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Sometimes it's' easy to come up with the words to describe something, sometimes it's not. Looking back over the last 30 days in mountain biking, the dictionary seems woefully under equipped to deal with with the monster of a month that was August 2014. The stat sheet reports not 1, not 2, but 3 World Cups, 1 Enduro World Series, Crankworx, and Eurobike. We may have just experienced the biggest month ever in the history of the sport, and if that's not worth a look back, we don't know what is. So if you missed some of the action, or just want to relive the excitement, dig into an issue of Best Of Vital so packed with gold you'll need a mining permit just to read it!

Sam Hill Muthaf$ck#r

For legions of fans out there, us Vital staffers included, Sam Hill personifies DH. He took the racing world by storm back in 2007 and 2008 with a level of dominance that forced a whole generation of up and coming racers to raise their game. And he stayed true to himself when injuries struck and a host of new talent emerged to lay siege to his throne. One of the few last flat pedal holdouts, his runs are based on calculated risk taking, gnarly lines, and sheer talent on two wheels. Having slowly made his way back to the top, we were all hoping to see him on the #1 step of a World Cup podium again, and what better venue for it to finally happen than Mont Sainte Anne? We still get a bit misty when we look back it it now...

Flat Pedal Thunder from Down Under is BACK.

Sam Hill Muthaf$ck#r - part 2

Even after his MSA win, we didn't quite believe enough to call Sam Hill for the win in Meribel. Hindsight is always 20/20, but really - with its insta-legendary combination of steepness, burly rockgardens, and flat out off-camber turns, we should have seen it coming. Sam Hill promised to give the world a lesson in mountain bike riding when he first saw the course the French had laid out for the season finale, and boy did he deliver. Many came close, but none could match his speed over the last third of the track - redemption of sorts for the infamous Val di Sole 2008 slipout. We should probably mention here that Josh Bryceland took third and with that, his first ever overall World Cup win, but we're pretty sure he'll forgive us for our Sam Hill bring on Worlds!

Probably one of his greatest all-time victories.

Finn Got In!

Finn Iles, a Whistler local, has been jumping Crabapple Hits since he was 11 years old. He jumps them 80-90 times per season. Originally, Crankworx wouldn’t let him enter Whip Off World Champs because “he’s too young.” Well, sometimes a rider’s abilities speak for themselves, and Finn’s skill on a bike is well beyond his age. We thought Finn could win it if he was allowed to compete, which is why we rallied behind the call #LetFinnIn. Long story short, Finn got in, and he took the win!

Whips for days!

Gee's Annual Big Mont Sainte Anne Crash

In keeping with his fine tradition, Gee Atherton took a monster digger during practice at Mont Sainte Anne. In spite of a trip to ER and a very painful wrist, Gee pulled out an 11th place qualifier 24 hours later, and went on to finish 10th in the race. Hard as nails!

That cracking sound might be mother Earth giving in a little.

2015 Giant Reign Advanced

After over two years of development, testing, and fine tuning, the Giant Reign 27.5 is finally here. While Giant may have begun their 27.5 quest with a prototype Reign, it was the last model to hit the market with the new wheelsize. Why did it take so long? Giant says they were busy trying to make the best bike possible, and that took time. We rode the new bike and we gave it a solid two thumbs up!


Vital RAW - Mont Sainte Anne Practice

Vital's RAW edits are the next best thing to being trackside, and the goods came in hot from Mont Sainte Anne. Put on your best headphones and crank up the volume as you enjoy this symphony of abuse worthy of the finest torture chambers of the middle ages. #RAWpower #acceptnosubstitute

We like it RAW, baby.

First Look: 2015 Commencal Meta V4

Commencal's Meta bikes have been around for 10 years or so, and while they have always had a loyal following among the "trailbike-for-DHers" crowd, they have sometimes been let down by their climbing abilities - in the past. The 4th generation of this do-it-all enduro platform, aptly dubbed the Meta V4, has gained a lot of uphill prowess while keeping all of its DH-flavored DNA intact. We spent a couple of days in the French mountain resorts of Tignes / Val d'Isere discovering the new bike and putting it through its paces, with a little help from Commencal's resident freerider Pierre-Edouard Ferry.

4 generations in, the Meta is mature.

Eurobike 2014

Oh, Eurobike. There really is no other place where the weird and the wonderful mix with such effortless grace. Second-hand smoke be damned, we spent 4 days roaming every alley and every booth to bring you the very best the bike industry has to offer, and some other stuff too! If you didn't manage to catch all the coverage yet, it's all waiting right here, for your convenience:

2015 Trailbikes
2015 Components
2015 Apparel & Protection
2015 DH Bikes
Eurobike Randoms (you know you want it)

Yes, these are a thing.

Bike Checks

RockShox Pike, Cane Creek DBair CS, XX1 - this is about as enduro as it gets. We even looked right past the missing dropper post when we made it the Bike of the Day on August 15! All the Bike Checks can be found HERE, and if you didn't share your bike yet - add it HERE.


First Look: 2015 Specialized Demo Carbon 650b

First spotted at Crankworx Whistler last year in prototype form, Specialized finally released full details for the all-new 2015 S-Works Demo Carbon. Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan raced the bike at the Mont Sainte Anne and Windham World Cup races, and we got to tag along to a top-secret testing mission too!

Well it certainly looks fast from where we're sitting...

Enduro World Series Race Action from Whistler BC

5 timed stages, 2300 meters of climbing and nearly an hour of brutal racing down some of the rowdiest trails in Whistler was the order of the single-day Enduro World Series stop at Crankworx. When the dust settled and times were tallied, Jared Graves eked out a victory by 2.5-seconds over Nico Lau, thanks to a dominating Stage 5 victory. Cecile Ravanel took her first EWS win over Tracy Moseley and Anne Caroline Chausson. Dave Trumpore, Gary Perkin, AJ Barlas and Brandon Turman hunkered down in the woods and among the rocks to bring you the full story. Grab the grips and hold on tight, it's brutal out there!

Next time you hear us say "we just want to ride our bikes all day", this is NOT what we meant...

Back To Blasting

When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, this is what they were referring to. All-out and eyes on the prize, Jason Schroeder is back on his trusty steed after breaking his back earlier in the year, and Dan Severson was on hand to freeze this shredalicious moment in time for our Daily Shot on August 11. If you want your shots to be considered too, upload them HERE.

So. Very. Rad.

Around the Web

Totally awesome stuff we found on the internet...

Remy Métailler Burns the Whistler Bike Park

When you think Remy just couldn't get any more rad, this happens. We've completely run out of suitable adjectives for Remy's edits, so just click it already.

Don't watch this unless you're prepared to join your local knitting circle.

NAILED IT! Cam Zink Lands MASSIVE World-Record 100-Foot Backflip

It's a testament to the times we live in when a 100-foot backflip on a mountain bike can be made to look like just another day in the office. After all the hype and excitement leading up to the event, Cam buttered the hit like he was sessioning his local dirt jump spot. Where do we go from here???

FLIP-ping hell!

Absolutely Insane Super Burly Whistler Trail with The Nomads

Enduro World Series riders Cedric Gracia, Iago Garay, Nicolas Prudencio, Davis English, Peter Ostroski, and Bowen Irvine struck out with The Nomads' Dylan Wolsky and Rocky Mountains' Jesse Melamed to sample some super burly trails in the Whistler Valley before the Crankworx World Enduro. Absolutely insane! What a way to start your week!

"uhhm, no, sorry boys, I can't make it out to ride with you today, I've got an ...uhm... thing to do...but you have fun now!"

XC Racer Carnage Or The Importance Of Bike Skills

Too many ouch. Moar ouch!

None of these guys ride like a girl. Bet they wish they did, though...

Bigger Than Ever - Loosefest Highlights

The real reason NASA had to give up its manned space flight program wasn't lack of money - it was lack of STEEZE.

When Andreu "only" backflips the jump, you know it's big.

Sam Hill's Winning Run in Meribel, France

It's a rare opportunity to get to see helmet cam footage from Sam Hill, even more so when it's the actual winning run from a World Cup! Strap yourselves in for a rowdy run down the rough and tumble Meribel track, and keep an eye out for those special lines.

Sam Hill, muthaf$ck#r.

Sh*t You Won't Hear at Crankworx

"You wanna go ride the bike park? Nah, let's go paddleboarding!"

"I just got a great deal on tubes!"

A Narrow Escape for One Ragged Rasta Sheep

Look before you.... #SHHHEEEPP! A close call for one lucky rider!

BAAAAA-D line choice!

MEGA AIR TIME! Fest Series Hoffest POV with Sorge, Lacondeguy, Vink, Herb and Pescetto

More airtime than the Blue Angels. The FEST crew is going from strength to strength, check out some of the insanity that went down at the Hoffest stop with Kurt Sorge at Retallack Lodge for proof.

It doesn't matter how many times we watch this, it never seems normal.

Borderline Stupid - More Like Borderline Genius!

Kirt Voreis, Carson Storch, and Jamie Goldman prepare themselves for Whistler and the border crossing in the most creative ways. Whoever, wherever, and whenever you are, you definitely need to partake in this hilarious video. Stretch out the those laugh muscles, and get ready for some recumbenting!

Recumbent bike tire tap FTW!

Yannick Granieri Flips Over a Massive Canal and a Wakeboarder

Yannick Granieri took one look at the 10 meter wide canal running through his property in France and decided he had to jump it. Lee Debuse from the Fox Head wakeboard team got wind of the project and wanted to be involved. A team was assembled, in two days a run in was built, and the end result is epic.

It needed flipping.

Best of Vital will return next month!

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