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From its humble beginnings, mountain biking has been a sport almost ruthlessly dedicated to looking forward instead of romanticizing the past. It has always been, and will continue to be, forged by rebels, adventurers and dreamers — the fearless few who see potential instead of problems, who look at a challenge and say, “Yeah, I can do that.” It’s that never-ending drive for progression that makes mountain biking unique.
The following is a look back at some of our proudest moments of the past year, as a celebration of everyone who played a part in the stories of SRAM Mountain Biking in 2015.
The Cape Epic never ceases to deliver on incredible views and stellar competition. The teams of Sauser/Kulhavy and Langvad/Kleinhans did their part to open the year with double wins for SRAM.
It was a first for Crankworx in New Zealand but also for the Juliana/SRAM Team; Enduro World Series Round One was the official debut of the only factory-backed, all-women’s enduro squad.
Ryan “R-Dog” Howard wasted no time bagging the Oceania Whip-Off Championship; the always-stylish rider threw down whip after amazing whip, literally running through the crowd on his way back to the top of the hill after each ride down.
The EWS also kicked off at Round One of the Crankworx World Tour and Jerome Clementz returned to his winning ways.
The name Ultimate seems to have been a foreshadowing of future events when the new brake launched back in March — Guide Ultimate went on to win both cross-country and downhill World Championship titles.
If you Know nothing else about R-Dog, you need to Know that the dude always has fun on his bike — and that fact shines whether he’s in front of the camera or not.
Far and Wide: The introduction of the GX drivetrain, SRAM brought 1x technology to a whole new kind of ride.
A preview of things to come? Both Aaron Gwin and Loic Bruni came out of the World Cup gate early — one would go on to wrap up the overall title and the other a World Championship.
You know the North American cycling season has started when thousands of riders of every age, shape and discipline descend on Laguna Seca Raceway for the Sea Otter Classic. Nino Schurter got greedy with the top step of the podium, with wins in both the Short Track and Cross Country.
Two North Carolina brothers and a bee walk into a bar. Okay, it wasn’t a bar, but rather a trail. It sure made for a cool video, though.
Twenty-five years after Ned Overend claimed the first UCI World Championship on the first generation RockShox RS-1, Jaroslav Kulhavy piloted his own RS-1 to the new fork’s first UCI World Cup win.
Perfect 10: First-year Elite Downhill racer Luca Shaw took home a 10th place finish at the rowdy Fort William World Cup, and we were there to capture the moment.
Built to last: Alban Lakata and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja took their SRAM XX1, and RockShox RS-1 equipped bikes to Marathon Worlds and left with rainbow jerseys. Lakata also rolling the new SRAM RISE 60 wheels to their first World Championship victory.
Continuing a season of double victories, Kulhavy and Dahle Flesja take World Cup Cross Country wins using SRAM XX1 and RockShox RS-1. For Gunn-Rita, it was a record-setting 29th trip to the top of the World Cup podium.
For riders who want more, RockShox introduced the new Lyrik and Yari forks, furthering the capabilities of the enduro bike.
What makes a champion? Back after sitting out Crankworx World Tour Whip Off Round 1, Finn Iles was on a mission to redeem himself at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes.
Don’t let his soft-spoken demeanor fool you — Connor Fearon’s riding style is pure heavy metal.
Crankworx Whistler. It is without a doubt the biggest, baddest, boldest gathering of mountain bikers of the year, andSRAM riders did not disappoint, with Marcelo Gutierrez dominating the Garbonzo Downhill, Stevie Smith winning the Air Downhill for the third time, and Andreu Lacondeguy winning the Whip Off World Championship.
When the pressure is on, you either crack or rise to the occasion — Brandon Semenuk made magic with a run that landed him a 4th Joyride win at Whistler.
Speed and Stamina: Troy Brosnan laid down a scorcher of a run to win the Canadian Open DH; after traveling to three continents, competing in just about every event she could enter — and even having stitches removed at the SRAM service area — Anneke Beerten claimed the Queen of Crankworx crown.
Size doesn’t matter: Annika Langvad proved that distance is no problem, winning the World Cup Cross Country final just a week after dominating the high-altitude Leadville 100.
1x2: Gwin and Schurter took home World Cup overall titles aboard SRAM 1x drivetrains.
On a roll: When you’re good, you’re good, and there was no denying that the best man took top honors in the World Championship Cross Country.
The riders’ champion: After knocking on victory’s door for the whole season, Loic Bruni nabbed a victory when it mattered most. Perhaps it was worth the wait…
What would you do with a bunch of dirt, some machines and a bit of free labor? Logan Peat built The Backwoods.
It’s not often that a 2nd is celebrated with absolutely no apprehension, but when it is the final race of a great champion and ambassador, it is a moment worth remembering.
Words will never quite do justice to the spectacle that is Rampage. And sometimes it feels like the scoring doesn’t, either.
Learn French: If your New Year’s resolution isn’t already set in stone, we have one for you right here.
And whatever you do, never stop dreaming…
Images by Adrian Marcoux, Sven Martin, Victor Lucas, Gary Perkin, and David Smith.