NEPAL

Into thin air

The air is thin up here. I hike up the last steep slope to around 4500 metres and try to extract everything that my legs and lungs have to give. I’m right on the limit and about to start the last descent of my time here in Nepal, on the Lubra Trail deep in the Upper Mustang and surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the world. Annapurna (8091 m), Dhaulagiri (8167 m) and the Nilgiri (7061 m) are just a few of the summits I can see. Surrounding these giants are several “smaller” six-thousanders that haven’t even been named yet, our guide Mandil tells us as that there are simply too many of them. How many undiscovered trails and lines are still out there? How much can still be ridden? The possibilities appear endless. They are. Before dropping in and riding the trail down to the riverbed of the mighty Kali Gandaki for the last time, I spy an enormous ammergeyer floating on the thermals, majestically soaring across this ancient kingdom without a single beat of its wings.

This is what it’s all about. At these moments, right in the here and now, time stands still. For the next thirty minutes I have the whole trail to myself. You ride yourself into a trance, the senses become hyper-alert, reading what lies ahead so that each movement flows seamlessly into the next. The trail’s a high-speed mix of loose corners interspersed with steep, exposed sections all the way down to the bottom. Make a mistake riding this fast and you’re in serious trouble, but thoughts of “what if?” have no place in the mind right now. I’m utterly consumed by the experience.

The perfect ride? It’s definitely one of the best trails I’ve ever ridden. The crowning glory of my time in Nepal.

This journey was so much more than just another trip into the backcountry to go and ride. There were points when it felt like we’d gone on a journey back through time, to an era when old values still counted for something, an existence we all too often seem to have lost touch with in the western world. Up in Mustang, people still live their lives as they have been doing for centuries, perfectly in time with nature’s rhythm. This entire area has only recently become accessible to outsiders, meaning modern influences have yet to take a hold, people do things as they always have done. Everything is made by hand. Whatever they undertake, they do it with full dedication and take their time until every last detail is perfect. It’s like they go beyond Buddhism. Nothing gets rushed. All actions are carried out with a constant, unwavering attachment to their religion.

This will not be the last time I travel to Nepal. The terrain has so much more to offer, it’s just waiting to be discovered. I also want to learn more about the people here and their rich culture. And when I do come back, I’m going to take my time. It’ll be worth it. Especially when the stifling effect of modern life’s stress, pressure and imbalance makes our air too
thin to breathe.

Filming by Sebastian Doerk, Infinite Trails | Canyon Bikes

CANYON FREERIDE JUGENDCAMP 2013

Dieses Jahr fand das Canyon Freeride Jugendcamp vom 5. – 10.August zum ersten mal in Saalbach-Hinterglemm statt. Der Wechsel von Leogang nach Saalbach hat meine Erwartungen mehr als übertroffen. Es war mit abstand das sicherste und qualitativ hochwertigste Camp der letzten Jahre. 58 Jugendliche im Alter von 11 – 16 Jahren wurden von erfahrenen Jugendcamp Coaches und Bike-Profis wie Tibor Simai, Mathias Schell, Gregor Alff, Angie Hohenwarter, Felix Gotzler, Lukas Reumi, Martin Schlichenmaier und Christian Morgenroth betreut.

Ein Grund für den Locationwechsel war der Platzmangel und der hohe normale „Verkehr“ der in Leogang auf den wenigen Strecken herrscht. Für die Jugendcamp Gruppen war es sehr schwer an den Strecken sicher stehen zu bleiben um lohnende Pausen einzulegen oder effektives Sektionstraining zu abzuhalten.

In Saalbach hingegen haben wir Platz auf über 5 Bergen mit zahlreichen Bikepark-Typischen Strecken wie die Blue- und Pro Line oder auf der neu und einfach zu befahrbaren Z-Line. Die Milka Line und die X-Line bieten sich ebenso Ideal an um alle Jugendlichen mit einem hohen Spaß Faktor den Berg hinunter zu begleiten und Ihnen in Ruhe alle unsere Fahrtechnik-Tipps zu vermitteln.

Doch neben all den gebauten Kursen fanden wir in der Saalbach Region auch viele natürliche und hochalpine Singletrails welche wir den Kids auch zeigen konnten. Mit viel Flow und tollem Ausblick führte und der Hacklberg- und der Buchegg Trail direkt zu unserer Top Unterkunft, dem neu gebauten Young Generation Resort Buchegg.

Die neuen und super ausgestatteten 6-Bett Zimmer belegten wir locker mit nur vier Personen. Sehr viel Platz im Ganzen Haus, dem eigenen Spiel-Casino sowie großem Leinwand-Kino hatten wir mehr geboten bekommen als wir nutzen konnten.

Ein Spezielles Programm bekamen die Teilnehmer des neuen Jugendcamp PLUS Camps, welches zur selben Zeit am gleichen Ort parallel zum „normalen“ Jugendcamp stattfand.

Das Plus-Camp ist für Jugendliche im Alter von 16 bis 18 Jahren und richtet sich an versierte Racer und und Freerider oder einfach an fortgeschrittene Fahrer die ein höheres Level in ihrem Fahrkönnen erreichen wollen. Daher kamen die zwei Gruppen unter der Leitung Von Gregor Alff und Tibor Simai zu einer sehr individuellen Betreuung. Nicht nur auf den Bikes ging es für die „plus Gruppe“ ordentlich zur Sache – auch spezielles, funktionelles Training am frühen Morgen brachte die Jungs ordentlich zum Schwitzen. Mit einer umfangreichen Ernährungsberatung und wertvollen Tipps zum professionellen Training wurden vom Münchner bklyn athletics Trainer Daniel Christl, vermittelt.

Zum Thema Sicherheit beim Camp setzten wir auch hier neue Maßstäbe. Mit Jugendlichen am Berg und bei einem Sport bei dem Stürze und Verletzungen leider nicht aus bleiben, versuchen wir dennoch mit unserem erfahrenen Trainer-Team die Risiken zu minimieren. Trotzdem bleiben sich Stürze und leichte Verletzungen nicht aus. Dafür haben wir einen eigenen Arzt, von der Münchner Schön-Klinik anreisen lassen der für Alle Fälle bereit stand. Jedoch konnte Dr. Altenberger die meiste Zeit bei strahlendem Sonnenschein gemütlich in der Sonnenliege abhängen – denn wir gaben ihm kaum etwas zu tun. So sollte es sein!!

Die Mittagspausen verbrachten wir bei sehr leckerem und gesundem Essen am Spielberg Haus, Bergstadl Alm, Sportler Alm, Heurigen Stube oder im Hexenhäusl. Auch da sorgten wir für viel Abwechslung und gesunder Verpflegung. Unser Base-Camp am Reiterkogel setzte ebenso neue Standards: Das Canyon Service Center mit zahlreichen Test-Bikes für die Jugendlichen bot für die Kids auch zusätzlich Technik-Workshops an die gut besucht wurden. Die ION Lounge war immer prall gefüllt mit Obst, Gemüse und Getränken. Auch am Schattberg Express richteten wir eine kleine Verpflegungs-Station ein damit auch die Gruppen dort ausreichend mit Getränken und Obst versorgt werden konnten.

An den Abenden überließen wir die Jugendlichen nicht ihnen selbst und ihren iPods und iPhones, nein wir machten jeden Abend lustige und herausfordernde Geschicklichkeits-Spiele bei denen die Jungs zahlreiche Preise gewinnen konnten. z.Bsp. gab es Preise von Canyon, ION, Contour, Vans, TSG, Schwalbe, Spank, Muc Off und Oakley. Jeden Tag wurden die Zimmer kontrolliert und die saubersten und gestalterisch kreativsten Zimmer bekamen die Hauptpreise. Doch schon im Welcome Pack, welches jeder Teilnehmer bekam fanden sich Riegel von Life Food, Schwalbe Schläuche, Lichter von Knog, Deuter Freeride Taschen, Canyon Schlüsselanhänger, das aktuellste Freeride Magazin und das wichtigste: das ION Jugendcamp Shirt!

Canyon fertigte für den „Cleanest Bike Contest“ extra eigene Pokale an die mit einem Muc-Off Cleaning Set und Deuter Rucksack gewonnen werden konnten.

Einen Kino Abend mit dem legendären „Where The Trail Ends“ Film machten wir auch um den Tag ausklingen zu lassen.

Rundum also ein sehr erfolgreiches Camp welches ganz klar auch dem tollen Support seitens Saalbach-Hinterglemm und der Famile Hasenauer vom Buchegg Resort zu verdanken ist. Vielen, vielen Dank für die tolle Unterstützung!

Wir kommen nächstes Jahr sehr gerne wieder. Das Canyon Freeride Jugendcamp hat ein neues und für die Zukunft vielversprechendes Zuhause gefunden.

Danke an alle Sponsoren, Coaches, Betreuer und Partner, sowie allen Jugendlichen die teil genommen haben. Es war eine spitzen Sommercamp Woche!

See you next year!

Save the date: 3. bis 9. August 2014

ROB-J Heran und Alps Bike Tours

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WHAT IF

This is not a bike film, well not as you’d expect it i guess. And even though it’s narrated by Alan Watts, a philosopher, the question it brings up is rather basic.

What if you wouldn’t be scared, scared to give up the job you hate, scared to leave for a better place.

What if you could dream your whole life in one night and make changes the nights following. Would you still be the same person when you wake up? Can a simple dream change your everyday life?

“I wonder, I wonder, what you would do if you had the power to dream at night any dream you wanted to dream. And you would of course be able to alter your time sense, and slip seventy-five years of subjective time into eight hours of sleep.

You would I suppose start out by fulfilling all your wishes. You could design for yourself what would be the most ecstatic life. And then after a couple of months of this sort of thing at seventy-five years a night, you’d be getting a little taste for something different, and you’d move over to an adventurous dimension, where there were certain dangers involved, and the thrill of dealing with dangers. And after you had done that for awhile, you’d think up a new wrinkle, to forget that you were dreaming, and think that is was all for real.” Alan Watts

“Free you mind and the rest will follow” is easier said than done, but it’s worth thinking about it once in a while. Are you as good in postponing to the very last moment as i am? When it comes to life, your life, this moment might be too late to get epic shit done.

Great filming and editing by Sebastian Doerk. Thank you so much.
Thanks Canyon and ION bike for supporting this project. Turn up the volume and enjoy.

CAPE TOWN

My this years journey to Cape Town marks my personal 10 year anniversary since my first trip to the Cape of good hope in 2003.

I am not that kind of person who need to travel to the same place over and over again. But when its winter here in Europe and i cant sit still because I really need to ride dusty trails – then there are not too many options. Southafrica offers a lot of riding – most of all at the western Cape region. Since the Cape Epic stage race is THE ultimate Marathon for athletes around the world – the region is word famous for riding bicycles.
On my first journey in 2003 there was not that much mountainbiking around Cape Town. Most of the riders used fire roads and only a few of gravity guys built some DH tracks. But what i figured was that this little but fine scene is highly motivated to stick together and ride together whatever rolls on two wheels. If its a BMX a Mountainbike or a Roadbike – there was no disrespect for the other “wheelsize” lets say… The scene has grown fast in the past years. The MTB business is huge and the shops sell a lot of bikes and products. More and more brands enter the southafrican market.
Also a lot of new riding spots pop up every year. Most of the new trails are on private farm land – and so are the new races as well. During the Summer months from December to March you can ride almost every weekend another really well organized stage race. Some European marathon athletes spend the winter at the western Cape to prepare for the season.

But not too many gravity oriented riders come to Cape Town for mountainbiking. Well, one reason is that you need to know some locals first of all. The spots are hard to find and some of them should be ridden in a group only. Sadly another reason is that Southafrica is a poor country with a lot of violence. Mountainbikers are a new target-group for thieves and muggers.Table mountain became one of the most dangerous places to ride. If you want to return home WITH your bike make sure you ride in a group. But the cyclists are organizing themselves really well and put a lot of pressure onto the City to make the riding safer.

My friend Craig Kolesky is Cape Towns sports-action photographer. I met him on my first trip in 2003. Back then he was this young and highly motivated surf photographer who wanted to shoot as much as possible to make a living out of it. Over the years he became such a great photographer and now he is traveling the world to shoot with all the Red Bull and Oakley athletes. Craig got also serious about his riding as well. Last year he had this idea to ride the Cape Epic for a good cause to raise money for the non profit organisation “One Sight” which gives eyewar to people who cat effort it. Craig teamed up with his buddy and former kite surf pro Tyrone Rawlins and trained for a year to get in shape for the hardest stage race in the world. They finished the Epic and raised a good amount of money for One Sight.

This year I brought my Canyon Strive Enduro bike with me. A perfect ride for all kind of terrain which the Cape region has to offer. Craig and I spent some days to ride and shoot on the new trails in Yonkershook which is close to Stellenbosh. Some really amazing tracks link together and create a huge playground of smooth and also technical enduro singletracks. So much fun!
Another place to ride is Tokai Forest on the backside of Table mountain with a huge variety of well build tracks.
On weekends the DH track in Paarl is one of the hot spots for gravity riding. One DH track and one easier freeride track can be found there. I tried to ride as much as possible during my three weeks there. On some days we went for a roadride early in the morning before the brutal heat comes in. Or we did some late afternoon rides in the woods. I also found a great Dirt Jumping spot in Haut Bay. Luckily there was an event happening as well. The “Night Harvest” was a MTB and BMX Dirt Jumping session.
All in all – I must say that Cape Town is still one of my favorite places to be and even I have been there the last ten years – I probably will be back soon again. Thank you Craig!! Good times.

www.craigkolesky.com
www.epic4onesight.co.za

© Craig Kolesky© Craig Kolesky© Craig Kolesky© Craig Kolesky© Craig Kolesky© Craig Kolesky

My Canyon Torque FRX bike check

For most of my gravity oriented rides I use my Canyon Torque FRX. The frame has such a good geometry and I can adjust the rear travel, BB height and hadtube angle within five minutes.

Most of the time I ride it in the low 185 mm set-up with a 180 mm FOX 36 Float fork at the front and the. Like that it rides like a small DH bike but gives you the chance to pedal it up a bit as well – especially in combination with the FOX D.O.S.S. seatpost.

When I want to go on some DH tracks I change the fork to a FOX 40 and set the bike up to 203mm rear travel. Thats it. Perfect. What I love most about this bike is the handling on rough terrain and the progressive rear suspension which I need when I jump it and pull some tricks.

Specs:

FOX Float Kashima Fork
FOX DHX RC4 Kashima with Titanium spring
FOX D.O.S.S. Seatpost
e*thirteen LG1r Crankset
e*thirteen SRS+mini chainguide
Spank Spike pedals, stem and 777mm wide bar
Formula RO Brakes 203mm rotor front, 180 rear
ACROS 75 ROB-J Signature Hubs with Spank Spike rims and DT Swiss Spokes, handbuilt by MAD wheels
ONZA IBEX 2.4 DH rear tire, GREINA DH 2.4 at the front – both in the ERA team rider edition
Troy Lee ODI grips
SDG Ti-Fly seat
Shimano XTR

Total weight: 14,8kg

Thanks a lot to: Canyon, FOX, e*thirteen, Spank, Formula, Cosmic Sports, Acros, MAD wheels, Onza and ION.

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