Christmas is drawing close and the MarathonMTB team are in full festive swing. We’re a close group of bike riders, including a husband and wife pair, so we thought we’d give you an insight into the gifts we’ll be giving and receiving this Christmas and beyond. We chatted to each of our team riders and asked them what’s gracing their tree this Christmas, and what products they’re looking forward to getting their hands on for 2017.
“Summer for me is about long miles in the sun – the traffic is calmer, everyone’s in a holiday mood, and of course the weather is perfect to get out and just enjoy being on the bike. This year I was introduced to Megabake bars. They’re made locally by a small business specialising in natural, healthy, ethical sports nutrition for people with strict dietary requirements – low FODMAP, no dairy, etc., but they also make an amazing bar for people like me – who just love moreish, chewy natural flavours. I find I can ride hours and hours on a single Megabake Witch Eater bar, made from dried fruits, nuts, and grains, and vegan and dairy free. Best of all they’re made right across the river from where I live in Brisbane. I’ve bought myself a present of four boxes to get me through Christmas holiday miles. Plus some snacks for those long car trips.”
Ride Mechanic care package
“Speaking of great local products, Ride Mechanic is another small business from the Brisbane region punching way above its weight, producing some of the best products I’ve ever used for bike maintenance in all my 20 years in the industry. Owen, the business owner brought us over a little care package of the superb Bike Milk lubricant, Bike Butter grease, Bike Juice cleaner and degreaser, and the incredible Downunder chamois cream. With a background in cosmetics, Owen from Ride Mechanic has an incredible grasp of scents and extracts – I’ve never wanted to devour my grease before, but I do now it smells of vanilla and coconut. Our care package went straight under the tree for 2017.”
“This year Imo and I had a bit of spare cash in the bank so we decided to buy some hardtails. We’d both tested a couple of superb carbon hardtails during the year (Imo a Merida Big Nine and me a BMC teamelite) and it reminded us how nice they can be, especially for some of the gravel/road/singletrack epics we send ourselves out for on weekends. We both love exploring on our bikes and whenever we can get away from structured training we set out to find new dirt roads and pedal the day away. We’ve just built up a couple of matching Norco Revolver 9 HTs to train on. While we’re lucky enough to be able to build them up with 2×11 Shimano XTR groupsets and superlight Mt Zoom bits and pieces, they’re mostly going to be training bikes, and they’re our Christmas presents to one another this year, although they don’t strictly fit under the tree.”
“One great gift I can suggest is the Wahoo ELEMNT bike computer. For me this arrived in the form of a product to test but turned out to be a real gift in itself, and perfect for the mountain biker in your life. As a GPS device it does what you’d expect, but I find the option to pare back the screen to the essentials, with big numbers on the display, plus the dedication to buttons and not a touch screen is perfect for full-finger glove riding and riding in the rain or worse. The auto upload saves me from removing it all the time – but I’m hoping to be logging enough hours this summer to have it off and charging pretty frequently!”
Adidas Zonyk eyewear
Christmas came a bit early this year when the team received a very special issue of Adidas Zonyk glasses. “I’d seen them gracing the faces of the pros at the Olympics and in World Cup races, so was pretty chuffed to get my own set a couple of months ago before they officially landed in Australia. I hear though, that early next year the team are going to be issued with a white pair with blue reflective lenses. They have a totally casual look while being some of the best technical eyewear out there, so they are perfectly suited to the MTB scene, from racing to mucking around on the pump track, and I absolutely can’t wait.”
Another amazing gift from our sponsors that’s arrived just in time for Christmas is a set of Step-Cast forks from Fox. They’re about 250g lighter than the previous 32 Factory fork (which I’ve used in the past) and have the latest, most responsive shock tune. The weight reduction is achieved by trimming down the lower fork and narrowing the crown, and they feel amazing, says Imo. “Ours didn’t make it to the tree but went straight onto the bikes. I’m looking forward to racing them in early 2017.”
“A new pair of shoes to replace the rather yellowed (where they haven’t turned grey), seven-year-old kicks I’ve been pedalling around in is rumoured!”
The gift of going faster!
“The end of 2016 has also been a time when I’ve made a few presents to myself, investing in my cycling for a huge year planned in 2017. This has meant convincing a great coach to take me on, getting a bike fit, investing in a power meter for my MTB, and even seeing a nutritionist so someone else can tell me I eat way too much chocolate. I’ve had amazing experiences with all of these and definitely feel the benefits already. While I’m on the topic (and I’ve written about it before), by far the most effective investment I’ve made in my mountain biking this year was getting some specialty advanced MTB skills coaching.” Check these out:
Bike fit (Brisbane): bikefitstudio.com.au
Nutrition (Brisbane): centrednutrition.com.au
Skills coaching (Canberra-based): ridetechnics.com.au
Aeropackbag for Aeropress
“I came across these a little late for Christmas, but I still think they’re an amazing gift for the travelling-coffee-loving-cyclist-in-your-life. I got mine an AeroPress for his birthday a couple of years ago and he’s never looked back, so much so that we’ve featured it in MarathonMTB gift guides before. This year we noticed that a couple of local Melbourne cycling fanatics feel, just as we do, that the AeroPress deserves better than a dodgy old plastic shopping bag when you take it away with you. They’ve come up with the Aeropackbag, a completely home-made home for your AeroPress – a travel bag with compartments for all your coffee-making bits and pieces.”
Find them on Instagram @aeropackbags
Socks are a tried and tested Xmas gift staple for your uncle, in-laws, and now, thanks to Swiftwick, the cyclist in your life. There’s been a whole lot of buzz about their Aspire Sevens in the cycling world this year and having had his feet in them for the last 12 months (with the tan lines to prove it), Justin Maddog Morris has his gift-giving (and receiving) sorted. “I am a sweaty man and finding a pair of socks that can last a long session on the bike has long been a struggle for myself. Swiftwick I have been wearing all day & having NO issues with Pongy Feet at the end of the day! With so many colours and heights now available this is something I have put a few more pairs on my Christmas wish list. You can never have too many socks! I even have the super long pair which is great for long haul flights & travel days”.
“New tyres are another thing that I can never have too many of! Thanks to a Christmas delivery from BikeCorp Australia I am looking forward to giving the new MAXXIS range a solid workout in 2017. I have just beaded a new ‘Forekaster’ 2.2 to the front of my Norco Revolver. This is proving to be perfect for Sydney conditions, hooks up perfect in pretty much all conditions and after a solid dump of rain I have nothing to fear shredding across the local mud path on my way to work. I have also only just changed a pair of Re-Fuses on my road bike after a good few 1000s of kms. These things are hardy as!”
Good luck with your last-minute Christmas shopping!