|1st - Best Shot
2nd -Runner Up
Glen Hogerton/Adam Bagetta (Shades, No Helemt, & A Big Wheel Is What We A PirateDH Call Style!)
Car Speaker Set
(Box Trailer & Drinking Buds, Damn Good Line)
(Fish Eye, In The Creek, Perfect Timing, Very Nice)
ABA Membership/SixSixOne Gloves
(Just Look In His Eyes)
(Norcal Coast, Doesn't Get Any Better)
That's Right This is Your Chance To Claim Fame and Riches For Riding Your Bike. Prizes and dates will be finalized in the next weeks, but you may as well start planning now.
Any Photo of you on your bike is fair game, don't matter if you are gapping the grand canyon or pedaling down the sidewalk, we are rewarding creativity, riding style, and photo capturing skill. You stand to make some serious money and/or grab some killer schwag. All entries must be submitted to Pirate DH. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, snail mail it to Justin Graves, 1640 Kristin Way, McKinleyville CA, 95519, drop it off at any local participating bicycle shop, or hunt down Mr. Graves in person and hand over the goods. Pre-digitizing your pictures will preserve their quality and increase your chances of impressing your peers. Get them developed on CD or shoot them with a digital camera, otherwise we'll be scanning entries in old school style. Contest is open to any who wish to enter, limit two photos per entrant, so choose your best shots carefully.
The Overall award for Best Shot, and runner up, will be chosen via voting on www.piratedh.com all other award winners will be selected by a panel of trained and unbiased judges. Award presentations will be held at the McKinleyville home of Jared Delong (date pending) along with BBQ and DJ contest. So start scoping spots and snapping shots you could stand to make some serious money for riding your two wheeled machine.
Us Open 2005
Diablo Free Ride Park 1st Sam Hill
Last weekend saw the return of the highly successful US Open of Mountain Biking at the Diablo Free Ride Park in Mountain Creek New Jersey. Last year the event garnered international attention with its fantastic course and incredible prize purse. This year the terrain remains superb, with trails multiplying to Whistler'eque levels, while a renaissance in prize purse department saw $35,000 going to riders. Not surprising the US Open was dominated by non US riders, namely Aussies who claimed the top four spots. Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)backed up last years win by taking top honors once again, besting Nathen Rennie (Santa Cruz Sydicate) by over two seconds. Chris Kovarik (Intense) must be pleased with third place, after spending all of last season on the injured list with a broken leg. David K (KHS) was the fastes American coming in sixth, nearly seven seconds off the blazing pace of hill. Favorite John Kirkcaldie crashed in the final, but still managed to creep in seventh.
No one knows quite how Diablo is doing it, but many are now looking to this east coast park for the spark to return to the glory days of the sport. Big money and big promotion is attracting world class fields and pushing the park forward. Look for much more to come of this grass roots upstart in the near future. For more info visit them online http://www.diablofreeridepark.com/
highly anticipated film is here, Earthed 2. The sequel to the
epic DH film, Earthed, by Alex Rankin has arrived and reveals just how
high the bar has been raised by the world's best bicycle riders.
Creator of the 'Sprung' video series, Rankin's unique "video magazine'
style rises to new levels of clarity and communication in his most
recent effort. Intermingling high definition video with grainy
high 8 tape and simple digital video, as well as the inclusion of
numerous uniquely obscure audio samples gives Earthed 2 a one of a kind
presentation which is both subtly surprising, at times, and
entertainingly fresh throughout. His skill with the camera has
grown through his many years of film making. Rankin's vision and
familiarity with gravity biking is clear in Earthed 2, as he finds
angles and sections which capture the amazing ability and shere speed
of the films many talented riders. While much of the footage is
never before seen World Cup sections and secret trails around the globe, there are
competition sequences which have been covered by other films. Yet
Rankin's documentation of these same events stands alone due to his
skill with the lense, which shows never before seen speed and skill, as
well as giving the intense terrain the depiction which it deserves.
Being among the most accomplished MTB videographers in the world brings unparalleled access and connections. Rankin brings intimate sessions, with numerous world class riders, to the viewer. Giving a look at unique riding styles and training practices. Viewer's get to tag along on hometown trail rides with the likes of Chris Kovarik, Neil Donahughe, George Atherton, Mick Hannah, Sam Hill, and many others. The film leaves out none of the World Cup favorites an avid fan would wish to see, as well as incorporating many european rippers that are little known in the states, and shows just how fast privateers can be. Rankin also snags some very revealing dialogues pre, during, and after major events shedding light into the mind set of world cup athletes.
there was one criticism of Earthed, it would be that the film
dragged at times due to too much coverage of friends' antics and mini
bike madness, Earthed 2 maintains much of these personal touches
in a toned down and understated manner which compliments the headlining
sections well. A varied and moving sound track coupled with the
smooth and professional editing we have come to expect form Rankin,
enable the film to entrance any rider from beginning to end, making it
nearly impossible to pull away from the action. Add to this a
slew of awesome bonus footage, including a feature on the striking
current women's world champion Vanessa Quinn, and Earthed 2 offers days,
if not months, of down time entertainment and skill studying.
Shot in more countries then most of us will ever visit, Earthed 2 is a
revealing and exciting look into the upper echelon of professional
mountain biking. In short a must see for any race or free ride
fan. The film redefines style, what is possible to capture on
tape, and seems to remove any boundaries in regards to what is possible
on two wheels.
Plus for you Humboldt locals, you can look forward to a very exclusive Super Fan interview thrown in the mix!
First World Cup stop was well received in Spain, where both tracks (4x & DH) received good reviews from riders. Highly technical sections in the DH set many riders to the hospital. The usual suspects were atop the podium, showing that the World Cup title this year will be tightly contested.
Three Aussies, One African, and a Brit
The Rennie Story
K. Voreis - "Have patience. It's the most important thing in life. Kids that are digging dirt jumps already know patience. They work so hard to build their jumps, just to have them destroyed or plowed.
It doesn't matter what you're doing, swimming, running, BMX, or studying to be a doctor. Don't be ashamed to practice and don't get content with whay you've learned.
I think events can change a person, and how you react to those events will determine your future. Kids should pay attention to their environment. If they're in a situation like I was as a kid, seeing drug use and total lack of direction, make the decision not to be like those around you and work on getting better in life."
More Kirt Words
Sea Otter Classic 2005 More Photos
Robbie Rhall Staying Smooth Enroute To Second Against The Big Boys
WriteUps and Results (Frequent Updates)
Well the '05 Sea Otter has Kicked off, results are posted for some events already and local Gravity Pirates have made their presence known. In the Sport Slalom congrats to Jeremy Rollins, who qualified third overall. In the first round it was a humboldt matchuup in Monetery as Rollins met with 14th place qualifier Jason Reiman. Rollins Advanced to the next round before being upset by sixth place qualifier Jamie Perugini. But the day belonged to Jason Marsiano of Redding, who has attended the last two Pirate DH events and finished well, who qualified first and cruised straight through to victory.
Full Sport Slalom Results
The first Pirate on the Podium was SWD/661 rider Robbie Rhall who claimed second place in the Sport 15-18 category. Very impressive considering all the older boys he had to beat. Good Work. And a shout out to Eureka resident Jason Allen who finished eigth in the DH hard tail class, nice job.
Jr. DH Results
In Pro Slalom it was all about the Aussies, big surprise. Mick Hannah shredded to qualify fastest. He advanced through several rounds only to fall prey to the hammering Nathan Rennie, who dominated after flubbing and qualifying in 24th. On the opposite end of the bracket were the American favorites. Brian Lopes qualified second and advanced to meet 18th seeded Rich Houseman who defeated Lopes and cruzed to semi finals. Also impressive was American David K. who moved into the quarter finals where he was defeated by Bryn Atkinson who was bound for the finals. The finals were a classic down under matchup Atkinson facing Rennie, who had previously dispatched Frenchman, and reigning DH world champion, Fabien Barel. In the end none could match the incredible power and cornering ability of Ren-Dog, who has owned the Sea otter course in recent history. Without any questions Sabrina Jonnier Dominated the woman's field, dominated.
Full Pro Results
The Allure, or Illusion, of Sponsorship
The dream dangles before us all, sitting at the top of the hill, shiny spotless goggles dangling from your pristine bar, personal mechanic by your side with several backup tire choices just in case the skies turn moist, a custom painted helmet glistening in the sun, and a choice nick name like "Missile" or "Big Air" embroidered across your rear. More then that it is the opportunity that we all taste to define ourselves as bikers beyond a hobby or a passion, but as a job. To be able to compete in dozens of high profile events each year without the worry and strain of planning and paying. To be the one coming down the hill that is setting the pace, and picking the lines that everyone else wants to follow. To not just ride for kicks, but to know that your presence actually promotes your sponsors and benefits others aside from yourself. To travel with the best and most talented bicycle riders in the world, to be a part of the elite club that is professional cycling, to be accepted and respected by those that you have studied in the videos on so many evenings. To be handed the newest, trickest, and most innovative components on the planet with the only catch being that you get to tell someone who actually cares what you think of their product. Yes, to be a sponsored rider, the full factory fantasy.
|In relation to other professional sports, downhill mountain biking is impoverished. There are no arenas seating twenty thousand screaming fans to pay million dollar salaries. There are no titanic auto companies to support team crews with billions to throw around. In fact downhilling is dwarfed by its cycling brethren in terms of capital. Road cyclists in Europe can make millions if they are winning, and a measly six figures for being a strong team member. Even cross country seems to get more press and more money then downhill due to its universal appeal, relatively low overhead, and low risk factors. Professional mountain biker Rich Houseman made decent money in the late nineties, but while his results have improved his salary has not. Houseman has watched his wages dwindle from $20,000 to $12,000, down to the point where he is struggling to find support and make races, driving his own RV across country to compete. So is sponsorship an illusion, a rare gift reserved for those lucky enough to contend for the world championship?|
|It is true that downhillers, such as Kirt Voreis and Shaun Palmer members of the notorious Specialized team of the 90's, have made salaries of six figures. Yet the bottom dropped out of the sport around the close of the 20th century. What was thought to be the next big thing, the most extreme and exciting sport around, simply did not return for those who invested in it. From a business stand point, who can blame sponsors. It is rare that a rider earns a six figure income in terms of increasing sales or aiding product development. When fans and amateurs did not flock to the NORBA circuit as expected, cutbacks had to be made. Yet a mild renaissance lies before us. With the popularity of X-Treme sports, sparked by the X-Games, booming, interest in gravity mountain biking has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. With school age kids now as familiar with names like "Nyquist" and "Deegan" as "Jordan" and "Tiger", the snowball is rolling and seems to be sweeping up downhill mountain biking as well. Much coverage has been drawn by the free riding craze, opening people's eyes to what can be done on a mountain bike, showing new creative ways to ride outside the bounds of a taped course. While many are upset that free riders are, in many cases, making more money and getting more press then racers it is inevitable that the love is trickling down as riders, fans, and sponsors cross over.|
|With a renewed interest in gravity racing there is more and more competition for factory support each season, as the number of riders increases and the level of riding progresses at a phenomenal pace. What makes it truly difficult for racers is that they have little or no leverage in dealing with companies offering support. Racers are seperated from casual athletes by their passion and commitment to competition. The desire which drives athletes to race is one that cannot be extinguished. Individuals who love to race will do so despite great adversity, crossing continents and spending countless dollars and hours in the pursuit of a perfect run. Not having the support of one's frame manufacturer has never stopped an amateur from racing it. Those who love to race will do so whether or not they are getting paid. Since downhill is an inherently solitary discipline there is little need to support and organize tight and diverse teams, when signing one or two heavy hitters will do. Therefore privateers must be tenacious in their training, competition, solicitation and business dealings with perspective supporters.|
|The dynamics of becoming a professional downhill racer are quite convoluted, and vary infinitely. Simply put, those not lucky enough to fall into the professional field face an uphill struggle. Without the priviledge of riding amongst top level riders daily it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find the pace of professionals. And as the demands of courses become more rigorous, and bicycle technology more advanced, the advantage of custom parts and full race support is a gap that cannot be bridged. Not to say that now is not a fantastic time for the sport of downhill mountain biking. With coverage and appreciation on the rise, bike technology reaching unbelievable levels, and riders performing as never before the sport is gaining more and more mainstream credibility. Anyone in the industry would love to see more sponsorship and more complete support available, as well as focus on rider development. Sponsorhouse.com, run by professional racer Rich Houseman, is one such entity seeking to bring independent riders and companies together. Making it easier and more advantageous for both parties to pursue sponsorship, encouraging individuals to focus their energies and companies to structure more elaborate and professional racing support programs.|
While the reality is that pay checks for racing are incredibly rare, the prospect of receiving product and race support is a very tangible goal. For many privateers, like myself, any motivation and justification outside of one's own pocket book is a god send. Facing the prospect of having to travel the NORBA circuit alone for recognition is a daunting task, therefore knowing that someone believes in you enough to give you a sliver of their pie can be a wonderful gift for those struggling to capture an elusive dream. To know that someone outside yourself is taking a genuine interest in your riding can be the most gratifying reward imaginable.
Last week local mountain bikers, Rowan Gratz and Linder Kimmerer, wrote letters to the "Arcata Eye" expressing their views regarding a piece that had appeared in the previous week's issue. The piece was titled "Images of Ruin" and, among others, included photos taken of the Sunny Brae Trail and commentary that deliberately protrayed local mountain bikers and trail builders as vandals with no respect for law or nature. I feel passionately that this depiction is far from the truth, especially in this county. Below I hope you take the time to read the responses written by our fellow cyclists, as well as the rude, hypocritical, and pompous reply of the paper's editor. At a time when mountain bikers numbers in the Arcata hills are larger then ever this is definitely taking a step in the wrong direction. The time has come for bikers to emerge from the shadows, our policy of "don't ask don't tell" will only take us so far. If we wish for our trails to remain for the next generation, hell if we wish for them to be here next year we must participate in the public forum, jump through some hoops, and find a legitimate compromise with those who seek to shut down adventure cycling in Northern California.
Any replies via email, with input or ideas, would be greatly appreciated.
Where Did All The Riders Go?
Ok now I am really upset, first time through typing this piece was bad enough, but now I just lost all of my article and have to begin again so my kind words are not now so kind. Yesterday I witnessed a display of pure heart and competitive enthusiasm, that always fills me with effervescents, by those who came out to attend the second Redwood Cyclocross race. Simultaneously I saw first hand the apathy and conflict that threatens to strangle Humblodt Grass Roots racing where it lies. Well aware am I that I be a Gravity Pirate, but I have a pedaling affliction. I like to go fast on two wheels. I arrived after the second heat (45 minute) had begun and began preparing for the hour ride. It was soon apparent that the turn out for the expert event would be a repeat of race number one where I only rode with two other people. The 30 minute this Sunday had four riders, the 45 minute had five, and the hour three. Such notable absences nearly demand the cancellation of such an event by any true promoter, Team BigFoot being no exception. Despite the lack of participation those in attendance rode hard and had fun, aside from the days subtext of "where is everybody?" In truth there are many factors that could account for the poor turn out. Last minute venue booking saw Vic Armijo (event promoter) changing dates late in the game which could have made it a scheduling impossibility for some. Yet if the riders want to ride they will find a way. I heard stories all day of how friends had called in sick that morning, or thought their time better spent out of the area while Humboldt racing lay dying before me. It was all I could do to throw my bucks down and try to do a little reviving of my own. Sure fifteen bucks is double what one would pay for a movie these days, but we must think of it as an investment in the scene. It is pretty clear that racing ones bike is seldom cool or acceptable. Unless the right faces are present one must be careful about showing up, or risk gving the impression that you are present for fun and good will. All the out casts in attendance this weekend seemed quite content in their isolation, even though we were the dorkiest "amateurs" I have ever encountered. Many fingers point to new riders as a group lacking enthusiasm. Yet what better way to introduce new comers to the sport and what better way to promote riding then to race. Even if racing does not gel with ones intense training regimen, even if racing takes up those precious two hours a weekend away from the family, even if you are straight off the couch and expect an ass whooping supporting local events is the most productive two wheel time you've got. Pay it forward, your investment will come back to you. When all the blame gaming is done it is not one person's fault, it is selfish human nature which forces us to seek our own interests first and those of the whole somewhere down the line. Fight human nature, do something divine, support local riding.
p.s. my apologies on the article, it was written in several stints and with fucking tv noise in the back ground, i hate the tube, like to write, like to ride.
To Whom It May Concern,
I must humbly issue my sincerest apologies. Yesterday was to be the first ride of the Pirate Winter series. The weekend snuck up on all and most of my friends could not attend due to more pressing engagements. I grew slightly apatyhetic and underestimated the energy that it would take to run a good ride. The night prior was a friends birthday, and I, in slacks/suspenders/and tie, was lured away from sleep by one Jose Cuervo and several lovely ladies. It was a fantastic night, but unfortunately it left the Graves contingent in a ruffled state of affairs. I bedded down at five am and somehow thought that I would be up and packing by six. Six came and went, and it was only thanks to a wake up call from one Hank Matheson that I got out of bed at all. So I arrived at Tish Tang forty minutes after I had advertised events comencing, feeling very upset that I had been so delinquent. The Rhalls and a fellow named Dave were the only riders in attendance, I never saw Dave but the rest of us put in a good day of riding. Please forgive me for a poor date, apathetic promotion, and my penchant for partying. I promise that ride two will be much more professional and better attended. So don't lose faith, this weekend was just shaking off a little summer rust, November it is on!
"The Collective" A Step In The Right Direction...
Is Really Just Catching Up
Rarely, if ever, has a bicycling film been so unanimously hyped and reccomended me. I heard from at least ten seperate individuals about the visual spectacular known as "The Collective", with promises of "the best moutain bike video ever" inserted between the lines. So I decided I'd purchase a copy and see what all the fuss was about, the cover was gorgeous and the rider line up was top notch so how bad could it be? As the film began and the credits rolled my assesments started to compile. Three frames on the TV screen to introduce each rider, one consisting of a head shot, another of the rider in action, and a third with inanimate items which seemed to be some sort of metaphor for each riders "free spirit" if you will. It was visually gratifying, but if anything the flowing strands of wheat were a little too abstract for me. Then the film begins and the viewer quickly becomes accumstomed to the detached voice over narration that spans the body of the film, as riders talk about their feelings and styles. I am a total sap for documentary form and appreciated the film's low key inclusion of back ground material provided by the riders themselves. From there we are introduced to numerous epic locations with trails that would make any rider salivate and start gyrating their legs on the couch, despite blows from friends and family with a rolled newspaper trying to get them to calm down. The entire film is recorded on 16mm film, and the result is worth every penny that was droppped on the emulsive substance, as seen in the films rich color, vibrant lighting, and high rate over cranking which results in the smoothest and most flowing slow motion shots I have seen. The directors seem to have had plenty of financial support witnessed not only by the use of film but the obvious access to helicopters, numerous suspended wire systems and boom shots. This attention to diverse riding representation, combined with an intentional focus on the long take gives the viewer a very personal and fresh perspective of what the rider is experiencing. Now put all of that together in a well edited format combined with soothing tunes and you have a bike flic which appeals to a much broader rider base, on a more personal level, then any of the huckful disorder films. So I can understand why folks are excited about it, my frustration stems from the phrase "well it's about time". Any film minded individual could have told you a year ago where bike films needed to go, visually and communicatively. In fact the form is nothing new, surf films and other special interest features have been there for quite some time, documenting the stoke, the flow, and the setting rather then over emphasizing how bad ass the athletes are. Portraying an athletes passion and art rather then macho mind bending skill, allowing their ability to speak for itself, no one likes over statement. I reccomend anyone who enjoyed "The Collective" check out two surf films by Jack Johnson, "Thicker Then Water" and "The September Sessions". The form is almost identical, to the point that after the first few minutes of "The Collective" I felt as if I had seen it before. Then at least we can appreciate that bike riders and film makers are just part of a larger picture, not actually leading the pack, just flowing with it.
I would reccomend "The Collective" to all riders, but I am far from proclaiming it my favorite film ever. I am still partial to racing focused films due to their documentary qualities in capturing one time events and spontaneous riding as opposed to planned and sessioned shots. "Sprung 5" will forever be at the top of my list, unless of course we are lucky enough to get a sixth someday (The British Come Across A Little Less Arrogant In Their Films). A close second is "Earthed". And as for free riding flics the best ever was "Ride To The Hills" which was equal or greater then "The collective in terms of cinematography, simply minus the cohesive narration.
...and he spoke of truth and light, that those grinding their nose on the hard wheel of industry and family would not whither and perish in the forgotten darkness of the "glory days", The unifying power of his words was full of young strength and hearty purpouse and gave cause for the hardened, dried spirits of those with fading visions to feel moistened again with the first drops of stoke and heart, to look up to the opening sky and smile with soft satisfaction much as that of the desert under the first dapplings of sweet summer rain. The fires in thier souls, once dwindling to small embers, felt a small gust of wind and a small lean flame left forth and they vowed to seek a windier place....