Catching up with Greg Minnaar

                                                       Photo Courtesy of Kathy Sessler

Several weeks ago, Greg Minnaar shredded his way into mountain bike history winning his third World Championship on his home turf in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Since his victory, Minnaar has undergone surgery and is in the process of rehabilitating his knee in preparation for the 2014 season.

The Link recently caught up with him to talk about his life since the World Championship and what to expect for 2014.

Here is what he had to say.

TL – You just got home, how are you doing? Are you up and about?

GM - So far, so good. I’m not really out and about yet.

TL – It must feel good to finally have that behind you. You didn’t race in the finals at Leogang because of your injury, how do you feel about how your season ended? Would you have won had you raced?

GM - I could never say I could have won if I had raced the finals; anything can happen in Downhill. I would have loved to compete, but unfortunately I couldn’t. I’m pretty happy with my season, World Champion and 3rd in the World Cup, I would have liked to do better in the World Cup, but this year was all about World Championships at home.

TL – What track are you looking forward to the most next season?

GM - I would say Sea Otter, but I don’t think we going to be able to make it this year, so I’m going to have to go with Cairns, Australia.

TL – You have sponsors like  Shimano  and Five Ten that support you year-round. What was it about those brands that made you want to work with them? What are your favorite products from them?

GM – I chose them because I gravitate toward brands that lead through innovation and quality. The 510 Minnaar has to be a favorite; I put a lot of effort into my shoe. I really like the Saint brake from Shimano, brakes are extremely important in DH. 

TL – We know you are an accomplished world-renowned rider now, but what was your childhood dream?

GM - To race motocross professionally was what I dreamt the most, but to be honest it was any sport I was playing I wanted to be the best at or at least play with the best.

TL – What do you do when you aren’t riding?

 GM - In my spare time I head out to the beach to surf. I don’t get to ride that much motocross these days, but I still love it when I have the time.

TL – Do you have a pre-ride ritual?

GM - Rest, visualize, eat, warm up, race. Honestly I don’t really have a ritual before riding; I’m normally rushing because I’m late.

TL – If you weren’t a DH racer what would you be doing?

GM - The only thing that interested me growing up was to become an architect, but that was short lived.

TL – The pool of top riders is constantly changing, who would have thought Steve Smith would pull out an overall win over Gee at the DH World Cup? How are you going to respond next season?

GM - Its tough protecting a lead, Gee was in a hard position against a guy with nothing to loose. I’m looking forward to recovering from this knee injury and then its back to business as normal.




10 Minutes with Ben Berden and Nicole Duke – Part 2 Nicole Duke

As a part of our commitment to our Social Media Partnership of the  SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series, we posted part 1 of our interview with pro Cyclocross athlete Ben Berden. Here is the second part of our interview where we spoke with Nicole Duke on why she rides, what she’s looking forward to this season and what advice she would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross.

We asked her 10 questions. This is what she had to say.


TL-What is the biggest change in Cyclocross that you’ve seen since you started participating?

ND-There are three major changes. The first is that there are more women starting to participate as well as Jr. Women. The second is that there has been a huge jump in your technology too; the introduction of the disc brake has been huge in the past year. Last year I was fortunate to ride the Sram disc brakes, and that piece of technology made a big difference in my performance and generally speaking the way everyone can ride. At some point the courses will evolve and change due to this piece of technology. And the third biggest change is the rise in membership across the board. Cyclocross used to be something mountain bikers and roadies did in the off season, but now it has become its own thing.


TL-What are you looking forward to the most this season?

ND-I’m really excited to see friends again and start that part of my life. Its six months out of the year that becomes that culture and that life. And at the end of that six months it kind of just ends and it feels like there is something missing. So now its like we are back to the beginning of the cycle again.


TL-What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a rider?

ND-To perservere and not give up. In this career there can be a lot of adversity and a lot of things that will make you want to give up. But you have to hang in there and be patient and give yourself a chance to be great.


TL-Where is your favorite place to ride?

ND-Hands down Crested Butte, Colorado. Its just so gorgeous and the wild flowers are amazing.


TL-What song plays in your head while you ride?

ND-“We are the Champions of the World,” by Queen.


TL-If you could have any superpower what what it be?

ND-To read other people’s minds


TL-When you were a child, what did you want to wear when you grow up?

ND-I didn’t have an exact job I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to wear a high power suit and live in the city.


TL-What is the one thing you want people to remember you for, what is your legacy?

ND-That I was a positive influence in the industry and that I was an inspiration to some people.


TL-What is your main focus right now with your career?  

ND-My goal for the next few years is to inspire others and to give back and to give them the tools and the platform to be able to realize their dreams. I hope by doing so I can share what I went through so they don’t have to go through some of the things that I did. That would be my wish.


TL-What piece of advice would you give to other riders?

ND-Have fun with it. If the fun is gone, what are you doing it for? That is what cycling is all about; enjoyment.


As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website,

Words from Real Rider – Sasha Perry

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Donovan Jenkins


If you are a newcomer to Cyclocross, you probably have a million and one questions on how to train, what kind of bike to buy, what to expect and is it really as easy as it looks?

As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series, we want to create a community of riders who can learn and engage with each other about all things Cyclocross.

We went out to the Kick-Off Rally Cross event at LA Historic State park this weekend and we met Sasha Perry. Sasha became a regular at Cyclocross events after going to one race to film a web-series on Vegan athletes. Here is the story.


TL – What was is about Cyclocross that drew you to it?

SP – The first time I saw Cyclocross was at a UCI race in Griffith Park in LA. I was there to film for a web-series on vegan athletes, I didn’t know much about the sport at the time. I showed up with a camera and couldn’t get over how fun and ridiculous and hard it all looked. The next season I rented a bike from the SoCalCross organizer and did my first race. It was less fun and far more excruciating than it looked and I fell in love immediately. At one point I found myself riding through a sand pit  next to a child’s swing set while an 8 year old pointed and laughed at me. What’s not to love? I wasn’t a bike racer or even an athlete when I did that first race, and now it takes up more of my life than I care to admit or think about. There’s something about destroying myself at a race and the feeling it brings when you cross the finish line that I haven’t found in any other bike event and I’ve become addicted to it.


TL – What’s is your training routine?

SP – I’m on my bike anywhere between 15-25 hours a week depending on my race and work schedule. I’ve also recently started weight lifting and throw in some easy runs now and then to keep my legs happy. The riding varies from short rides with hard interval efforts to long tempo rides on the weekend when I can spend 4 or 5 hours on the saddle. I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing coach and supporter Jeff Lawler  (Pioneer Coaching) who has put a lot of time into helping me get speed and skills; two things I never thought I could have.


TL – What is the best piece of training advice you have been given?

SP – I have a very hard time seeing progress, and it sometimes lends itself to thoughts of quitting.  I was told by my friend recently that being hard on yourself is good–it’s how you improve–but not too hard. The sweetest victories have nothing to do with overall results. Getting to the top of a hill a little faster than last time, finishing with a pack instead of getting dropped, doing something you thought physically impossible. All these things keep you coming back. I was crashed in my first Pro 1/2/3 race this year, got back up and finished the race in 13th. I was absolutely destroyed, and it absolutely felt like winning. There are no small victories.


TL – What is one piece of advice you would you give someone who is interested in CX?

SP – I think I’d give the same advice to anyone regardless of gender that wants to get into CX, and it’s nothing profound. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy bikes that cost more than your car, don’t be afraid of wearing spandex in public, (no one looks good in it and we all just accept that). Just go out and try it. Pushing your body and mind to do something uncomfortable will change your life if you let it, and in the meantime your friends get to throw things at you and hand you dollar bills.


Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Marla Streb – On her Induction, Her Legacy and the Craziest Thing She’s Done on a Bike.



                              Photo courtesy of  John Ker of Mountain Bike Action


What more could a classical pianist, acclaimed author, biologist and national mountain bike champion want? To be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. In case you haven’t figured it out, we are talking about the legend herself, Marla Streb.

The nine-time NORBA national downhill winner, mother of two took a few minutes to chat with The Link about her induction, the lessons she’s learned as a rider and some of the wildest moments she’s lived through on her bike.


TL- How did you find out you were being inducted in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame?

MS - I was in Costa Rica and received an email from Sal Ruibal. It was exciting because I had been nominated before and didn’t get it.


TL- If you could relive one moment in your career which would it be?

MS – It would be my first downhill race at Big Bear. I was under-prepared, and didn’t know what I was doing. I just showed up in a pair of long johns and went for it.


TL - Which moment would you strike from your career?  

MS - The moment I decided to hit a double jump in the slalom race at Mammoth Mountain in 1996, while riding my long-stemmed, Marin cross country bike with seat fully elevated.


TL – What is the craziest thing you have done on a bike?

MS – I rode my Cyclocross bike down the ski run on a Saturday afternoon, in the dead of Winter. I had no disk brakes and obviously Cyclocross tires aren’t made for that. I’m sure it looked pretty wild because I got arrested at the bottom of the mountain once I finished. No one had ever done that before and they didn’t know what to do.


TL - What makes you the strongest? Gives you the drive to suffer through pain?

MS – My drive is fueled by the need I feel to be the best in the world, at one thing (even if for a day). Suffering is easy; I endured 12 years of Catholic school.


TL – What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?  

MS - I love how ants organize their communities.


TL – What is your legacy?

MS - Being transparent and approachable. One should not fear getting naked for the whole world to see.


TL – What piece of advice do you have for young riders who want to become professional cyclists one day?

MS – The key is to set yourself a part. You have to create your own brand. You should ask yourself why a company would want to sponsor you or do business with you. Just about anyone can train and win races, your presence should be about more than just being a person that can win. There will always be new winners. But there can never be another you.


TL – What is the one thing you want to accomplish before you retire?

MS - Two things, I want to get Downhill Mountain Biking in the Olympics, and I want to compete. I’ll be the 60-year-old lady trying to qualify if it happens in my lifetime.

10 Minutes with Pro CX Racers Ben Berden and Nicole Duke – Part 1 Ben Berden

                                      Photo Courtesy of  Phil Beckman of PB Creative


What do you get when you combine a bunch of out of season mountain bikers and roadies with colder weather, mud and cowbells? You get the 14-week  SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series …. and of course, there will be beer.

As the Official Social Media Partner of the series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website,

With the start of the series just days away, we caught up with pro-cyclocrossers Ben Berden and Nicole Duke for a quick chat about why they ride, what they are looking forward to this season and to find out what advice they would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross. We asked them both 10 questions. Here is part 1 of the interview.

TL-What is it about Cyclocross that drew you to it?

BB-I have been doing since I was 15, so for 22 years now I have been involved with it. In Belgium everyone does it; you grow up with it, you see it on television. So that is why I started doing it.


TL-What is the best thing about being Ben Berden?

BB-I’m very persistent, and I love riding my bike. I think the combination of the two is what made it easy for me to become a professional cyclist.


TL-What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned as an athlete?

BB-Not to dope.  Cyclocross in Belgium is such a big thing. There is so much pressure and so many things that are involved. There it is about more than cycling, it’s a business and for the best people it is a career. I wasn’t happy with always being second or third. I wanted to win and I wanted to be faster. I met the wrong people at the wrong time and they convinced me to dope. I gave in and I ended up getting busted and suspended for three years. But now I know and trust my abilities. If I am the top athlete then that is good, but if not, that is fine too. Now it is more about pleasure and just getting a good result.


TL-What is the best piece of advice you’d give to someone training for Cyclocross?

BB-You have to really enjoy riding your bike. If you think training is a task then you have the wrong mindset and you will not make it.


TL-What is something that you never thought you’d be able to do that you have now accomplished?

BB-When I was younger everyone said it would be impossible making money by riding a bike.  But it’s 20 years later and I’m still doing it so I’m blessed.


TL-When you aren’t riding what do you do?

BB-I travel with my girlfriend, or go out with the kids. Usually you are so tired from training it’s hard to do much else.  


TL-What is your most memorable moment in your career?

BB-Winning my first World cup.


TL-What is your favorite Place to ride?

BB-The forest. I love riding in green environments.


TL-If someone were to play you in a movie who would it be?

BB-George Clooney.


TL-What do you have to accomplish before you retire?

BB-To give all of the knowledge I have about cycling to younger riders. Young riders don’t know how to live a cyclists’ lifestyle.  It’s about how to train and how to eat too, its not just about how hard you train.


Nutrition Tips for Mountain Bikers – Before, During and After a Race

No matter what anyone tells you, beer and pizza are not going to prepare you for a race, and no, drinking light beer isn’t a better option.

Believe it or not, there is more to a proper training diet than carb loading and protein. In fact, most coaches will agree that proper nutrition is more about when you eat certain foods as opposed to what you eat.

So I’ve broken it down into a fool-proof method that explains what you should eat and when, so that you can perform at your best.

Before you race your nutrition objective is only to:

1. Prevent Thirst

2. Maximize carbohydrate stores in your muscles and liver.

The Guidelines are:

*Stay away from the heavy carbs and proteins.

*Don’t eat a lot of fiber rich foods

Fiber rich foods and meals that are high in proteins and carbs take longer to leave your stomach and will usually leave you feeling heavy. Carb Loading should always be done 1- 2 days before a competition. But if you must eat a full breakfast, I suggest doing it do it at least  3 – 4 hours before your race. However, once you are within  2-3 hours of your race, limit your carb intake to snacks that have a smaller or limited amount of carbs.

So what else should you eat?


Before Competition

Two to Three hours before competition make sure you eat a light breakfast that includes fruit and a small amount of carbs or proteins, such as hard-boiled eggs or Cliff Bars and water.

10-15 minutes before competition limit your food intake to a light snack that will give you a blast of energy, but not slow you down. I recommend Clif Shot Bloks,  Jelly Belly Sports Beans or GU Roctane Gels.

During Competition

Once you start racing your objective changes. Your goals should be to:

  1. Replenish energy stores that you are losing
  2. Stay hydrated

The Guidelines are:

*Drink in moderation, drinking every so often will prevent thirst, and since thirst is a sign that your body is dehydrated, it is best to drink to prevent dehydration. Be proactive as opposed to reactive with your intake of fluids.

*Don’t pile on too many snacks or drinks all at one time.

While you exercise your body is going to lose salt through your sweat. Ideally you should aim to replenish 400-700 mg sodium per hour of training.

Sports drinks like GU Roctane Energy DrinkPowerBar Performance Energy Blend or energy gels by Clif have small amounts of salt in them and will prevent you from major cramping while you are on a long ride. Its important to continue drinking fluids while you are working out, the major benefit is that you will be able to exercise longer and finish those long runs without a problem.

After Competition

After an intense workout your body needs to replenish the protein and carbohydrates that were burned during your workout.

Your Post work out Objective is

  1. Deliver carbs and protein through a high quality source to start the replenishment process.

The Guidelines are simple

*Eat the right carbs, this is not the time for beer. The right carbs will replenish what you have lost.

*Eat as soon as you can after a workout. A delay in a food source or nutrition source will not help your body repair itself efficiently.

Most of that protein should be supplied by high-quality, whole food sources such as beef, chicken or beans. But, until you can get home to prepare a meal, recovery snacks like PowerBar Recovery BarsHoney Stinger Protein Bars and Cliff Builder’s Protein Bars are quality products that are quick options that will start to get your carb stores replenished in no time.



The Tour Divide I Price Point Rider Markley Anderson Finishes 11th

Markley Anderson

The Link recently caught up with Price Point rider Markley Anderson after his 11th place finish at the Tour Divide. The grueling 2,745 mile, fixed-course, off-pavement cycling race, stretched from Banff, Alberta, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

Anderson, who was projected to finish the race in about 20 days, beat expectations, finishing the race in 18 days with an overall average of 155 miles per day on his Price Point sponsored Sette Razzo bike. He held on to a top ten position for the first several days despite a pulled quad.

“I was so exhausted. I kept three of the racers off for awhile, but I just couldn’t climb with the left leg alone,” said Anderson. ”I went through a lot while I was out there. I just rode and rode until I couldn’t ride anymore.”

Markley Anderson

During the 18 day ride he faced a number of difficulties and hardships. He was unsupported during the race and did what he could to manage the weather and exhaustion. “I ate everything I could find.  I slept in ditches and open fields. It’s a commitment to be out there. You just go until you can’t,” said Anderson.

Markley Anderson

“I got caught in a lightning storm and had to hide out and sleep in an outhouse in New Mexico. When you are at six to seven thousand feet of elevation there is no cover. You just go where you have to go and do what you have to do.”

Anderson is currently taking a break from extreme ultra racing, but he is scheduled to ride in the “Fight for Freedom” race on July 27, 2013 in Williamsburg, VA and in a 24-hour race at Great Glen, New Hampshire in the beginning of August.

GOPRO MOUNTAIN GAMES | Mike Montgomery Places 2nd

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

Price Point rider Mike Montgomery walked away from the slopestyle portion of the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO, in 2nd place on Sunday, June 9.

“Colorado was good to me,” Montgomery told The Link after returning from a 10-day stint in the state. “In those 10 days I grabbed a win at the Outlaws of Dirt event in Lyons, Colorado, and a 2nd at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado!”

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

Montgomery went huge on the above transfer, throwing in a tailwhip on his final run—click here to see the Vital MTB video and skip to 3:42 to see Montgomery’s tailwhip transfer motion. The move was enough to tie him for 1st with Brayden Barret-Hay in points standing, but FMB World Tour rules don’t allow for a tie-breaker and Barret-Hay won by judges’ decision.

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

Photo courtesy Dave Trumpore / Pinkbike

“Thanks everyone for keeping me in the right mind,” Montgomery told his sponsors. “This year is going to be a good year especially coming back from my thumb injury.”

It already has been a good year for Montgomery, riding strong with several wins under his belt despite recovering from a shattered thumb that required multiple surgeries and led to an infection in 2012.

by Don Stefanovich

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OUTLAWS OF DIRT | Mike Montgomery Wins First Stop

Mike Montgomery collects a check in Lyons, CO, at the first stop of the Outlaws of Dirt series. Photo by Rich Vossler

Mike Montgomery collects a check in Lyons, CO, at the first stop of the Outlaws of Dirt series. Photo by Rich Vossler

Price Point rider Mike Montgomery made a stop in Lyons, CO, to compete in the first stop of the Outlaws of Dirt series.

“The jumps were small, but I tried to work my magic,” Montgomery told The Link. “It ended up working out very well, coming out with the win!”

Check out the video to see Montgomery’s point of view from his winning run.

Montgomery’s next stop will be competing in the slopestyle portion of the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO, June 6 through 9.

“Pumped to carry the momentum into GoPro Games this coming weekend!” said Montgomery.

by Don Stefanovich

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VIDEO | Opening Day Edit: Snow Summit Bike Park

Last weekend Snow Summit opened its first official bike park trail, Miracle Mile, thanks to a new deal with park builders Gravity Logic of Whistler fame. Price Point rider Aaron Hodgkin was there.

    “It was finally here: the morning I had been waiting for, for a very long time—nine years to be exact. After moving down to Murrieta, I could only dream about the day Snow Summit would once again allow gravity to run its natural course on the mountain. It was not until my good friend and multi-FMX gold-medalist, Ronnie Renner, casually mentioned the opening of Snow Summit’s bike park that I realized it was a reality. It felt like a record scratching in the background as the news made its way to my ears. I was in complete disbelief and had him repeat this beautiful bit of news. He probably thought I was crazy for getting so excited, but he also probably had no idea that Snow Summit was one of the biggest reasons for my turning pro.
    “What made this even more exciting is the fact that Snow Summit provided me with some of the greatest memories of my life. As the grand-opening day finally arrived, I had slept very little due to my anticipation. The alarm clock finally went off and I got the call from Kevin and Sean Heidorn that they were outside and ready to go. Way too excited to pay attention to the time, loading up the bikes took longer than expected, mainly because I could not stop telling stories about how Snow Summit used to be 10 years ago! These memories bring me back to when I ran through the streets of Big Bear and dove into a rose bush in front of a Denny’s restaurant, while all the late night eaters watched. Now that is one long story to tell—maybe next time! After story telling hour, we found some better entertainment watching my air freshener swing back and forth on the windy mountain road and giggling like little girls at the sound of my bald tires squealing around every corner.
    “We made it, finally! We unloaded the sleds and soon we were headed up the chairlift for our first run. Again, I crammed stories that were 10 years old into Sean and Kevin’s ears, pointing at every line that use to exist. I wondered how the new stuff would be. Would they bring back some of the original lines? Would I remember them? Man, I almost couldn’t wait for what seemed to be the longest chair ride ever!
    “The Gravity Logic guys did an outstanding job coming in and making an attempt at mocking up a Whistler style feel to Snow Summit mountain. Limited to two lift lines, things got a little backed up, but that was expected, being it was the opening weekend for what might be the best gravity-riding spot in SoCal, which had been closed for a decade. The new trail, named Miracle Mile, was pretty awesome! It tied in some sections from some of the older trails from back in the day, but they mainly created an entirely new trail with massive berms for some serious flow all the way down the mountain. Snow Summit offers an array of diversity meant to accommodate beginner riders all the way to experienced pros. It is a wonderful opportunity to go out in nature and do what you love to do. I recommend everyone get a piece of the experience and get out there and ride!” -Aaron Hodgkin
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