I was recently asked to write a little MTB Instructional article for Wiggle. Check it out here! I decided to write about my mental and tactical approach to an obstacle on the trail which, in my opinion, is as useful and important as any physical skill set. The photos/action are from Ranch Camp a couple weekends past where I taught this approach with great success. Would highly recommend this Kamloops event, put on by absolute shredder Lorraine Blancher, to dust off the cob webs and get some early season skills coaching. We had a blast there. Thank you Justin Kious for the great shots. Hope you enjoy the article and hope you get some good tips for your riding progression and knowing your limits but challenging your comfort zone!
This year we’ve hooked up with Reel Cameras to record some of our bike adventures. Together, we want to hook YOU up with a bit of a deal. Head over to www.reelcameras.com and check out the all-new HD Slayer with built in LCD screen and see why Reel Cameras is taking the industry by storm. Use code (kovarik20) when checking out and receive $20.00 dollars off and a FREE T! #reelcameras #reelriders #hdslayer
We had been looking forward to the Cairns World Cup for months and months. We knew that it may be the only World Cup we can get to this year so it’s kind of heart breaking when you put all your eggs in one basket and it doesn’t go super amazing.
We drove the battle truck up from Brisbane, 2 day drive. Little did we know, we were really heading into battle, what a race! We opted to drive so we could bring our trail bikes and explore some rainforest km’s before all the WC madness began. We’re on a tight budget so it worked out cheaper than flying, getting raped with excess baggage and renting a car etc. Cairns is such an amazing place to visit, let alone as a mountain bike destination! “Mountains”, fresh water gorges, epic rainforest, the reef, all the wildlife. Definitely one of our favourite places in Australia.
The Cairns track in itself was actually pretty basic for a World Cup track. In the dry. Fun berms and corners, technical sections, rock gardens, plenty of roots, high speed jumps, whoops, sprints. Bit of everything, quite normal. Add the rain and rain and rain and rain and it just became a mess. The volcanic soil in Cairns is the greasiest dirt can get when it’s wet. Spread it across already slimy rocks and roots and no tire tread or compound can help you. And because the track was not the steepest, it became so physical as you were fighting through the roots and muck. At times, you felt like you were going backwards and you were putting all out effort in to keep your momentum.
Despite the conditions, we were having a lot of fun and we were both riding great. So good to reunite with old friends, to be a part of the incomparable DH World Cup atmosphere. The crowds were wild, obviously, Straya. So much good energy around the place.
Things went wrong for me in my quali run. The infamous rock garden, which I was getting through alright, hurt me. Pretty bad. Slammed super hard and barely remember getting down to the bottom. Brought me back to the car accident just over a year ago. Couldn’t believe it. Same shoulder, ribs and pelvis all flared up again and fuzzy vision, headache. I basically knew then that any chance of me performing to my best ability was over. Race day, my body was in healing mode. It was tired, slow. Head was fuzzy, it was hard to tap into mental strength. And did you ever need it! I wasn’t sure if it was going to be safe for me to ride. So I went to find out. Went up for a practice run and it was pretty horrible out there. Picked my way down carefully. I decided that at least I’d be a part of the madness. Was going to have some fun. Race run, I slayed the rock garden! Even gave a little fist pump to the deafening crowd haha. But I pretty much felt like a muppet the entire run, crashing a bunch, pedals stuck on roots etc etc. If you couldn’t manage to keep your flow, it was just exhausting. Can’t even explain. But because I had such a shitty run, I made myself stand up and sprint the entire last stretch through the finish. No sitting allowed. Even though it felt like my bike weighed 500lbs caked in mud and my wheels would barely turn. It was my birthday and I wanted to feel like I put in an effort and that I didn’t give up. And it just goes to show how crazy the conditions were for everyone if I could finish 10th after an adventure like that!
Mr. Speed Trap:
At least he knows he was going quick somewhere! Chris took out the speed trap but had a run off the track in the lower woods. “Just kills your momentum every time you make a mistake in those muddy slow conditions and makes it such a battle, physically, to try to get going again. I was overheating at the bottom, I had to take my goggles off for the last sprint. Even though I ran off track Im still pretty happy with how I was riding and 31st is alright considering.”
Congrats to all the top riders and respect to all the privateers as it was especially a hard 3 days in the mud without big team support.
Special thanks to NSDynamics and Zelvy Carbon for sharing your pits with us! Glad to have a place to hang with all that rain.
We are migrating north next week, back to Whistler! Looking forward to starting another summer season.
Online Registration for our Race Skills Clinic at the Silver Star BC Cup/NW Cup is now live via CCN Bikes: https://ccnbikes.com/kovarik-racing-race-skills-clinic/
2 Spots are up for grabs via the Intense Weekend Video Entry Contest so that means 8 spots are available through regular registration. So get on it quick!
Come learn, get fast, race and pit with us!
Same kind of story. Heatwave, 35 plus degrees but didn’t seem as bad as Toowoomba for some reason. Maybe having the lake close by helped a bit, cooler air off the water? We did get a nice breeze from time to time too which was some relief. Either way, trails were dry, dusty, blown out and slidy. Made for some scary moments and also some good fun.
It was a 4 stage Enduro and with just under 200 entrants, it was a choose your own adventure format. You could ride the stages in whichever order you’d like. This worked well as it alleviated line ups and you could ride with all your buddies, no matter what group they were in. Three of the stages were quite flowy and pedally with a few climbs and traverses in there. The last stage, which we saved for last, was a gnarly, rocky, loose downhill with jumps and off camber chutes. My fav.
Chris just always seems to either nail it or blow something up. This time round, unfortunately, he rear flatted. Twice. First time was on the longest stage where it was luckily only a slow leak but he rode with a half inflated tire for most of it. Gruelling. I definitely would NOT want to do that. Anyways, he chucked a tube in and went up for the last stage, the “DH” stage. And a few corners in, rear flat. So crap!! He still managed to end up 10th and we are pretty confident that he could have walked away with it, had he been mechanical free. That’s ok. We know he is riding fast and these things happen. In retrospect, we were unable to find him a new rear tire before the event so he risked running his old one rather than running a different brand that he doesn’t like the feel of. And, unfortunately, the risk just didn’t pay off. Big congrats to Michael Ronning and Lindsay Klein for taking the shared(tied)win! Ronning and Chris were Intense teammates on the DH World Cup circuit back in the day. He’s a legend and still pins it big time. Lindsay’s been around for a while too, just a really versatile rider. Nice work guys.
The terrain at Mt Joyce seemed to suit me better than Toowoomba. Although the first 3 stages were ridiculously hard. Drool much? Yup that was me, the drooling panting loser, want to take my photo? Thanks. Ha! So there were 3 girls in the Elite Women category this time round. A bit of an improvement, at least we would fill up the podium! It was a good mix of backgrounds: XC racer Kylie Maduna, 4X racer Sharsha Huntington and myself, DH. Cool that we can all come together and enjoy this Enduro format. Kylie is strong on the pedalling, she is a little speedy gonzales! It was interesting to see that we were very close on the 3 “pedally” stages, we actually tied one of them. Pretty crazy how that can happen as I am sure we are quite different riders. Sarsha had a bit of a rough day, a few crashes on multiple stages. Props to her, being a mom and all and probably not having a huge amount of time for herself. Hope you’re not too sore to lift your kid today my friend! Geeez. Although I held my own on the flatter stages, I definitely made up a huge stack of time on the DH stage. It was my favourite and confirmed how much I love downhill racing. Downhill racing isn’t physically easy as you have to go all out and risk and focus but you can still feel pretty rad on your bike. When I’m racing a pedally stage and I’m drooling down my chin and losing my form by the second, yeah, I don’t exactly feel like a rock star! But saying that, I enjoy the challenge.
Overall, another fun day of racing against the clock. Now we are turning our main attention to our DH bikes, in preparation for the World Cup in Cairns.
For 2014, we wanted to support some up and coming athletes by acting as coaches, mentors and friends. We wanted to offer help through building their athlete profiles, relationships within the industry, taking some pressure off their parents and, obviously, helping them out with some rad gear to ride in and on!
So we’ve started a little RD(Rider Development) Team and this way we can also help out some of our sponsors by getting some shredders on their radar and out showing off their brands.
Seth is the perfect little candidate. He has been working with us through our Rider Development Coaching Program for the past 2 years and he has a bright future in the sport whichever avenue of it he decides to take. His job is to have fun, keep progressing and work towards his own personal goals. We are proud to have Seth under our wing and rockin’ his own Kovarik Racing jersey at some events throughout the season. Look out for some more Seth action this year!
Squamish, BC Canada.
Down to earth little dude.
He already has a few sponsors of his own but big thanks to some of our own great sponsors for hookin’ Seth up: Intense Cycles, Five Ten shoes, Fox suspension, Chromag components, e13 chainguides, Smith Optics, Giro helmets, Reel Cameras, Evolution Whistler.