Sunday, June 30, 2013

So enduro

Enduro: breathing new life into the careers of mediocre downhillers everywhere.

On the plus side, the first Cascadia Dirt Cup was pretty rad. I'm pretty pumped to get second, but I've got to give credit where credit's due: Matt Slaven absolutely walked away with the win. Three stage wins (out of three), including setting the all-time record down Thrillium. Total animal.

Stan Jorgenson in third showing us a teaser of his abs with his first (?) enduro podium ever, Darren Seeds proving that you can get fourth and still have no idea which side of the podium to stand on, and Alex McGuinnes in fifth demonstrating the Jim Karn approach to podiums. 

The fourth episode of the Devon Lyons show this year will be at the same Cold Creek/Thrilium venue on July 14th, and TEAM ROBOT predicts that several pro racers will leave Thrillium in body bags. TEAM ROBOT predicts that running a 300 person race down an overshooty jump trail with 40 foot tables at 45 mph with half lids and XC bikes will result in between 1-3 fatalities, but those are conservative numbers, because ROBOTS don't make hasty estimates.  The real fatality number could be much higher.

Without a doubt, racing Thrillium was the most dangerous, scariest, gnarliest race I've ever done. Again, props to Slaven.

ROBOT out. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I continue to suck

But hey, that new jersey looks good with my purple sombrero.

An update

1. Remi Thirion is still the new Blenkinsop.

2. Brook MacDonald is still not the new Kovarik.

3. The new 15-second Bocephus Sensus ad on Vital is what we need more of in mountain biking. The Sensus guys are still a bunch of cool-kid Socal bro bras, but that doesn't stop them from spreading the Slayer and helping to make sure mountain biking isn't completely run by touchy feely artsy people who go slow and suck. Because hey, if you're going to copy Slayer's logo, you've pretty much contractually agreed to use Slayer in all your team edits. And their grips don't suck:

Sensus Team Edit 2013 from Sensus on Vimeo.

That is all.


Chicago, IL:

SRAM makes X.01 11 speed cassette available to public for $399.99, down from $425.00 for XX.1.

Now everyone can afford it.

The new X.01 package also includes a reasonably-priced but mandatory purchase of:

A rebranded Shimano Airlines rear derailleur.

Shitty aluminum cranks with a graphics package and ano finish borrowed off Trek's newest $350 townie hybrid. As a bonus, they changed from XX.1's proprietary/impossible-to-source-chainrings-from-anywhere BCD to an older but still obscure and impossible to source BCD... for no apparent reason. Also, bonus points for backing down from their original "you don't need a chainguide or a bashring ever again" stance and offering a freaking bashring.

Because X.0 has been selling with carbon cranks for three years now, there's no time like the present to lower the quality of what used to be a flagship product line.

The privilege of buying a new freehub, hub, or an entirely new rear wheel. If you're running a complete factory built wheelset, you might even be looking at $1000-$3000 to ante up for a complete new wheelset. Don't have that sort of cash just yet, but you want to start running X.01 now? Don't worry, everyone has a friend with a spare rear wheel with an XD driver body on it that you can borrow until you get your new wheels.

A chain you can't buy anywhere, so you'll need to have a spare if you ever get into trouble away from your one trusted mountain bike shop. This bad dog probably retails for north of $70, so having a spare around should cost the equivalent of one new downhill tire, 10 tubes, or 14 five dollar footlongs.

None of this changes the fact that if you can't push a 32 x 11/36 1-10 up a climb you should kill yourself right now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This is the end of movie making

Brook MacDonald Charging - #notbad from Anthill Films on Vimeo.

What used to just be called "a cool clip," after $30,000 worth of cameras and lenses and producers and directors and key grips and head crew masseuses, is now called "a teaser" for an entire video.

Which would be cool, except the teaser concept is going to translate to a feature length video that only has 17 clips of actual riding, each of them shot on a RED and stretched to fill 90 seconds. Edit in some B-roll of starry nights, rain clouds moving in, and gondolas going up the hill, add a dash (or 20 minutes) of boring interviews with athletes who can't talk, and you've got the latest Anthill production.

And the worst part is, I don't even have the industry-specific terminology and jargon to lampoon this shit the way it deserves. I'm sure they're not using starry night time-lapses (that's Indistinct Productions), and I can't say whether their B-roll will be shot with helicopters (a la Where the Trail Ends) or out the window roadtrip style (a la the Collective). All I know is, this is the end of story-telling in videos. I don't have the subject-specific knowledge to really go into depth on this shit, but here's an overview of mountain bike movie-making in 2013 from 35,000 feet.

Here's a simple equation to predict the quality of a mountain bike video in 2013 (or ever):

1/ (# of people on film crew) / (Tens of thousands of dollars of camera equipment) / (Tens of thousands of dollars of Travel budget) = the percent of the movie that will be watchable

For instance, a mountain bike movie with a seven person film crew, $30,000 in RED's, lenses, boom arms, jibs, and dollies, and a $20,000 travel budget will result in:

1 / 7 / 3 / 2 = 0.02380,

or put otherwise, 2.38% of the footage they shoot will be watchable. So if their exploits result in a 54 minute video, I will only be able to sit through about 1.28 minutes of the film. Probably there will be a four minute long designated "racer" segment, or even worse, a designated "racer rides a freeride trail/whistler" segment, and about two thirds of those four minutes will make my skin crawl. So yeah, a total of 1 minute and 18 seconds will be tolerable.

What a lot of filmakers don't realize is, you can often create a similar result with much cheaper production values. I think a lot of filmmakers are using equipment and budgets as a crutch, when in fact using less can be a powerful and constructive tool to refine your ideas and make the end result stronger. Star Wars: A New Hope was plagued by setbacks and necessitated numerous shortcuts and Maguyver solutions, and that refined the final product into one of the most unique, influential films of the 20th century. Examples like this abound, like Rocky and Mad Max and a thousand others. For some artists, this even takes the form of self-imposed constraints as a creative resource. Thrift doesn't have to be a handicap. As an attitude, a mindset, an ethos, it can be a huge asset for a film crew, or an artist, or even *gasp* a bike company.

For example, I found a video crew that used a much smaller budget to create a very similar aesthetic to the Anthill Brook MacDonald video:

Just click the link

This comment is going to get deleted in 3, 2, 1... so just enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Australia now owns Bromont.

Bromont Canada has been under attack by Australia for some time now, see Earthed 1 Team MadCatz destruction, and years later in Earthed 5 by Sam Hill. But ownership of the area was still debated by some, until now. young ozzy, Connor Fearon has officially made Bromont the property of Australia.

Video of the event below.

Wild Connor Fearon Edit a Mountain Biking video by veeae

Top Secret!

Top Secret Team Robot "Enduro Specific" training video leaked!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The bummer report: Fort Bill Edtion

Here's who didn't qualify at Fort William this weekend:

85. Kevin Aiello. Insert typical World Cup result for an American joke here.

87. Ivan Oulego Moreno. I don't know who old this guy is, but he's somewhere between Steve Peat and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

90. Bernat Guardia Pascal

93. Isak Levisson. 12th at Norway last year.

95. Dan Stanbridge. He's not Ben Reid, so no one really cares.

100. Kirk McDowall If Kirk didn't make the cut then either A) he had problems or B) it was freaking insanely fast at Fort Bill this year

119. Bas Van Steenbergen (faster than me)

124. Graeme Pitts (Also faster than me)

133. Bernardo Cruz. In Downhill Domination whips give you extra points, but not in Fort Bill.

144. Jack Reading. Also super fast. Flat tire? Crash? Who knows.

148. WynTv: flat tire

149. Marcus Pekoll. I think his best result is a tenth at... Val di Sole maybe? Anyway, he's way too fast to not qualify. Flat tire maybe?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gee Atherton is dead to me

Gee Atherton has now raced:

-A car on Top Gear
-A motorcycle for some Red Bull stunt that no one watched
-And now, a peregrine falcon.

There was a time when we at TEAM ROBOT rooted for GEE, when he blew up doing backflip attempts in a half-lid in Eurohickistan, won Schladming while he was still going through puberty, and generally had a good time while riding like an idiot. Pretty rad. We like to call that Earthed 1-4. 

Somewhere around 2007 two things happened: first, Gee realized he was a real athlete and needed to start acting like one, meaning dieting, huge squats, hating bike riding, and probably roids. Shortly thereafter came his second big discovery: he really wasn't that good. Yeah, he's one rainbow jersey and a World Cup title good, but definitely not top-level consistency resulting in total domination good.

And that would be fine for fun-loving, pinned-at-full-retard, young/happy Gee, but for roided-out need to win everything Gee the realization that he would train so hard and still lose 95% was too soul crushing.

So where does Gee go from there?

If you can't win races against real mountain bikers, you just have to race birds and tv show car drivers. It's a sad, small, scary little depressing world in Gee's head. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Alex McGuinness' soul died today

Don't open that box

Death awaits, humans.



Rumors are flying as to how the 8000 acre ski area with 37 lifts and nearly 10 billion dollars in infrastructure, residential, and commercial development was killed by one man, Whistler-local Mark Matthews.

Early reports are short on the details of the tragic and unexpected death of the beloved ski and mountain bike resort, but here is what we know at this point in time, thanks to the aggressive journalists at

A by-stander, Rupert Walker of nearby Victoria B.C., had a camera on hand and allegedly captured the death of the industry-leading ski area in this "must watch" video footage. Warning: we are bringing you this news as we receive it. TEAM ROBOT's trusted news staff have not had the opportunity to watch the video allegedly containing Whistler's death, so the footage may be highly graphic and may include death or dismemberment.


We followed up on this story by watching the video that allegedely captures Whistler's death. We did not see any footage that captured the death of the ski area. In fact we did not see any significant physical harm to the resort in the video, besides a few shitty freeride flicks and some skids. TEAM ROBOT's correspondents in British Columbia have confirmed that Whistler is still alive and in good health, and have today already enjoyed several runs on the famous bike park.

Another me-too mid-grade freeride local skidding on piste while doing minor bar turns and tweaks, with no innovative lines or new ideas, with a tired and already outdated over-filtered B.C. freeride cliche video aesthetic?

Definitely not "slaying it." After watching the video I'd say Mark Matthews had no appreciable impact on Whistler's trails, infrastructure, ecology, my perception of Whistler or mountain biking, or anything. At best I'd say he lightly massaged Whistler, but that's being charitable and still a far cry from "slaying."

If you're not one of the five people pictured below, can we please cut the bullshit and dispense with this idea that you "slayed" anything at Whistler? There is nothing new to be done on Whistler, and if something new gets done it's probably not going to be you doing it.

If I see a video title that reads "So-and-So Slays Whistler, B.C." I'm more likely to find out that you actually killed an inanimate mountain than to watch the video and find out you did anything fresh or new.

Also, if you're not one of those five guys, or maybe Steve Peat or Aaron Gwin, could we just retire these words too:


Being kinda fast or doing something nifty on your local trail is sweet and we're all happy for you, but anyone with a room temperature IQ knows you'd look like you were four finger braking if any top-50 World Cup rider showed up at your super secret local trail that you're allegedly "crushing."

And that's as much a call out for video guys and riders as it is for website headline writers. Come on
 guys. Seriously.

No one cares

That you brew your own beer.