Monthly Archives: June 2017

Nadia Richer arborera fièrement son Kona Sutra LTD aux French Divide cet été!

Nadia, québécoise, a choisi un Sutra LTD pour s’envoler vers la France cet été afin de participer au French Divide. Après son passage à Radio-Canada, elle nous explique plus précisement ses ressentis sur sa future course et sur son nouveau vélo.

 

Le French Divide est une course de Gravel, de la Belgique jusqu’au Pays Basque. Le French Divide, c’est 30% de route, 70% de chemin et 100% de dépassement de soi.

« Le French Divide part de Belgique, ensuite nous avons 4 villes étapes. Le tracé du parcours n’est pas encore sorti. Nous ne savons pas encore à quoi nous attendre. Mais c’est ce que j’aime – je ne suis pas stressée à l’idée de passer la nuit dehors ou de manquer une douche, c’est l’aventure, ca apporte du piquant dans la course! »

 

Nadia aura 15 jours en août prochain pour parcourir 2100 kilomètres, ce qui représente environs 140 kilomètres par jour. Ce n’est pas la première fois que Nadia aura à se confronter à de longues distances comme celle du French Divide.

« J’ai depuis toujours été sur un deux roues, depuis mes années étudiantes où j’entreprenais des randonnées de cyclo-tourisme en Europe de plusieurs mois, en passant par les week-end où je pars en Raid pour faire de 80 à 100 kilomètres par jours, j’aime le vélo, et tant que je peux accrocher mes sacoche dessus, ca me va. Mais là c’est un autre défis : le temps est limité »

 

 

En effet, ce n’est pas une course comme les autres. Nadia sera munie d’un GPS tracker, et devra passer par des étapes. Mais son voyage se fera en complète autonomie.

« Je me prépare à partir seule sur la route. Avec 39km de dénivelés positifs, sur deux semaines seulement, c’est un très gros défi pour moi. Il faut être constante tous les jours, je n’aurai pas de répis. »

 

Nadia se prépare depuis de longs mois déjà avec son Sutra LTD.

« J’ai un coach sportif qui m’aide à me préparer. Ma vie est orientée vers ce défis. Depuis plusieurs mois, je travaille main dans la main avec mon Sutra LTD et je sens que mon volume et ma qualité d’entraînement se sont améliorés. Ca me pousse à aller encore plus loin! Au niveau du matériel, je pars avec le strict minimum, c’est à dire une bâche que je vais tendre sur mon vélo et un petit matelas de sol pour dormir. Je suis à la recherche de matériel léger, et mon Sutra LTD est parfait pour cela. »

 

 

Nadia à acheté son Sutra LTD à La Boutique Le Pédalier à Quebec, qui ont bien sû la renseigner.

« Je dois encore passer à la boutique Le Pédalier pour passer mes pneus en tubeless, pour avoir plus de confort. Ils ont bien sû me renseigner: j’avais déjà un vélo de route et de montagne, mais il me fallait un gravel, pour avoir la vitesse d’un vélo de route, mais à la fois avoir un vélo assez costaud pour entamer les sentiers et chemins forestiers. Pour le budget que j’avais, ils m’ont proposé un Sutra LTD. Et c’est un super vélo, j’en suis très contente. Il est très bien équipé, en plus d’être très beau. »

Sur ces photos, Nadia est partie lors d’un long week-end en Gaspésie, avec une moyenne de 100km par jours, pour essayer son vélo et son matériel.

 « Après avoir essayé le Sutra LTD sur de longues distances, je peux vous affirmer que c’est un super vélo. Le guidon est très confortable, et le rapport dérailleur-cassette est parfait. De plus, il se manie très bien une fois chargé. C’est le vélo idéal pour ce que j’entreprend. Enfin bref, il fait vraiment bien la job comme on dit au Québec!»

 

Road Trip: Kona’s Gravity Team Rider Leah Maunsell Heads to France

We got the Ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff and drove straight for 11 hours to Morzine for a few days to break up the journey on the way to French Enduro Series. We caught the last day of Crankworx Les Gets and then rode in Morzine for the next four days. It was the perfect start to our road trip. We even fit in one of BikeMorzines infamous chain-less Mates Race’s, where Leah managed to grab third place!

We then drove another 7hr to Val d’Allos for the French Enduro Series.

We arrived on Friday night, pretty tired after a long day of driving, to set up camp for the weekend. It was a much earlier start on Saturday morning than we are used to in Ireland and the French also run with a completely different format which I found really interesting.

Saturday morning leaving the race village at 7.30am – Stage 1, (20 mins approx.) one practice run and two race runs
Stage 2, (12 mins approx.) one practice run and one race run

I was really enjoying the stages and happy with my riding but as I wasn’t seeded I was catching and having to pass a lot of riders but I just used this as motivation to do well in order to be seeded for the Sunday. I got a flat on my second timed run which wasn’t ideal costing me some time but I was happy to be sitting in 4th in a stacked Elite Women field after day one!

Sunday – Stage 3, (13 mins approx.) one practice run and two race runs
Stage 4, (5 mins approx.) one blind race run

The stages on Sunday morning were tough. Lots of off camber climbing and traversing at the beginning to keep you on your toes! I got in to it after the practice run and was happy with my runs. The blind stage was the shortest stage of the weekend and also the most gravity fed! I was really excited for this stage but unfortunately I had a mechanical and lost a position. But how could you be disappointed after a weekend in the French Alps with six timed runs and over 1hr 20 timed racing! That’s a lot of bike time when you are used to the Irish hills! I didn’t have the best weekend result wise, but now I am raring to go for the Enduro a World Series in Milau next weekend!

Super Grassroots Rider Becky Gardner Podiums at the Big Mountain Enduro

Words: Becky Gardner Photos: Big Mountain Enduro

The Big Mountain Enduro headed to Keystone Resort this weekend for the third race of the series. With a past of racing Downhill and a couple weeks of some really pedally races, I was beyond excited to ride some gnarly lift accessed terrain. The courses were rocky, loose, with some technical tight steep turns. Practice on Friday was going pretty well with my Process 134 feeling nimble and fast. Although these courses were fun and fit my riding style, I found myself having a hard time holding on to the bars with my newly healed broken arm leaving me a little nervous about Saturday’s race. Adapting to the harsh courses I made my suspension a little more plush for my wrist and was feeling pretty good about the next day’s race.

Saturday morning at Keystone was a real treat, giving racers a crisp breeze all morning. With most of Colorado being in a heat wave it was pleasant doing a race out of Colorado’s intense sun. Stoked to get the race started, I headed to stage one of the race. This course was by far the hardest track of the race with steep rock gardens and 90 degree technical turns. However, I may have gotten a little too excited about the track, clipping a pedal while pedaling into a jump sending me over the bars and sticking my brake lever through my shorts. After establishing I was ok and dislodging my lever from my race kit I started back down the trail, cleaning the rest of my run. I felt a little discouraged losing so much time but knew I had three more trails to make it up on.

The rest of the trails were less technical but long enough that I could make up some time. I tried my best to flow, pump, and pedal as hard as I could. I had such a good time riding the trails at Keystone on my Process, especially after tweaking my suspension for my wrist. I ended up finishing the race with a third place and smile on my face. The 134 proves to be the most versatile bike I have owned, its a blast on everything from backcountry trails to bike parks.

Looking forward to the next Big Mountain Enduro stop at Winterpark July 8th!

Dirt Rag Magazine on the Hei Hei Trail “The Hei Hei Trail Proved Me Wrong”

“Bucking the slacker-lower-plusher trend, Kona produced a nimble, efficient and pedaly trail bike that’s versatile enough to handle the full spectrum of conditions”

Karl Rosengarth of Dirt Rag has just published his review of our Hei Hei Trail DL in their 199th issue. Karl’s review seems to echo what other press have said about this bike and that it is just one super fun, sprightly all round mountain bike that can handle the climbs with aplomb as well as the descents “This could be one of the best plain-old mountain bikes going.”

Spoiler Alert: Karl LOVED the Hei Hei Trail DL.

“From my very first ride, I felt in sync with the nimble handling that the short chainstays and not-too-slack head angle combined to produce.

“The geometry and cockpit felt totally dialed in, and I wouldn’t (and didn’t) change a thing.”

“The Hei Hei Trail DL is a great all-arounder that pedals like a rockstar and has enough swag to bail you out when the going gets rough.”

We’ve just posted a PDF of the full review as a PDF here (or you can click the below image)

Canadian Paralympic Snowboarders Begin Summer Training on a Kona Process 153

Canadian Paralympians Colton Liddle, John Leslie, and Andrew Genge with Jones Brown CEO Rod Campbell.

When Rod Campbell and Eric Escaravage made their way to the Whistler Athletes’ Village last week, they had had some special cargo: a freshly built Kona Process 153 ready to surprise three members of the Canada Snowboard Paralympic team.

Escaravage, Communications Coordinator at Canada Snowboard, had told the three boarders they were being interviewed for the Association’s updated website, and they had no reason to believe otherwise. That was, of course, until Campbell, CEO of Vancouver insurance firm Jones Brown, and snuck up and presented them with the brand new Process on behalf of his firm.

Andrew Genge, Colton Liddle and John Leslie, who are all keen mountain bikers, were ecstatic with the addition of the bike to their Whistler training set up. The bike will be available to all the members of the Canadian Paralympic Snowboard team whenever they are training in Whistler.

John Leslie lost his leg to cancer at the age of ten. It didn’t take him long to resume his life after his incredible above the knee amputation (watch the video below), and he even represented his high school on their able-bodied snowboard team without the coach even knowing he had a prosthetic lower leg!

Not content with just a handshake photo, the boys were quick to grab their helmets and head over to one of the many trails surrounding the Whistler Athletes’ Centre near Function Junction to test the bike out and show Rod and Eric just how well utilized the bike would be. We’re thinking a detailed booking form is going to be needed!

Andrew Genge is a boarder cross specialist from Oshawa, ON. He suffered a severe traumatic stroke after a tragic Rugby tackle in a high school game. You can support Andrew on his journey here.

Colton Liddle grew up in Ontario and had a passion for the outdoors and adventure racing. A tragic accident at a fuel station while working as Forest Fire Ranger in Ontario changed his direction and led him to Whistler where he is now aiming to get a full-time spot on the Canadian Paralympic Snowboard Team. You can support Colton on his journey here.

John’s story is told through this beautiful video produced by King Snowboard Magazine.

You can find more info on the Canadian Paralympic Snowboard team on the Canada Snowboard website here.

Jordan Regnier Racks Up Some Solid Results on Home Soil

It’s been a good couple of weeks for French Grassroots enduro rider Jordan Regnier, standing on one podium and just narrowly missing another a week later.

Last week he traveled to the Maxiavalanche mass start enduro event in Andorra. Beautiful weather followed him from home, but with the sun also came dust. He won his qualification round easily on Saturday and found himself in the front row for the main event on Sunday.

Sundays racing consisted of two identical runs. Jordans first wasn’t ideal, as he had a bad start and finished in 20th place. His second run was much better and he finished in 3rd place. The combined result meant a podium finish in 3rd place overall!

Photo: Théodore Morisot

This weekend was another big weekend with the third round of the French Enduro Cup arriving in Val d’Allos. A stacked field was on hand but Jordan kept things consistent and after the six stages, including four top 10’s he finished the weekend in 6th place just 33 seconds away from 3rd!

The Kona Supremes Sturdy Dirty 2017 Race Report

Amanda crushing some of the classic roots and corners of Tiger. Photo: Patrick M

The weather cleared up just in time for the annual Sturdy Dirty race, aka ‘The Best Race of the Year’. The Kona Supremes, minus Brooky B, pulled up to Tiger Mt. smiling from ear to ear; the stoke was already high. Over 200 women signed up for this all women’s race event. Not to mention that most of the husbands/partners/and supporters of these racers came dressed to impress. By the time the first wave of racers left the parking lot we had already seen a banana suit, a princes’ costume, half-naked cowboys, and an 80’s disco man.

The climb up the Master Link trail went by fast with all the encouragement from the other ladies as well as a few sighting of hecklers along the way. Emerging from the woods and entering the road you could hear the faint sound of music in the distance. The steep climb became easier the closer we got to sounds of the party taking place at the summit. It was all worth it for that adult snow cone.

Hannah B getting really excited for those pineapple skewers provided at the summit. Photos: Chris McFarland

Stage 1: East Tiger Summit was the perfect trail to get all the race jitters out; it was fast, flowy, and fun! It was also just the right length, not too short and not too long. Not to mention that you start out the day with a killer view of Mt. Rainer.

Between stage 1 and stage 2: Beer provided by man in leopard suit named “Jaguar”.

Stage 2: Off The Grid (OTG) trail features lots of roots, rocks, and punchy climbs. Dropper post is key on this trail. This is the longest trail in the race so encouragement from hecklers was much appreciated to keep up the stamina.

Between stage 2 and stage 3: Ribs and Fireball.

Stage 3: Everyone’s nemesis; Joy Ride and Fully Ridged. These trails consist of tight corners, awkward roots, and one particular climb that seems like it lasts forever. Riding these two trails well requires focus and patience. Thankfully we were waved out of the starting gate by beautiful men in pink princess’ gowns in order to boost our confidence.

Stage 4: Legend/Mega Fauna. Depending on which category you were racing this is where the course started to differ. This stage is short and fast, with big berms, and a few rock drops. Most of us agree that this is one of our favorite trails on Tiger Mt. Pro and expert class raced Legend straight into Mega Fuana while sport and beginner class just raced Legend.

Mickey and Steph at the bottom of stage 4 before heading back to the after party.

Between stage 4 and stage 5: Tequila shots prepared by a man in a gorilla suit.

Hannah crushing some of the classic roots and corners of Tiger. Photo: Patrick M

Stage 5: PREDATOR. If this trail doesn’t get you hyped then the men chasing you down it in ass-less chaps sure will. This trail offers a little bit of everything, from gnarly root lines to steep rock gardens, making it the most difficult trail on the mountain. But none the less, that didn’t stop our very own Hannah B from getting in the fastest run, landing her in first place for the pro category. In order words, she was the fastest woman on the whole mountain!

Hannah B snagging the top spot on the podium for Pro. Photo: Chris Mcfarland

Dance off: The Sturdy Dirty team and sponsors sure know how to throw a good party! Complete with beer, burritos, raffle, and a dance off. Supremes pulled off first in the dance battle against Liv and Juliana. Naturally, our moves consisted of dropping it low, shaking booty, and spraying beer on the crowd (Amanda). If there is one thing the Kona Supremes can do, it’s light up the party!

Huge thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this awesome day possible, you rock! See you all in Capital Forest for the next CDC race!

You can keep up to date with The Supremes on their blog here.

Spencer Paxson Enters the Pain Cave and Climbs 10,000m (32,000ft)

Spencer Paxson will remember Summer Solstice 2017 for the rest of his days. A silly little idea of his came to life, to take his Hei Hei DL and make an attempt at 10,000m vertical ascent and descending between first and last light on the longest day of the year – or the equivalent of climbing out of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Why? The reasons are many, but celebrating the arrival of parenthood (soon!) and an even bigger adventure was at the top. Thanks to Paris for documenting.

To put that in perspective that’s climbing to the top of Whistler Bike Park and doing six and half laps of Top of the World or riding up and doing 28 laps of A-Line… WITH NO LIFT!

Look for a full report to drop on Bike Magazine soon

Photo: Paris Gore

Kona Endurance Team Completes Epic Rides Triple Crown, Spencer Paxson 5th Overall in Series

This just in, Spencer Paxson set out to climb over 10,000 metres in a day on the longest day of the year. Check out his Instagram stories while they’re live for the next few hours, and read on below for his report on this year’s Epic Rides Triple Crown…

Words by Spencer Paxson.

Yes, I still own a skin suit! Amidst all of our backcountry adventuring, we members of the Kona Endurance Team have also been busy doing some good old fashioned bicycle racing. Last Sunday saw the conclusion of the 2017 Epic Rides Off Road Series in Carson City, Nevada.  The three-race series began in late-April through the cactus of Prescott, Arizona, the slick rock of Grand Junction, Colorado in mid-May, and wrapped up under the hot blue skies of the the Sierra Nevadas.

Painface on a knobby-tire breakaway for two laps before being caught by the pack. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

I can speak from experience that within the realm of endurance mountain biking, the Epic Rides Series has come to be the most distinguished race series in North America, attracting the entire tribe of top-ranked endurance racers this side of the Atlantic (and in some cases a few Europeans, too), all vying for a piece of the prestige and $100,000 prize. This year I managed to log consistent efforts and earn 5th overall in the series.

A podium finish eluded me this season, and snagging a top-5 overall admittedly had more to do with luck. I finished 9th in Carson City, and was a subpar 14th in the other two events.  Going into Carson City, a few riders in the top-10 were unable to contest the final event due to injuries, and there were some mechanicals in Sunday’s marathon that shifted things around even more.  Not exactly how you want to earn your marks, but then again, consistency and luck are a reality of the sport.

The Pro men start the Capitol 50 race Sunday morning. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

While the racing is serious, one of the greatest things about the Epic Rides Series is that it proves how well-done events go far beyond the racing itself.  Each event consists of a 3-day festival atmosphere where beginners, seasoned amateurs, and the world’s fastest pros come together to enjoy mountain bike culture, live music and world class singletrack.  A pro fat-tire crit kicks things off on Friday night (it’s all about putting on a show!), followed by great music and beer gardens Friday and Saturday nights. Amateurs race on Saturday morning, and the pros race on Sunday. Over a thousand racers partake in the events, and thousands more come to watch and experience the weekend.

Barrington Levy headlined the music festival on Saturday, providing mellow reggae tunes for the crowd. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

Each stop of the Epic Rides Series places a rewarding spotlight on its host communities, helping to promote community health, outdoor recreation and making a real boost to the local economy. As the Executive Director of the Carson City Visitors Bureau was quoted in the Nevada Appeal, “Epic Rides is more than just a good fit in Carson City. It has made an impact in our rebranding and we are seeing a dynamic change.” According to the Carson City Visitors Bureau, Carson City’s revenue in tourism increased 64 percent over the last four years, from $12.3 million to $20 million.

Racers take in a flowy descent on the Postal Run trail Saturday. Photo by Brian Leddy c/o Epic Rides

Out for food on Friday night, we noticed that several new restaurants and other businesses had opened up in Carson City since the first event in 2016 thickened their circle on the map.  Significant buy-in from sponsors and host cities provides the largest cash purse in endurance mountain biking (split equally for men & women) along with a strong media platform.  That in turn attracts major industry players and their top professional riders to participate in a world class set of events.

The momentum is unquestionable, and the series plans to expand in 2018 and beyond.  Meanwhile, Todd Sadow, President and visionary of Epic Rides, looks to support groups within the host communities to build and maintain trails of the Off-Road series. The fundraising goal in 2017 is $30,000, and 100 percent of the funds will go to repairing, maintaining, and expanding existing trail systems — evenly split between the host cities.

Proud to be keeping Kona Cog a strong presence at the Epic Rides events since their inception as a noteworthy pro-am series. Photo by Patrick Means

It is a great series to be a part of – as an elite-level racer, as a member of the mountain bike tribe at large, and as someone who appreciates the value of a healthy, local community.

Needless to say, I’m stoked to come back for an even bigger and better series in 2018!

In the meantime…time to head into the mountains.  Stay tuned for the next installment of the Kona Adventure Team’s “Cooldown Adventure”…somewhere in the mountains above Lake Tahoe…

Blazing through the streets of Carson City in Friday night’s street race. I nearly held off the pack for the win despite racing knobbies! After all, it is called a FAT tire crit.

Weeknight racing with Chad Cheeney at the Ska Brewing Circuit Race

Words: Chad Cheeney Photos: Grady James Photography

The Ska Brewing Circuit Race, done and dusted. Nothing beats weeknight bike racing in your hometown. You do work all day, superman kit up and dash out the door for a timely spin to the venue. Lovely.

I felt pretty darn Grassroots on this day. In the am I was out at the Brewery with my McCloud, busting up the overgrown singletrack portion of the race track. Sweaty, calloused palms blistering and starting to bleed from months of no shovelwork. Two hours and I had to blast. A sweaty cross town commute back home for cheeseburgers and water. A quick shower, play with the Boy and Wife, and kit up to lead the junior team I coach, Durango Devo, on a cross town “chill” ride to the race. Amazingly linked up some random singletrack southward, down the Animas River to link up to Ska Brewing with the kiddos all in tack. Whew, made it with 30 minutes to start.

Whirlwind of a day for sure. But that’s what it always is right?

The race had all the Durango sluggars and yada yada yada, Howard Grotts took Todd Wells in a keg lined sprint finish and Payson McElveen rolled in for third. Classic showdown for sure and the small town crowd was in awe nonetheless. I took a good start and held on for all I could to finish 8th. The fans where friends and family so the cheers where jolly and unrestricted. Seemed like we put on a good show.

The Ska Brewing Circuit Race is part of a 6 race series that happens in Durango, Colorado from May through October. Short Tracks, Time Trials, Enduros and Circuit Races are the usual suspects and new ideas are always welcome. Ran by Durango Devo, a local junior development program that I co-created, and a local race club, the series is mainly a training tool for the juniors in town, and a good fun training night for the cycling community. So Grassroots!

Brooklyn and Cocoa the Process: “It Showed Me That I Could Do Anything…”

Brooklyn from the Kona Supremes is super stoked on her Process. Here she drops in with a bit of history with her 134, and where she’s going next…

Words by Brooklyn Bell.

Last summer I bought my first full suspension bike after I rode Kona Process 134 at a demo. I fell in love after the first ride! I was giggling and squealing like never before. A friend treated me to a local gem of a trail I had never seen before; a trail that was outside of the realm of what I thought mountain biking was, but I just charged it because the Process 134 inspired the confidence I needed. From that ride on, I was sold on this bike because it showed me that I could do anything. Making this purchase has changed my life and it’s been a crazy year on Cocoa the Bike.

Now I’m upgrading bikes. I’ve sold my Process 134 for a Process 153 so I can charge harder and send it bigger no matter where I ride. I’ll be trading in the Shimano Deore brakes for the more powerful stopping power of the SRAM Guide R brakes and a Sektor fork for the Yari Solo Air. The 153’s 1X11 drivetrain along with the wider rims and tires is also a major upgrade from the 2015 Process 134 I was on before. The 153 likes bigger lines, is much more stable and loves to charge. I love how at home it feels on the steeps and has no problem with bigger hits and senders. I’m really excited about all the trouble my new Process 153 will get me into this summer and next year.

Keep up with Brooklyn and the Kona Supremes on Instagram!