VIDEO | Snow Summit Opens Big Bear Bike Park

Today marks opening day at Snow Summit in Big Bear, California.

Located just a short drive from Price Point‘s headquarters in the San Bernardino Mountains, Snow Summit has long been the closest lift-served downhill option for thousands of Southern California riders. While many remember the NORBA days and downhill racing on the ski slopes, legal problems eventually brought the sanctioned fun to a close. In recent years, riders have been able to ride Snow Summit’s lifts, only to roll off resort property and onto forest service land where steep and loose ungroomed trails awaited. While this was plenty fun for most gravity riders, others pined for the sculpted flow of a real bike park.

Today the wait is officially over—Snow Summit resort officially introduces the new Miracle Mile trail, a brand-new, lift-served downhill trail sculpted by none other than Gravity Logic, the team behind much of Whistler and other world-class bike parks.

Snow Summit Bike Park Map

Although technically one trail, Miracle Mile splits into several different “route options” before converging again near the base of the mountain. The trail boasts sweeping S-turns, 34 berms, six rollers, 10 jumps and three wood features including a 30-foot bridge, diving board and berm. The above video offers a sneak peek.

Snow Summit says it plans on opening at least three new trails in addition to existing trails with accessibility for all levels by the end of summer. Officially tagged the “Snow Summit Adventure Park,” the resort hints at zip-lines and a host of other sans-snow activities to make the most of the summer months.

The Snow Summit Adventure Park is open all three days Memorial weekend, and on weekends only until mid-June, at which time it becomes open seven days a week. Lift tickets—previously $25 in the summer months—are now $32.

Stay tuned for on-site opening-day updates and first impressions from Price Point rider Aaron Hodgkin.

by Don Stefanovich

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RANCHSTYLE 2013 | Mike Montgomery Wins Big

Mike Montgomery wins Best Trick with a cliffhanger backlip. Photo courtesy Pinkbike

Mike Montgomery wins Best Trick with a cliffhanger backlip. Photo courtesy Pinkbike

Price Point rider Mike Montgomery swept the 2013 Ranchstyle Mountain Bike Festival.

Montgomery won both the Pro Slopestyle  and Best Trick competitions Saturday in Glade Park, CO.

“I’m stoked to start the season off with a W.” Montgomery told The Link. “This is going to be a good year!”

Montgomery is currently preparing for the 2013 Red Bull Berg Line in Hochsauerland, Germany, on May 19.

Ranchstyle 2013 Results

Best Trick
Mike Montgomery

Pro Slopestyle
1. Mike Montgomery
2. Paul Genovese
3. Carson Storch
4. Brayden Barrett-Hay
5. Jack Fogelquist

Open Slopestyle
1. Liam Wallace
2. Breidan Phipps
3. Justin Sherman

by Don Stefanovich 

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 2

The Link, Price Point’s finger on the pulse of the bike industry, delves deeper into the depths of Laguna Seca to continue bringing you coverage of the coolest new bikeswag from the Sea Otter Classic.

Giro Chamber

Served up hot ‘n’ fresh, the Chamber marks Giro‘s first entry into the downhill realm. Developed with none other than Aaron Gwin, the Chamber combines casual skate style with super-sticky vibram rubber soles. Flat and clipless-ready varieties are available, with the latter featuring a super-stiff sole. They’ve also lost considerable weight since debuting at Interbike in prototype form. An internal bootie,  EVA foam footbeds, impact-absorbing Poron XRD heel cups and velcro strap enhance comfort and fit.

 

Continental 27.5-inch Tires

Continental 27.5

Photo by Don Stefanovich

The German tiremaker introduced 27.5 (650b) versions of four of its most popular mountain treads. The Trail King (our personal favorite), Mountain King, X-King and Race King have all adapted to the tweener size. Currently only existing in 2.4 widths, Continental says most of the tires should be available in a full size run for 2014.

 

Troy Lee Designs Sam Hill D3 and Fresh A1 Colors

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Troy Lee Designs released much anticipated colorways of two of its most popular helmets, the D3 and the all-mountain A1. The D3 sees a fresh splash of color for the Sam Hill Signature edition while the A1 gets both a new metallic treatment and even a version with a matte finish.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The matte finish covers one of the original A1 paint schemes, but creates a stark yet welcome contrast to its metallic-flake siblings.

 

Optrix Barfly

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The new Barfly mount from Optrix makes mounting the XD5 to your handlebars a simple and versatile affair. It can be mounted for POV action, or flipped to lay the phone in a flat “landscape” mode if you’d rather use apps and training functions. 

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Optrix also made sure no one forgot its waterproof dunkability.

 

Marzocchi 380 C2R2 Titanium Fork and Moto C2R Shock

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Marzocchi is replacing the 888 with the new 380 C2R2 Ti fork. Compatible with 26 and 27.5-inch wheels, the 200-millimeter 380 is a complete redesign with 38-mil stanchions, titanium spring, new arch and lowers, titanium pinch bolts, a hollowed-out axle and new internals. It trades in the open-bath design in favor of a “Dynamic Bleed Cartridge” inspired by the Italian company’s motocross forks, which it says will provide the plush, smooth feel of open bath with the consistency of a cartridge.  The DBC cartridge employs a one-way seal to let oil in. A spring-loaded piston acts a compensator; the piston moves up to make room as the damper cartridge fills with oil, and then back down to take up excess volume as oil exits the cartridge. Impressive—and it all weighs in at a tidy 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The ROCO isn’t going anywhere just yet, but the C2R will be the top-of-the-line DH shock going forward. With an eye on weight, the body is machined down to a minimalist design, and the 14-millimeter shaft and shock eyelet have been precision machined from a single piece of aluminum, decreasing weight and increasing strength.

Marzocchi doesn’t find the compression boost necessary, but offers the C2R both with and without for riders wanting increased tunability and bottom out. It all tips the scales at just 369 grams without the spring.

 

Bell Super

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Bell claims the Super splits the difference between heavy-duty downhill coverage and cross-country comfort and breathability. While that’s just another way of saying this is an all-mountain/enduro helmet, it seems to hit the mark in both form and function—not to mention style. The Super is also designed to readily accept goggles with an adjustable visor and guides.

 

Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Creating what it felt was the perfect carbon clincher wasn’t easy, but Mavic found a simple yet elegant solution.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The French wheelmaker used aluminum inserts for increased strength and stiffness, giving the spokes a strong anchor point while keeping weight respectable at approximately 1,545 grams per pair.

 

Sock Guy Rainbows and Unicorns

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We think these socks speak for themselves.

 by Don Stefanovich 

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 1

The Link goes on location at the Sea Otter Classic in the pits of Laguna Seca for a sneak peek at all the new bikeswag being unveiled.

Answer Gentlemen’s Collection Bars

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Classy as always, Answer proudly displayed its Gentlemen’s Collection of bars with dignified designs such as paisley, plaid and houndstooth. The bars are a manly 780 millimeters wide with 4-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep. The graphics for each bar are hand-laid ensuring no two are alike. The Gentlemen’s Collection features a military-grade anodized finish to ensure the bars don’t fade or scratch.

Answer Gentleman's Collection

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Further adding to the allure, Answer says these are limited edition, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

 

Sun Ringlé 27.5-inch Wheels

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Sun Ringlé expands its wheel line with 27.5-inch (650b) offerings in both the Charger Pro SL all-mountain and—adding to the signs of changing times—A.D.D. downhill wheels. Both feature Stan’s NoTubes BST Technology.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The anodized hubs of the A.D.D. downhill wheels look as good as they sound.

 

Manitou 27.5-inch Forks

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Manitou‘s trail forks gets all-new lowers, graphics and are now available in 27.5-inch (650b) sizes to fit the emerging crop of middle-wheeled bikes.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Minute Pro and Marvel Pro are available with up to 140 millimeters of travel. Expect a 160-millimeter all-mountain fork with 34 millimeter stanchions in the near future.

 

Fox Head Rampage Pro Carbon

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Rampage Pro Carbon tops Fox Head‘s helmet lineup with carbon-fiber construction, 17 vents and tips the scales at only 1,145 grams.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Colors range from subtle to not so much. We spotted a few of these on the race courses already on pros and amateurs alike.

 

Race Face Narrow-Wide

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Race Face designed its Narrow-Wide chainrings to be run as single-ring setups and eliminate dropped chains and the need for chainguides. The name refers to alternating-width teeth similar to SRAM’s XX1 X-Sync. Narrow Wide will play nicely with while adding a touch of color to XX1 setups.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Rather than the ramps of traditional two and three-ring setups designed to drop chains for smoother shifting, the Narrow-Wide design holds onto chains with a Kung-Fu grip.

 

Crankbrothers Mallet DH

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

When Crankbrothers redesigned its popular mallet to be lighter, it resulted in slightly less platform real estate. Gravity riders lamented, so Crankbrothers introduced the Mattlet DH, featuring the refined internals of the new Mallets with a larger platform resembling the original design. They still come in at a respectable 470 grams per pair.

 

Zipp Wheels 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher

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The 202 Carbon Clincher is the lightest wheel in the Zipp lineup at a scant 1,375 grams per pair. Designed to combine aerodynamics with low weight, the 202 combines the 32-millimeter rim depth of its predecessor with a more aerodynamic Firecrest profile and now has a wider 25.4-millimeter max rim width, resulting in an impressive all-around road wheel.

 

Kenda Turnbull Canyon and Honey Badger Tires

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Developed with cross-country legend Tinker Juarez, the Kenda Turnbull Canyon tire is named for the Southern California trail network where Tinker is notorious for the self-inflicted torture of his training sessions. The XC/marathon tire will be available in 2.0 width in 26, 27.5 and 29-inch incarnations.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Honey Badger is Kenda‘s new do-it-all trail tire designed to grip as well on slimy Northwest roots as in the dry and loose of the Southwest while retaining fast-rolling characteristics. Climb all day? Descend some serious chunder? Like its namesake, the Honey Badger don’t care—as the letters stamped in the tread will remind you. Currently available in 2.2 widths for 26, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels, look for a 2.4 downhill Honey Badger soon.

 

Fox 34 TALAS CTD, Float X Rear Shock and Float 40

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

FOX displayed its new 34 TALAS CTD and Float X rear shock on the wildly popular Santa Cruz Bronson C, further iterating their intended all-mountain/enduro purpose.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Float 40 RC2 announces FOX’s commitment to air springs taking center stage in its gravity forks going forward. Completely revised lowers feature air-bleed valves and shave 1.15 pounds from the previous 40, resulting in a sub-6 pound dual-crown gravity fork—impressive.

FOX stopped by Price Point headquarters to give us an in-depth look, so be sure to stay tuned for a full review.

 

Shimano XTR Revisions

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Shimano overhauled its XTR brakes with magnesium calipers and carbon levers, dropping 40 grams per wheel and resulting in the company’s lightest hydraulic brakeset to date. The rotors see finned Freeza technology trickle-down from the 203-millimeter gravity realm where it debuted, to a full range of cross-country sizes, improving cooling and shaving weight.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Get your glue, kids. A new carbon tubular XTR 29er wheel also saw daylight for the first time in Laguna Seca.

 

Five Ten Freerider VXI

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The redesigned Contact Outsole of the Freerider VXI allows full pin contact for maximum grip, but lacks tread on strategic areas of the sole to allow repositioning without lifting the foot.

 

To be continued…

Stay tuned for continuing Sea Otter Classic coverage.

by Don Stefanovich 

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MARKLEY ANDERSON | Tour Divide Training Update

Markley stops for some facetime during a training ride in Shenandoah National Park.

Anderson stops for some facetime during a training ride in Shenandoah National Park.

March 29, 2013
“Did 100 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing today in a cold Shenandoah National Park. Feeling good and the training is going well. This pic is me after I finished. You can see I’m still fresh. Could have done more easily which is a good sign that I’m on target.” 
-Cheers, 
     Markley

Mad man Markley Anderson continues training for his second Tour Divide. In gearing up the massive multi-day 2,700-mile race, Anderson is logging hundreds of miles per week both dirt and road, and consuming thousands of calories. It’s all part of his idea of fun.

Anderson gets some time on the dirt in before work on a crisp Virginia morning.

Anderson gets some time on the dirt in before work on a crisp Virginia morning.

April 1, 2013
“Here’s a little action shot of me getting it done this morning. I had a great training weekend. I got back to back 100-milers with 20,000 feet of climbing in and felt great. Out this afternoon with a buddy for a three-hour gravel roader.”
     -Markley

Markley’s next “warm-up” race will be 24 Hours on the Ridge on April 20 in Danville, VA.

by Don Stefanovich 

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INSATIABLE INSANITY | Markley Anderson gears up for his second Tour Divide

Markley Anderson in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

Markley Anderson in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

It takes a hard man to ride a mountain bike 2,700 miles along the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico, gaining over 200,000 feet of elevation in the process. It takes an even harder man to ride it with his wheels rarely touching a paved stretch of road. It takes a really hard man to do it entirely self-self supported, carrying everything he needs.

It takes a mad man to want to do it again—the kind of mad man who would say something like, “Cross-country racing is fun, but too short for my liking.”

Price Point team rider Markley Anderson is no stranger to challenges, physical or mental. Formerly a paratrooper in the infamous 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army, Anderson has competed in powerlifting, bodybuilding and endurance and adventure races such as the TransAlp and the BC Bike Race. But when he arrived at the Mexican border in the dark, shaking beneath a crusted layer of salt and dirt 24 days after leaving the surreal postcard-like setting of Banff, Alberta, Canada, he swore he would never do it again. Now Anderson is quickly learning the meaning of the old adage never say never.

Markley Anderson descends in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

Markley Anderson descends in Austria during the 2012 TransAlp. Photo by Sportif.

“It has a magnetism like no other event I have ever had the sweet and painful pleasure of getting to know,” Markley writes in his 2013 Letter of Intent. “Funny how one can be attracted to something that beats you down to what I can only describe as a crushed saltine cracker in a bowl of chicken noodle soup.”

Much like the men and women who attempt it, The Tour Divide is an entirely different kind of animal. There is no entry fee, you don’t need a license and there is absolutely zero support—save for emergency extraction, should you need it—along the way. Not a single prize is awarded. And although there is a mass start known as the Grand Départ in June, the race can be completed by anyone any time during the year.

Anderson displays his bike and gear as he begins preparing for the 2013 Tour Divide.

Anderson displays his bike and gear as he begins preparing for the 2013 Tour Divide.

Mild-mannered high-school counselor by day, masochistic mile-muncher by night, Anderson has already begun training and preparing for 2013.

“After having some time to reflect and heal from the wounds that the Tour Divide inflicts, I find myself wanting to venture back and improve my overall time— some kind of crazy romantic quality about the Tour,” Anderson muses. “In 2013, I plan to race the Tour Divide again with the focus being more on speed. Now that I have the experience from having done it, I will be better prepared in regards to equipment, training and mental resolve.“

Anderson will be attempting to best his own 24-day time set in 2011.

Follow this blog to see if he succeeds.

Read more about Anderson’s bike and gear here.

Anderson learns during the 2011 Tour Divide that even when you can't ride, you have no choice but to keep going. Photo courtesy Markely Anderson.

Anderson learns during the 2011 Tour Divide that even when you can’t ride, you have no choice but to keep going. Photo courtesy Markely Anderson.

 by Don Stefanovich 

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