By now most of the internet knows Aaron Gwin won last week’s World Cup downhill in Leogang without a chain. He broke it out of the gate, shrugged it off then railed and pumped his way to a win—over the best riders in the world—the rest of whom pedaled!
Totally rad. Go Aaron. Go America. Go God.
Update July 3, 2015: Added link and summary of Dirt article “Aaron Gwin – Chainless – How did he do it?”
Today I shared DH shuttle rides with a bunch of dudes in the hills above Florence, Italy. Them: No English. Me: No Italian. But we did reach a consensus.
Our friend, training partner and pupil Alex Willie is on his way to MTB stardom.
The junior national downhill champion and I have been training hard this winter, and he’s ready for an awesome season in the U.S. and at select World Cups.
Check out the VitalMTB photos and interview: Exclusive Interview: Alex Willie, U.S. Junior National Downhill Champion
Some of our adventures:
Off season training begins
Alex Willie wins national DH championship
Pinning the DH with Alex Willie
7:1 and stoked
Rocking with the SMBA monkeys – The first time we rode together. August, 2008.
Know more. Have more fun!
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Lately Mike Levy at Pinkbike and I (Big suspension and big sine waves) have told you that downhill bikes are too unwieldy and gnarly for average riders. That most of us are best served by mid-travel bikes. Well, that might be true, but let’s look at the opposite side of the travel chip:
Richard Cunningham over at Pinkbike wrote a fascinating piece about flat pedals in World Cup downhill racing. This is so good I need to weigh in.
Today 13-year-old Chase Willie (proud younger brother of national DH champ Alex Willie) joined the legion of fools that hikes and rides DH at Left Hand Canyon OHV Area.
Chase and I have done some work on the BMX and mountain bikes; today was our first day on the downhill sled.
On Saturday I enjoyed a fantastic XC/DH ride in Vail, CO.
It’s great to see so many civilians out having fun on their bikes. I sure had fun too.
Last weekend Young Skywalker won the national downhill championships—YES! NATIONAL CHAMPION!—and next month he’s heading to Worlds. Yesterday we hit Keystone for a good, old fashioned DH tuneup.
I am so proud of Young Skywalker. Yesterday—when it counted!—he found the perfect flow:
“There were no bobbles or moments,” Alex said. “It was just another run (but I’ve never pedaled that hard or gone that fast!).”
Also check out:
The 2011 season starts now
7:1 and stoked
Paul Bunyan riding
Dialing it down to 8
Great job Alex. I’m excited to ride DH with you this Saturday. We are training for WORLDS!
Last week I rocked a skills session at Valmont Bike Park with Mountain States Cup pro pinner Eric Landis. We hit the basics, then he attacked his drills with rare aggression. As he told me at the beginning of our session, “I’m dressed to crash.”
Great stuff in this interview:
Pay special attention to Aaron’s approach to racing. The significance it holds (and does not hold) in his life. The importance of following your routine, giving it your best then moving on.
Yesterday I picked up a new 2012 Specialized Demo 8 II. It’s been years since I rocked a downhill bike, and I was honestly worried about the size and slackness. I mean, the last time I rode a head angle like this, the bike was a Honda 250. Could I handle it? Would my years of pump track and indoor trainers make me unable to ride the big bike?