The Staycation: A Vancouver Island Adventure
Rocky Mountain's athletes enjoy traveling all over the world to ride their bikes in unique, beautiful locations. Everywhere they go—from the backcountry of Argentina to the Great Wall of China and countless places in between—they hear people share their dreams of one day riding on our home turf in British Columbia. That’s why this year Thomas Vanderham, Brett Tippie, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Andreas Hestler decided to reinvigorate their love for home by exploring Vancouver Island, just a short ferry ride from our North Vancouver headquarters.
Fueled by too much coffee in the mornings and too many beers in the evenings, this was a great trip and one that certainly helped reconnect us all to our roots. There's no question that we'll be back to continue exploring the island’s rich trail networks and connect with the many amazing people we met along the way. Love the Ride!
Words by Andreas Hestler. Photography by Margus Riga.
When XC gets rowdy, the agile and playful Thunderbolt shines. With 120mm of SMOOTHLINK™ travel and 27.5” wheels, the Thunderbolt delivers a great mix of intuitive XC capabilities and pure, playful trail fun.
"The Thunderbolt is my kind of XC bike. It's got a natural feel and tackles the climbs exceptionally well. On the descents it provides the kind of small bump sensitivity usually reserved for longer travel bikes.” -Thomas Vanderham
Rocky Mountain's entire development team unanimously agreed on the need for a fun XC bike that stands on the shoulders of our dedicated XC race bikes. By understanding the attributes of race bikes, we tested and perfected the numbers to arrive at geometry that lends a more playful feeling to riding cross-country. We were able to design a short 426mm rear end on the Thunderbolt, tucking the 27.5” wheel in close to the rider for lots of maneuverability and agility. At the same time, the top tube has been lengthened from traditional Rocky Mountain designs to accommodate today's shorter stems and wider bars. Our Engineers and test-riders like Thomas Vanderham experimented tirelessly to arrive at the bike's 68.5° headtube angle, balancing the unique handling-properties of both XC and trail riding styles.
- No-nonsense FORM™ Alloy frame with 27.5" wheels for agile, playful handling
- 120mm of XC-tuned SMOOTHLINK™ Suspension delivers exceptional climbing traction and a stable pedalling platform
- ABC™ Pivots are lighter, more durable and laterally stiffer than conventional bearing systems
- BB92 pressfit bottom bracket provides maximum lateral stiffness
- 142mm E-Thru rear axle to increase stiffness (Thunderbolt 710 utilizes F/R quick release)
- Internal cable routing keeps cables neatly stowed, with service-friendly ports
- Internal “Stealth” dropper-post routing tucks the housing inside the frame for minimal clutter (with external option)
WHISTLER, BC — The Official Whip-Off World Championships was originally an underground event dreamed up by photographer Sven Martin. With massive popular appeal, Crankworx has since made it official, and every year both the riders and the crowd get more and more rowdy. Thomas Vanderham and Geoff Gulevich were out there having a blast this week.
Photos courtesy Red Bull. See their full gallery here.
More Official Whip-Off World Championships Coverage
Other Events at Crankworx Whistler
Rocky Mountain's riders are a diverse bunch, and we take pride in that. Our Altitude platform is equally diverse, so with this Fourtitude video we set out to explore what four very different riders could bring to the Altitude 790 MSL.
Wade Simmons, Andreas Hestler, Thomas Vanderham and Geoff Gulevich all ride the 5.18 lb Altitude 790 MSL frame in the video. The Ride-9 system allows them to set their geometry and suspension rates up in a variety of ways. Wade runs it slackest; Thomas runs it in slacker & progressive (forward & down, aka "Vanderham Mode"); both Dre & Gully run the bike neutral & progressive (furthest down).
Wade wanted to showcase the kind of "steep & deep" technical riding that he enjoys on a daily basis. These natural steeps lurk on Vancouver's North Shore, but rarely see bikes that aren't full travel downhill rigs. We're pretty sure The Godfather would be stylish on an old 10-speed too, but it's always humbling to see him bring flow to the burliest lines.
Andreas "Dre" Hestler is an Olympian and has plenty of experience racing TransAlp and Enduro events, so it's no surprise that he coaxes blistering speed out of the Altitude. For Fourtitude he took it to Squamish, where he gunned for some Personal Bests on one of the nicest trail networks around.
Thomas Vanderham likes to take each new bike to Kamloops - a landscape he knows and loves, and the Altitude was no exception. For its maiden voyage he took it out for some true trail blasting, from corner slashing to his patented whips.
Geoff Gulevich is better known for his slopestyle riding, but he was excited to bring his playful approach to the Altitude. He decided to shoot his section on a short road trip through Oregon, where he had a few tricks up his sleeve.
The Road to Rampage
Rampage is, in our opinion, the pinnacle of modern freeriding and words can't describe the intensity of being there in person. Yet, behind all the glamour and media attention of the Finals are countless hours of planning, traveling, digging, testing, sculpting and refining the ridiculous lines that epitomize the competition. This is a short film about all the blood, sweat, and beers that happen behind the scenes of Rampage.
An Argentina Adventure
Sitting on the edge of the Andes, Bariloche is famous for its Catedral ski resort, the biggest in South America, and for its notoriously rugged backcountry terrain. After bouncing around various ideas of where we should take this year's Rocky Mountain adventure, we dug deeper and discovered that Bariloche has a burgeoning mountain bike scene with killer trails and passionate locals. That, and Argentina's warm sunshine in February sealed the deal.
The trip wasn't about finding big hucks, shredding scree slopes, heli-shuttles, or filming for a feature movie. It was about finding a true mountain bike adventure and sharing it with close friends.
So, we pulled together the team of Thomas Vanderham, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Andreas "Dre" Hestler, as well our very talented friends Margus Riga and Ambrose Weingart to capture the trip's visuals, and headed to the Southern Hemisphere. With the help of our amazing guides, Martin "Cepi" Raffo, Bojan Magister, and Gonzallo Serenelli, we found the adventure we had hoped for and much more. From the friendly and welcoming locals, to the jaw dropping natural beauty surrounding Bariloche and its world-class trails, we'll remember this trip for the rest of our lives.
When we travel together with our bikes and gear, we use the term "Shock and Awe" for the airport check-in experience. Seven guys with seven overweight bikes and gear bags is a sight to behold and Air Canada's check-in staff have come to know us well. Our trip down to Buenos Aires was smooth and we had a fun (too fun) night there before heading to Bariloche the next day. There, we met our amazing guides and we had enough time to get a quick rip in to work the cobwebs out from two days of travel.
Our first day of riding had us giddy - we knew we'd stumbled upon something big. It was so gratifying to come so far and be rewarded with such great riding and awe-inspiring terrain. The riding above the Catedral bike park had us feeling like we were riding on Mars with jagged red rock spires in the distance. The next day we climbed for two hours up to a refugio, which is a mountaineer's hut staffed year-round. With epic views of the lake and the Andes, we descended into what seemed like a natural bobsled track full of little drops and rock gardens. Another all-time day and further confirmation we hit the motherlode.
When we were above Catedral, we could see a snowcapped Volcano in the distance. We were told that soon we'd be riding almost all the way up the it in coming days. A three hour climb through rainforest, past huge waterfalls and incredible vistas put us into a glacial moonscape. We climbed and hiked in dense fog over volcanic rock up to over 7000 feet. Out of nowhere a refugio appeared, a welcome sight for a bunch of cold and tired guys. After a late night and lot of red wine, we were greeted by a bluebird morning and the realization we were on the edge of a massive glacier and in the middle of a mountain bike playground.
Right outside of the town of Bariloche is some of the sweetest ribbons of singletrack any of us had ever experienced. Not only that, but directly in town is a top quality shuttle zone that had us saying "one more run" over and over.
With the trip winding down, we simply had to get one dawn patrol ride checked off the list. We ascended in pitch-black darkness with headlamps to the top of a 3000 foot ridge and waited for the golden light to appear. The sunrise was worth the suffering. On our last day, we rode with locals on their home shuttle trails and it turned out to be the most fun day of the whole trip. Their warm spirit and big passion for mountain biking rubbed off on us and it was the perfect end to an unforgettable trip.