Western Wildlands Route, visit Bikepacking Roots website here.

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Swenson & Grant Win BWR Cedar City

by Pivot Cycles
October 28, 2020

Photo Credit: Photos courtesy of Belgian Waffle Ride

Stan’s-Pivot riders Keegan Swenson and Rose Grant swapped their usual Mach 4 SL world cup race rockets for the dropbar mixed surface marauder that is the Vault. Of the pair, Keegan had some gravel experience having done two races previously, while it was Rose’s first ever gravel event. Given that 75% of the course was off-road, their proven mountain bike handling skills gave them a significant advantage against the talented field that contained pro gravel racers, pro peloton road racers, and iron man triathlon record holders.

“The race started with a neutral rollout for the first few miles to get the group safely out of town”, said Swenson. “But the quicker than expected pace and twisty route caught many riders off guard leading to several crashes before racing actually started. I think what made the BWR start more hectic than a WC start is the fact that it is neutral, and you are not going very fast. This causes a lot of riders to bunch up really close together which makes it pretty dangerous. The BWR start was also four miles long instead of just a few hundred meters so that in itself makes it challenging, lots more time for things to go wrong”

Despite damaging his front brake in one such crash during the rollout, Keegan managed to stay upright and near the front of what quickly became the lead group of elite riders for the entire race.

“The Vault did great in the singletrack,” says Swenson. “It definitely is not a Mach 4 SL but it rips! The slacker headtube on the new Vault makes it a lot more capable in the techy trail. The ISO flex seatpost was a game changer in the rough stuff, it let me sit down a lot on the singletrack which was key that late in the race when everything is tired.” The finish came down to a 2-man sprint against gravel pro Peter Stetina, with Keegan putting in a final hard effort that Stetina couldn’t counter, resulting in Keegan taking the win.

Having crashed badly in mass start races in the past, Rose took it easy making sure to avoid the chaos of the start, sliding back into the field. At mile 50, she had made up ground to catch and pass race leader and former DH World Champion Kathy Pruitt, who had to stop to fix a mechanical.

“I officially rode my Vault for the first time ever on dirt the Thursday before the race,” says Grant. “Although, the feeling was different, I had confided that an hour or so into the race, I’d get comfortable with the bike and conditions. I was happily surprised with how well the Vault rode on the singe track, loose sand, and gravel; even the washboard felt smoother than I expected on the Vault. The biggest challenge was how fast the speeds were in groups on loose gravel, but when it’s sink or swim… we swim!!” Grant then managed to find a group with a good pace and stayed in the lead all the way to the finish, claiming her first gravel win.

For this race, the pair rode Vaults with Shimano GRX 1×11 mechanical, Stan’s Grail wheels, and Maxxis Rambler 700x40c tires (Swenson 30psi front/32psi rear, Grant 34psi front/36psi rear). “I just really like the simplicity of the 1x system,” says Swenson.  “Sure, you lose some gears but I think overall it is just a more reliable system. It is also a bit lighter which never hurts!”

Both Keegan and Rose thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace and variety BWR Cedar City provided and plan to do – and win – more gravel races in the future.

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Photo Epic – A Very Welcomed Return to Racing

by Pivot Cycles
October 7, 2020

Following numerous delays to the racing season due to COVID-19 shutdowns and travel restrictions, the mountain bike world returned to racing in the Fall with a shortened Enduro World Series, the long awaited second stop of Crankworx in Innsbruck, and an extremely late start to the UCI World Cup.

PIVOT FACTORY RACING CROWNED 2020 EWS WORLD CHAMPIONS

Pivot Factory Racing gathered in Europe to attack the abbreviated 3-stop Enduro World Series. New teammate and freshly crowned French Enduro Champion, Morgane Charre was riding fast out of the gate on her Firebird 29, winning stages at every stop. At the last round in Finale Ligure, Charre claimed the Women’s Elite overall, although individual titles were not awarded this year. Eddie Masters mixed things up with the world’s fastest in the Men’s Elite field posting solid results on nearly every stage, while development rider Charles Murray kept him honest with some heated head-to-head racing. The efforts of all the riders earned Pivot Factory Racing its first team title and were crowned 2020 Enduro World Series Team Champions.

 

A RETURN TO CRANKWORX

With EWS done for the year, Pivot Factory Racing made the trip north to Innsbruck, Austria for the second stop of Crankworx for some more gravity-oriented racing. Dual Slalom was first, with the Charre, Masters, Kerr, and Murray all taking part. Demonstrating her versatility as a rider, Morgane rode here Switchblade to gold in the Pro Women’s category. In the Pro Men’s, Bernard shook off the EWS vibes for a more familiar form of racing and took 3rd. Eddie and Charlie were unfortunately eliminated early on. Downhill was on Sunday.

Everybody was excited to get back on the big bikes, with Innsbruck being the first race for Charlie on his new Phoenix 29. Morgane continued to add to her medal collection taking 3rd in the Pro Women’s field. Having not raced downhill since CWX Rotorua in February, Eddie quickly found speed on track and took 2nd in the Pro Men’s field. Bernard finished strong in 10th, with Charlie crossing the line in 20th.

 

UCI WORLD CUP RACING KICKS OFF IN NOVA MESTO

In the Czech Republic, World Cup racing returned with two rounds of cross country and short track. Stans Pivot’s Keegan Swenson made the trip oversees, while teammates Rose Grant and Chloe Woodruff stayed stateside to race at home. The Blue Train of Pivot Cycles OTE also made the trip with several racers including Leandre Bouchard. Being held later in the year than normal, inclement weather made for some challenging (muddy) racing. Round 1 proved to be very much a shakedown race with solid performances for the first WC of the year, loosening the legs up for Round 2 where the action really happened. Both riders had great performances. Swenson posted career-best by finishing 23rd in the Short Track and 26th in the XCO. Bouchard had a great Short Track with several moves at the front to finish 17th, and a respectable 31st in the XCO.

 

STRAIT ACRES INVITATIONAL BRING SLALOM RACING STATESIDE

In Southern California, the American mountain bike royalty Kyle and Rachel Strait made up for COVID cancelling most US events, including the legendary Sea Otter Classic, by hosting a pro-only invitational dual slalom race on their home property. Pivot Racer Kialane Hines made her return to racing with this event after recovering from a crash earlier in the year. There was no shortage of neck and neck racing with Hines ultimately proving to be the fastest woman on course, taking the win in the women’s field.

Photos by:
Boris Beyer
Paul Foulanneau
Kenny Wehn
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Bikepacking the Bears Ears Region

by Pivot Cycles
September 2, 2020

Words and photos by Kurt Refsnider

In my nearly 3 decades of riding and racing bikes, one theme has returned again and again – finding solitude and remoteness. When I was a kid pedaling emphatically around my neighborhood, that sense of solitude and relative remoteness was found leaving the houses behind and venturing onto dirt trails in the nearby woods along the Mississippi River. As I got older and started pedaling bigger miles on skinny tires, I found my escape by leaving the suburbs and riding well beyond on quiet country roads. After I moved out West, I spent much of my riding time exploring public lands in the foothills of the Rockies. And after I began bikepacking a decade ago, that solitude and remoteness gradually became characteristics of my favorite ultra races and longer trips. One of the most remote and powerful places I’ve pedaled and have returned to numerous times are the mesas and canyons of the Bears Ears region of southern Utah.

My first pedal-powered trip into this region was in 2013 as part of a month-long solo bikepacking adventure meandering across the Colorado Plateau. I carried a thick stack of maps and had no real plan. I had spent some time in this landscape in the past but never traveling entirely under my own power. Small towns are widely scattered and reliable water sources can be very sparse. The experience, especially traveling alone, was intimidating, to say the least. I’d leave communities with 5 days worth of food, and I usually would load up with 2+ gallons of water when I could since I was never quite certain where the next water might be.

On that trip, I spent a long, hot day climbing away from the Colorado River crossing and toward the distant Bears Ears Buttes. It was 100+ degrees down in the canyons, and I longed for the shade and cool air of the pine forest atop Elk Ridge, but it would take a full day to get there. In that time, I got lost in the landscape – one so immense that it’s incredibly challenging to absorb. The emotions of that day still remain strong in my memory. Behind me were the isolated Henry Mountains and the Aquarius Plateau from a few demanding days prior. Distant to the north were the peaks of the Abajo Mountains where I was heading, and far, far to the south, I could see the dome of Navajo Mountain along the Utah-Arizona state line. In between, canyons carve up the rugged country and the colorful rock layers of the Colorado Plateau rise and fall in gentle folds. Impenetrable cliff bands make travel across the region even more challenging.

Pedaling along at 8 mph, my mind tried to take this all in, to link together on a mental map how all these stunning landforms fit together. I tried to puzzle out how the rock layers in one area correlated to rock layers in another (I am a geologist, after all!). And in the process, my sinuous route followed the spine of a tilted and heavily eroded mesa up higher and higher as canyons plunged away to both my left and right. Reaching the cooler air of Elk Ridge, I passed the iconic twin Bears Ears Buttes and turned north. The Colorado River canyon was far below to the west, and a whole separate suite of canyons extended away to the east. But I was able to ride through the sky above all that on Elk Ridge. Intermittent springs offered clear, cold water. And I didn’t see another soul for days.

On that trip, my eyes were opened to the fact that places like that exist and offer a sense of solitude and awe that are so rare. In the subsequent years, I’ve gone back to bikepacking, hike, and further explore that area time and time again. Each time, the experience is even more impactful than the prior visit. I watched as the area was given the protection of National Monument designation at the urging of local Native American tribes, only to have those protections yanked away just a few years later.

I’ve had the privilege of bikepacking in stunning landscapes all across the globe, but Bears Ears Region is without a doubt the most impactful and powerful. To help more riders experience this region and understand more about the importance of protecting it, I’m excited to share that Bikepacking Roots has released the Bears Ears Loops and a 100-page guidebook. With planning resources and an intentionally developed route, other bikepackers will be able to pedal here without the sense of intimidation and uncertainty that I so strongly remember from my first trip through the region seven years ago. And hopefully, those riders will develop a similarly strong connection to such an amazing place.

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Boundaryless in the PNW

by Pivot Cycles
August 31, 2020

 

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Rockstar 265: The Epic Journey Itself

by Pivot Cycles
August 13, 2020

Written by bike racer, adventurer, and stoke-spreader in chief – Gordon Wadsworth

You know the song, ” Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River, Life is old there, older than the trees, Younger than the mountains, growin’ like a breeze.” Trouble is John Denver must not have been looking at a map when he penned these words and spread the rhythm of Appalachia far and wide. The Shenandoah River, the Blue Ridge – those are all features of WestERN Virginia. Sorry John, maybe stick to the Rocky Mountains.

Nevertheless, Denver’s tune captures a slice of the place I’ve loved and called home most of my life. The Appalachian Mountains are special and storied. The word “Appalachia” is one of the oldest place-names in America. The legends and lore of the deeply furrowed mountains are well known; native Americans subsisting off the bounty of the forest, coon-skinned pioneers pushing west through thick greenery, moonshiners and revenue men in an ever-quickening chase, all taking place before a backdrop of rugged independence and self-reliance.

The Shenandoah Valley in particular is where I cut my teeth as an outdoor adventurer and where our story begins. A narrow “Great Valley” stretching along the length of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Appalachian Range. These mountains are named such because they appear deep blue from a distance. The dense vegetation and native tree life put off a chemical compound that absorbs more ambient light than usual, creating a blue appearance and often a haze of moisture. The mountains are literally thick and breathing with life. They may not be as rugged and imposing as younger mountains like the Rockies or Alps but their age and wisdom mean that they have had longer to practice resisting mankind’s efforts.

In our efforts to tame them cyclists like me have compiled dozens of routes through their ages-old trails and dirt roads. Many of them have legends all their own and have been pushing into my mind more and more as events I had planned make their wise decisions to postpone or cancel this year. One of these is the aptly named “Rockstar.” So named for its start in “Rocktown;” Harrisonburg Virginia and finish in the “Star City of the South” Roanoke VA.

The route itself launches west from Harrisonburg on rugged jeep trails and then winds its way south through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. There are three variants of the route; singletrack, gravel, and “pave.” For my first encounter with the RockStar, I chose to put a gravel attempt on the calendar. With Dirty Kanza and other long-distance events having canceled my regular stage race partner Elliott Baring was also itching for a long ride and we felt that it was time the Rockstar Gravel route had someone give it an honest go to establish a new fastest known time. For all the bikepacking racers out there, the Virginia Endurance Series keeps records of FKTs in solo and partner formats on the Rockstar.

We committed to the route, made our plans, established our beta, and set to it. The Northern and southern portions of the route were well known to me however there was a substantial portion in the middle of the Rockstar which would be new to me. This was also the most isolated stretch of the route. With the current Fastest Known Time sitting just over a full day at 24:04 we had efficiency as our chief priority. Two bottle cages and Camelbak Chase vests housed our fluid while a water filter in my Nittany Mountainworks frame bag would be our backup should we run dry. Lots of calories were packed and while I was confident in my endurance engine this would be my longest single pull ride in years. It would be Elliott’s longest ride ever by a factor of more than double. The timber was tall, but our axes were sharp.

Check out those axes. We both rode Pivot Vaults equipped with Shimano GRX doubles and Maxxis tires.

A little shuttle from a friend and we checked in for a few hours sleep at a hotel not far from the route’s start at Black Sheep Coffee. Rise before the sun, pound some packed Kodiak cakes and out the door we walked. What little we had of comfort we tossed in boxes with BikeFlights labels to deliver them to our doors in a few days. Nothing was left but the gear we needed to traverse the Shenandoah and arrive in Roanoke on our backs. We opted to run very light. I packed my frame bag and a CamelBak Chase vest while Elliott pared down to a top tube bag and hydration vest.

We turned on lights, shared live track links with loved ones, and warmed up into the cold 40 something spring air. Pushing out into the relative glow of a city was a touch alien to me, living in the forest and cherishing open space. However, as we arrived at the start and set out into the valley the dark greeted us. The calm of a world before even the farmers woke to tend their fields and flocks. There is no feeling to me like Appalachian solitude. The mountains are both challenging and forbidding and also rich with life. The quiet morning filled itself with life as we pedaled into the dark. As we scooted west through the dark moonless morning the sun began to rise and the enormity of the western wall of the valley came into view.

I know “enormity” isn’t something you’d expect from The Blue Ridge. Most of the valley sits around 800-1000 feet of altitude and our first ascent of the day was a clean 3500-foot rise to Reddish Knob’s 4300 feet. There’s no 3500-foot climb I won’t acknowledge as enormous. Especially since in this case, it wasn’t “gravel” we were climbing.

The Union Springs climb was our path. Rugged, rutted jeep road. Gated with several pitches above 20%. This wasn’t “gravel grinding”, it was just grinding. As we rolled along this path dodging boulders, tensioning our muscles long before their due time I felt the rear of my bike get a little soft. I pulled over to inspect, whistling through the already thickening air to Elliott that I had stopped. Sure enough, a tire plug was merited. Well, 20 miles in and the rubber had certainly met the road!

Plugged and soldiering on, the sun continued to greet us. Bodies warmed, and we hummed along avoiding acknowledging the slowness of our pace and avoiding, even more, the resulting math and finish time.

As we summited Union Springs we awoke several 4 wheel drivers who believed themselves the hardiest souls on the ridge. There was no casual morning coffee for us; we had business to attend to. But Appalachia in her way showed there was no business but its own.

Easy on the eyes eh? Easy to feel that it was “all downhill from here!” It wasn’t. But it was for a bit.

Down into the ridge valley between West Virginia and Virginia, we rolled to our first resupply around mile 55. The store owner was eager to hear our story. He had probably heard every bear, boar, and deer hunting story from here to the Mississippi in his time so two already dirty riders just after sunrise was surely a treat. With repacked bags and freshly filled bottles, we charged on. Shenandoah Mountain was our next Quarry.

With the surge downhill and across the valley we entered the George Washington National Forest – 1.8 million acres of wild country – mostly uninhabited and nearly 200,000 acres of recognized “wilderness.” The GW as we call it is a playground for outdoorsman and bears the name of the first US president and surveyor of much of the Shenandoah Valley. My spirit always lifts at the brown and gold signs welcoming me to the wilderness, and today was no exception.

Ascending a brief spell of pavement we were witness to the trenches and walls marking the land in an effort to shore up confederate defenses in the spring of 1862. History surrounded us and not all of it pleasant. A nation divided was on our minds and whether we had truly conquered that division, or merely passed the time since then.

Finally, our course cut south, departing pavement, and entering a stretch of unknown to me. The Shenandoah Mountain trail ushered us along for a few miles of once again steep climbing before depositing us at a powerline bald, unmarked and unknown. Fortunately, I had researched this point in the course and knew that the gravel route used an abandoned segment of Forest Service trail which was barely visible a little above the power line cut.

This portion of gravel was relentless. Never-ending rollers and gradual meandering turns revealing a short climb ahead. It was the kind of road which would be fun, if it came on a different day, a different ride. If I had to pick a “worst moment” from our ride it was this segment. We were eager to move and this shelf road just continued to waste our energy like it was a limitless resource. Nevertheless, we made work of those endless ribbon turns and roller climbs.

Relentless:

Off the shelf though we moved into the Fort Lewis Valley. This stretch began the truly unknown to me. On paper, it looked reliable enough – mixed surfaces and some pavement meaning we would move quickly. What I also knew that my cue sheet kept reminding me is that there was nowhere I could identify which we could get food or water from. I brought my sawyer water filter in case and knew there were clean creeks in proximity. However, some of the smaller creeks were not running near as well as I expected them to be.

Water is an abundant resource in Appalachia. It’s a challenge sometimes but more often it’s a blessing. I carry a small water filter on almost every ride and seldom have to worry about the consequences of being caught out drying up. We had 10″ of rain over 48 hours just earlier in the week. At first, this rain concerned me knowing we had many large mud holes early in the ride and several creek crossings late in the game. Seeing these creeks in the Fort Lewis valley dry however meant we would need to get resourceful for fluid. And we were. Cruising through the valley as folks enjoyed their later morning vittles we eyed two neighbors on their porch; no doubt puzzled at our appearance. I whistled to Elliott and gave a hearty wave to the neighbors and pulled into their drive. Asking if they had some fluid we were greeted with smiles and fresh water. They asked about our route and offered more water as needed. I don’t know if the kindness of strangers is in the bikepacking spirit or not but I do know its in the Appalachian spirit and something I’ve relied on many many times.

Hydrated for the long haul it was clean on towards Covington and our refuel at mile 140. Highlights of the “big empty” of Fort Lewis valley include finding a pocketed payday bar I had picked up for Elliott which I had forgotten about. I ate half before handing it over to him. Desperate times. Also smooth road and gravel cruising. This middle stretch was the jackpot we had been paying into for the first 75 miles. Fast pavement and big ring smashing were delightful, it was as if someone had finally pulled our masks off, cut the limiter choke, we were finally full throttle!

As we approached the Highlands are of Virginia I was grateful that the route took us through the least offensive possible path. Well maintained valley cruising rather than the rugged ridge roads and 5 thousand foot peaks to our west, Covington VA is a sleepy town with some of the best backcountry mountain biking around, more importantly, this round it was our first solid food stop in around a hundred miles. As we pulled hard through the rolling rhodo tunnels prior to a long descent into Covington we had a quarry in our sites.

The Rockstar is normally a couple day tour for most folks. Setting into the Journey we knew there was at least one other group out on the route. The bike racer in me buzzed with the prospect of catching them in our single day push and wondered where that might be. As the forest road undulated towards Covington we encountered a friend who had seen our live track and gave us the update. Mike Scales keeps the wild trails in check out here on the edge of the Shenandoah, his update was that the trio had JUST passed by and that we would likely catch them before our next stop. The next few miles were some of my favorites. The energy of making a pass in a 265-mile ride combined with an objectively good stretch of dirt made for a joyful several miles. Add in the long downhill blast and the recipe was tasty.

And sure enough as we pulled off dirt and onto pavement we eyed three pedaling souls who looked a little more weathered than the average rider. Jess, Lizzy, and Ellen were just the company we needed as we sat housing junkfood at the convenience store in covington. Their pace was less than hours but their journey was just as splendid and colorful from the quick stories we shared. I love that about established routes like the Rockstar. Take it for what you want it to be; it doesn’t mind.

However with many miles of speed under us now and many more left we were back into the realm I knew well; and that felt good. Pushing on South from Covington and the wilderness it was into the Jefferson National Forest and an organized drop my dear wife Emily had worked out for us. We packed two boxes that contained food and water that Emily arranged to have available for us at mile 160 before another long stretch of wilderness and then again at mile 200 where again we may need to refuel.

Covington to the next drop flowed like water with a smooth paved climb up and over Rich Patch mountain, followed by an alright tailwind along the James River headwaters before reaching our drop. Fresh water, fresh food, some CBD gummies to help dull the fatigue, and we were off again setting into ORV trail which would lead us towards Roanoke and the finish line.

A brief period of pavement then gave way once again to wilderness. Maybe I was being lazy, maybe I was tired, maybe I was getting a little too forceful in my forward momentum but as I blasted through a creek deep in the Jefferson my back tire deflated rapidly. We immediately team worked a fix, installing a boot and a tube. It seemed my home turf wasn’t going to pitch softballs for us! As we eyed our timing and our speed we started wrapping our minds around the math. It was around 6:00 PM, with 50 miles of forest dirt with elevation and to my memory at the time six substantial creek crossings we needed to get to the deed. The flat had to be dealt with quickly and there wasn’t a lot of time to spare. We had left most of our lights in our last drop, knowing we had fresh lights in the 200-mile drop. Optimistic maybe, maybe just eager to run light for a short period. I retained one very small 350 lumen light just in case because I’m a “just in case” kind of boy scout. As we climbed deeper into the forest that little light grew more and more important. I was concerned because in the preceding week we had received more than 10″ of rain locally. There hadn’t been any positive reports from the Jefferson and Craigs Creek area specifically. The six creek crossings were sure to be high.

Arriving at the first creek crossing however I was shocked to see it ambling no higher than a usual summer day. The momentary wet feet and socks were actually pleasant, I took the opportunity to dip my water bottle into the creek for a refreshing blast of water I knew was clean. Or at least knew carried delayed consequences!

We made much shorter work of these creeks and the Jefferson than I expected. I stopped once to top off the tube we had put in as the creek moisture helped the tube and tire settle in. With the sun setting, we were blessed with smooth rolling through rough country. Two giant black bears within the same mile, a few snakes, many bugs, and soon enough the hum of traffic on Rt 311 played on our ears and eyes. Dropping into the pavement we kicked on blinky lights and rolled fast on the pavement. Elliott was now nearing his first double century and even my seasoned legs were feeling the fatigue.

Elliott and I have been stage race partners on several occasions. Regular ride pals, and well suited to partnership on the bike. He carries more fitness these days than I do, I’ll freely admit that. But in nearly two decades of riding and racing, I’ve accrued some extra grit and toughness that is a good temper to quicker legs. These combinations make us good partners. Elliott’s fitness had done hard work all day and I could tell the fatigue was becoming real. I started steadily feeding him a little bit of my secret stash of tricks hidden in my Nittany Mountain frame bag and he came around wonderfully right around mile 195. Floyds of Leadville had provided the recovery and kick I needed for months prior and the day of our Rockstar ride was no exception. There, the secret is out.

As we neared the Carvin’s Cove reservoir the pavement once again ended. At the end of the road, our last drop awaited. Fresh water, food, and fresh batteries for our lights; which we needed desperately at this phase as the world had darkened well into the night.

The previous Rockstar FKT was a sniff over 24 hours. Our goal had been to go sub 20 and stamp a hard and VERY fast time on the books. With slow going on the front end, and the flat tire we troubleshooted in the Jefferson that time was probably out of reach. However, we were still well ahead of the record and set to rattling through Carvins Cove’s loop road and singletrack back out into pavement. The Cove is Roanoke’s singletrack heaven. It’s 60 miles of singletrack and wilderness feel were our last real isolation before we burst into the city and hummed to the finish line.

What Elliott didn’t expect among that hum was me moaning about how much the Rockstar route bumbled around through Roanoke. We could have cut an hour or more from our time by bee-lining to the Star. Alas the route IS the route and we were on this journey to finish it!

Through the pavement jungle for a change. Since it was getting late on a Sunday night there was little traffic. While there was noise and action all around with a full day of companionship under our belts, Elliott and I worked together all but oblivious of the drama of the city. Moving onto the Roanoke City greenway we returned to some solitude. About that time though we were joined by our shuttle driver Matt “Buffalo Man” Clements on his home-tuned moped. The hum of his little engine ripping around the city meeting us to cheer at strategic points was welcome. And as we rounded behind the Mill Mountain park and entered singletrack, Elliott and I could both feel just how close our finish line was. The Roanoke Star is a giant illuminated metal star perched on top of one of our city parks. Its a symbol of the progressive mindset of Roanoke and earned it the nickname the “Star City” of the South. However, to call the Roanoke Star our finish line is a bit of a misnomer. The monument itself was our final ascent before descending into downtown Roanoke and finishing at the Texas Tavern, Roanoke’s “Millionaires Club.” The name is as comical as it gets for the ten bar stool restaurant that’s been serving up dollar menu items and hot bowls of chili for three generations. Its a favorite for the night out crowd and even weather-beaten and exhausted we wouldn’t be the most colorful characters there this night.

The final moments of a single day undertaking like the Rockstar are almost always anticlimactic. The thing itself is solitary. There are no fireworks to announce your completion of the undertaking. There’s not even any finish “line” to speak of. Merely an arrival to quiet most of the time. There’s no wrong feelings in this moment and its a moment which riders all over the world chase daily. This day for us was the fastest known time by nearly four hours, it was a pretty substantial stamp on the books and it was a tremendous endeavor for both Elliott and I. Final elapsed time was 20:07. I stepped into the Texas Tavern to order a favorite which I hadn’t had in years while Emily, Matt, and Elliott sat and enjoyed a group sense of accomplishment over pizza and bubbly water. To the public, I was no different than anybody standing in the Texas Tavern hungry for a “cheesy western.” The cook; who had been there since as far back as I can remember, asked me quietly “did you do that race?” I responded “yeah, I guess we did, I think we even won”

 

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The Bernard Kerr Story: Pivot Factory Racing is Born

by Pivot Cycles
July 16, 2020

Part one of our three-part video series celebrating Bernard Kerr’s tenth anniversary with Pivot covered the early “caravan years”. Now, in the second episode, we focus on the birth of Pivot Factory Racing. When British Pivot importer, Upgrade Bicycles approached us ten years ago saying that it had local racer that we should sponsor we took a chance. “Our team manager called me a few races later and mentioned that Bernard was using up all their spare wheels and then he started breaking frames”, says Pivot Cycles President and CEO, Chris Cocalis. “The other riders on the team went the entire season on the same frames but Bernard could actually break a frame on demand. That’s how the relationship started because we needed to find out what he was doing with his bike. He was literally ripping the seat tube off the frame. It changed the way we handled some of our testing and we started working more closely together.

We’ve always leaned on Bernard and he’s continually delivered. He is not afraid to try new products and is a key player in our development program. Behind that sometimes wild and carefree personality is a perfectionist who insists on doing things right. He will speak his mind and give input when things are not working or need a tweak. His influence exists in every model he rides. “We found out pretty quickly that if Bernard broke something that none of the other riders were breaking, we still needed to take it seriously,” says Cocalis. “In those early days, Bernard was fast but wasn’t as smooth.  He went big and landed hard.  These days, he’s super smooth.  He obviously goes bigger than ever but frames last him an entire season.  We’ve both gotten better over the years.”

Watching Bernard ride is pure poetry in motion. His combination of raw speed and flow always pegs the fun meter. Bernard is more than that stylish rider, fun personality and a top-end racer – he also takes on management of the now five person Pivot Factory Racing team – a team that has won an EWS round and made podium appearances in both the men’s and women’s fields. Also, Bernard puts in the time to train and stay at the top of his game. Two Red Bull Hardline wins, UCI podiums and a King of Crankworx title give Bernard legend status.

The common bond that has made Pivot’s relationship with Bernard so genuine is our shared love of riding and that need for perfection. Bernard’s enthusiasm for the sport is apparent in everything he does. It doesn’t matter if you say hello to him in the pits at a World Cup or run into him out on the trail, you won’t find a more friendly, humble and genuine person than Bernard. He has an infectious love for riding that’s hard to miss. He is in it for all the right reasons – the same reasons that drive us to create and produce the bikes that we do.

So let’s all lift a pint to celebrate Bernard and our ten-year anniversary. He has taken us on an incredible ride. Pivot Factory Racing is an extension of his dream and we are lucky to be part of it. And we can’t wait for you to see what’s coming next from Bernard Kerr and his PFR teammates. Usually, because WE can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

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A Night On The Arizona Trail

by Pivot Cycles
July 8, 2020

Bikepacking often elicits an image of long-distance rides that take many days, weeks, or months of pedaling bikes heavily loaded with gear and food for the duration of a long trip. But taking the time off work, traveling to far-away places, and acquiring the gear, confidence, and fitness for a long-distance, multi-week trip can be a heavy lift and simply not easily attainable or desirable for many. While I absolutely recommend someday seeking a longer bikepacking trip as a way to travel, explore a landscape, and experience the joy that comes with bike travel (on a lightly packed bike), I also am equally an advocate for the 36-hour or less overnight bikepacking trip.

Photo by Kurt Refsnider

The rewards of pedaling my bike to camp for one night include low time investment for trip preparation, breaking a big day ride into two shorter, more attainable days, watching one day end and another begin through sunset and sunrise with dinner and coffee, and sleeping under the stars. The single-night bikepacking trip is both a way to dip your toes into bikepacking, and a way to have a quick getaway from home adventure.

Photo by Kurt Refsnider

For me, trails are ribbons of dirt that take me through a place I don’t yet know or know and love deeply. Choosing to spend a night bikepack on a route for a night is one way I chose to spend more time in a place, enjoying everything the landscape has to offer as day turns to night and night transitions back to day again. Because of this relationship, my favorite single night bikepacking route is on Passage 16 – the Gila River Canyons – of the Arizona Trail, or better known as Picketpost.

Photo by Kurt Refsnider

It’s on this section of the Arizona Trail that I first went bikepacking on singletrack, experiencing the delight of camping among the blooming poppies, mariposa lilies, globe mallow, desert marigold, brittlebush, prickly pears, and ocotillo. Picketpost is also where I’ve aimed to finish the Arizona Trail Race, starting 300 miles to the south at Parker Canyon Lake near the Mexico/Arizona border on four different occasions. During that race, I eagerly look forward to the final stretch of riding along the Gila River and climbing up through the southern Superstition Mountains among magnificent volcanic pinnacles, cliffs, and towers. It’s in these final 30 miles of the race that I’ve dug the deepest in my body and mind, been most in awe of the desert light at sunrise, and experienced an ultimate flow state of moving my body and bike over rocks, around tight switchbacks, and in and out of steep drainages. Although the trail here isn’t far from Phoenix as the crow flies, the rugged canyons, wild views, and arid climate make this slice of the Sonoran Desert particularly remote feeling. That said, from the tiny mining town of Kelvin, bikepackers and thru-hikers have been known to call in pizza for trail-side delivery from the nearby, and also small town of Winkleman.

Photo by Kurt Refsnider

The magnificence of riding in the Gila River Canyons surpasses the experience of an ultra-racer; this section of Arizona Trail is widely revered among mountain bikers as world-class desert singletrack. But because of the rugged and remote nature of the riding, it can be challenging to fully experience the full character of the landscape without tackling a massive day-ride or embarking on an overnight bikepack. A grassroots collection of group rides and challenges, the Arizona Endurance Series, shares three different routes that venture into the Gila River Canyons and southern Superstition Mountains. Any of these routes would make for a fantastic bikepack, though if the return climb feels attainable, taking a trip down to the Gila River on the AZT is well worth the effort. Riders of all experience and fitness levels should be warned that the AZT is notoriously slow going and to expect much slower moving-time pace than average mountain trail riding. But it’s at this pace that you can see the desert wildflowers, feel the ways water has roughly eroded the rocky terrain, and soak in your time on the Arizona Trail.


Photo by Will Stubblefield

A final word to anyone who doesn’t have quick access to an overnight on the Arizona Trail, as I no longer do: picking out my favorite area to ride close to home, or a long ride that could be broken into two days is truly my favorite way to approach the overnight bikepacking trip. As the snow is melting from high mountain trails here in Idaho, my partner and I have been making a habit of taking our 7-month puppy for ultra-short bikepack rides on our local trails. We’ve been leaving our house after work at 5:00 pm, riding for an hour to a camp spot, waking up at sunrise and returning home in time to start the workday. It has been a fun way for us to get out of the house without the logistics or time investment of traveling and while enjoying family time without the distractions of home. I couldn’t think of a better or more simple way for the whole family to enjoy bikes and camping together.

 

Words written by 24-hour World Champion and ultra-endurance record holder, Kait Boyle

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WE’RE MOVING

by Pivot Cycles
May 27, 2020

Boxes are packed, moving vans are on the way, and the Pivot family is excited to take up residence in our new 74,000 sq. ft. headquarters here in Tempe, Arizona.

FOR OUR CUSTOMERS

Pivot Cycles is closed on Friday, May 29. Normal business operations, including Customer Service phone support will resume at 11:00 am PST on Monday, June 1st.

All online sales will be closed from Wednesday, May 27 until Thursday, June 4. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please feel free to revisit the webstore and use the code MOVE10 for a 10% discount* on all soft goods and accessories, as a thank you for your patience.
*Coupon code valid until June 15.

FOR OUR DEALERS

Normal shipping volume will be interrupted between 5:00 pm PST on May 29th and 8:00 am PST on Monday, June 8th.
Pivot Cycles will be closed on Friday, May 29. Normal business operations, including Customer Service phone support will resume at 11:00 am PST on Monday, June 1st.

Sincerely,
The Pivot Family

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In the Kitchen with Defending Leadville 100 Champion

by Pivot Cycles
May 25, 2020

I’m Rose GrantStan’s-Pivot Pro Team pb Maxxis athlete and defending Leadville 100 Champion. My husband, daughter, and I live in NW Montana, not too far from where I grew up amongst my four brothers. My parents had a “live off the land” mentality – we shared meals consisting of garden vegetables and wild game around the dinner table on a daily basisI now continue this way of life with my family – if you’d like to follow a long check out Recipes with Rose 

I have always cooked at home to prepare meals for my family, friends, and teammatesI believe that the dinner table has a sacredness to it. In what is normally a fastpacedworld, gathering together for mealtime brings consistency and stability whether it be with family, friends, or teammates. It allows ChloeKeegan and I to integrate with each other on a regular basis while traveling and racing.  

Eating is a necessity of living, why not make it delicious and nutritious? Preparing food in our own kitchens give us control over the quality of food and the origin of where it comes from. Shopping sales at our farmer’s markets allows us to shop local, find affordable quality, and keep meals simple and easy to prepare. It is a little different on the road with the team, we shop local when we can and always purchase quality and simple foods – just like when we are at home. We always need to prepare food that supports high volume, intense training, and recovery for races such as Leadville 100, the Epic Rides Series, and National Championships. 

Every team has a different way of planning their meals when they come together for a race weekend. For the Stan’s-Pivot Pro Teamhaving lodging with a kitchen is a must so that we can prepare our meals where we are staying. We each have similar preferences when it comes to food choices and there aren’t any dietary restrictions between us, so cooking together is simple and enjoyable. We keep a bin of pantry staples along with an Insta Pot in the team van, then we shop for perishable ingredients when we arrive at our race location. These staples aren’t only great for traveling but items we all keep at home, too! 

Must-have Stan’sPivot Pantry Staples:  

  1. Rice (Keegan has a bottomless pit when it comes to rice)  
  2. Canned Beans (Although Chloe and I both enjoy cooking dried beans when at home)  
  3. Olive Oil and Vinegar  
  4. Maple Syrup  
  5. Pancake Mix – did you know Keegan is the “Official Pancake Rater” of the cycling world!? Want to see how your pancakes match up to some of the top pros and cycling enthusiastic? Post your best and tag @keegels99 to get your rating NOW!  
  6. Rolled Oats  
  7. Almond Butter  

Oftentimes, we race twice during a weekend, making the schedule busy. Because racing can create added levels of stress, food can be perceived as more of a necessity than enjoyment. However, we do our best to sit down and enjoy meals that bring us together amidst the business that naturally comes with racing. Like at home, meal planning is important to keep us fueled and to avoid getting “hangry” – none of you want to see that 😊. On race days when our start time is later in the day, we choose a dinner made in the Insta Pot (on the slow cooker setting). It is so handy! We can prepare the meal in the morning and have it ready to go when we arrive back after the race.  Other times we can take a bit more time in the kitchen preparing, but we always create meals each of us can personalize, whether it be optional toppings or being able to add or take out ingredients. Here are a few of our favorite #pivotfamily meals. Most of these meals are best consumed out of a bowl, well at least that is what Chloe would say. If you ever see Chloe having some grub it will likely be out of a bowl or her handy-dandy reusable sandwich bag, I don’t disagree with her on thisAnyways, we hope you try these recipes with your team, friends or family! 

________________

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Bowls

(adapted from Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow)

 Ingredients: 

  • 3-4 pounds chicken thighs  
  • Salt and pepper  
  • 1 onion chopped  
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped  
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar  
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce  
  • 2 Tbsp honey  
  • Chipolte peppers in Adobe Sauce  
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder  
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice  

Directions: 
Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs. Add the onion, garlic, ½ cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, peppers, and chili powder to a slow cooker. Stir to combine, then add the chicken thighs and submerge in liquid. Cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken thighs and shred them and remove bone if necessary. Return to slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour. Turn off heat and add lime juice at the end. Serve over Rice, and top with your preferred condiments. We like a flexible combination of cabbage slaw, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, and cilantro.  

________________

Warm Pesto Potato Arugula Salad with Salmon or Chicken 

(adapted from Oh She Glows Everyday) 

 Ingredients: 

  • 5 oz tub baby Arugula
  • Prepared basil pesto (Kirkland Basil Pesto from Costco is my favorite) 
  • White potatoes (about 2 lbs.
    *Amounts can vary widely for this recipe based on preference:  

Directions: 
Prepare Potatoes: Wash, chop, and peel potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread potatoes in an even layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast potatoes in 400-degree oven until golden and tender. Add fresh Arugula to a large bowl, top with warm potatoes, 1/3 cup pesto, and toss. Add more pesto if needed and toss. The greens will wilt. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve topped with roasted nuts (pine nuts or cashews are my favorite), hemp hearts, avocado, parmesan or feta cheese.  

Grill salmon or chicken as desired and serve on the side or on top of your salad.  

________________

Rotisserie Chicken Burrito Buffet Smorgasbord 

Ingredients: 

  • Rotisserie chicken (we have been known to cook up ground beef or bison and season with Taco Seasoning in place of the rotisserie chicken from time to time, but the convenience of a rotisserie chicken finds its way into our race weekend at some point, guaranteed!)  
  • Cooked Rice 
  • Roasted Sweet Potato  
  • Canned Black Beans  
  • Shredded Cheese  
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado  
  • Shredded cabbage lightly drizzled with olive oil or avocado oil and lime juice, and seasoned with salt  
  • Salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, chopped cilantro  
  • Burrito Wraps and/or tortilla chips  

Directions: 
Personal assembly required. Have fun and create however you desire!  

________________

Keegan’s Special Sourdough Pancakes 

      Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup flour  
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda  
  • 1/2 tsp salt  
  • 2 Tbsp Agave or maple syrup  
  • 3/4 cup (roughly) milk, less for thicker pancakes and more for thinner  
  • BIG spoonfuls of sourdough starter (see if you can get this from your local bakery) 

Directions:
Mix it all up and ideally let it sit overnight in the fridge so the sourdough can do its thing. Then cook with medium-low heat with butter or oil. Once cooked create an Instagram Story and tag @keegles99 to receive your official rating 

Enjoy!
-Rose Grant 

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How To Bikepack with 3 Different Mountain Bike Frames

by Pivot Cycles
May 6, 2020

Shortly after I started mountain biking I quickly realized that if I could carry my camping gear on my bike, I could get farther into the backcountry in less time than on foot or on a single-day ride. Without researching how other people go on multi-day mountain bike rides, I packed my 50L backpack and rode the Kokopelli Trail. It was 2011, I did not yet have a smartphone and I naively assumed my approach to multi-day mountain biking was novel. Although I was packed lightly for a two-night outing, my pack felt heavy on my butt and hands and raised my center of gravity, causing my bike handling to suffer. After pedaling all day, camping, and pedaling on for a total of 135 miles between Fruita, CO and Moab, UT I wondered if there were better ways to pack, and if my full-suspension bike was suitable for the task. I returned home enamored with the experience.

 

It turned out that my idea of multi-day, self-supported biking was not new or novel. People have been using bikes to support their multi-day travels since the late 1800s, and the first frame bag was invented in 1891! Following the more recent evolution of trail-capable bikes, lightweight backcountry camping gear, and a rapidly growing industry of bikepacking bag manufacturers, bikepacking has grown exponentially in popularity since 2010. Since that first trip on the Kokopelli Trail, I have adopted bags to pack and carry my gear on my bike and taken a wide variety of mountain bikes on bikepacking trips around the world. The repertoire of bikes I’ve used bikepacking has included 26”, 27.5”, and 29” wheels with tires ranging from 2.2”-5” wide. I’ve ridden carbon, steel, aluminum, and titanium frames and pedaled single speeds, 3×9, 2×10, 1×11, and 1×12 gearings with rigid and dropper posts. So when I hear I want to start bikepacking but I need a bikepacking bike, I respond, your favorite bike to ride on dirt is the best bikepacking bike. 

The secret to making your mountain bike a bikepacking bike lies in how you pack it. Here I’ll share some general packing tips to apply to various styles of mountain bikes and a small gallery of how a line of Pivot’s long-distance ready bikes can be packed. Most importantly, remember when selecting your gear and packing system, that the lighter you pack your bike, the less energy you’ll expend pedaling, and that energy will transform into having more fun and being a happy bikepacker!

Handlebars: A long, somewhat narrow stuff sack strapped to the handlebars is an ideal place to carry lighter weight and bulkier items. Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, shelter, and warmer layers are great options to stash in a handlebar roll. This is an ideal place to have bulkier items – the lighter you can keep your handlebar roll, the easier time you’ll have maneuvering the front end. This is especially important for technical riding and less important for less technical riding. A handlebar roll system can be purchased or improvised with dry-sacks and ski straps.

Frames: The triangle of the frame is an excellent storage space when paired with a frame bag. Stock triangle frame bags will fit most hardtails and custom full-suspension frame bags are readily available by most bikepacking bag manufacturers. Because this void is over the bottom bracket, weight here will stabilize your bike. Food, water, and repair items are perfect to store in a frame bag. Even the smallest of frame bags for full suspension bikes can add a surprising amount of storage.

Rear-end: A seat bag is essentially a larger version of the small saddlebags that are commonly used to store tubes and tools. These bags provide storage room behind the saddle while keeping the weight relatively close to the middle of the bike. In dirt-oriented bikepacking, seat bags have become widely preferred over racks and panniers for their improvements in bike handling and light weight. With the wide range of seat bag sizes available now, most riders will find a seat bag that can clear the rear tire when loaded. Full suspension rigs must account for clearance with the rear suspension compressed. Riders employing dropper posts must account for the drop plus the potential suspension clearance. This can become a tricky fit, especially for shorter riders. That said, at 5’2” tall I have bikepacked on 29” full suspension bikes, 27.5 full-suspension bikes, and 27.5 hardtails with a dropper post. It can be done, you just may have to sacrifice the size of your seat bag or some length of dropper post used.

Miscellaneous: There are a variety of smaller bags that can be strapped to the top tube, down tube, or fork. While small, these can increase space and reduce weight elsewhere. A top tube bag for snacks can pack a whole day’s worth of riding food, and a downtube bag of repair can save a water bottle size bundle from somewhere else and keep the weight at the bottom bracket.

Backpacks: A day 10-30L daypack will go a long way to increase the room on your bike and decrease the weight of it. For singletrack oriented bikepacking I prefer to carry a 20L daypack with my water, some food, and a layer of two. This system keeps my bike lighter and more maneuverable, and it helps me pack my size small Mach 5.5 or Mach 4 SL.

While the initial investment in bikepacking bags will cost you a couple hundred dollars, the expense is an investment in your adventures and can be quickly offset by camping instead of sleeping in a hotel. A larger daypack, an improvised handlebar roll system paired with a seat bag will get you out on a first trip set up for success. However, you choose to load up your favorite bike for a bikepacking trip, be sure to test ride your packing system before embarking on a committing trip; often a small rearrangement and addition or shift of a strap makes all the difference. Happy bikepacking and enjoy your ride!

By Kaitlyn Boyle

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Bikepacking Alaska’s Iditarod Trail

by Pivot Cycles
April 22, 2020

Words and photos by Kurt Refsnider (@kurt.refsnider)

A sudden burst of light flashed through the green wall of my tent, startling me awake. I felt my heart beating forcefully in my chest as I listened to the frigid, silent night. The muffled jingling of metal and the sound of something sliding across snow grew more audible, and then the light flashed brightly past again. I quickly propped my shoulders up and looked out the half-open door just in time to see 14 dogs powering past over the top of the ridge upon which we were camped. Behind the dogs, the moonlit figure of a musher stood upon a sled, bundled up with a massive parka and snow pants. And within seconds, they disappeared into a forest of scraggly black spruce.

“Did you see that?!” Nicholas excitedly asked from his tent, set up just a few meters from mine. “I think that’s the first team!” The Iditarod racers had caught up to us. I looked at the time on my watch – 2:30 am. Then I looked at my small thermometer – minus 24 F. I squirmed back into my massive sleeping bag and fell asleep wondering what it would feel like to be pulled so quietly through the night by so many animals.

The next morning, we were back on the trail by the somewhat warmer 11 o’clock hour, crunching over dozens of dog prints on the enjoyably firm trail. I relished the relaxed start to the morning – coffee, a large pot of oats, more coffee, and watching dog teams pass by.  A few days earlier, I had wrapped up an incredibly challenging race of my own along the first 300 miles of the Iditarod Trail, winning aboard my Pivot Les Fat in 100 hours on just 10 or 11 hours of sleep. My muscles and knees still ached from the effort, and my energy level was far below normal. But I had traveled all the way from Arizona to Alaska, so when Nicholas Carman asked if I wanted to tour farther down the trail with him after the race, I couldn’t easily refuse. Unfortunately, four days of rest, binge eating, and an endless stream of coffee is close to four weeks shy of complete recovery from that sort of race.

Those first couple days back on the trail, I puttered along as Nicholas excitedly sprinted off into the distance. His legs were eager to pedal fast after having been volunteering at one of the race checkpoints. Pedaling even at my slow speed required considerable effort despite the favorable trail conditions. This first leg of our journey would be around 5 days and 220 miles between the villages of Takotna and Ruby. In between, there was nothing aside from a couple of checkpoints for the dogsled race, so our bikes were heavily laden with food. I managed to eat my 5 days of snacks in just two days. So much for rationing.

The Iditarod Trail itself is little more than a narrow track packed by a small number of snowmachines, sinuously crossing the interior of Alaska for nearly a thousand miles. Communities along the trail are few and far between, and the only time the trail is reasonably passable is around the dogsled race – after the last mushers go through, traffic on most of the trail goes to zero. So, we hoped to keep up with the race for as long as we could, meaning we were trying to do 45 to 50 miles a day. With good conditions (meaning minimal bike pushing), that distance translated to 8+ hours in the saddle.

We quickly fell into a rhythm of breaking camp or leaving a shelter cabin by mid-morning and pedaling steadily until an hour or two after sunset. The scattered cabins and their wood stoves offered a warm night and a chance to dry damp gear, but I found nights nestled into my small tent and lofty sleeping bag marvelously comfortable. Mushers and their teams passed us regularly, and often we had entertaining conversations consisting of a few sentences as they passed – many seemed impressed to see cyclists way out there, some wondered how close they were to the next team ahead, and others tossed snacks at us. I marveled at the feat of endurance they were all in the midst of, the mushers having to take good care of themselves as well as so many dogs with minimal rest. I have enough trouble just managing my own needs in ultra endurance events.

The landscapes through which we pedaled seemed stretched and exaggerated to cover the entirety of Alaska’s vastness. An entire day of pedaling was not necessarily enough to get us out of one particular valley or through the rolling hills and sparse forests that separated one large drainage from the next. Skeletons of burned spruce woodlands stood starkly above the bright white snow for miles upon miles. Even the sunsets persisted considerably longer than I’m accustomed to. Through all that, we pedaled, and if we were moving at 7 mph, we were probably grinning.

My energy began to gradually rebound by our 4th day out, I was able to scavenge a big pile of snacks at a dogsled checkpoint, and the idea of another 400+ miles to the end of the trail was starting to seem a bit more manageable. Life was pretty dang good. But despite being in such an incredibly remote place, news of the coronavirus pandemic outside was making its way to the trail. By the time we reached the mighty Yukon River and the small community of Ruby the next afternoon, things in Alaska were already beginning to shut down. Farther down the trail, Native communities were apparently closing to all visitors, meaning resupplying could be problematic. On top of that, the weather forecast was looking warm and wet, not at all good for making good time toward the coast. And with 150 miles of less engaging riding down the Yukon, Nicholas and I were suddenly uncertain about the fate of our trip.

We spent that night camped on the middle of the mile-wide river still within sight of Ruby. By morning, the decision was made that we probably shouldn’t continue on, and before long, we had a couple of spots arranged on a tiny plane out to Fairbanks the following afternoon. Back in Ruby, a few of the residents lamented that any sort of medical care was an airplane ride away, and there were rumors that California was about to shut down. Hours later, we rolled our bikes into the absolutely deserted Fairbanks airport, studded tires clicking on the shiny floor. The simplicity of the trail suddenly felt impossibly far behind, and remarkably, so much more uncertainty awaited in the days ahead.

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Coastal Pull #3 – Santa Cruz

by Pivot Cycles
April 7, 2020

To wrap up the Coastal Pull series, we wanted to just get out, play locally, and connect with the Vault’s ability to explore backroads close to home — ones that are sometimes overlooked on road-specific bikes.  Luckily, local to Monterey is Santa Cruz (bummer): the historical CA coastal town that is a cycling mecca and renowned for its redwood forests, fire roads, mountain bike parks, and beach access.

Another subtle beauty of Santa Cruz is its maze of roadways and offshoots. We chose our ride; however, endless alternatives exist for you to explore. And the Vault gives you access to just about every one of them. But in full transparency, this was — hilariously — our third attempt at completing this ride. Our first outing was handicapped and ultimately foiled 90 minutes into the ride by a forgotten phone in the car. Outing number two was timed with a heavy windstorm that snapped redwoods all around us and terrified runners yelling, “get out of here you could literally die”. Based on the fact that we tried this ride three times, Santa Cruz has a magnetism that cyclists can’t resist.

Coastal Pull

Park near the base of Aptos Creek Fire Rd (Aptos, CA), the gateway into The Forest of Nisene Marks. There’s no time at all until you’re riding through the dense forest of redwoods that tower above, with sunlight being thwarted except for a few sun-dappled spots on the roads. The bashing starts soon also with divots and roots that run the entire entrance road. The paved road soon connects with some gravely dirt, some historical sawmills, and a mostly rolling terrain. You’ll come to a bridge that pops up frequently on Instagram feeds, and it’s basically the last time that you’ll have free speed for some time.

Coastal Pull

If you are a mountain goat or someone who enjoys sufferwatts, then you’ll love it. Flatlanders…you’ll have about 6 miles and 2000’ that you may wish to forget. The climb from the oceanside of Aptos Creek is amazing though. Switchbacking in a dense redwood forest was great fun and really immersed us in the environment.

Coastal Pull

The dirt on our first attempt was epic and tacky, but this ride had so much debris from the previous windstorm that much of our time was spent dodging branches and downed trees. It was oddly a great way to test us and the handling of the Vault, and we joked about how we lucked out having the park even open to squeeze in this ride.

Coastal Pull

We did this ride in February, but on a day that was in full and fairly warm sunshine on the coast. The transformative environment of Nisene Marks made it that we had to wear warmers and wind protection even on the climb. It’s just cold in the forest, and we were happy to have packed layers, not only for snack breaks, but also for emergency power meter battery changes.

Coastal Pull

We took the route towards Buzzards Lagoon (highly recommended for downhill sessions). Here the environment transitions into more manzanita and dry shrubs, compared to the thick redwoods closer to the coastline. You’ll likely run into mountain and dirt bikers doing some hot sessions coming up from the Morgan Hill and Los Gatos areas. The route options really open up once you hit the pavement at Eureka Canyon Rd. We took Highland Way to the north (looping back towards Santa Cruz), however, road and dirt options headed south into Watsonville are worth exploring also.

Coastal Pull

The initial part of Highland Way (off of Buzzard) reminds us of racing road bikes on the backroads of California’s coast. Endless curves, a slight bit of blind danger, potholes and water runoff, and that 1-2% downhill that makes you feel super strong on the bike. We got a little too excited with all the stuff to see in the forest and the jamming downhill that we forgot to eat enough, which made the rollers on the later part of Highland feel not so fun. But the road opens up to truly epic redwood and ocean sights.

Coastal Pull

We blasted down Soquel San Jose Rd, which is about 6 miles of basically-straight downhill pavement. This was where the give and take of the versatility of the Vault really became apparent. We were on our 40mm file treads with about 22psi (which is what we had been using really well in daily training), but for this part of the ride road slicks would obviously have been perfect. The takeaway is that the Vault can do all of it! It gives you the luxury of deciding your ride route and your tire choice. You can select which parts of the route mean more to you and choose the tires for that section.

Coastal Pull

We pulled into Casalengno’s Country Store for a snack and coffee break only to realize that they were closed, but just imagine that we had epic pastries and espresso once again! From there you have several options to get into Santa Cruz. We took the loop around to Bransiforte Dr to get a few more miles in and hang out in the forest a bit longer.

Coastal Pull

Once you’re in Santa Cruz proper, just write your own story. Cruise the streets in search of a sandwich or smoothie hut. Hit the beach for some ocean views and maybe some whale sightings. Continue the ride and hit the Wilder Ranch State Park for some flow trails. We’ve been fortunate enough to have done all of that on the Vault, and we were happy to go to our fav local café for avocado toast and that long-overdue espresso shot – a proper end to our Coastal Pull.

Coastal Pull

The Ride:

49.6 miles

4,436 feet of climbing

4 hours, 12 minutes ride time

map

The Bikes:

Pivot Vault w/ Sram Force etap AXS,
and Zipp 303 Firecrest and 30 Course tubeless wheels

Gearing:

Lindsay – 38T chainring, 10-33t cassette

Max – 42T chainring, 10-33t cassette

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Coastal Pull #2 – Death Valley

by Pivot Cycles
March 19, 2020

Gold! The things we do for what we find so valuable. Death Valley needs no introduction, standing as one of the pinnacles of National Parks in the United States since 1994, but made a national monument since before most of us were born… 1933. The California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s (remember those 49’ers?) pulled countless eager souls from the East, on an unknown journey westward, loaded on wooden wheels and on foot. Some made the not so fortunate choice to take a shortcut over the now infamous Funeral Mountains and into Badwater Basin. Months of desolate isolation and some casualties later, they trekked out and said, “Good-bye Death Valley.”

Death Valley

Photo by Max Polin: Highway to Badwater Basin

We all know now that Gravel is the new Gold. The things we do for that sweet, sweet gravel. Provisions checklist: 2 Pivot Vaults, SRAM Force EtapAXS, Zipp 30 Course and 303 Firecrest on 40mm filetread, Science in Sport nutrition, navigation and suffer-data by Wahoo Fitness, lids and kicks by Giro Cycling, and fresh threads by Eliel Cycling. SK Racing Team is about to do Death Valley. Although a far drive from the ocean smells and coastal breezes of Big Sur (see our previous ride report), Death Valley offers that same intensity of magic. Paved and gravel journeys intertwine and snake across more miles than you can fathom, and it’s easy to see how souls can become lost in this massive expanse.

It was our first visit to the desert kingdom, and we played the part of basic tourist on Day 1. And it was amazing! Pulling up to Furnace Creek Visitors Center is quite juxtaposed to the earth-scorched scenes you drive through to reach it. Littered with palm trees and fully established resort homes, you can spend an oasis style vacation here. We mapped out an out-and-back with some side mini-quests for our first ride. Headed south in the main artery of Hwy 190 is Badwater Basin – the lowest point in North America. It was a bit sluggish riding the Highway on the 40s, but we had some gravel planned for later. Once you leave Furnace Creek, it’s wide open, and you feel the isolation that early settlers must have experienced. Passing miles of misshapen hillsides, pockmarked valley floors with what look like world’s worst loofah and salt bath bombs, you’re transported through history.

Reaching Badwater is not really what you may expect, but it makes perfect sense. The mountain range is rising, and the lakebed is sinking. There’s a massive cliffside to one side, and the expanse of the salt valley to the other. We had expected to arrive in it but arrived next to it. But let’s get to it…the view is stunning across a brilliant white horizon, and tiny silhouettes of visitors dance in the heat waves at its center. And it’s truly epic.

Photo by Max Polin: Badwater Basin

Photo by Max Polin: Badwater Basin

There is a gravel trail along the west side of the valley, but it didn’t appear to lead to any landmark destinations, so we opted to check out a “little” gravel off-shoot on the ride back to Furnace Creek. Natural Bridge climb is all gravel and takes you on a gentle slope until it rips your legs off. 7% for the first half, then 10% for half a mile, then 12% for a quarter-mile…on washboard loose gravel. There were smiles. Sweaty, sweaty smiles. Loaded down with two bottles and 2.5 liters on the back (because Death Valley), it’s enough to make the below-sea-level oxygen assist feel weak. The last ⅓ mile is bike-banned, so we hoofed it on foot to see the bridge. Would recommend this sight in the afternoon to allow for better light in the canyon.

Photo by Max Polin

Photo by Max Polin

Photo by Max Polin: Footpath to Natural Bridge

Photo by Max Polin: Footpath to Natural Bridge

After exploring another geological oddity, The Devil’s Golf Course, the nine-mile Artists Drive came next. Riding along the valley reminded us of California and the Sierras. There are reasons to be in the valley, but everyone wants to escape to the hills. Artist’s Drive is a one-way paved road that is the perfect marriage between a modern road-way and ancient landscapes. It feels like you are on a colonized Mars. How we are so fortunate to have this to play on is astounding. Our bodies felt as twisted as the road by the top. The same slope style as Natural Bridge, but on pavement. Yet the jaw-dropping views made up for any pain, with painted rocks, epic crater-like dimples, and towering peaks.

Photo by Max Polin: Artist’s Drive

Photo by Max Polin: Artist’s Drive

Photo by Max Polin: Artist’s Drive

Photo by Max Polin: Artist’s Drive

Coming down from the Artist’s Pallete formation, made by the earth’s most colorful chemists, is a curvy one-way descent that is an outright blast. The evening views of the valley and the long shadow trailing behind you are gifts from the cycling gods. It’s a memory board kinda thing (if you’re into that). Evening comes early in Death Valley, and with the sun falling behind the peaks of the Panamint Range much sooner than on the coast, we packed it up and dreamt of what Day 2 would bring.

Photo by Max Polin: Furnace Creek

Photo by Max Polin: Furnace Creek

Day 1 was more about Death Valley itself, who it was, and how it came to be. Day 2 brought a far different flavor to the ride. “Mines and Mills” was the theme for the ride. How did early explorers see value in this land and how did they live in it? Our ride began at the Emigrant Campground, which is near the end of the primary descent off the Panamint Range. If you were hoping to ease into this ride, it won’t happen – it’s 9 miles of 6% average on the pavement right from the gate. But it’s one of those desirable escapist feelings that adventure seekers crave. When all you’ve done is climb for the last 9 miles, you know the destination will be worth it.

Photo by Max Polin: Wildrose Rd.

Photo by Max Polin: Wildrose Rd.

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Wildrose Rd.

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Wildrose Rd.

A few gels later the climb releases you onto a high-desert plain (~4,700’) near the ghost towns of Harrisburg and Skidoo, and finally some gravel! Passing by prospector homesites that are nearing a century-old while riding a bicycle is a strange sensation. You feel akin to the adventurous and determined mindset that they must have had, but also foreign to their struggles. How hard they worked the lands for decades seems to immediately eclipse any lactate burn the legs might have at this point.

Our goal was to reach Aguereberry Point, which offers breathtaking views of the range, but it was another 2,000’ vertical from the Eureka Mine, getting overcast, windy, cold…not the best conditions for a future 13-mile descent. And we still wanted to do Skidoo. So, we layered up after exploring a mine (which is now home to protected bats instead of gold) and tackled the Skidoo gravel road.

Photo by Max Polin: Eureka Mine

Photo by Max Polin: Eureka Mine

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Road to Skidoo

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Road to Skidoo

Skidoo has a fascinating history: accidentally found in the fog, it produced ~1.5 million in gold, and was home to the only recorded hanging in Death Valley. It’s a 9-mile gravel ride from the pavement to the Skidoo townsite and mill. For being out in the middle of nowhere, it’s good gravel. Climbing up past numerous skeletons of old buildings, the road leads you to some massive valley overlooks and more of that escapist mindset.

Photo by Max Polin: Road to Skidoo

Photo by Max Polin: Road to Skidoo

There’s nothing left of the town of Skidoo (which had several hundred citizens at one point). Just a few piles of rusted food cans, other fragments of metal, and some barred entrances into holes in the hillsides. If you continue just a bit further, the preserved Skidoo Mill stands impressively over a stunning backdrop. Clung to the hillside, it really feels like a watcher of the land and time. There is an active preservation effort of it to this day (as we encountered preservation analysts surveying its integrity). Taking a stroll to the top of the mill is completely worth it. The views are indescribable, and they make the ride that more memorable.

Photo by Max Polin: Skidoo Mill

Photo by Max Polin: Skidoo Mill

It was getting into the 30s with the wind chill, and we braced for the descent back to the car. Full of smiles, satisfying our thirst for adventure. Riding down from Skidoo is an interesting feeling, and the connections you might feel to the land can be intense. It’s easy to see how people could have settled there, and if we were to build a gravel training campsite, it would be there. It’s truly gold.

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Road to Skidoo

Photo by Lindsay Wetzel Polin: Road to Skidoo

Day 1 Stats:

48.2 miles with 3950’ of climbing

Low Point: 282’ below sea level

High Point 912’ above sea level

Level of Stoke: Super Tourist

Super Tourist

(click map for GPX file)

Day 2 Stats:

44.4 miles with 4344’ of climbing

Low Point: 2146’ above sea level

High Point: 5706’ above sea level

Level of Stoke: Golden Gravel

Golden Gravel

Photo by Max Polin

Photo by Max Polin

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Pivot Cycles Announces 2020 Teams and Athletes

by Pivot Cycles
March 16, 2020

Pivot Cycles is excited to get 2020 rolling with a few new roster additions and continued support of Pivot staples alike.

Pivot Factory Racing

Earlier this year, Pivot Factory Racing announced the signing of Morgane Charre, EWS Trophy of Nations winner and former DH World Champion. Morgane makes it five, alongside Ed MastersMatt WalkerEmilie Siegenthaler, and Bernard Kerr, who is celebrating his 10th year with Pivot Cycles. Although he is not an official part of the team, expect to see Kiwi Sam Gale in the Pivot Factory Racing pits this year. “Basically, the team has bought him a Pivot bike and are going to be supporting him throughout the year as best we can whilst at the World Cups”, says Kerr. “He has a great style and an amazing attitude. Coming from the far side of the world trying to race a mainly European based series isn’t easy but we think this kid has something. We will provide him as much as we can with product and support.”

Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis

2020 marks an Olympic year, which is the focus for returning Pivot athletes, Chloe Woodruff and Keegan Swenson, of the Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis. As Chloe and Keegan make their charge for the Olympics, Rose Grant will focus on defending her title at Leadville 100, then target other grueling endurance events like the Epic Rides Series and a few handpicked gravel events.

Pivot Cycles

Pivot Cycles – OTE returns for 2020 XCO World Cup Season with Léandre Bouchard sitting in 16th place in the UCI overall points standings. He is joined by Marc-André FortierRaphael Auclair and Félix Belhumeur, and U23 racers Gunnar HolmgrenPhilippe St-LaurentVincent Thiboutot and Marianne Théberge.

Kialani Hines

Crankworx’s up-and-comer, Kialani Hines signs with Pivot again, this time with a two-year deal. Last weekend in Rotorua Hines crashed during Speed and Style resulting in a concussion and sitting out the remainder of events. Expect her to return as a podium threat at upcoming Crankworx events and the US National Championships.

Mountain Enduro and eMTB

Pivot is committing to the North American enduro scene by fielding a strong group of riders for the Big Mountain Enduro and eMTB Series. Pro enduro riders include newly signed young-gun, Trevor McCutcheon, and returning Pivot athletes –Cooper Ott (2019 BME Series winner), Lia WestermannStefanie McDanielClayton Otto and Carson Lange.

Jonny Kielhorn

Jumping across the pond, Pivot will continue support of German freestyle rider, Jonny Kielhorn while also building a new program – the Pivot Cycles Gravity Team. Abby HogieNico Lamm, and Torben Drach will be racing enduro and downhill races across Europe for the newly formed team.

Pivot supports riders and racers across the world in all walks of life. Take a look into these riders lives via Instagram – Brice ShirbachEvelyn DongGordon WadsworthJennifer GotheJordi BagoKaitlyn BoyleKaylee GibbKurt RefsniderLeigh DonovanMarius Neuffer, and Taylor Lideen.

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Pivot Factory Racing – 2020 Season is Underway with Crankworx Rotorua

by Pivot Cycles
March 10, 2020

Well there we have it…the 2020 season is underway!!! 

Crankworx Rotorua is always a great event and this year promised to be no different delivering the goods once again… 4 Podiums for the first event of the year! First up was the Toa enduro with both Eddie Masters and Matt Walker competing. A one-day enduro with 6 pedally stages and tight liaisons meant it was a heavy and intense day in the saddle.  

Crankworx Rotorua

After quite a few stage wins and solid results on the others, Eddie took the first win of the first race of the 2020 seasons. It was also the first win for the new Switchblade, which Eddie only had one previous day of riding it before the race. Just nipping at his toes and rounding out the podium was Matt with a solid 3rd place! 

Crankworx Rotorua

Next up was the Air DH race down the rather flat and not so whistler A-line track but none the less a fun track here in NZ. Matt was the star of the show here with another 3rd place on his new switchblade! After a rather disappointing run and a small mechanical issue, Bernard Kerr finished in 12th place with Eddie having a little too much fun on track and finishing 16th, but keeping the fans happy!

Matt

Dual Slalom was the next event for the crew and the track was RAD! After a lot of feedback from the year before, Crankworx moved the track to the main venue and added one of the coolest stall wall features we have seen yet. Good times were had by all! After some intense racing, Bernard finished last out of the team in 12th place with his arch nemesis Eddie in 11th! Haha! Going all the way to the final, Matt claimed the Bronze medal, his third of the week, all while riding his new Switchblade. 

CWX-Whip-Bernard

Whip Off was once again held under the lights and night. With the wind blowing pretty strong, Bernard was the only one that rode aboard his Shuttle E-bike. Feathers were ruffled but he had a great time, making more runs in than anyone else and getting some good coverage all over the web! 

Matt

The DH race was on the last day of Crankworx Rotorua – Sunday. It was on a mostly new course this year after being very much the same for the past 4 years. Day 1 of practice was very slow as there were pretty much no lines and everyone was just trying to work out where to go. Once the second day rolled around and a couple of hundred amateurs had been down the track, it was a very different story. Continuing onto race day the track deteriorated like no one has ever seen since we all started racing, massive holes littered with massive roots, heaps of dust and all on off camber hill side, it was carnage!

Ed

Unfortunately, after only 3 real days on his DH bike coming into this event and a slightly tweaked wrist from practice, Eddie decided it would be best that he sat out of the race on Sunday and concentrate on the upcoming EWS races.  

Bernard

Matt had a solid run and finished in a strong 8th place. Bernard, knowing he was feeling good all week and wanting to put something special together, pushed too hard in the loose conditions causing two big mistakes having to paddle his way to get going again, finished in 5th place. Being just 1 second off the podium and 3 off the win, it was not the result he wanted.  

All in all, the team had a great week and had a great time riding bikes!  

Absent from this first stop of the Crankworx calendar was Emilie Siegenthaler who is still recovering from an ACL and meniscus repair, but she’s working hard to get back to full health as soon as possible. The newest addition to the team, Morgane Charre is in Portugal suspension testing with Fox ahead of her team debut at the first EWS race in a few weeks’ time. 

Pivot Factory Racing Team

If you’d like to learn more about the Pivot Factory Racing Team, check out their rider profiles here.  

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How to Win the Iditarod Trail Invitational

by Pivot Cycles

This year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) dished out some of the more challenging conditions in years – soft fresh snow, 36 hours of 50+ mph wind gusts, heavily drifted trail, and then overnight temperatures that plunged to nearly -50 F. The race course follows the iconic dogsled racecourse from Knik, Alaska, over the mighty Alaska Range, and to the ITI350 in the village of McGrath. And the trail itself is generally little more than slightly packed ribbon across the landscape left behind by a handful of snowmachines. It’s remote, it’s wild, and the scenery is stunning and diverse, with everything from frozen rivers to swamps to massive glaciated valleys to gorges. Checkpoints every ~50 miles or so offer a bit of warmth and food, but aside from those, riders must be entirely self-supported and carry all their own survival gear, food, and repair items.

I spent the entirety of the race at or near the front, hopping back and forth with veterans Tyson Flaharty and Clinton Hodges, trying my best to conserve energy and take good care of my body. At times, two or three of us moved together through particularly taxing sections – miles of unrideable drifts and through heavy winds and occasionally zero visibility in the mountains. And at other times, we were strung out over a few miles, all in pursuit of one another and pushing hard at a whopping 5 or 6 mph. The elastic finally broke 50 miles from the end when I managed to get away from Tyson and Clinton with a sustained, hard attack on some delightfully firm trail across a long series of swamps. After just over 4 days of racing, I rolled into McGrath alone for the win, becoming the first rookie to ever win the overall title.

My Pivot LES Fat was built specifically with this race in mind – hopefully, some of y’all find these details interesting:

  • Wheelset: HED BFD 26″ 100 mm rims laced to Industry Nine Hydra hubs with 45NRTH Husker Du 4.8″ tires. I went with wide and floaty given all the snow that had fallen on the course this year, gambling a bit and forgoing studs. I also replaced all the factory grease in the hub bearings with a thin coat of Arctic grade grease. The rear dropouts were in their longest wheelbase configuration for a bit of added stability.
  • Drivetrain/brakes: I ran a 1×12 Shimano XTR drivetrain with a Wolftooth 30T CAMO chainring and RaceFace bottom bracket and crankset. I replaced the BB bearing grease, but I should have pulled off the dust seals since they stiffened and dragged terribly below -40 F. And I also neglected to blow the grease out of the shifter, so it didn’t behave all that well below -25 F. I opted for SRAM brakes since DOT fluid performs notably better than mineral oil in the cold.
  • Cockpit: My setup here is completely built with comfort in mind – a short stem for upright posture, Fasst Company Flexx MTB handlebars for a bit of suspension, short bar ends and thick foam grips wrapped in cork handlebar tape, and Revelate Designs Expedition Pogies for warmth.
  • Other bits: I ran a 9Point8 dropper post for a bit of extra ease getting on and off the bike in deep snow and for a bit of added safety on steep descents, and I loved having the dropper (although below -25 F, I used a camp to make sure the post didn’t slide down on its own). I used XTR Trail pedals with the wider platform for a bit of extra stability under my giant boots.
  • Carrying other gear: All my gear was packed into either a voluminous frame bag or on an Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack. Revelate Design’s Nano Panniers make stashing and grabbing extra layers quick and easy, and the big orange bag held a few more extra layers and a 0-degree sleeping bag (I was a bit under-gunned in that department, unfortunately). On the bars, I strapped a foam sleeping mat, and a steady stream of snacks stayed handy in a couple of smaller bags on the top tube and handlebars.
  • Other equipment: I carried a small canister stove and pot for making water, standard repair items and tools, a small first-aid kit, a fire-starting kit, a couple of AA and CR123 powered lights, a few chemical hand warmers. I had a GPS mounted on the handlebars for navigation, and I carried a second back-up unit just in case the first failed. And for water, I wore a Revelate Designs Wampack under all my insulating shirts that held 3L of fluids.
  • Keeping the feet warm: My system for keeping my feet warm was a pair of 45NRTH Wolfgar boots sized 3 sizes too large, a pair of Intuition mountaineering boot liners, thick wool socks, thin liner socks, and some plastic bags over the liner socks to serve as vapor barriers. I also used trash compactor bags over the boot liners to keep them dry when having to walk through overflow or open water since the Wolfgars are not waterproof. For the coldest night, I donned a pair of Therm-ic Powersocks to pump a bit of heat into my toes.

What would I change if I could do it all again? I’m not sure I’d change much at all. I used virtually all my gear aside from the emergency and repair items. The bike setup was flawless aside from my negligence in a bit of the bearing winterizing process. I’d likely run studded tires for any year with less snow than this one, I might opt for a 28-tooth chainring, and I’d likely experiment with some sort of steering dampening system. But the bike as built did everything just as I asked it to do.

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Article written by Kurt Refsnider

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Coastal Pull – The Coast Road

by Pivot Cycles
February 26, 2020

The Pacific Ocean pulls on all of us.  And when you reach its shores, it’s binding. You take pause and realize our shared primal connections to the earth, which we have numbed all too easily. You are simply where you belong, in the crisp air, at peace with forces stronger than yourself, and inspired. 

As a couple of lucky local Pivot riders in Monterey, CA, access to the great Pacific is almost taken for granted. It’s on the right as we ride out along 17-mile Drive, and on the left as we head back. It’s the endless horizon from the top of the coastal dunes and fire roads, which have adopted us as frequent shredders on training rides.  

We’re Lindsay and Max. We ride the Vault for Pivot. And we like bikes and the ocean. Join us as we explore an off-road paradise among the cow pastures, giant redwoods, and famous landmarks of Big Sur… all in the hunt for pastries.

Coastal Pull

As locals we see the massive cruise liners parked off-shore, the excited visitors performing perplexing selfies, and the traffic jams on one of the most beautiful roads in the world. All for Highway 1. It’s the pipeline connecting Monterey and Big Sur, with miles of winding, storied coastline usually packed with a mix of distracted tourists in search of the perfect Instagram photo, locals just trying to go about their lives, and a few anxious cyclists precariously navigating the nonexistent bike lane. We’ve tested our luck there riding road bikes, and let’s just say we recommend life off-road. There’s a little escape we’d like to tell you about, and how the Pivot Vault, some bar bags, and 40mm tires will show you what Big Sur cycling has to offer. 

Coastal Pull

If Big Sur could write a novel, Coast Road would be a primary character. Meandering through the coastal foothills between Big Sur and the iconic Bixby bridge, Coast Road is one of our favorite stretches of dirt on the central coast. We wanted to test the new Vault on what is quite honestly a stacked route, requiring fitness, preparation, the right bike for the job, and a thirst for epic. Coast Road’s out and back route packs 5,000 feet of climbing into 25 miles to deliver a blend of “where’s my 50t cassette cog at?” climbs and loose, rowdy descents, punctuated by stunningly varied scenery and a distinct separation from Highway One’s flurry of traffic. We set out to write our own story. 

Coastal Pull

We began from Andrew Molera State Park (because bathrooms). After a quick front wheel install and brake check, the pavement quickly disappears into rutted, rock-strewn Jeep track. The road and temperatures climb sharply to a rolling ridgeline high above the marine layer and a reward of expansive coastal views. The amount of time before Coast Road isolates you from the world is truly worth experiencing. It’s immediate, and we both were instantly transported to a gravel mindset.  

Coastal Pull

In what seemed like just 2 miles, we were at our first of many ocean views. If you’re on this road to crush segments, we’re not sure why. You need to take this in. It’s one of the most stunning vantage points in all of California. Fog, ocean, Point Sur, Hwy 1, all welcoming you but not intruding on your off-road freedom. Just there to be seen. We descended off the ridge and the road dove through wide open ranch lands with cow grates – intermittent reminders to be mindful of furry roadway friends. As we hit the next climb, well let’s just say keep the psi low, cause it’s a loose one. 

Coastal Pull

Oofda” best encapsulates the middle climb. It’s the longest, maybe the steepest, with swooping switchbacks and layered, mountainous views. Looking at the footage after the ride, we would be ok having that be our driveway just to live there. We took a snack break at the top, took in the scene, and gabbed on in awe of the Vault’s versatility. It climbs with finesse, tracks exceptionally well, and smoothes the washboards that are coming up. 

Coastal Pull

Redwoods!! Taking a hike in redwood groves is incredibly immersive, but riding the Vault through them is adventure elevated! And of course it’s twisty. If you wanted to rip it, now would be a great time. It got a little sendy among the forest of dappled sunshine, before a quiet roll over a small creek and leaf adorned county bridge. One final microclimate shift brings you back out to the scrubby, coastal desert and just a bit more climbing before dropping back to the coast into the melee of Bixby Bridge. We’re all a little bit of a tourist at heart, so grab that selfie-stick and enjoy!  

Coastal Pull

We wanted to end with pastries and coffee, so we opted to have Bixby be our major turn-around point. But you can easily create your own story here, parking at Bixby and riding south as far as you would like. We happily turned a 180 and did Coast Rd all over again, but this time in the hunt for snacks. As a general rule more than and recommendation, if you go as far as Andrew Molera, you do Big Sur Bakery. Don’t question the cycling gods. 

Coastal Pull

The Vault is a drop bar bike, which means it doesn’t shy away from the road. After 5,000 feet of gravel in just 25 miles, a bit of smooth pavement actually hit the spot as we rolled farther south on Hwy 1, led by the smell of espresso and croissants. Big Sur Bakery boasts delicious drinks, refreshing air, and massive chocolate croissants to make the stomach just as happy as the soul. Just look at the size of that pastry!! 

Coastal Pull

We closed out the day back at the Molera parking lot, which in addition to bathrooms, has a gorgeous, easy beach-access single track. How amazing is that?! We took our final pull, meandering over a creek crossing and through ocean foliage to lounge on bleached logs and take in the magic of the Pacific. The end of our Coastal Pull, and a perfect day on the Vaults.  

Coastal Pull

The ride: 

35 miles 

5700 feet of climbing 

3 hours 45 mins ride time 

(click image for GPX file download)

Coastal Pull Map

The bikes: 

Pivot Vault w/ SRAM Force etap AXS and Zipp tubeless wheels 

Gearing: 

Lindsay – 38T chainring, 10-33t cassette 

Max – 42T chainring, 10-33t cassette

 

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Morgane Charre Interview

by Pivot Cycles
January 27, 2020

Learn more about Pivot Factory Racing’s newest athlete, former DH World Champ turned Enduro racer, Morgane Charre. Morgane discovered BMX aged 12. From that moment onwards she spent every spare moment at the skatepark or dirt jumps. When she later had the opportunity to try mountain biking, it was straight into a downhill race; eight years of World Cup racing ensued, in which time she achieved nine podiums and a World Champion’s title. Now Morgane’s passion is for enduro racing. In her first full season in 2019, she finished fourth overall in the Enduro World Series and ended the year on a high as part of the winning French team in the Trophy of Nations.

What do you look forward to about being a part of Pivot Factory Racing?

Pivot Factory Racing is full of awesome characters and super talented riders. It will be a great opportunity for me to join the team, learn from them and have a lot of fun in the coming seasons. I look forward to traveling together and giving it our best at the races. I know the mechanics are awesome too; I’ll be in the best environment possible to achieve my racing goals.

There is lots of time on the road and between races with the team. What are you expecting?

I know everyone in the team is super passionate about bikes, just like me, so I expect a lot of riding in between races. They are also some of the most fun guys on the circuit so I’m sure we will have an awesome time traveling to race our bikes. I raced with Emilie for a long time and we are great friends too so I hope we can spend more time together this year even if we’re not racing the same program.

Emilie   

The vote is in, Ed Masters was voted team clown. We know you have been on a team with him in the past, what’s your funniest moment with Ed?

Haha, Ed is for sure one of the funniest guys ever. I can’t even pick one particular moment, he’s just constantly having some crazy ideas and having fun. I can’t wait to hang out more with him this season.

What have you been up to this off-season?

I live in the French Alps and we had some snow quite early this winter, so I’ve been skiing a lot. I absolutely love it, it’s fun and good training. I’ve been riding bikes quite a lot with a few trips down to beautiful Finale Ligure and the south of France for some warmer weather. I’m working part-time in a ski shop for a few months in the off-season too; I enjoy it and I get to meet some cool people there.

months in the off-season

Do you have any superstitions? If so, what are they?

Yes, never tell anyone your superstitions.

What race are you most looking forward to in 2020?

I guess it’s Olargues, the French round of the EWS. Although it’s definitely not the kind of terrain I’m used to (it’s super rocky there), it’s always a different feeling racing a world-class event in your own country and France has some of the best crowds so I think it will be an awesome event! I also look forward to racing in Burke, Vermont. I went on a little road trip with my boyfriend through Vermont a few years ago after Windham World Cup and I absolutely loved it so I can’t wait to discover more about Burke.

EWS

What is the toughest part for you during a race?

I reckon I need to learn how to manage my race better. I only switched from DH to Enduro two years ago so it’s still quite new to me. I always tend to give everything I have on the first stages but then I sometimes struggle to finish the day as I want. I’m working a lot on my endurance this winter so, hopefully, that will improve this year. 

What is your goal for 2020?

My goal is to be on as many podiums as possible in EWS, top-three overall and to have a lot of fun with the team.

EWS

Who did you most look up to as an amateur racer? 

Sabrina Jonnier was always my hero. She was there at my first ever DH race (a local race with only three girls racing) and I always thought she was so cool. Later I always looked up to Rachel Atherton, she’s such an incredible athlete and she is always so confident to do some of the hardest lines in any circumstances or conditions. I still look up to a lot of athletes who inspire me. Not only in MTB but also in ski racing or motocross for example, I’m a big fan. 

Do you ever see yourself in a kid or struggling privateer that’s asking for advice or an autograph?

For sure I see myself in a kid or a privateer as it wasn’t long ago that I was in their shoes. I know from my personal experience that a pro rider can have a massive influence on inspiring a kid so I’ll always try my best to encourage them to follow their dreams. I have the biggest respect for all the privateers as I was there too and know how much time, effort, money and passion it takes. It makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be part of the Pivot Factory Racing team. 

How do you expect to use the experience of racing alongside Matt and Eddie to better yourself as a racer?

Matt and Eddie are both amazing riders with mad skills. I think they go with the flow more than others and it seems to work for them, I can definitely learn from them about that and I’m sure their relaxed approach to racing will benefit me. 

 

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Whites of Their Eyes with Pivot Factory Racing

by Pivot Cycles
January 26, 2020

It’s said the eyes are the windows to your soul. This window opens wide when Pivot Factory Racing athletes hit the race course, and through their own word we connected with the highlights and struggles of last season. Whether it’s quirky pre-race rituals or what they’re looking forward to, our athletes are rolling into the 2020 season with eyes wide open.

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“I am most looking forward to Leogang World Champs and Andorra but it’s a toss-up really… I can’t wait!”

– Bernard Kerr

pivot factory racing

“Last season was probably the most complicated, conflicted year I had so far. I learned a lot about myself. It was painful, but mostly frustrating racing like that. Nobody could tell, but I was taped up for every race. I had to take pain killers, do a lot of rehab and the progress was slow. The damage in the shoulder was there but a surgery wouldn’t necessarily help more, so I opted for the intense rehab option. Racing was every week a little bit easier, but in my mind, I knew I wasn’t allowed to crash anymore so my riding was greatly affected by that. Only on the hardest tracks, or on tough weather conditions, where I didn’t have to ride over my 95%, could I show a great performance like Andorra, Lenzerheide and MSA. My shoulder is now on the way back to full mobility, almost pain free, but one of the important ligaments (supraspinatus) is 80% ripped off, which isn’t ideal. The physio team and I are working together through the whole winter to get the stability back where it needs to be, I’m finally making some progress on some of the movements I still couldn’t do. If everything goes well, I should be back stronger and ready to tackle the 2020 season healthy.”

– Emilie Siegenthaler

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“I can’t wait to get back to Chile. That was my favorite EWS I’ve ever done. It’s high speed open and loose. The country and people are amazing and it’s such a trip getting to race in front of them.”

– Eddie Masters

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“Winning Les Orres was my season highlight last year for sure. Just the way the race came down to the last stage, a real make or break moment. I could visualize the whole stage as it was only 2mins long and just before I started, I said to myself whatever happens I’m going to go for it. To have it play out as it did in front of so many friends was something I’ll never forget.”

– Eddie Masters

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“Les Orres France was my last season highlight! After not feeling great through most of the stages, I’d managed to put together a solid result. And to find Eddie was battling for the win, then pull it off by such a small margin… it was unreal!”

– Matt Walker

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“For downhill I have a routine: One minute to go, fist bump my mechanic, Kurt and he’ll say, “smooth lines, roll the speed.” Then I roll into the gate and fist bump the timing guy. At thirty seconds I do this nervous little dance with my hands, take a few deep breaths and I always wait till fifteen seconds to put my goggles on.”

– Eddie Masters

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“Crossing the finish at Redbull Hardline was unforgettable… I wanted that so bad and I made sure it happened.”

– Bernard Kerr

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“I do have a socks thing, but every year it is a different pair that is the lucky charm! Haha! And goggles – I usually wear the same lucky ones for race day.”

– Emilie Siegenthaler

“The toughest part of being on course varies from race to race. Sometimes it can be dealing with the pressure or the weight of a good result, other times it can be fear and doubt, or when the wet weather rolls in it can be the unknown.”

– Eddie Masters

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“While Fort William was my best World Cup result last season, I still felt like I hadn’t left it all on the hill. I was having a great run but towards the bottom I started to over think things and tightened up. I still came away with an amazing result and was stoked but felt I hadn’t executed the run as per the game plan in my head.”

– Eddie Masters

Photos by Boris Beyer

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The Moments Between with Pivot Factory Racing

by Pivot Cycles
January 13, 2020

Our Pivot Factory Racing athletes are best known for the minutes, seconds and milliseconds of race day on the course. While that brief time may define them as racers, the time spent traveling, training, and living life creates the team dynamic. We recently sat down with our athletes for an inside look at what defines Pivot Factory Racing culture. Their words bring life to the moments between.

Bernard Kerr

“Eddie is easily the clown of the group. I’m not sure if it’s always a good thing though… one of the funniest moments would have to be when he shot a hole by accident through a RV seat an into the windscreen with an air gun!”
–Bernard Kerr

Emilie Siegenthaler

“I really look up to Eddie and Matt, as Enduro specialists (fact they probably will deny) but most of all kiwis, for the way they approach racing. It is really interesting for me, as a former XC rider that has that European way of thinking about performance and training. I’ve learned an enormous amount being with Bernie and the team, having a more relaxed approach without overthinking things really helped me to maximize the fun, and then also the performance at the end of the day. I have a different schedule than the boys at races so we can’t really ride together but we hang out a lot and talk about the track, lines, I’ve got a lot of question for them… haha!”
–Emilie Siegenthaler

Matt Walker

“The new team has been amazing. It’s just so refreshing to keep everything fun and enjoyable. Then the bike has been game changing again! It took a little while to find the bikes limits so where I used to feel comfortable on my old bike is miles behind where we are now! These things are unreal, and I am beyond stoked to be part of the team.”
–Matt Walker

Matt Walker

“This winter I’ve been off the bike completely as I had broken my elbow at the end of the season without knowing it! Managed to get a few races done with strapping and painkillers but giving it some time to fully heal now. So, I’ve changed up the pace and kitted out my van into a self-contained camper and built a surfboard. I’m allowed to pick the bike up again I’ve already started clocking kilometers!” 
–Matt Walker

Eddie Masters

“I’ve been dealing with an injury, so my off season has really been based around rehabbing my wrist and doing everything possible to come back even stronger in 2020. Other than that, I’ve had a big project on my hands which involved cutting a house in half putting it on a truck and moving it to a piece of land I bought. We’re almost finished, and I’ll be stoked when it’s all done!”
–Eddie Masters

Eddie Masters

“Our team is unique in the sense that we are actually all really good friends, so it makes for some really fun times between the races. Generally, when we have some time off, we try and head somewhere with good riding and also try and fit in any other tourist activities because after I few years on the road you realize that you need to make the most of it.”
–Eddie Masters

Eddie Masters
 

“Biggest highlight of life on the road is just getting to do it. I still have to pinch myself that I get to live my dream and I feel a responsibility to enjoy it and share that stoke with whoever I meet along the way. The biggest challenge is being so far away from home and literally living out of a suitcase, there are times during each season where all you want to do is go home and chill for a few days. Having such an epic crew around makes things much easier and without them it probably wouldn’t be possible.”
–Eddie Masters

Bernard Kerr

“Maybe it is hard to balance being racer and team manager but now it’s just the norm to me. I really enjoy both aspects and feel very lucky for all the things I’ve got to learn and the experiences its leading to.” 
–Bernard Kerr

Eddie Masters

“It’s been a slow recovery but taking a step back from bikes only stokes the fire. I find myself watching videos from last season, even watching go pros and it just makes me want to come back fitter, stronger and faster. It was a tough pill to swallow, but only briefly before looking ahead and knowing that everything happens for a reason. Injuries are such a rollercoaster, you go through so many different trains of thought but the fact that I keep dreaming of bikes gives me confidence that I’m on the right path.”
–Eddie Masters

Keep an eye out later this month when we turn our attention to The Whites of Their Eyes. 

Photos by Boris Beyer

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New Year’s Resolutions with the LES Family

by Pivot Cycles
December 30, 2019

Family traditions run deep here at Pivot HQ. Family inspires most of what we do, right down to the bikes we build. Take our LES hardtails for example; truly a family by every definition of the word. Descended from common ancestry, the LES family truly has one another’s backs and believes in play-together-stay-together values that inspire the best New Year’s Resolutions. So, while you’re continuing to ring in 2020, we invite you to get to know the LES family, and possibly be inspired to set new goals of your own. Happy New Year from Pivot Cycle and the LES’s!

LES Singlespeed 

Name: LES Singlespeed  |   Game: Grind

LES Singlespeed is the new kid in town. It’s cool under pressure, always stylish and does all the talking out on the trail. LES Singlespeed knows how to play the game. When falling behind it’s because it has, well, only one gear. But when winning, it’s absolutely crushing you because it has – you guessed it – one gear. LES Singlespeed’s New Year’s resolution is to embarrass more geared bike riders on longer rides with steeper climbs.

LES SL 

Name: LES SL  |  Game: Speed

LES – aka “Super Light” – SL is a serious racer with the need for speed. While everyone else drinks champagne or throws back Fireball shots, LES SL sips a Michelob Ultra and worries about getting eight hours of sleep. LES SL’s New Year’s resolution is to train smarter, not harder. Well, okay… harder too but mostly smarter. This year, LES SL means it. For real.

LES Fat

Name: LES Fat  |  Game: Party

LES Fat is always down to party – any trail, anywhere. To those who say a fat bike can’t do that, LES Fat says, “hold my beer”. It can utilize nearly any wheel and tire size. LES Fat’s New Year’s resolution is to NOT to go on a diet, but rather preserve every precious gram rubber, snacking on snow, sand and kitty litter with every ride. Get Fat, stay Fat.

LES 27.5

Name: LES 27.5  |  Game: NICA

LES 27.5 is ambitious, always learning from LES Singlespeed and LES SL, though it has a hard time deciding whom it most wants to be like when it grows up. LES 27.5 admires the grind and the speed, which inspires it’s scrappy and fast style. 27.5 secretly keeps an eye on distant full suspension cousins, but is not distracted from it’s New Year’s resolution: to bring home the interscholastic race.

No matter your inspiration – a bike, your family, a race, an ideal – it’s yours for the taking in 2020. From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

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Hellride – Are, Sweden

by Pivot Cycles
October 15, 2019

Are, Sweden is not only the top destination for skiers in winter, it also makes the heart of mountain bikers beat faster in summer. The Scandinavians definitely know how to build bike parks – from technical singletrack, to machine build jump trails, there is something for everyone. Unlike many modern bike parks, you would be looking in vain for boring highways. The 32 routes are integrated into nature as well as possible, which prevents brake bumps from developing.

Hellride - Are, Sweden

Hellride - Are, Sweden

The blue trails are perfect for beginners, but even advanced riders will not be bored there. With red, the level increases, but any rider with some experience will have fun there as well. The black tracks are natural and technical trails or demanding downhill trails. In the upper part, you are guided through, and over rocks. Halfway up you will find many natural singletracks, as well as the famous Shimano jump trail. In the lowest part are the classic bike park and skills tracks.

Hellride - Are, Sweden

The Hellride starts at the top when leaving the gondola and twirls down from there over wild rock formations. At the start, you have to search for the sign showing the way to the entrance, because at first sight the trail is not so easy to recognize. Further down the course, you will often ask yourself if you have not lost the trail – for the Hellride nothing was built, only the big stones were moved out of the way.

Hellride - Are, Sweden

Hellride - Are, Sweden

The entry starts very technically, here you need a good bike control for a clean line. After a short flat section, you roll over an edge into the middle of the action again. Here you can leave the brakes wide open again, but you should always keep caution, some edges are bigger than first expected.

Hellride - Are, Sweden

Hellride - Are, Sweden

A lot of electricity is needed for the operation of the gondola, It is transported from bottom to top in big plastic pipes which snake through the big stones – not the most visually appealing solution, but in the end you will be transported up the mountain with the gondola.

Hellride - Are, Sweden

Hellride - Are, Sweden

The lower part is initiated by two almost vertical rock faces, in which you can fly in by pre-hopping, or which can also be rolled down nicely in nose-wheelie. It looks crazy at first sight but is not so hard due to the grippy stone.
 Hellride - Are, Sweden

Hellride - Are, Sweden

The last piece then is really steep and rough to get the rest out of the rider.

As most of you know, the truth always looks different than in a video. That you can make yourself a better picture of the track, here is a helmet cam run:

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Ruby finishes 2nd U23 Women at the Waterloo World Cup!

by Pivot Cycles
September 27, 2019

After finishing up the Jingle Cross weekend Grant headed home, while the rest of the gang stayed on the road and headed to Waterloo, Wisconsin for the Trek CXC World Cup. The course is held on Trek Headquarters, and typical September weather is dry, fast, bumpy, and hot. Friday afternoon Trek hosts a C2 event for the UCI racers, and the World Cup is held Sunday, giving racers a day to recover and to check out the World Cup course on Saturday.

Waterloo World Cup

With a heat index of 90 degrees, the C2 on Friday was so different then the World Cup on Sunday. With a cooler full of ice socks, Courtenay and Ruby took to the line in the blazing heat. Ruby shot off the line like a rocket holding steady in the front group, making an attack the first lap off the front! The heat soon took it’s toll on Ruby, as she eventually faded back to finish 14th. Courtenay worked to hold a steady pace throughout the hot race working to not burn too many matches for Sunday’s race and finished up 11th.

Waterloo World Cup

Over night rains on Saturday that continued clear into Sunday morning drenched the course leaving it a wet soupy mess. Sections of the course that were ridable and fast the day prior were nearly treacherous and slow. The rain’s stopped before the women’s race leaving what was soupy in areas to deep peanut butter ruts. The race became more about being smooth, smart, running early to maintain speed, and managing your efforts in the goopy mud. With a bit of a slow start for both Ruby and Courtenay they managed to find each other together about half way through the first lap (of 3), playing a bit of cat and mouse throughout the race, being there to help each other, and giggle at each other during the tough times of slogging. Courtenay went on to finish 11th while Ruby crossed the line right behind her in 12th, finishing up as the 2nd U23 Women in a stacked U23 field. When asked about her race, Ruby commented:

“I had a horrible start and start to the first lap and just kept moving forward. I was catching people instead of being caught and it felt good! I crashed a bunch, but who didn’t on that course and finished the day in 12th, my best World Cup by a long shot!”

Courtenay was just as happy with her race as Ruby:

“I had a good start off the line, but as soon as we hit the mud my glasses were caked in mud and I couldn’t really see through them, leaving me a bit apprehensive through the rutted mud on the first half lap and I went backwards after that. Once I was able to toss my glasses to Wes and Drew in the pit’s I started moving forward, making a good fair share of mistakes, and testing out my running legs (still need to find them), riding into the top ten, only to lose it on the last 2 minutes of the race. I crossed the line absolutely exhausted so I know I left everything out on course.”

Waterloo World Cup

After a solid 3 weeks of racing the team gets a weekend off of UCI CX racing before Grant and Ruby will pick it up again in Fayetteville, AK checking out the course location of the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships. This weekend, however, Courtenay and Grant are Grinduro bound! They’ll be racing their Pivot Vault in the High Sierras, showcasing the bike as the bike that does it all, from UCI Cyclocross racing to gravel grinding.

Courtenay will be doing an Instagram take over during the event on the Pivot Instagram. Get a peak of all the behind the scenes and fun times from the weekend.

Waterloo World Cup

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Pivot Factory Racing EWS Zermatt Race Report

by Pivot Cycles
September 23, 2019

The final race of the 2019 Enduro World Series took place in Zermatt, Switzerland. With stunning alpine scenery, and the Matterhorn in the background, photographers were spoiled for shots. After a long season, the final race was going to be a one-day test held over five stages. To add to the difficulty, many stages were expected to start in the alpine and riders would be dealing with thin air and high altitude.

EWS Zermatt Race

Matt was feeling confident on the bike after a great weekend at Red Bull Hardline. Changing from huge jumps in the Welsh forests, to tight technical corners in the Swiss mountains shows what an adaptable all-around rider Matt is.

EWS Zermatt Race

Friday – Training

Training started off with a train ride through the mountains and taking a gondola to the top of Stage 1, where riders saw what to expect for the weekend. The alpine single track with lots of exposed rocks and tight switchbacks was going to require commitment and late braking.

Stage 2 started at a slightly lower elevation and therefore had more vegetation, trees, and roots. Matt was enjoying the varied terrain and felt good being back on his Firebird 29er enduro rig.

Stages 3 and 4 kept the rocky feel with more alpine trails. Matt was looking at lines for speed and safety. With sharp, square-edge rocks everywhere, the weekend would test the equipment just as much as the riders, and preventing punctures was going to be important for a high-placed finish.

Stage 5 was the last of the year, and the Queen stage. At 770m descent, this would be the longest stage of the weekend headed from the alpine back into Zermatt, finishing in the car-free town. With training complete, Matt’s mind turned to recovery and refueling to be ready to charge on race day.

Although injured, Eddie is still travelling to the events, supporting the team and continuing his media duties by taking over the EWS Instagram, filming the riders on the stages, getting interviews and entertaining the viewers – Eddie was in his element.

Saturday – Race Day

Stage 1 started out well for Matt. His 6th place finish showed he was on the pace but, like all riders, he found the stage physical and breathless. Pushing hard at the start, he went into the red and, due to the altitude and thin air, didn’t recover until long after the stage finish.

A mistake on the next stage saw Matt lose close to 15 seconds to the leader. Settling back into his flow, Matt made back some time on stage 3 with another 6th place finish, where he gained time on the open, fast, rocky section.

EWS Zermatt Race

A clean ride, in which Matt conserved energy and focused on carrying speed, gave him a 10th place finish on stage 4, and he moved back inside the top 10 overall. With the long Queen stage to come, and having already raced hard for close to thirty minutes, Matt and all the other riders were down to their last reserves of energy.

The last stage of the 2019 Enduro World Series had an old-school feel to it. A variety of terrain, speeds and gradation tested every aspect of the rider’s ability. Matt was pumped up to finish on a high and charged out the start. Settling into the run, he was feeling good and used some technical skills to get around the tightest of corners using endo turns on his front wheel. Matt finished the stage in 9th, securing a great 8th place for the round and his fifth top 10 in a row!

With the season done and dusted, Matt finished in a fantastic 8th place, rewarding his consistent speed and top-10 finishes throughout his first full EWS season. Despite Eddie missing two rounds due to his injury, he finished just behind Matt in 9th. A great placing, but it left everyone wondering what could have been. Congratulations for fellow Pivot rider Cole Lucas, who finished off his first year racing in the Elite Men’s category with an impressive 14th overall and has been learning and improving all year.

EWS Zermatt Race

A great 2019 season has taken the riders all over the globe and the whole team has enjoyed it immensely, with a huge thanks to everyone for all the support over the years!

Keep posted for another exciting race, in which Matt and Cole will be competing in the first Enduro Trophy of Nations race for the hugely competitive New Zealand team in Finale Ligure, Italy.

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Kerr Wins Red Bull Hardline!

by Pivot Cycles
September 17, 2019

The week started off super dry and was off to a rad start. Some of us did timed practice, and I put down the quickest time which made me quietly confident for rest of the week ahead! After that, we had a rain day which pretty much involved everyone hanging out in a tent all day then running around a wet muddy field playing rugby…a good time was had!

Kerr Wins Red Bull Hardline!

Next up was more practice and Qualifying on an almost perfect track! Matt put in a solid run to come in 9th place, and I also put down a good run to qualify 1st!

Kerr Wins Red Bull Hardline!

The weather had turned for finals day… after not really riding the course in the wet this year, we knew we were in for a treat. There was little-to-no visibility up top for practice due to mist and fog. We all managed to slip and slide down 2 runs of practice before the big final! Matt rode safe and steady in some of the worst visibility of the day, finishing up with a respectable 10th place! I’d felt good all week and knew what I needed to do being the last guy down the hill. In all honestly, I almost threw it away 3 times! I was pushing hard and the track was slippery! The only place I tried to ride a little safe was the rock garden before the big road gap – I think it shows a little as you see me just stall up a as I go under the tree! Luckily though, I held it together and took the win! I am so grateful to have all the support behind us to make this happen!

Kerr Wins Red Bull Hardline!

Thanks so much again for all the support especially after my rough season with a hand injury, it felt amazing to come back strong for the last race!

Just two more EWS races to go for Matt over the next couple weeks, and then its full off-season!

– Bernard Kerr

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup Snowshoe Report

by Pivot Cycles
September 10, 2019

The last time the World Cup visited Snowshoe was more than 15 years ago, well before any of the team were competing at this level. Everyone was excited for the new venue, and to be back racing in the USA after a few years without an American round.

Wednesday – Track Walk

The riders were eager to see the totally new track and weren’t disappointed. The track started out with a cool, right-handed hip jump, straight into some fast ski-piste turns and a huge road gap, which had Bernard stoked. Using the natural terrain on the hill, the track builders had made some cool features over huge rocks before the track flattened out slightly and the amount of rocks increased.

The final 30 seconds of track started with a 150m sprint across a ski piste before a fun step down to four rollers that could be either doubled, tripled or singled. The speed remained super high as the riders came out of the woods and into the finish area. One last jump over a shipping container fired the riders across the line where, on race day, they would be spinning out in their biggest gear.

Thursday – Training

A short, sharp shower on Wednesday night made sure the clay-based mud on track was slick and sticky for the first training in the morning. Emilie found the flatter rock section toward the bottom of the track challenging and chose to soften up her suspension to keep the wheels tracking.

With the track drying out surprisingly well for the men’s training just after lunch, Bernard and Matt could carry more speed through the trickier, rockier sections toward the bottom of the track. Bernard was loving the jumps at the top of the track, playing to his strengths and having fun on the bike.

Matt was going well through the janky rock sections. Plenty of practice at carrying speed during the Enduro races had him used to letting off the brakes and finding the fastest line through these sections.

Meanwhile, Eddie was on track with the Red Bull Media team, analyzing the track and interviewing riders trackside. They produced a brilliant video that showcased some great riding with a load of classic Eddie Masters comedy and wit.

Friday – Qualification

Waking up to thick fog on the morning of qualification, riders found the track was back to slick and loose. The mud on the braking spots had become slippery and braking traction was limited. Riders were having to ride smooth and calculated to carry speed.

The sun came out for the qualifying round and the track started to run faster. Emilie was our first rider down the hill and looked good over the last jump, crossing the line at more than 48kph. A mistake in one of the rock gardens saw her lose all her speed at a crucial point. Continuing to push, she qualified 8th and was happily surprised how close her time was to the podium spots, despite her mistake.

Bernard came down next and, although he was back riding, his hand was still a bit stiff following a big week racing at the World Championships. Riding well but a bit much within himself, Bernard crossed the line slightly worried he hadn’t done enough. Qualifying in 54th,Bernard was happy to make it into the main event and was ready to push hard for finals.

Matt made a big mistake in the first split, almost stalling and coming to a standstill for his qualification run. Pushing hard to gain time back on the lower section, Matt looked fast and composed. Qualifying mid-field, Matt was happy to make it into the finals for the last World Cup race of the year and was keen to put down a good run for all the American fans.

World Cup Snowshoe Report

Friday – Finals

Huge crowds were expected for the finals and didn’t disappoint. Despite the remote location, people had made it there from all across the U.S. to watch the race.

Emilie started off strong, going big and stylish off the first jump before settling into her run. Emilie was less than one second back a split two. A great exit on the tricky rock garden saw her carry speed all the way through the sprint to the finish line, where she posted the fastest time so far. Emilie knew her run wasn’t perfect but after some time in the hot seat, she eventually finished in 7th, a great result on a track that didn’t fully suit her strengths.

World Cup Snowshoe Report

Bernard was the next Pivot rider to drop in and was going hard. Peddling anywhere he could and pumping all the terrain, he looked to be riding well. Crossing the line more than 2 seconds up, Bernard was happy with his run. but now had a long wait for all the other riders to make their mark.

Matt dropped in a few riders after Bernard and was looking fast on the big screen in front of the growing crowd. Matt was within touching distance at the first few splits, but going too fast off the first in a tricky series of drops caused him to get bucked and almost stop before the next drop. With super-tight times, this was enough to drop Matt back a number of places, finishing in 44th.

Following an incredibly exciting race, Bernard finished in 26th. He was chuffed with that result and some fast split times showed that his speed was coming back following his hand injury.

World Cup Snowshoe Report

With the overall titles also decided at the weekend, Bernard and Eddie positioned in an impressive 26th and 27th, despite missing two and three rounds respectively. Emilie climbed up to 6th in the overall, which is a great end to the season following a tough start with a niggling shoulder injury.

The team also managed to finish 10th in the team overall, another reflection of a great year despite two riders missing multiple rounds.

Emilie will be heading home now for some rest and recovery before focusing on next year. The busy schedule continues for Matt and Bernard as they head straight to Red Bull Hardline for some huge jumps and a fun weekend in the Welsh valleys.

World Cup Snowshoe Report

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Pivot Factory Racing World Championship Recap

by Pivot Cycles
September 3, 2019

Monte Saint Anne hosted the 2019 Mountain Bike World Championships and the team arrived after an overnight flight from the West Coast. It was a special weekend, with each rider representing their country, and a huge honor for Pivot, which was lucky enough to have all of our riders selected to pull on their national jersey on race day. Eddie was gutted not to be riding, but was still planning on attending the race to cheer on team Pivot and team New Zealand.

To add to the excitement and uniqueness of the World Championships, Pivot had pulled out all the stops to surprise the riders with custom-painted frames. Bernard’s was painted up in the style of his pride and joy, a 1996 Honda CR500 Motocross bike.

World Championship Recap

Emilie’s frame was an awesome flat-chrome finish with amazing details of her name in Morse code on the rear triangle.

World Championship Recap

Eddie’s frame was black and white, representing the colors of New Zealand, with details and prints of all things New Zealand: kiwi fruit, flip flops, rugby balls, kiwi birds and fern leaves.

World Championship Recap

Matt’s frame stood out the most when he unwrapped it. An amazing color scheme representing the New Zealand greenstone that is famously used for jewelry; it looked spectacular on a bike frame, glistening in the sunlight.

World Championship Recap

Wednesday – Track Walk

Monte Saint Anne is one of the longest-held downhill races, and the track has a legendary status. Long, rough and rocky, it has hosted amazing racing over the years. The track for 2019 had very few changes from the previous year’s World Cup, meaning riders would be up to speed in no time at all. After track walk, Matt and Bernard took some time to watch last year’s World Cup replay to revise lines and get ahead of the game.

Thursday – Training

Training day arrived and so did Eddie. Recovering from his surgery, he was happy to get back with the team and it was bittersweet to see his custom-painted bike. He was stoked on the bike and surprised by the paint job, but gutted not to be riding and representing his country.

Emilie started training on a slick track after a night of rain. With more training time in the World Champs’ schedule, Emilie only rode 3 laps, working out the lines and building up to the high speeds the track requires.

Bernard was back riding after a few weeks out with an injured hand. A tough comeback with a fast and rough track and, with the pressure of the riding for his country, Bernard was reveling in being the underdog. Riding two training runs, Bernard felt up to speed and enjoyed being back between the race tape.

Matt was loving the new bike feeling and the custom paint job. Taking a few runs to get up to speed and get used to the race set-up suspension, Matt found that the track stayed slick through training, with riders dragging mud onto the many rock rolls.

World Championship Recap

Friday – Qualification

Qualifying at the World Championships is a bit different from World Cups. With 80 riders to qualify in the men’s field and 81 entered, it would be a disaster not to qualify for Matt and Bernard. Emilie was a protected rider due to her UCI ranking, which took all the pressure off her qualification run.

A constant rain drizzle on and off throughout the morning of qualifying kept the rocks on track slick and challenging, but the rain really started to come down for the timed runs. Emilie crossed the line with her bike covered in mud, but a solid run in the wet conditions left her with a great 4th place qualifying.

Matt cruised across the line on his quali run. A huge moment at the top of the track saw him high side off his bike. Landing on his feet, he remounted quickly, but it was a good reminder that qualification was almost guaranteed and he finished his run safely.

Bernard also cruised across the line. Not wanting to risk a crash on his hand the first race back, he finished mid-pack, easily qualifying. Enjoying being back on track and in the wet conditions, he was building up to speed over the course of the weekend and feeling better and better on the bike.

World Championship Recap

Saturday – Training

A huge rainstorm followed the previous day’s timed runs and the track showed it for a second day of training. Huge holes formed on the racing lines, making the riding harder and more fatiguing.

Emilie was enjoying the drying track and extra grip. Riding well and feeling comfortable on her bike, she only rode two training runs and headed out to cheer the rest of the Swiss team racing the cross country finals.

Matt and Bernard both completed two runs. The extra holes on track made for hard work, but lines remained unchanged. Bernard’s hand was feeling better and better each day riding; he was ready to hang it out for finals.

Sunday – Finals

Finals day brought bright sunshine and huge crowd. The week’s racing had chewed up the track, making it rougher than ever and requiring a wild run to win the rainbow jersey.

Emilie had been feeling good on track all week and was ready to push hard. Coming out of the start and straight into the rough, high-speed track, she was looking fast. Staying strong on her bike, Emilie hit all her lines and crossed the line in 3rd. This was one of the best race runs of her season and left her in a brilliant 5th place finish. Emilie was super happy with her performance and had a great time (only 5 seconds off the win).

Matt started his race run relatively early and everyone was hoping for some hot seat time. Matt crossed the line into first and felt his run was good, but some fatigue at the end of the run cost him a little time.

Bernard came into the packed finish area and pulled a huge, stylish scrub off the final jump to please the crowd. Bernard aimed for a 4-minute, 20-second race run and was happy to achieve this. A very tough track to come back on, and after time-off from riding, he was chuffed with the result and his performance.

Meanwhile, Matt was still in the hot seat. It took well over an hour for his time to be bettered and a nervous wait continued as the last few men dropped into track with Matt sitting in the top 10. A brilliant ride from Matt saw him finish 11th, equalling his career-best World Cup finish.

After a great weekend for the team with two brilliant results from Emilie and Matt and a great return to racing from Bernard, everyone was excited to head over the border to West Virginia for the World Cup finals in Snowshoe.

World Championship Recap

 

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Pivot Factory Racing EWS Northstar Race Recap

by Pivot Cycles
August 26, 2019

The penultimate round of the Enduro World Series headed to Northstar Ski Resort close to Lake Tahoe, California. Fresh off of a successful Crankworx and EWS in Whistler, Eddie and Matt were excited to keep the ball rolling and were set up to enjoy the USA in style with a 35-foot RV. This would be home for the next few days, allowing them to enjoy California and be as close to the race action as possible.

With all stages over 2,000m, the thin air would add to the challenge and the fatigue. With no significant rainfall since March, track conditions would be dry and dusty. So dusty that the organizers had allowed additional time gaps between race runs to allow the dust to settle and visibility to improve.

Friday – Training

It was soon clear that the predictions of dusty conditions were correct. The deep dust covered everything, making the trails slick and unpredictable. The dusty alpine trails were also covered in rocks of all shapes and sizes to really test man and machine.

Training got underway and Eddie and Matt were adapting to the dust well. Dust surfing was the best description for the trails, with a similar feeling to riding in the mud and wet conditions. All the stages had a similar vibe with flat-out bike park sections punctured with awkward rock gardens. Stage 3 was the longest, and featured a new top section to the trail that then dropped into some fast and fun bike park trails with blown out berms and a high speed finish.

Stage 4 was a brand new trail for the event, and boasted one of the hardest man-made rock gardens the riders had seen. Eddie took multiple looks at lines and pushed back up to ride the section more than any other section on the Enduro World Series. Team mechanic Kurt, who rides the training stages with Eddie and Matt, commented that the trails were some of the hardest and scariest he has ever seen.

EWS Northstar Race Recap

Saturday – Race Day 1

After a morning of training, Eddie and Matt were buzzing to get racing. There was no pedaling required to get to the first two stages, which made for some hard and fast racing in the dust. Stage 1 started off brilliant for both Pivot riders. Tight times over the 5-minute-long stage saw the top 10 separated by less than 15 seconds, with Eddie and Matt posting the 4th and 5th fastest times—a brilliant start to the weekend.

Stage 2 ran down the ‘Karpiel’ and ‘Lower Sticks’ trail in the bike park. Matt was the first Pivot rider to finish the day, and another good ride saw him tackle the rocks as fast and smooth as possible, finishing 16th on the stage. Ending day one in 8th, Matt was happy to head into the second day in a great overall position.

The team waited in the finish area for Eddie to cross the line, but as time ticked by he didn’t appear. Eventually, news came that he crashed. Flying over the bars, Eddie put his arms out to break his fall and injured his wrist. Jumping straight back on the bike after the crash, he soon knew something more serious was wrong as he couldn’t hold the handlebars and had to pull out of the event.

A DNF for Eddie is a huge disappointment and overshadowed a brilliant ride for Matt. Eddie was still smiling and even gave an interview as he was driven away to hospital for X-rays and further treatment.

Sunday – Race Day 2

EWS Northstar Race Recap

Motivation wasn’t as high as normal after Eddie’s crash the previous day. News that Eddie had broken and dislocated his wrist was a huge blow to the team, but Matt didn’t have too long to contemplate this as he was soon racing the final 4 stages of the weekend.

Stage 3 started the day and, as the longest of the weekend, this stage was rightfully the Queen Stage. At over 8 minutes on the toughest rocky terrain, it was a wake-up call for Matt. Riding strongly he posted the 9th fastest time of the stage to strengthen his top 10 in the overall.

Stage 4 was one of the most brutal of the race. A few jumps and a road gap allowed the riders some respite from the relentless rock, but one especially gnarly rock chute kept the riders focused. Taking care on the tricky rock chute, but letting the bike roll in the open, Matt posted another Top 10 time on the stage and kept his consistency going.

The final two stages were pretty short in distance, but no less brutal. Each of the stages had long rock gardens that were a challenge for fatigued riders and bikes. Huge crowds had made their way down from all the other stages to the finish arena and the atmosphere was brilliant. Matt didn’t have the best ride by his own admission, struggling to find flow on the janky rocks – he finished the final stages in 21st and 17th.

A strong ride over a tough weekend gave Matt another Top 10 result in, sitting in 9th. This was a great result from Matt, especially considering the injury to his teammate and good friend . With a long travel day ahead, Matt heads back to Canada to join Emilie and Bernard for the Downhill World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne.

Eddie is staying in the USA for surgery on his wrist, but is hoping to join the team for the final few races of the year to cheer them on from the side and keep everyone entertained.

EWS Northstar Race Recap

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Pivot Factory Racing Crankworx Weekend Recap

by Pivot Cycles
August 19, 2019

Whistler is arguably the home of mountain biking and as the final stop in the Crankworx World Tour, it is the biggest, busiest, and most exciting stop of the year—a fun-filled week trying to squeeze in riding, racing and catching up with friends.

With Eddie and Matt fresh off a tough but successful Enduro World Series race and Emilie fighting jet lag, energy levels were low on the first day of Crankworx, but the excitement and amazing riding gave everyone enough motivation to start out strong.

Crankworx Weekend Recap

Air DH

A-Line is the most famous trail in mountain biking. With amazingly sculpted berms and jumps, other bike parks have tried to copy it, but none have come close. Air DH is a race from top to bottom on the trail and turning the fun-flowing terrain into a physical race where pedaling and scrubbing jumps is the name of the game.

The traditional trains during practice saw Eddie and Matt throwing huge and stylish whips and going for air time over speed. All that changed when the start line beeps began. Emilie was first up to race. Riding her Firebird to help with the pedaling, Emilie was riding well and hitting the backsides of all the jumps. Feeling a bit under the weather following long travels, she was not putting down the power she normally could. Enjoying her run, Emilie finished 21st.

Eddie was still feeling sore following an eventful EWS and nursing some cuts and bruises. Opting for style over speed on his run, Eddie pleased the crowd with his style on the jumps.

Matt was enjoying the A-Line race and was ready to pedal hard, scrub the jumps and rail the berms. Coming over the line in 6th, Matt left everything on the track and struggled to catch his breath. After the final riders had finished their race runs, Matt finished 11th – a good result, especially following a physical weekend racing the Enduro.

Whip Off

Whip Off World Championships is one of the more chilled-out events at Crankworx. A two-hour jam session on some amazing jumps in the bike park attracts huge crowds. Matt was the only Pivot rider competing and put on a good show for the fans. This event always delivers—with World Cup, Enduro, and Slopestyle racers enjoying riding together and throwing huge whips.

matt jump

Canadian Open DH

The final event of the weekend was the Canadian Open Downhill Race and the team was ready for business. Two days of training had the riders up to speed on the classic course. With some fast-flowing sections, fun jumps and drops contrasting the flat-out rough, steep and technical riding, the Canadian Open course epitomizes the Whistler Bike Park.

Emilie had been feeling better and better all week after battling jet lag and a cold. Enjoying the track and getting in loads of training laps, she made up for missing last year’s Whistler Crankworx event.

Matt and Eddie enjoyed training; riding laps of A-Line and Dirt Merchant is a much more fun way to warm up than at most races. The track ran well this year with some rain over the previous few weeks, keeping the dust down and holding the ground together.

Emilie dropped in and was looking good on the big screen, pumping hard on the jumps and keeping light over the roots in the woods. She came out of the steep, wooded section and was hard on the pedals across the ski piste before dropping into a busy finish area. A mistake-free run saw Emilie finish 6th. Although a little disappointed with the result, she couldn’t wait to get back between the tape for the next race.

Matt was down at split one, but really pushed hard on the bottom half of the track. Generating speed over the jumps and hammering the pedals, he clawed back time and had one of the fastest speed traps coming into the finish arena. Finishing 19th, Matt was happy to put down a risk-free run looking ahead to the next round of the EWS.

Birthday boy Eddie was up next. Suffering from a head cold, he found his first day of his 30s hard, but it didn’t slow him down. Looking composed in the woods and riding well, he was within touching distance of the fastest time at the first split. Looking fast in his new Fly Racing kit, Eddie crossed the line in 9th to a huge cheer from the crowd for his birthday. With the final few competitors down, Eddie finished in 13th and headed straight to the lake for some much-needed rest in his old age!

A fun-filled and busy weekend in Whistler ended with celebrations at the local sushi restaurant. Eddie and Matt are continuing their busy end to the season with the penultimate round of the Enduro World Series in Northstar, California Look out for a recap from there soon!
 eddie

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup & EWS Race Reports

by Pivot Cycles
August 13, 2019

With two events on two continents, the Pivot factory racing team was split between round 7 of the UCI downhill World Cup in Lenzerheide and round 6 of the Enduro World Series in Whistler. Eddie and Matt were performing strongly in 2nd and 16th in the EWS overall and were keen to push for high season finishes. This left Emilie to ride her home race in Lenzerheide, while Bernard was still recovering from a hand injury.

Wednesday – DH Track Walk

Track walk in Lenzerheide was a wet affair. Heavy rain from the previous days did not relent and the track was looking muddy, slick and challenging. A few changes from previous years were welcomed. Missing the top rock garden was a blessing in the wet conditions, but lower down, a fresh, muddy shoot was going to cut up, expose roots and cause some puzzlement.

Thursday – Training

Downhill

Emilie started her training later in the day, to let the track dry and allow some ruts and lines to cut in. She was enjoying the track, and the added technical challenge that the muddy conditions gave. The full mud spike tires that Emilie ran in the morning were swapped out for dry tires, as the sun came out and dried the track with every passing hour.

Emilie finished the day with three runs in the timed training session, with loads of new lines opening up on the drying track. Following the day of training, Emilie learned a lot and was building speed, ready to race.

Enduro

For the first time ever, the Whistler EWS was held over two days. This gave riders two days’ training to learn the tracks, scope out lines, and prepare for the race. Day-one training was on stages 5, 6 and 1. Eddie and Matt were enjoying riding in Canada and having fun on the bikes down the challenging tracks.

Stage 6 was a tough track, including bike park trails such as In Deep, Whistler DH and Joyride. It was going to be a killer on the arms to finish the weekend’s racing. Stage 1 was the classic Top of the World trail. From Whistler Peak to the village, it was well entitled to be the Queen Stage title. Over 11km of alpine single track into a full top-to-bottom bike park lap was going to separate the best riders in the world.

Eddie used the training day to his advantage, blowing through the tape and going straight on after high-speed sections of track. Three times, he made a mental note to slow up for the race run.

EWS Race Reports

Friday – Qualification and Training

Downhill

By the time Emilie’s qualification run came around, the track was running dry and fast. She was enjoying the conditions, so she added grip and set off hard on the qualifying run. Peddling hard at the top and committing through the steeper looser sections, she knew she was on a good run. Posting the fastest times at each section, she crossed the line 5 seconds up on the current fastest qualifier. As more and more women finished their runs, Emilie’s time held. Only the last few riders could better her time, and Emilie finished with a great 5th place qualifying.

Enduro

Training on stages 2, 3 and 4 awaited Matt and Eddie on Thursday. Stages 2 and 3 were outside the bike park and required a little more pedaling effort to get to. Stage 3, down Roam in the Loam and Golden Boner, was a rider favorite. Natural roots and loamy ground are fun to ride and race, and Eddie and Matt were having fun following each other, filming GoPro footage and learning lines.

Saturday – Finals

Downhill

Morning rain and fog threw a spanner in the works for downhill finals. The rain made the track slick and Emilie was enjoying sliding around and getting a bit loose on track. The fog lingered for Emilie’s final run. The track remained slick and some risks were needed for a fast time.

Emilie attacked out of the gate with a hard sprint and settled into her run. Attacking and taking risks, you could see her tires sliding on the big screen in front of the packed crowd. Going fastest through the first two splits, Emilie was having a flying run. Off the final drop into the finish area, Emilie crossed the line in 1st by the smallest of margins. A fantastic ride guaranteed Emilie another podium finish and, following an exciting women’s race, she finished 3rd.

With fantastic result at her home race and a challenging weekend of conditions changing, Emilie soaked up the home support with friends and family congratulating her on her best result of the 2019 season.

EWS Race Reports

Enduro

Day one of the EWS in Whistler started with a bang. The Queen Stage was an 11km race from Whistler Peak to the village. At almost 20 minutes of race time, this is one of the most physical tracks that the riders will tackle all year. Matt was the first Pivot rider down and was on a flyer. Riding strong, but being careful not to push too hard, he measured his efforts brilliantly. Posting the 4th fastest time on the stage set off Matt’s weekend perfectly.

Eddie was the second-to-last rider to drop in, due to his high overall placing. This late start time caused some hindrance, as the rain started to fall when he took the track. Riding the track in the rain, with changing conditions top-to-bottom, was challenging for Eddie and he was disappointed to finish 13th.

EWS Race Reports

Sunday – Finals Day 2

Day two at the EWS in Whistler started in the rain. Wet conditions made the tracks slick, particularly the roots on stage 5. After a disappointing start, Eddie was revved up for the second race day and started off in the best way possible – winning stage 2 and coming second on stage 3. The technical stages, with mid-stage climbs, made for awkward and physical riding—where Eddie thrives—and moved him up to 2nd in the overall.

Matt’s motivation was high after a great stage 1 performance. Attacking hard on stage 2, Matt was going well until he got caught out on some wet roots. A small crash didn’t cost Matt too much time and he was soon back up to speed. Opting for a safer approach on stage 3, Matt rode a clean stage, finishing 13th and moving him to 5th in the overall.

Stage 4 headed back into the bike park and although the roots were slippery, the moist dirt and rocks offered a surprising amount of grip. Matt tackled the stage with confidence, but a few mistakes took him off his line and he lost time in crucial sections. Eddie continued his good run with the 4th fastest stage time, enjoying the bike park sections and the big rock rolls Whistler is famous for.

Stage 5 had the riders nervous all day. One of the more freshly made trails the riders raced on, the rain would make the going muddy and tough. Wet roots sprawling in all directions on corners, shoots and climbs would cause an even bigger problem.

Matt rode a solid stage to finish 11th, putting him in 9th overall going into the final stage. Eddie had an admittedly scruffy run, losing some time to his rivals, but keeping him in podium contention for the overall.

The final stage was another physical challenge down some of the fastest and roughest trails in the bike park. Matt attacked hard, putting down a brilliant ride to take 5th on the stage and move him up to finish the day 8th overall.

Eddie started the stage hard, but two crashes cost him time. Getting back on the bike, he took risks and pushed hard to maintain his podium finish for the second year in a row. Both riders were chuffed with their performances over the weekend, strengthening their positions in the Enduro World Series 2019 overall standings.

After two well-earned 3rd place finishes at both events, the whole team will be racing next week in Whistler for Crankworx. Stay tuned for more exciting racing!

EWS Race Reports

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup Val di Sole Report

by Pivot Cycles
August 6, 2019

The team was back together racing at round 7 of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Val Di Sole in Italy. The three weeks of training at home and in Morzine left the team ready to start a busy final portion to the 2019 season with back-to-back races in Europe, Canada and the USA for the next nine weeks!

A super steep and rough track in Val Di Sole is a challenge even for the best riders in the world and the forecast of wet weather was going to make the challenge even greater. During track walk, riders saw little change from their previous visits with some sections taped wide that offered up more line choice; but with no big changes, the racers would be up to race speed within a few runs.

Suffering with a broken hand from a training ride back home, Bernard was gutted to be missing the race. Despite this, his spirits were high and he was trackside, helping the other riders with line selection, bike set-up, and keeping motivation high.

World Cup Val di Sole

Thursday – Training

There was no sign of the previous night’s rain when training started on Thursday. The loamy, soft dirt soaked away all the moisture, but was hiding rocks and roots ready to catch anyone out. Training remained dry all day, but the rain was always in the back of each rider’s mind as they discussed lines and how they would deal with the predicted wet, slippery roots.

Emilie was feeling good on her bike after a great training block at home following the previous round. She was enjoying the multiple lines offered on the course, and she was working out the fastest way down the technical track.

Eddie had an eventful day on the Black Snake track. After getting up to speed quickly, he suffered a flat tire. No sooner was this fixed than he crashed on a steep, rough section on the very next run. He was lucky to not be injured, but felt a little beaten up, so he chose to sit out the rest of the day’s training.

Matt was looking fast on track, taking the direct approach to lines and rolling through and over the big obstacles instead of wasting energy going around them. This was impressive to watch—seeing the bike working underneath him, definitely fast.

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Friday – Qualification

Heavy overnight rain made the track treacherously slick for Emilie’s morning training. Tackling the track required concentration and perfect wheel placement. A small mistake caused her to catch a wheel in a hole that resulted in a small over-the-bars fall. No damage was done and she was ready for qualification in no time.

Emilie dropped in for her qualification run on a track that was significantly drier than her training runs. From the big screen, you could see her pushing hard out of the gate and attacking the track. Qualifying in 6th, Emilie was happy to put in a solid run, but knew she could have pushed harder on the drying track. With fast conditions expected for the finals, she was ready to let loose on Saturday and risk that extra little bit needed for finals.

The first drops of rain started to fall just as the elite men took to track for qualifying. As more and more riders came down, the rain got heavier and heavier and the track wetter and wetter.

Eddie dropped in for his run in some of the most horrendous conditions. Limited visibility, heavy rain and insanely slick roots made for a wild run. Catching his trousers in his chain ring, his pedals locked up and caused him to hit a rock and snap his chain ring. Knowing he was protected and guaranteed a ride in the final, Eddie composed himself and continued to the bottom safely.

Matt didn’t have the luxury of protection. With worsening weather, a lightning strike on the gondola forced the race to be postponed. After almost an hour delay, and with the rain starting to ease, Matt hit the track. Visibility was better, but the mud was becoming gloopy, slow and being dragged onto the rocks and roots. A good run, except for two off-track excursions, left Matt pleased to qualify for finals and hoping for better conditions.

World Cup Val di Sole

Saturday – Finals

Although the track remained slick for training in the morning, come race time, the track was dry and running fast. Full commitment was needed and an exciting race was guaranteed.

Emilie was ready to attack the Black Snake track and set off hard. Putting over 3 seconds into the current leader at split one, she pressed home her advantage, crossing split 2 with more than 6 seconds advantage. A fast start was always going to be a bold strategy, but Emilie showed her determination and strength to finish 7 seconds ahead of the current leader.

A long stint on the Mercedes-Benz hot seat followed, with Emilie only getting knocked off with two riders to go, guaranteeing her a podium finish. A thrilling elite women’s race ended with Emile finishing in 5th and scoring another fantastic podium finish at one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar.

Matt was the next of the Pivot riders to take to the track. Riding a drying track, it was difficult to know how hard to push. Matt attacked hard and was looking good on the big screen. A few mistakes and an admittedly scrappy run cost him some time, but Matt still crossed the line into 2nd place and was in the hot seat for some time.

Eddie had been feeling good in morning training and was ready to lay down a fast run. A first split specialist, Eddie was up by 0.1 at the first time check and looking speedy. Hitting one of the rocky shoots fully pinned, he hit a wet rock, which spat his rear wheel sideways. There was nothing Eddie could do to save the inevitable crash. The spectacular crash left Eddie with a few cuts and bruises, but he was happy to walk away with no serious injuries.

At the end of the racing, Matt posted the 40th fastest time of the day, a little off from where he wants to be, but happy to have qualified and survived such a challenging track and weekend.

Matt and Eddie will now travel to Whistler, B.C., to take on the next round of the Enduro World Series. The remainder of the team will race Emilie’s home race in Lenzerheide before joining the boys for Cranksworx Whistler.

emilie stage

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Woodruff, Swenson, Others Top National and Enduro Podiums

by Pivot Cycles
July 31, 2019

Last week, Pivot riders competed in National Championship and Enduro events across the Americas, taking many top podium steps in the process. For 2019, USA MTB Nationals took place in Winter Park, CO. Stans Pivot Pro Team rider Chloe Woodruff’s season-long focus and smart racing tactics paid off resulting in dominating wins in both the Pro Women’s XC and Short Track, making her the new USA National Champion of both disciplines.

National Championship and Enduro events

Fellow Pivot rider Evelyn Dong finished 2nd in the XC as well. In the Short Track XC, current USA Marathon National Champ Rose Grant showed that she’s not just a long distance racer, laying down fast lap times to bookend the Pivot podium with a bronze medal.

National Championship and Enduro events

In the pro men’s field, Keegan Swenson captured his first elite title to become the USA XC National Champion. In similar fashion, Matthew Sterling was fastest on the day to become the Juniors 17-18 Downhill National Champ. Kialani Hines raced her first USA Nationals, quickly finding speed on track to bring home silver in Slalom and bronze in Downhill.

National Championship and Enduro events

In Telluride, CO, Pivot riders tackled the third round of the Big Mountain Enduro Series. Pivot riders Lia Westermann, Cooper Ott, and Stefanie McDaniel continued their domination of the Pro Women’s class finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in that order. Fresh off her 3rd place finish at USA Enduro Nationals, Lia continued her quick pace to win every stage at Telluride and thus the overall, making it her first win in the BME Series.

In the Pro Men’s Class, Carson Lange managed to put together clean and fast runs on every stage and finished 2nd overall. Teammate Clayton Otto showed that he is just as fast on an enduro track as he is on an XC course and finished 5th overall.

National Championship and Enduro events

To the north, riders from Team Pivot Cycles OTE finished on the podium in several categories at the Canadian National Championships. Vincent Thiboutot took silver in the Junior Men’s XC race. Raphael Auclair took silver in the U23 Men’s XC race. In the Pro Men’s XCO, Léandre Bouchard finished 2nd for a silver medal with teammate Marc-André Fortier coming in 3rd right behind him for the bronze. With all the individual events done, the team entered two teams in the team relay. Both teams rode well and brought home gold and silver medals.

National Championship and Enduro events

To the south, Stans Pivot Pro Team Rider Sofia Gomez-Villafañe competed for Argentina in the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. In front of countless South American spectators, she claimed an impressive silver in the Pro Women’s XC race!

Congratulations to all the riders on their amazing rides and results!

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup Les Gets Report

by Pivot Cycles
July 16, 2019

After a hugely successful weekend racing across Downhill and Enduro, the full Pivot Factory Racing Team was back together and raring to go at round 5 of the UCI Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup in Les Gets.

With all the riders and mechanics spending plenty of time in Les Gets and Morzine over the years, the race had a home-away-from-home feel and there was a good atmosphere in the pits with fans. Riders, fans and the media kept coming to congratulate Eddie on his win the previous weekend.

Wednesday – Track Walk

The team has raced the track here in previous years at the Crankworx event and knew what to expect. Fast, open, grassy turns at the top of track would see insanely fast speeds, but riders would have to keep their wits about them with some awkward off-camber corners that required riders to slow up and hold high lines.

The track then disappeared into the woods for the most technical section with fast drops, berms and some steep shoots. Eddie described this section like a bobsled track. A final few drops and jumps on wide-open ski piste fired the rider into a big finish area.

A dry and dusty track would cut up throughout the weekend and develop holes and ruts in the open sections. Rain would make the ski piste and off cambers very challenging. All of the riders hoping for mixed forecasts were wrong and the weekend was dry and fast.

Thursday – Training

Everyone was eager to get up the hill and attack the track. As normal, Emilie was first up and gave the boys some information on the lines, grip levels, and tire choice.  

The track was cutting up with ruts forming in the open grassy turns, helping the riders hold their line and speed. Without too much line choice, riders were up to speed quickly and flying down the track. Emilie worked with her mechanic to alter the bike set-up and her position to suit a very different style of track than last weekend in Andorra.

Eddie and Matt were enjoying being back on the downhill bikes after back-to-back weekends riding Enduro. Going fast and enjoying the extra muscle that the downhill bikes give, they were grinning all day and looking fast.

Friday – Qualification

By the time qualification rolled around, the track developed big holes as expected. With few line choices and without being overly technical, a good time on this track was down to commitment on the high-speed, open turns, and pinpoint accuracy in the wooded section. Times were going to be tight, and with consistent dry weather all weekend, there was no hiding.

Emilie was our first rider to tackle the course. Happy with her run through the woods, she crossed the line in 4th. A small mistake on one of the super-fast open corners caused her to unclip and struggle to clip back in. Finishing up in 10th, Emilie was a little disappointed with her speed, but knew where to cut out mistakes and push harder for finals.

Bernard came flying into the finish area with the timing screen green on all sections! Posting the fastest time of the day so far, he was happy with a fast run, but knew he lost a small amount of time in the final two corners. Finishing off in 7th, it was a brilliant result and gave him even more confidence for Saturday.

World Cup Les Gets

Eddie was up to speed on his downhill bike and loving the grass corners. A loose run and a few mistakes cost him some time, but qualifying in 19th shows how quickly he adapted from the Enduro race mindset to the downhill mindset.

Matt was feeling the nerves for qualification. With such a fast track and tight times, any small mistake could put anyone out the running for finals. Crossing the line in 49th, he knew he had ridden too tight and left too much time on track. A nervous wait as the next riders came down saw him slip into 69th.

Matt was gutted to miss the finals after riding so well at the Enduro and in training. With only the top 60 riders qualifying for the finals and the standard of racing so high, qualifying is becoming more and more of a challenge.

Saturday – Finals

Early morning saw the town getting busy; a large crowd from the previous day’s qualifying was expected to be followed by a huge crowd for the finals.

Emilie was pushing hard to make up some time on the high speed track. Aero tucking on the fast straights and breaking as late as possible, her run was two seconds better than her qualification. A small mistake in the wooded section of track saw her stall and lose a little bit of time. Crossing the line in 3rd, Emilie enjoyed some time in the hot seat before her time was bettered, eventually finishing 12th.

Emilie

Eddie set off fast and, as usual, was up on the first split times. Pushing hard and drifting around the open, grass corners, Eddie came into the packed finish area surrounded by fans. He crossed the line in 5th, happy with a loose run and getting up to speed on the downhill bike. Eventually finishing 11th, Eddie continues his good run of results and maintains his top-20 position in the overall World Cup standings, despite missing a round.

Eddie

After a great qualifying run, Bernard was one of the last riders to tackle the 2.3 km track. Looking fast on the big screen, Bernard was putting in the effort and pushing hard. Drifting wide on one of the long, loose corners, and a slight mistake in the woods, cost him a couple of seconds. With the racing so tight, the small mistakes cost him a few positions. Finishing in 19th, he was frustrated not to convert a good qualifying result into a good race day result.

It was great to have the full team back together for fun and busy week in Les Gets. With two weeks off before World Cup racing returns, the team will be riding and training in the Alps, ready to attack Val di Sole.

As always, a huge thanks to everyone for the support along the way to make these weekends of racing possible!

Mike Janney – Team Manager

Pivot Factory Racing

During the UCI MTB World Cup, Les Gets. France.

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Pivot Factory Racing Andorra and Les Orres Race Recap

by Pivot Cycles
July 8, 2019

A busy weekend saw the Pivot Factory Racing team split over two countries racing in two disciplines. After a really successful weekend racing at the EWS in Val Di Fassa, Eddie was sitting 3rd in the overall championship. Making the tough call, Eddie and Matt made the decision to race the Enduro World Series round 5 in Les Orres, missing the Downhill World Cup in Andorra. Emilie and Bernard would be flying the flag in Andorra on the downhill bikes, ready to attack the steep and rough track.

Wednesday: Walking the Track

Track walk in Andorra saw small changes to the track; it’s rough, steep and tough, but this makes it a rider’s favorite. The changes were welcome and took riders off the main hardpack trail and into fresh woods with some line choice.

Even with the late afternoon rainstorms, the track was super dry and dusty. Over the last few years, deep ruts and holes have made the steep track even harder and more physical.

No track walking in Les Orres for Matt and Eddie, but rather resting the legs and getting the bikes prepped. The rest and recovery involved some sailing on the lake and enjoying what a new venue in Les Orres has to offer.

Andorra and Les Orres Race

Thursday: Training Day

Downhill

Emilie kicked off training in Andorra. Taking her time to build up to race speed, she was enjoying the steep and technical lower sections of the track. Being a light rider, Emilie is able to brake later on the steep tracks and is nimble enough to carry speed through the tightest trees.

Bernard was loving the track; spotting a gnarly gap during track walk, he went hard and hit the gap first run! Pulling up over a road and hitting the gap, he estimated it saved him close to one second over the normal line. With only a handful of other riders daring to jump the gap, it was a strong section for Bernard.

Timed training ended the day in Andorra with Bernard going 6th and Emilie 3rd fastest. An evening checking split times and GoPro footage showed them some areas to work on in the morning of qualification to gain those last few seconds needed.

Enduro

Day one of training in Les Orres gave Eddie and Matt the chance to ride stages 1 to 4 that they would be racing on Saturday. Most of the trails follow the existing hand-cut trails in the bike park. Heavy rain at the start of the week left some soft trails with some slick sections.

Stage 2 was a monster and quite rightly the queen stage. With 1,050m descending, a few little climbs and some brand-new, fresh, loamy sections, it would test all aspects of the riders.

Stage 3 was super techy and tight to start. Eddie was enjoying sliding the back wheel around the tight corners while Matt used the “Enduro turn,” pivoting on the front brake and wheel before landing and peddling out the corner.

Stage 4 was the shortest of the weekend, but came after a long 7km liaison. Matt and Eddie were both feeling good on the bikes and getting used to the stages and mix of terrain and surfaces.

Andorra and Les Orres Race

Friday: Qualification & Training

Downhill

Pre-qualification training went well for both Bernard and Emilie; both working on slight improvements, they were finding the track a fun challenge. The hot sun had dried off any sign of moisture on the track and some parts were becoming a dust bowl, making vision a challenge.

Emilie charged out of the gate for her qualification run, carrying speed over the first split, but really letting off the brakes lower down on the steeper, more technical section that she excels at. Crossing the line in 1st, there was a long wait until her time was bettered. Finishing with a 4th fastest qualifying time was a great result for Emilie and gave her a confidence boost for the final.

Equally impressive, Bernard qualified 15th! Losing some time in the first split and then feeling he rode too safe, there was more to come. The top 20 qualification guarantees a spot on the live Redbull TV feed and packed finish area with a great atmosphere.

Enduro

A second day of training was in store for Eddie and Matt at the Enduro with the final 4 stages to learn. Stage 5 started the day with a different feel to the previous 4. Lower down the mountain, it was warmer, drier and had more vegetation growing onto the track.

Stage 7 and 8 ended the tiring days with two challenging stages that would be really tough at the end of a weekend’s racing. Matt was enjoying stage 7, which was still a bit slick from the rain early in the week. Drifting and sliding in training, he finished the stage with a huge grin on his face.

The day’s final stage was short, but physical. Originally built in 2001 for a French Cup Downhill race, it shows how far bikes and riders have come with today’s riders flying down on lightweight trail bikes after peddling to the stage.

After two days of training and finding the flow of Les Orres, Eddie and Matt were feeling confident to back up the previous weekend’s great results when racing kicked off in the morning.

Andorra and Les Orres Race

Saturday: Finals Day One    

Downhill

Finals day for Emilie and Bernard was another hot and dusty one, with a super dry track breaking up and making one of the dustiest tracks either racer had ever ridden. Training in the morning was spent getting used to the dust and fine-tuning lines.

Emilie set off putting the power down out of the start gate and getting up to speed quickly. Not the fastest on the first split, she was gaining time all the way down, going faster and faster as the track got steeper and steeper. Hitting the bottom corners perfectly, she crossed the line into 2nd, guaranteeing her a podium finish. You could hear her scream with happiness and relief when she crossed the line. A great result after a few tough races is brilliant for Emilie and the whole team was stoked.

Bernard was on a flyer; pinning the key section and hitting his gap, he was up by 2.5 seconds at split 3! The speed was there, but the dry, tough conditions saw his wheel slip over the top of a corner and put him into the dirt. Losing time, he was straight back up and charging down the track once again. Finishing in 17th on such a tough track with a crash is a fantastic result, but not what Bernard wanted. He will be charging next week in Les Gets. 

Enduro

The Enduro started brilliantly with Eddie winning stage 1 by the smallest of margins – 0.3 seconds over a 6-minute stage is insanely close. Matt was also on a fast run, crossing the line in 5th for a great start for both Pivot riders.

Stage 2 was the Queen stage and the longest of the weekend at more than 10 minutes and 1000m descending. Eddie had found his flow in Les Orres and came second on the stage, only 3 seconds off the win.    

Stage 3 was super steep and techy; riders needed to be patient to be fast. Consistent and clean riding from both Eddie and Matt saw them place 6th and 10th respectively. The tough stage caught some other riders out and after 3 stages, Eddie was in the lead overall with Matt in 7th.

A long, hot liaison up to stage 4 saw the fatigue set in and made the final stage harder than expected. Matt’s consistency paid off with another fast stage that saw him sitting in 7th overall after 4 stages. Eddie finished the stage 6th and would start the second day racing in 2nd overall.

Andorra and Les Orres Race

Sunday: Finals Day Two

After driving through the night, Sunday saw the team reunited with the downhill half, bringing extra support and motivation for Matt and Eddie.

A huge storm in the morning forced stage 5 to be cancelled as the chairlifts were closed due to lighting risks. This left 3 stages to race on Sunday and with times incredibly tight, anything could happen.

Stage 6 finished with some fresh loamy single-track turns. The riders were flying through the section, finding the grip and pushing hard. Matt pushed a little too hard, sliding out within sight of the finish. Finishing in 6th despite the crash showed how fast he was riding. Eddie finished 4th on the stage and slipped back to 3rd overall.

Stage 7 was one of the few tracks that stayed mainly on bike park trails. Eddie put down a fantastic run, winning the stage by more than 2 seconds and pushing him into the lead with one stage still to race.

After 40 minutes of racing and with one stage to race, Matt was in 7th and Eddie was leading by less than half a second. The final stage was a relatively short run into town and the finish area. Matt had another solid run and finished 10th on the stage, securing 7th overall for the weekend. He quickly joined the rest of the team to see if Eddie could hold on to the smallest of leads.

Eddie was flying on the final stage, pushing the limits of grip in the wooded sections before sprinting as hard as possible across the ski piste and across the line, winning the stage and the event. The team went crazy and rushed the finish area to congratulate him.

Eddie’s first Enduro World Series win and Matt’s 7th place also saw the team awarded the second fastest of the day! With the whole team in Les Orres, there were big celebrations following a great weekend of podiums and wins at two events in two countries!

Thank you to everyone who helps us go racing. A great weekend like this doesn’t happen by accident, and all the help we get is hugely appreciated.

The whole team will be racing next weekend for round 6 of the Downhill World Cup in Les Gets, France; stay tuned for more exciting racing and hopefully, more champagne!

Andorra and Les Orres Race

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Pivot Factory Racing EWS Val Di Fassa Report

by Pivot Cycles
July 1, 2019

After a few weeks training and recuperation in Morzine, the team headed to Italy for round 4 of the Enduro World Series.

Val Di Fassa is in the heart of the Dolomites and is surrounded by impressive limestone peaks. The organizers had promised a variety of trail conditions from open and loose, to tight, steep, and technical, which would challenge every aspect of man and machine. The heat wave across Europe hit Italy, and the bright sun and blue skies made for epic scenes.

EWS Val Di Fassa

Thursday: First day of Training

Two days of training would allow the riders to ride each stage once and to sample what was to come on race day. Stage 1 started the weekend off with a 670m descent, heading down an existing bike park trail that quickly turned off into fresh-cut tracks and some super tight corners. Creative line choice was needed to open up the corners and keep the speeds high.

Stage 2 was the shortest of the weekend, but what it lacked in length, it made up for in speed. Starting below the tree line, there were plenty of roots to catch riders out before a fast traverse, requiring nerves of steel because of huge speeds. Matt was enjoying the high-speed sections, always posting high speeds through the speed traps in the Downhill World Cups and was hoping to translate that to his enduro racing.

Stage 3 quickly became a rider favorite. Freshly cut for the EWS and never ridden, this track offered high speed and tight, technical, steep sections. Hidden rocks on the track required pinpoint control and commitment. Eddie was enjoying the tracks here and the long stages on which he always performs well.

EWS Val Di Fassa

Friday: Second Day of Training

Two stages to practice on Friday gave the team a relatively relaxed day and some time to enjoy the sunshine and the spectacular views. 

Matt described Stage 4 as “classic Enduro jank.” Lots of awkwardly placed rocks and turns, and some little rises made for a physical test – top to bottom.

The final stage for the weekend was the longest, with analmost 1000m descent, the Queen Stage title for this stage was well deserved. Starting high up, the beautiful alpine single track traversed a ridge line before dropping into the tree line for some steep and technical riding. Lots of line choice and a few short, punchy climbs will test the riders’ energy reserves after the previous four4 stages. 

Bikes and kits were running perfectly all weekend, but that didn’t stop team mechanic Kurt from giving them some love. A full cleaning, quick tune-ups on the brakes and gears and double-checking suspension settings – the bikes were ready for race day.   

Saturday: Race Day

During practice, Eddie was feeling under the weather and was struggling in the heat. He was hoping the adrenaline would pull him through on race day. With just over a 3500m descent, but a relatively small amount of climbing on the transition between stages, the riders would be fresh for the timed stages, and speeds and commitment would be high!

Stage 1 set the tone for race day with a long physical stage and race times over 9 minutes. Any sign of sickness was soon pushed aside as Eddie came out of the gates, firing with the 3rd fastest time! Hitting his lines well, he was chuffed to start fast and the confidence was flowing.

Matt had an equally good start. A solid run down the long stage saw him finish 8th, only 20 seconds off the winner and setting a great benchmark for race day.

Stage 2 was almost one third of the length of stage 1 and riders had to adapt to the significant change in stage length. Sometimes the shorter stages can be the most physical, requiring high intensity and no room for errors. Matt was riding smart and a 12th fastest run with no mistakes kept him well in the hunt.

Eddie made a little mistake, stalling on one of the punchy climbs, finishing in 21st. osing 10 seconds on the winner wasn’t ideal, but kept him well in the fight.

The mistake from the previous stage was all the motivation Eddie needed as he lit up stage 3 with the 2nd fastest time, pushing him to 4th overall. This fresh track was getting rougher and rougher with each rider who passed through and Matt knew how the track would cut up. He was looking for lines to avoid the big holes and anything that would slow him down; 10th on the stage put Matt well in the hunt for a top 10 overall finish.

Stage 4 ended up being arguably the most physical of the weekend. With punchy climbs, tight corners and awkward rock, a mixture of agility and strength was needed to post the best times. Eddie and Matt both had good runs carrying speed when it counted and finished the stage 9th and 8th, respectively.

One final test awaited the riders, but it was the biggest of the weekend. Stage 5 was the Queen Stage, an iconic descent in the region and over 6.5km of descending. The boys needed to have something left in the tank.

Eddie sat in 4th overall and was pushing for podium while Matt was in 6th looking to secure his first EWS top 10 for 2019 and Pivot Factory Racing. Matt continued his consistent day with a clean run, no mistakes, and he let the bike absorb the roughest terrain. A 9th fastest time on the brutally long stage saw Matt slip back one place overall, finishing in a fantastic 7th overall.

Eddie pushed hard all stage to gain the last few seconds he needed to make the podium. A wild run for Eddie made sure he didn’t leave anything on the hill and another top 5 stage result saw him secure his 4th place finish.

EWS Val Di Fassa

A brilliant race day, amazing trails and good times were topped off with the news that Pivot Factory Racing was the 3rd fastest team of the day! Eddie, Matt and Kurt deservedly shared some podium time and champagne – the perfect ending to a weekend of racing. 

EWS Val Di Fassa

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Pivot Factory Racing Crankworx Innsbruck Report

by Pivot Cycles
June 17, 2019

Hello Everyone, hope you enjoy this recap from an exciting and busy week racing in Austria.

Tuesday

Innsbruck is a stunning city in the Austrian Alps surrounded by snow-capped mountains and great riding. Crankworx is hosted at the Mutters ski station about 10 minutes out of town and this year boasts a brand-new downhill track that everyone was eager to get their teeth into.

Crankworx Innsbruck is kicked off with an opening party hosted in a roof top bar in one of the Downtown hotels. Pivot Factory Racing Team decided to arrive to Crankworx in style this year and hired a limousine to make an entrance. The transport set the tone of the night and the weekend where everyone had fun catching up with old friends, making new ones and of course, riding bikes.

Wednesday

Dual slalom training kicked off events for the team. The short track only took only 17 seconds to complete the fast berms, rollers, jumps and flat grass turns and promised tight racing.

Eddie was looking good on the flat turns and qualified with the 17th fastest time while Matt pumping hard on the jumps and rollers qualified in 21st. The first round of 32 followed on straight away to set out who would be in the main event and on the live stream on Thursday afternoon.

Matt was up against a tough opponent but a clean run saw him 0.2 seconds up after run one. Another clean run for his second run wasn’t quite enough and he dropped less than half a second. An overall difference of less than 0.3 seconds saw Matt knocked out of the final 32 and cheering on Eddie.

Eddie gave everyone a scare with a terrible start out the gate. Dropping 5 or 6 bike lengths he clawed back all his time and then some on the final flat turns to end up winning the first run. A much better start in the second run and another clean performance put Eddie safely into the final 16.

Thursday

A long Pump Track for 2019 made for a physical event and the boys were enjoying riding the hardtails. Matt pushed a little hard in his qualification run and drifted the front wheel round a berm losing some time, missing out on the top 32 by just under 0.4 seconds.

Eddie faired a little better and qualified into 28th and into the round of 32. Looking fast he was up by the smallest of margins after run one. Always struggling on the chainless gate starts he lost a few bike lengths from the start of the second run. Gaining back time all the way he was pumping hard but it wasn’t enough and Eddie didn’t make it into the final 16, finish up 24th overall.

Dual slalom finals ended a busy day. Into the last 16 and onto the live feed Eddie was looking nimble through the tight turns on his Mach 5.5. His first heat in the final 16 was a huge challenge against the fastest qualifier. Pulling his foot out of the pedal when putting the power down out of the gate, Eddie lost some time but gained most of it back on the flat grass turns on the bottom of the track again.

His next gate start was much better, nailing the first few turns he was ahead coming into the final grass turns and knocked out the number one qualifier and was into the final 8!

Eddie was feeling confident and looked to be onto another fast run in the next heat until a small drift in the final grass turn put him off line. Bunny hopping to correct the error, his front wheel passed just inside the final gate. This smallest of mistakes gave him a penalty of the maximum differential, 1.5 seconds. Having a flyer on the next heat, Eddie gained back over 1.2 seconds but the perfect run wasn’t enough to overcome the penalty and unfortunately Eddie was knocked out in the semi-finals.

Crankworx Innsbruck

Friday

A new downhill track awaited the team for Crankworx Innsbruck. Freshly cut into the forest, the track was loose, loamy and covered in roots. Lots of traversing and compressions made for a physical track to race that rewarded pumping. With hundreds of competitors in the amateur and junior categories the amount of traffic and fresh cut track was sure to cut up and change significantly over the weekend.

Bernard was still feeling sore and bruised after the crash in Leogang. With bruised ribs, a dead leg and cut elbow he took the physio’s advice and wisely decided not to race and take a rest week.

After training Emilie was also still in pain following her crashes earlier this season; making the hard decision she also decided to sit out the Crankworx downhill. It’s never ideal having two athletes sitting out at a race and both were gutted to be missing out and are already working on rehab to be 100% for the next race in Andorra.

Saturday

With two hours of downhill training in the morning, Saturday had a relaxed feel. With Bernard and Emilie side-lined with injuries, there was plenty of support and coaching available trackside. The track was cutting up as expected, and with holes developing and uncovering roots, there was opportunity to jump the roughest of the terrain and keep speeds high. Eddie was finding ‘naughty boy lines’ gapping roots, holes and taking inside lines on corners. He was loving the track.

Matt was charging through the soft loam and taking the time to set the bike up for the different surface to Leogang and Fort William. The softer ground covering roots and rocks requires a different suspension set up that grips well while absorbing the big hits and compressions.

Crankworx Innsbruck

Sunday

A huge rain storm on Saturday night left the track soaked. Riders were worried about the polished-off camber roots in the wet, and with only two hours of training to get used to the wet track it was going to be an interesting race. Eddie and Matt were pleasantly surprised with the track; the rain made the dirt hold together and was grippy and forgiving. This was offset by the sniper roots – the polished diagonal roots became insanely slippery as the mud and moisture was dragged on them. Riders had to ride light over the roots to not get caught out.

Both team riders were on live feed with Matt dropping in first on the drying track. Matt was looking fast on the big screens and took the fastest speed through the speed trap. Crossing the line in 8th he was a bit frustrated with his run. Not knowing the grip levels, he made a few mistakes and lost time in some critical sections. With only a few riders bettering his time, Matt ended the weekend with an 11th.

Eddie was flying all weekend with a number of people commenting how fast he was looking in training. His usual style of pushing the limits paid off and he was up by 0.7 at the halfway split time despite coming unclipped and having a moment that made the crowd gasp. Sprinting hard out of the final turn, he crossed the line into first, 2.3 seconds up!

In the hot seat with only two riders left to race, Eddie was guaranteed a podium. A nervous wait saw one rider fail to beat his time and with the final rider coming through the split 0.5 behind Eddie the nerves were starting to show. It was too tight to call as the rider crossed the line. The timing screen showed Eddie had been beaten by only 0.11 seconds, the smallest of margins.

Eddie was stoked on the race and importantly was first to open the podium champagne, soaking his competitors and capping off a successful event for the team.

The team now travels to Morzine in France where they will be based for the next few weeks of training and recovery in preparation for attacking the next races.

CRWXInns19__63I7596

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Kaitlyn Boyle Recovery Update

by Pivot Cycles
June 10, 2019

In the last update I had just pedaled outside for the first time, at the end of March. I spent April and May in Arizona getting my legs back underneath me pedaling on dirt. I eased onto singletrack and started increasing my riding time; I remember an hour and a half spin on trails feeling like the hardest ride ever! And that was the second week in April! Every week I felt like I was twice as strong as I was the week prior, though individual rides felt pretty slow and strenuous. By mid-May I had regained a lot of lost power and was able to ride comfortably for 3-4 hours and starting to feel pretty strong again. Knowing I had a window free of commitments the last week of May, I decided to give bikepacking a go; the experiment would be loose and open ended and was just to celebrate free movement, health, and the end of my time in Arizona for a while.

Kaitlyn Boyle

Kurt Refsnider and I created a loose plan for a bikepacking trip that would be anywhere from 2-4 days, and we created a loose parameter of central Arizona geography that our route would unfold within. We envisioned riding somewhere between the Bradshaw Mountains, the Mogollon Rim, Flagstaff, and the Verde Valley, connecting different sections of routes we both love, like the AZT, the Wild West Route, the Coconino Loop, etc. and checking out a few areas neither of us had been all while deciding mileage and time riding, and ultimately our destinations based on my body.

The first couple hours of the first day pedaling up into the Bradshaws my scarum felt a little sore. I stopped and did some of my PT activation exercises and the soreness dissipated. The next day I felt great, and we rode 9 hours out of the Bradshaws, across Agua Fria National Monument and descended down to Verde Hot Springs on the Verde River. I was soreness free, though definitely tired. From that day on we proceeded up Fossil Creek to Pine, AZ, up onto the Mogollon Rim to greet fresh snow on the ground and rode northwest toward Flagstaff. Up on the rim we camped in 22 degrees and created the following days route to head west avoiding bad mud as snow melted.

Kaitlyn Boyle Recovery Update

Our fifth and final night we camped on the rim northwest of Sedona and the last day we descended down into the Verde Valley, over Mingus Mountain and back to Prescott to wrap up the trip with a 10-hour day to get back to Prescott by evening. The trip ended up being 6 days and we rode a 315-mile loop that spontaneously unfolded each day as my body continued to be strong and happy on the bike and free of soreness.

Kaitlyn Boyle Recovery Update

The bikepacking trip was a pivotal point for me. I now feel like my body has demonstrated it can withstand the demands of hard riding and big volume so for the first time since December I am thinking forward to what next?

-Kait

Kaitlyn Boyle

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup Leogang Report

by Pivot Cycles

After a long drive from the Highlands on Scotland to the Austrian Alps the team was greeted with blue skies and stunning views. Spirits were high in the pits after a successful weekend racing in Fort William and with everyone enjoying riding the local bike park and trails before racing kicked off.

The track at Leogang often receives some stick from riders and fans for not being technical enough and too much like a bike park. Each year small changes add in more technical sections with 2019 being no different. Tape changes and some new tight corners slowed riders down. A significant tape change to the finish area saw riders hit a slower more technical line rather than a flat out drop into the finish area. The new section were best summed up by Matt as “nibblie.”

A split line in the new steep, loamy section offered multiple line choices with two corners offering inside, middle and outside options. Track walk was spent looking at the new lines and puzzling to figure out the fastest way top to bottom. During track walk the mechanics were busy, the bikes were fully stripped down and cleaned, suspension serviced and new Maxxis tires were fitted. Everything was ready for racing.

World Cup Leogang

Training

Emilie was still a bit sore after her spectacular crash in Fort William, but she is made of tough stuff and was one of the first up the mountain on Friday morning for training. Riding the fresh track is often difficult as it takes time for lines to develop, ruts to form and rocks to be swept off. She was enjoying figuring out the new tight corners and how to keep speeds high.

Eddie and Bernard finished within one position of each other at the first two rounds, being so close on times is a real benefit when training as a team. Following close and testingout different lines it’s easy to see where you gain or lose time on the other rider.

Matt prefers to work out lines on his own, taking time to watch other riders and see how the lines develop. With some fresh section on track, he was in no rush to ride too much and tire himself out on a track that was changing and cutting up fast.

Timed training finished off the day and yet again, Bernard was showing how quickly he gets up to race speed on track. Taking the fastest time of the day by more than 1.5 seconds, while less than 1 second covered 3rd to 10th was some statement!

World Cup Leogang

Qualification

Emilie was showing a few signs of nerves before her qualifying run. Although the crash the previous weekend was playing on her mind, she was able to turn pressure into motivation and set off out the gate and straight into the off camber first turns. Playing the safe game Emilie didn’t take too many risks; she qualified 10th and easily into the finals, ready to light it up.

Following a 15th place in timed training Matt was eager to get stuck into qualifying. Setting fast split times, he was on course for a top 20 qualifying when his front wheel pinged off a loose rock under heavy braking and spat him off line and directly into a tree. He managed to keep rolling, but lost all speed and about 5 seconds. Matt was gutted to qualify 71st and miss out on the final. With such tight times at Leogang, one mistake is enough end a weekend early.

Eddie was proud to be running 12th on his bike but more stoked on the protection and automatic qualification that came with it. Taking the pressure off in his qualifying run, he was able to push hard in the technical sections. A small mistake before the fast motorway section saw him lose a few seconds, but Eddie was happy to finish 14th.

Bernard was also protected and let the bike run; taking risks and getting off brakes, he was hitting some good lines and carrying speed—carrying so much speed he flat landed one of the jumps on the motorway! Bernard crossed the line 0.03 seconds behind Eddie, with Bernard finishing 14th and Eddie 15th. Eddie once again got the upper hand and once again incredibly tight times.

World Cup Leogang

Finals

Finals day rolled round and another beautiful sunny day promised dry conditions and fast racing. Emilie was fired up and ready to lay down a fast run. Staying high and carrying speed through the tricky first corner, she was green (color coding used in live video feed indicating they are ahead) at splits one and two. Carrying good speed through the final steep loamy turns Emilie came into view of the crowd and crossed the line more than 2.5 seconds faster than the current fastest time.

After a solid run, Emilie finished 8th place in a really tight and competitive race. Happy to put down a good run following her crash and injury Emilie was getting back the speed she knew she had.

Bernard was fired up and felt a good result was on the cards after winning times training. You could see by his body language on the bike the effort he was putting in as he set off from the start hut. Coming into view on the big screen, something looked wrong—dust covering one side of him and low speeds showed he had crashed. A high-speed washout in a berm left him winded and struggling to get going again.

Catching his breath, Bernard was able to push on again and amazingly set the fastest split time through the Roots of Asitz key section on the Redbull live show.

Eddie was directly behind Bernard and looked quick. Fastest at split two, fastest at split three and tucking and down the motorway, he was on a great run. Coming in to the final wooded section, Eddies foot came un-clipped—riding the whole section while trying to clip in cost him the smallest amount of time. With such tight racing, the small mistake put Eddie into 7th, but only 1.7 seconds behind the leader.
Finishing 17th at the end of the weekend, Eddie was happy with the result, despite a small mistake costing him.

An eventful weekend racing with highs and lows kept the team on its toes. Next up is a short drive down the road to Innsbruck for Crankworx with the riders competing in Downhill, Pump track, Dual Slalom and Whip off.

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Pivot Factory Racing World Cup Ft. William Report

by Pivot Cycles
June 4, 2019

Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands, hosted the second round of the 2019 UCI Downhill World Cup. The classic venue and track have hosted a World Cup each year for the last 15, becoming a firm favorite with fans and riders.

The track walk set the tone for the weekend with umbrellas and rain jackets – the accessories of choice. As Fort William has been raced for so many years, the riders are now looking for the smallest margins to gain them any amount of time available. Lots of time was taken on the new section, assessing each line, spotting hidden rocks and roots while discussing the best a way to tackle the challenge.

World Cup Ft. William Report

Training

More rain and grey clouds greeted the riders on Friday for training. Emilie was feeling strong after a few weeks of physio and gym work on her shoulder. The long physical track with a few super steep and technical sections doesn’t match her strengths, but the sloppy muddy conditions were right up her alley.

The new section was proving difficult to ride at speed with the soft ground cutting up into deep ruts and the mud covering the rocks and roots. Surprisingly, the rain actually made some of the top corners grippier, keeping the dust down and packing the dirt allowing the tires to cut in and grip rather than slide.

Eddie has always ridden well at Fort William with the long track playing into his enduro strengths as well as downhill speed. He was looking fast in the wet and muddy conditions enjoying slipping around and finding the grip.

Matt and Bernard were riding hard in training. Riding one behind the other and testing lines – both were getting confident with the conditions. Bernard was up to pace quickly and finished a successful day training off with a top 5 time in timed training, a great sign for the weekend ahead.

Qualification

A gap in the wet weather was a huge relief for the team come qualification day. A drying track was riding faster and faster with less standing water, improving visibility and letting the rider push even harder. The drying track was much welcomed, but the increase in wind wasn’t, the exposed nature of the track meant high winds were a particular challenge and frustratingly unpredictable.3

World Cup Ft. William Report

For the first time in years, Emilie wasn’t protected and guaranteed a spot in the finals following her injury at round one. She had a few mistakes in her run, but worked hard to keep speeds high in the windy motorway section. Emilie was pleased with the 6th fastest qualifying run and into the main event.

After a strong first round and top 20 overall standing, Eddie was a protected rider. Not worrying about qualification, Eddie could focus on his lines and push hard on his run knowing a mistake or mechanical wouldn’t end his weekend early.  With a clean run, Eddie crossed the line with a brilliant 8th fastest time!

Bernard dropped in not far behind Eddie, enjoying the track and hopping the big rocks and holes to keep his speed high. He was also on a great run and feeling good, posting a fantastic time for 10th.

Matt was looking good on track all week and felt the bike was running perfectly. Charging in the top section, he clipped a pedal on one of the many rocks littering the track. Blowing both feet off the pedals he rode the top tube for a while but his cat-like reflexes stopped him from crashing hard. Losing valuable time, he set off knowing he had time to make up. After a very nervous wait Matt qualified in 60th, a fastest final split was just enough to squeeze him into the main event on Sunday.

Finals

The team woke up to more rain on finals morning. Thick fog covered the top of the track and there was limited visibility making the high-speed sections even more hair-raising.

Emilie was first rider to tackle the track and wet conditions and was feeling confident after a strong qualifying run. Carrying good speed and finding the little grip that was on offer, she was posting top 3 split times. Taking risks and hitting a fast inside line that no other female rider was hitting, she landed in a compression that stopped the bike instantly. Throwing her clean over the bars and into the muddy rocks.

Landing on her shoulder she previously injured, Emilie tried to remount and continue but couldn’t safely keep riding and was forced to pull out.

Matt was the first elite man to race the track. Flying down in the rain and enjoying the thousands of fans lining the whole track, he put down a very strong time. Ending strongly on the motorway section he used the last of his energy keeping the bike low on the jumps, pumping and peddling wherever possible.

A long wait for Bernard and Eddie in the final 10 riders was made even tenser as Matt held onto his spot on the hot seat for over an hour. With 15 riders to go he was guaranteed a top 20 finish.

World Cup Ft. William Report

Bernard dropped in like he meant business, 10th fastest at the first split and then fastest through the ‘pinball’ rock garden section saw him clawing back time. Losing traction in the woods he unclipped and dabbed but didn’t lose too much time. His speed and style came through on the motorway section as he was flying into the finish area. Posting the 3rd fastest time, Bernard was into the hotseat to watch Eddie come down one rider later.

Eddie came out the gate firing and was over one second up at the first split. He held the advantage all the way through the fast, open and rocky top section with the 29er wheels rolling over the roughest of terrain. Coming into the woods, Eddie stood up in the same turn Bernard lost traction in. He didn’t lose too much time, but the mistake caused him to ride the next few sections tight and drop some vital seconds. A classily exciting run had everyone on the edge of their seat but crossing the line in 4th, just ahead of Bernard.

As the final few riders came down, the final standings were settled with Eddie finishing in 10th, Bernard in 11th and Matt in a fantastic 16th

With all the Pivot Factory Racing men in the top 20, it was a brilliant weekend of racing. A downer on the weekend was Emilie’s crash, but it was good to see her speed is there and she will be back in one week’s time pushing hard in Leogang for the next round of the UCI Downhill World Cup.

… until next time.
World Cup Ft. William Report

 

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Pivot Factory Racing EWS Madeira Report

by Pivot Cycles
May 13, 2019

Heading to the Island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean Eddie and Matt were feeling fresh and ready to race after a ‘training camp’ in Lisbon. A fun week involving surfing, Metallica concerts and of course some riding had them relaxed and ready to charge.

Madeira is a small island that packs a lot of punch. Varying terrain across the island makes it ideal for riding and the amount of trails is unbelievable. One phrase commonly heard on the island it that the only flat bits of land are the airport and the soccer filed, a perfect place for a mountain bike race then.

Cole Lucas has joined the usual suspects at the EWS after a brilliant start to the season in New Zealand and Tasmania saw him pick up an impressive 5th and 10th in his first senior races! Cole has been riding his Pivot Firebird. When we heard he was struggling to make it to all the races, we had to step in and help.

Thursday
Changing from the previous races this year, the EWS in Madeira will be raced in eight stages over two days. Training is therefore also two days, making the overall riding time and work load for the event high! Bodies and bikes were going to be tired come Sunday.

All stages were practised in race order. Stage one was aptly names ‘Hole in One’ as it started next the local golf course before diving back into some tree cover where the trail got steeper and more technical. This trail set the scene for the event ending on a finger of land that stuck out into the ocean and showing the verity of terrain what was going to be raced over.
Stages two and three had a very similar feel to each other, some fast open sections punctured by heavy breaking and tight corners. The team was enjoying the terrain and the grippy dirt but knew that come race day the tracks would have started to break up under the constant pounding from over 300 of the world best riders.

EWS Madeira Report

Friday
The overall profile of the second day was downhill as a shuttle took the riders and mechanics inland as they worked their way back to the beach with little climbing between stages.

Team mechanic Kurt was making the most of the trip, using the team plate to allow him to ride with Eddie and Matt during training. Scoping lines, filming tricky sections and assessing the terrain with respect to bike set up while also enjoying a few days of bike time.

Five stages on the second day were going to challenge the riders with a back loaded event. The much hyped ‘Gamble’ stage kicked things off and didn’t disappoint. A trail made famous from the recent Gamble mountain bike film featured some big jumps, fast rollers and huge berms. With Eddie and Matt’s downhill pedigree they loved the track and were relishing racing down it.


Another good day training for the team kept the spirits high, amazing trails were only bettered by the views. Gaps in the tree cover on stage six and seven gave way to stunning views of the Atlantic and heaps of photo opportunities. With training completed there would be no time for photos come race day!

Saturday
Day one started with a long stage at almost 7 minutes of racing. Coming out hot Eddie pushed hard early in the loamy wooded section, hanging on and digging deep in the 30 second climb roughly one third into the stage he crossed the line in 5th.

Matt was equally looking to get the racing off to a good start and rode a clever stage, saving some energy and riding smart to avoid stalling on some of the lower corners. Matt finished the first stage in 10th, a brilliant start to racing.

Cole finished in a solid 31st but admitted he left some time on the stage and knew where to improve on the next stage.

Stage two flowed through some fast open meadows before ending with some incredible tight turns,. Riders were showing their creativity and skills getting around them on front wheels, drifting or with a foot out. A great stage for everyone saw whole team in the top 20 with Eddie 9th, Cole 14th and Matt in 17th.

The final stage of day one was of classic EWS vintage. A mix of open grassy turns, tight rocky turns and wooded sections kept the riders on their toes. Eddie had mastered the tight turns and was sprinting hard out of each one, setting a blistering time for 6th on the stage and 5th in the overall.

Matt had a solid ride with no mistakes but felt he kept it a little too safe and with super tight times went into day two 12th in the overall.

Cole was continuing to ride brilliant showing everyone how the move from to junior to senior racing should be done! Sitting in 22nd after the first 3 stages he was ready to charge on Sunday.

EWS Madeira Report

Sunday 

With a great first day racing and an early night the boys were ready to charge again. The fast and fun Gamble stage was now a challenge to race. Corners getting dusty and blown out were hard to carry speed through and all the jumps and rollers were a physical test to wake the riders up.

Eddie didn’t need much waking up, smashing the stage and using his strength to post the 2nd fastest time, an amazing start to the second day racing. Matt and Cole were riding well but a few mistakes and blown out corners cost them some time.

A small crash after catching a pedal on stage five for Matt lost him some time but with two strong stages on six and seven he recovered some time on the fast technical sections he enjoys.

Eddie continued his good form with more top ten stage times, a 5th on the stage seven, the Queen stage. This stage started fast and flowing but riders needed to keep alert as there were some tight off camber corners where running wide was not an option. Smart riding ensured Eddie gained valuable seconds over his rivals on in such a tightly packed top ten.

The final stage was a repeat of stage three from the previous day with a little addition through town to finishing right on the beech. After a long two days riding Eddie was sitting in a fantastic 5th, the fatigue was starting to tell but Eddie rode a safe and solid 8th fastest on the final stage. With super tight times and hugely competitive filed he was knocked into 6th be the smallest of margins.

Matt ended the day with a blinder of a ride, taking no prisoners he finished with a top ten time on the final stage and pushed his overall position up from 17th to 15th

Cole was equally looking to gain time to the last meter of racing and pushed his place from 29th up to an impressive 25th. A great final stage with riders improving their positions everyone was exhausted but pleased after over 30 minutes of race time.
Another fun, action packed and successful Enduro World Series Round for the team in the bank with everyone fully enjoying their trip to Portugal and Madeira. Each rider coming away happy with their riding and smiles on their faces is always great to see.

Huge thanks to everyone with all the support, we couldn’t do it without you! We will be back in action in 3 weeks’ time in Fort William for the Downhill World Cup round 2

Cheers, The Pivot Factory Racing Team

EWS Madeira Report

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The Evolution of Speed: Phoenix 29

by Pivot Cycles
March 18, 2020

The Phoenix 29 is quite possibly the worst kept secret on the World Cup Downhill circuit. Riders have been seen testing this ultra-fast unicorn in various incarnations over the last three years at downhill tracks across the globe. A lot goes into developing the fastest bike we’ve ever made. What starts with engineering ideas and initial concepts, ends at the finish line of the most demanding race courses in the world. Simply put, the stopwatch doesn’t lie.

In its very first World Cup outing at Losinj, Pivot Factory Racing Team athlete Eddie Masters piloted the prototype aluminum Phoenix 29 to 8th place in qualification (one of his career-best qualifying finishes) proving what we already felt – it’s fast. Really fast. With a solid platform to work from, the team started zeroing in on improvements and tweaks. Some may question our pursuit for perfection, but our athletes see and feel the results. A hundredth of a second here, a tenth there, increased confidence and that feeling of being one with your machine. It all adds up at the finish line. Even small gains can mean the difference between a top twenty and a podium. Or better yet, a win!

 

“We were very competitive and fast on the very first prototype,” says Pivot Factory Racing Team athlete Bernard Kerr. “But making some changes along the way has made it even faster.” Aluminum prototypes, carbon prototypes, and various linkages are all being tested by the team. If they ask for it, we give it to them. “I can talk to Pivot’s engineering team on a daily basis and just text or email whatever I need to work through things,” says Kerr. “We’ve come up with a super-fast bike that I’m stoked to go out there and race on.”

The Phoenix 29 is insanely fast, but we’re not done yet. A winter’s worth of successful testing still needs to be proven on the race course. And we still have a few tricks up our sleeves. For the latest developments on the Phoenix 29 keep an eye on the Pivot Factory Racing Team bikes starting this week at Crankworx Rotorua.

Rest assured, a Phoenix 29 is coming. When? When it’s the fastest, most capable World Cup DH bike on the planet.

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Demo Season is Here!

by Pivot Cycles
February 28, 2019

The days are getting longer which means Spring is right around the corner. And for us, that can only mean one thing – it’s demo season! There’s nothing better than a test ride to find #yournextbike and no one does demo events better than Pivot Cycles. We have four demo fleets in North America including a dedicated eMTB Shuttle fleet and three more touring Europe all staffed with the best techs in the world. Our combined demo fleets offered over 17,500 total test rides last season, and our expanding program is set to do even more this year.

This is your chance to ride your favorite Pivot, whether it be a Trail 429, Mach 4 or Firebird – you can compare our lineup side by side. An interactive demo schedule can be found on our website – here you can find all the details on the event as well as the inventory of each demo fleet (including up to date model and size availability). Every event listing has a Google maps link to the event location, hours of operation, and dealer/event links. Most of our demos take place at dealers but you’ll also find us at events and festivals. See our full demo tour schedule here.

Can’t make one of the demos?
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered

Many of our dealers have in-house demo fleets of their own. To find one of these demo stocking dealers check out the map on our dealer locator page and look for shops with the black Pivot logo. 

Demoing a bike couldn’t be more simple: bring your ID and a credit card to the event, as well as a helmet. Our demo drivers have Shimano, Crank Brothers, Time, and DMR Vault platform pedals, but if you ride different pedals or just prefer your own, feel free to bring those as well. Ask questions! Our demo techs know Pivot bicycles inside and out and are happy to answer even the most technical questions. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

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Join Pivot Cycles at Enchantment Resort located in Sedona Arizona for a Four-Night Mountain Biking Adventure of a Lifetime!

by Pivot Cycles
August 24, 2018

OCTOBER 29TH – NOVEMBER 2ND, 2018

Building some of the best performing cycling products in the world, Arizona-based Pivot Cycles has won numerous awards including the Bicycling Editor’s Choice Award, the prestigious Eurobike Award, and most recently the Design & Innovation Award 2018 for their Mach 5.5 Carbon Bike.
During your stay, the Pivot Cycles demo fleet will be on site at Enchantment Resort to offer a unique opportunity to ride the company’s top-of-the-line bikes. The Pivot Cycles team will provide guests with tips on finding the perfect bike, allow riders to test their newest models, and adjust equipment so that each participant is able to ride on a bespoke bike, perfectly fit for their comfort and skill level.

Included:

  • 4-night Casita accommodations
  • Welcome Reception
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Snack Bar & Refreshments daily
  • Gear – including jersey, gloves, Camelbak water bottle
  • Daily group trail rides, customized to all skill levels
  • Private group dinner featuring seasonal cuisine prepared by Executive chef Jose Martinez

And if your travel partner doesn’t want to ride, there is a plethora of other offerings, from hiking, golf and tennis to lounging by the pool or enjoying Mii amo, named the #1 Destination Spa in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure’s 2018 World’s Best Awards.

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Pivot Cycles/Maxxis pb Stan’s/DNA Cycling Team Signs Jamey Driscoll

by Pivot Cycles
July 13, 2018

Tempe, AZ – After a successful first year with multiple UCI podiums, the Pivot Cycle/Maxxis pb Stan’s/DNA Cycling team takes its quest for wins to the next level with the signing of Jamey Driscoll.

Multi-time Pro CX champion and eight-time US Cyclocross World Championship Team member, Jamey Driscoll joins Pivot Cycles/Maxxis pb Stan’s/DNA Cycling team adding both his raw speed and wealth of experience to the second-year team. Courtenay McFadden and Sofia Gomez-Villafañe continue with the team after a season that included multiple UCI podiums for both riders. Even with pre-season hip surgery, McFadden claimed a win at the Boulder Cup and accomplished her goal of finishing top 5 at Nationals with a 4th place, and was selected to race in the World Championships.

“I’m super excited about being able to build a program and join forces with Courtenay and such great sponsors,” says Driscoll. “I felt that joining something I can be more involved with is the best move. Courtenay and I make the decisions together, and at the end of the day we get exactly what we want.” McFadden is excited about Driscoll joining the team and seeing it grow to three members. “Having Jamey on the team will bring a whole new perspective for Sofia and me – he has so much racing experience,” says McFadden. “Plus, I haven’t ever raced Nationals in December, so with that change, it will be nice to have his expertise on the best ways to prepare for that.”

The Pivot Cycles/Maxxis pb Stan’s/DNA Cycling team will race on Pivot Cycle’s ultra-versatile and blazing fast Vault in the cyclocross races and summer gravel events. New sponsors Maxxis tires and Stan’s NoTubes offer a setup that the racers are genuinely excited about. “This will be my very first time using tubeless in international competition,” Says Driscoll. “The combination of Stan’s wheels and Maxxis tires have proven to be just as good as the leading tubulars.” DNA Cycling will supply the team with its premium custom cycling apparel. Other team sponsors include Easton Cycling, Mavic, Giro, Ascend Nutrition, Wells Fargo, BBL Construction Services, Digipen Insitute of Technology, United Healthcare, USI Insurance Services, Standard Commercial Interiors, Rovetto Design Group, and Alliant Employee Benefits.

Driscoll’s focus is to be fastest in cross season, but he will also mix it up this summer in mountain bike and gravel races such as this weekend’s Crusher in the Tushar. Gomez-Villafañe will spend the summer racing mountain bikes for the powerful Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis squad while McFadden is training hard again after a second offseason hip surgery. The team’s first event will be the Rochester Cyclocross on September 8th and 9th in Rochester, New York.
Follow the Pivot Cycles/Maxxis pb Stan’s/DNA Cycling team on FacebookInstagramTwitter and click here to sign up for the team newsletter.

About Jamey Driscoll:
Jamey grew up in Vermont and started racing in the hotbed of New England on the road and cyclocross when he was 12, and has been hooked ever since.  He attended the University of Vermont where he earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, while also going pro on the road as well as cyclocross.  Over his years of racing, he’s represented the US at Cyclocross World Championships as a Junior, U23 and Elite a total of 8 times.  After college, he moved to Utah for a more temperate climate, and is now a happy father of 2 with his wife Carly. Follow on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

About Courtenay McFadden:
Courtenay found bikes during her senior year of collage when she was looking for a way to cross train for running.  She dabbled with some road racing, but wasn’t particularly fond of it.  It wasn’t until she found cyclocross and mountain biking that she really fell in love with the sport .  Courtenay holds both a BS in Exercise Science and an MS in Human Movement and Performance.  When she isn’t riding a bike you can find her training clients, reading up on Exercise Science nerdery, and hanging out with her husband and cat, Nugget, at home.  Follow on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and her Blog

About Sofia Gomez Villafane:
Sofia was born and raised in the Argentine Patagonia but moved to the United States when she was 12. She discovered mountain biking through the Nor Cal High School Mountain Bike Program and then went on to compete at the collegiate level for Fort Lewis College where she received a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and a minor in Business Administration. Sofia currently lives in Heber City, UT training to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and working part time for a bean-to-bar chocolate company. Aside from riding and racing her bike, she enjoys taking her dog on hikes, riding her dirt bike, and spending time on nordic and alpine skis. Follow on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook

Schedule:
Sept. 8th/9th: Rochester, NY C1/C2
Sept. 19th: Reno Cross, C1
Sept. 23rd: Trek World Cup, Madison, WI
Sept. 29th/30th: Jingle Cross World Cup, Iowa City, IA, C1
Oct. 6th/7th: West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix, Sacramento, CA, C2
Oct. 13/14th: Boulder Cup, Boulder, CO, C2
Oct. 27/28th: Cincinnati Cyclocross, Cincinnati, OH, C1/C2
Nov. 3rd/4th: Pan Ams, Onterio, Canada
Nov. 17th/18th: Mayjor Taylor Cross Cup, Indianapolis, IN, C2
Dec. 1st/2nd: Resolution Cup, Garland, TX, C2
Dec. 8th/9th: Ruts N’ Guts, Broken Arrow, OK C1/C2
Dec. 16th: USA Cycling National Championships, Louisville, KY

Find Pivot Cycles at www.pivotcycles.com, Facebook: PivotCycles, Twitter: @PivotCyclesUSA, Instagram: pivot_cyclesusa. About Pivot Cycles: Pivot Cycles builds the best-performing, best-handling and most versatile mountain bikes available and have been raced to top World Cup, Pan American and National Championship finishes. Models include the Phoenix Carbon, Firebird, Mach 5.5 Carbon, Mach 4 Carbon, Mach 6 Carbon and Aluminum, Mach 429SL Carbon, Mach 429 Trail, Switchblade Carbon and Aluminum, Vault, LES Fat, LES and Shuttle. The Pivot Cycles line is composed of bikes that enable their riders to establish new benchmarks of speed, control, fun and enjoyment. For more information, please visit www.pivotcycles.com.
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Pivot officially launches Shuttle e-MTB in US

by Pivot Cycles
April 18, 2019

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — While Pivot’s Shuttle e-MTB was launched in Europe last year, it’s making its U.S. debut here at the Sea Otter Classic. Pivot has sold out of the first three initial production batches for the U.S. A few of the brand’s top dealers stocked them for the past few weeks.

Pivot president and CEO Chris Cocalis admits that he didn’t think Pivot’s $10,000 Shuttle e-MTB would meet with as much demand as it has.

“The sales are going extremely well,” he recently told BRAIN. “The first three production of batches of bikes here have sold out. We didn’t forecast enough, we didn’t think the market was as strong. I can’t give you the numbers, but it’s going to be a good year.”

Cocalis said Pivot has put together a stand-alone demo program for the Shuttle, in conjunction with Shimano. Pivot currently runs three demo vans, and now will offer a fourth only for its Shuttle e-MTB.

“The focus is not only doing events with dealers or other events, but a good portion of the time is going to be spent on land-access issues,” Cocalis explained. “We’re working with IMBA on a program so that when land managers reach out to them and ask for advice, instead of saying, ‘We don’t support e-bikes,’ they can say, ‘OK, here’s the laws, here’s legislation PeopleForBikes is pushing for.'”

Pivot will include retail hangtags on its Shuttle so customers can research where they can legally ride their e-MTB. Cocalis said he’s also working with Trailforks to ensure that the app includes trails that are open to e-bikes.

“We agree that people shouldn’t ride e-MTBs in places where they aren’t allowed. And right now there’s a lot of confusion out there about where you can and can’t ride an e-MTB. The bike industry has a responsibility here to clarify things. We’re trying to do our share.”

For the North American market, the Shuttle, which features DW-Link rear suspension and Shimano’s STEPS e8000 battery/motor combo, is available only in black with sterling silver, a muted version compared with the European model, which is electric blue and yellow.

It’s available as a complete bike for $9,999. Pivot is launching the Shuttle publicly at the Sea Otter Classic (Booth 710), but some Pivot dealers got a chance to sell them weeks before the festival. Consumers have a chance to demo the Shuttle at the festival.

Full article here: http://www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2018/04/19/pivot-officially-launches-shuttle-e-mtb-us#.WuH6GYjwZPZ

Pivot Cycles
Pivot Cycles

Race report Race report

Pivot Cycles hires John Pentecost in international sales and Ron Koch in media relations and content

by Pivot Cycles
April 18, 2018

TEMPE, Ariz. (BRAIN) — Pivot Cycles has hired John Pentecost to help lead its International Sales team. Pentecost was a co-founder of Evil Bikes and E-Thirteen Components, and he’s since served in senior sales and marketing roles at Race Face and Yeti.

“When we first discussed expanding our international sales staff months ago, we’d intended to hire a more junior candidate to grow into the role,” said Daniel Limburg, Pivot’s global sales manager. “But when John contacted us last summer and expressed an interest in joining our team, we saw his unique blend of international sales and marketing experience as an opportunity to fast forward a few years and grow our business more rapidly.”

Pentecost said, “I’ve admired what (Pivot president and CEO Chris Cocalis) has been doing since his days back at Titus … The product development team he’s assembled is the best I’ve ever worked with, but beyond that, I love his vision. It’s great to be a part of a company that sees the huge potential in international markets and has dedicated the resources to develop product, logistics, and sales resources to make that happen.”

Pivot has also hired longtime magazine test editor, Ron Koch, as the brand’s media relations and content coordinator. Koch has been a bike and gear reviewer for Bicycling for 14 years.

Koch said, “One of the most common questions I’d get at the magazine is what bike should I buy? Pivot and even Titus before that were always on that list. In recent years Pivot has dominated my recommendations across categories, so spreading the brand’s message will come from a sincere place — it’s a company with product and people that I truly believe in.”

Cocalis said, “We are very thankful for the support from all of our customers. This growth wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our loyal customers, dealers and distributors worldwide. Our goal is to continue to provide the best customer service to all our customers. By having the correct people in each location, we ensure product delivery and availability, and I get to focus on my favorite activity — designing the next bike.”

Link to article: http://www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2018/04/19/pivot-cycles-hires-john-pentecost-international-sales-and-ron-koch-media#.WuH5bojwZPZ 

Pivot Cycles
Pivot Cycles