Rally Team

News

Catching Up with Jesse Melamed

November 16, 2015

Jesse tells Stan's Notubes about overcoming his injury and finshing the last two rounds of the EWS series; and how he's going to come back strong in 2016.

“Next year I want to be the best I can be. I’m not trying for anything but my best, although I’d like to get some more top 10 finishes in the EWS like the one I had in Ireland. I will train hard over the winter, but I also want to have fun - I’m still young, and I have plenty of years to reach the top step.”

- Jesse Melamed

Check out the full interview at notubes.com.

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News

2016 EWS Team World Champions

October 05, 2016

​Photos by Matt Wragg.

Nobody ever said it, but after being runner up in 2014 and 2015, the goal at the beginning of this season was to capture the team title. The Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team was gunning to be 2016 Enduro World Series Team World Champions.

EWS Round 1 Corral, Chile

Round #1 began with a flight to South America, and a few trips by boat to travel from our accommodation to the start of the race in Corral. The team would see 200km of riding between the four days of practice and racing, a big test of their off-season training. There was concern of a forest fire at one point, but when the smoke and the dust settled the team settled into their groove. It was a start much like the season would end in Finale, racing from the hilltops down to the ocean. 

  • Florian Nicolai — 5th
  • Alexandre Cure — 15th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 25th
  • Jesse Melamed — 36th
  • Sébastien Claquin, U21 — 2nd U21

EWS Round 2 Cerro Catedral, Bariloche, Argentina

We remained in South America for Round #2, Argentina. The race moved from the sea-side hills to the high Andes, with views and scenery to back it up. Argentina took dry and dusty to the next level, making grip and what was under the moon-dust unpredictable. We saw Remi Gauvin break into the lauded top 20 of this sport, and young Seb "The Claq" Claquin show he's got power and confidence when it gets rough. Jesse was carrying a shoulder injury, but pushed through.
  • Florian Nicolai — 12th
  • Alexandre Cure — 34th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 19th
  • Jesse Melamed — 48th
  • Sébastien Claquin — 1st U21

EWS Round 3 Wicklow, Ireland

It was time for a change of pace and to come back to Ireland where we've had good results, and incredible hospitality. Wicklow does a great job of using the little elevation they have to create a fun, technical course. Voted best race on the circuit last year, the fans really get into the race and make for a great atmosphere—nothing like hundreds of Irishmen screaming at you to motivate a sprint to the finish! With all five racers placing inside the Top 20, the Rally Team took 1st in the Team category and jumped into the lead for the team overall.

  • Florian Nicolai — 5th
  • Alexandre Cure — 10th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 19th
  • Jesse Melamed — 16th
  • Sébastien Claquin — 4th U21

Back to the towering mountains of Italy, in La Thuile, we saw the return of ALN (Andréane Lanthier Nadeau). She was out with an injury early in the season but was back and eager to race! With long punishing descents that would be more commonly ridden on a downhill bike, the La Thuile course put riders to the test. The big story this weekend was ALN. Maybe it was the espresso, or the pizza, but whatever fueled her hunger it worked, as Andreane landed on the 3rd step of the podium, proving that she has the speed and skills to play at the top!

EWS Round 4 La Thuile, Italy

  • Florian Nicolai — 5th
  • Alexandre Cure — 11th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 23rd
  • Jesse Melamed — 13th
  • Sébastien Claquin — 2nd U21
  • Andréane Lanthier Nadeau — 3rd

EWS Round 5 Aspen Snowmass, USA

The USA round is always a tough one for the Frenchies for whatever reason. Maybe the high altitude, or the different terrain, but we suspect it's the lack of baguettes, meat, and cheese. The tracks in Colorado are generally fast, tight, and loose—a big change from the steep, technical tracks of Italy. Flo and Alex pushed through to take respectable results, but it was Jesse who broke into the Top 10 for the first time. Another team win extended our lead on the category, and we headed north to Canada for the next round.

  • Florian Nicolai — 13th
  • Alexandre Cure — 26th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 12th
  • Jesse Melamed — 8th
  • Sébastien Claquin — 2nd U21
  • Andréane Lanthier Nadeau — 11th

EWS Round 6 Whistler, Canada

Whistler is our second home, and the first home of Jesse Melamed. The Crankworx EWS course is a monster of a race that takes a toll on both rider and bike, combining bike park and the raw, natural trails of Whistler and Blackcomb. Unfortunately another hand injury took ALN out for the rest of the season, so it was up to the five remaining riders to get it done. All the pressure or none, Jesse rode his race from beginning to end, knocking loudly on Richie Rude's door, and taking 2nd place! His first EWS podium, with family and friends surrounding him at the Whistler Village finish line. 

  • Florian Nicolai — DNF
  • Alexandre Cure — 105th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 12th
  • Jesse Melamed — 2nd
  • Sébastien Claquin — 2nd U21

EWS Round 7 Valberg-Guillaumes, France

The French side of the team was excited to return to their native soil. The legendary tracks in Valberg are steep, wild, and natural—an incredible venue for the penultimate race of the season. Alex and Flo bounced back from crashes and mechanicals in Whistler to take solid results in the maritime alps. "A lot of nose turn here at Valberg, it's really cool ride at home," said Flo. However, it was Jesse that stole the show, taking 3rd—backing up his podium in Whistler, and silencing any whispers of home track advantage. The Claq stayed consistent with another 2nd place finish in U21, and the whole team was fired up to bring it home. 

  • Florian Nicolai — 4th
  • Alexandre Cure — 10th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 24th
  • Jesse Melamed — 3rd
  • Sébastien Claquin — 2nd U21

EWS Round 8 Finale Ligure, Italy

A series of consistent results brought the Rally Team to Finalé sitting in top spot for the Team overall standings, but the overall win wasn't a sure thing. To make matters worse, Jesse was fighting a nasty illness. The whole team had to battle hard this weekend, but ultimately had a great race with three top 10s and the whole team finishing within the top 25.

  • Florian Nicolai — 8th
  • Alexandre Cure — 13th
  • Rémi Gauvin — 22nd
  • Jesse Melamed — 7th
  • Sébastien Claquin — 7th U21

In the dusty hills above the Mediterranean Sea, our little Rally Team took on all comers and sewed up the Enduro World Series Team Overall World Champion title! In the individual overall rankings Flo finished the year in 6th, Jesse in 9th, Rémi in 15th, and Alex in 17th. The Claq earned himself 2nd place in U21. By all measures a year we're massively proud of.

Mission complete. Finalé is a great place to finish the season. Whether you win or lose, you're at the beach in Italy, on the Mediterranean with great coffee and food, and your bike. This year we managed to win the Team Overall, and have some individual successes along the way. We'll look to come back next year with more determination, focus, and fun. 

Thank you to Florian Nicolaï, Jesse Melamed, Rémi Gauvin, Seb Claquin, Alex Cure, and ALN for an incredible year. Thanks to Lilian, Matthieu, Scott, and the rest of the crew—and thanks to Fred Glo for supporting this from the very beginning. The end of this season is bittersweet, with some of our favourite competitors retiring from racing. Salute to Anne Caroline Chausson, Nicolas Vouilloz, and Anka Martin for their contributions to mountain biking. It won't be the same without you on the circuit!

We would like to thank all of our sponsors, who have supported us from the first pedal stroke and supply us with the best parts available: Urge Bike ProductsMaxxisShimanoFoxStan's NotubesFTI ConsultingRace FaceRoyal RacingEVOC bagsSmith OpticsVal d'AllosOne Up ComponentsClif Bar7 iDP, and WTB.

See you on track next year!

—Rocky Mountain Bicycles & Urge Bike Products

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News

Mountains as Far as the Eye Can See

July 20, 2016

Mountains, mountains, mountains. As far as the eye can see. We are definitely in the Alps…

Words by Remi Gauvin, photos by Matt Wragg

La Thuile 2016 will go down as the most descending in 4 days I have done to date. In those days we descended 15,000m, wore through brake pads, and made a short career of tires. We also had a lot of fun.

La Thuile is on the French-Italian border near the famous mountaineering towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur. Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, loomed over most of the stages throughout the weekend, but the weather played nice.

Stages were almost all accessed by lift with the exception of stage one. This meant that while our legs were fresh at the start of each stage, the long steep runs were punishing on the rest of our bodies. Riders were complaining that their arms were dead by the end of each run. All stages were physical in their own way and each one had a solid dose of climbing. The energy we saved on the transfers was more than spent on the stages.

Stage 1 started across the valley from the ski resort, and was the one stage without chairlift access. We climbed Col San Carlo and then up into the alpine, 900 meters above La Thuile. The stage started with some typical tight European switchbacks before passing through grass fields and dropping into the woods below. Alex Cure and Andreane both finished 4th on this stage.

For Stage 2 we headed back to the lift and made our ascent to the start. This stage started in the alpine, flagged though rough rocks and gorse bushes, only burned in by the countless riders who were sent to ride through it. Next we cut through a farmers cattle field—in practice we'd encountered a herd of stubborn cattle here, and they could not give a damn if there was a bike race happening where they wanted to graze. Then, finally ending on an old access road that zig-zagged across the bottom of the hill. Andreane finished a career best 2nd place on this stage and Florian took 3rd in the men’s field.

Stage 3 was one of the fastest stages of the weekend, but also one of the longest, with a brutal climb at the bottom. Fast rock faces and high speed corners in the alpine, twisty woods in the middle, followed by some of the best steeps of the race. Just when you thought it might be all over the course turned a sharp right and sent us onto a gravel road pointing right back up the hill. During the race the crowds screamed at you to pedal, while your legs screamed at you to stop. Stage 3 one of the best of the weekend, but it was also one of the worst of the weekend.

A night off to reflect on the days racing went by quickly. Soon we were back on the top of the mountain about to drop into Stage 4—one of the longest and most physical stages of the race. It seemed that it was always just slightly flatter than you wanted.  A gravel road climb in the middle of the stage had me seeing red into the next section, and hanging on by a thread by the end of the stage. Andreane showed her fitness once again and backed up her first day with another 2nd place.

Stage 5, although not extremely physical, was very technical. Steep off camber sections meant that you had to be precise and patient in during the stage in order to shine. 

The final stage of the weekend stage had a mixture of the highlights of every stage of the race. Tight switch backs, technical off cambers, steep chutes and a solid climb in the middle of the stage. The bottom was lined with spectators as you entered the finish area. It was a great stage to finish the weekend on.

Florian Nicolaï said that although he was happy with his 5th place result, he didn’t perform his best in a few of the stages and it cost him. Nevertheless, his consistant performance bumped him up into 3rd place in the Overall category.

Jesse also felt that his 13th didn’t reflect his pace this weekend and a few mistakes on Stage 5 knocked him back in the overall. After injury troubles the last few rounds, it's great to see him smashing stages again.

Andreane was of course over the moon with her result. 3rd place in her first real race of the season!

Once again the team as a whole performed spectacularly. We were the number one team on the weekend and added 100 points to extend our lead in the Team Overall. Andreane finished a career-best 3rd, while Florian finished 5th in the men’s. Alex finished 11th, Jesse 13th and I finished 23rd. Seb also took 2nd place in U21, keeping pace in his season-long battle with Adrien Dailly.

Next stop, Aspen!

— Remi Gauvin

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Feature

Flo Like Water

March 06, 2016

Florian Nicolaï is one of the most creative riders on the EWS circuit. His unique style threatens the podium at every race he enters. The Maritime Alps are home to some of the most technical tracks in the world, and working on this project over the winter showed us just how good Flo really is.

"This part of the world is the birthplace of Enduro. The Maitime Alps have produced some of the best riders on the planet, like Nico Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Loic Bruni, and many others. The terrain and the culture make the difference—the trails have been here for centuries and were not made to ride, but to walk. So when you can find the flow here you’re a damn good rider." — Fred Glo, Godfather of Enduro & Owner of Urge bp

"Flo is insane. I don't understand half the stuff he does, but it's fun to watch!" — Jesse Melamed, Rally Team teammate

"Flo is a weirdly fast alien on a bike. He's got creative trail vision, and is one of the first riders coming up to have started out as a pure Enduro racer. Even after two strong EWS seasons taking 5th and 4th place overall, you get the feeling he's hungry for more results. Can't wait to see how this season unfolds." — Brian Park, Rocky Mountain Bicycles

Watch for Flo and the rest of our Rally Team throughout the entire Enduro World Series season. See you on track!

Rider: Florian Nicolaï
Bike: Altitude Rally Edition
Filmed by: Variable Visual, Sébastien Biget, & TS-Drone
Edited & Produced by: Brian Park
Photos by: Matt Wragg
Presented by: Rocky Mountain Bicycles & Urge bp
Supported by: Shimano, Maxxis Tires, Fox Racing Shox, Stan’s NoTubes, Race Face Performance Products, Royal Racing, 7 idp, FTI Consulting, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Clif Bar, Evoc, Val d’allos
Music: Azad Right — Son of Sam
Thanks to: Fred Glo, Gaetan Riou, Matt Wragg

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News

Rally Team Overall Podium

October 06, 2014

After seven rounds of incredible racing we're massively proud of our young Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team for taking 2nd in the Team category of the Enduro World Series. 

The last round in Finale Ligure was super rocky, with striking mediterranean views everywhere. The team held it together to finish the season strong!

 

Thanks to Florian Nicolaï, Alexandre Cure, Jesse Melamed, and Isabeau Courdurier for absolutely smashing it this year, as well as Lilian, Nico, Peter, Maurian, Jordan, and everyone else who was part of this effort. Huge thanks especially to Fred Glo, as well as Chris Ball for a great season of racing.

The team could not have done this without the steadfast support of its sponsors. Thanks to:

Urge Bike Products, Shimano, Maxxis, Stan's NoTubes, Fox Racing Shox, Raceface, Royal Racing, 7 IDP, WTB, Smith Optics, Cane Creek, e13, Honey Stinger, Kicking Horse, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos.

Photos by Matt Wragg, whose images have kept us in awe of enduro racing all year.

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Feature

Altitude Sickness — Highs & Lows at EWS #5: Winter Park, Colorado

August 06, 2014

Photography by Matt Wragg. Words by Isabeau Courdurier.

After a season opener in Chile and several races in Europe, the Enduro World Series traveled to the North American continent. At over 10 000 feet of elevation in Winter Park, Colorado, this race promised to be one of the most physically challenging races of the season. Having endured nearly 36 hours of travel hell, the Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team got back together in Denver, but without bikes. Three days before a race, that’s cutting it a little too close for comfort, and the Denver airport had several very pissed off Frenchies in it.

Once in Winter Park, we met the rest of the team: Peter from Alaska, Jordan from Whistler, and Francesco from Chile. Eventually our bikes arrived.

Friday

Warming up normally gives you an idea of how painful a race is going to be, and I was already worried for Stage 1. This flat stage was a massacre for me! The rest of the guys struggled as well, with only Flo and Jesse ranking in the top 30.

On the more technical Stage 2 we made up some time, but at the end of the day our results were still disappointing: Flo in 16th, Jesse in 21st, and Alex and Peter both needing to push harder to break into the top 50.

Saturday

Stage 3 began with a steeper, rocky section that suited me quite well, but it was followed by a long, flat, pedal section where I struggled to maintain the gains I had made. Stage 4 was very short, with no climbs, and I earned my first stage podium of the season - 3rd!

It’s hard to breathe at this altitude, and the terrain is very different from what we are used to racing. While Jesse had a solid day—9th, 14th, and 6th—, both Flo and Alex struggled to maintain their form.

By Stage 5, we were all exhausted. Alex crashed because he “saw two trees when there was only one,” and I slipped back to 7th place on the stage. Despite this, we improved our results as a team today, the toughest day of the race.

Sunday

Stage 6 was a controversial one for racers. Lots of us felt that the flat, smooth, XC course at 10 000 feet was not up to the standard that has been set by the many excellent EWS stages this year. Already out of my element, I missed some tape and ended up going off-course, costing me even more time on this stage. Everyone else was able to push through and maintain their positions.

Finally, the 7th and final stage of the weekend was on Trestle Downhill—by far the most technical and aggressive stage of the weekend! Definitely the best way to end the race. We all have solid runs, with Flo taking 6th, Jesse 10th, Alex 18th, and Jordan 30th. I was really happy with my 7th place on the stage.

After a brutal weekend, our Canadian Jesse was the fastest on the team here with a well-deserved 15th place overall. Going forward it’s clear that our young team needs to strengthen itself to threaten the podium when the races are physical, especially at altitude. We are also gaining experience of how to manage energy and maximize time gains.

Next, we visit Jesse’s hometown of Whistler to enjoy some of the best riding in the world. These two weeks there are going to be full of adventures and fun times, and we’re all looking forward to the Crankworx stop of the Enduro World Series!

--

The team rides the Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL Rally Edition, with Shimano components and footwear, Maxxis tires, Stan's NoTubes wheels, Fox premium suspension, and Raceface cockpits. The team wears Urge bp Archi Enduro and Endur-O-Matic helmets, and is also supported by the following key sponsors: Royal Racing Clothing, 7 IDP Protection, WTB Saddles, Smith Optics, Cane Creek headsets, e13 chainguides, Honey Stinger energy gels, Kicking Horse coffee, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos ski resort.

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News

Rally Team Heats Up in Chile

April 21, 2014

First Enduro World Series race, first podium for our new Rocky Mountain Urge bp Rally Team!

The team traveled to Chile for the first EWS of the season with optimism. Our French riders Florian Nicolai, Isabeau Courdurier, and Alex Cure were joined by Canadian Jesse Melamed to battle it out with the world's best on Chilean soil. After two days of racing on some of the most unique and beautiful trails we've ever seen, Florian put down a blistering last stage to pass Martin Maes for 3rd place in the Overall category behind Jerome Clementz and Jared Graves!

The final results for the team were:

  • Florian Nicolai — 3rd Overall
  • Isabeau Courdurier — 5th Overall
  • Alex Cure — 7th Overall
  • Jesse Melamed — 30th Overall (coming back strong after several crashes!)

The team was aboard the Rocky Mountain Altitude 770 MSL Rally Edition, with Shimano components and footwear, Maxxis tires, Stan's NoTubes wheels, Fox premium suspension, and Raceface cockpits. The team wore the Urge bp Archi Enduro and Endur-O-Matic helmets. The team is also supported by the following key sponsors: Royal Racing Clothing, 7 IDP Protection, WTB Saddles, Smith Optics, Cane Creek headsets, e13 chainguides, Honey Stinger energy gels, Kicking Horse coffee, FTI Consulting, and Val d'Allos ski resort.

Congrats to all involved and we'll see you in Scotland for Round 2 of the Enduro World Series.

Photos by Matt Wragg.

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