Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Thaw

There’s nothing quite like that first real ride of the season when the snow melt and the dirt is the perfect consistency. Kamloops spends its winter buried under a frozen blanket. Each spring the riders are itching to get back on the trails. Check out The Thaw featuring Graham Agassiz aboard his Operator riding with friends in BC. If only we all rode this well our first time back on a bike each spring…

 

 

Joanthan Maunsell takes the win at the first round of the Grassroots Enduro in Ireland

The Grassroots Enduro is a local five race series based in the south of Ireland. It has a one day format of blind racing with riders able to do any of the three stages twice with the best times counting.

In this, Jonathan’s first race after a winter of snowboarding in the French Alps, he managed to ride his brand new Process 153 CR to a win solid win!

“It’s always nice to start the season off with a win, I love the blind racing format of this series. But I’m  really looking forward to the first round of our National Series in two weeks time.”

Photo: @cahirmedia

Imaginary Domination Under the Eye of Stravaman

After suffering a mishap 15-miles in to a 54-mile day, Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson shares his experience of what possessed him to keep riding real hard through the forests of the Black Hills.  

On the penultimate day of March, spring seemed preterm in the Black Hills (Capitol Forest) outside of Bordeaux, WA. Just shy of 200 bike riders gathered in the chilly, misty fields of the Evergreen Sportmen’s Club, set at the edge of the forest. Named for its border with the Black River, which is named for the “dark water” of Black Lake, the woods of the Black Hills did not hide their sinister nature. Indeed, the Eye of Stravaman loomed over all who pedaled through.

Spooky woods

Bordeaux, WA circa March 1903. Not much has changed except that there are bicycle races here on the weekends.

This was the sophomore year of the Cascadia Super G, put on by the Race Cascadia crew, which is best known for its regionally popular Cascadia Dirt Cup Series. This event was intended as a blend of enduro-meets-road-racing, or what these days we popularize as “gravel racing”.  At 9:30am we set out on a 54-mile course (shortened by 1 mile due to logging activity) to see just how we would fare. Unfortunately, the enduro timing system (which was supposed to record special downhill segments along the way) had been stuck in customs, so aside from the clock ticking at the finish line, we were all left with the Eye of Stravaman to decide the (unofficial) champion of the “race within the race”.

They say few can endure its terrible gaze, but for better or worse, with the Eye staring down, it didn’t matter so much when I suffered a nasty gash in my sidewall just 15 miles in, which I proceeded to have trouble fixing. After a few false starts of plugs, CO2s, boots, pumps, and even a nice helping hand who pulled over to see that I was alright (thank you, kind Sir!) I had lost around 18min. The race was rightly over, so it was time to go in to TT mode and let the Eye see what I was made of.

Blazing through moody clearcut vistas and spooky woods, I got to say hello again to most of my fellow bike racers who had passed me while I dealt with my mishap. For the next two hours I carried on with the Computer of Power weighing ever heavier on my handlebar. Lured by the Eye, I saw just how fast I could sustain.

With cracks beginning to show at the seams, I crossed the finish line a bit over 3 hours since I’d left it. According to the the clock I was 5th, but according to the Eye, I’d logged the fastest times on the major climb and descent segments. Be that as it may, the Eye grants no real dominion, only imaginary domination. And thus the ride was done and we left the Black Hills behind for another go some other day.

Chris Mcfarland

Racing against myself after getting rolling again…flat-out from mile 15 to 54.

Relive ‘Morning Ride’

 

Spring petals and pastels. Super Jake dressed pre-race like it was ready for an Easter egg hunt (it was Easter Weekend).

Super Jake with CX/MTB gearing combo (46/36 front, 11-40 rear) was the ride of choice for the 2018 Cascadia Super G

Super Jake, super gravel style. It was just an unlucky matter of physics and statistics (okay, and probably rider error!) that got the better of an otherwise burly tire setup.

The Computer of Power, displaying some heavy numbers from the day. It was “flat out” despite “flatting out”.

Crown Town

Three Wheels Around the World – Hear Hirsch about his six year long cycle tour

Hey Atlanta friends! If you’re in the area on May 23rd, consider swinging by REI to hear Hirsch about his six-year bike ride that took him all around the world.

“Hirsch graduated from Furman University with a biochemistry degree and then decided to take a year “on” which included his first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He received his master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Utah and took another year “on” which included a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Having been accepted as a Peace Corps Volunteer, he served in Vanuatu for three years. Then, for almost six years, he rode his bicycle around the world. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail again and then moved to Guatemala for a year as a volunteer at an orphanage, after which he again hiked the Appalachian Trail. He went to Japan to volunteer on an organic farm and to hike an extensive Buddhist pilgrimage, and followed that as a volunteer teacher in India. Having returned to the States, he spent nine months cycling around North America, after which he began his current stint as a volunteer caretaker for Mountain Conservation Trust in Talking Rock, Georgia. Hirsch’s talk will focus on his six year bike ride which began and ended in Canada, with a little Cambodia and Kazakhstan (and many other countries) in between.”

Register here if you’re keen to attend.

Kona Dream Builds: Lauren’s Drool Worthy Hope Tech Dripping Shred 20

Lauren is a seven-year-old little ripper from Ireland. Her Dad, Colin, thought it would be a fun activity to build a custom bike for Lauren. They opted for a Kona Shred 20, and have fully kitted the bike with gorgeous purple anodized parts from Hope. Check out the build and some info from Colin on how and why they built this bike.

 

 

Kona: Why did you decide to do this build for Lauren?

Colin: Lauren was on a 16″ bike for over 3 years and was getting way too big for it. I was planning on getting her a bike for Christmas anyway. I’ve always wanted to put together a super high-end bike and working in a bike shop makes that task easier. When people see it and their jaws drop, they ask me, “Why? It’s only a kids bike,” and I get to say, “Why not? If you could, wouldn’t you?” That’s the main reason why we put this build together- because we could. That and I’m just a big kid myself and really wanted to do something cool like this. 

Kona: What made you choose the Shred 20?

Colin: We’re a Kona dealer at the MBW Bike shop so I know how good the bikes are. On top of that, with the air fork rather then coil makes it easier for me to tune the bike perfectly for Lauren because she’s super light. 

 

Kona This was her first time working on a bike, how did she do?

Colin: She had only ever helped me clean our bikes after a ride, so with no maintenance experience I really threw her in the deep end when I pulled the frame out of the box and said, “We’re going to build a bike together.” She was super excited and really enjoyed it, but I had to double check all the bolts just to be safe! I think I was more excited than she was. 

 

Kona: What made you select the Hope components?

Colin: We’ve worked with Hope on other builds so they were our first choice. You can’t get much better than the parts Hope produce, and with so many colour options it was a no-brainer. They loved the idea. We sent the measurements and in no time a box full of purple parts arrived in the shop. 

Kona: How long has Lauren been riding and what is her favorite kind of trails/paths to ride?

Colin: Lauren was only 1 when she was rolling around on her scooter so she has no problem balancing on anything with wheels. When she was 2 she got a balance bike and in no time was flying down hills and gravel pathways. When she was 4 she got her first pedal bike and within 5 minutes she was pedaling around like she had been on that bike for years. Lauren doesn’t care if she’s on pavement, gravel or dirt, as long as she’s on her bike she’s happy. 

 

Kona: What do you think her next bike will be?

Colin: I’ll probably move her up to a Shed 24″ but who knows? It’ll be another couple of years before she grows out of the Shred 20. I’d love to have her on a cool little 24″ full-sus for the trails (cough, cough, get on it Kona, cough, cough).

Kona: How much fun was this to work on with her?

Colin: It was really great. When we put the bike together she wanted to do everything and fit all the parts. The bigger bike with gears and suspension has really improved her riding so we’re having more fun on the trails together too. It took a few trips for us to get the shots we needed and she really enjoyed scouting for locations. I’ll definitely be working on more projects with her, any excuse to spend more time on our bikes together. 

If the bike itself wasn’t awesome enough, Lauren has been racing the local circuit. This week she finished first among all boys and girls in the under 8 age group. Way to go Lauren! Keep on shredding!

 

All New Aluminum Wah Wah II Pedals are here!

We launched the composite version of the all-new Wah Wah II back in November to rave reviews from the press. Bike Mag, Vital MTB, MBR and Pink Bike all had something positive to say. Well, we’ve quietly been working on an alloy version based on the same design, and as of today, it’s available to you! You can buy it from the comfort of your own home and have them shipped to your door via our USA* web store here (we ship internationally), or you can hit up your local USA based Kona bike shop and pick up a pair in person.

They come in five colors, black, blue, red, orange and dark green and are made from forged CNC alloy and feature sealed bearings and DU bushings. With 16 replaceable pins, your feet will stay planted and secure. 100% serviceable bearings mean these durable, lightweight pedals will endure miles of abuse.

Platform Measurements (mm): 120 long x 118 wide x 13 thick|

*Canada and Europe will have stock in the coming weeks.

PB and J: The Kona Global Enduro Team battle trying conditions at Colombian EWS

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

2017’s EWS season has affectionately garnered the nickname Enduro Wet Series (less affectionately by those actually racing) and after the first bone-dry opening round last week some thought that, just maybe, we might be in for a dry season of racing. Who were they kidding?

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

By the time everyone’s bikes eventually showed up in Manizales, Colombia, the skies had opened and what looked to be some of the best dry loam imaginable had turned into mud with the texture of peanut butter and jelly. Steering was non-existent. Kona Global Team rider Alexander Kangas likened the feeling to riding on ice, without spikes!

It wasn’t all mud at the second stop on the 2018 EWS series, though. For the first time since 2013, the race kicked off with a short urban prologue through downtown Manizales. Scott Countryman surprised himself in his first ever urban race cruising to a respectable 38th place in the short punchy and physical stage. Kangas suffered a mechanical and finished the stage a bit off the pace but given its short nature, it would not have a massive effect on the following day’s results.

Race day saw the seven stages turning to six as a heavy overnight downpour had turned the already extremely slippery and carnage-inducing stage six into an even more uncontrollable beast. The desert-dwelling Countryman wanted to pull the pin at times during the day but pushed through for 76th on the day. “After raining all night, race day became a survival day for me. I cyclocrossed the top half of the second stage (first of the day) and was feeling pretty good until I got too wild in a chute and sent myself head first into a tree and broke my saddle. One stage down and I was ready to pull out of the race, but I taped my saddle back onto my bike and continued. Stage three went fairly well besides having to pass several racers that had missed their start times and were thrown into the mix right in front of me. I found some flow and was starting to feel good about the rest of the day. My hopes were dashed again on the next stage when coarse tape laying in the trail got wrapped up in my cassette and brake. I wasn’t able to pedal and had to strider my way down half of the stage. Again, I was ready to give up but I forced myself to continue. I had no more motivation at that point and got myself down the rest of the stages safely. In the end, I am very happy I can say I finished and it is an experience I am sure I will look back on fondly.”

Scott Countryman, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

Kangas, who thought round one in Chile was the last time he’d see anti-grip was, like many riders, ultimately bettered by the lack of traction in Manizales. “The Colombian soil and weather conditions were far from optimal for me. Overall it was an OK race. I struggled on the first three stages, and rode OK on four and five. Things would have been fine if it wasn’t for me losing my top jockey wheel at the start. Stages seven and eight were nothing to write home about! 58th overall is nowhere near where I want to be, but considering I’ve only had 10 days riding on the new bike since November, I’ll take the positives with me and go back home with a good feeling for the upcoming races.”

Alexander Kangas, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin

Scott Countryman, Manizales, Colombia Enduro World Series #2. Photo: Sven Martin