Saturday, April 27, 2013

The real Port Angeles

Dan Godard stoked at the laundromat:

"I wanted to help but 20 minutes of talking and I just wanted to take this picture. I heard everything from aliens to cell phones in your head in india to car crashes. Best evesdropping I've done in a while."

-Ben Furbee

Kitt Turbo Boost Tribute

It took me an hour to find this again, because Lars Ullrich sucks and doesn't want you to enjoy his music unless you pay Steve Jobs first. I think I-Tunes money goes directly into Steve's bank account, but that's just a guess. Anyway, almost all the copies have been taken down.

I found this one at "" which I can only assume is the youtube site for Austria, or Australia, or some other place that sucks and hates freedom. Enjoy:

NW Cup results

Your NW Cup #2 Practice Podium

1. Alex Eley for bending his bar 45 degrees and turning his hand into an overfilled red balloon animal
2. Strobel for being awesome and being the first to huck the road
3. Trevor Parkinson's for exploding at 30mph and walking away

Honorable mention: Brook MacDonald looked pinned and rides angry.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Irish Colin

Just posted this photo on Pinkbike:

The caption is "that's 1080 pounds." So awesome. I can't write this stuff.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chris Kovarik and Claire Buchar in big auto accident, but going to be okay

No joke here, while driving they got hit head on by a big out of control SUV. They are okay, but it sounds pretty scary. Story here:

Just remember, bikes are inherently dangerous. Cars are ridiculously dangerous.

What you were all waiting to see

The one, the only, the unintelligible: Sam Hill.

Sea Otter 2013 - Sam Hill Interview on Pinkbike

The Sam Hill Interview drinking game: every time you understand a word he says, drink. You will be sober all night.

Pirate Ship for Sale

Because sometimes you need to listen to Ice T.

What does Failure look like? Part II

I think when Pfunk titled the last post "What does failure look like" he meant it as a rhetorical question, but our readers being who they are, they chose to answer with two photos that capture some notable, public failures from my life. This gave me a great opportunity to reflect on the disappointment I've been to friends, family, sponsors, and really all the people who have helped or believed in me over the years.

Thanks for the journey through memory lane, Anonymous.

This photo is just a sampling of my total and soul-crushing failure at the ProGRT in Port Angeles last year. Last year they had just built the new step down at the end of Chunderdome, and for whatever reason I was terrified of it. Every time I hit it I took a foot off right before I massively cased it. I rode out of it about 50% of the time, the other 50% of the time I blew up and tumbled off course in front of everyone. Kyle's wife Ruth stood on the side of the track and told me how lame I was riding every time I crashed. It was a good weekend for me.

My total and soul-crushing failure in Leogang in 2011. A lot of people don't realize that my race implosion in Leogang was not an isolated incident. No, it capped off a $3000, 6-week transcontinental odyssey of failure and pain. Leogang was the crown jewel of my disappointing races from that trip, but there were so many other noteworthy and hilarious mediocre results. Ranchstyle. Highland. Plattekill. The U.S Open. Enough discouragement to last a lifetime.

The flight home from Leogang was one of those times when I realized that the only constant in all of my failed race runs wasn't rain or roots or dehydration or not enough practice or being tired. The only constant in all my shameful defeats was me.

When I saw those photos and relived my those memories again, my first instinct was jump to my defense and rebut Mr. Anonymous with this timeless and heartfelt quote from the definition of manliness, Teddy Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

-Teddy Roosevelt

But, reflecting on my cycling career, I thought another quote better captured the essence of my riding:

"Quitters never win, and winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots."

-Larry Kersten

I'll see you guys in Port Angeles.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sea otter update

Brian Lopes beat me on a 29er. So did Photo Bro Lear.

Uncle Darrell won his slalom category.

Gee Atherton sucks at bowling.

Kyle Strait rides for Kenda now.

Ben Furbee was fully going to race in a Team Robot shirt but I kept forgetting to give one to him.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things that are cooler than bikes

Carl Decker and Adam Craig in the house at the Sea Slaughter.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sea otter road trip diary

We arrived at Sea Otter and set up the pit, and now we have enough downtime for me to realize:
1) Holy shit I really should have brought sunglasses
2) They have free wifi here
3) RedAlp capitalized on the runaway success of their widely celebrated downhill bike to release a new Enduro bike, which we at TEAMROBOT expect to take the mountain biking world by storm:

The Pinkbike press release article has some of the best comments of all time:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sea otter road trip diary

Out route to Monterey took us through San Jose, right by the airport. SJC is the main airport that the big name riders, photographers, and industry types fly into for aqua gopher.

For the entire hundred mile drive from SJC to Monterey you're looking at better hills for a bike race.

Sea otter road trip diary

I don't know where that hateful glowing death orb in the sky came from, but I think it's trying to kill me. It's 71 degrees right now and my skin is moments away from lighting on fire. California sucks.

Sea otter road trip diary

I don't think I've ever stopped, slept in a hotel, and ridden my bike on the way to a race ever. The standard team robot approach is to drive straight through day and night at murder pace because we all had school or jobs or both to get back to. We only stopped for gas, so if you were hungry and you couldn't find a restaurant when we stopped, you ate gas station corn dogs or starved until the next gas stop 600 miles later.

This trip I'm riding down to the Otter with my boss at Diamondback, and it's a whole other program. I slept on a bed for eight hours, not in the back of a car for 2 hours on a makeshift bed of spare tires, sleeping bags, and folding lawn chairs, in between driving shifts. I feel rested and comfortable. It's super weird.

Anyway, Ashland was rad. They have sweet trails that go right into town. The dirt is sandy and sticky and the gription coefficient is off the charts. Rode with Brandon at Freehub Mag and got our drift on. Stoked.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that traveling like this is throwing off my whole pre-race routine and I'm going to have my worst result ever.

Sea otter road trip diary

Bard's Inn, Ashland, OR.
Continental breakfast score: B

Pancake machine. Oatmeal available. Egg burritos. Coffee was mediocre. Apples were comically small. Not the best, but definitely acceptable.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sea otter road trip diary


Plus this:

Equals dinner tonight. 

Sea otter road trip diary

Prius drivers suck. That is all for now.


This is what you wanted. This is what you asked for.

Congratulations, mountain bike world, you got your wish. I give you: Enduro.

#SuperEnduro2013 - PRO1 Sestri Levante - Highlights from Superenduro TV on Vimeo.

The reason this video is getting passed around the internet right now is that there's a clip at 1:25 in the video where some Frenchie has to limp down the hill death gripping what's left of his handlebar about three inches from his stem, with the broken end of his carbon bar hanging by his brake and shifter lines like his hopes and dreams for a good result. I'm not an expert on the pro field in SuperEnduro events, but I'm willing to bet that 70% of your handlebar and 50% of your brakes is good enough for 0% of the result you were hoping for.

You can laugh at him. It's okay.

Mountain bike nerds the world over are mounting their internet offense, using this video as the final, penultimate proof that carbon has no place in a handlebar, or perhaps they are defending the properties of carbon and reminding us that we have no idea what happened earlier in Frenchie leDeathgrip's run. Mechanics everywhere are pointing to the break, right at his lever clamps, and cautioning the riders of the world to observe proper torque spec or buy one of those Bontrager 4mm torque tools, and yelling the battlecry of mechanics and warranty departments everywhere: "INSTALLION ERROR!!!"

But all of these people are missing the greater theme in the video. The great truth staring at us, waiting to be seen. It's like an optical illusion. You stare at the small details, lost in the image, seeing the trees instead of the forest, until you refocus your eyes, and the whole canvas becomes clear, and you wonder how you missed it in the first place:

That video sucked.

And Enduro sucks. No, not the events. I mean, maybe the events suck, but I don't know from experience. I've never done an Enduro event, and I'm sure they're super fun like everyone says. That's what I keep hearing, anyway. I'll check one out soon enough, and I'm sure I'll have a blast. But that's not the point. The point is, Enduro will never be a premier event. Ever. It will never happen. It will always be a weird sideshow, because we already have the best premier event ever in the history of sport, and all other gravity disciplines are sort of like Diet Downhill or Downhill Lite compared to the real deal. All the other events died off, because there's only one that can stand the test of time. Downhill is the real deal.

Enduro is the mid life crisis Miata-purchase of mountain biking. Downhill was everything you asked it to be; it was faithful in your requests. Badass speed? Check. Gnarly death courses? Check. Kovarik? Check. The simplest, purest format imaginable? Check. Live, free broadcasting over the web showing almost the whole track and (almost) the whole field? Check. Downhill brought you this:

It's so good, it transcends our senses. Truly, this is perfection in Form.

The courses were like death at speed, the bikes looked like fighter jets, and the riders were like gods. Downhill was everything you could want, but you weren't satisfied, were you? What more could you have asked for? What need did you seek to fulfill?

Apparently you wanted to see Euro's talk funny and wear massive backpacks as they teetered and dabbed their way down an awkward, overgrown, blind gravel/rock IMBA switchback disaster of a trail, all set to a weird Euro synth harmonica bullshit soundtrack. Throw in some awkward man thigh-exposing short-shorts and a race field rife with full faces and sunglasses, and you have a sport that can help mountain biking take huge leaps and bounds backwards, to the tune of decades.

Thank you mountain bike world for giving us Enduro. "Oh, but the events are fun." Cool.

Allow me to explain this better:

Federal agents tasked with busting counterfeiting rings don't actually study counterfeit bills. In their training, they study the real thing: they study real money, and during their training they never see a fake bill. After months of training with real currency, studying the physical bills under magnifying glasses and blown up on slide projectors for the whole class to see. They handle countless real bills, from each era and generation as the currencies have changed over time. They watch the bills being made, study the processes, and slowly they become more than experts. The bills become almost a part of them, and they know the currency by feel, by sight, even by smell. 

"Touch, tilt, look at, look through" are the steps one uses in even a brief inspection of a dollar bill, and even a brief inspection can reveal great discoveries about the money in question. The federal counterfeiting agents study the real thing until it is engrained in their mind, knowing every distinct feature, the bend of the crisp, fresh cotton, intimately familiar with the texture and colors and the intricacies that make the bill what it is. After months of training with real money, they can spot a fake immediately. They don't need to study fake currency to identify it, they know what the real thing is, and the fake just cannot measure up.

What I'm trying to say is that I've watched downhill for ten years and compared to that this new Enduro fad is horseshit.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sea Otter

I will be at Sea Otter. I will have 13 shirts with me. Find me if you want one.

Friday, April 12, 2013


This is another gem sent to me by Adam Ransavage. I don't know where to start with this video, there are too many things to mention. It's perfect.


I guess in summary I'll just say I want more of it. Three minutes just was not enough. Mark my words, at least 50% of the riding in the next team robot video will have handguns involved.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Do it in order

Play this:

Then right click and open this in a new tab and READ ALL OF IT:

And while we're on the topic of Slayer, nice work by the Sensus guys on the recent team edit. Sure, coming up with a 30 cent product and then getting all your bros together to "market it” for you is less of a bike company and more of a lemonade stand for grown ups, but hey, we would have done it first if we thought of it, and if we were famous, good at riding bikes, and had friends. But if you're going to use the Slayer font in your logo, you might as well deliver the dong and run Slayer in your videos. Bonus points for song choice, too:

Sensus Team Edit 2013 on Pinkbike

Your vs. You're

One of our readers, going by the all-creative pseudonym "anonymous" left this comment on a recent post:

"your a douchebag"

This was either an underwhelming and uninspired insult plagued by a common typo or, alternatively, the word "your" was used correctly as part of a longer message taken out of context as delivered by a stereotypical Italian:

"I love a your writing on a Pinkbike Charles, but don't a forget about your a douchebag readers on a Team a Robot. Without your shitty little blog a their pathetic lives are like a the pizza without a the parmesano."

But seriously if you want to buy our t-shirts the link is on the right.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thank you Radam Mansausage

I didn't even know youtube doubler existed. Today is a good day.

Haven't been posting

Sorry I haven't been posting lately, I've been too busy drinking courvossier and wiping my ass with hundreds ever since I landed the job and Pinkbike.

I've run out of places to put all the money I made selling out.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Put your brakes back on.

If you think crawling around at 3mph so you can practice tricks on 2 foot airs is rad, then either put on some brakes and learn how to ride or kill yourself.

3 mph < Brian Foster

The only thing I thought about after watching this

Jared Graves has won the Sea Otter DH like a thousand times.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I recently joined IMBA. That's a whole other story, but in the meantime, I've been reading their site and there's not a single thing they put up on their site that isn't absolutely mind-blowingly crazy to me. IMBA is either the worst, most evil organization on the face of the planet, or everyone involved is a complete idiot, or their instructions are targeted at the lowest, worst bike riders on the planet, or all three.

Here's a gem I read today: IMBA revises trail care rules for muddy conditions.

Improvements in bicycling technology and riding techniques yield the following additions to IMBA’s advice:
1)   Consider Hucking. Riders who once wondered whether it was better to ride through a puddle or go around it now have a better choice: Air it out. “Most riders today can comfortably launch 5 to 15 feet, depending on speed and trail conditions,” noted Van Abel.
2)   Only Ride 650b, 29er or Fat bikes in Wet Weather. “There’s no excuse for being caught out in the rain on an antiquated 26-inch rig,” said Van Abel.
3)   Manual, Wheelie or Nose Wheelie to Reduce Impact. “This one is pretty simple,” said Van Abel. “One wheel has 50 percent less impact on the trail surface than two.”
Of course, some older mountain bikers will need to upgrade both their technique and their equipment in order to comply with IMBA’s advice. “If you’re in your thirties or forties and entering your golden years of cycling — you may not have the skillz or the bike you need to ride in wet weather,” said Van Abel. “In that case, your choices are simple — stay indoors, or get properly trained by someone who has completed an IMBA Instructor Certification Program class.”

Do I have the skillz or the bike to ride in wet weather? Now I don't know.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Turns out this was actually an April Fool's prank, so good on IMBA for getting the robot. Going forward, I'll have to pull from their plethora of other equally ludicrous articles if I want to make fun of them.

Aaron Bartlett for President of mountain bike movies

That is all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting paid to be awesome.

Lars Sternberg also lowered a few spots on the kill list today. Somehow Lars has figured out how to get paid for this crap, and for that TEAM ROBOT salutes you.

Like the rug at Lebowski's, shifty-eyed sidekick guy in the Bronson pic really ties the whole thing together:

Lars is pretty close to the bottom of the list, by now, but we still haven't forgotten back in '04 when he failed to defend freedom and liberty and got third to a bunch of backwards cowboy hat-wearing Canadians at a local BMX race.

Okay, so it was fifth place who was wearing a cowboy hat, but still. Team Robot never forgets.

Death by trails

Thanks for sending me this, Bob. One spot lower on the kill list.

This is the sort of spot where you're either a local, you're Brian Foster, or you die. And I don't mean the locals kill you if you ride there, I mean that unless you're there digging week in, week out, walking the terrain constantly until you know every inch of the trails by memory, or unless you're BF and you possess dark magic or unicorn blood or whatever he has that allows him to do anything on a bicycle with his eyes closed, then you will surely die riding these trails.

Besides being absolutely instant-death massive, I've never in my life seen such a concentration of blind jumps, weird transfers, and turning jumps in one trail spot ever. On the helmet cam, you can't even spot most of the landings until dudebro with the helmet cam is landing. There are maybe two jumps on the whole video that are straight and offer good visibility. Even most of the straight jumps are overgrown, and coming into the lips you can't see whether the next gap is 15 feet or 30.

That's not small. Yes, that's a six foot tall landing way out there.

Death by trails.

Monday, April 1, 2013



Mitch wins the 2013 Fontana National on a 29er, cementing all the fears you've been worrying about. Big wheels are here to stay. The Taliban will take back Afghanistan. Hostess is out of business, and they're not coming back. The pillars of freaking civilization, people.

This just in: Santa Cruz releases a sweet looking 650b Blur TRc named after a mediocre WTB tire and a stellar action movie star.

Like I said, stellar.

Look guys, here's the deal, and this is the straight dope for all the industry guys listening. Either you make a 650b bike, and soon, or you're going to be completely irrelevant as company. Without a new 650b bike, I give you're company one to two years, tops.

If there's one thing I've learned as a professional racer, as I've worked and struggled to become an elite athlete, in my brief moments of success and brilliance and enlightenment, it's this one simple sentence:

It's about the bike.

Trust me guys, it's about the bike. All that noise you hear about hard work and discipline and training and love and passion, it's a joke. None of that amounts to anything if you have the wrong tires or brake pads or especially if, God help you, you're running the wrong size wheels for the race. I've hung out a lot with a lot of strong riders, and they know this simple truth. Guys like Adam Craig work hard to look like they spend their entire winters on a singlespeed, riding "just for fun" and trying to "enjoy life." Yeah, would guys like Adam need to spend huge amounts of energy pretending to enjoy riding bikes, especially simple, low-tech, elegant machines like singlespeeds if they didn't know the huge advantages of having the latest tech on their side? You and I both know the answer to that one.

Adam Craig knows that if it's about anything, it's about the bike:

I was thinking about entering some of the Oregon Enduro's, but it looks like I'm gonna be on a 26 inch bike, like a freakin animal. Guess what? Not even gonna bother showing up to those Enduro's, because I know that if I had the 650 bike I could be on the podium, but settling for less just isn't in my DNA. I'm sorry I was born this way, I'm a winner, and winners don't settle.

I put these videos in order of bicycle technological advances so you could see the incremental improvement of the different bikes.

DB Welcomes Charlie to the DF5 Team from Diamondback Bicycles on Vimeo.

Here's me riding a 26 inch trail bike, like an asshole and clearly having zero fun. As you can see my wheels are dropping into bomb holes left and right, dragging my speed down, and every bump seems to suck speed out of my ride. The only possible benefit to my bike is that it turns a little better in berms, but as soon as it's a bumpy turn? I might as well put it in park. Riding a 26 inch trail bike for Diamondback is akin to charity work. I only do it to help out the brand, otherwise my 26 inch bikes would go straight where they belong: the dumpster, or an orphanage, or Goodwill, or wherever rich, privileged, white people throw older but still functional stuff that doesn't make them feel cool anymore.

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 Trail Battles - Let's Make It Interesting - More Mountain Bike Videos

As you can see, if Brad and Curtis are having 10% more fun than me, then they're carrying at least 20% more speed through the bumps on their superior wheel size. But, again, back to the technology: you could see that Curtis could barely get those big wheels going in that uphill sprint race. So much for acceleration, I heard that's not really important anyway... said NO RACER EVER.

Some people call 650b the Goldilocks size, some people call it the silver bullet. Maybe it's perfection, or nirvana. And not that overrated band from the crappier, rainier city North of Portland, but the real definition of nirvana that includes enlightenment and total loss of self.

So a Buddhist, a priest, and a Rabbi walk into a bar...

On second thought, 650b bikes aren't nirvana, because you're definitely not going to lose your sense of self on them. You're going to discover new levels of how awesome you are compared to everyone else who sucks. If you ride with people who kick your ass right now, trust me: you'll show them once you get on a 650b bike. Just look at Bryceland in that SC video? Can you imagine ratboy having that much fun shredding the rad** on a 26" trail bike? Neither can I. It's impossible.

Let's contrast that with how riding my 26er made me feel:

Riding a bike with 26" wheels is like charity work for me. I do it begrudgingly so I can feel good about how nice I am, but if I could pay someone or an organization to do it for me I would. True story.

Wheel size = winning or losing

**"Shredding the Rad" is a licensed trademark of Paul Lacava Inc.

Hilltop Hoods/tricks

I don't know why Hilltop Hoods doesn't show up in more riding edits. They've got a great sound, and I think their music really matches the pace and mood of riding.

I also thought this guy's tricks were all super rad. He made riding look fun and relaxed. I think "chill" is the word I'm looking for; his riding looked so chill. If I practiced enough and, you know, worked on my basic bike handling skills, I could see myself riding like this guy.