Putting in the time: An interview with Peter Ostroski
Peter’s been riding and racing for Rocky Mountain for a really long time. He’s worked his way up from a grassroots hookup to representing our brand proudly at the Enduro World Series. He’s been a member of our North American enduro race team since its inception and isn't slowing down any time soon.
RMB: To start it all off, Peter, where are you from?
PO: I grew up in North Conway, New Hampshire, and stayed there until after I finished University. It was only an hour or so from my hometown. After wrapping up at Plymouth State University I moved up to Girdwood, Alaska for 6 years to ski and ride. Now, I’m back in the Northeast USA living in Burke, Vermont. It’s really awesome being so close to the Kingdom Trails, and there’s a ton of other great riding nearby.
RMB: What first got you into riding?
PO: I was lucky enough to grow up in a family who loved being on the move and doing things outdoors. My folks introduced me to mountain biking, and at that time North Conway had a fairly strong riding community. My buddies and I were pretty competitive, and we grew up pushing each other, chasing around the older riders, and rode mostly on trails which were way above our heads at the time.
From there I got into XC racing at a state level, which included everything from 24-hour solo missions to competing at the cross-country nationals. Mountain biking has always been a passion of mine when there wasn’t snow on the ground. I grew up alpine ski racing and was fortunate enough to compete at the national level and consistently through university. It’s always been exciting trying to balance both sports while dealing with the dynamic swing from season to season.
RMB: So how did you go from XC to Enduro?
PO: Throughout my years XC racing, my goal had always been to race a World Cup in Europe - just to see if I could hang at that level. Once I pushed through the local ranks and had gained enough points to race “across the pond”, well…it was an eye-opening experience. I realized it wasn’t the path for me. My timing was good though, because enduro was gaining momentum in the US and having a new discipline to compete at was interesting to me. I had always trained on aggressive trails for XC racing, riding bikes like the Slayer for most of my rides during my XC racing years. Fortunately, it’s that exact kind of riding which I enjoy most, so it was a natural transition for me. I’ve been a part of the enduro scene for the last 6 years.
RMB: Tell us about your history riding Rocky Mountain Bicycles, it starts long before your enduro racing career.
PO: I’ve been riding a Rocky Mountain since I was 12 years old and first jumped on a 26” wheeled bike (which was the original Instinct). I think it may have been size XS just to make it work for my size, and it was my absolute dream ride. I owe my introduction to Rocky Mountain to the regional sales rep at the time, Mark Jenks. He took me under his wing, showed me some basic mechanic skills, and helped me with my riding as a coach and mentor. Mark had set me up on a regional sponsorship program, which gave me the opportunity to represent Rocky Mountain as a junior with a sweet bike and riding kit. From there, I was introduced to the US sales manager, John Olden, and worked my way up to some larger races and events on a similar program.
Things really clicked when I was on my way to Utah for a race, and I met two guys from Rocky Mountain’s R&D office in North Vancouver. The Product Manager, Ken Perras, and Marketing Manager at the time, Peter Vallance, took me on a ride and gave me the chance to share my background and present some ideas to move the brand forward. It paid off! I was able to make my way on to a more structured program, and a season or two later, Dre Hestler brought me aboard the first enduro team with the new Altitude. The Altitude Team included a young Jesse Melamed, Keven Soller, and myself. We hit a few of the very first EWS races as the Altitude team, and grew into the Rocky Mountain Urge BP team, and now the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro team. It’s been a crazy journey!
RMB: It sounds like it’s been a pretty awesome journey!
PO: Being a part of a strong team with some of the best riders in the world is a special thing. I have learned so much about bike racing over the last 5 years. It’s so important to have teammates that you can trust at the races to talk about the tracks, bounce ideas off of, and keep the energy high. Having the support of the EWS team has been great, and it’s allowed me to bring experience, stories and knowledge back to the regional and national races in the US.
RMB: What do you do in the winter? Tell us about that?
PO: Winter’s always been about skiing! I mentioned I grew up as an alpine ski racer, and then raced at the national level in university. Now, I’m a ski coach, and I keep the passion alive through my career and continued involvement in the sport. This is what led me, besides the amazing skiing, up to Alaska 7 years ago. I began working at a junior program at Alyeska Resort, and it evolved into somewhat of a full-time gig. As with many things in life, it's a balance. I try to give the athletes I coach the best opportunity to reach their potential, while striving to accomplish my own goals as an athlete.
RMB: Do you coach year-round?
PO: I coach skiing mostly in the winter, but there are a handful of summer ski camps I’m involved with. Right now, I’m working at Burke Mtn Academy in Vermont, which is a ski academy that has produced numerous Olympians and successful alpine racers over the past 48 years. It’s been really working at the school that was the first sports academy in North America. My job is somewhat seasonal, which gives me more time to dedicate effort towards both my biking and skiing career, keeping my life dynamic and fun.
RMB: What does your schedule look like for the year?
PO: For the upcoming season I plan to race a few EWS events (Austria, Whistler, Spain and Italy), a handful of Eastern States events, Trans-BC, and the Continental EWS races in North America. The goal is always to podium at national level races, Trans-BC, and try and be up there in the ranks at the EWS races I attend.
RMB: Everybody knows about the PNW trails, so tell us about the northeast US trails.
PO: The PNW gets so much attention, but the Northeast US trails are pretty rad! There is some really amazing riding and super varying terrain. There’s everything from rolling hills to fairly sizable mountains, modern flow trails to raw and technical trails. 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.
I don't think the Northeast gets the exposure like the Pacific Northwest because the culture is just different, and these places have only just recently pushed to become riding destinations. The PNW is leading the charge, but with strong engagement from the NE municipalities and land owners to push for more MTB tourism, I think the momentum is growing around here.
RMB: What bikes are you riding on this season?
PO: I will primarily be riding Instinct, Altitude, and Thunderbolt. I also spend a fair bit of time on the Suzi-Q in the winter, riding on snow and going wherever I can. When the conditions shape up, its actually pretty fun.
The all-new Vertex
The Vertex embodies speed and confidence, sitting at the top of the food chain as our flagship XC-race hardtail.
Its lightweight frame provides incredible stiffness and rolling speed, while its modern, aggressive geometry inspires confidence everywhere on the race course—even technical corners and descents. Available in a next-generation Smoothwall HBO carbon layup for even lighter weight.Intended Use: XC Race Wheel Size: 29" and 27.5+ compatible Front Travel: 100mm Vertex Carbon 90 "The new Vertex is exactly what I need for marathon racing. The re-worked geometry has been designed for improved efficiency, which allows me to push my own capabilities on the trail. Light, stiff, and durable, the Vertex is everyting I want in a hardtail." – Sascha Weber Vertex Carbon 90 frameset
Smoothwall™ carbon uses one of the world’s most sophisticated carbon processes to deliver industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality, and durability. We eliminate excess resin and fibers by using rigid internal molds instead of traditional air bladders. We then utilize different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance while minimizing overall weight.
Next generation features
Comprehensive, evolutionary updates across the platform include features like tooled axles, boost spacing, Di2 & dropper post compatibility.
Smoothwall HBO layup
By incorporating premium 40-ton carbon fiber sheets into our Vertex Carbon 90 and Vertex Carbon frameset, we were able to eliminate more resin than what is usually left from our traditional Smoothwall construction. This process allowed us to incorporate desirable frame features, increase durability, and maintain the ride performance we are known for. Our standard Smoothwall layup that can be found on the Vertex Carbon 70 and Vertex Carbon 50 remains industry leading, without resorting to cost cutting by integrating fiberglass.
Rocky Mountain ride quality
Our Vertex retains all the ride DNA that makes Rocky Mountain Bicycles famous. We’ve focused on XC performance for flat out speed but have not made compromises on ride quality, keeping our bikes fun when out on the trail. We’ve lengthened the reach, slackened the head angle, and shortened the wheelbase, maintaining rear end compliance and a comfortable ride.
Vertex Carbon 70
Vertex Carbon 50
Rider: Sascha Weber and Lukas Baum
Photo: Dennis Stratmann
Location: Cadaques, Spain
Rider: Sascha Weber and Lukas Baum
Photo: Dennis Stratmann
Location: Cadaques, Spain
The Long Way
Sam Schultz has driven south every winter for the past 11 years, leaving Montana’s snow-covered landscape behind to coach mountain biking and road riding in Tucson, Arizona. In those 11 years, he’s switched it up his plan a few times and detoured over to sunny California to ride, but the Sonoran Desert has a certain allure that has always drawn him back. Sam’s road trip always has an end game; to get back on the bike, push his own limits, and get a jump start on the riding season. He’ll be the first one to tell you he loves a good road trip, and that the best ones are filled with deviations, stops, and adventures along the way.
The whole life “van life” movement has really taken off, but it’s nothing new. The entire idea of it is centered around freedom; go where you want, when you want, with the only limitation being the need for a road surface to drive on. Riding a bike is not all that different. They’re an amazing tool for adventure and instill a strong sense of personal satisfaction and excitement. However, on a bicycle there’s no need to stop when the road ends. Sam’s bikes are a natural extension of his van, and he uses them to further explore his current location and bring on a unique perspective to his journey.
“I would say the more time I can have to get from point A to point B the better. Just stop and you have your garage full of bikes, your dresser, your changing room, your kitchen, your bed--everything you need. The best times on a road trip are the days the van doesn’t move at all” – Sam Schultz
Sam grew up racing mountain bikes. He entered his first race at 13 and was ranked at a national level, earning him a spot on the US Cycling U23 development team. After several years of competing internationally against the best in the world, it was announced that he was chosen to represent his country at the 2012 London Olympics. Sam placed 15th on the day, a result that he’s incredibly proud of. The Olympic Games weren’t Sam’s exit from racing, but it wasn’t long after that he began suffering from multiple back injuries that required multiple surgeries. One of the surgeries resulted in a spinal infection, and the other left him with rods and screws fusing his L4 and L5 vertebrae together. For a year before surgery, and a year after each surgery, it was non-stop physical therapy and rehabilitation. He was determined to return to racing.
“For me, it’s always been that if I put in the work, I see the result. That’s how my whole bike racing career was, and I feel very lucky that it was like that.” – Sam Schultz
Sam came to the realization that with his plaguing back injury, being a racer wasn’t going to be his future career. Like most people when their entire world is turned upside down, he felt a bit lost. The solution didn’t come to him overnight, but he took the time to try and figure out what it was that actually makes him happy. Sam loves to travel, meet interesting people, and he loves to ride his bike.
“The only thing I have found that compares to doing something yourself, is sharing it with someone else. Most people learn that in kindergarten, but that has been a pretty big epiphany for me.” – Sam Schultz
Sam’s been camping out and travelling with a van for his entire life. From road tripping with his parents’ minivan in high school for racing, to exploring the US with a quiver of bikes and his dog, Pancho. Right now, Sam’s biggest priority is to embrace his adventure, put the van in “park”, and get out for a ride beyond where the road ends.
Sam Schultz' Never-ending Road Trip
From Olympic cross-country racing to a life on the road, Sam Schultz lives for riding mountain bikes. He’s grown up chasing the top spot on the podium and was always driven by the excitement of fierce competition.
Nowadays, Sam’s working hard to launch a youth mountain bike league in Montana, coaching cycling clinics in Arizona, and driving his van around the US with his dog, Pancho, seated in shotgun. Sam’s never-ending road trip has given him a whole new perspective on mountain biking and life.
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
SS: I grew up in Missoula, Montana and I still call it home. Like a lot of kids, I couldn’t wait to move away when I graduated high school. It didn't take long to come to draw me back and realize that I am pretty dang lucky to have grown up here.
What first got you into riding?
SS: My uncle got my brother and I hooked on riding. Growing up with a sweet trail network out the back door, we were naturally drawn to explore our backyard. Uncle Chuck was an avid mountain biker who showed us what was possible on mountain bikes, so it didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with riding and talking to my parents about taking me to my first race (at my uncle's suggestion).
What was your path to the Olympics? Was racing part of your upbringing?
SS: I entered my first race was when I was 13, and as soon as I finished all I could think about was the next one. It wasn't long until my brother got into it and pretty soon my Dad was racing too. My parents were incredibly supportive; loading up the minivan with bikes and camping gear and traveling all over Montana and eventually the country. In my last year as a junior, I set a goal to make the world championship team and I squeaked my way onto the squad. The following year I was invited to join a U23 development program that USA Cycling had founded, and that program gave me the opportunity to compete on the World Cup circuit. After several years of international competition, I had progressed enough to score my first pro contract. It was a dream come true. I didn't really believe that the Olympics would be a possibility until I was named to the team leading up to the 2008 Games. I didn't make that team, but I knew I had a shot for 2012.
So, you ended up at the 2012 London Olympics. Was it what you expected?
SS: It was amazing to have the opportunity to represent my country on the biggest sporting stage out there. I underestimated the feeling of having what felt like my entire community cheering me on. I was super nervous, and the whole experience was out of this world. I finished 15th on the day - a result I was very proud of. The biggest downside to competing in the mountain bike race was that it happened to be on the last day of the Olympics. I had to miss out on some epic parties that week, but the closing ceremony was truly something special.
What have you been doing at the Cycling House in Tucson?
SS: I work both as a ride guide and a camp director for the Cycling House. I've been working for them on and off for the last 11 years. A high school bike racing buddy, and still one of my best friends, started the company 2 years before I got involved. We run all-inclusive cycling getaways out of a big house in the desert with delicious food, lots of shared hangout space, and great groups of people. They also run trips in Montana and all over the world now. We work like dogs, but we do so alongside great friends and with very interesting clientele. We get to spend a lot of time with our clients--and with bikes as a common connection between people who often times have polar opposite backgrounds, mutual respect, interesting conversation, and new friendships are usually the result.
Tell us about your goal of getting a High School Mountain Bike League going in Montana.
SS: Ever since I stopped pursing racing as a result of some back issues and a couple of ensuing surgeries, I’ve given myself a lot of time living in what I call, “temporary-semi-retirement”. Retired life is great, but I've also been seeking out the next project that will push me to be less self-serving and spread my passion for cycling.
All signs pointed towards a project with the NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) high school and middle school mountain bike racing movement. NICA exists in 22 states across the US now and it is flourishing. Montana doesn't have a league yet, and I see this as an amazing opportunity to make mountain biking more accessible to kids in my home state. I think about how lucky I was to get introduced to mountain biking at a young age, and how much I learned from mountain biking. I would have been through the moon if we had a program like NICA when I was growing up, and I couldn't be more excited to be working on making it happen.
How did you meet your dog, Pancho?
SS: Exactly a year ago, I set off on a little motorcycle trip into Mexico. I had two weeks off and I wanted to see some new country, explore cool roads, and of course eat delicious tacos. Towards the end of my trip I rode past a burning dump--black smoke billowing out along a beautiful coastline. I was fascinated and had to pull in for a closer look.
The first thing I saw through the smoke was a puppy peering out of a water jug. I couldn’t think of much to do at that time other than bring some food and water to the pup, but even after I got back to Tucson, I couldn’t stop thinking about that dog. I drove back down in my van a couple days later and what I thought was one puppy turned out to be four--three black and brown puppies, and one scrawny little white one. I was chasing these puppies around through broken glass in a burning dump at sunset and I couldn’t catch them.
It was getting dark quick, so I started going after the smaller, white one. He fell asleep on a pile of trash while I was chasing him, and I scooped him up. He weighed less than 5 pounds, smelled like rotten fish, and was covered in fleas and ticks. I felt guilty after taking him away from his siblings, so I left the van door open to give him the chance to run free. He sat there staring at me. The whole story is pretty long (with getting him across the border and all that). You might have to buy me a beer to hear the rest...
You’ve told us before that your exit from the racing world was not an easy one. What was that like and how have you balanced your competitive drive?
SS: My exit from the racing world was pretty long and drawn out. I went through two pretty serious back surgeries; one that resulted in a spinal infection, and one that left me with rods and screws fusing my L4 and L5 vertebrae together. For a year before surgery, and a year after each surgery, I did physical therapy exercises more obsessively than I’ve done anything in my life. I had the blinders on and I wanted to get back to racing. I guess it’s that stupid, competitive drive I have. I think a rationale person would have thrown in the towel quite a bit sooner. For me, it’s always been that if I put in the work, I see the result. That’s how my whole bike racing career was, and I feel very lucky that it was like that.
I never tested well with VO2 max and lactate threshold. My hematocrit was so low bloodwork always flagged me as anemic. According to the lab, I should be slow, but I stuck with it, had fun, worked hard and the rest is history. Making the decision to exit from racing is probably been one of the hardest, but also the best things I’ve ever done. It was a chance for me to change my perspective completely. I lived in this bubble where I was obsessed with what I was doing, and racing was my whole world. Then I got out of racing, and it’s hard to even find the results.
How have you continued to keep riding as part of your lifestyle? Why?
SS: After finally coming to the realization that being a racer wasn’t going to work due to my plaguing back injury, I didn’t really know what to do. I thought it would be cool to put together an ambassador gig, but there are a ton of challenges trying to sell yourself from that angle as well. I pieced together a couple of low end deals, but nothing big enough to really make it worth doing anything that I didn’t actually want to do. It was a blessing in disguise, because it forced me to put effort into doing my own thing and really becoming that authentic story I was trying to sell. I started doing what I wanted to do and then some sponsor relationships have grown and it’s a cool gig.
Tell me about your pace in the van?
SS: Almost always, I would say the more time I can have to get from point A to point B the better. There are so many things to see along the way, and the van makes it easy. Just stop and you have your garage full of bikes, your dresser, your changing room, your kitchen, your bed--everything you need. The best times on a road trip are the days the van doesn’t move at all. If I stop, park the van, and just get to hang out. That’s the key. Nowhere to be and all day to get there. That’s a good way to be in the van.
What guides you as an evolving athlete?
SS: Endurance athletes that get to a high level of their sport usually don’t really get there without being pretty damn selfish. You have to take care of yourself, and it’s a lot about you to get to that high level. You end up making a lot of sacrifices, and it becomes difficult to what’s best for you with what others are expecting. I’m trying to work on being a little less selfish, because I have trained my whole life to perform at a high level. I say, “a little”, because I know I have a long way to go.
I’ve also really been taking my time to try and figure out what actually makes me happy. If I can get some riding in with interesting people and find some time for myself where I’m able to relax, I’m generally in a good spot. I still really like to push myself physically, and I feel really lucky to be able to do it even after my struggles with injuries. The only thing I have found that compares to doing something yourself, is sharing it with someone else. Most people learn that in kindergarten, but that has been a pretty big epiphany for me.
What advice would you give other people who are thinking about ditching the traditional life and hitting the road?
SS: A lot of people get in over their head trying to keep up with what other people are doing. Everything comes with sacrifices; the grass is always greener. I think being able to truly own what you’re doing at the moment is the best advice I could give.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out. I’m 32, I don’t really have a career right now, and sometimes I’m like “shit, what am I even doing?” but then I realize that I get to ride where I want to ride, work when I want to work, and piece it all together the way I want to. For me, as long as I’m learning I feel like it’s all worthwhile. I don’t think I’ll live the full “life on the road” forever – I kind of hope not – but I’m not going to regret the time I have spent doing it, that’s for sure.
Sam Schultz is splitting his time between riding the Solo, Instinct, and Element this season. He has his sights set on a couple races like BC Bike Race and the Downieville Classic but is mostly looking forward to road trips in his van that lead to amazing rides, and of course with Pancho by his side.
Altitude Powerplay now available in Canada
We first launched the Altitude Powerplay in Europe back in July, and after an incredible season abroad, we’re proud to bring it home and announce its availability in Canada. Sharing the same geometry and suspension performance as the renowned Altitude, the Altitude Powerplay is an eMTB meant for aggressive trail riding.
This 3rd generation of drive system was designed and developed by Propulsion Powercycle and Rocky Mountain Bicycles in Canada. The Powerplay is a patented mid-drive system that’s under exclusive license from Propulsion Powercycle. We spent several years developing and testing the system together. What we were seeking is true mountain bike performance, while providing class-leading torque, massive battery capacity, and a bike with aggressive all-mountain bike geometry and ride characteristics. The Altitude Powerplay has been recognized with both the Eurobike Award in the category of E-bikes and Pedelecs, as well as a Design & Innovation Award in E-mountain bikes.
“I’ve been on the Altitude Powerplay for over 6 months now, so I’ve had the chance to put it through its paces. When I try to describe what my favourite part about it is, all I can say is “It’s like I’m riding in my dreams”. The Powerplay is not a new chapter in mountain biking for me, it's a whole new book and the story is epic.” – Wade Simmons
The intended use of the Altitude Powerplay is the same as its EWS winning namesake, the Altitude. It’s an aggressive trail bike that can handle any descent you can throw at it, while still maintaining the ability to climb technical terrain with ease. However, in the case of the Powerplay, the added power from the motor allows you to push your own potential that much further.
The 48v system provides super short charge times taking only two hours to reach 80% capacity of the available 632Wh lithium ion battery in our Carbon 90 and Carbon 70 level models. Our Carbon 50 model uses a 500Wh battery and charges to 80% capacity in just over 1.5 hours. All of our components are easily serviceable by our dealers, and we pride ourselves on providing strong dealer service support in Canada.
CANADIAN DEALERS CARRYING ALTITUDE POWERPLAY
- Adventure Ski & Cycle
- Alpenland Ski & Sport
- Bicycles Quilicot Mont-Tremblant
- Boutique de Vélo Cadence
- Coastal Culture
- Comor North Vancouver
- Cycles Tomahawk
- Cyclo Sport
- Demers bicyclettes et skis de fond
- Frenette Bicyclettes
- Gearhub Sports
- Laferté Bicycles
- Lessard Bicycles
- Lynn Valley Bikes
- Marty's Mountain Cycle
- More BIkes
- Outside Bike and Ski
- Performance Bégin
- Procycle Lévis
- Revolution Cycle
- Simon's Bike Shop
- Skiis and Bikes
- Skyride Cycle
- Sport Cycle Expert Chicoutimi
- Sports 4 Saisons
- Squire John's
- The Bike Shop
- Vélo St-Joseph
- Vivre à fond - La Boutique
ALTITUDE POWERPLAY TECHNOLOGIES
Dyname 3.0 drive system
This 3rd generation of drive system was designed and developed by Propulsion Powercycle and Rocky Mountain Bicycles in Canada. The Powerplay is a patented mid-drive system that’s under exclusive license from Propulsion Powercycle. The Powerplay drive system is a sleek, lightweight, and powerful electric assist that pushes the boundaries of electric bikes with its smooth, instant power response and intuitive ride feel. The Powerplay was designed in parallel with our frame, allowing us to produce an e-MTB with the same geometry and suspension kinematics as our unassisted altitude. The system provides class-leading torque, ultra-quiet operation, instant power response, and super-fast charging.
Our carbon bikes, including the Altitude Powerplay, uses one of the world’s most sophisticated carbon processes to deliver industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality, and durability. We eliminate excess resin and fibers by using rigid internal molds instead of traditional air bladders. We then utilize different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance while minimizing overall weight.
The Altitude Powerplay has a FORM alloy rear triangle, engineered to ensure optimized strength, weight, and ride quality.
Ready for Any Trail
The RIDE-9 adjustment system allows riders to quickly fine-tune their geometry and suspension with a pair of Allen keys. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chips.
Smoothlink suspension is efficient yet supple when you’re on the pedals and across a wide range of gears. It features a controlled end-stroke and a rate-curve that feels more capable than the travel would suggest. This four-bar suspension design philosophy is centred on ride characteristics; each bike platform we develop balances variables like anti-squat, axle path, chain growth, rate curve, anti-rise, etc. to achieve the legendary Rocky Mountain ride feel.
Size Specific Tune
Size Specific Tune ensures that riders of all sizes get the right balance of small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke progression. Our design team creates custom shock tunes based on real world field testing and adjusts each tune for specific frame sizes.
“The most exciting part of riding the Altitude Powerplay for me is pushing my own boundaries. I'm not going to ride this bike on my every-day loops, it's a tool I’m using to push my mountain bike boundaries even further – push to a point I wouldn't have otherwise realized existed. I live to ride, and I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of major movements in mountain biking. The introduction of e-mountain biking is definitely the most exciting.” – Wade Simmons
The Altitude Powerplay was designed and built with the same passion and enthusiasm for mountain biking that has pushed Rocky Mountain Bicycles forward for the last 37 years.
Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team
We're very excited to return to the Enduro World Series in 2018 and announce the formation of our new Canadian partnership with Race Face Performance Products. We're incredibly proud to form the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, and to tackle a full season of racing with passion, drive, and dedication.
Our two brands have a deep history together that began in 1993. When freeride was born Rocky Mountain and Race Face were there, under the same roof, meeting the needs of demanding North Shore riders. Now, 25 years later Race Face is making some of the best components in the world, and we're honored to be officially reunited through our EWS team partnership.
- 12th EWS Series Overall Ranking
- 1st EWS Whistler, Canada
I'm excited to start a new chapter of this team, with Race Face on board to strengthen the Canadian vibe. I'm really looking forward to working closely with another local brand that shares my passion and roots. The crash I had in Finale Ligure at the end of last season was a tough one to recover from, but I've been training hard and am confident I am going to come into the first race strong!" - Jesse Melamed
- 8th EWS Series Overall Ranking
- 5th EWS Whistler, Canada
"Partnering up with Race Face and their strong Canadian roots is something that is unique to the EWS and exciting for myself. I'm really looking forward to getting things kicked off in South America in a few weeks, traveling with Jesse, ALN, our new crew of mechanics and Team Manager! This off season has been really productive for me, and I feel super-strong coming into the first round." - Remi Gauvin
- 11th EWS Series Overall Ranking
- 3rd EWS Wicklow, Ireland
"I feel really happy and at home with our team for 2018. With such a good set up, it really is a bittersweet feeling to be sidelined for the two first rounds with a wrist injury. With the team supporting me, the matter at hand is to regain my maximum shred capacity to join the party ASAP. I look forward to seeing us evolve as a team this season and to enjoy not only the racing but the whole vibe." - ALN
Partners in Grime
For many, completing post-secondary schooling is a difficult task. For others, training and racing for Canada’s grueling weather is overwhelming. But what about doing both? Victoria, B.C. racers and roommates Felix Burke and Quinn Moberg manage to tackle an ambitious lifestyle consisting of equal parts education and maintenance of a competitive national ranking on Canada’s XC racing circuit.
What does it take to race hard plus earn an Economics or Kinesiology degree in the off season? Teamwork and resilience. The Rocky Mountain/7Mesh riders know that success means more than lung capacity and enlarged quads. It’s a life balance only helped further by sticking together, and shaming each other about eating cookies.
Felix Burke Interview
MB: How long have you been racing?
FB: I have been racing since first year junior, so this year will be my sixth season racing. I guess professionally this will be my fourth year.
MB: Explain how you grew up both in B.C. and Quebec.
FB: When I was 13 my family moved from Tremblant, QC to Whistler. My mom got a job opportunity there and my parents wanted to live an adventure—they both grew up on the east coast and saw Whistler as the mecca. Both are into skiing and outdoor activities. So we moved to Whistler and it was there that I discovered mountain biking, through some friends I had met on the ski hill. In the summer, they were riding and I just kind of tagged along and loved it, and the community. I started doing the local races with my dad and there was this thing called the Lumpy Award (awarded to local youth who Whistler Off Road Cycling Association directors feel best exemplifies their values – ed). Once I found out that it existed, I focused on it. Trying to get better. I guess that is when I first started training.
MB: And why did you end up moving to QC?
FB: When I was 16, my mom got another job opportunity in Tremblant. My parents decided to move back for a number of reasons. I was worried. I thought all of the cool mountain biking was in B.C., but it turns out that the XC scene is really big on the East Coast. I just jumped into the more classic XC and I got a coach, and my parents saw how much I loved it. They had been worried that they were taking me away from something that I loved. I knew I was going to come back eventually.
MB: When you moved back to Tremblant from Whistler your bike handling skills must have been strong relative to the local scene?
FB: For sure. When I came back I had the skills. And when you are younger you push yourself in a way that is harder to do when you get older. You know, your friend hucks off something and you are like, well, I gotta do it now I guess. I think it’s good that I got to do it when I was younger because my skills…I don’t feel like I practiced them too much. I just feel like I have them naturally. And I think it’s because of growing up as a younger riding in Whistler going off drops and riding in the bike park. I think it just sticks with you.
MB: So when did you and Quinn [Moberg] meet?
FB: It’s kind of a funny story how I met Quinn. I knew who he was, so I looked up to him, and then at the end of the summer before I moved back to Tremblant there was a Team BC selection camp. I knew I was moving away but I wanted to meet the coach and see what the environment was like. They set up a bunch of races and that’s where I met Quinn. We did a time trial, and I had a great time. Quinn invited me to stay at his place in Squamish, because I was living in Whistler and the camp was in Squamish. I had never talked to the guy, but I respected him and knew who he was.
We kind of kept in touch, like if he had a good result I sent him an email, and if I had a good result he sent me an email and we started planning trips together. When I moved out here my first year of UVIC I didn’t have a place to stay and I sent him a message and he said come live with us and that’s really when we got to become good friends. We’ve got a really good set up.
MB: University keeps a man busy. How often do your training schedules intersect?
FB: I would say regularly, but what makes it hard is our school schedule. We don’t have the same school schedule and so it makes it hard to coordinate training times so if I have classes in the morning and he doesn’t he’ll go training in the morning and I will come back and go in the afternoon and that makes it hard but almost every weekend we get one ride in together and as much as we can time it with school. Basically, as much as we can. Probably about two rides a week I would say.
MB: How important is it to have someone that is easily accessible to train with?
FB: It’s huge. I think on the bike it’s important, but I think the biggest part is off the bike. So much of the training and the benefits and the ways that you want to progress happens off the bike. And Quinn and I keep each other motivated and if I see Quinn eating something unhealthy I’m like ‘are you sure you want to be eating that?’ He’ll say the same thing for me, and we support each other. Sometimes motivation is low when you’ve got other stuff going on. I think that’s where it really comes in.
MB: Many people have a hard time just getting through University, and yet you have a race career as well. How do you prioritize?
FB: I think a lot of it is just planning and thinking in advance. And I prioritize both equally. I think in the fall I prioritize school a little bit more. Because I know that the training is a little less important at that time of year. And I take more courses. And then in the spring I prioritize biking so I plan my homework in advance and get to go for longer rides on the weekend and never kind of get caught off guard with the homework or anything like that.
MB: Do you feel like you’re missing out on the party lifestyle of school?
FB: We are not living the mainstream school life, which can be hard sometimes. You have these friends who party and they have these stories you don’t have. But I don’t feel like I am missing out on social stuff because I am hanging out with my buddy and we’re doing the same thing. It’s kind of like working on a project with a friend.
MB: What about the riding in Victoria?
FB: I really enjoy it. There’s plenty of gnarly stuff. The biggest thing is I love is the mountains…getting up into the alpine. I love doing something epic and that’s the only thing it’s missing. But the potential for adventure is huge. Out in Sooke—once you get in those woods—it feels really wild.
Victoria is the best spot for training. A super good community of riders that support each other. A bunch of racing. The road riding is great. Because it’s raining a lot, you get used to riding the challenging terrain and conditions that constant rain creates. When you go elsewhere you bring those skills with you. You go to a race course in California and people are calling it a hard course but it’s sunny and beautiful and it’s a great day for mountain biking.
MB: You and Quinn are buddies, but do you have to be friends with a training partner to be successful?
FB: For me, I have to train with buddies. I’ve trained with the national team, where you ride with super talented riders and learn as much as you can. But it’s hard to be a in an environment where you are competitive all the time. It’s just not a life I want to live all the time. I prefer to train with people that I can hang out with after. It’s a social thing…especially when you’re doing base miles, talking about world problems, relationships, etc while you ride…it’s a lot easier to balance everything. You don’t have a lot of time to go out and do different things when you are living this life so it helps when your social life is your riding life.
MB: What has Quinn done for your riding?
FB: Quinn is probably the smartest guy I know. His approach helps me the same way he does. He takes a different look on it. For example, when you plan trips, Quinn will analyze things in a way other racers won’t. He’s also a great bike mechanic. He helps me with bike set up. On the bike, Quinn is really tough. He won’t complain. He won’t pull out. I mean, obviously within reason. If he’s bleeding or something…[laughter]. That helps me. If I am tired but he’s still going, I won’t complain either. We’ll just get it done. Our riding styles complement each other as well. He’s a punchy rider and sometimes I have to ride his style. I usually hold a solid pace but it’s good to balance each other out with different styles of riding and training.
I finished high school and moved back here and now I’m going to UVic and riding for Rocky and when I was younger in Whistler I saw the guys riding for Rocky and I always looked up to them. It’s kind of a dream come true. Even though I’m from the east coast and people don’t really understand, I feel like I grew up with the West Coast riding culture and riding for Rocky is a dream come true.
Quinn Moberg Interview
MB: Do you remember the first time you met Felix?
QM: It was around 2012 and we were at a Cycling BC team camp together. It was right before he moved to Quebec and he actually stayed at my house. And we weren’t friends, I had never met him.
MB: And so you were both at a high level at that time?
QM: For our age, yeah. We weren’t phenomes by any means.
MB: You’re grinders?
QM: Yeah, closer to that end of the spectrum I would say.
MB: Racing XC in the Sea-to-Sky—where it’s predominantly an all-mountain/freeride bike culture—is there an automatic kinship when you meet someone that is geared toward XC?
QM: I think so. When I was living in Squamish I was never good buddies with Felix. We moved to Victoria at the same time and that’s when we started to become close, but I knew him for a few years when I was in Victoria and he was in Tramblant. There is a fairly close-nit group of cross country racers in Sea-to-Sky and on Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast…but there is a style. If we go to race around the country there is a west-coast style. I think it’s derived from what you are explaining, that casual freeride…you know, mountain biking. It’s represented in our racing style.
MB: Tell me about the moving from Squamish to Victoria.
QM: This is my third year [in Uni]. Victoria is rad. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse than Squamish, I like Squamish too, but there are pros and cons. The weather is better in Victoria. The “true” mountain biking is obviously better in Squamish. Training is good in Victoria…there are good training partners, the forest is beautiful the terrain we ride in is unbelievable. Same as Squamish but it’s different. We’ve got Arbutus trees, moss and rocks and ocean here. Even though Squamish is a community on the water you don’t ride by it every day.
MB: Other than the fact that you have year-round riding, has Victoria’s riding scene or the Victoria riding style affected yours at all?
QM: Yes, for sure. It has improved my riding a lot. Believe it or not. In the Sea-to-Sky corridor there are definitely tech sections, but a lot of what is “tech” is just having big balls. You have to just man up and ride it. In Victoria, there is some of that but it’s few and far between. But it’s still real tech, and it’s humbling because you don’t have to “man up” all the time but you have to be on it. Really focused. The rock is a lot slicker here. There is more root. A lot less groomed terrain. Probably because the bike scene is a lot smaller. But it’s a lot more technical. And I think that catches people by surprise. But you lose that big-line, all-mountain feel. You never feel out there, but it’s nice in other ways.
MB: If you are an XC racer, you need to be able to get quickly through technical terrain…trails that might not be fall-and-get-hurt-type terrain, but if you aren’t on your game you are going to lose a lot of time.
QM: Yup. When you are mountain biking in Victoria, if you aren’t on it 100%, it’s going to really show. In Squamish, leaving my parent’s house and going to ride Rupert’s or another “average” Squamish trail, you don’t have to be that dialed to make your way down. Or up. But if you came to Victoria and you weren’t focused or fresh or ready to go mountain biking, you are going to be slow. I guess that’s the biggest thing that Victoria has taught me. The focus, and riding technical stuff.
MB: It’s great that Vancouver Islanders get to ride all year, but it comes with a whole new level of wet and gnarly weather. You guys are probably training four or five months in pretty wet weather? How does that shape you?
QM: It makes you tough, for sure. You can ride all year, but it’s five degrees Celsius and raining. There’s no excuse not to… but it makes you hard, for sure. I think it’s advantageous. Spending the time…I’m not going to use the word miserable. That’s something that I’m trying to avoid. But it’s hard. It’s hard to do.
MB: What about gear? Do you think that a company—or at least an R&D team—must be based on the wet, west coast in order to build product for it?
QM: It’s an advantage for sure, and I am conscious of it. Felix and I train a lot together and bounce ideas off each other but there are also other guys in town. Felix and I have the same gear. It’s a huge advantage having what we have. We can be way more comfortable. Our bikes are made to ride what we ride what we’re riding. We are set up very well, even with the parts our bikes are built with.
MB: When you talk about XC racing, especially, every advantage is a good one. It’s often just the tiny little ones that help.
QM: Being literally as comfortable as possible. It’s unreal. It’s really nice to have.
MB: What is the difference between a solo ride and a ride with Felix?
QM: There is an extra push with Felix. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe it, but we are somewhat competitive, in the sense that we push each other, he pushes me in a lot of facets of my life close to what my maximum would be. But it’s not competitive. I don’t want to better than him. I want him to be as good as he can and if that’s better than me, that’s perfect. But I am pushed by him. And it’s not just the training. It’s having that person there that is going through training and school. It keeps you accountable. It would be very easy to just gap and not get school work done.
MB: In mountain biking, there are a lot of “teams,” but how often are they actually working together? I know in road biking it’s a lot more common, but it seems like you have a more traditional relationship, where you are pushing and living and training with each other and it all becomes holistic in a way.
QM: Absolutely. I think it’s pretty unique. I have been on the Rocky team and a couple of smaller teams but I have never looked at my “teammates” as someone that I am working with. They are just sponsored by the same person. And I think that if Felix and I were sponsored by different people we would still work together. Having that same sponsorship, there is something extra special there.
MB: University seems impressive to me on its own, but you guys are taking almost a full class load and also racing at a competitive level. Do you miss out on other parts of your life because of it?
QM: Thanks, yeah, I think I do. There is definitely a big sacrifice. People talk about a university experience…and I don’t know if I missed it. I mean, my life doesn’t suck at all, but I don’t party very frequently, or barely at all. And I skip out on post lecture hangouts in the hall between class. I try to be really efficient with my time, that hang-out time is sacrificed. The biggest thing is staying organized with your time and focus and, once you are organized, committing to that. Not letting up. But to be clear I’m not upset about anything. If I wanted to do something different I would just do it. I’m doing this because I want to.
MB: I asked Felix what you have been able to teach him. What has he been able to teach you?
QM: A few biking things: he’s a really skilled rider. I think his skills are underrated. So, bike skills are a big thing…just following his speed on trails. It pushes me. He’s damn good bike rider. Life balance also. Sometimes I’ll get obsessed with biking or school or some other thing on my mind and I think Felix keeps me stay healthy.
Wade Simmons' Pipedream
Wade Simmons has been in the free ride game since the beginning. His mark has been left on our sport through an extensive catalogue of images and video segments, showcasing his creative ability to conquer lines with unmistakable style. Simply put, Wade’s career has been driven by his desire to do something different. While watching the archived footage of himself riding in The Moment, he couldn’t help but get nostalgic on the bikes that helped make his career.
Bikes like the Pipeline, Switch, RMX, RM7, and RM9 were the tools of Wade’s trade. To him, these were the bikes that had soul. The “Thrust Link”, “NE 3”, and “3D Link” were some of the iconic technologies that helped make these bikes special. This was at a time where adding linkage plates to everything was the obvious solution.
Wade is what we call an “ideas man.” Fueled by Wade’s creativity, Rocky Mountain Bicycles decided to build a very special bike, founded on nostalgia and designed to modern day standards. Tapping into some of his old favourite lines, this is a story of Wade Simmons’ Pipedream.
Gussets and linkage plates were an iconic look of the early 2000's. Riders like Wade were beginning to push mountain biking in a new direction, and the frame designs were changing to meet their demands. From 49mm straight head tubes to adding extra gussets for flair, the Pipedream embodies the renegade spirit of freeride.
Many of the early Rocky Mountain freeride bikes had a feature that allowed you to mount the rear shock in 3 different locations. This was known as "NE 3", and required 2 linkage plates on either side of the shock with a cross-brace to stiffen everything torsionally. While having a bit of fun with cross-bracing designs, the NE 3 Man was born.
The 3D Link was a CNC'd feature on our full suspension bikes of the late 90's and early 2000's. Platforms like the Element, Edge, and Slayer all had versions of the 3D Link, which made it a natural addition to Wade's Pipedream.
The Rocky Mountain Bicycles Development Centre is located at the foot of Vancouver's North Shore mountains and is home base for all of our product development. It's here that we weld our prototype frames, test new ideas, and fine tune the details. Longtime Rocky Mountain Bicycles welder, Al Kowalchuk worked on this custom project, delivering an incredible finished product.
The Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons.
Rocky Mountain is proud to have been involved with the feature film, The Moment. We would also like to say a huge Thank You to Wade Simmons for his continued inspiration and dedication to freeride mountain biking.
Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles
Featuring Wade Simmons' Pipedream
Frame Development & Design by Tom Ferenc, Lyle Vallie, Joe Kerekes, and James Mallion
Welding by Al Kowalchuk
Frame Preparation by Billy Chang
Paint by Harald Strasser at Toxik Design Laboratory
Magic Unfolding by Big Score Audio &
Voytek by The Heavy Eyes
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
A Film by Scott Secco
Featuring Wade Simmons
Produced by Stephen Matthews
Guest Appearances by Darcy Turenne and Rocky Mountain Bicycles staff
Sound Design by Keith White Audio
Typography by Mike Taylor
Archived footage by Todd Fiander, Christian Begin, Bjorn Enga, Darcy Wittenburg, and Jorli Ricker
Photography by Margus Riga
Special Thanks to Fox Suspension, Race Face, and Shimano
Shift in Perspective
The freedom that comes from riding two wheels is like no other. From the first time that you rolled past the end of the driveway, to the most recent ride on your favourite singletrack trail. The evolution of how you ride will change, but your love for the ride never should. Wade Simmons and Jesse Melamed are generational masters of our sport and are driven to push their own limits using new technologies to help ride trails in a new light.
"My motivation in mountain biking has always been to find creative lines and link uber-tech sections with fluidity. Having up to this point ridden 2.3–2.5 tires for 20+ years, I know the limitations. Now with the addition of the plus tire, I find my line choices evolving and that’s awesome to me!" —Wade Simmons
Creativity has always kept things fresh for Simmons. On the trail, he makes things happen that simply shouldn’t be possible, all while navigating extremely technical terrain with ease. He’s always been this way. Looking back at his segment in “Shift,” a breakout role for a much younger Godfather, it’s always been about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
It’s become apparent to me that the big advantage of running plus tires is the ability to maintain momentum and speed over rough terrain. The tires eat rough for breakfast! It can be a bit more finicky dialing in the tire pressure, but once you find the right balance, it's game on."—Wade Simmons
Jesse is laser-focused, and his race results against the World’s fastest are proof. He knows when to go for it, and anyone who’s ridden with Jesse will attest that he’s all-in once his tires hit the trail. Commitment is in his character, and being able to unlock and tap into unconventional lines has set him apart at the EWS and back home in Whistler.
"Running plus tires is great for reminding me there is more than one way to see a trail. It opens my mind to what’s possible and helps me visualize the different lines when practicing for an EWS race.”—Jesse Melamed
"Riding the all-new Pipeline is like riding any new bike, it's fun and exciting! I like to jump around and play with the trail, and the Pipeline lets me get away with landing in even the roughest sections and calling it a “landing”. Every time I get away with riding a stupid line, it motivates me to find another one. It's my favorite way to ride a bike, and a trail." —Jesse Melamed
The all-new Pipeline has 140mm of rear travel, 10mm more than the previous version. Being able to fine-tune the geometry and rear suspension of the bike is made possible by the Ride-9 Adjustment System embedded on the link. Jesse, who is known for charging hard and as fast as possible, has his Ride-9 set to Position 1 which is the slackest and most progressive setting. Wade, who loves a supple top end and a bit more linear feeling suspension, prefers his Pipeline in Position 3.
"Jesse shreds, I love riding with that guy! He puts a smile on my face because he reminds me of myself when I was younger; just bouncing around on his bike trying stupid things. He’s who I would consider being a “true” mountain biker, someone who enjoys all aspects of riding. When we ride together we constantly challenge each other, and session sketchy features and fool around... this is what mountain biking is all about!" —Wade Simmons
A Film by Max Berkowitz
Featuring Wade Simmons & Jesse Melamed
Edited by Max Berkowitz
Typography by Mike Taylor
Photography by Robin O’Neill
In the Valley of the Sun
Stretching through high mountain meadows and down deep winding valleys, the trails of Sun Valley, Idaho are absolutely world class. The trails themselves hold a special feeling, built from the legacy of pioneers and visionaries exploring the region. Rocky Mountain Bicycles’ athletes, Thomas Vanderham and Sam Schultz, set out with their sights set on singletrack, tapping into their instinct for adventure.
"Spending a week exploring Sun Valley with Sam Schultz on the new Rocky Mountain Instinct was somewhat of a blur. Not just because chasing an Olympian up mountains at altitude is tough business, but because I quickly realized that there's a lot more to Sun Valley than the picture perfect single track it’s famous for.” - Thomas Vanderham
Mining, farming, and tourism have swept through Blaine County to meet the changing demands of passing decades. Adaptation and perseverance has kept Sun Valley alive, and forward thinking has led to developments such as the world’s first chairlift in 1936. Connecting with the area in a more traditional sense, American legends like Ernest Hemmingway lived out his life here, hunting and exploring the Wood River Valley, with an inspired take on the natural surroundings.
"Even after we rode some of the local classics, shredded new purpose-built singletrack, and climbed into the alpine to stay in a local piece of mountain history, it felt like we had just scratched the surface. I can't believe how much fun I've had riding the new Instinct. I was blown away by how effortlessly the bike carries speed, while improvements to the geometry and stiffness keep it nimble and stable. Next time I'll have to come for month, and I probably still won't run out of trails to ride." – Thomas Vanderham
The Pioneer Cabin was built by the Sun Valley Company in 1937 to help increase accessibility for skiers in the Pioneer Mountains. Ascending more than 23 relentless switchbacks through both wide-open grasslands and thick forest, the statement painted on the roof of the cabin, “the higher you get the higher you get,” is awfully matter of fact. The cabin builder, Averell Harriman, decided that the remote area around Sun Valley would be the perfect location for staging adventures, allowing people to spend more time exploring the backcountry.
"Living in Missoula, MT, I have no shortage of pristine, buffed out singletrack right out my back door. The big difference in Sun Valley is the immense quantity of trail and the ability to ride right from town and get deep into the rugged mountains surrounding the valley. It had been awhile since my last visit, which was in 2012 and I managed to take the win at the XC National Championships.” – Sam Schultz
The world has become a smaller place, yet the opportunity for creative rides and unlikely trail connections are still very real in Sun Valley. In a combination of paper maps and downloadable apps, navigating legacy routes is a harmonious blend of historical and modern adventure.
"I’ve admired Thomas’ riding in videos for years, watching in awe while grinding on an indoor trainer all winter as a 16-year old racing fanatic. I was truly blown away to see his precision on the trail in real life. Every turn, technical feature, and jump was nailed with absolute perfection." - Sam Schultz
" knew the trails were sweet and I was pumped to head there for more exploration on a bike designed for exactly the type of riding that has inspired me the most lately. The Instinct and I immediately felt like a match made in heaven. It was the perfect blend of Altitude and Element; fast feeling 29" wheels, plenty of travel to ride aggressively, rocket-like efficiency, all in a nimble package that is quite simply put, incredibly fun,” - Sam Schultz
"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” - Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway was an American Novelist and Nobel Prize winner who moved to (and was buried in) Ketchum, Idaho.
Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles
Featuring the all-new Instinct
A Film by Liam Mullany
Cinematography by Liam Mullany & Andre Nutini
Featuring Thomas Vanderham & Sam Schultz
Edited by Liam Mullany & David Peacock
Colour by Sam Gilling
Post Production Sound by Keith White Audio
Typography by Mike Taylor
Photography by Margus Riga
Denmark/ Van Gogh & Gone
Written and Performed by Psychadelic Porn Crumpets
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Thanks to Gabe Schroeder, Sun Valley Resort