Year in Review - 2016 Highlight Wheel
As the clock winds down on the year 2016, we’re taking the opportunity to look back on a season marked by breakthroughs, medals, good times, new stuff, great stories and, sadly, the loss of some of our mountain bike friends.
March 8, 2016 — The 2016 Enduro World Series might not rank highest in Anneke Beerten’s list of favorite memories, but her race year started off on a high note, when she took top honors at Crankworx Rotorua’s Giant Toa Enduro.
March 11, 2016 — At Crankworx Rotorua 2016, Brandon Semenuk combined the spirit of the late Kelly ‘McGazza’ McGarry with his own inimitable style to stick the landing that was his nemesis in 2015. Winner: Semenuk.
March 12, 2016 — Juliana - SRAM rider Anka Martin decided to take a “break” from her normal Enduro World Series race bike, and ride the Tour Aotourea, a 3,000km bikepacking race from the tip of New Zealand’s North Island to the bottom of its South Island.
March 20, 2016 — She’s a regular on World Cup podiums, but Annika Langvad is a fan of the long events, too. Langvad and teammate Ariane Lüthi won the 7-stage Cape Epic by almost 15 minutes.
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The Chinese zodiac says that 2016 was the year of the Monkey. But for mountain bikes it was the year of the Eagle. More than massive cassettes, smoother feel, quieter operation and more durability, the Eagle™ Technology means more options and more freedom to ride where you want and how you want.
April 10, 2016 — Every lap the Earth takes around the Sun takes friends, family and a few of our heroes. With his strong open to the season, including a second place finish in Lourdes, France, most thought that the legendary Stevie Smith was back after a couple years of injury. Tragically, we lost him too soon after that moment. #LongLiveChainsaw
April 23, 2016 — The UCI World Champion jersey’s rainbow stripes have long been rumored to curse the wearer’s winning streak. At round two of the 2016 Downhill World Cup in Cairns, Australia, Loic Bruni declared — via a win while wearing the rainbow stripes — that he wasn’t subject to that old superstition.
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What you have here is a real mountain bike ride, a day in the life of a pro. Like the postal service, neither rain nor shine, snow nor sleet… Professional mountain bikers are apart from their bikes for only a small handful of reasons: travel, sickness, injury and strategically chosen rest days. When you compete for a living, travel is inevitable, rest days are a rare blessing, and sickness and injury keep you from making money. Training days are paramount. Sure, it’s the race days that pay the bills, but it’s all that time preparing that gets you to the finish line faster.
April 24, 2016 — Schurter was the first athlete to win a race on the new Eagle™ drivetrain — as well as the first to take Eagle™ to the top step of a World Cup podium.
May 22, 2016 — With the Ace on his number plate, Swiss power in the legs and his SRAM XX1 Eagle™ drivetrain translating that power into forward momentum, Nino collects the win from Julien Absalon at World Cup round 2 in Albstadt, Germany.
June 12, 2016 — The always-amazing Miranda Miller claimed her first World Cup podium in Leogang, Austria. The event was a figurative Miller Time, though, since Miller branded beverages are nigh impossible to find anywhere near Leogang.
June 18, 2016 — Bad weather at Crankworx Les Gets caused an abbreviated slopestyle comp — the event organizers called it Best Trick. Nicholi Rogatkin calls his winning move a Twister. No doubt some of the fans called it, “What the …?” In their native language, of course.
June 19, 2016 — Of course Remi Thirion is smiling — you’d smile too if you’d just bested one of the sport’s legends and survived the torture of epic mud at Crankworx Les Gets.
July 2, 2016 — Putting in the hard work and never giving up can pay off in silver and gold medals and rainbow-striped jerseys. American Lea Davison and Dane Annika Langvad did their countries, sponsors and friends all proud at the World Champs in Nové Mêsto.
July 3, 2016 — This was a year of gold for Swiss mountain biking legend Nino Schurter — World Championship gold, Swiss National Championship gold, Olympic gold and SRAM Eagle™ gold. His new favorite color perhaps?
Olympics, World Cups, World Championships and countless Wednesday night rides were deftly handled by the new SRAM Level family of brakesets.
July 9, 2016 — Luca Shaw’s scholarly and smooth approach to his mountain bike career paid off this year in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, with his first trip to the Elite World Cup podium.
July 10, 2016 — This is the realization that you just did something few other mountain bikers will ever experience. At 22 years of age, Jenny Rissveds already knows the feeling of winning an Elite World Cup XC event — and an Olympic Gold Medal.
July 31, 2016 — It was a season of ups and downs for former Enduro World Series Champion Jared Graves. When everything clicked, though, Graves was scary fast. At Aspen Snowmass, Jared collected the win for himself, his new team and the first pro men’s EWS victory for SRAM XO1 Eagle™.
This year wasn’t all about the 500-percent gear range and component groups named after big birds of prey — 2016 also launched SRAM GX DH, the workhorse 7-speed kit for lovers of gravity.
August 14, 2016 — After a heartbreaker of a final-stage flat ruined the day for Josh Carlson at the Whistler round of the 2015 EWS, Carlson’s renewed motivation proved good for a 2nd place finish in the brutal final stage — and 3rd place overall.
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Admit it. At least once, recently, in your mountain biking career, you’ve thought it would be a good idea to race an enduro. Or maybe you’ve raced a local event and are considering stepping up to an Enduro World Series event. And maybe, since racing an EWS is going to require travel for most people, the idea of combining an enduro with a trip to the most awesome mountain bike festival in the world seems like the way to go. But how do you do it? What’s the inside info?
August 18, 2016 — Remember that kid who was petitioned into the 2014 Whip Off Worlds because he was technically too young to enter? The one who served as an event judge in 2015 because of injury? The one who is the reigning Junior World Downhill Champion? Yeah, it’s this guy, the 2016 Whip Off World Champ.
August 20, 2016 — You could’ve called all the cops you want, but Troy Brosnan scorched Heckler’s Rock and everywhere else on the 2016 Canadian Open course — and took the win, shirt on the whole way.
August 21, 2016 — Work ethic: Tomas Slavik wanted the 2016 King of Crankworx title more than anybody else. He threw himself — full gas — into every event that made sense, and, when the dust had settled, he was #1. Long live the King.
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Ever wonder if anyone has tried to compete in all the events at Crankworx Whistler? Mitch Ropelato didn’t quite do all of them, but he came close. Oh, and he won the Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge presented by RockShox.
Super Deluxe: The name says about all you really need to know. We can wax on about bushing overlap and better hardware and a more rational approach to everything, but the bottom line is that better shocks make better bikes — and better bikes make faster riders. Super Deluxe is a better shock.
September 3, 2016 — In case there was any doubt about his skill, speed and focus, Finn Iles run in Andorra wrapped up the Junior World Cup overall title in his first year as a Junior. A week later he would get his first set of rainbow stripes as the 2016 Downhill Junior World Champion.
September 11, 2016 — Danny Hart won the 2016 Downhill World Championships. Why? Because as good as he went this year, “It would have been a shame not to.”
September 18, 2016 — You can’t win an Enduro World Series event on flat pedals. Aussie great Sam Hill decided to #ProveCantWrong at EWS Round 7 in Valberg, France, as he took the overall win by 9 seconds over Nico Vouilloz.
October 2, 2016 — Consistently fast, consistently a contender for the Enduro World Series overall title, Damien Oton finished the 2016 season as the EWS men’s runner-up. The Frenchman’s results: 7th, 8th, 6th, 3rd, 7th, 6th, 13th (on French soil) and 4th.
October 2, 2016 — Keep watching Isabeau Courdurier. She finished the 2016 EWS season as the women’s runner-up overall. She’s always in the hunt, super consistent, and is going to keep climbing.
Not that we don’t all appreciate what it takes to get to the top, but the new TRUVATIV DESCENDANT lineup is unapologetic in its appreciation of when the trail points downward.
October 2, 2016 — It’s that fast French thing we’re always talking about — for the second time in as many years. Adrien Dailly took home the EWS U21 World Championship once again. Dailly won the opening round in Chile, and completely swept the final five rounds.
October 2, 2016 — Cecile Ravanel was simply unstoppable for the whole EWS season. The Commencal – Vallnord Enduro Team rider won seven out of eight rounds and the vast majority of the series’ stages.
October 14, 2016 — Master Class. If for some strange reason you’re reading this but haven’t seen Brandon Semenuk’s Rampage-winning run, here’s the link. https://youtu.be/VqY3LBawDXc Continue after watching.
All photos by Sven Martin, Adrian Marcoux, Matt Delorme, and Ale Di Lullo.