Friday, June 26, 2015

Comfort zone

Instead of trying to compete with international-level talent at a true blood downhill track, I'm back at a regional enduro race with other washed up ex-downhillers.

It's like a well worn armchair. So comfy, so familiar. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shawn Neer

Trails bikes were faster at Angel Fire. We know this obvious fact because Shawn won on a trail bike.

Also, please ignore the fact that the only other guys on the mountain running trail bikes, Logan and Kevin, both got served.

I mean, why else would Shawn have chosen his 6c when he could have ridden the new 650b Yeti DH bike? Wait, ummm, nm...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fireroads and death gripping

For everyone who thought "Angel Fire looks so easy," I did too. So I did my basic quali run thing yesterday, which consists of:

-braking early so you can carry that sweet, sweet mo through the turns
-hitting your lines smoothly
-not taking any big risks
-pedaling hard where possible, but not going into cardiac red zone lance armstrong mode

Aaaaaand I got smoked. I finished in 25th place in quali's, aka way OTB. Felt like a good run, but it was my worst result of the season. I thought the lack of technical aspects would allow me to succeed with my typical enduro strategy thing I've worked out and it turns out, no, there's no strategy at all, this race is just a measure of who's a pussy and who isn't. And if you hadn't figured it out yet, I don't live in the "isn't a pussy" category.

And you know those fire road sections everyone was talking about from the preride video? You should come race them. We're going like a thousand times faster than homeboy with the locked out trail bike from the preride video. And it's terrifying. In my quali run I had this wake up moment where I kind of blacked in from race mode and went "whoa, this is really dangerous, someone could get hurt out here" and then went back to racing. When we finished the fire road section and dropped in on the mid-track rock garden I remember this feeling that hit me, something like "oh thank god we're just racing rock gardens now, this is way safer."

In a race where patience and strategy are measured, I can normally hang. In a race where the difference between winning and losing is putting on your big boy pants, taking risks, and going balls out, I've got more of a, how do I say this?

It's hard for me.

Which isn't to say that first place qualifier Chris Higgerson doesn't have patience or strategy. He does, clearly. But more importantly he's been riding like a psycho all weekend, especially when he hits those rock gardens. Really, you should be here. Watching his 6'7" frame driving his poor bike through those rocks, it looks like he would do anything to get to the other side. Reckless abandon and no thought towards his health. Like, if the Marlboro man was on the side of the track and told Chris he could get to the other side of the rocks quicker if he started smoking a pack a day for the rest of his life, Chris would double down and ask if he could smoke four packs a day to go even quicker.

"Or what if I gave you my first born, or one of my kidneys or testicles? Would that help? I'll find a virgin to sacrifice if that would help."

Looks boring. It's not.

And since this is technically a race report or "rider journal" or whatever, and sponsors love this crap, might as well go whole hog: @ridegravity @feltbicycles @chriskingbuzz @troyleedesigns @fiveten_official @stansnotubes #timepedals @yakimaracks @oakley @feedbacksports @maximausa @maxxistires #stoked #blessed #fullthrottle #pinned #realdeal #manstrack #braaaaaap #alltime #vanlife #livinthedream #racetilidrop #pdx4lyfe #ndub #preparation #visualization #hydration #trainstation

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

The Angel Fire ProGRT track preview was released today, and rims everywhere cried out in fear:

Fortunately for those running carbon rims, I read on the internet from trusted product reviewers that they're practically indestructible, so you should be good.

Monday, June 15, 2015

This is what happens, Larry

That's what you get when you start your run with a freeride flick. That's the best I've got for you this afternoon.

As far as the Gwin run yesterday, what do you want me to say that hasn't already been said a thousand times on Pinkbike and Vital and Facebook and every other site you check while trying to avoid work?



"One of the greatest runs of all time."

"Way, way, way faster than TEAM ROBOT."

All of these comments have been said a million times already in the great echo chamber that is the internet, and I have no value to add to this conversation.

The internet news cycle

That said, commenting on the echo chamber itself is where ROBOTS tend to excel, and I've really enjoyed all the fat, slow, lazy, and(or) bad riders who are so excited to suggest every downhill race be chainless from here on out. Even more than that, I enjoy the armchair engineers who think after Neko's and now Gwin's run that chainless is somehow faster.

No, the only moral of the story is what you already knew and didn't want to admit: Gwin is a complete savage, and will probably go down as the most dominant racer of all time. It's looking like another year of total Gwin domination. 1st, 2nd, and now 1st in Leopedalgang without a chain? Except for Lenzerheide, Gwin has won on all of the remaining tracks this year, some of them multiple times. If you're a fan of nail-biting race action, you might want to sit the rest of the season out, because this is looking a lot like 2011 and 2012 all over again.

Okay, if pressed to comment on the Gwin thing, I'd bring your attention to this now hilarious photo of Gwin's mechanic John chilling with a beer clearly not working on Gwin's bike or chain after quali's on Saturday:

I'm sure Nathan Hughes had no idea how funny this photo would be after Sunday's final. But it's, like, really funny now.

The downward angle

Every girl who wasn't the hot one in high school knows if you're trying to work it on instagram or facebook or whatever boring/ugly-people-meet online dating sites you're paying 10% of your monthly income to subscribe to, you DO NOT want guys seeing the real you, at least not until they're several drinks in or months into a comfortable relationship that would be mildly inconvenient to end. Because while we act tough, most guys will put up with months, years, or even a lifetime of mediocre relationships to avoid the moderate inconvenience of listening to you cry when we end it.

Fact: 50% of all relationships everywhere are still running on fumes thanks to this one constant, aboding fear.

Girls know it. If you're a six and you put out photos of you looking like a six, you're not getting anything. You're not a ten, you're not even an eight, so truth in advertising is not your go-to reel in method. Most overweight online programmers who play minecraft 24/7 will at least shoot for sevens when they go trolling online, because they might strike out 95% of the time with sevens, but then there's that 5% who see "software engineer" and think "money." There's always that 5% that will put up with your backne, boring work stories, and your "indoor lifestyle" in exchange for a stable paycheck, and hey, then you're in with a seven.

And by "overweight online programmers," I mean TEAM ROBOT readers.

No, girls know they need to hustle and make moves if they want to rope down and slowly leach off of top-drawer income earners, which is the dream of every girl everywhere. See: every Disney princess movie. Contrary to popular belief, girls don't suffer from low self-esteem, they suffer from realism, so the sixes and below of the world have accepted their reality and mastered the technique of the downward angle profile pic.

From five to nine with a slight change of angle and a little legwork on iPhoto's iOS editing suite.

The key here is HIDING REALITY. Soft light, flattering angle, a tight crop to keep all other details out of the frame, lots of hair but not a lot of face (ugly chicks know what it means to work the hair angle), stretching that neck out to hide or minimize the triple chin, and dominating the whole picture with those big dumb wide-open Bambi eyes looking up at you. An open blouse with a touch of cleavage on display is pretty standard fare, too- enough to get the point across, but not so much as to allow someone a fully-formed opinion. Even if you crop a little too wide and people can see a little too much of what you're working with, perspective is in your favor. You might be a 48-36-48, but from a wide-angle iPhone lens positioned three feet above your head you look like 24-24-24.

Do you remember when Brandon Semenuk's last movie came out, "Rad Company," and there was that eight minute long Fiji segment of Brandon and Fairclough riding tall grass and two jumps?

Boring as tax law, but really pretty. As far as bike movie locations go, Fiji in Rad Company was like the smoking hot straight-up ten with a personality like cardboard. Looks amazing and you could stare at it all day long, but then you start talking and realize there's nothing there. I don't know who shot this scene, but they obviously knew what they were working with and played to their strengths- lots of contextual shots of the ocean and boats and cute thatched roof huts, slow mo shots of the tall grass flapping in the breeze, replaying that Semenuk crash a hundred times, and maybe 20 seconds of actual riding. It was a calculated move, and they played their hand well. We're in Fiji- the riding is going to suck, so let's highlight the scenery.

If you're a smoking hot ten, you put what you've got out there, but you absolutely, positively, do not want to talk to any guy ever. Brief snip-its of the stock "hi," "how are you," "what do you do," etc if you absolutely have to, but never, ever talk about anything approaching real, substantive verbal exchange. This is why loud nightclubs are ideal for tens: lots of visual on display, but very little room for actual conversation.

And let's be honest. If you're a ten, guys don't want to talk to you either.

But if you're shooting the I-Street jumps in Salt Lake City , you're like the four that played high school volleyball for the first half of freshman year and hasn't broken a sweat since, except maybe to reach down and put your orthopedic corrective velcro shoes on in the morning. You have all the scenic appeal of war-torn Afghanistan.

The truth will not set you free. Flat light, wide angle, lots of non-existent scenery on display, and an accurate portrayal of your khaki shorts and Utah freehucker "style."

Let's try that same photo again with the MTB equivalent of the ugly chick downward angle, aka shooting wide and close-in, sunset golden nug light, and an upward angle to make your three feet of air on a dilapidated dust pile look like Chase Hawk blasting ten feet out of the T1 ramp. Bonus points if you can position the camera beneath the rider to make a halfway tabletop attempt look like a clicked invert.

Boom. Now we're talking.

That's what makes this new Go-Ride video so fascinating. This video is the MTB equivalent of the four who thinks she's a ten. I don't know what mirror she looked in or whether she just needs a new contact prescription, but honey, trust me, you are not a ten.

Trust me, no one wants to see your three year old Devinci or the "Go-Ride" stickers on your sweet 888. No one wants to see detail shots of a brand new 2016 Fox DHX2 wasted on your 44 pound gearbox Nicolai, no matter how "groundbreaking" you think your German erector set frame is. And I can say with confidence that no one, anywhere, wants to see 40 seconds of you straight-airing small-line dirt jumps on your downhill bike with a skid lid on, especially not in slow motion. Cool, all your jumps are overgrown with tall grass, weeds, garbage, and graffiti? No, that's not "pretty" or "scenic," that's not even "b-roll," that's like a slow motion zoom-in focus pull on some girl's forehead pimple. That forehead pimple should be obscured by soft light, bangs, and a pound and a half of makeup, not on display for the world to see.

And please, please put those wooden kicker ramps away. My eyes are burning right now.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

From the desk of Cory Tepper

4.3 million views:

7.2 million views:


Not normally one to do teasers on the ROBOT, but this time it's that good.

Richie Schley. Pure gold. Coming up.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Leogang this year

No, wait... what? Really?

Instead I'm stuck here in Colorado, where mountain biking goes to die.

EDITOR'S NOTE: no just kidding about Leogang. Sorry guys, I looked at the trackwalks on Vital and Pinkbike and thought there was a bunch of wide, fresh track. Then I watched the Claudio track preview and realized the track is 95% the same as last year. My bad, sorry to deceive you, it's still business as usual at Leogang. Busy as usual, plus 200 feet of soon-to-be one line rut.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sol Vista

Is still the best lift-serviced riding in Colorado.

Hate on.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Okay, okay... one more

UCI meeting to discuss Schladming vs. Leogang:

A dead horse

UCI executive committee meeting:

Monday, June 8, 2015


It took me two minutes to realize I could put it on mute and experience it like a real deaf person.

Also check these prices for National Champs this year:

$295 seems reasonable for Dual Slalom and Downhill. Oh yeah, and then add $40 for lift tickets. Like an idiot I'll end up paying whatever it costs, no matter the price, but it begs the question: what does all this money go towards? These are the ROBOTS best leads:

Chocolate fountain for the officials:

Building a money mountain to ski down:

Swimming pool full of jello:

Or maybe USA Cycling doesn't even get the money and they don't get to swim in jello or ski down piles of gold. Maybe they're just a low-level evil player in a much bigger evil organization, and all their money gets shipped away to the big evil organization that's building a huge, evil-looking lair far away in the mountains, from which to carry out sweeping evil plans of world domination and extortion, headed by some bizarre older looking evil guy. And maybe USA Cycling has to do whatever marching orders come down the pike from evil hierarchy at the big evil organization:

But what would an evil looking mountain lair for a global evil empire even look like?

Friday, June 5, 2015


UCI kills another revenue stream for downhill:

In a related story, UCI execs wonder aloud why downhill isn't more successful during meeting to decide what color to paint Learjet for U23 XC olympic hopefuls for bi-annual training camp.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pinkbike wisdom

Listening to Pinkbike commenters discuss the new GW Link is priceless.

Don't hold this to me but it looks like Gwin's new linkage is cnc'd from ali and this technology won him a world cup over the carbon linkage.


Yeah, it's cause his shock link was made of aluminum instead of carbon. That's definitely what did it for him.

Better than Pandora

Why is it when you put in "Slayer Radio" they play anything other than Slayer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An oldie

Maybe not a goodie though. But definitely an oldie:

Monday, June 1, 2015


This has nothing to do with mountain biking at all:

There always has to be a twist, theme, or angle to these arthouse mountain bike films. Some heavy-handed plot or storyline they're trying to tell. Apparently it can never simply be "here's a movie about people mountain biking." There needs to be a helicopter chase scene or a jail break or muscle cars or horses running or anything else that has nothing to do with bikes.

There are two explanations I keep coming back to:

A) They just don't care about mountain biking, or

B) Maybe they like mountain biking on its own merits, but they don't believe other people will.

This probably doesn't represent everyone involved in these productions. There are probably leagues of misguided mountain bikers who genuinely think they're helping the cause or raising exposure or sharing the stoke or whatever. But explanation A or B (probably A) is almost certainly the story behind the DP's and producers and all the official film-type people involved for these snoozefests.

What other reason could you give for trying to stuff and cram our beloved sport into some storyline about Cam McCaul running through Chicago wearing his dad's suit? TGR is a ski-movie production company that gave up caring about skiing a decade ago, so the odds of them caring about bikes is approaching zero. The guys at TGR are care about bikes the same way I care about free samples at Costco.

I'm not going to pass on free guacamole, but I'm definitely not buying three pounds of it just cause Trudy wore her "I heart avocado" pin today.

Laugh at my failure

I think I got beat by, like, ten guys on DVO forks. I think Jill even beat me maybe.

In a related story, some guy keeps posting this photo in the comments section of all the Spring Classic ProGRT articles on Pinkbike. I think he really thinks this is a rad picture. I like the fact that you can clearly see tire marks for the fast line, about three feet to the inside of the turn.

Thanks for this trend, freeriders.