July 2017 - Good Month or Bad Month? - Pinkbike


Sam Hill
Flat pedals keep winning medals.

Well, it didn't take long for Sam Hill to figure out how to be a successful enduro racer – with only two races left to go he's a strong contender to become the next Enduro World Champion. His victory at Aspen wasn't exactly surprising – this is Sam Hill we're talking about here – but it was a testament to just how well-rounded of a rider he's become. The long tracks and high altitude took a toll on many of the top contenders, but Sam remained as unphased as ever, putting the power down on those flat pedals to take the win. Whistler's up next, and the steep and rugged tracks should be even better suited to Sam's aggressive, take-no-prisoners riding style – there's a strong chance that August could turn out to be a good month for the speedy Australian as well.
Same hill leaving a trial of dust and loam down stage 5.
Eyes on the prize. Sam Hill on course in Aspen.

Brandon Semenuk Fans
Minds were blown. Again.

Watch enough slopestyle / dirt jumping videos and after a while they can all start to blur together, becoming a repetitive montage of flips and spins, lips and landings. That is, unless you're talking about something from Brandon Semenuk. July saw the release of version 3.0 of his RAW 100 series, another installment of mindblowing mountain bike trickery. Semenuk remains the king of style – his movements appear effortless, no matter how difficult the maneuver, and every motion is controlled and calculated, a lesson in bike handling wizardry. Even just the first two seconds of the video are ridiculous - I still can't wrap my mind around how he can make that berm manual to rear wheel flick / scrub look so easy. Semenuk is currently at the top of his game, and it's inspiring to witness the master in action, even if it's only for 100 seconds at a time.


Racing and Riding
Long live long rides.

July is the peak of the summer riding season in the Northern Hemisphere, and it was a month packed full of big races. The BC Bike Race celebrated its 11th year in existence, as hundreds of racers rode from the Sunshine Coast up to Whistler, while the Trans BC Enduro kicked off its second season, treating riders to six days of challenging riding in interior British Columbia. Over in France, the https://www.pinkbike.com/news/megavalanche-2017-race-day.html Alpe d’Huez produced the usual batch of mass-start carnage videos, as hundreds of riders tried to navigate through the slushy snow. And all of that was on top of the World Cup racing in Lenzerheide, the EWS in Aspen, and multiple national championship races.
Whether you were a spectator, participant, or even if you avoided competition all together and headed out into the woods by yourself, July was a good month for big days on the bike.

Megavalanche Cheater
Smile, you're on social media.

The Megavalanche has an especially large concentration of riders with POV cameras, due to the fact that the race's mass start is almost guaranteed to produce some entertaining footage. That also means that if you're going to cheat, there's a good chance someone will get it on film, as racer number 1613 found out.

After the race was over, multiple videos emerged that showed the racer blatantly cutting off a huge chunk of the course, rolling over the tape and down an open hillside to move up further in the rankings. According to Dirt, the rider has since been disqualified, and issued an apology; I'm sure that the amount of internet hatred that was directed his way made him really, really, regret making that poor decision. Moral of the story? Don't cheat – you'll get caught, plain and simple.

Tires Holding Air
Gwin and Rude's podium dreams dashed by punctures.

Once again, potentially winning runs at the highest level of mountain biking were stopped short by something as simple as a flat tire. In Aaron Gwin's case, he was up by 1.5 seconds, rocketing down the dusty track in Lenzerheide and only a few turns away from the finish line when his rear wheel smacked a rock and sliced his sidewall, deflating his chances of making it onto the podium. Richie Rude suffered a similar fate at the Enduro World Series in Aspen, Colorado, hitting a rock on the very first stage of day two. In both cases, the riders were running DH casing tires with foam inserts, but even those preventative measures weren't enough to keep the sharp rocks at bay.
No words for Aaron Gwin.
Gwin took the puncture in stride, but it surely must have been a tough pill to swallow.