Thoughts from the caravan

I am now sitting in my caravan. I am sitting here after Eurobike and after an allright day of riding. Not the best one, but it was pretty nice. My good friend Mads is sitting in my end of the caravan, actually kind of on my end, trying to snatch some of the WiFi from the nearby Hotel. He is doing all sorts of weird things to get a better connection and trying to find out where the signal is. It is actually quite annoying, but at the same time it is really entertaining.
Tomorrow in a new day, but not a new thing. Because I am, thank god, going to ride my bike again.
I don’t know what I want to write about, but I just really wanted to. All because I just read this really amazing blog written by a girl I met on Eurobike.
I am not a big reader myself. I can’t remember last time I read a book of my own free will. I read some blogs and articles, but to be honest it is quite hard to get my attention. Only a few writers seem to catch my attention, and mostly it is not even the writer but more the topic that gets my attention. Do you know those writers that can just get your attention no matter what they are writing? I know a few, and it seems like those are the people who also think the most over all the little things in life. Instead of just letting moments go by unseen these people actually take a picture of the moment, a picture that they can then repaint with words. It is amazing how much we use words and sentences, but how few of us who really master them.
It is even more amazing to think about how much words are used bad, think about how much bullshit gets talked on a day. So many valuable words that are just used for no real reason. A lot of people talk just because they can and then there is others who just talk about the necessary and leaves everything else silent.
Now Mads stole my WiFi. Not that I used it, but he still stole it. As you can read I am one of the people who talk a lot, like really a lot and mostly about bikes or something related to them.

Air and Alps selffilmer

I have done some self filmers before, but it was this year that it started getting more serious. I knew that I was going to travel Europe for 4 months, where I would not be able to meet up with the videographers I know from home.
I was not the strongest in tech and cameras, but after some research and many hours on Youtube, it was clear that I needed a 4k camera. Those does not come cheap though, but I ended up getting one. This allows be to put the large 4k video into a 1080p project and thereby zoom and pan in post-production, a pretty amazing opportunity when doing self filmers. Everything is 100% filmed, ridden and edited by myself in the lovely mountains of Tignes

Tails from the tour: One


This year is a new one for me. I am spending four months just traveling around Europe with only on purpose, having fun on my bikes. Well, I need to race races, film, write blogs, take pictures and train too, but that is all a part of the bike life for me. At first it is really a road of trial and error. You need to find your way into it and figure out how it all works, there is no “How to live the privateer life” that you can watch on Youtube, even though that might be on my To Do list now that I mentioned it.
You kind of need to get everything into place and build up a new living routine. With less space to live on you really need to keep things into place, so they don’t just lay around everywhere.
When traveling around for races and events in Europe you meet a lot of really awesome people. All people have different stories and it is fascinating to hear how they found their way there, maybe a way that was a complete other than your own.
Everybody likes to hear a good story, and everybody likes telling them even more.

 

 

You come across some pretty amazing trails and view’s on such a trip.

 

There are countless people just driving around living in their vans all season. I have seen a good amount of vans housing up to 3 people and sometimes even more, especially if they are Kiwi’s and Aussies. It is crazy how many of them travel all the way over here and then lives on the smallest amount of space.
In a race environment like that, my caravan setup is considered complete luxury. It even has a bathroom with a shower, even though the fantastic lakes of Europe are probably the favorite choice of most of the privateers, including me.

 

 

A good camp setup when the other Danes arrive.

 

 

A lot of the vans around are bought for under £1000 and then build up with some beds, and of course, space for the bikes. I even saw some people who just put an Ikea bunk bed into the van, pretty legit.
I have seen some live in old ambulances, vans with doors almost falling off every time you open them, backdoors that could not open, I even heard some guys who had a puncture and couldn’t get the wheel of because it was too rusty and then had to hold in every 30km to pump the tire.
But one thing they all have in common, they freakin’ breathe for riding bikes and get to experience so many awesome things along the way. As the Vanzacs say, “Home is where you park it”.
It is for sure that most of all those people is having the time of their lives, even though it is primarily taking place in a car or outside.
It is the cheap way of the “pro life” if you can call it that. It is what there is going on behind the big team tents, with budgets you might not even imagine.
As I mentioned I am in my first year of doing this, and I can say that I really love it. Parking wherever you want and make that your home. Even though my setup might be luxury in some eyes and trashed in others, I feel like this is a good one.

 

 

A complete normal thing in cycling, but everyone else thinks it is weird.

 

 

Just to set it up for you economy wise.
Peugout Partner: 2000EUR
Old Caravan from 1992: 1000EUR
Solarpanel setup that provides all the electricity I need: 500EUR
So 3500EUR for a perfect setup to live in.
The throw in the some spending money, money for Diesel and lift cards and you pretty much have it. Some other people are 100% doing it for less money and some are probably spending more too, I don’t know.
It all depends on how much you need, other than just riding bikes of course, which is the key.
I myself brought all of my bikes, BMX, Dirtjumper, Enduro and Downhill. Even though I might not use some of them that often I feel like it is a really important part of being on the road so I am free to do whatever I want.

 

 

Good friends are key on the road.

 

 

One thing you will find out really quick is that you need some good friends. I am off alone this year, I have a lot of friends from Denmark coming down sometimes. Some come for three weeks, some for a month, and then I meet up with other Danes for a couple of weeks of racing. But I think the most ideal thing is to just grab your best couple of friends and then get rolling, at least that is what I feel like.

Stay tuned for more.
Cheers,
Frederik Leth

Living a passion

Living a passion can be hard, but at the same time you feel so blessed that you have found your thing and that is the thing you want to do with your life. My thing is Mountainbiking.

I can’t tell you how many parties I have missed, because I wanted to go early to bed and ride my bike the next day instead. I have simply lost count. That is how it is to live passion. It’s not because I don’t like parties, I just like riding my bike way more.

In life you have the freedom to make your own choices, you basically have the freedom to do whatever you want. For me it’s biking. It’s pretty simple and yet so complex. I have asked myself a ton of times, “Why do I like riding my bike?”. Is it the feeling, the bike friends, the community, the ride?. I have not come any closer to define what I like the most about it, but I can conclude that I absolutely love it, because everything I do, is centered about getting out on my bike.

I work to get money so I can travel around and ride my bike. I go to the gym to get fit, so I can ride my bike faster and stay injury free. I spend hours and hours online looking at camera reviews, just to find the right one, so I can go film myself and my friends, riding our bikes. And when I went to school I would be so efficient when doing homework, because then I could ride my bike when I was done, allright, maybe I wasn’t always all done before I went riding. But fact is that I do all those things, to get out and ride.

It can also kind of get obsessive sometimes. If the sun shines I need to go ride my bike. I simply can’t be inside. Even though I am tired from the ride yesterday, I just need to ride again. Otherwise I just have such a bad feeling all day. Sometimes though I am really tired and kind of force myself to stay inside and relax for the day, just to recover well. I works well half of the day, and after that I am completely restless. I simply can’t stay inside for a whole day, it’s near impossible.

It’s funny how people some time through their life just find their thing. One day you don’t have anything to do because you don’t have a passion or a hobby. Then some day you try a thing out, and kind of just decide that it is your thing. Or maybe it comes just a bit by bit. I don’t remember, I just know that I am hooked now and will be forever.

Off season – Is it really that bad?

Every year I really look forward to the summer mountainbike season and with that follows, that you are not really exited about the off season. All year I dread for the winter season. I hate the thought of not being able to ride and just go to the gym, go on some cold cross country rides and then search Pinkbike and Youtube empty for good mountainbike videos(even though it is pretty great in the start). The thought of all the snow that will fall and cover up all the trails so you can’t ride them to the fullest is just awful.

But then every year when the off season comes, and I actually get out on my cross country bike, I think, “Wow, this isn’t really that bad!?”. No, I don’t travel around in Europe living the crazy life, riding downhill all day long as I do in the summer, but at home it isn’t that bad. I quickly come to realize that my imaginary picture of the off season involves so much snow that you can’t ride. But actually it barely snows here. Just about a week ago it was 10 degrees Celsius here in Denmark, and that was the last day of November. That is quite alright I would say. The weather is always a lot better than I expect it to be. When I think about off season, I think of snow and really cold weather. But when the off season comes it mostly just turns out to be a bit of rain, fun muddy trails and then you put on a rain jacket and you are ready to go.

Here is a video from one of my regular off season cross country rides. Filmed and edited by Jeppe Svendsen:

 

The other thing about the off season is coming home to flat Denmark. As I ride downhill, I love mountains and Denmark kind of have a lack of mountains(a place danes call SkyMountain is freakin’ 147 meters high, you get the picture). Therefore I don’t always look forward to come home to flat Denmark after a month or four in The Alpes. At first I have a hard time getting out on the xc bike, but when I finally do, I realize that it is not that bad, actually, it’s pretty damn fun.

I the off season you maybe don’t get out on the dirtjumps every other day as you do in the summer(well maybe you don’t do that in the summer either, but I do when I am in Denmark). But there is certainly no excuse not to ride. And of you decide not to go in the woods, then you can get out to try other cool things. I started riding BMX some winters ago, and I have really stuck with that. It is another part of biking I picked up on the way, and it turns out to be tons of fun. Suddenly I began to really follow the bmx scene and watch tons of videos. I learned to know new people on the danish scene and that is quite awesome. It is pretty sweet to see how much you can progress. When I go out for a bmx session it is just to have fun, there is no pressure on me, because “I am a mountainbiker”. But all the time I end up learning new tricks and lines, and just progress a lot.

 

 

What I have come to conclude over the last two years is, that for me there is no off season. More like a “travel” and a “home in Denmark” season, and they are both pretty great. In the travel season I get out to a lot of cool places, race a lot of races, experience awesome things, ride the mountains and meet a lot of new people. I the home season I get out to ride a lot of cross country and bmx, chill with my good friends and family, train at my local gym and even though I am just home, I experience a lot of awesome thing too. Either way, life is pretty damn awesome.

 

Cheers,

Frederik Leth

 

Caravan Life

In August this year I decided to buy caravan. I wanted to save some money and have it easier while traveling around to so many different places to ride bikes.

It has been something I have thought about in a long long time. Sometimes when I have time to really relax(I have that like all the time), I sit down and look for caravans, motorhomes and busses. It would be so rad to have a motorhome to live in for the season. But motorhomes are freakin’ expensive so I got the next best thing, a caravan.

I found this bad boy for around 1100 Euros which was quite a catch. It has beds/couch in both ends, a small kitchen in the middle and bathroom with shower. Everything you really need for a simple living.

Frederik Leth caravan downhill

 

I bought the caravan one week before going on a 3 week trip to Pila and Meribel. I was quite an impulse buy actually. I had never ever driven a car with a trailer so getting a caravan on for the first time was quite a change, but actually not that bad. Some might say it was a bit hasty, but I was all good for me, I always like something new and out of my comfort zone.

Living in a Caravan for the racing season is actually pretty ideal. You don’t need to book apartments or anything. You can live a lot more free as you can just drive were ever you want. In Pila I payed to stay in the race area and get some electricity so the caravan worked properly.

I had tested if the electricity in the van worked from home, but I had not checked if the shower worked, and it did not. But after a some time with a screw driver and my lacking skills in electricity and whatever, I got the water pump to work. I still had to heat my water in the pot, but that was fine. As I am pretty tall(195cm), I made good use of the small rooftop windows, as they were my stand up points inside the caravan.

In Pila I had electricity which was super nice, but I still missed my WiFi to keep updated. I ended up going into a hotel and just asked the first guest for the WiFi code and then sat down to get my daily dose of Instagram, Facebook and Pinkbike.

In Meribel I spend a fair amount of time trying to get a space in the race area to get some electricity, but no luck. So I ended up staying in a parking lot outside some houses.

Caravan Meribel Frederik Leth dwonhill

Living in the parking lot

I guess they are pretty relaxed with that kind of stuff in France, because I lived there for a whole week without anyone saying anything. Before I took of from Denmark I had not though about the lack of electricity I would face.

Luckily I had some small battery driven light to use in the night and the hob and fridge was gas driven. So I spend the next week during the World Cup getting my laptop and phone charged everywhere I could as well as taking showers in a fountain. Luckily I had my laptop and my FRIENDS box to entertain me in the evening until it was out of battery. Luckily there was WiFi in the center of the city so I could go up there and check up on things while shopping groceries. The electricity was a bit of challenge some times because I had to kill the time for more than an hour while my laptop charged. I went to different bars, bought a drink and then took out my extension cord and plugged in both phone, laptop and camera. One day I snug into a hotel launch to charge my things, the receptionist came by a couple of times, but she did not say anything.

 

 

Frederik Leth caravan downhill

The view from my bed

 

Fortunately it was lot warmer in Meribel than it was in Pila. I Pila, as it was pretty high altitude, it was freezing in the mornings. Meribel was cold too, not as cold at all.

On the way home I took a couple of days at Eurobike to talk to all the good people in the mountainbike industry. I ended up spending the first night at a parking lot at a supermarket. They weren’t too happy about me and I ended up getting kicked away at 6.A.M. I then went searching for another spot suitable for my purpose. I ended up finding a sweet little parking lot in a house district just 5 minutes walk away from the fair, which was pretty ideal.

The caravan life is actually pretty sweet and I hope I can get a motorhome for next year to cruise around in.

Here is the edit that I managed to get together from the trip.

Cheers,

Frederik

 

Team rumours 2015

A new season is approaching and so is the new teams. A lot of people in downhill, including me, are dying to know who is with who. I have done a little write up on what I have read about the rumours.

Luckily the game got a bit more fun this year as Team Rumours is back! Although they only came up with one picture this year, it had a ton of info.

Downhill World cup team rumors 2015

So if this is true, we can see a lot of new teams next year. Sunn seems to be back in the game. They recently released this concept bike for the world to see.

Also it seems like YT and KTM will be on the world cup circuit with a team. As far as the rumours, I have heard Norco is expanding their team, still just a rumors though.

It is a no brainer to say that the broken chain is Mulally. The beer could be Nick Beer. The needles is probably Needles. The British heart would be Hart. The little kiwi bird could be Blenki, as we know he is going to a new team. The Horse is rumored to be Cam Cole and the Kangaroo could be Troy Brosnan. Troy is rumored to move along from Specialized. The Rambo could be Sam Dale.

What we know for sure

Giant has already released their 2015 team. In the press release we can read that the team is saying goodbye to the big names of Danny Hart and Andrew Neethling. The team will consist of Marcelo Gutierrez and Alex Marin along with a new up-and-coming rider. The full team along with sponsors and partners will be announced in January.

Hutchinson United Ride has just signed young ripper Remy Morton, as you can read on pinkbike here.

Lapierre Gravity Republic recently signed the young Whip Off World Champ Finn Iles. He is only 15 years old, but it seems like he signed with the team for three years. Leaving the team is Sam Blenkinsop and Emmeline Ragot. Remaining is the two frenchmen Loic Bruni and Loris Vergier. The full press release is on Pinkbike here.

As you can read here, the Syndicate is off limits. Greg Minaar and Josh Bryceland has signed until the end of 2015 while Steve Peat is on the team until 2018.

Rumors

PinkBike posted a picture on their Instagram of a new rider signing for Scott. Some are pretty sure it is Needles as he is pretty close friends with Brendog.

If you follow the rumor threat on VitalMtb you might have read that Danny Hart is rumoured to ride for Mondraker. A lot of people also say that Blenki is going to Norco.

Rumors also tell that Mulally is off Trek World Racing, but were he is going is another case. It would be a easy one if he transferred to SRAM/TLD. Already rides a lot with the Shaw brothers.

 

I should be said that I am not an industry insider, I am just really really curious and follow the topic tightly.

Cheers,

Frederik Leth

 

Dirtjumping, Pila and Meribel

So I thought I would just catch up a bit on my latest trips to Pila, Meribel and a bit of chilling at home

As soon as I came home from my roadtrip in July I went to my local dirt jump spot, Aarhus DirtJump Park for Dk Dirt Camp, Denmarks biggest dj event. I always look forward to come back to that place. I have been one of the guys building out there since days one, and I truly love that place.
After Dk Dirt Camp I took some time out there and did this little self filmer.

After the dirt camp I had a couple of weeks at home just to relax and work a bit. The Danish weather wa really kind and gave us top notch summer weather, so a lot of the time was spent riding dirt jumps and having mad sessions on the trails you just saw in the video. I also got to ride my bmx a bit.
I decided to buy a caravan to be a bit more free at the races, and be able to save some money. This bad boy is going to a lot of races next year!

Frederik Leth with his Caravan. Ready for Meribel and Pila

My sweet ass Caravan

Shortly after that we had the third race of the Danish Downhill Cup in Ry. Ry is probably one of the best tracks in Denmark. It is steep, muddy and has quite a lot of roots. I ended up in third, which is not that bad.

Three days after I went to Pila and Meribel, to ride the European and World Cup. Both tracks was super fun but I somehow managed to do really shit there. Crashed at the top of the track in Pila, so I just chilled all the way down and ended up really bad. In Meribel I was too cautious and rode way too safe.
Even though I did not get the results I wanted I managed to get some filming in. After the races I went to Eurobike to Chill around a couple of days before heading home to ride the last race of the Danish Cup, Rold.
Here is the filming I got done in Pila and Meribel.

I is always fun to race in Rold. The track is the best known track in Denmark and has a lot of jumps on it. Even though I would have a big advantage racing on my enduro bike, I decided to take my dh to stay real. It is a downhill cup after all.

The track was a bit wet and after a lot of rain on sunday the track was sooo much fun. I had a awesome time throwing tow a lot of runs on the muddy track. That is what it is all about, having fun.
I ended up 2nd on the day and 2nd overall. Pretty happy with that.

Cheers for this time. More coming soon.

Rain in Morzine… Again

So after a pretty disappointing stay in Les Deux Alpes, we headed to Morzine. Probably one of my favorite places to ride. When living in Portes Du Soleil you have access to so many different parks, Morzine, Les  Gets, Avoriaz, Châtel, Champery and a couple of others.
We were in Morzine just to chill and have fun on our bikes.

rain pouring down in Morzine

Rain

We lived in a awesome apartment just in the middle of Morzine. Morzine do not only have some pretty fun official trails, but the pirate trails is probably the ones most people come for. Super fun, steep and rooty.

I have been to Morzine two times before and both times it has rained a lot. Of course this year was no exception. Luckily I had my IXS full rain suit a.k.a The Steeze Killer to keep me nice an dry.
I switched to flat pedal on this special occasion and it was actually really fun to ride downhill with some flats again. And even though the Steeze Killer held me pretty dry, the shoes were soaked within two runs. This needed some alternative methods to get dry shoes on in the morning. Luckily the hair blower did a great job for us.

drying the shoes

Alternative way to dry shoes when the hater didn’t do enough

I have always loved riding in the rain. Not just a little rain but a lot. So the tracks get really slippery and the mud packs and maybe there is a little river down the track. At first it is just really awkward and then after that phase you get a little more loosened up and then the fun begins. You get a bit more loose on the bike. The bike goes one direction and you the other, but no panic, the bike comes in again and you continue riding.

On the regular Morzine side (Le Pleney) There is a lot of pirate trails parallel to the regular tracks. You kind of switch between pirate and regular all the way down. It is really fun and there is so many different sections you can link together to make a full run down.

We stayed an rode in Morzine and Super Morzine most of the time. One day we went to Chatel but the trails were even slower over there than in Morzine, so we quickly found our way back to Morzine.

Most of the days we only rode about three hours because of the weather, so we had a lot on down time in the apartment. The time went with drinking beer and surfing the internet.

Drinking beers in Morzine and chilling

A lot of beer were consumed during the rainy days

On the last day the weather was really good. 25 degrees and full sun. This made the tracks really bad. Big holes and no speed was the key word on our last day in Morzine.

View from our apartment in Morzine. Sun and Rain

View from our balcony on different days.

After a great week in Morzine with bit of riding we headed to Spicak for the IXS European cup.

Cheers from Morzine,
Frederik Leth

 

 

Heading to Les Deux Alpes

So, after our stay in Val Di Sole, we headed to Les Deux Alpes for Crankworx Europe.
I have been to Les2Alpes before and knew that it was not really my favorite place. I kind of don’t love all the high way tracks with a lot of burms. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit afraid to slip in the burm and just fall down a cliff behind it. But even though it didn’t suit me well, we had a lot of fun there.

We arrived at Les Deux Alpes on Tuesday, way before the race. Les2Alpes is a pretty cool city. It’s not very big, and we were located right in the middle, just beside the slopestyle course.

We rode both Wednesday and Thursday on the regular tracks. It turned out to be really fun. They had built some new stuff, which was pretty fun. On the Diable trail, they had built some fun jumps, and in the small wood section there was a couple of good ones in a row. They were quite small so you had to brake into them, but they were fun anyway.


Coming into Les2Alpes my main focus was of course the downhill race, but not a race I would consider myself at my fullest. Therefore I had also planned to ride the Pumptrack competition, a thing I really looked forward to. I have won a couple of Pumptrack competitions at home, so I knew that I would have a fair chance of qualifying in, and be one of the 16 best.

Frederik Leth on his bike in front of beautiful mountains

On friday there was supposed to be both trackwalk, training, and Pumptrack. We came to the lift early to get the most out of it. Sad news, “closed for the day”. The whole practice was cancelled because of strong wind at the top. I there fore looked forward to Pumptrack in the evening after a day of doing nothing. The evening came, and so did the rain. After walking a bit around asking people out, I found out that Pumptrack was postponed to Saturday.

Drying the clothes in Les Deux Alpes. Downhill bikes stacked on the balcony

When I woke up on Saturday I felt really bad and decided to wait a couple of hours before going to practice. Unfortunately it only got worse and I missed both the race and Pumptrack challenge. Quite a bummer, but what can you do.
On Monday the lifts to the big mountain was closed again and we decide to chill, wash some clothes and go to the driving range in Les Deux Alpes to play a bit of Golf.

Tuesday morning we drove to Morzine, after a rather disappointing stay in Les Deux Alpes.

Cheers,

Frederik Leth