Monthly Archives: December 2017

Ride and Shine

It’s 5:30 in the morning. My phone alarm starts playing the Chan Chan to semi-rudely rouse me from whatever trippy dream I am definitely having. I am simultaneously annoyed that I’m no longer sleeping and also find myself humming to the familiar tune while being annoyed. It’s a great song to wake up to. I highly recommend it.

Now comes the crux move of the day: to actually wake up and go for a bike ride or to set the alarm for 90 minutes later and go back to sleep. I repeat my daily mantra about getting up at this awful hour to ride, “It’s always worth it. It’s always worth it.” But, in this moment of pure comfort and relaxation, it seems like a no-brainer. The mercury is hovering right around 34 degrees Fahrenheit outside (1 Celsius). My bed is significantly warmer. And more comfortable. Like a livable burrito, minus the guacamole and whatnot. My dog is starting to groan from his bed and I hear him pitter-pattering around on the hardwoods. He’s not allowed on the bed so he jumps on his hind legs to try to get my attention. I pull the covers over my face and mumble something indecipherable about sleep, cold, he has fur so he can’t be cold and leave me alone. He doesn’t care. He’s ready to ride.

The weather looks like it’s going to be another glorious day, a rarity in the winter in the Pacific Northwest. So, I take a cue from Roscoe and slowly slither out of my covers. ‘God damn my house is so cold!’ I think to myself. I get dressed as fast as I can. In spite of the cooler temps outside, I opt for minimal layering, knowing that I tend to run pretty warm on rides. Shorts, wool socks, a thick base layer, a light jacket, and I’m good to go. My lights are freshly charged (I run a 2200 on my helmet and a 900 on my bars. Yes, I look like a freight train on the trail, but I ride with the gusto of a groggy turtle this early, so I’m sure it’s a sight to behold.)

Lucky for me, the trailhead is about a 90 second pedal up the street from my house. God bless Bellingham. It’s just long enough to get the blood pumping and overcome the initial shock of no longer being in my bed burrito. The road is frosty and sparkly under my headlamp. It reminds me of sugar candy, which immediately makes me hungry. We take a left and hop onto the climbing trail and I’m blown away by the perfect texture of the dirt. Slightly moist from the morning dew, but cold enough to be almost crispy under my tires, I chug along the trail that I’ve ridden hundreds of times. Using just my bar light, I follow Roscoe as he darts up the trail and occasionally pounces on something in the ferns. He’s 9 now, but still able to hold a pretty quick pace on shorter rides. I’m hoping he lives forever. I tell myself he will because I can’t face the fact that he won’t.

As we plod along I’m always in awe of how cool my lights look against the dark setting of the woods. The alders act like tall skinny ghosts of a forest past. The shadows cast from my lights make them seem like they’re dancing in the dark. Occasionally the beam will catch a pair of eyes staring back at me. A deer? Cougar? Coyote? I choose not to find out today and keep spinning the cranks. The best part of riding before the sunrise is when that first hint of light escapes the sky and is caught by the spaces between trees. That visual ignites something in me like I’m racing the sun to the horizon. I’m in my groove now. Up and over the roots, pumping through the flatter sections of the climb, and feeling good. Each inhale is cold on my lungs but feels like a total refresh on life.

Pastel colors begin to permeate the trees as soft light casts a warm glow on the ground. I click off the light and try to navigate using only the natural light. This trail is to me what a daily commute is to a driver. I know every nuance and every shortcut. I feel like I could almost do it with my eyes closed. Almost. We reach our summit and are greeted by an unobstructed view of the mountains behind us and the slowly awakening town below. A thin marine layer has crept in off of the Bay leaving a soft blanket hovering over the downtown area. Our one tallish building pokes through the fog. The sky has turned from deep purple to an orangy pink. Thin clouds shoot across the sky like dragon’s flames making the picture-perfect scene almost seem sci-fi like. It’s nature at its finest and I can’t stop staring. These are the moments that make that rude awaking worth it. “It’s always worth it,” I repeat again.

The sun is still has a ways to go, but my time to soak in the view is running out. Roscoe is eager to run and I’m eager to fly. We pedal the few cranks to the entrance to the trail and are off to the races. My Process CR/DL is like a rocket ship on the hardpack of the frozen dirt. I pretend like we’re in some sort of high production bike film and try to throw shapes off of the little jumps. A twist of a bar here, a little skid and roost through a corner there. Roscoe is hot on my heels as if we’re dancing through the woods together. We alternate berms on tight corners and occasionally he’ll cut across a switchback and take the lead with me trying to keep him as close as possible. His scrubs would make James Stewart proud. Not bad for an old dog. Not bad.

We enter the steepest part of the root-strewn trail. My repetition on this section has taught me how to float over the majority of the obstacles. I feel like I’m riding on a cloud. Tight trees require my fast twitch muscles to be on high alert as we thread wooden needles with precision. I don’t even realize it but I’m whooping with pure elation as I descend as fast as I possibly can. My eyes are watering with tears from the cold. We reach the final jump on the descent and hit the perfect sweet spot, sailing just perfectly centered through the corridor of trees, landing softly on the frosty leaves just in time to slide into the final corner of the trail. And just like that, we’re down. I stop and look around, The leafless alders are completely shrouded in hot pink. The frost has begun to melt. Roscoe and I trade breath for breath as our exhalations puff out gloriously satisfying clouds. My face hurts from smiling, or maybe from the cold. It’s hard to tell. Riding with the sunrise never ceases to amaze me. It’s like riding through a new, stunning canvass every morning. I take a deep breath in and sigh it out and start to pedal home. Roscoe looks up at me as we’re rolling. “It’s always worth it,’ I tell him.

 

Roadhouse Review: Steel Loving You! (French)

Our friends over at Velo de Route just posted a review of the Roadhouse.

Offering true, energetic sensations without being a weapon of mass destruction, this Kona will make you happy …

“Kona sort souvent des sentiers battus. Nous connaissons bien leurs vélos alternatifs, nous vous en avons souvent parlé. Mais il ne faut pas cantonner la marque canadienne uniquement à ce segment. Dans sa gamme «route», il figure des vélos classiques en carbone et des vélos orientés endurance. Parmi eux, nous avons retenu le Roadhouse, un modèle séduisant sur de nombreux aspects.”

You can read the full review here.

Winterized: Part 3

Welcome back to Winterized, our unofficial guide for how to make riding in the winter suck significantly less. We’re taking tips from Kona employees and athletes on how they manage to stay warm and dry(ish) in the dark, dank months. So, grab a toddy, stoke your fire, and check out the next iteration of Winterized!

 

Name: Trevor Torres
Kona gig: Warranty Service/Demo Manager
Bike of choice: Honzo with Maxxis Minions
How Trevor gets Winterized:

“I like to wear insulated gloves 40 and below.  Not waterproof as they always end up soaking from the inside, but ones with high breathability.
I also like to have a bin with dry warm clothes, towel, and shoes for after the ride.”

Name: Lacy Kemp
Kona gig: Communications Manager/New Kid on the Block
Bike of choice: Process 153 CR/DL
How Lacy gets Winterized:

“I ride a ton in the winter-mostly at night, and mostly alone, so no one hears me complaining about my numb hands. Speaking of numb hands, I’ll start with that. Apparently, I have terrible circulation, so keeping my hands and toes warm is a huge challenge. My saving grace has been Hot Hands Toe Warmers. I use them in my shoes (on the top of my toes) and shove them in the backs of my gloves when things get super cold. I prefer the toe warmers because they are flatter and have an adhesive so they don’t slip around. These things have turned what would have been a miserable day into so many good rides. Buy them in bulk from Amazon for the best deal.

Living in Bellingham means we have a lot of wet to deal with. Getting a good fender setup can be critical to both your vision and keeping your bike cleaner. There are lots of cool companies, but we have a new local company I’m excited about. Ground Keeper is by a Bellingham’s Keely Shannon, who is also part of the brains behind the super artsy Made Rad by Tony name. So, my Process looks awesome even when it’s muddy outside, I’m supporting a local business, and my face and bike are happier.

Another thing I do is deflate my tire pressure juuuuust a wee bit on those super wet days. I’m still learning what pressures work best for me, but with my Minions front and rear, I’m tinkering with around 19ish PSI. I’m a light rider so it’s definitely helpful when the tires grip the grease a bit better with softer rubber.

Lastly, if I’m riding with a pack, I’ll often take an extra jersey and pair of gloves to change into at the top of a climb. Nothing sucks more than dropping into a big descent with a sweaty, cold jersey and wet hands.”


Name: Joey Melweski
Kona gig: Warehouse Manager
Bike of choice:Process 153 CR/DL
How Joey gets Winterized:

“What I like to do to make winter rides more enjoyable:

1. Happiness is a warm rum. Depending on the ride, I’ll fill up a flask with a hot toddy or hot buttered rum.  Not only do they taste amazing, it warms up your insides, acts as a hand warmer and gives you some liquid courage!

2. Leave a towel and extra set of clothes in your car. Just knowing they are there when you get back to your car can make a ride more enjoyable.

3. Extra gloves. If it’s cold and rainy, the last thing you want is cold hands. Bring an extra set to change into before you drop in.”


Name: Matt Hoffmeyer
Kona gig: Kona Bike Shop Manager
Bike of choice: Honzo set up as a steel singlespeed or Honzo CR DL.
How Matt gets Winterized:

Things like how to keep your feet dry and hands warm…. Merino Socks when cold and damp. Showers Pass Waterproof socks for the really cold & wet rides.

The best tires to run…Past couple winters I have been a big fan of the Schwalbe Magic Mary Front and Rear, but this year I am giving the Maxxis Shorty a try.

The best winter snack is a flask of bourbon

I like to use Gore Tex Shorts & Jacket. I currently have 7mesh shorts and would recommend them to anyone.

Just get out there. Once you do you’ll be stoked and have fun. Rope as many friends into your ride, and make it happen on a regular basis.

 


Weekly Wyman Update: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Kona cyclocross racer Helen Wyman had a challenging weekend in Belgium as she crashed in both her events after strong starts. Winter was in full effect making the technical conditions even more challenging. But, as Wyman knows, it’s all a part of the bigger game.

Video recap from Essen:

 

“It was back to the usual routine of Belgian racing with back to back events over the weekend.  It wasn’t my best weekend, but there were good signs.   After a very heavy training block in Spain I wasn’t expecting to feel too good but actually started both events well.  Frustratingly I managed to crash while in 2nd place in both events and put myself out of contention.  The World Cup series starts again this coming weekend and then we hit the busy Christmas period of racing.”

 

Video recap from Overijse:

Fresh Produce! Brand New Kona Winter Gear in the US Store Now.

Just in time for the festive season we’ve added three fresh new items to the Kona USA web store. A very cool long sleeve Swoosh tee, a galactic Since 1988 zipped hoodie, and an Aggy Wolfie snap back. What’s even better is, up until the 20th of December, you’ll get 10% off almost* everything in the webstore by using this code: PUMPKINSPICEPROCESS. *Kona Mystery boxes and already discounted items aren’t included.

So what are you waiting for, our new clothes, pedals and t-shirts are waiting for you here!


Kona Swoosh Long Sleeve Tee $35


Kona Since 1988 Zipped Hoodie (Back)

Kona Since 1988 Zipped Hoodie (front)  $55

Kona Wolfie Trucker Hat $30

Tegan Molloy and Connor Fearon find the podium at the Cannonball Festival

Australia’s premier mountain bike gathering, the Cannonball Festival, took place over the weekend at Thredbo Resort in New South Wales. The Cannonball Festival attracts a who’s who of the Australian Mountain bike scene, and given how dominant the Aussies are at the moment, it is a solid lineup of riders. Kona rider Tegan Molloy, who calls Thredbo her local, had a standout weekend coming second in the Flowmotion Cup and then a solid first place in the DH on Sunday.

Connor Fearon, who was on his big bike for the first time since the World Cup wrapped up, has a history of coming second here behind friend and fellow Adelaide local Troy Brosnan. Connor was unable to break the his second place streak at Cannonball but closed the gap on Troy to just three seconds on the long and physical five-minute track.

Check out their thoughts on the Cannonball MTB Festival below.

Tegan Molloy

The Thredbo Cannonball Festival now in its 5th year is the biggest event on the Australian calendar. A variety of races for all ages and abilities across five days makes for an epic week of racing to kick off the Aussie season. I’m lucky enough that these races are held on my home trails.

My first event was the Maxxis All Mountain Assault which is a long, rough, grueling race and a real test of endurance. I placed 3rd in the race with a solid time that I was happy with considering where I am at this early on in the season. I was happy to get this one out of the way as the races to follow suit me more.

The next race was the Flow Motion Cup, which is held on Thredbo’s 5km flow trail. Although it isn’t super technical, it requires you to be efficient through the corners and maintain speed on the flatter sections. Come racing the track was super blown out and loose. I had a decent run, blowing out a few turns but managing to hold it all together to cross the line in second place.

The final event of the weekend was the Downhill. This is what I was looking forward to the most. Prior to racing, I had three practice runs and each run it was drying out, which made for some super loose racing. I know the downhill track like the back of my hand but come racing there would be a few changes; big holes and lots of blowouts. The DH track is long, fast and rough. As I was lined up at the gate I knew what I had to do, ride like I had been in practice. I had a few sketchy moments towards the top, including one of my contact lenses folding over and blurring my vision and making for a loose top section. After blinking it out my run became smoother. I was the last rider down and crossed the line in first place. Absolutely stoked to take the win three years running in front of a home crowd.

The momentum is building now for the upcoming National Series which kicks off in the new year.

Connor Fearon

This was my third time going to the Cannonball festival and as always it was a great event. It’s a good time of year because I’ve been pretty relaxed with my training and riding since the end of the World Cup season a few months ago. Usually, when I’m at home my downhill bike doesn’t get used to much so I’m always stoked to come out to Thredbo and ride for a couple days and race some of the worlds best. The event is actually really cool, you don’t really realize there’s a race until your waiting at the top for final runs. The actual downhill track at Thredbo is pretty ruthless to race. It’s really long and has super rough fast sections, really tight woods and quite a bit of pedaling. It feels more like an enduro stage than a downhill race. The track rewards people who are fit, smooth and good at carrying speed everywhere. Brosnan seems to have mastered all these things so his always so hard to beat here in Thredbo. My race was really good, I felt fitter than the last few years which is good news coming into the nationals and world cups in a few months. I got 2nd behind Troy (again) but only three seconds on a five minute plus track. I’ve closed the gap from the last few years racing him here. The next few races I’ll do are the Austrailian Nationals, so looking forward to using those as a pre-season warm-up for the world cups.

Snowy Sweep At Hendo NCGP

My excitement started peaking on Thursday when I saw weather reports calling for snow! Little did I know what we were in for… With that said I figured I would stir the pot and get other people excited for the coming battle. Tristan put up a win last year and lives in Hendersonville, so he took on “people’s champ” status. (I made this boxing spoof stats flyer)

Kerm and I left for Hendo at 10am. It took us 4hrs to drive the normal 2hr drive due to some adverse weather conditions. This is what the parking lot looked like upon arrival.

Needless to say we were happy to be parked for the weekend, though I was worried. Looking across the park at the taped course revealed a constant 10’’ blanket of snow. So much for a preride… I was curious how racing in the stuff was going to be considering we can’t use bigger than 33c tires. I was happy not to be going off at 8:30 on Saturday morning but thankful to those brave and dedicated souls for busting the crust.

The snow kept up all night and we woke up Saturday morning to winter in full effect. Collegiate racers towed the line at 8:30am and were probably better off racing with flats and tennis shoes with Yaktrax than cycling shoes with clips.

We got on course for preside at 11:40am, which by then, a considerable amount of snow had melted and been turned to slush by rotating tires. Eric Thompson and I got out for a pre ride and we were both filled with excitement, the kind that school children get in anticipation for Santa’s arrival.

The women went off at 1:20 and we followed after at 2:30. (Emily got 3rd, her first UCI podium appearance in a long time!)

I got a good start and found myself sitting on Tristan Cowie’s wheel. Though, once we veered off the start straight pavement I was taking direct spray to the face and wanted to get to the front where I could see enough to pick my own line. I was running Donnelly PDX front and rear at 19/21, which was perfect. There weren’t rocks or roots to hit and low pressure was hooking up while allowing the PDX tread to clear marvelously.

PC Heather Angel

A group of 4 of us traded places at the front of the race the first 3 laps. Eric Thompson, Cooper Willsey, Tristan Cowie, and I were testing out each other’s lines and putting the screws to each other to find the chinks in the armor.

I managed to create some space and gap Tristan but Cooper and Eric where still breathing down my neck. With 3 laps to go, I found some space and put my head down, but focused more on being smooth than relentlessly putting effort into the pedals. Being consistent and upright was crucial not just to maintaining my gap but also keeping me in a good comfortable mental state.

PC Heather Angel

I stayed out front through the final laps listening to the announcer talk about the battle going down between Eric and Cooper for second, happy that I only had to battle with myself.

Podium time!

PC Heather Angel

Sunday we woke up to sub-freezing conditions. The course was a gnarled mess of frozen ruts from yesterdays racing.

The main line from yesterday was now untouchable unless you fancied being jarred and bucked around or risking a flat. Crossing Saturday’s race line was like crossing a rock garden. Sunday’s lines were either two feet to the left or right of Saturday’s. All the insides were then outsides and outsides were insides.

Again the official dropped the flag at 2:30 and I took to Tristan’s wheel again, who has had some pretty stellar starts lately. I don’t know how he gets clipped in that fast…

A group of 3 formed quickly at the front and we set to testing each other out. Eric upped the pace on an off camber on the backside of the course, which broke us free of Tristan. Then Eric and I took turns throwing punches at each other while trying to hold off Tristan and two other chasers.

We were working together, looking forward to an end of the race battle. However, Eric bobbled coming into 2 laps to go, which allowed me a little bit of daylight. I took the opportunity to put my head down and make a more concrete gap.

PC Heather Angel

With the ruts constantly changing and fear of an unpredictable mechanical I was grateful to get some space just in case. I grew the gap and stayed consistent, pitting once a lap the last 3 laps just to make sure. Kerm was holding down pit duties just fine and stepping up to the plate in the wake of Doug’s absence.

PC Zeb King

I came into the weekend really looking forward to the sweep after missing out on a win last weekend in Tulsa. While I am not originally from NC I do call it home now and a lot of the cycling community here see me as a local racer so I was ecstatic to take both wins at my “home “ race.

It’s always nice when you can rub bows between the tape but share special moments out of the saddle. For instance, smore’s to warm our bones while waiting for podium. (I don’t know what I am doing with my hands…)

PC Heather Angel

Huge shout out to Tim Hopkins, NCCX and Hendersonville NCGP promoter, for keeping things together this weekend. Turn out may not have been as high as it could have been because of the weather but Tim and his crew did an amazing job at making sure the weekend ran smoothly. They battled lots of snow, pressure washer rental company bailing on the weekend, got more pressure washers, which then froze, constant course retapping, lots of snow shoveling, etc. Hats off.

Now its 4 weekends off before nationals. I plan on supplementing in some local NCCX racing, training with the boys, and enjoying the holidays. Until then, cheers!

P.S. Stay tuned for new rider cards coming out!

Valuing Bikes 20 Years Apart

It’s not uncommon to look at modern-day mountain bikes and scratch your head thinking, ‘these things are expensive.’ The fact is bikes aren’t inexpensive to make, and therefore aren’t always inexpensive for the consumer to purchase either. At Kona, one of the pillars of our brand is creating bikes that last, which gives you, the consumer, better bang for your buck. We believe in longevity and believe that sets us apart from other brands.

The folks over at Ride.IO recently compared two Lava Domes 2o years apart in age and technology. Their results are interesting. Are bikes getting more expensive? Perhaps, but a good bike’s value is worth far more than its dollar value. Check out the full piece on their test and comparison. You might be surprised by the results.

Cory Wallace Report: Annapurna 24

Recently, Kona Adventure Team rider Cory Wallace attempted a monster challenge: complete the Annapurna Circuit in under 24 hours and raise $1,000 USD to help build a training center for Nepalese cyclists. This is no minor feat. The Annapurna Circuit is a grueling 215km ride at super high altitude with zero amenities en route. Riding fully self-supported on his Hei Hei DL, Wallace knew the ride would be a challenge, but what he endured was far beyond his imagination. The good news? He made it… in 23:57, just under the wire and managed to double his fundraising goal. It wasn’t without tribulations, though, and Wallace has an intense report up on his website to share with the world. Grab a coffee and give it a good read. It’s an incredible story. Congrats, Cory! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

 

Wyman Wins in Spain!

Going to Spain for some training is a pretty standard event for me, something I’ve been doing for many years.  This season, though, I managed to squeeze a race into the training camp and help put some speed into my legs.  I’m glad to say it went well, with win number 6 now in the books.  Overall it was a good block of training and I’m now back in Belgium and ready for the busy block of races that faces me for December. These races outside of Belgium have become a vital part of this season, with my focus on gaining a higher UCI rank, following last season’s injury.  I’ve moved up to 10th in the world rankings now, which gives me hope of a front row start the World Championships in January.” – Helen Wyman

Mystery Boxes! Sale Items! Get Shopping!

Buying the perfect gift doesn’t have to be a mystery. Let us do the work for you! Kona Mystery Boxes are now live on the US webstore! We’re offering boxes in three different price points full of our favorite Kona gear. The fun part? You get surprised by what’s inside. All you need to do is pick your TShirt size and let us do the rest. We’ll be stocking them full of goodies like hoodies, T-shirts, beanies, pedals, trucker hats, pint glasses, and more! It’s the perfect gift for any Kona fan. Simply choose your price: $25, $50, or $100 and let us do the shopping for you. Who doesn’t like a good surprise?

 

Canada! Not to be left out we’ve got a slew of screaming deals for you too. Hop on over the Canadian webstore and check out mega markdowns on some of our most popular items like shirts, bibs, jerseys, and more!

Tis the season to stock up on your favorite gear, so be a good shopper don’t miss out on these killer deals. Krampus is watching!

 

Not Far from Home – Destination North

There’s a common saying that life is like a wave and our existence is essentially surfing whatever kind of water comes our way. Metaphorically there may not be a better way to justify the ebbs and flows of good and bad that everyone undoubtedly experiences. What sets certain people apart though, is their ability to ride the waves in their own, unique way. Erkki Punttila knows that the best way to reset is to embrace the tides and sail away into a different mindset.

The setting is the far north of Finland in the Lapland area. It’s north of the arctic circle. It’s dark and cold; exactly what you think northern Finland would be like in the depths of autumn, except it’s also stunningly beautiful. Erkki’s path has led him to sell most of his possessions and move his life onto a sailboat. The S/y Sanibonani was built in South Africa in 1978. She has a luxurious history of cruising the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but now she’s finding her home in the cold waters of Finland. “Living aboard a sailboat has been a great experience,” Erkki said. “Extremely limited storage space makes you focus on the stuff you really need. Enjoying a sunset with good coffee really beats having eight pairs of shoes you never wear and a metric ton of random stuff around you.”

Erkki’s preferred method of transportation while in port is his Unit X. “I had the Unit on deck ready for grocery runs and the occasional bike packing trip,” he said. “In the spring, the boat was still bound in the ice so I had to haul 20-liter diesel canisters for the heater with the bike, which was no problem with a sturdy front rack.” Erkki’s need for adventure runs deep and he recently took his Unit X to explore Finland’s largest national park, Lemmenjoki. Known for its gold digging claims, Lemmenjoki spans 2,850 square km, and is peppered with huts where travelers can spend the night out of the extreme cold.

Follow along with Erkki as he traverses Lemmenjoki National park during Finland’s centennial year alongside herds of reindeer and takes in the astonishing views from one of Finland’s greatest treasures. Sometimes the best way to find yourself is to get lost in the beauty of nature.

Photographer: Jaakko Posti