MEET SAVILIA BLUNK AND HER PIVOT MACH 4 SL

It’s no secret that America’s new crop of cross-country racers is starting to make its mark on the world. One of them is Savilia Blunk, 22, who started winning National Championship titles in the U.S. as a junior in 2018 and is now earning them in the elite ranks, thanks to her win of the short-track title at the U.S. National Championships this past summer.

Blunk is also making waves internationally. She won two bronze medals in the U23 ranks in last summer’s World Cup races. What’s more, Savilia even brought home a silver medal from the UCI World Championships as part of the U.S. effort in the Team Relay event. Read on to learn more about one of our fastest rising stars and the bike she’s racing.

Photos by John Vargus

RIDER PROFILE:

Name: Savilia Blunk

Nickname: Weazul

Age: 22

Birthdate: May 30, 1999

Birthplace: Santa Rosa, California

Height: 5-foot-7

Shoe size: 40

Helmet size: Medium

Current home: Durango, Colorado

Cars: VanDoIt adventure van

Started racing: 2013

Turned pro: 2018

Racing specialty: Cross-country MTB

Favorite course (North America): Fayetteville U.S. Cup

Favorite course (Europe): Lenzerheide World Cup

Favorite food: Sushi

Goals: To inspire the youth and achieve a position on the 2024 Olympic team

Heroes: Rose Grant and Lea Davison

Favorite recording artist: The Beatles

Favorite movie: Not gonna lie, I’m a diehard Harry Potter fan!

Favorite hobbies: Sailing, paddleboarding, picnics—pretty much anything outside with the people I love

Jobs held (other than racer): Waitress

Most embarrassing moment: Freshman year, I was riding my bike to class and hit a speed bump in the parking lot. With the weight of my heavy backpack and my drowsy morning brain, I launched over the bars in a very embarrassing, slow-motion crash in front of most of the cycling team. Luckily, it helped me make friends, and I got to class on time.

Always takes on a trip: My pillow, earplugs and lots of snacks.

What you would be if you were not a racer: A veterinarian

Savilia had no trouble adjusting to the challenges of racing on the World Cup circuit, picking up bronze medals in both Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and Snowshoe, West Virginia.

INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES

Savilia Blunk’s Pivot Mach 4 SL

Frame: Pivot Mach 4 SL, carbon, 100mm

“The Mach 4 is aggressive yet super responsive and one of my favorite race bikes ever.”

Fork: Fox 32 Step-Cast, 100mm, Live Valve

“The Fox Live Valve suspension system has been a game-changer. I can let the suspension do its job while I focus 100 percent on the trail.”

Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race 2.4 in front, Aspen 2.4 in rear; 14 psi in front, 16 psi in rear

“The Maxxis 2.4 Rekon Race and Aspen are my new go-to combo on any super-technical course. The 2.4s set up wide on my rims, and I can run lower pressure for maximum traction.”

Inner tubes or tubeless system

“Orange Seal tubeless system! One of my favorite things about working with Orange Seal is the community they bring to events. Every event they are at, they’re offering assistance and sealant top-offs to every rider. Plus, I can confidently say no punctures have ended a ride or a race this season, thanks to Orange Seal!”

Rims: DT Swiss XRC 1200 spline, 30mm internal

“The stiffest, most durable and lightweight wheel I have ever ridden.”

Spokes: DT Aerolite straight-pull, DT Aero Comp straight-pull

Front hub: DT 240 with Ratchet EXP 36

Rear hub: DT 240 with Ratchet EXP 36

Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate, carbon lever, Rainbow hardware, 160mm rotor

Handlebar: FSA KFX carbon MTB flat handlebar, 740mm

Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB Press-Fit (MTB) 89/92mm

Grips: Sensus Lite

“Straight from the freeride world, I love the feeling of lock-on grips.”

Cranks: SRAM Crank XX1 Eagle, Boost 148, DUB 12s, 175mm, with direct-mount 34t X-Sync 2 chainring, black (DUB cups/bearings not included)

Chainring(s): X-Sync 2 34T direct-mount, 3mm offset, Boost, aluminum, 12-speed, black

Pedals: Shimano XTR

Chain: PC XX1 Eagle, HollowPin, 126 links, PowerLock, Flowlink, 12-speed, Rainbow

Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS

Shifters: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS

Brake levers: SRAM Level Ultimate, carbon lever, Rainbow hardware

Rear cassette: XG-1299, Eagle, 10-50T, 12-speed, Rainbow

Saddle: S-Works Power with Mimic, 143mm

Seatpost: 9Point8 Fall Line R dropper, 125mm

“The lightest dropper post on the market!”

Cables and housings: No cables, black housing

Headset: Stock

Shock: Fox Float Live Valve, 100mm.

“For most courses, I run my Live Valve setting on 3.”

Stem: Extralite Hyperstem, 18 degrees, 70mm

Special touches: Custom Steadfast fender, titanium King Cage

Head angle: 68.5 degrees

Bottom bracket height: 32.5cm

Weight of complete bike: 23 pounds

Estimated value of bike: $12,000

With her lightweight Pivot Mach 4 bike and Orange Seal’s protection from flat tires, Blunk has no problem with sections like this one on a racecourse.

MBA Q&A

MBA: Where did you grow up?

Savilia Blunk: I grew up in a small coastal town in Northern California called Inverness.

MBA: What kind of work do your parents do?

SB: My dad is an artist and master gardener, specializing in woodwork, custom architecture and landscaping, while my mom is going on 30 years of being a yoga instructor and runs a non-profit in our town called West Marin Commons.

MBA: When did you first learn to ride a bike?

SB: I first learned to ride a bike at a young age. I want to say 3 or 4. In the early days, I would go out with my dad and older brothers on a trailer bike behind my dad before eventually graduating to my own bike.

MBA: Who taught you?

SB: My dad introduced the bike to me and my brothers, but it was my older brother who taught me how to ride without training wheels. I remember the day he pushed me down the driveway, my feet skidding the ground before I lifted off and was balancing on two wheels!

MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?

SB: I was 11 when I got my first real mountain bike. It was a Sette Reken frame we bought off Craigslist, and then we built it up with parts almost entirely from the local Trips for Kids Re-Cyclery.

MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?

SB: I did a few local races, but really started racing my bike consistently in high school with the NorCal NICA league. At the time, I was attending a high school with the first all-girls high school mountain bike team in the nation. In my junior year of high school, I was accepted onto my first junior team, Bear Development. Julia Violich, the director of Bear, played a fundamental role throughout my development and inspired me to see what was possible.

MBA: How did you finish in your first competition?

SB: My first mountain bike race was the Rockhopper Classic in Sacramento, California. I remember it well because I crashed 10 minutes in, still getting used to those clip-in pedals. I finished second that day—out of two!

MBA: Did you win any titles as an amateur?

SB: Junior 17-18 XC and STXC National Champion in Snowshoe, West Virginia.

MBA: What have been your best results as a pro?

SB: Third, U23 Lenzerheide World Cup, 2021 Elite STXC national champion, 2021 U23 XC national champion, 2021 U23 Pan American champion, and 2018 U23 XC national champion.

MBA: Are you going to college?

SB: I’m a full-time student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. I’m majoring in business and marketing.

MBA: What awards did you win in school, if any?

SB: Collegiate STXC national champion, 2018; Dean’s List 2018, 2019 and 2020.

MBA: What other sports have you done?

SB: In middle school I played soccer, sailed, and attempted XC running my freshman year of high school, but soon realized going downhill was much more fun on a bike!

MBA: Do you have something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family that you can share?

SB: I grew up on a small farm, semi off the grid. We owned animals, grew our vegetables, raised bees, and lived minimalistically, appreciating the virtues of self-sustainability. Home-schooled by my parents until high school, my early education was centered around the environment; we lived and learned by doing.

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