Enduro ace takes to the tarmac in his first competitive outing for his new team

FORMER Enduro World Championship title-holder Jared Graves has debuted his new Specialized colours for 2016, after his shock switch away from long-time sponsor Yeti.

Graves, from Toowoomba in Queensland, lined up at the 2016 Daniel Bennett memorial criterium on New Year’s Day at Norwell, west of Brisbane, finishing a creditable fifth place outright after missing a breakaway.

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Pic: Jared Graves/Adam Weathered (Facebook)

 

Widely considered to be one of the most broadly talented riders in mountain biking, Graves has long used less orthodox training methods to prepare for his race season, including winning several rounds of the Australian cross country championship in the 2013/14 season.

However, Graves – a former BMX Olympian and 4X world champion – said that the XC preparation had left him feeling “like a diesel” going into his EWS championship winning year.

“Even though I won the overall and 2014 was a successful year, the whole XC racing to get as fit as possible thing kind of felt like a massive backfire,” he told the Ol’ Crank. “I felt like a diesel for the first half of the season and couldn’t go hard on short stages, I lost a lot of punch. It took me until mid season to get that back.”

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Graves celebrates Rude’s 2015 EWS title. Pic: Yeti Cycles

 

A pre-season training crash in 2015 took him out of contention to back up his 2014 EWS crown, which was eventually claimed by former Yeti teammate and protégé Richie Rude.

The Queenslander will line up beside good mate American Curtis Keene in the Specialized squad. “I am pumped to join forces with Specialized, no other brand has the full compliment of top-shelf bikes and gear and the level of commitment to success. The whole team is setup really well with the best support, the best mechanics and the best teammates,” he said in a statement.

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Pic: Specialized

 

The American company recently lost its 2015 World #1 downhiller, Aaron Gwin, after what Gwin called a “difference of opinion” on the champion’s salary expectations.

”I proposed what I believe to be my reasonable market value, and they differed,” Gwin told US site Pinkbike.

There is speculation that the company has allocated a greater marketing spend towards enduro racing – a discipline that more directly links to sales of many of its bike lines – at the expense of the waning downhill category.

Another casualty of the move to Yeti for Graves is the ending of a long association with mechanic Shaun Hughes, who has been with Graves for all of his major titles. Hughes will not make the move to the Specialized team, remaining at Yeti for the 2015 season.

RELATED: how to race enduro with Jared Graves

So it looks like my video on installing a 40t extender cog went over okay, so here’s another how-to on installing a OneUp chainguide, warts and all.

RELATED – how to install a 40t extender cog

 

 

G’day,

I’m kicking off the 2015 Great Cycle Challenge this week, to do my little bit to raise much-needed research funds to fight kids’ cancer.

My aim this year is to cover 500km or more over the next 31 days, and I’m hoping to raise over $1500. I’ll be blogging about it here, too.

So why am I doing this? Most of you know that we had a brush with the big C a few years back, so it’s our way of giving back to an awesome cancer community.

And because cancer is the single biggest killer of children from disease in Australia.

Every week, 12 Aussie families get the most frightening, crushing, brutal, awful news they’ll ever hear – that their child has cancer. And three kids die of cancer. Every. Single. Week.

Cancer turns up completely unannounced. It gives you no time to prepare, no time to respond.

And the battle with this godawful disease goes on for months and years at a time.

I should know – we’ve been through it, and we’ll deal with the fall-out for a long time to come.

Without continual research and treatment developments that are always going on in the world on paediatric oncology, our life story would be a lot different.

So that’s why I intend to ride 500km over the next month, in the midst of my normal family and work life.

But I really, really need your help. Please, sponsor me to support my challenge and to help our kids. Don’t worry – I’m kicking the tin, too.

To make a donation, simply view my page by clicking on the link below:

www.greatcyclechallenge.com.au/Riders/theolcrank

All funds raised will support the Children’s Medical Research Institute to continue its work to develop treatments and find a cure for childhood cancers.

And everything over two bucks is tax-deductible. The national tally already stands at nearly $900,000 before a wheel has been turned, and the Great Cycle Challenge has raised more than $3 million since kicking off in 2013.

Thanks for your support. Keep an eye on the blog, too – I’ll make it entertaining. If I can!

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We touched on the notion of the gravel bike in the last issue; in essence, it looks like a road bike with fatter tyres. The differences are more marked than that, of course, but it’s a pretty good summation.

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I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden at Tathra a few times now, and every single time is as good as the first/

It’s so good, in fact, it’s become a replacement for the Mont 24-Hour race for some buddies and I.

We’ve done the Mont for quite a few years now, and some years have been awesome fun. The last couple haven’t been so awesome for one reason and another, though – in fact, the best lap of the race has been the Friday practice, where we’re all riding together.

So last year, we booked a very nice room at the Tathra Beach House, headed to Tathra, and had ourselves a blast.

This year saw just two of front up – but it didn’t matter. Four rides over two and a half days in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet was pure bliss.

Here’s a little vid I put together as I find my way around some new vid editing software. I missed a few shots – guess we’ll have to go back.

 

 

 

When I was a young guy living in Sydney, I was walking through the Bondi Junction mall when I happened upon a guy with a bike. He was offering me $100 if I could ride said bike 10 metres or so, and it would only cost me $5 to try.

Now, I was riding A LOT back then – racing most weekends, riding every afternoon in Centennial Park, doing trials… this seemed like money for jam.

I couldn’t even get one metre. And it cost me $20 – in 1992 or so, mind – to figure this out. See, the bike was built so that when you turned the bars one way, the wheel would go the opposite.

I’ve been riding bikes since I was five years old – but I’ve only ever learned to use one rudimentary set of inputs. Check this video out for an interesting insight into the neural pathways we build for ourselves.

Cheers Bike Rumor for the memory jog!

 

So I’ve been thinking… maybe I should get back into reviewing mountain bike parts again.

I dunno – might be just my ego talking, but I’ll be buggered if I can find anywhere a source of good quality, objective reviews for modern bike parts. Weights. Comparison. Verifiable analysis. Objectivity. Someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about.

Sure, I’m already doing reviews on stuff for AG Outdoor and for Bike. I’m thinking, though, I’m still buying a lot of stuff, and there’s no better way to ensure that I’m not in it for the freebies, is there?

The main issue is that my dance card is pretty chockers… but hey. You only live once, right?

So if any of the three people who pay even the slightest bit of blind attention are key, let me know what you reckon. I’ll kick off with some pretty pics of a new stem I bought the other day, just to ease back into it.

Oh, and say hello to the new Ol’ Crank office dog, Poppy. She’s cute, sure, but my God she’s annoying.

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