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, www.pricepoint.com.

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, www.pricepoint.com.

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.

 

How It’s Made – INTENSE BIKES

Hidden down a small road just off of the Winchester exit on the 15 Freeway, the Intense Factory is neatly tucked in a small business park in Temecula California. In fact, if you didn’t have an address or know where you were going, it is likely that you would miss the company with over 23k friends on Facebook, a nationwide tour and with a CEO that designs guitars in his spare time.

But despite it’s modest appearance from the outside, this factory houses several large mills for component production, a photo shoot lab and about 30 employees who are all die hard mountain bikers, and who are passionate about their role in masterfully creating  some of the most innovative and highest quality bikes available on the market. With Jeff Steber leading this small, tight-knit and focused team of mountain bike enthusiasts, it’s no wonder Intense is able to unveil the  951 Evo, Carbine 29,  Spider 29,  Carbine 275  and the Tracer 275, just within the first 7 months of the year.  And with Interbike just around the corner , the world is waiting to see if they unveil another bike this year and how it will compare to the line-up of bikes that have already be shown at Eurobike last week.

Well, since so many of us just couldn’t wait until the end of September to find out, we decided to take a trip out to their factory to find out what they are currently working on and how they make their bikes, just so damn Intense.

1. Every bike that comes from the Intense Factory starts here at aluminum station.

2. The aluminum tubes go to the Bandsaw where they are cut into billets or shorter bars and tubes.

 

Their  Haas CNC machines to produce different parts for each of their different frames. Everything from pivot bolts and dropouts to thru-axles and suspension links.

3. After the billets are cut down to the desired component, they are inspected before heading to the parts store.

4. Once an order is assigned to a bin, someone will pull all of the necessary parts from the store and place them, in a holding area where each bin is matched up to a frame that is set on an assembly jig and prepped for the welders.

5. Next comes the heat treatment. Frames are heated for about an hour to allow the frames to soften so that they can be malleated and set to fit the correct geometry for each respective frame specifications. After this process, they are sent back into the machine for cooling before they are sent down the street for anodizing  and powder coating.

6. Upon there return, each frame is thoroughly inspected for quality before they head to the assembly department.

This is the last station each bike goes through; here they are built up and boxed for shipment before they make their debut online at www.pricepoint.com.

Watch the video footage.

 

 

5 Things You Don’t Know about Jeff Steber

 

Jeff Steber

 

It’s been more than 20 years since Intense Cycles founder Jeff Steber started making bike frames on his kitchen table, but that hasn’t stopped him from applying his personal touch to every frame that comes out of the Intense factory today. His bikes are just as legendary as his hair and his passionate fans are the pulse that pumps life into the brand.

While so many bike companies are struggling to stay in the race with brands like Cannondale, GT, Specialized and Trek, we wanted to find out what it is about Jeff and his approach to design that makes his brand so unique, so our social media guerillas went out to the Intense Factory to catch up with him before he heads to Eurobike next week.

 TL: Good Afternoon Jeff. Thank you for having us out. We know you are a busy man, and we just wanted to catch up with you to see what’s coming up next for you and Intense.

JS: No problem. We always have things in the works at Intense. There is always something in development. So it’s good you came by.

TL: Most people consider you to be the rock star of the bike industry. Your hair is the one thing that most people remember about you. How do you get your hair like that?

JS: Honestly I just wake up in the morning and put some water on it and run my fingers through it. It could just be the cut, but I don’t have to do anything to get hair like this.

TL: Name the Best Movie of All Time

JS: I’m a sci-fi buff, so for the longest time I’d have to say The Fifth Element. And pretty much any movie that creates an emotional response that I don’t normally feel and don’t get to feel that often. And I hate to admit it, but I cry every time I watch Avatar, when they burn home tree down.

TL: What inspires you?

JS: Well, I have to break that down into different categories. When it comes to music I’m always drawn back to the early years of rock and roll. I like Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, even in this day and age, I identify with those people because they were the firsts sounds I heard. I feel like that genre of music has withstood the test of time.

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

JS: The hardest thing I’m going to have to do is actually retire. I hope I will learn to do that someday.

TL: What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do and do you see yourself still doing it?

JS: Once upon a time I wanted to climb Mt. Everest. I think I’ve reeled that in more. Now that I have a family I have shifted what I wanted to do a lot. I consider myself very lucky to have a job like this and to have created a brand that people can identify with. So I guess the only thing I could really want to do before I end my career is to grow Intense to its full potential.

Check Out the Extended Version of Our Interview Below: