Holiday gifts for the media-minded mountain biker

Four ideas for last-minute shoppers

Doing some last minute shopping for the holidays? Cyclingnews has put together a list of gifts for your media-mind mountain biking friends, family and riding buddies. 

Consider a movie or book documenting what may be the hardest cycling races on the planet, the Tour Divide. Or give someone the ultimate reference guide to take care of his or her mountain bike - it will be the gift that keeps on giving all year. Finally, a calendar by mountain bikers for mountain bikers may be just what's needed to inspire a year's worth of riding.

All of the items below were published this year.

Ride the Divide movie

The Ride the Divide movie documents the Tour Divide racing experienceRide the Divide documents one of the toughest tests of cycling endurance in the world's longest mountain bike race, the Tour Divide, which traverses over 2,700 miles along the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains from Banff, Canada, to the US-Mexican border.

The film follows three primary characters as they experience mountain and small town culture, pass breathtaking scenery and find out exactly where their own physical and mental limits are in the unsupported event.

Past multi-time winner Matthew Lee, who's competing in his fifth Tour Divide, is one racer followed by the cameras. Lee is aiming to add another victory to his palmares and finish the race in time to make it home for the birth of his first child. For Lee, a new record time would be an added bonus.

"You don't find your legs until the second week," says Lee of the Divide Racing experience to Cyclingnews. Lee has done the race so many times that he now has the route memorized and his huge knowledge of the route and how to race it - as portrayed in the film - sometimes don't show us how tough the experience really is - both physically and mentally.

Offering a contrasting viewpoint, another main character, Mary, is aiming to become the first woman to race the full distance. Prior to the Tour Divide, she raced 24-hour races and a few 100 milers, but we see her in her first attempt to undertake a challenge of this magnitude. She encounters tribulation after tribulation and contemplates quitting more than once.

Ride the Divide also follows one of the men behind the film, Executive Producer Mike Dion, as he attempts to complete the race. Dion is a 40-year-old family man looking for some direction as he takes on the race.

Along the way, there are moments of euphoria and tears. There are interviews with locals who give colorful snapshots of what life is like in the remote mountain towns en route. There are blisters and there are breakdowns and there are mind-numbing stretches of vast nothingness. Each rider is tested to his or her limits and may change your mind about what is possible in terms of suffering on a bike.

The 80-minute movie is directed by Hunter Weeks and co-produced by Joe Cantwell. One camera was used to get footage during the first 80 percent of the race while a second was also deployed for the final portion. The cameramen spent many 18-hour days trying to find and catch up with the racers en route.

The film features music from independent musicians, 60 percent of whom live along the route.

Proceeds from the sales of some of the DVDs and screenings of this movie benefit the Livestrong Foundation.

On its website, ridethedividemovie.com, the movie retails for US$22.99 (DVD) or $26.99 (Blue-Ray). You can download it from itunes for $14.99.

Two Wheels on My Wagon: A Bicycle Adventure in the Wild Westby Paul Howard

Two Wheels on My Wagon by Paul HowardIf you like your epic endurance racing stories in paperback print form, Paul Howard's Two Wheels on My Wagon is another look at the experience of racing the Tour Divide. The exhilarating and at times hilarious account of Howard's adventures will keep you turning the pages.

In contrast to the Ride the Divide stars, Howard comes to the Tour with no endurance mountain biking experience. He's looking to get outside for adventure to spice up his life.

Howard had never owned a mountain bike at the time he cooks up the idea to do the race, and he struggles to prepare for Rocky Mountain conditions while living and riding in the South Downs of the United Kingdom.

Always with a sense of humor, Howard takes on the challenges of grizzly bears and other wildlife, snow and ice, altitude and solitude. His perspective is one of an average cyclist taking on the challenge rather than someone looking to win or set a record.

Howard's previous books including Riding High and Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape.

The book spans 271 pages and features 20 color photographs. It retails for 10.99 pounds.

Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance by Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn's fifth edition of ZinnZinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance covers every procedure to repair, maintain, tune or upgrade a mountain bike in step-by-step format.

Weighing in at a whopping 464 pages with 600 illustrations, the new fifth edition offers total coverage of all the newest mountain bike tech without neglecting the tried and true components.

Newcomers and experienced mechanics alike will benefit from complete instructions for basic and advanced repairs, exploded views of how parts go together, time-saving tips and smart recommendations from technical guru Leonnard Zinn.

"Understanding the mechanics of your bike, knowing how to adjust it to suit your riding style, and knowing how to keep it running smoothly are essential to your mountain biking performance. Nobody teaches these skills better than the famous artiste 'Leonardo da Zinnski'," said Ned Overend, former World Champion.

Zinn's book brings you the latest on new components such as BB30, BB92 and PF24 cranksets, inertial valve suspension forks, 2 x 10 drivetrains and more. His book will also help you with problem solving - got frozen parts, stripped threads or missing pieces? Start reading.

The book has sections on maintaining clipless pedals, suspension forks, internal headsets, hydraulic breaks, hub and casettes and integral spindle cranks.

Learn to build or maintain your own wheels or figure out how to go tubeless. You'll also get advice on tire sizing and choice.

Bolt tightening specs, gear charts for 26 and 29-inch wheels, bike fitting guidelines and a troubleshooting index are essential references.

The book has a paperback cover and is 8.5" by 11". Illustrations are by Todd Telander. It retails for $24.95 (ISBN: 978-1-984030-59-2).

IMBA Mountain Bike Calendar

2011 IMBA Mountain Bike CalendarNeed a calendar and want to help the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) with its mountain bike advocacy work? A portion of the proceeds from sales of these calendars benefits IMBA, whose staff have selected beautiful and inspiring photographers of mountain bikers in scenic places worldwide.

The large, color photos will add some spice to your walls. Snowy rides in Scotland, Yorkshire Dales and bright green treks across Long Mynd, Frome and Calderdale showcase some great riding in the United Kingdom. The upper Porcupine Rim trail and the Slickrock Trail near Moab, Utah, will bring back memories for many. The calendar also features images of riding in Les Arcs, France; Fruita, Colorado; Lillooet and British Columbia.

Photographers include Russell Burton, Seb Rogers, Anne Keller, Dan Barham and David Clifford.

The calendar is 12" x 12" and retails for US$14.95.

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