Inside Info – Luca Shaw

Luca Shaw has been spending part of hos off season in Australia - The perfect time for us to catch up with him and ask him a few questions!
Luca Shaw has been spending part of hos off season in Australia – The perfect time for us to catch up with him and ask him a few questions!

If you have been following the world cups over the past few seasons you will have seen some of the new, young, up and coming riders who are moving up through the ranks. One of these riders is Luca Shaw, who has steadily been notching up some impressive results. Luca hails from the United States of America but spent a few months in Australia training during the off season, we caught up with him Adelaide just before he boarded a plane home to a snowy North Carolina. This is what he had to say;

Luca just finished his first elite year and was hanging out in Adelaide over the off season.
Luca just finished his first elite year and was hanging out in Adelaide over the off season.

Hey Luca, thanks for chatting to us, you’ve been in Australia for a couple of months now, how did that come about:

I kind of just wanted to change it up a little bit, A�I graduated in the spring so it is my first year without school and it gets a bit cold at home, I wanted to to do a lot of riding over winter or I guess the summer, off season, whatever you call it! Connor (Fearon) had mentioned coming and staying over in Adelaide for a little while so I decided to give it a go and yeah it has been awesome! Definitely had a lot of fun and appreciate Connor and his family for putting me up for a couple of months, it has been great.

You did some racing over here, in Thredbo for the Cannonball Festival, what was that like, I guess for you guys it is not the most serious race of the year:

Yeah it was good, it was kind of a last minute thing, we realised just as I was getting here that the race was on so we drove up there, it was cool. I hadn’t been riding much downhill so it was the first time I had ridden (downhill) since world championships so it was good to get on the downhill bike. Didn’t take it too serious but there were some fast dudes there and I was stoked to get 4th and not too far off the pace, it was an awesome weekend on a good track.

Luca has another year left with Santa Cruz Bikes at least, we know that his 2016 bikes will be black.
Luca has another year left with Santa Cruz Bikes at least, we know that his 2016 bikes will be black.
He knows how to rail it regardless of colour!
He knows how to rail it regardless of colour!

You’ve been doing a lot of trail riding by the looks, how do trails here in Australia and Adelaide compare to back home and across the world:

The trails here are sweet, we’ve been riding trails every single day and there are definitely enough to not get bored, we keep going new places every time, there is a lot of variety. They’re not the biggest hills in the world but you do a good job with what you have.

Maybe we will see Luca entering the freeride/dirt jump arena with these moves?!
Maybe we will see Luca entering the freeride/dirt jump arena with these moves?!

You have been keeping up the training sessions while your over here no doubt:

Haha yeah between the parmy (this is a schnitzel topped with cheese and tomato, sometimes ham – often called by other names around the world) and bakery sessions we have been getting a little sweat out! Nah we have been riding everyday and hitting the gym with Connor so we have been putting in the hard yards whilst on holidays for sure.

There has been plenty of hard work put in during the sweltering summer so expect to see the results of that this year.
There has been plenty of hard work put in during the sweltering summer so expect to see the results of that this year.

Looking forward to the rest of the year you will be back in Australia for the Cairns world cup as well as racing the rest of the world cup series. What goals have you set for the series:

It will be going into my second elite series so feeling a bit more comfortable, last year it was one of those things I didn’t really know what to expect from myself. This year I really want to stay consistent in the top 20 and hopefully top 10s, I think if everything lines up I could get a podium if I have a good race and have a good season going. I am just excited to see how well I can do, I am pumped for it, I am not as nervous as I was last year I am more excited, last year I was a bit nervous going into the elite. With that and another year on Santa Cruz, last year I was my first year on the new bike so everything was a bit different. I think it is going to be a good year, I can’t wait for it!

We would love to see Luca up on the podium during 2016.
We would love to see Luca up on the podium during 2016.

Moving on to something a bit more ‘lifestyle’ Connor bought a van recently and it looks like you guys have beenA�doing a lot of activities with it, are you all about the #vanlife:

We have been going pretty steady on the van life the past couple of months and I don’t have a van at the moment but I’ve had a van for a while and I think when I am back home I am going to be in the market looking for a van!

I guess the next question that arises if you go down the van route is ‘are you going to buy a trangia’:

It goes hand in hand, it will be rude not to, it kind of comes with it – at least that is what I expect!

#vanlife - it is all about hanging out with good mates, in good places! It sounds great to us...
#vanlife – it is all about hanging out with good mates, in good places! It sounds great to us…

Have you been watching American sports whilst you’re over here:

Not as much as I would like to, A�that’s probably the worst thing about my trip, it is in the midst of NFL football season, you can’t really help it when you grow up from where I am from (North Carolina) you have no choice! I woke up at 6.30am to watch the Carolina Panthers play and they took the ‘W’ so they’re moving on. Next weekend NFL play offs are going strong so that is what I am going to do when I am crying about not being in the warmth!

What Australian food are you going to miss, for example have you had Tim Tams, are they all they are cracked up to be:

No they’re good, definitely but the number 1 and 2 things I am going to miss the most are meat pies from the bakery, had way too many of those! And chicken parmys, from any good pub in Adelaide, to be specific the Ed!

You haven’t been paid to say that:

No!

On that note, let’s finish up the interview, we still have a few more pics below but for now we wish Luca all the best for the up coming season!

Luca has been training with Connor Fearon - no doubt they have been pushing each other!
Luca has been training with Connor Fearon – no doubt they have been pushing each other!
Railing turns, there is a great little Instagram edit on Luca/Connor's account of them railing this day.
Railing turns, there is a great little Instagram edit on Luca/Connor’s account of them railing this day.

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Look out for Luca in 2016!
Look out for Luca in 2016!

Images:A�KaneophotoA�www.kaneophoto.com.auA�or on Instagram @kaneophoto and stock Downhill247.com images.

Get more content onA�FacebookA�orA�follow us on Instagram: @downhill247

3D Printed Model Downhill Bike

The future is now… there is some pretty amazing technology and this gives an insight into where the future for downhill bikes is heading. 3D printing is very exciting, parts and whole frames may be something that you can print from home sooner rather than later. How handy will it be to print a replacement when you crash and damage your hanger, etc?!

This model (of a Specialized Demo) is pretty cool and we are going to try and chase down some more details for you, until then watch the video below and follow the guys at Trinpy.

Get in touch with Trinpy here:

www.trinpy.com

Instagram: @trinpy

Facebook: Trinpy

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Inside Info: Connor Fearon – Leogang

Leogang, a track Connor has always done well at.
Leogang, a track Connor has always done well at.

As long time supporters of Connor Fearon this has to be one of our favourite Inside Infos ever, without further adieu we hand it over to the man himself;

Coming into Leogang I had mixed emotions. The first two world cups this year I had a crash and a flat tyre so was disappointed to say the least. Especially after training so hard in the off season I had high hopes for this year. Leogang has always treated me well. In 2012 I placed 3rd in the junior world championships, 2013 I got my first ever top 10 (10th place) and 2014 I got my best result at the time of 9th. I was nervous that I would ruin another race in a row… Fun fact while I’m here, I ended up with plate number 36 for this race. A number I always thought was lucky because C and F are the third and sixth number of the alphabet… I’m not one to be superstitious but I was a little excited when I saw the number.

36 on the plate was a nice way to start off the week.
36 on the plate was a nice way to start off the week.

Anyways, we arrived in Leogang and had a look at the track. There where quite a few new sections which I think made the track better. People always complain about Leogang being to “bike parky”. Meaning it’s hard pack dirt with wide berms and braking bumps everywhere from having a lot of bike traffic on it. There was a lot off fresh loam but after it rained and practice went by all the dirt moved and exposed hundreds of roots. I felt comfortable on the track straight away but took some time setting up my suspension looking for the best performance I could get. In timed training at the end of the first practice day I put in a couple of solid efforts and was around 5th so I thought another top 10 in the finals wouldn’t be out of reach. Next was qualifying. I had planned to just have a solid clean run and not to push the envelope to much because I wasn’t protected. I thought this should land me in the top 20 somewhere. I guess I proved myself wrong when I crossed the line in 2nd place behind Aaron Gwinn. I was happy for about 10 minutes then the nerves started setting in. Getting a World Cup podium is a massive dream for mine and this was the golden opportunity.

A strong qualifying helped points for the overall but also increased the nervousness before the race.
A strong qualifying helped points for the overall but also increased the nervousness before the race.

I couldn’t really sleep that night because I was so nervous and on race day I just wanted to hurry up and get the race over and done with. I had 2 practice runs and then went back to the hotel and chilled for a couple hours before I had to race. My race run was really good. I hit all my lines perfectly and rode on the edge the whole way. I got to the halfway mark and knew I was on a really good ride so decided to just push it to the finish. Dropping into the last section I rode an inch wide off a fade away drop and landed just outside the track for a split second before returning to the course. I knew people had been harshly disqualified for this in the past so I didn’t know if that mistake would cost me. I came across the line in first which guaranteed me a top 2 spot.

Crossing the line into the hot seat, with only one rider left,meant a guaranteed podium!
Crossing the line into the hot seat, with only one rider left,meant a guaranteed podium!
That feeling.... only a racer knows!
That feeling…. only a racer knows!
Yeah Connor! Congratulations all around.
Yeah Connor! Congratulations all around.

Aaron finished and just beat me with no chain somehow but I really didn’t care I had rode the best race I could. Still feeling so nervous I was going to get disqualified I didn’t feel relieved until after the podium. It felt amazing to stand up there with the worlds best riders and especially my mate Troy who I’ve been racing for 10 years since we where 10 years old. It’s definitely a massive weight off my shoulders to get a podium and I think it’s going to make racing easier for me in the future with this new confidence.

Massive thanks to all my sponsors Kona Bikes, Fox Head, HT components, Fast Twitch gym Adelaide, Yakima racks, Maxxis and all the other team sponsors!

Follow Connor on Instagram @connorahoyhoy

Images:A�http://www.lukasnavratil.cz/ FacebookA�hereA�or Instagram @luknav

Get more content onA�FacebookA�orA�follow us on Instagram: @downhill247

Inside Info: Connor Fearon – Fort William

Welcome to Scotland!
Welcome to Scotland!

Coming off a devastating result at the first World Cup at Lourdes I really wanted to get a good result in Fort William. In the past I’ve done pretty well there and last year I was inside the top 15. Everyone who follows the world cups knows that Fort William is the roughest and longest track of the year. It has technical woods, flat out rocky sections and the infamous highway at the bottom where you have to pedal the last 45 seconds of the track. By the end your physically exhausted that’s for sure. This year there was a new woods section that had no shortage of slippery roots.The worst part about this race was the terrible weather. It rained non stop and was insanely windy. Especially the top half which is completely exposed as there’s no trees what so ever .

The top half of the track saw riders battling headwinds before having to use even more energy on the lower parts negotiating the 'highway' section.
The top half of the track saw riders battling headwinds before having to use even more energy on the lower parts negotiating the ‘highway’ section.

Practice and Qualifying was average for me. With the high winds it was hard to feel good on the bike. The whole top half felt really slow battling a head wind the whole way and also added to the exhaustion because sections of the track you could usually roll with quite some pace everyone had to be pedalling hard to maintain speed. Due to the high winds qualifying and practice was cancelled on Saturday. This meant that qualifying and racing would be held on Sunday, starting at 6:15am!

Sunday was a big day for everyone with the pits coming alive at about 5am. The weather didn’t seem much better although the rain had died out a bit the wind was still terrible. My practice runs where better on race day. I kept changing springs on my shock and never got comfortable on the Friday but I felt like I had it right finally. Most people only got to do one practice run in the morning due to the changed schedule. Since I was out of the top 20 I wanted to have a smooth run to guarantee me a spot in the finals. I must have hit something pretty hard because I broke about 8 spokes in my rear wheel about a minute from the finish. I could feel the wheel slapping both sides of my frame so cruised it to the finish to avoid the wheel collapsing. I still qualified 25th which came to a surprise. Still disappointed because if I hadn’t broken the wheel I could’ve got points for qualifying in the top 20.

My race run started out great I was riding all my lines fast and confident. My improved fitness was also helping me in the more technical sections because I wasn’t as fatigued as the last few years. I noticed my front tyre starting to go flat about halfway and I was devastated. It held enough air to ride but slowed me down significantly and was completely flat by the last section of the track.

Footout, Connor can swap between flats and clips as needed, handy!
Footout, Connor can swap between flats and clips as needed, handy! Look closely at that front tyre and see if you can spot an issue…

I finished 34th still which means I at least got a few points. The last two races have been really disappointing for me because I know I had potential to do really well at them. The next race is Leogang which I’ve done great at in the past so I’m really hoping i’ll have a clean race there!

Thanks to everyone that helps me race- Kona bikes factory team, Fox head, fast twitch training centre Adelaide, Yakima rack, HT components

Follow Connor on Instagram @connorahoyhoy and we will check back with him after Leogang this weekend.

Images: Isac Paddock follow on Instagram @_paddock

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Inside Info: Connor Fearon’s Operator

Connor Fearon and his Kona Operator are going to be heading off to the Fort William World Cup very soon.
Connor Fearon and his Kona Operator are going to be heading off to the Fort William World Cup very soon.

Connor Fearon has been with Kona Bicycles for many years now and over that time he has had some good looking and not to mention fast bikes! What you are looking at here is his current World Cup bike, details are scarce, often what you see riders on are prototype bikes and the technology filters down to the production models. Whilst the most obvious difference between this bike and the publicly available Operator is the 650B wheels we believe this bike won’t be what is released to the public.

We snapped some pictures of the bike at a recent South Australian state race.
We snapped some pictures of the bike at a recent South Australian state race.

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Flat pedals, Connor will ride flats or clips depending on the situation.
Flat pedals, Connor will ride flats or clips depending on the situation.
Titanium rear spring is pretty standard in the effort to lose weight.
Titanium rear spring is pretty standard in the effort to lose weight.

_D3S3236

A 7 speed set up at the rear.
A 7 speed set up at the rear.
650B rolling equipment.
650B rolling equipment.
These get plenty of use, not because Connor is a grandpa but because of the speed he rides they are required!
These get plenty of use, not because Connor is a grandpa but because of the speed he rides they are required!
Connor and Stevie Smith (his signature bars are Connor's pick) are friends, often riding together at World Cups.
Connor and Stevie Smith (his signature bars are Connor’s pick) are friends, often riding together at World Cups.
Man and machine.
Man and machine.

_D3S3239 _D3S3237

IMG_6841

That was a brief look at Connor Fearon’s A�Kona Operator, next time we see it in action will be the Fort William world cup.

Images: A big thanks toA�www.kaneophoto.com.auA�/Instagram @kaneophotoA�andA�RFPhotographics (Facebook here or follow on Instagram @rfphotographics).

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Inside Info: Troy Brosnan’s Demo

Always cool to have your name on your bike/components!
Always cool to have your name on your bike/components!

Are your eyes glazing over? Is your mouth open and drool running out like a waterfall? If it is already you may just be eating some donuts or you’ve just seen this beast in front of your eyes! If you’re not you will be after casting your eye over Troy Brosnan’s fresh new Specialized Demo race bike. Put together by his ace (or should that be race) mechanic Aaron Pelttari (look out for an interview on Downhill247.com real soon!) we were fortunate to have Kaneophoto shoot it before it got packed up bound for the UK and more specifically Fort William.

Now….. Troy was good enough to let us get some shots of the bike and show them to you guys but with a condition, we can’t show you guys too much of the bike as there is some trick prototype stuff going on! So we are going to show details but there is a good reason you wont the bike layed out fully in front of you! A sneak peak if you like…

Are you looking at the winning bike for the upcoming Fort William World Cup? Quite possibly...
Are you looking at the winning bike for the upcoming Fort William World Cup? Quite possibly…
A nice looking narrow wide 36 tooth Renthal sprocket.
A nice looking narrow wide 36 tooth Renthal sprocket.
There is neat rubber protection and well thought out cable routing/guides all over the frame, schmick!
There is neat rubber protection and well thought out cable routing/guides all over the frame, schmick!
An air shock is now in the mix, more and more riders are making the switch. Will this be on the bike for Fort William, one of the longest, most punishing tracks on the circuit...?! We will just have to wait and see.
An air shock is now in the mix, more and more riders are making the switch. Will this be on the bike for Fort William, one of the longest, most punishing tracks on the circuit…?! We will just have to wait and see.
More little touches! Troy is running a tubeless set up., this helps lower rotational mass and increase protection from punchers.
More little touches! Troy is running a tubeless set up., this helps lower rotational mass and increase protection from punchers.
A real touching tribute to a dear old friend of Troy's and the whole Brosnan family, who are all animal lovers.
A real touching tribute to a dear old friend of Troy’s and the whole Brosnan family, who are all animal lovers.
You have to admit from what you can see it is tasty enough!
You have to admit from what you can see it is tasty enough!

Well wipe the drool up that’s a wrap! Now we can’t wait to see what Troy can do on it at Fort William.

Images: A big thanks to www.kaneophoto.com.auA�

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