Daily Archives: 07/04/2017

DHARCO/WTB Rider Ryan Gardner Receives a Novelty Check at CES China Peak

The Golden Tour is a “series within a series” representing the most technical and difficult races of the California Enduro Series. The first stop of this year’s Golden Tour brought me to China Peak resort, deep within the Sierra Mountains east of Fresno, California. The terrain at China Peak has become well known over the past few years as both the California Enduro Series and the Pro GRT DH series has made stops here. The entire hill is made of granite in various stages of decay testing racers with steep, rough tracks and minimal traction in the dusty corners. This year the late winter added a new feature, mud bogs which seemed to grow exponentially from practice to race runs, dotted a few of the stages. I for one was called out on Stage 1 and found myself running with bike in hand after trying to take a sneaky line around said bog.

For some reason, China Peak is always a tough race for me mentally. It falls in one of the busiest times of year for me work wise and I can never seem to get to the race with a clear head. This year was no different. I got up early on Thursday, flew to Los Angeles for work for the day, landed at the Oakland Airport at 9pm, hopped in the van, and made the 4-hour drive directly to China Peak. I did what I could to get my head back in the game during practice on Friday, but the pop just didn’t seem to be there. My suspicions were confirmed during the first few stages of race day. I was riding well and my Process 153 was feeling perfect, but I just couldn’t summon the power to make up time on the long pedally sections. Lucky for me China Peak kept my favorite stage from last year, a long, rocky and mostly downhill track that includes some long open sections of exposed rock slab that are just too much fun on board an XL 153 with a 170 Fox 36 up front. The thing just eats it up! After making up some serious time on stage 4 and crawling back into the top 5 it was time to take on the much talked about stage 5.

This stage was new for 2017, lovingly cut by hand by fellow racer Evan Turpin earlier that week. Everyone agreed this track was the hardest yet raced at any CES event. It was steep, rocky, and completely blown out by race day. I knew there was only so much you could push in the upper section which had steep chutes into tight corners filled with light fluffy decomposed granite. There was no traction to be had. I took it clean and consistent and then opened it up a bit towards the bottom and was stoked to take the second fastest time of the day and moving myself up to 4th overall.

I was more than happy to take home some points and some confidence at a traditionally tough race for me. Plus, I got my first novelty check which will be proudly hung in the garage. Now it’s time to take a few weeks to tune the motor and get ready for the next race of the series as I make the move south to Big Bear Lakes in a few weeks.



Leah Maunsell Finishes on the Podium at Round 5 of the EWS

Photos: Sven Martin

For Leah and her brother Jonathan Maunsell, the team aspect is very important, as a brother and sister race team they have a unique relationship which they work to their advantage. For this round of the EWS, Jonathan would act as Leah’s manager and effectively her only source of support at the race. As a privateer racer with minimal mechanical support at the races or any pit area to base yourself from, competing at such a high level isn’t that easy.

As some people may have already seen, the Enduro World Series to date this year has been nicknamed the “Extreme Wet Series” and Millau would certainly be no different. With two days of practice and two days of racing covering 88km and 9 stages, it was never going to be a piece of cake. Coming from Ireland the thought of another wet race didn’t phase Leah so much, instead, she thought she could use it to her advantage. So after two lift assisted practice days she was ready to battle the steep, slick, muddy and rocky stages and of course the challenging, very long transitions.

Day One – Five Stages
The stages had quite a lot of traffic on them between my practice run and race run so the track conditions had deteriorated a lot from both the number of riders on them and also the torrential downpours during the day which made for some exciting moments. I started my day getting a bit too rowdy on stage one which led to me crashing and losing time. Learning from my mistakes I pulled it back a tiny bit to take the stage win on stage two. I tried to ride fast and clean to keep it (mostly) upright for the rest of the day, and I was happy to finish day one in second position with the win still in sight. I was feeling quite well considering how physically and mentally draining the six hour day in the saddle was.

Day One – Four Stages
I started day two knowing that consistency would be key to a good result here so it was great to get the day off to a good start by bagging the same stage time as the leader on the first stage of the day. I knew it was going to be hard to gain time on the stages today but I still rode as fast and smooth as I could. There were some very long energy sapping transitions also, one being as long as 12km. As the day went on I began to feel the climbs in my legs a bit more but I pushed on. It was so muddy that I had to detour into the pits between stage eight and nine to clean my bike. It was a long tough weekend but I was so glad that I pushed through and held onto second place. I was also so happy that my Kona Process 153DL was 100% mechanically sound all weekend! Big thanks to my brother Jonathan for his help all weekend with everything, I couldn’t have done it without his support! Teamwork making the dream work 🙂

This weekend has been another huge learning experience for me and I’ll be back for more at Finale Ligure.


Kona Dream Builds: Travis’ Honzo ST is Ready to Party!

Photos by Matthew Fehrmann

This custom 2017 Kona Honzo ST build is the creation of Cleveland, Ohio shop owner/operator/partner Travis Peebles. Their stable, affectionately coined Blazing Saddle Cycle, is about what you’d expect out of a couple of good-timin’ dudes who want nothing more than to see the smiling faces of folks on bikes.

A unique blend of all-encompassing bike culture, Blazing Saddle caters to all riders. They began their journey a half dozen years ago as a custom restoration and service shop. This has since transformed into two full-service locations that can tackle anything that has two wheels and pedals.

Travis has this to say about his Honzo ST: “I built this bike with good times and good friends in mind. It says everything I want my bike to say… I’m hopeful it screams, ‘I’m here to party!'”

Here are the details on the build…

  • Kona Honzo ST frame size L
  • Rock Shox Pike RTC3 130mm
  • SRAM XX1 Crankset
  • Wolftooth Elliptical 32t drop stop chainring
  • SRAM Eagle 12sp Drivetrain
  • Hope Race Evo E4 brakes
  • Hope 180mm Floating rotors
  • RockShox Reverb 170mm dropper Seatpost
  • Prologo Kappa Evo saddle
  • Easton Haven 40mm stem
  • Ritchey WCS 35 Trail Bars 785mm
  • ESI XTRA Chunky Grips
  • Shimano XTR trail pedal
  • Industry Nine Pillar Carbon 310 wheelset
  • Front tire – WTB Ranger 3.0
  • Rear tire – WTB Trail Boss 2.4

The rainbow Industry Nine spokes and SRAM Eagle set this one apart right away, but so many of the details are drool-worthy! Scroll down for the full spread.

For more rad custom Kona bikes, check out our Kona Dream Builds archives and the #KonaDreamBuilds tag on Instagram. And for more rad custom Kona bikes out of Cleveland, follow Travis and Blazing Saddle Cycle on Instagram.