EWS Valberg, France by Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Posted on: 09/21/2016

It seems like a while ago since the last race in the Enduro world series so it is fair to say that everyone was excited to get back between the tape and go racing again. Valberg, the venue for round 7 is situated in the southern alps just an hour and a half drive up the valley from Nice, France.

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Even after the big liaison up to stage three, where everyone was greeted with amazing views at the top and a great 15-minute trail to the bottom of the valley, everyone quickly forgot about the climb up.

After the first day of practice, all of the riders came back with big smiles on their faces after realizing what amazing trails they were going to be racing on. Even after the big liaison up to stage three, where everyone was greeted with amazing views at the top and a great 15-minute trail to the bottom of the valley, everyone quickly forgot about the climb up.

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

For the last day of practice, the clouds came rolling in with some heavy rain making the trails very tricky, much to Gary and Robin's delight. But due to the bad weather, the race organizers decided to cancel the prolog and removed stage two from the race. This was a really good move as riders would have quickly gotten cold and struggled to even finish the race if the conditions would have remained as it was on Friday.

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

With practice all wrapped up and a night with no sleep for our mechanics everything was in place for two days of racing.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

First one on the course was our Chilean U21 rider Pedro Burns ”AKA” Batman who was maybe not feeling completely at home in the slippery European conditions but he managed to pull off an amazing ride to finish 9th overall against all the fast french riders.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

"I felt great racing in France, the bike was working great and the atmosphere on race day was amazing with all of the people. I hope I can improve a bit for Finale Ligure and end my season well". - Pedro Burns

The result also moved him up a spot in the overall series to 4th overall so he should be happy with his weekend.

Next on course for the team was the flying Scotsman Gary Forrest who had been looking really comfortable in the wet conditions during practice. The stages of day one were very long which was maybe more than what Gary's back could handle at race pace but with a good day two, he managed to pull a lot of time back and finished up in a respectable 46th overall.

"The trails were so much fun this weekend. Just a bit gutted it was not still raining on the race days as I put mud tires on for day one which was a bad move as the trails had dried out loads and ended up overcooking a few turns. Overall I was happy with my riding and really felt up to pace in practice and simply enjoyed it." - Gary Forrest

Gary is also the rider featured in this weekend's race video getting a bit of insight into his approach and what he has been through the last year:

Race weekend in Valberg with Gary Forrest by NiklasWallnerphotography

Carolin Gehrig was riding really well with the positive smile she always keeps on her face and was even more pleased with the trails drying out on race day. Struggling a bit to find her rhythm in the race she still pulled off a great 7th place finish and sent the final jumps to please the crowds.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

The race in Valberg was one I looked forward to the most. The trails in the area are familiar to me since we rode through it with Trans-Provence earlier this year and I absolutely love the technical and fast alpine trails. My race didn't really go to plan, I had a hard time to find my race speed and made a lot of mistakes. The wet roots caught me out more than once and I lost a bit of self-confidence on them which is not what makes you go fast. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the amazing trails and the great atmosphere in France. Upwards and onwards to Finale now! I'm excited for the season finale in two weeks, before that I'll be charging batteries with some beach time and gelato and I'll be ready to rumble come race day.” - Caro

Anita was looking set for another podium after day one of racing but with a costly detour into the bushes early on stage seven she slipped back to fourth only 2 seconds back from the podium but scoring valuable points and keeping her third in the overall series.

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Long physical descents are what I love most and where I can perform my best. So I knew that I had all that was needed for this race and I set my goals high. I had a great first day of racing with 3rd place finishes in every single stage. Whereas the infamous "grey earth" stage was my favorite of the weekend, the fast ravines are just from another world and the crowds were amazing. A big unplanned encounter with some bushes made me lose a lot of time which I couldn't make up for on the last stage, although I put everything I had on the line. 3 seconds off of the podium is painful but makes me even hungrier to attack again in Finale Ligure." - Anita

Robin Wallner was riding really good in practice and on a bit of a high after his performance in Whistler. After day one he stormed into 13th with some top ten stages and was looking good until he had a mechanical on stage 6 which was costly and crashed on the last stage trying to make up time but pulled off a spectacular 17th in the overall in the end and held onto 12th in the series.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

"I had such a good time racing in Valberg so I was quite bummed not being able to keep it together on race days. I feel like I've got the formula one mechanic skills required for enduro racing now sorting my bike out after stage 6 where I had to cut my chain down, straighten my front disc up in order to have some front brake and just made it up to stage 7 on time so that was probably my best performance of the weekend, haha. I feel like my riding is good, my bike is good and i am looking forward to the last round of the year in Italy, now to bring it home." - Robin Wallner

With another solid weekend where everyone finished in one piece, we also found out that we got another team podium with a 3rd on the weekend which strengthened our 2nd place in the overall team standings.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

With another solid weekend where everyone finished in one piece, we also found out that we got another team podium with a 3rd on the weekend which strengthened our 2nd place in the overall team standings.

We would like to send a huge thank you to our trusty mechanic for the last two years Jake Law since this was his last round with the team. Good luck in your future ventures and whatever is next Jake we have all appreciated your hard work.

EWS 7 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Now we are really looking forward to the last round of the year in Finale and ending the season on a high.

$5 a Foot - Gold in them thar hills edition Posted on: 08/25/2016

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills.

For $5, you can buy a foot of trail. By buying a foot, two feet, ten feet or a mile of trail, you’ll get a chance at winning the most fully pimped out Ibis we’ve ever done...

The trails around Downieville and the Lakes Basin are legendary. And while legendary is good, more legendary is better. We are working on a project that is sure to up the legendary status of this area and we’re asking for your help.

For $5, you can buy a foot of trail. By buying a foot, two feet, ten feet or a mile of trail, you’ll get a chance at winning the most fully pimped out Ibis we’ve ever done, ever (details below). At the end of the campaign, we’ll draw a name out of a hat (or maybe a gold mining pan) and pick a winner. The more feet you buy, the more times your name will be in the hat, and the higher the likelihood that you’ll end up going to heaven.

OK, I don't need to read more, take me to the donation page NOW!

To help us realize the goal of making the trails more legendary, Ibis has teamed up with the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, SRAM, Fox, Industry Nine and WTB to bring you this incredible bike. You could do this on that bike:

The winner will get to choose from any of our bikes, and we will outfit the bike thusly:

  • Ibis Frameset, choice of Mojo 3, Ripley LS or Mojo HD3, custom graphics courtesy of Stikrd
  • Custom wheelset built by Industry Nine with Ibis asymmetric carbon fiber rims, Industry Nine Torch hubs and gold (!) aluminum spokes
  • SRAM Eagle XX1 12 speed group and it’s gold too
  • Fox Factory Float Kashima (gold!) Fork and Shock and Transfer dropper
  • WTB tires, saddle, grips
  • Ibis carbon handlebars

Gold?

You’re probably wondering why the obsession with gold.

For one thing, Downieville was founded as a gold mining town in 1849 when gold was first discovered there. Over the hill from Downieville is Lakes Basin, home of Gold Lake. Here’s how the Stewardship describes it:

The legend of the Lakes Basin began in the early 1850s, when Thomas Robertson Stoddard claimed he stumbled upon a lake whose shores were glimmering with gold nuggets. His alleged story spread like wildfire, and by the following spring, thousands of prospectors searched for this elusive lake of gold. They found the lake, now known as Gold Lake, but the nuggets laying in plain sight never panned out. There were calls for Stoddard's head after discovering his story was bunk, but by then the raconteur and his gold were long gone.

We think it’s time to bring some gold back to Lakes Basin, in the form of a properly outfitted Ibis, glistening (tastefully of course) with gold.

Ibis and the Mills Peak Trail

Ibis has been a long-time partner of the Stewardship, and the funds raised from a previous Ibis 5 Bucks a Foot campaign built Mills Peak Trail. Part of the proceeds from this year's 5 Bucks a Foot will also go to helping fund two new proposed sections of singletrack on Mills Peak that are currently in the planning stages.

One section is proposed to connect the top of Mills Peak Trail with the Round Lake Trailhead off Gold Lake Highway, creating five new miles of singletrack. The other section of trail in planning is the much anticipated bypass of the fire road midway down the singletrack descent. This new section of singletrack will be three miles in length. If approved by the U.S. Forest Service, Beckwourth Ranger District, riders will be able to pedal 16 miles of singletrack from Round Lake Trailhead all the way to Graeagle, taking Mills Peak Trail to a whole new level.

If there is any place the Stewardship can show off its rock work artistry, it's in the Lakes Basin. In fact, virtually all of the trails in the Lakes Basin have been maintained and improved by the Stewardship, using sustainable rock armoring techniques, rock-lined drainages and elevated rock bridges over marsh areas to ensure that non-motorized recreation has as little impact on habitat as possible.

Be a part of the magic!

Show your support for one of the most magical regions in all the Sierra Nevada by purchasing as many feet of trail as you can. The payoff is world class recreation while helping employ local residents to keep our mountain communities thriving. And for one lucky winner, a brand new custom Ibis worth $10,000.

More info from the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship and this $5 a Foot campaign can be found here.

Purchase feet of trail directly using PayPal here:

Or with your credit card at the bootm of this page:
https://org.salsalabs.com/o/2151/donate_page/five-bucks-a-foot-2016

For more information on the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, visit sierratrails.org or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

THANK YOU!

EWS Whistler 2016 by the Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team Posted on: 08/18/2016

The summer is always a hectic time for racers, within hours of the champagne spraying in Aspen, the team were in the air headed for their next appointment: Whistler, Canada. With a week in between the races there was some time to enjoy the trail network in the mountain bike mecca. Time to ride, relax and recover before it all started again for round six.

Bike prep

Getting the bikes rebuilt after travelling

Whistler is always a demanding race and one where the riders can never be sure what the organisers will throw at them. With three days of practice and race course that took in over 5,000m of descending it was set to be a big week. On track the challenge was arguably the most complete the riders will face all season, with the course taking everything from flatout bike park, to steep rock slabs and awkward roots; from pure descent, to lung-busting climbs, all topped off by the final, iconic stage - the 20 minute-plus descent from Top of the World down to the waiting village below.

For the first time this season the entire team was there - with both our junior riders, Pedro Burns and Dillon Santos, joining our elite regulars. Plus there was a special addition this time, as downhill legend Anne-Caroline Chausson joined the team in her first international race since her battle with cancer.

Robin Wallner continued his breakthrough season to take his best stage result of the year - a stunning second place on the second stage - the steepest and most technical of the day. Tricky stages on three and four meant that he lost precious seconds and found himself narrowly missing out on a top ten, finding himself in 11th. This was good enough for him to move up to 12th in the overall standings in the series, with his sights on a top ten overall this season with two rounds left to go.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

The twins both had consistent rides amidst the strongest field of the year. Anita took fifth and Caro seventh - which means they could hold onto their series rankings of third and fifth, respectively.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Gary Forrest made good progress on the long road back from his injury last year. A 20th place on the technically demanding stage four shows that the speed is there to be back at the sharp end of the field and his fitness is getting back to where it needs to be. Overall he finished 40th on the day.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Pedro Burns celebrated his birthday on race day, but unfortunately it turned out to be a party to forget for him. He opened the day with a fantastic third place on the first stage, but a mechanical problem on stage two spelt the end of his day, a heartbreaking twist for the birthday boy.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Dillon Santos is learning fast, taking fifth place in only his fourth ever EWS round. The jump from racing local-level is a huge one, but he is proving that he can ride consistently throughout the day and learn fast.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Anne-Caroline Chausson's main goal for the weekend was simply to finish, a huge achievement considering what she has been through in the last year. She has been candid that her fitness is not what it was before, but a third place on the shorter, more technical stage four proves that her prowess at handling a bike on difficult terrain is not diminished. All of us at Ibis feel privileged to have been able to be there with her this weekend, to help and witness one of our sport's greatest champions in what was maybe one of the most important rides of her career.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS #6 2016. Whistler, Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

EWS #6 2016. Whistler, Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

What these collective performances added up to is greater than the sum of their parts, with the team once again securing second place in the team competition, solidifying our second place in the team standings. With two rounds left to go there is still a long way to go and we know that the fight will be fierce, but the team are going to give it everything in a push to defend what we feel is a stunning achievement for such a small team.

Podium

We need to thank Casey, our mechanic for this weekend, who flew in from Ibis HQ in California to look after us. His late nights and meticulous attention to detail were every bit as important to our success as what happened on track - thanks Casey!

Casey giving some love to the bikes

With the dust now settled, it is time to head back for Europe. There are a few weeks now to recover, repair and ready ourselves for the final push of the season as we head into the final two rounds. See you there!