Colorado

ColoRADo EWS # 5 - 39'00 N 105'30 W

Colorado views never disappoint. Sven Martin Photo. We used to live in the US for 12 years, until 2011, when we decided to pack up everything and move to the other side of the world, or hemisphere to New Zealand, so whenever we do return to the US these days (which doesn't happen very often), it is truly a treat to catch up with all our old friends and race team mates from back in the day when we used to race all the NORBA races across the country. Somehow, we're all still racing bikes of some sort and still involved in the bike industry. It is such a small industry compared to others, but it is filled with so many genuinely good people, and we'll forever have this connection, these bike memories and this like minded passion that keeps taking us into the mountains and connecting us in far away places, and that is what racing is all about to me. Results from Colorado - does it really matter? I didn't win or top 5, or even top 10, but I rode my best, better than last year, got my jump back on, pushed my riding abilities and loved it, saw some old friends, met their children & made some new friends.

There were a lot of negative things going on at this event, but I'm too sick of bike politics to go into it, so instead of harping on bullshit, have a wee look at some of the bangers that Sven captured over the weekend. :)

Some of the race tracks for Day 1.

Stage 1 was down the Trestle DH track. Sven Martin caught me in the air.

The usual American laws & stuff. Oops. Just remember to wind down the window when you return the rental.

This was probably the shortest stage ever raced in the EWS, it was super sweet though, but over before it began.

Sven Martin Photo.

Stage 3 - Sven Martin photo.

Post race indulgence. We were in America after all.

Catching up with old friends & getting to know their kids is pretty awesome :) Thanks CG for giving Ryder your gloves - you have a fan for life.

Wiping the CO dust off the old girl, prepping her for the next day's race. Pretty tough keeping your bike, body & mind together for 3 days of racing & training.

Got this message whilst walking around the pedestrian mall in Denver on Monday after the race. A first for me. Luckily no one seemed too perturbed by it, either that or they were all just too crazy to care on 16th street.

I've been up in Whistler for a week now, waiting for the next round of the EWS to kick off over here. It's been wonderful to have some downtime. I've gone stand up paddle boarding at date night with Hannah Barnes, Seb & family, riding around Lost lake with Seb & his kids, meeting up with friends over chai tea latte's, more chic flicks & wine with Hannah, watching some amazing music under the moon, exploring some new trails, swimming in the lake, soaking up the hot summer sun and the highlight has been my month yoga pass that I bought. I've yet to skip one day of practice, I'm in heaven, this is exactly what I needed this time of the season to prevent bike burnout, especially in this crazy world called Whistler. Our 4 day practice starts tomorrow, look forward to a whole lot of riding coming up.

A highlight has been going on a 3 hour adventure ride and treasure hunt with Seb Kemp and some of the kids that he coaches. Amazing kids!

Peace out,

Anka

Team dark cloud adventures continues on in Colorado Springs.

After round #4 of the EWS, Chris, Pangus & myself loaded up the rental car with way too many bikes and headed to Colorado Springs to go and visit & ride with Jon Cancellier in his hometown & to check out the SRAM offices. We looked like the grizwalds on vacation with 3 massive bike bags strapped to the roof with us squashed in-between bikes & wheels navigating through massive hail & thunderstorms listening to country music & mariachi bands, we made our way to the Springs for 3 days of adventures.

Sweet shops in one horse towns.

Only in America hey?

Milkshake anyone?

First stop: Chipotle for burrito's! YUM

Next up: SRAM office tour. Pretty awesome to see where it all happens & great to catch up with everyone.

COLORADO

Old Skool machines making cool stuff.

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Some history at the SRAM offices.

Awesome!

Bright bikes in the desert.

Still struggling to breathe at this altitude, and with no off day after racing we made our way to the local lunch loop ride behind the SRAM offices in Ute Park for some fun turns and little techy pinch climbs.

Next on the itinerary was a 40 min shuttle drive up the frontside of the range, followed by a hour and half pedal further up to the top, with even less oxygen, followed by an amazing descent down Captain Jack's for about 1hour and 20 min's - heavenly! We did have some dark cloud moments though, with Chris loosing his helmet somewhere along the shuttle drive & also a massive wasp getting in under my sunglasses and stinging the bejesus out of my eye, so I had to make my way down the trail with one eyed vision. Team Dark Cloud antics has begun...

Cyclops after a nasty wasp sting.

Pretty Colorado.

The following day we had a CO classic to conquer, the Monarch Trail. Tracy & James joined us for this xc epic and I was not going to miss this for anything - swollen eye or not. I looked like a cyclops, but after some drugs, my eye could open a wee bit and I was able to see the trail and enjoy the scenery. What a stunning day we had out there with forever views and little cowboy one horse towns. Of course something was bound to happen - this time it was Jon who took a massive digger into the most hostile rockgarden on the trail, walking away from it pretty shook up with a massively swollen hand and some grazes - he was a lucky guy today.

Monarch Crest Trailhead.

Monarch Trail.

Jon with his swollen hand :(

It was time to wrap it up in the Springs and head up to Whistler Canada next for some more adventures & the 5th round of the Enduro World Series. Thank you Jon for an amazing trip!

Peace out, Anka xxx

Burrito's, burgers, bike parks & wooden hucks - Mmerica - f*#k yeah!

Colorado Freeride Festival Yep, this is Colorado!

yep, you've guessed it, I've been stateside at the colorado freeride festival for the 4th round of the enduro world series. We just wrapped up this race yesterday, after 3 days of racing in some very high altitude mountains where the air is so thin, you struggle to tie your shoe laces without getting short of breath, never mind racing some super pedaly bike park tracks. A lot of people came out here pretty early on to acclimatize, but I thought I'd leave it to the last minute & frankly, I don't really like the thought of having to get to races 10 days before it starts, so I'd have to make do and deal with the nice, crisp, thin colorado air. Strange, because the mountains around here look more like rolling hills compared to the Alps, but you just can't breathe. We had daily thunderstorms rolling through, which made for some nice hero dirt tracks, but also made our days pretty long due to waiting out the storms to go and practice the next days stages.

Exploring some trails with T-Mo & James

Jon C & John D having fun with the heat gun & treating me bike with some matching decals.

The Intergalactic pond crossing challenge.

View from our room.

The important things are always ready in the SRAM pits.

Dawson cooked lunch for us every day!

Burrito's & Hot sauce in the pits.

Treats

Road Life.

Some of the tracks were awesome, most of them were fun tracks to go and ride with your mates and have a laugh, but for the most part I thought there were way too many flat pedaly stages for a balanced enduro race, and way too many wooden bike park obstacles. There were some great technical tracks, but I just couldn't make up enough time on those bits to compete with the local xc girls on the pedaly bits. The race being held in a bike park, also meant that there was a huge local knowledge advantage, and for a lot of the tracks, if you knew them, you could really gain loads of time on them, knowing exactly where your braking points, gear changes and such would occur, and not having to tire yourself out having to practice them everyday. Anyhow, the race went down well, lots of fun bike riding was had, the Frenchies held their ground (as usual), some of the racers were mad that the one super xc stage got cancelled (definitely not me, as it was a lame uphill stage anyways). I ended up in 10th place overall, which I'm happy with, but it was a tad frustrating as I had Anne Caro seeded to start behind me (due to an injury she gained earlier in the season), so I had to pull over for her to get by on every run, which cost me a few seconds every time I pulled over and that added up over the course of the weekend. My fault for not being fast enough, but man, she is a hard one to stay in front of. She must have moved up a few places now in the overall ranking, so that will become someone else's problem at the next round, phew! I did have a ton of fun jumping & hucking myself again, but I do look forward to getting back to Europe for some steep, raw, exposed natural mountain tracks without slippery, wet wooden stunts, and without loads of pre-riding.

Race Day.

Pauline & Anne - 2 fast ladies.

Chris Ball getting ready for another day of racing

One of the highlights of my CO trip was catching up with some good old friends Linda & Stu from way back when & meeting their 5 year old son (he was just a wee baby the last time). Pretty special people, it brought back so many great memories and funny bike stories. Super thankful that bikes have been  able to create such great experiences, friendships and strong bonds between people that will last forever.

Stu, Linda & Ryder - great reunion with good old friends xxx

Bloody well done to Jerome & Tracy for total stage domination - you guys are amazing! I'm pretty sure  it was all the delicious meals we created & all the red wine and good laughs we had that helped Tracy to take the win ;) What a great few days rooming, riding & racing with Tracy & James.

T-mo & Jey - happy to take the win again.

I'm really looking forward to the next round in Whistler in a few days time - hoping I can find all the stages this year and not get myself lost again, that would be a good start and I'm just excited to catch up with some old friends, to go riding new trails, swimming in the lake, reading a book & having a few beers.

No rental car is too small for Colorado adventures - heading to Colorado Springs for some play time in Jon's backyard.

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For now, the rental is completely overloaded with bikes and it's off to Colorado Springs to check out the SRAM offices and to go adventuring in the mountains with Jon Cancellier, Pang & Chris Ball - pretty excited about this!

Peace out, Anka xxx