Last Fall a group of Rocky Mountain athletes, ambassadors, and friends took a road trip through some of the best riding networks in Quebec and the Northeastern United States. We set each of them up with our new Thunderbolt, to ride the style of trails in which the bike was designed for. Built for technical climbs with the ability to power through the rough stuff, the Thunderbolt is a quick, nimble, trail weapon, meant to excel on demanding trails.
It’s amazing what you can pack into a long weekend with a solid crew. Our EWS team rider, Peter Ostroski, his sister Sophie, and Rocky Mountain Sales Rep, Sean Rudzinsky, headed north across the Canada-US border to meet up with the Canadians, Christian Gauvin, Kevin Simard, and Ian Hughes. Christian is based out of Bromont and has been a Rocky Mountain athlete for 10 years, Kevin has been with Rocky Mountain for 5 years, and Ian is a coach working for the Centre National de Cyclisme de Bromont (CNCB). Packing up for the weekend, stop one would be at Vallée Bras-du-Nord.
“I couldn’t believe how hard I could push the Thunderbolt on descents and still make quick work of the climbs. The snappy nature of the bike makes it ride light and is easy to handle, and its maneuverability and quick acceleration allowed me to get creative on the downs!” – Peter Ostroski
Action, agility, and acute adjustments, the trails in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States demand focus and quick corrections. Often overshadowed by the trail lore of the Pacific Northwest and tales of the endless BC backcountry, the east side of our continent doesn’t seem to get enough credit. Riddled with technical singletrack and daunting rock moves, it pays to ride with purpose and precision.
When we re-designed the Thunderbolt, we brought the rear travel up to 130mm, increased frame stiffness, and lowered the suspension rate curve. We also added the option of our BC Edition platform, accommodating a longer stroke shock to provide 140mm of rear travel. Both the Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt BC Edition have RIDE-9™ adjustments, giving you control over the geometry and suspension characteristics, so you can be ready for any trail.
Christian charges hard year-round racing fat bikes in a true Canadian winter, racing XC and enduro in the summer, and helping out with demo days and local ride events. He lives in Bromont, right next to the trails. The mountain biking scene is strong here, and with a passionate drive the community has helped move mountain biking forward through volunteerism, fundraising, and commitment.
“We have an incredibly strong trail building crew here in Bromont, and there’s definitely no shortage of talented riders. The builders are all so passionate about riding, I think it’s their personal commitment to both building and riding that makes the trails here so fun!” – Christian Gauvin
Rocky Mountain has been working with Vallée Bras-du-Nord since they first began developing mountain bike trails in 2007. The trails are the work of an incredibly unique, at-risk youth program where they work in groups of 10 for nearly 6 months at a time, building and maintaining all the trails in their tenure. The vision is that working in nature can be used as a kind of therapy and connecting youth with the outdoors is a way to help them build skills and self-confidence. The dedicated program managers are building out a network that truly represents the riding in Quebec, with trails that breed creativity. The network here is growing quickly, and for good reason.
We’re truly lucky to get to ride and work in such a beautiful place. We have everything from flow trails to the more classic, technical riding you’ll see in Quebec, and have developed the network to weave amongst the natural features of the environment. It’s pretty epic here!” – Mathieu Dupuis-Bourasssa, Operations Manager at Vallée Bras-du-Nord
''I love how hard the trail building community is working to grow our sport in Quebec. There’s so many great networks in close proximity, we as riders have seemingly endless choices of where to ride.” – Christian Gauvin
Peter Ostroski grew up in New Hampshire, and after a 6-year stint in Alaska, moved back to the Northeast settling in Burke, Vermont. He’s been a member of our EWS team since the beginning, starting with a spot on the original Altitude Team alongside teammates, Kevin Soller, and a young Jesse Melamed. But his history with Rocky Mountain doesn’t start there. He first rode a Rocky Mountain at 12 years old, hopping aboard an extra-small Instinct that he reflects fondly on calling it, “his dream ride”. Peter’s known for his ultra-quick precision and solid power on the pedals, both of which he developed as a cross-country racer charging hard on the tech trails out his back door.
The trails of Quebec and Northeast US don’t get the same level of exposure as the West Coast of North America, but things seem to be working just fine. The trail centres have developed a unique culture that’s helping to shape our sport in a meaningful way, and the riding still offers everything one could want.
“The mountains aren't as big as the Alps or BC, but they pack a punch and offer tight, challenging steep terrain if you know where to look.” – Peter Ostroski