- Bike Checks
Not a video, not a photo epic - the slideshow is a unique and inspirational way to tell a story, and with all the action of 2013 there were many to be told! This Best Of is a look back at some of the highlights of last season's action on and off the race track, all presented to you in this most glorious of formats. Sit back, put on your headphones, and soak in the grand moments that make our sport so rich.
After the inaugural round of the EWS in Punta Ala, Italy, the global Enduro circus headed to Val d'Allos, France, which would turn out to be a real eye-opener. Sure, we knew Enduro was gnarly and that it took a good rider to do well in this discipline, but Val d'Allos was a wake-up call. This was as close to DH as you could come, only with much less practice and smaller bikes, not to mention that you also had to bring the power on the pedals to be anywhere close to the top times. The battle was of epic proportions, and the stages were decided by the smallest of margins. 10-times DH World Champion, Nico Vouilloz, took his first (and to date, only) EWS race win here, a fitting tribute to a man so calculated that he can literally keep a timer on his opponents while crushing it on the stages.
Val di Sole was the second World Cup race of the 2013 season, and just 1 week after the season had kicked off with a bang in Fort William, there were already many stories to keep an eye on. Aaron Gwin was switching it up between frame sizes - would that help between the tape? Loic Bruni was 4th, confirming his status as the new young gun on fire. After their double win in Fort William, could Gee and Rachel pull the double-double? Early in the season it certainly looked like they were headed for total world domination. But Stevie Smith was steadily climbing up the podium steps, 3rd in the season opener at Fort William he would go on to finish 2nd here in Val di Sole to Gee - and as we all know, his progression wouldn't stop there! Sam Hill made his usual spirited attempt at 2008 World Champs redemption, but was foiled by the Val di Sole gnar. His fate would be shared by many, as one of the fastest, roughest, and scariest tracks on the World Cup circuit once again did its best to lay waste a field of world class bike riders.
So many story lines coming into World Champs. Jared Graves choosing to race his Enduro bike, Mitch Rips-A-lato on the Bike-Of-The-Year-Shreddy-winning Enduro 29, and of course last but not least, Greg Minnaar seeking a third world crown in front of his home audience. Say what you will about this one-run format, it produces some of the most intense and spectacular racing action, season after season. The tension was palpable as was the relief of the winners, and there is no better way to relive it than through this epic slide show.
If you ever attend an urban downhill race, don't tell your bike what it will be getting into. Stairs, hucks, harsh edges and thousands of fearless fans will be waiting to end your race run. If you're Filip Polc, however, you can just stare those obstacles straight in the face and make them bow down to your ability. Enjoy the highlights of the Taxco Urban DH race from Mexico where Polc took the victory just ahead of Marcelo Gutierrez and Bernardo Cruz. Polish off a rad race with an insane Best Trick contest and a tequila-fueled donkey ride and you're home free. Dave Trumpore survived to tell this tale...and can't wait to tell it again in 2014!
It seems like just yesterday we were introducing the Vital audience to Guerrilla Gravity, a Colorado-based bike company that's staying true to their values, keeping it local, and creating some interesting new rides. We then caught up with them as they were making another big move, and this time into a new facility. We stopped by the shop on their opening night to see what it's all about. We also got a special preview of their new Megatrail all-mountain bike. This fresh story is still being written as you read these words, so catch up on the action so far below and stay tuned for more!