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Swedish Cup #2 Skönvik

The second round of the Swedish national cup: Skönvik.

A fresh cut track awaited us in Timrå, and we didn’t quite know what to expect.

We were lucky to be accomodated by Jon B at his family home in Sundsvall, not many k’s from Timrå, big thanks to him and his super cool dad!

Walking the track revealed that it was kind of oldschool; big sprint up top, pretty mellow tech in the forest and then full on sprint again in the open piste.
Voices were raised towards the track and it’s “flatness” and “simpleness”, but hey, a race is a race.

Manfred

Practise started up and it was quite obvious you had to stay smooth and carry momentum (yeah, a real Sam Hill quote) in order to make it down quickly.
Not many areas where pulling a sneaky line or take a chance would be paying off.

The track was fun to ride and race on, but during practise and qualifying the wind was very powerful, and it was head on.
As soon as you hit the lower slope it almost felt like you had a puncture, had to dig deep on the last sprint section!

Jon

Rode on dry tyres during practise but switched to spikes for my quali. Not having one run on spikes before my run was a bit to my disadvantage but it was hard to judge the course conditions
after a lot of rain pulled in just before qualis were about to start.

Was all over the shop in my run but scraped in sitting in fifth, Robin G managed a fourth and Manfred slipped in as eleventh. Elisabeth went off course in her run and qualified second behind Lina S.
Happy about getting out of the rain we tore into Sundsvall to feast on americana food at a restaurant called Biteline, carnage ensued of course.

Finals day!

The weather looked way better for race day, everyone trying to get a smoother line between the trees and whatnot.
It also came to our attention that Tim Hammar had gone down hard the day before and injured himself, big healing vibes to Tim!

Dudes

The track had dried up nicely and the wind was not as bad, the race run was going to be a lot faster compared to qualifications.
Had to change some brake points but otherwise it was the same.

Elisabeth put in a really good time and won her class by almost five seconds!

Felt the nerves a bit before my start slot, there was a lot of sprinting on this track and it should suit me well.

Alas, it was not to be. Shot out of the gate just fine, but when I hit the first (vital) sprint I pulled my pedal cleat straight out of the pedal.
It took a bit of wiggling about to get that sorted out, sitting on my arse on a flat section is not optimal.
The wooded section went fast and also the open piste section. I became unclipped AGAIN just before the last three corners, missing a jump and couldn’t get the cleat back in during the last section.

Last turn

Ended up twelfth, waay off pace. Pretty pissed about the problems, I checked my pedal, and of course the mechanism had been damaged by a rock or something during practice.

Robin placed well, ending up in sixth. Our friend Jon B slotted into a nice eight position and Manfred crashed hard in the last section unfortunately. He got a mild concussion as a going home gift.

Time to reload now, already changed pedals and cleats, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

The drive home was going to be killer, luckily Elisabeth’s parents live 2/3:s of the way home so we spent the night there.

Hot seat

Until next time, stay loose!


Oh, by the way, we might have seen death out on summer holiday on the way up:

Mr. Death

Swedish cup #1

Hi there!

This past weekend was spent in the south for the first race of the Swedish cup of 2010.

The venue? Vallåsen bikepark.

Photo: Andreas Karlsson

A new crew handles the Swedish cup this year, and they got off to a good start with this comp. A great big thanks goes out to them, this season is looking good with their aid.

This year the cup races run the same format as the world cups with one seeding run and then a final. A few points are up for grabs in the seeding run for the top ten and a lot more points are available in the final. I think this is a step in the right direction, people going abroad to race get a bit nervous when facing such a format with our old two-run style of yesteryear.

Saturday started out with some mighty fine weather, track dried up really well from the rain that had poured down during the week. Vallåsen has a short track and is kind of flat, but it’s actually pretty fun to race on.

You start out pedaling through a wooded section and then hit a longish rock section that put a lot of people off.
After this you hit the pedals big time in the open piste, then into a drop and some techy woods, a tight turn and then then a big off-camber turn. After this there are some switch backs (really cool) and a finish sprint.

Tried to do some whole runs but got stopped by the marshals in the rock section/drop section all the time, bodies lying everywhere. When it got to seeding I had not completed one whole run. :)

Placed 9th and was pretty content with that.

Photo: Andreas Karlsson

Me and Patrik Sjögren-Fritz do a bit of rock skipping.

We stayed at a really plush little hotel that night, an old farm that has been rebuilt.
Got the opportunity to speak with the people running the cup during the evening, the SCF-commissars also stayed there, but why did they send three of them?


Manfred is checking out the scenery on Sunday morning.


Sunday rolls around and we all get to tuning our lines a bit, nothing dramatic though, there wasn’t that much to choose from. :)

I get a bit of the pre-race jitters when there were three racers to go before my departure up top, it’s been a few months since last time.

Anyway, shook that off and had a pretty decent run, albeit very “safe”. I placed 8th on the day and I’m pretty happy, considering that just about everyone that placed better than me have had a lot of time on their bikes and already have a few races under their belts.

Elisabeth decided to go out on a stormer and won the women elite class by almost six seconds! She has been getting faster and faster during the winter and I (and a lot of others) are really impressed. I’ll have to marry that woman at some point.

Photo: Ola Melin

Leaders jerseys

Happy to be underway with this season, the bike and the gear is running great, now I just have to up my game a bit.

This weekend we are going to Huskvarna for a bit of practice, the following weekend Hafjell for the same thing. I might see you there?

Oh, and it seems some posts have gone AWOL since I updated my WordPress, recovery of those soon. :)

/Jon

Post Tenerife

Hello!

I’m writing this, but I don’t really want to.

It means I’m back home and not in the saddle, descending through a forest filled with pines, lizards, lava formations and all kinds of strange plants.

It also means that I’m not ascending on warm asphalt, rough gravel roads and sublime singletrack.

Oh well, might as well post some pictures to give you a small insight, and to remember the feeling.

On site, location: Puerto de la Cruz. We unpacked and built our bikes up, grabbed a map and up we went! The town is situated at the base of the mountains and the gradient slaps you in the face pretty badly at first.

Many sketchy roads (and hours) later we were at about 1000m elevation and playing around on this singletrack, trying to get used to our XC-bikes once again.

After an hour of this, we hit the road back down to town, after a quick shower we needed food, the excellent Paella from a restaurant nearby went down well!

The next few days were all about getting higher and higher up the mountain.

The Orotava valley (the area we usually ascended through) is a very special place, you start out at sea level where it’s dry, palm-trees and the like. Hit moist conditions at about 800m elevation and it stays like that until you reach almost 1300m, there is a lot of moss on the trees and stuff just seems to grow everywhere.

After breaking through the clouds it starts to become pretty dry again, more and more lava-rocks start to be visible and the terrain get’s pretty harsh. The moist woodland and brush from the lower elevation turns into dry woodland, and eventually (at 2000m or a bit more) you end up in a bizarre desert.

We hit this route a few days in a row (up the Orotava Valley to the place called El Portillo). Third day out we headed northeast along the mountain ridge along the island to find some more trails. We were not dissapointed, the ridge varied between 2000m and 2400m elevation, great scenery!

After passing the the Izaña Observatory on the mountain ridge (seen on one of the photos) we turned off the road to find a way down through the forest.

This was one of the best days out; we descended 2300m on singletrack, thin gravel roads and tractor tracks.  S u p e r b!

All the riding kind of hit me and Elisabeth after a few days, we both caught a bit of cold and decided to be tourists for a while.

We took the bus to the capital, Santa Cruz, and checked out the shopping, architecture and ate some good food.

In all, a great trip, I won’t bore you with too many specifics. A few pointers though:

1. Santa Cruz is a great place to, the other coastal towns, not so much.

2. Get your ass to the mountains, by bike, car or bus.

3. If looking for the Tenerife bike park, get a good map!

4. The TITSA buses are a great, cheap way to get around. You can often bring your bike.

5. If you don’t speak Spanish, it seems German will do. Pity, I suck at both those languages.

A last look…

Tenerife

Hello!

No updates for a while, not a lot happening apart from the usual winter training and work, not much to get excited about.

Good progress is being made on my new bike, and I’ll post pictures of the build soon. :)
It’s a beauty, and it’s getting the full race treatment.

In a couple of hours me and Elisabeth are heading for the airport, Tenerife island is the destination tonight. A week full of ascending, descending and then doing it all again.

Really looking forward to it, this winter never seems to quit.

See you all on the flipside!

/Jon

News for this season.

2010 support

Hello!

Things have changed quite a lot coming into this season, and I’m proud to present my support partners this year!

A quick rundown of what I will be racing 2010:

- This year I will be hitting the mountains on a Trek Session 88. A big thanks to the people at Duells for making this a reality! The frame will be a size large and the complete build will be a thing of beauty.

- Biketoyz are a company devoted to supplying fantastic bike products, and they will help me out with onboard components for the bike and protection for my head.

Fox suspension, Formula brakes, Race Face controls (bar/stem/cranks) and Mavic rims will keep everything running sweet. Urge helmets will protect my head!

- Oakley eyewear, great goggles for the dirt and great shades for the sun!

- SRAM drivetrains from Vartex will make sure everything moves along smoothly in the shifting department.

Within a few weeks, most of the components and frame should be arriving at Bikeplace and I’ll start the build, pictures, first impressions and so on will be posted here when this happens.

Please stop by and have a chat with me, Andreas or Marcus if you need help with anything bike related. A lot of 2010 bike models have arrived and are ready for you to check out in the shop.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Nick Beaumont of Nick’s imports, ISON Distribution and Racebike whom have had my back the past years. There is no way I can properly express my gratitude towards them or the great deal I owe them. Thank you.

The winter training still moves along at a steady pace, XC-rides mixed with running, gym work and a bit of squash playing pass the gloomy winter days.

In March, me and Elisabeth will be flying away to Spain, a solid week of bike riding on the island of Tenerife is always a good thing!

That’s all for now, I wish you well until next time!

/Jon

Tomte DH

Sunday the 13th of December saw a group of 29 riders get together and race the annual Tomte DH (Santa Claus Downhill) at Ale bikepark a bit north of Gothenburg.

The conditions were actually really good, a bit below freezing and no snow. The roots and rocks were a bit slippy, as to be expected, but a pretty straightforward course made things work out well for most competitors.

Classes were not of the traditional kind. Here we see Christian measuring the bar width on a riders bike, and as you may have guessed riders were split up in “bar width classes”.

tomte03

Tomte DH usually divides riders with unconventional means, the past years have seen classes split by weight, shock stroke and now bars. Classes are not advised in advance and this is just one of those things that make it a fun event.

Prizes are also given out for best crash and best bike decoration/outfit. The idea is that riders should come dressed for the occasion (Christmas style), but it’s not a rule.

Here we see Mårten Kihlkrans negotiating some of the (slick) rock.

tomte24

Andreas Haag on the gas in the upper half of the course.

tomte30

Robing Grahn (eventual winner of the widest bar class) taking the fast line on a slippy off camber.

tomte54

Jon Bokrantz and Robin Grahn, all sorts of fired up! Right?

tomte22

The spectators came prepared for flash floods! Erik showing off how to survive a cold day on the hill.

tomte50

Here we see the winner of  “best crash” I believe, we also see that he is sporting a homemade belt bomb. Luckily he did not set the off the device, he must have been happy about the custom gingerbread prize he received.

tomte80

Andreas Sjöblom equally happy about his prize!

tomte74

For more pictures from the event, check out my picture galleries.

Thanks to the crew at Ale bike park for the event, big up to the crowd and the riders too.

By the way, the new lift is getting installed, so next summer the uplift days are back on track!

Laters!

/Jon


Norway roadtrip

A lot of stuff has been on my plate the last month, but I’m now back in synch. :]

This will be a bit of a big post, but please take the time to check it out.

Me and Elisabeth made the trip to Hovden in Norway between the 17th and 18th of October.
It was a little roadtrip in part to meet up with Mats Christensén in Hovden and check out the progress with the upcoming trails and bikepark, and in part to try out the Drammen bike park.
We had a bit to do with all the driving, getting up r-e-a-l-l-y early on Saturday, straightline it to Norway and then go ride in the afternoon.

Hovden is a 7 hour drive (490 km) from Gothenburg and some of the scenery on the way is just stunning!
The last time we passed this place the temps were way up. Now snow graced the mountaintops and late autumn was really kicking in with all it’s colors.

Norway valley

Norway valley

Elisabeth enjoying a break in the driving.

Elisabeth enjoying a break in the driving.

Since Hovden is situated on a plateau some 700+ meters above sea level, the temperature is a bit lower and a lot more ice and snow started showing as we got closer. Not exactly what we were used to in Gothenburg at this time.

Last valley before Hovden

Last valley before Hovden

Mats greeted us and we got to stay in a really plush cabin belonging to the ski centre, thank’s guys!

After unpacking and a bit of bike maintenance we started hiking upp the hill to have a look at the singletracks Mats had been working on. We hiked up to where the snow cover and did a few runs from that point.
Really good weather all day, sun was out and it was pretty hot. Three following photos by Mats Christensén.

Hovden hike-a-bike

Hovden hike-a-bike

Since there was a meter of snow up top, the diggers had been sent away for this season, and Mats had cut some nice new singletrack by hand.
These pictures are from the “Family and flow trail”.

Family & flow

Family & flow

About two kilometres have been completed and this lower part will be all hand crafted to keep everything nicely integrated with the surrounding nature.

Family & flow

Family & flow

After riding for a bit, we went down to the local pub for a bit of food and had a chat about how things are going to develop next year.
There are still a lot details to iron out and a whole lot of work to do, but I feel that this will become a really good venue!

Totally crashed after dinner, partial coma on the sofa watching Discovery channel and then we hit the sack.

Village by night

Village by night

Early morning, getting ready to head back with a stopover i Drammen.

Don't get on my case when I look like this.

Don't get on my case when I look like this.

Drammen is on the way home to Gothenburg from Hovden(330 km between the two), and the bike park was a really nice surprise!

A fast 4-seater with two bike racks gets you to the top of the hill, and plenty of tracks to choose from.

Drammen lifts

Drammen lifts

It was a bit hard to find the trails at first, and there was a lot of small trails leading off from the main trails, but there is a lot of good riding to be had.

Really good trail!

Really good trail!

Just look at the malache!

Just look at the malache!

The place is a lot bigger than you think at first, the fastest way down was on the Norwegian cup trail, probably around 3 min 20 sec. – 3 min 40 sec. going at full tilt.

Elisabeth giving it some stick

Elisabeth giving it some stick

We found a really nice combination of marked trail and “improvised singletrack” to link it up, around four minutes of fast and tech. riding, pure pleasure!

Carving a bit

Carving a bit

Drammen was actually the first “proper” downhill riding I have gotten since I broke my hand in Gesunda.

It worked pretty well, cramped up a bit in the damaged hand but it was all good. Had enough fun to compensate the pain. :]

Was back at the hospital the week after to check things, and it seems everything is healing fine (pinky a bit crooked though) and the tendon damage will need to settle down, it just needs some time.

Long, easy wallride

Long, easy wallride

The pictures are from a variety of trails but mainly the one marked with blue signs. The trail crew had not only built DH-trails but also a pretty bananas freeride track with a lot of drops and bizarre wooden constructions.
I recommend a visit to Drammen!

We got back home around ten on Sunday night. Me and Elisabeth both really worn, but happy, great trip!

Til next time!

/Jon

Fall in Hovden

I received a few pictures a couple of days ago from Hovden, Norway.

Temperatures vary a lot up on the high plateau, colors are simply beatiful!

We are now facing more than 30-40cm of snow up top, so digging and trail prep will only be possible on the lower parts for now.

It’s a tad early for this kind of weather/snow so hopefully some of it will go away before the real winter sets in.

A slight thaw would be good to finish off more of the singletracks, but when winters firms it’s grasp you will have to comply.

Really looking forward to go up and ski for a bit during the winter, Mats C has promised me and Elisabeth a tour of the backcountry, and to lend us some really fat skis for the loose stuff.

Vallåsen done!

As it turns out, it was a great weekend down in the south of Sweden!

A lot of entrants had found their way to Vallåsen to compete, and I was impressed by the whole comp. Loads of riders, good track, a boatload of prizes and the we were dealt a good weekend weather-wise too.

With the majority of riders coming down the track at around two minutes, it was a good length and there were plenty of nice elements to ride, a tricky rock section, high speed singletrack in the forest and a gnarly last section with a lot of sand and big holes. The track became very blown out during the weekend but it seemed to just get better with abuse!

I took a bunch of pictures, you can find them under “Gallery -> Vallåsen DH randoms”. There was a lot of carnage in the last section where I stood most of the event and I hope everyone is alright.

Elisabeth and I stayed over at a really nice rural B&B, Lögnäs gård, a place I highly recommend if you are staying in the area. www.lognasgard.se

She had a good day in all, winning her class by quite a good margin, although really pissed off because she crashed hard in both runs. Second run ended in a DNF with a busted rear mech, rear wheel, pedal, bent crank and hanger but her first run gave her the win by about 7 seconds.

Robin did well on my bike, he took a liking to it and won the junior class, having the third fastest time of the contest, elite included.

Jonas Westman took the win among the elite men, good one Jonas!

My friend Catarina made her downhill race debut, and it went really well. She took a few falls but posted a respectable time and rode really well. I hope this is a sign of things to come for her.

Really wanting to get back on the bike now, in a weeks time the metal stuff around my finger will be removed and it’ll be a bit of rehab on top of that, soon time to go to Norway and take pictures for the bike park there, looking forward to it!

Vallåsen DH Challenge

Leaving early in the morning with Elisabeth headed towards the south of Sweden.

Robin stopped by earlier to borrow my Racebike Boxster for the event, his fork has blown up more or less, so he needed a trusty steed, his bike is in a bit of disrepair.

It’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of the Fox suspension compared to his RS, and also the difference between frame types. His RB Dragster being a single pivot and the RB Boxster being linkage driven single pivot.

Still have my fingers wrapped up with tape and a metal plate so I’ll be on the sidelines, coaching both Elisabeth and Robin.

Vallåsen is not that big of a hill, and the track is pretty straightforward, but that only makes the times even more close so every pedal stroke counts!

We’ll be checking lines there tomorrow (if there are any options) and maybe they’ll do a couple of runs with the Freelap system for comparison.

In other news, after a lot of red tape, the bike park building in Norway has now started. The tracks there are going to be beautiful! More info on that soon, have to check in with the guys on the details first.

Time to pack up some tools and spares, weather is looking good for Sat/Sun. It’s going to be fun, even though I’d rather participate and win. :)