Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion


An XC/Enduro Mountain Bike Race Team

Commence All Mtn Racing for 2014: Keyesville Classic

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.45.27 PM As mentioned in last weekend's post, this passed weekend brought the infamous Keyesville Classic, and thus the start of some proper all mountain racing for the 2014 season. Here's Team SCXF's take on the event.

From Will:

After racing the Fontana ProXCT the weekend prior, with some of the fastest racers in the world, I was excited to head down to Keyesville with the team to do a more low-key event. Additionally, the All-Mountain format, consisting of short track, downhill, and cross-country races all done on the same bike, made it a perfect event to try out my new Santa Cruz Tallboy 2.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.45.15 PMShort Track went well, and I managed to finish 6th in a strong, deep field full of many of our state's fastest endurance riders. Next up was the downhill, held on a fun, fast course with a couple technical rocky sections. I was stoked to race, and felt like I had the perfect bike for the event while many of my all-mountain competitors were at a disadvantage on hardtails. Unfortunately, it was not to be and I flatted my rear tire during my race run. Although I was angry to have lost my chance at a high result in the all-mountain category, I was still excited for the XC the next day.

XC went smoothly, and while I was unable to match Tony's strength that day, I was happy to ride consistently into 5th place. I was also impressed by the Tallboy's ability to hang with short travel hard tails in a XC event after feeling so comfortable in the downhill the day before. I am learning more and more that this bike is capable of a lot more than meets the eye.

Big thanks to Tony's amazing family for hosting us, and to all our sponsors for keeping us rolling. As always, stoked on what's to come!

Will's race on Strava

-Will

Tony's been shredding nonstop down in SLO and it showed at Keyesville with his 2nd place in the XC and 4th in All Mountain Overall! Here's his take on the race:

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Colby, Will, and I signed up for the all-mountain category and had the opportunity to race the Short Track and Super-D on Saturday, the day before the big Cross Country race.  The Short Track was first, but unfortunately I had some bike-fit issues and ended up coming in towards the back.  Luckily Will was having a solid race, and was up there duking it out with the top guys.

The Super-D was held later in the day, and although most of the course was very smooth, there were a couple sections that we had to pay close attention to line choice.  Specifically, there was a pretty technical rock garden and a rock chute called the snake pit.  Not having a big bike, my goal was to just make it down with a smooth run and be able to race the Cross Country the next day without any injuries.  Luckily, my highball and X-Fusion suspension handled the course like a champ, and I came across the line in 8th overall which included the DH-only guys. Not bad Hardtail 29er!

The next day was the Cross Country race, and I was eager to have a good race after my problems in the Short Track the day prior.  The three-lap race started out fast, with team manager Colby Pastore getting some photo time in while taking the whole-shot.  Once the first climb came around, teammate Will Curtis and I started to gradually move up into the top 5.  Jason Siegle and Eric Bostrom had a gap on us, but we kept a solid pace going to make sure it didn't get any bigger.  After the first lap, Bostrom had a flat, Jason was riding away, and I found myself in 2nd with Will, Charles Jenkins, and another guy in pursuit.  Being a shorter race, I kept the hammer down and tried to stay away from everybody and maybe make time up on Siegle.

I was able to keep my 2nd position, but I couldn't catch the leader.  I felt pretty solid and I am looking forward to the Sea Otter and the Whisky 50 in the month to come!  Congrats to Will for snagging 5th, Colby for finishing, and friend Mike Zanetti for killing it on his first race back from his injury! 1799194_556682001095804_1954535527_oFinally a few words from Team Manager Colby.

Last weekend the boys and I headed down to the 26th annual Keyesville Classic to contest the All Mountain Category. This race is pretty cool because they require you to race the Short Track, Downhill, and XC all on the same bike. For this year I chose my Tallboy 2 with a 120 fork and a dropper post for a bit of an advantage in the DH but kept my WTB Nano tires and Easton EC90XC wheels on to keep it light and fast for the short track and XC.

The STXC was pretty uneventful for me. I had some added energy towards the end when I saw Tony's high-viz helmet off in the distance and was determined to catch him. I was bummed to hear he had a bit of a mechanical, but stoked that he was at the front of the race with Will before that.

The DH was next, I was pretty comfortable with the course. I was hoping to take things up a notch this year and take a pretty aggressive line through the snake pit but ended up going with the standard rut line. After waiting at the top for what seemed like hours for the Pro Men we lined up, Will started ahead of me on his Tallboy and Tony started right behind me on his Highball, so naturally the Sh*t talking was pretty good in the start shoot. The course was pretty tame for the most part, it was separated with two areas that added some difficulty. First was a bit of a rock garden that was maybe 100 yards long and for some reason the 3 of us could never repeat the same line, right as you exited the rocky bit you entered the infamous "Snake Pit" which is a rocky shoot about handlebar width and you basically just ride this rut and hope for the best. Race run I unfortunately got a little cocky on an exit corner and lost all my speed for that portion of the course. I still ended up 6th overall in the DH including the DH only guys, I think I finished 2nd out of the All Mountain guys behind Anthony Medaglia who absolutely ripped it on his SRAM equipped Santa Cruz TRC.

The XC is really what everyone was focused on this weekend, the course is pretty challenging and has some pretty steep rollers. We rolled up to the venue only to find out that they were going to start the race earlier and left us with little to no warm up. After some pre-race drama my epic warm up of riding to the start from the car was a huge success. I ended up starting the day in 6th overall with my STXC and DH results combined. The whistle went off and I found myself sitting in 3rd going into the first corner of the start area, we hit the first roller and all of a sudden I was in 2nd, heading into the first descent I found myself leading the race into the first main climb. I wasn't really sure why everyone was going so slow at the start until 1/4 of the way up the first sustained climb when all of that work basically caught up with me. My lack of warm up left my muscles tight. Once I recovered from my holeshot hero start I found myself towards the back, at that point I just set a pace and held it there the whole race picking riders off as I went. The tallboy was so much fun out there, most guys would be on the brakes down the short descents into the punchy climbs but my bike allowed me to rip down everything and use my momentum to get up most of the climbs. I ended up about 15th, not overly stoked about the placing but once I got into my pace I was really happy with how I was riding overall.

1932576_556681984429139_1458064504_oHUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Tony's grandparents for taking such great care of us, they absolutely spoiled us with dinner and a great place to stay every night, our annual post race Hooters dinner was cancelled due to Will being a sour puss but there is always next year.

I am pretty excited to go into Sea Otter and get some last minute conditioning under my belt before Tony and I head out to Arizona to race the Whiskey 50!

Until Sea Otter!

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2014 Underway: Fontucky

_MRH1262-2 Fontana, otherwise known as Fontucky, Fontoilet...the names only get more crass from there.  Fontucky marks the beginning of some serious 2014 shredding for Team SCXF.

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Check out Will's 'short' write up on his 2014 experience. Winning Fontana several times as a junior, he's now a veteran at enduring  a voyage on I-5 South to go suffer some more   with the infamous Fontana Black Lung (the course is usually dusty-as).

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"Here is a write up on Fontoilet.

After finishing my final exams for winter quarter at UCSC, I packed up the car and headed down on Friday morning to Fontana for the ProXCT. I knew my training had been going well prior to finals, but had spent the past week mostly in the library and not nearly enough on my bike, so I allowed myself to have no expectations for results or fitness. I got down with enough time to do a quick pre-ride at sunset, and was impressed with the course. Although short (3.7 miles/lap), it included many things I love about mountain biking: challenging, technical climbing with some fun and fast descents. Unfortunately, I also knew that the amount of technicality and single track would make for some serious bottle necking at the beginning of the XC.

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Sure enough, I started on the back row of the 120-person XC field on Saturday morning, and, as expected, I spent about half of the first lap off of my bike, seemingly waiting in line to drop into each single track section. Over the next few laps, the race strung out and I was able to climb my way into 70th. Although not happy with the result, I was impressed with my form and am confident that I can pull off a strong result with on a race course with less traffic.

Short Track on Sunday was a great time, mainly due to the star guest appearance by John Hauer, whose aggressive riding style was a huge help in working my way up through the field from the back row. Our goal was to last 10 minutes before getting pulled, but we managed to stick it out for 15 minutes, getting pulled with only 2 laps remaining. Although it was another mid-pack finish, I was stoked to last that long in such a competitive race.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.55.25 AMThe greatest part of the weekend was getting to do an evening photo shoot with our resident photo-magician Max Houtzager, who never fails to make me look like I ride bikes fast (however difficult a task as that may be). Thanks to him, I'll be set for the next few TBTs on Instagram.

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Next up is the Keyesville Classic this coming weekend, where I will be meeting up with Tony and Colby to contest the All-Mountain category. I am stoked to get to race on my new Tallboy 2 and at a more low-key event. Hopefully we can pull off some strong results!"

-Will

MRH_1831After 3 tough races he's still stoked to go for a sunset pedal. What a champ! Look for more news next weekend!!!

Building for the Sport and the Season

Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion Welcome to 2014! We are really looking forward to this year, with plans to be more active in the recent growing mountain bike advocacy campaigns, as well as helping  NICA (the National Interscholastic Cycling Association), that have already taken affect. That and of course more enduro racing and shredding videos! Here's all the radness that's already gone down.

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Will participated in a panel in Santa Cruz:

"Other highlights of the month include participating on a panel at UCSC, joined by professors and land managers, to discuss the future of mountain biking in the school’s incredible Upper Campus Preserve. I was honored to be chosen to represent the cycling community and was blown away by the attendance of local mountain bikers. It was truly inspiring, and I hope that the discussion leads to a sustainable way of legalizing mountain biking on the preserve."

The Upper Campus trail network in Santa Cruz  is easily one of the best in the world, where besides all the local pros, weekend warriors, and college kids out shredding, you also find visitors from all over the world and industry folk testing the latest. We hope for a day when we no longer have to advocate constantly for something that in our eyes is obviously so great.

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The whole team, Will, Riley, Tony, and Colby, volunteered at the Norcal High School League 2014 Winter Camps, among the likes of many mountain bike legends such as Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler. And Lindsey Voreis! You're awesome!

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Team Highballs on Tam with matching X Fusion Slide 29er forks, Easton Wheels, and everything else!

"I was happy to help out at the NorCal Cycling League’s beginner camp in Fairfax by showing some extremely promising young riders my local trails."-Will

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After mostly riding just to instagram his bike in scenic Santa Cruz, Will and Riley got up to some racing to start opening it up for 2014!

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From Will on his CCCX sufferfest:

"I was excited to get out, get in a hard effort, and not get completely smoked in the process. Up next is the Cal Poly Collegiate Criterium & Time Trial this weekend, followed by the next CCCX on Feb. 15. Stoked to get the season underway and excited for what it brings!"

Riley and Colby got in a hard effort much further north in the infamous Grasshopper called Old Caz.

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From Riley:

"For this year’s sold out Old Caz Grasshopper, a 51 mile route with 5000+/- feet of climbing I chose my Highball C with cyclocross tires. The X Fusion Slide 29 fork combined with Formula R1 Racing hydraulic disc brakes really gave me the advantage over a standard cross bike. While riding on the road behind the world class rider, Geoff Kabush, hitting speeds of up to 35 mph on the flats, it was a struggle to hang on.

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Old Caz is a race of survival, so I brought a mass amount of food including lots of GU Roctane and two bottles full of  electrolyte tablet GU Brew. Crossing the line in 20th place out of roughly 425, this was a great day of training and putting my bike body to the ultimate test. The Highball was wonderful and did everything I could have asked for. After the ride I had a GU Brew Recovery Chocolate Smoothie waiting for me in the ice chest in the car. Another great successful Old Caz for the books."

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Colby with more gas in the tank at the end!

Enjoy 2014 and we hope you are excited as we are!

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Collegiate Racing

If you haven't been keeping up on our facebook page, you can cruise through all of what the team's been up to. Downieville, Annadel XC, Interbike, and a whole lot of Collegiate racing has gone down since our last blog post. Lots of rad photos and good times! _MRH9863 Were proud to announce a new deal with Supacaz, bringing the cycling industry products not just for bike nerds._MRH9803 Will way out in front in the STXC at the UCSB Collegiate Mountain bike race.SilhoetteWill's been racing a lot recently, and he's clearly on form. On top of racing the Santa Cruz Super Enduro last weekend, he mobbed down to Parkfield right after for another collegiate win. _MRH9836Lonely but stoked at the front of the race.WillThis weekend he heads to the east coast to meet up with Cody for Collegiate Nationals. It's his last year in the league and he has always wanted to win a collegiate national title. Hopefully his form continues through the weekend!

 

Camas Enduro, Kirkwood Classic, USA Nationals

Colby headed up to Tahoe recently with Riley and came 4th in the Kirkwood Classic Super D recently. Report and video to come, but for the highlight of today's post, Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion brings you the first hand account from the U23 Nationals of Will Curtis. 1072573_10201618131677374_447970932_o

"This last Tuesday I headed out bright and early for U.S. XC Nationals, leaving the moderate temperature of the beautiful bay area for the humid heat of Bear Creek, Pennsylvania. After desperately trying to avoid devouring a philly cheesesteak immediately upon our arrival, the Bear Development Team (headed by the lovely Julia Violich) and I drove out to the course to do some recon. Before riding it, I had heard horror stories of people attempting, and failing, to ride it on a hardtail. Being that I had only brought my Santa Cruz Highball Carbon, I was a little nervous. Maybe its because my hardtail is the best out there, but after riding the course, I had a grin from ear to ear on my face. It was technical from beginning to end, with short steep climbs that I am always a fan of. The biggest obstacle would not be the relentless rocks, but the sweltering heat, already reaching 100 degrees and 90% humidity by 11am in the morning. I was sweating just thinking about exercise.

Friday morning at 10:30am, the gun went off for my U23 Pro XC race. Of course, lady luck brought me a massive pile-up in the first twenty feet of the race, focing me to get off my bike and bringing my good friend Taylor Smith (Cannondale-Sho Air) to the ground. After tiptoe-ing my way around the culprit of the crash, I remounted my bike and entered the technical singletrack in almost last place. The first lap was a mix of frustration and anger, as I tried to pass masses of people on narrow, difficult trails that no one in front of me seemed to be able to get over without walking. By the second lap, the trails ahead of me were more open, but I had taxed myself trying to reach the front. I decided to settle into a pace so that I would have a chance of surving the next four laps in the already brutal heat. Sure enough, the racers ahead of me began to drop like flies. I kept a constant pace, unable to push hard but determined to finish. Sure enough, just surviving the race was enough to put me in 14th out of 35. I was hoping for better, but given the circumstances, I am proud to have finished the race.

Because I didn't reach my expectations in the XC, I decided to race Super D to hopefully end the weekend on a higher note. I borrowed a bike from an awesome friend (Thanks Tyler!) and had some great practice runs on the fun course. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and my chain came off catastrophically in the first rock garden, wrapping itself around my pedal and forcing me to dismount to untwist it and get it back on the chainring. I pushed as hard as I could down the rest of the course, but I had lost too much time, eventually finishing 36 seconds off the Pro podium.

Despite the challenges, I had a great weekend and am happy to have gone. More than all, I am so thankful by all the support I received from everyone out there. It amazes me how generous and kind the cycling community has always been to me, and I am grateful for it every day.

Now its cheesesteak time."

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Cody Phillips also made it out to the Oregon Enduro Series race in Camas, but a crash going huge off a jump in practice took him out of the running for the race. Spraining his wrist, he recovered in time to cross coasts for Nationals with Will, but had less than stellar races, yet still finished just outside the top 10 in Pro Super D.

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Next up, Downieville All Mountain World Championships! Get stoked,

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Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion

Enduro Racing!

As for the news we mentioned before, things in Oregon went pretty well to say the least! Cody's first couple rides on the TRc got him well inside of the top half of the very stacked Oregon Enduro Series fields.

From Cody's race report:

"In all the Hood River Enduro went pretty well. It took a little while to get used to the brand new bike with components that I had never used prior to the weekend. Despite this, come race day the bike was flawless and the bike was the last thing on my mind. This was the first enduro of the season so I felt like I had a lot of kinks to workout as far as my mental game. My legs felt awesome and covered for some of my mistakes. I placed 23rd overall with 2 stages finishing inside the top 20 and a bad stage three that cost me a lot of time on the overall. I am more motivated than ever for this weekends cross country race and the following weekends enduro in bend."

Back in CA Riley had a crash in the Summit STXC Series and took a bit of time off. He knows listening to your body is important and as of this past Wednesday, had a great ride and felt strong at the weekly Dirt Crit Series in Annadel State Park. Colby still hit the Rockhopper Classic Super D. His time was 2nd fastest at the split hot on Team WTB-Cannondale legend Mark Weir, but then got too excited in a corner on his Bronson and took a digger to the head at ~25-30mph, getting a concussion. We're glad he was fine and even made it to the Bend Enduro with Cody (cont. reading!)

Cody went back to the dry hot end of the West Coast to get 2nd in Pro Super D at the US Cup Series, and 7th in the XC on the same TRc.

Cody then improved a bit on his result from the previous Oregon Enduro in Bend, which is nothing to shrug off at these races. Another solid top half finish overall and top 10 on one stage is keeping us excited to see where how he goes in the future!

Check the Bend video coverage for clips of both Cody and Colby

That's all for now, stay tuned for CA XC State Champs, the China Peak Enduro, and finally the Ashland stop of the Oregon Enduro Series where Will will also be able to race thanks to finals being over.

Also, Will is combining his Ashland race into a shredding road trip with his Dad to tour the PNW. Right now it's Tahoe, next up Ashland, Bend and Sandy OR, then Washington and BC! Video updates will be on the regular. Enjoy:

Road Trip Day 1: Tahoe for Father's Day from Will Curtis on Vimeo.

Riley and Cody Ready for the Weekend

More big things as usual coming from the team recently. New kits, bike set ups, and good results to cover, all before going into two races that we're excited about this weekend, the first Oregon Enduro in Hood River, and the Rockhopper Classic XC + Super D in our own backyard. _MRH7131

Riley raced a 2-man team in the Bike Monkey Boggs 8 Hour race we alluded to in our last post, and won. By 25+ minutes. Here's a video of the start, where he debuted our new kit. His streak continues, and we look forward to seeing what he can do at the Rockhopper this weekend, where he has raced before!

DSC_2156Cody finished up his first year at Lees McRae on the East Coast, wrapping things up with some collegiate DH and DS on his Nomad (getting 3rd and 1st). Photos on VitalMTB.

Soon after getting home, he came to NorCal to help out at the High School State Champs XC race, and then join Max, Colby, and Riley to sample the hot new Tamarancho Flow Trail, and then continue up to Oregon for the Hood River Enduro. Last year he raced it as his first enduro / pro race, and got just outside top 5 on one stage, racing blind on an overweight/falling apart Enduro.

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Cody got comfortable quickly on his fresh TRc. Very excited to see what he can do on it at Hood this weekend!

We're also all jealous of Colby for winning the steeze award as usual and having the badass new Santa Cruz Bronson.

_MRH7180-2Busting out of one of many rad corners. Rad fresh flow trail + rad fresh Bronson = fun!

DSC_2140Drool. That is all. Stay tuned for news after this weekend!

Sea Otter Kicks Off The Season, Howard going Strong

The whole team made it to Sea Otter, racing all together for the first time, in the stacked 130 person international pro field nonetheless. No one was pulled, yet only 100 finished. To put it in perspective further, the current Olympic XC Champion had an off day and finished 25th...

_MRH5077 This happened...Colby stoked on finishing._MRH5048-cody Cody made the pilgrimage from the lame coast to race. As his first Pro/U23 race of the season, he learned a lot, but is still itching to shred some enduros.DSC_1053-will Will, wasted (in a sober way at this point...) at the Hive tent. Thanks to their great support all weekend. We visited all our other sponsors as well, and everyone was super rad! 
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Riley won the Team SCXF race within the race, and finished just outside the top 10 for U23's and 59th in total. A Cat 1 just last year, he's riding really strong right now. His race report mentioned eating a total of 6 Roctane Gels that helped a lot, and the stiffness of the 142x12mm Highball rear end really allowing him to accelerate up the final, infamous Sea Otter climb coming back to the venue._MRH4636-tony Tony melted and decided to save his legs for tandem XC the next day...DSC_1046-tony Still making the most of being out on the bike!DSC_1045-colby The Colbs.DSC_1034-will Will was our second strongest finisher, feeling stronger than last year on a better race, but in the more stacked field finished 20 places further back in 69th.DSC_1038-cody Cody pops his pro national race cherry.bryceland and colbyColby and Ratboy shooting the shit after the always rowdy slalom race. Maybe some of Bryceland's radness will rub off on Colby if we're lucky.

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 2.03.18 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 2.02.57 PMThe next day Colby and Tony busted out their tandem skills and came 2nd behind some gnarly kids. At least they looked sick doing it....

Since finishing 10 minutes off the leader in an insane field at the Otter, Riley has continued his show of fitness with two strong Summit Shorty Races placing second and then first the next week the past two Wednesdays.

In Riley's recent STXC race report, "the high school racers were out along with their coaches and the regular trail shredders".  He's been duking it out with Cannondale/Sho Air's Taylor Smith (also last year's Summit Shorty Series Champ) for the top spot, and apparently the 2nd time is a charm!

He's now returning to the Boggs 8 Hour race this weekend to race in a 2 man team! Over 700 racers will be in attendance, and we're all stoked to see how he does.

Photos and Words by Max Houtzager (www.maxhoutzager.com)

Introducing Bonetiger and some Fontana Pro XCT / US Cup East Action

_DSC3153 If you missed this, we spent some time in Pacifica during Spring Break trying to show Tony Smith, our final new rider for 2013, how to go down a hill on a bicycle.

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Very soon we will be on our final bike set ups, including the new Bronson, for 2013 with new kits, so keep an eye out...

Will raced the Fontana Pro XCT for the team, but the combination of melting in the heat and the Fontucky dust led to back cramps, which ended his race early. The debut of one of our team's high vis Highball29er's looked sweet nonetheless.

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On the lame coast (East), Cody hit up the US Cup East in Bryson, North Carolina, and is pumped to get back on the best coast for Sea Otter next weekend. We are quite excited for the team to be all together racing for the first time this season!

Introducing Riley Howard + The Season has Begun

Our youngest new rider, Cody, has been racing the most so far over on the east coast. 2nd at the iCycle Mountain Bike Race in some muddy conditions, a perfect cross over from cross season... He also went on a big expedition to speak out in the name of cycling in the USA, and wrote about it for Mountain Bike Action Magazine.

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Colby and Will have been helping out with the Norcal League Camps, paying back the organization that raised them!

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Finally, we are proud to announce the 2nd of our 3 new riders, Riley Howard. Read about him on the team page, or just watch him blasting down a trail in Marin below. He also just raced his first pro race, a stacked National Series Pro XCT in brutally hot and dry weather at Bonelli Park. A top 30 was nothing to complain about!

In other news, Santa Cruz has a new bike coming out, and we are itching to ride in some new kits and on some new set ups!

Cody Phillips finishes CX Season, ready for Mountain

As mentioned in our previous post (and updated TEAM page), we introduced Cody, 1 of 3 new riders on the team. We will introduce the next two very soon, so stay tuned for that. While Will and Colby suffered through the Grasshopper Race in Occidental for good times and base training, Cody went to go freeze his butt off at CX Nationals, but has also been doing some mountain shredding. See below:540875_10151218409439538_1381298701_n

"After we got out to the venue early, I got dressed quickly to get out on the course, check conditions, and do some warm up laps. The entire course felt like riding through a rock garden. The only place you could break from the rough terrain was on a short pavement section near the start/finish. For the collegiate Division 1 race, the temperature peaked out around 20 degrees. I was lucky enough to get a 3rd row call up. After a pretty good start, I moved up inside the top twenty. Unfortunately on the first corner I hit a patch of ice, shooting off the course and through the tape. As I tried to get back I watched nearly the entire field go by. As soon as I got back on the course I began making moves and passing riders, managing to work my way up to 12th with two laps to go. With nobody else in sight behind me or in front of me I simply rode two smooth laps and held onto 12th. Kerry managed to win the race which placed Lees McRae as a school into 3rd place.

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Now that cross nationals is over I am racing full time for Team Santa Cruz/X-Fusion Presented by Frontier. I can’t wait to get my hands on my new team issue Santa Cruz Blur TRc, fully decked out with top notch X-Fusion suspension. My coach is having me hit the gym too in order to build some much needed upper body and core strength to get ready for the quickly approaching race season. I can't wait for my first pro event at the Sea Otter Classic."

See Cody's full blog at http://cody-phillips.net/

2013 Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion Presented by Frontier

2012 started well with solid results in New Zealand and regional California races, but the 2nd half was plagued by injury. We look forward to 2013 with the announcement of the California Enduro Series, and 3 new riders joining the team.

This video introduces the first of the 3 riders, Cody Phillips. Hailing from SoCal, 2013 is Cody's first year as U23-pro. As a junior he mixed it up between beating top junior xc racers as well as testing his strengths in the pro field of the Oregon Enduro Series. Will and Colby showed the new comer the ropes on their home turf, Upper Campus in Santa Cruz, California. Stay tuned for more!

Peter Lucas Fill In Rider and Racing at Kirkwood

A short break from racing after Nationals led into the Kirkwood Super D and XC races in South Lake Tahoe. We are excited for Peter Lucas, a local Marin shredder to fill in for the rest of the season to make up for Max and Will's temporary inability to race.

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First came the Super D, a time trial-best of two runs format on fast trails perfect for a Tallboy or TRc. After one run, Colby and Peter were sitting 2nd and 5th. Being quite a physical and technical race with lots of line choice going down, heading up for round two was no easy feat.

Peter and Colby switched places after the second run taking 2nd and 5th! Then it was time to rest up for another huge elevation effort the next day with some more strong locals in the XC.

Colby has been feeling good after nationals and pulled out a strong 3rd place finish! He was also super amped on racing the TRc for the Super D and Highball for the XC. Next up Downieville!

Napa Skyline XC

While Max opted to prepare for the upcoming Ashland Enduro and chase KOM's in Marin on the Nomad, Will and Colby braved the heat at the classic Skyline Park XC Race. This 3 lap 21 mile race with 3600 feet of technical and steep climbing contains only the most fun dry rocky descents one can imagine. Mark Weir (Team WTB) and Glenn Fant (Bike Monkey/Norcal Bike Sport) even built special 29er full suspension lightweight but adept descending race bikes and made a $100 wager for who would beat who. Weir won. But Will finished ahead of him in 3rd, and Colby a few minutes back in 11th, both on the highly capable Higballs with Nano 29 TCS tires.

Will knows how to flow even while spending all his time exclusively on the Nomad.

The race was stacked with the likes of Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir from Team WTB, Kevin Smallman (Incycle/Cannondale), Tony Smith (Whole Athlete) and Norcal Bike Sport/Bike Monkey Elite members Michael Zanetti and Glenn Fant. Local Dad and all around XC bike slayer Jim Hewett (Summit Bikes/Santa Cruz) took the win.

 

 

A Little Enduro A Little XC

On Saturday Will and Colby headed to the Bike Monkey Marathon XC Race, SoNoMas.  One of the hardest races in Norcal, they took 4th and 13th racing for 34 miles and 7000 feet. Ouch.

Weir seemed to not like the heat, hardtail, or marathon xc, or all of the above?

Will on the other hand made the most of it!

Colby killing it also!

At the same time Max headed North with Pro Women's winner Mary Moncorge, and Marshall Eames of Santa Cruz/Fox/WTB to race the first stop of the Oregon Enduro Series and North American Enduro Tour.

Dropping a rock on stage 1 (Funner Trail), Max took consistent runs across the weekend mid pack to finish inside the top half in a very stacked pro field of nearly 50 riders. He chose to race the light TRc to suit the race's endless corners and healthy dose of pedaling, while still managing the occasional high speed rock drops/gardens no problem. And get rad on the jumps.

Here's some follow cam footage from practice on stage 3, with a proper edit soon to come.

[youtube_sc url="http://youtu.be/AdWrKg3so2s?hd=1&t=2m49s" hd="1" start="166"] so much pedaling, but not the kind you do in any XC. It's like doing a million out of the saddle sprints. You really had to know the length of the stages and your strengths to know where to pedal and where to conserve. I killed myself halfway on the climb on stage 5 but then took forever to recover." (The first place guy on this segment is a glitch)

It was a success and tons of fun, but a definite learning experience to improve upon.  With some more respectable finishes the Oregon Enduro Series and North American Enduro Tour Max should be able to finish well in the overalls.  We are real excited for the next stop in Ashland, but first the Skyline XC!

Ashland Spring Thaw

 

This past weekend Max headed North to Oregon for a first time experience with the Ashland Spring Thaw, racing the XC on Saturday and DH on Sunday (although not many do both and there's unfortunately no all mountain category). It was his first race back after a mid season break after a painful Sea Otter Classic XC. A big thanks to Kyle Macaroni for many TRc and Highball shuttles on Friday (and a place to crash Thursday night), and Austin Riba for a place Friday/Saturday night.

"I lined up in the front row knowing it would be crucial to stay towards the front to get into some of the faster groups pacelining up the gradual but never ending climb to long flat traverse. The pace was a little slow at first so I rode in 2nd for a bit at my own pace and continued to ride my own race as that settled me around 12th by about 1/2 way up the hour long climb. I knew gearing up to stay with Carl Decker and a few others would not be sustainable as I was already tapped out at 189 HR for 30 minutes. The race felt real long for only 1.5 hours since the singletrack descending was only the last 19 minutes, but said 19 minutes sure was rad while it lasted! The top flat section of the course 3 other 29er's and I pacelined averaging 25 mph, but only 1 other and I knew how to descend the ripping single track down, so we pulled away immediately. Fortunately, I was quicker on corners while he was quicker on rough sections and fireroads (partially due to bigger tires and a Kona scandium fully), so as we took turns leading I got by on the last trail, BTI, a downhill pumptrack to the finish with too many berms to count! This put just inside the top 10 in front of some other really fast guys so I'm stoked on this result as my first race back."

The Highball was perfect for the course, flying on the uphill and flats with it's big wheels and low weight, and pinning the last descent with it's playful geometry and Nano 2.1 TCS Tires absolutely hooking up AND rolling fast (Ryan Condrashoff even decided to race them on his TR to 5th place in the DH as well the next day-not something I could get away with)!

Sunday brought more shuttle-fun with the DH race. That didn't go as well but was still tons of fun! ~4 minutes of HIGH speed single track with lots of switchbacks, 1 rock garden and a jump. Not quite gnarly enough for a DH but definitely not long enough for a Super D (the xc race went down it). This made for some close racing, the top 5 all within one second.

"My first DH race in 2 years, and first time racing the course (seemed like everyone else had done it for years). I can make a lot of excuses for why I didn't go super fast like everyone else, but when it comes down to it I need to work on my higher speed riding and lay off the brakes. I rode smooth and pretty damn fast, but more of a 10 minute + race pace, not a 4 minute balls out one."

"The TRc is still amazing me as it was so light, pedaled so fast, and railed corners/switchbacks no problem. It was especially fun ripping behind Nathan Riddle on some slalomy upper trails afterwards!"

Check out more photos in the Gallery.

Meanwhile back in GnarCal, Colby took a sweet top 5 with a 4th place at the Lake Sonoma Ricochet. You could see more of him riding in this video of the race, but he was too close to the front, so it's mostly the start.

"I just wanted to test my fitness after Sea Otter and was riding relatively strong. Lake Sonoma is one of the more demanding and physical XC courses on the local scene and the Highball was descending just as good as all the fully 29ers out there. Races put on by Bike Monkey are always a rad experience"

That makes two successful races for the Highball for us this past weekend and next up is the first Oregon Enduro and first race of the North American Enduro Tour in Bend Oregon!

Sea Otter and Things Are Full On

The X Fusion Media Camp just before Sea Otter was a great experience for us, hanging out and riding with the other athletes-from all around killers like Lopes to slopestyle machines like Tyler McCaul-as well as X Fusion engineers, and some major media publications. We enjoyed catered food with gluten free options all day, product presentations, chasing Lopes and Hauer down the upper campus trails, and finished with a lively after party.

Then last weekend the team tackled the Sea Otter Classic, racing the brutally hot and STACKED xc race, as well as catching up with basically everyone in the world that bikes and all of our great sponsors. While Max and Colby had good starts but proceeded to detonate in the heat, Will Curtis kept on strong and consistent the whole race, for a very respectable 5th place U23 and 41st place overall.

"Sea Otter was definitely a focus not only because it is a huge event but because of the trail of bad luck leading up to it. In the past races this season, I had problems with mechanicals and crashing, so just to have a clean race was a success. On top of that to feel strong and have a solid performance in tough conditions made it even better. I'm stoked to confirm that my fitness is coming and motivated to keep it up at the next races. Also great to see all of our sponsors and friends out there; always serves as a reminder of how lucky we are to be surrounded by such awesome and supportive people."

Big thanks to the Hive/E*Thirteen for helping us out so much at the race as well as to all of our other sponsors for getting us everything we need to race competitively with the best race set ups possible. Our rides are now all ready to go and updated on our site so feel free to check out what the hot new set ups are!

Next up on our calendar will be the Boggs 8 Hour XC, Rock Hopper SD and XC, and then Ashland Spring Thaw (DH and XC)!

Also feel free to check out Will representing UCSC for the collegiate mountain bike team.

From Enduro to Shortrack

This past weekend a lot went down for the team between Max and Colby taking on multiple events at the Santa Cruz MTB Festival while Will headed north to suffer in the XC at the Napa Valley Dirt Classic.

colbyendurostartgate_web

Saturday Max and Colby took on the Bell Super Enduro. A stacked field of 50 hand chosen competitors out of 177 applicants made the competition deep. It rained hard all the way up until the evening before the race, so mud was a huge factor, but the 3 timed mostly downhill stages dried out just enough for a rad time. WTB 2.3 Moto TCS AM tires were the call.

Start list:

maxendurogrin

Around 4 hours of moving time but 5-6 hours out on the bike was no walk in the park, but tons of fun racing on the Nomad Carbon / Blur TRc, and hanging out on climbs and staging areas with the best dudes in mountain biking. They both held it together for clean fast fun runs. They were stoked to keep things upright getting 23rd and 29th, beating a handful of top guys (some of which have raced enduro overseas multiple times).

maxaarongood

On Sunday the Highballs were put to use with Will suffering what will hopefully be the last of his mechanical issues in Napa, while Max came back out to Aptos for more in STXC and Pumptrack at the festival as part of the WTB All Mountain Challenge. The Scott Valley Cycle Sport Short Track course was a treat to ride in practice complete with berms and drops, but unfortunately consistent bumpiness (for a hardtail) and lack of passing or even opportunities to pedal hard made the race a bit frustrating. 'The first half of the race was fun getting rowdy in the corners and mixing it up with other riders' said Max, who ended up finishing 6th, and 3rd place All Mountain rider.

Here's video of Short Track and Pumptrack

screen-shot-2012-04-18-at-10-06-08-am

At the end of it all, a 5th place in pumptrack landed Max in 5th in All Mountain. A good first foray into racing pro enduro, the team can't wait for the upcoming Oregon Enduros!

Big News + Keyesville Classic

After Max's unfortunate but still successful race at The Big Sandy XC two weeks ago, the team made it's first debut racing our new kits at the Keyesville Classic! Max and Colby did all three events for the All Mtn Category, while Will Curtis opted to race the XC and then represent his school the next day taking 5th at the crit in SLO...

maxstxc

After some mechanical errors for the team in the XC, Max turned things around in STXC the next day with a finish on the podium in 3rd. Unfortunately a minor mechanical and mistake in the dh later on would cause him to finish just outside the podium in the All Mountain overall.

More photos HERE

A quick photo shoot just outside home base and we were stoked to follow up the race with the announcement of our team on Cycling News. Our new rides are nearly all dialed in! Suspension tuning has been going down along with some Strava KOM's and the X Fusion shox are highly adjustable and feeling mint.

The rest of the photos are here, courtesy of Seth Andrews.

In other news, we are proud to announce new partnerships with The Bulletproof Executive/Upgraded Self, and Thunderbird Energetica. Top notch coffee and whey protein as well as realfood-anti inflammatory bars taste better and make a big difference. These companies both make products dedicated to allowing people to perform at 100%.

Next up for Max and Colby is some enduro, short track, and pumptrack racing in the WTB All Mtn Challenge/Bell Super Enduro at the SCMTB Festival while Will takes on the Napa Dirt Classic XC, all next weekend!

Presenting Team Santa Cruz-X Fusion

We are the 2012 Santa Cruz-X Fusion Factory All Mountain/XC team. We will be targeting most of the ProXCT's as well as the North American Enduro Tour.

All graduates of the Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team, we are just a group of young pro mountain bikers focused on racing cross country and enduro events and getting generally rad on bikes!

We have experience from throughout our junior careers in all types of riding, from xc in the highschool series to world championships, as well as downhill, road, and enduro racing.

So far we've had Max racing in New Zealand's National Series, and our first team racing experience at round 2 of the Pro XCT Series in Bonelli Park.

This year is all possible thanks to our awesome sponsors...we ride it because we love it (and you should too)!

Santa Cruz Bikes
X-Fusion Suspension
Easton wheels, handlebars, seatposts and stems
Giro helmets, shoes, and gloves
WTB tires, saddles, and grips
GU energy foods
e13 cranksets, chainrings, and chainguides
Formula brakes
Shimano components
Violich Farms
Time pedals
GoPro cameras
Bike Monkey Magazine
Curtis Brand Design
Family Cycling Center
Athletic Greens
Hincapie sportswear
Cowboys Fuzzy Duds
El Salchichero Handcrafted Charcuterie