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WMB SRAM up your bike competition winner

| Blog, Fuel, What Mountain Bike | 24/01/2012 15:25pm

Justin Loretz accompanies the winner of our SRAM competition and proves that you’ve got to be in it to win it

When Ande Holder entered the SRAM Up Your Bike competition in What Mountain Bike he went riding his local trails in Crowthorne woods and never gave it a second thought. That was until he got the phone call from WMB editor Matt Skinner to say that he needed to pack his passport because he was off to SRAM in Germany to get the full pro rider makeover…

The competition prize was to win a full complement of SRAM goodies for your bike, everything from brakes, gears, suspension and finishing kit. Ande could choose anything from the SRAM brands including Avid, RockShox and Truvativ. Yep, he could choose anything he wanted to build his frame – the proverbial wish list. What a prize!

We picked Ande up from his house and drove him to Heathrow to board a flight to Frankfurt. There, we were met by Julian Oswald, SRAM’s fresh-faced media PR hound and all-mountain trail assassin. He drove us to SRAM’s European HQ in the industrial town of Schweinfurt. The factory is big, about the size of a premiership football stadium, and it’s here that all SRAM transmission is designed and tested.

SRAM's race support truck is an awesome place for a coffee and a chat

Ande and I had only been in the factory half an hour and as we got stuck into some awesome espresso from inside the new for 2012 SRAM race support truck, another SRAM ‘big rig’, Frank Ripper, had Ande’s new Rocky Mountain Vertex frame from its flight bag and in the workstand. Ande had already selected his kit and it was all laid out on the work bench ready for fitting. Frank is an awesome mechanic and before we could finish our strudel the bike was mostly finished.

Dinner and drinks followed, with lots of stories shared, jokes told (bad ones) and Jaeger-driven headaches brewed. Bright and early Julian picked us up from our hotel and Ande was presented with the finished bike. Resplendent in a full XO groupset, Truvativ T40 carbon finishing kit and, the star of the show, a RockShox SID XX World Cup carbon crown and steerer. Ande was gobsmacked and SRAM was proud to have made a dream come true.

“I’m so chuffed to have not only won all this great stuff from SRAM, but also amazed at its generosity with its time for me, I’m just a nobody mountain biker and everyone’s treated me like royalty,” remarked Ande.

After seeing Ande’s bike in all its glory, we were then given a tour of the factory, looking, hearing and smelling the process of designing, prototyping and production of drive components. A combination of massive high-tech robots and real-life people ensure everything is perfect. We saw everything, including a few things that we shouldn’t have – the secrets to unreleased new stuff for 2013 and beyond…

Next we rode SRAM’s in-house pump track, literally inside the factory. A quick lunch followed before it was time to hit SRAM’s hometown singletrack; Ande on his new rig and me on a SRAM-prepped Rocky Mountain Element 70. The trails were awesome, really open and full of flow, loads of opportunity to use the pump lessons from the factory to generate speed and lift on the numerous boost opportunities. We chased Torben, SRAM’s rear shock specialist and trail guide, hard all afternoon and apart from one little lowside in a flat-out sandy left hander we were on it. Several long gullies have had the roller coaster treatment and we were all getting the drift on. Ande was in his element and I was loving mine…

Another night of good food, great company and more Jaeger mischief and it was time to bid the SRAM crew of Julian, Frank, Marty, Torben and Chris farewell but not before they’d handed Ande a massive bag full of other goodies like clothing, spares and tools, not on the original prize list. Dropping Ande back at his house after 72 hours of the SRAM treatment the grin was still firmly stuck all over his face.

The moral of the story is; someone has to win these competitions, why shouldn’t it be you?

Justin

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 3:25 pm and is filed under Blog, Fuel, What Mountain Bike. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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