Friday, October 18, 2019
Outerbike Launches Sun Valley’s Mountain Bike Season in Big Fashion
Kara Knox shows off Canyon’s Sender, a high speed, technical bike used on the Downhill World Cup.
Sunday, June 23, 2019


The temperature was in the 30s and splinters of snow drifted through the air at the top of Baldy as Sun Valley Resort cranked up its gondola for the summer season on the morning of the Summer Solstice.

But a long line of mountain bikers were lined up waiting.

They rode to the top, then snaked down the Mindbender Trail and the River Run Trail, so perfectly spaced apart it almost looked choreographed.

Kerry Morgan and Liz Roquet have spent the weekend peddling Vanilla Latte with Cold Brew on behalf of Viathon’s Caffeine and Watts.

About 400 riders had come from 17 different states to take part in Outerbike, a bike fest that gives cyclists the opportunity to try the latest greatest bike technology, helmets, mud guards and other gear. The event, which concludes today, also brought a hundred exhibitors.

“I met four teenagers coming for Outerbike on the first summer flight in from Denver and they were so excited,” said Kelli Lusk, spokesperson for Sun Valley Resort.

Among those taking part was Ethan Ashton, a banker from Boise who has followed Outerbike for years. He was only too happy to have the opportunity to shell out $240 for three days of testing new bikes at the first Outerbike event being held in his backyard.

It also brought teen-agers like Makena and Anthony Kellerman, who were headed from their home in San Diego to Whistler, B.C., when they heard about the bike festival being held at Sun Valley Resort.

Pit Viper out of Salt Lake City hawked some colorful sunglasses.

“We were like—bike festival—awesome!” said Anthony Kellerman.

“This is our first time riding Sun Valley, our first time on downhill trails like this and our first time getting to try brand new bikes like they have here,” added Makena Kellerman.

Sun Valley Resort’s trail crews plowed snow off the flow trails at the top of the mountain to get ready for the event so they could start up the gondola a week ahead of when they normally start lift service.

And a village of tents sporting everything from Tailwind bikes to gloves and spandex alternatives sprang up on the Upper River Run parking lot under the direction of organizers Mark Sevenoff and Ashley Korenblat.

ISSI offered pedals for every taste.

“Some of the stand out products include Showers Pass—amazing rain wear and water proof bags that make you invincible, especially during a summer solstice snow storm,” said Sevenoff. “Also, great bike clothing from Wild Rye and Club Ride. Bike innovations include Sram’s new AXS wireless shifting, Viathons new gravel & mountain bike offerings, the new e-bikes from Fezzari, Specialized, Felt & Pivot and even e-gravel bikes from Cannondale.” 

Bicyclists wove around sales representatives and the occasional dog as they took new bikes out to the mountain to try.

And locals took advantage of the opportunity to cruise through the vendors free of charge.

This is the only thing that helped me with the pain and being able to sleep when I hurt my neck skiing, last year,” said a Ketchum woman as she loaded up on CBD gels and recovery bars from Floyd’s of Leadville.

This Scott bike had some of the most eye-catching graphics.

Liz Roquet, of Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, served up courtesy cups of Vanilla Latte with Cold Brew from her bicycle-push cart on behalf of Viathon’s Caffeine and Watts Club, which is making an appearance on behalf of Ketchum’s CrankTank.

“I’m the caffeine part,” said Roquet. “It’s been fun. Everybody is cheerful and there’s so much energy.’

Ethan Ashron, a Boise cyclist who has taken part in the Endure Cup and Sun Valley’s race from Galena Lodge to Fox Creek, took a breather from testing new bikes to eat a lunch of pasta and fresh salad served up to Outerbike participants by  a chef from Moab.

“I’ve heard of Outerbike for years,” he said. “It’s a chance to try bikes and other things I might not get to try at local shops and to meet bicyclists from all over. Everyone’s real friendly.”

Elliot Sweek, Buddy Schreder and Oliver Looseman were among some of the local high school cyclists who have come out for the event.

”I just tried a Transition Bike,” said Looseman. “It was fun and fast—like, the geometry’s good.”

“Geometry” was the word every bicyclist and sales rep was tossing around.

Canyon’s Shapeshifter uses a gas spring to alter its geometry and suspension dynamics at a touch of button, said Kara Knox, a sales rep for the German direct-to-consumer seller. It steepens the head and seal tube angles and raises the bottom bracket, reducing rear suspension travel from 150 mm to 130 mm for pedaling uphill. Once on top, press the button again for a smooth fast downhill.

Alchemy reps talked about how they are bucking the built-overseas trend as one of the last bike shops that does it all from designing to building and testing a bike. The result: “a super smooth, playful efficient suspension system for climbing,” said one rep.

The new Yeti, a high-end bike manufactured in Golden Colo., boasted a lower longer wheel base making it better than ever for downhill riding.

And DVO reps, based in Southern California since 2012, talked about how they make small batches of suspensions assembled by hand, which ensures quality control and can be serviced by home mechanics.

Squirt Cycling Products representatives hawked a new biodegradable tire sealant, which uses tiny bead blocks to seal holes nearly as big as a dime in tubes and tubeless wheels.

Pit Viper, a Salt Lake City company that got its start manufacturing sunglasses and visors for the military range eight years ago, hawked colorful sunglasses and shades designed to put the fun in mountain biking.

And Osprey representatives talked about how their water packs, which have a lifetime warranty, focus on fit, having come from a backpacking background.

Meanwhile, ISSI reps showed off a display of colored clipless bike pedals in a myriad of colors designed to match any cyclist’s style, including mountain bikers who are stepping out of clip-on pedals into flat pedals that accommodate their new grippy sole shoes which can be worn when not biking.

Former national mountain bike champion Rebecca Rusch, who has participated in several Outerbike festivals elsewhere, was happy to be taking part in one at home, leading participants on trail rides on  her home turf.

“Bikes are expensive so when you’re shopping, you really need to try them—you can’t just buy them online,” she said. “And it’s good to have something like this to bring people to Sun Valley. “It’s felt like there’s been a hole in the summer since the last bike championship here several summers ago.

“A lot of tourists come to Sun Valley but to me cyclists are the kind of tourists who really understand what Sun Valley is all about—they love and enjoy its outdoors. They’re my kind of people, my tribe.”


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