Author Archives: "Don Stefanovich"
“She riiide in di skyyy!” proclaimed a local when Katie came ripping out of a particularly tight, rocky section that conveniently delivered us to a corner pub. By the time we spilled into Kingston, all but the ride itself had been forgotten. The symphony of freehubs rivaled the sound of traffic as we rolled through the island’s urban center in the red glow of the sinking sun.
I was staring into the first hairpin of Pressure Drop. The trail disappeared mere feet beneath us before reemerging as a sliver of dirt on a distant hill far below. One by one we dropped in, pinning it to the next ridge and beyond, dropping back below the tree line. Somewhere in the shade of the canopy, as the trail coiled through thick stands of trees and over gnarled webs of roots, Pressure Drop became the famed Carlton Pass. Gaining speed here was easy, scrubbing it wasn’t always, and several riders failed to keep things rubber-side down.
Being born of necessity meant the trail occasionally lead us out of the jungle and through populated pockets during our descents, enmeshing us in rather than removing us from local culture. We found ourselves in several back-alley rallies, a herd of white people on two wheels stampeding through peaceful mountain villages. Ripping fence-line singletrack through shantytowns, we wove between shacks, dodging goats, boosting off drainpipes, water bars and eroded stairways. We charged down steep, crumbling roads more worthy of rear-squish than portions of the trail had been. The first time a group of locals stood, watching us near a tight corner, I approached cautiously. The reaction was not what I expected.
Geared toward the locals, the Bicycle Bash—dubbed ‘A Celebration of Jamaican Bicycling Culture’—kick-started our weeklong adventure and really was just what the name implied. Hundreds of Jamaicans crowded James Bond Beach in Oracabessa. The bikes were a hodge-podge collection of two-wheeled Frankensteins, festooned with rainbows of spray paint, stickers and rust. Tendrils of bare-wire ran batteries of lights likely to turn an air-traffic controller epileptic. Dancehall spilled out of speaker boxes wedged into front triangles. Some bikes were pedaled from as far as 30 miles away with bare feet or flip-flops.
I was met with more than a few puzzled looks when I told people I was going mountain biking in Jamaica. Some couldn’t understand why anyone would want to leave the security and convenience of a surfside resort where there was plenty of sun and sand. And who could blame them? Others I told about the trip didn’t know the tropical isle has mountains. It does. I was plummeting down one of the biggest, hanging off the back of my seat, starfish to tread, wondering if I should have brought a bigger bike.
As falling leaves give way to snow, here’s a look back at the Deep Summer Photo Challenge’s Wildcard entry from Mike Zinger to keep you warm. Zinger won the Deep Summer Wildcard spot, borrowed a bike and emerged from Whistler three days later with a few scrapes, bruises and these images.
The 2012 BFF kicks off on June 27 in New York City and will include over 25 cities across 15 countries. It has grown to encompass art shows, concerts,
parties and, of course, bike rides, but with a fierce underground ethos, it still swears off any allegiance to ‘the industry’.
At Bike’s offices in Southern California, we are spoiled with enough sunshine to ride across the calendar, so the concept of an indoor bike park seems a bit like an answer to a question that was never asked. But in Portland—where the weather can be more unpredictable than a Charlie Sheen monologue—The Lumberyard Bike Park recently opened 48,000 square-feet to those on two wheels.
by Don Stefanovich Source: FMB World Tour The final 25 contenders for the 2011 Red Bull District Ride have been decided with Brandon Semenuk (CAN), already holding the title of FMB World Tour Champion, leading the field dropping into the historic streets of Nuremburg, Germany. Although already the world champ going into the final stop [...]
By: Don Stefanovich Just two months after the shocking demise of Canadian industry giant, Race Face, the brand was brought back from the dead at the hands of former employees and silent investors, and has already begun ramping up production, marketing and its roster of sponsored athletes. Fellow Canuck and freeride pioneer Brett Tippie is the [...]
by Don Stefanovich With the first round at West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort already in the bag, the Gravity East Series (GES) spools up for its second stop at Wisp Resort in McHenry, Maryland, June 18 and 19 alongside the Racers Edge Capital Cup. While Snowshoe was a new addition to the series, Wisp Resort’s [...]
By: Don Stefanovich Photo courtesy Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Jackson Hole, Wyoming holds a legendary reputation among powderhounds as one of the biggest and best steep and deep stashes in North America during the white months, but is now poised as the next spot to shred through the summer. Scheduled to open to the public [...]
by Don Stefanovich Source: Trans-Sylvania Epic/Mike Cushionbury Originally conceived as a Super-D contest, day five morphed into a “Mini-XC Day” as riders rolled four sections of a 28-mile loop. Each section began with a short climb into ultra technical singletrack, and times – averaged 13 to 14 minutes – were tallied with the lowest combined [...]
by Don Stefanovich Source: Trans-Sylvania Epic/Mike Cushionbury After a grueling day three, Bishop held a near eight-minute lead over Snedden and nearly 12 minutes on third place Lindine. For the women, Carey sat eight minutes ahead of Yeager and 14:12 over Barclay. Breaking humidity and cooler temperatures greeted riders as they sprinted two 20-mile laps [...]