Thursday, June 30, 2011

Going big is timeless

Brian Foster then:

Brian Foster now:

Just like Bender said, "Just around the corner, the next monster air awaits..."

By the way, I met Bender two months ago, and it was awesome. He actually speaks in third person in normal conversations.

Monday, June 27, 2011

NW Cup #3

Skibowl fits like an old glove. An old, crusty glove with slow chairlifts and a track that scares you shitless every time you ride it. Basically it's perfect.

No, that pretty snow capped peak you see isn't Skibowl. "Mt. Hood Skibowl," while containing the words "Mount" and Hood" in it's moniker, isn't actually on Mt. Hood. (Editor's note: I have been informed that Skibowl technically is on Mount Hood. I technically don't care.)

Naming the resort "Mt. Hood Skibowl" is an interesting attempt to capitalize on Skibowl's proximity to the bigger, more picturesque mountain next door. It's kind of like getting your picture taken with someone famous, and then assuming that people will now take interest in your less interesting, less successful self.

Petr and the Hurricane Racing racing crew, Team Krunkshox, and lots of other people who didn't sit on the couch last weekend worked their butts off shoveling snow and getting the track dialed in. And that's exactly what it was: dialed. So next time you're at Skibowl, you can thank Petr for making it all possible:

Looking for a picture of Petr to butcher in MS-Paint, I found this little gem of Petr Winning the "Arctic Man" race in Alaska for the third time in 2001:

Fun fact: the last time Petr competed in Arctic Man, his teammate on the snowmobile was Todd Palin. No shit. I'm not creative enough to make stuff like this up.

As for the MS-paint picture? Nailed it.

While you're busy thanking people, Don't forget Bend, Oregon's own Jim Karn:

If you like the rock garden and the woods at Skibowl, that's probably 80% Jim's work you're riding. I completely made that statistic up.

Course builders everywhere could stand to learn a thing or two from Skibowl's formula. Please take note: going fast is super fun. Especially over big bumps and rocks and stuff like that. In fact, that's what our bikes were designed to do. Instead of spending lots of time building jumps, spend half that time, cut down some trees, and let us go straight down the hill for a while. Or at least mostly straight.

After all, that is why we ride downhill mountain bikes. So we can go down mountains. They are not called "meander and turn a million times as you pedal your brains out and desperately try to maintain momentum before you eventually get to the bottom" bikes.

Course building rant concluded.

Actual race report:

I rode down the hill and then they gave me a bunch of money and everyone clapped. It was awesome.

Current series points standings (based on my questionable addition skills):

Mikey Sylvestri: 414
Eric Loney: 375
Kyle Thomas: 322
Charlie Sponsel: 247

Here's some dorky math. I have a 167 point deficit for first overall and a 128 point deficit for 2nd place overall. That means if I had attended the prior race at Port Angeles I would have needed either a 6th in quali's and finals to put me in first place overall, or a 9th place in quali's or finals for 2nd place behind Mikey.

And yet, after all that dorky math, I still coasted across the finish in my quali run yesterday. I missed out on 2nd place in qualifying by two tenths of a second, and kissed five precious points goodbye. Oops.

Here's a video from a race day practice run with PRKT, who also has a website now:

Mt Hood Race Day Warm Up NW Cup #3 2011 on

Final times were something like this:

5th Some old guy: 3:59 and something
4th Some 19 year old on a clapped old bike: 3:59 and something less than the old guy
3rd Me: 3:54
2nd Some guy who isn't riding for Yeti anymore: 3:49
1st Some guy who doesn't ride his bike over the winter, doesn't train, and doesn't warm up before race runs, made a huge mistake and still set an all time record down the hill: 3:45

Here are some other cool things that happened this weekend at Skibowl:

Bummer. The good news is that after a few stitches and some gauze, the horror movie level of blood that was pumping out of Mitch's leg was stopped.

-Chazz out

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bikes are rad

Skibowl race this weekend. Time to ride some bikes!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I am Brian Lopes

I took the screen name "Brian-Lopes" on Pinkbike.

I am Brian Lopes.

Brian Lopes

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WARNING: from Team Robot


your team:

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bummer time

I randomly decided to troll pinkbike for any pictures from my trip on the East Coast. I didn't, but I did find this gem from Colin Meager at Leogang:

Date: 2011-06-11
Trail: Leogang Bike Park
Riders: Charlie Sponsel
Description: Reality sets in for Charlie Sponsel; +1:02.79 does not make the big dance.

So, story time.

We only had one day of practice before qualifying on Saturday. Conditions were fairly dry on Friday morning, and they got faster and dryer all day. I had a blast all day, and got to shred the best course I've ever ridden with Jill, Team Yeti and Team Evil. Eliot Jackson is the nicest kid on the planet, by the way.

It rained all Friday night. Saturday rolls around and the track is hammered. 2 foot deep ruts, enormous holes and braking bumps, it was bad news. There were mud holes and ruts so deep that your pedals dragged while you were going straight. Some spots were just as fast, others you had to go even faster if you hoped to stay out of the holes, and some spots you had to slow way down if you wanted to survive. Tough conditions for anyone, and especially tough considering I'd never ridden anything like it.

Saturday's conditions were for the smart and the experienced. Bringing neither of those qualities to the table, I had to guess where to throttle wide and where to speed check. I guessed wrong. In 3 runs on Saturday I had 6 crashes. 2 of those 6 involved crashing my brains out.

I put all that out of my head for my qualifying run. I was in a great mental place, and I had a great run going until I didn't. One stupid cross-root at the bottom of the hill ended my run. I fought the fall for a while before I went over the bars, and I got back up pretty quick. I rode the next super steep, rooty section decently fast considering both feet were unclipped. After escaping the steepest, scariest part of the course, I found another root to crash on in a nice, easy part of the course. When your feet aren't on the pedals, anything can end your run. Or re-end it, in my case.

By now I knew I was out of the running, so I sat down on the side of the course. I'd just flown over the bars, and I was well downhill of my bike. The race was on 30 second intervals, so by now I figured the guy behind me would be right on top of me. I listened for whistles, for bike noises, and for cheering. I didn't hear any, so I got up, walked up to my bike, and rolled down the hill. at this point, I knew it was over, so I was pretty bummed. I rolled through the finish line, laid down on some grass, and contemplated many things. It was a nice combination of pissed, disappointed, and stunned.

As I was contemplating many things, I heard somebody snapping a bunch of photos. Three possibilities crossed my mind:

1. Some Euro is taking my picture, and I will never, ever see it, ever.
2. Some major photo guy is taking my picture, and everyone in the world is going to see it and laugh at me for sucking at life.
3. I might have enough money in my backpack for a pizza.

As it turns out, none of these were true. I only had enough $$ for another crummy sandwich, I found the picture on Pinkbike here, and it wasn't used in a major article, so only you guys will be laughing at my failure.

Lessons learned from that race:

-Robots are made of metal, and metal doesn't always get along with rain.
-Mud tires aren't always the best pick, even in mud. This fact still confuses me.
-Europeans make weird sandwiches.
-World Cups are sweet.
-Aaron Gwin is on another level this year.
-Beds in Austria are not very big.

That is all,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leogang World Cup, Part 2

Aaron Gwin just won the downhill, and now holds the 2011 DH leader's jersey.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

World Cup

In other news, I just had the best day of downhilling in my life. The hill is constantly steep, wide, and fast as hell with a bunch of lines and lots of holes. Basically amazing. It's definitely the best track I've ever ridden and it's right up my alley. I'm having a lot of fun, and getting to ride with some pretty fast guys. My bike feels better than it ever has. It does very well on the steep. It is so good here.

Currently I'm pitting with a bunch of Frenchies that are staying in our hotel, along with the French Junior National team. This obviously flies in the face of everything I've ever believed and stood for. Maybe this means that we as humans can put aside our petty differences. Walk away from the things that divide us, and tear us apart. Maybe we can stop hurting each other, and the lion really´can lay next to the lamb. Alternatively, it might just mean that I will sacrifice my ideals and principles as soon as I reach a tough spot. Probably the latter is more likely.

I'm really excited for quali's tomorrow. Jill sounds like she's really liking the track, and I think shes going to kill it. There's a lot of jumping and pedalling, so I think that will be good for her. I'm in a really good place. The track is so good.

Over and out,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trails news

So I'm in Germany. Big news... I guess I'll put up some pictures later or something maybe.

In more important news, the trails are going to run this year. Andrew and I worked on them all year, but right when the dirt-shaping weather came around, I took of on my 6-week riding trip.

But it was all good, Andrew and Paul Lacava were going to shape the trails in. The night before I was going to leave, Andrew and I went and rode Gabriel Skatepark, and Andrew broke his elbow. Things did not look good for the trails.

Andrew's been on an aggressive rehab program (as pictured above), but he was still out of commission for digging. So with me gone and Andrew out, the responsibilty for shaping the trails fell squarely on Paul's shoulders. No shaping=no riding. Once the wet months are gone, the dirt at our trails turn to concrete if it's packed, and dust if it's not.

Paul nailed it.

8 hours with a flathead in one day beats any personal record of mine. In just a couple weeks the trails got a serious facelift. And then, yesterday...

Paul broke his Clavicle. I don't know where he broke it, but here are some helpful hints that lead to my educated guess:

1. Paul finally got a downhill bike
2. It was a Sunday when he got hurt
3. The last time Paul mentioned riding to me, he was bragging about how good Raven is right now.
4. Paul broke his right clavicle by "clocking a tree at full speed."
5. Paul didn't mention where he broke his clavicle, so it's probably a little on the DL.

I would be willing to bet $5 that Paul broke his collarbone at Raven on the left hander into the superfast part of the alders, when you turn down onto the fall line of the hill. I have nailed that tree before, and until it gets you you don't even notice it. That section is absolutley pinned, so that tree would do the trick.

Whatever happened, We're all bummed to hear that Paul is out for a bit. It's never good when friends get hurt, but at the beginning of summer? Not awesome. The good news is that, judging by his picture, Paul is apparently an ambi-drinker, able to use left or right or left hands.

TeamRobot sends healing vibes out to Paul, Andrew, Bryn and Lars. Just remember guys, we want you all healthy when we begin the robot extermination program. We at TeamRObot HQ want to exterminate all humans on fair terms.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I've been in Europe for 4 days now. Here are my abbreviated thughts so far.

Things Germans love:
1. David Hasselhoff
2. Techno
3. Beer
4. Not J-walking. Ever.
5. Wearing Lederhosen
6. Wearing nothing
7. Reggae. Bummer.

Things Germans don't love:
1. People J-walking.
2. Eye contact.
3. Smiling.
4. Anyone getting in their way at all.
5. Me?