Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word “tour” is : a journey for business, pleasure, or education often involving a series of stops and ending at the starting point. I suppose this definition accurately breaks down the components of why I am addicted to bike tours and ski touring.
First, I can say the business of both is to challenge my physical and mental strength. Staying fit as I grow older, held down with work and obligations, becomes more of a task that I must strategically integrate into my lifestyle to maintain success. So why not ditch the car or chairlift and earn those turns!? The business of sitting in traffic jams and long lift lines is also not something that I care to engage in.
Next, the pleasure of a tour is indeed hard to deny. I am of the belief that there is nothing more pleasurable than feeling my heart pounding while I torpedo down black, brown or white POW. On tours, adrenaline-endorsed hill bombs and terrifyingly steep couloirs and cliff drops are brilliantly complemented by the long and meditative journey to the objective. Allowing my mind to clear and focus on sounds of my own breath, the stroke of my pedals and the clicking of my splitboard bindings while I quietly travel through space gets replaced by the scream of rushing wind and the mental silence of pinpoint focus as I fly down mountains on my chosen toys. It is the journey that provides me these juxtaposed pleasures for the mind and body, both of which remind me how brilliant it is to be alive.
Finally, the education of a tour is something to not glaze over. On bike tours, I am acutely oberving and engaging within the changing environments and ecosystems I pass through. My body feels nuances of the terrain and climate, while I simultaneously absorb the diverse sights, sounds and smells of a place, reviving golden senses that I so frequently sacrifice to technology and automation. Likewise, a ski tour encourages me to study terrain and climate in a scientific demeanor that is lost to the average lift rider. When we ski tour, we assess slope aspects, snow quality and climate trends. We scrutenize our surroundings as we punch through fresh snow and we listen for movement. Touring provides me opportunities to intimately engage within and learn from these magnificent environments in which I play.
Above all, I find that I am most drawn to the element of simplicity that pairs both bike touring and ski touring. The ability to carry all that I need to eat, sleep, live and play on while moving through vast lands at moderate speed with a quantitively low expulsion of energy is just plain magnificent. My scrappy legs transform into powerful pistons that can take me to far more interesting places than a car or lift will ever be capable of. In turn, when weather windows open and ice clears from the roads, There is nothing more pleasurable than strapping my splitboard, hammock and Jetboil onto my Kona Sutra and venturing to the hills.
Today is International Women’s Day. While we think it’s fantastic to honor women and what they’ve brought to the sport, we think it’s important to do this every day—and not just on this one day. Kona is fortunate to have an amazing crew of women woven throughout the fabric of our brand, both internally and externally. Here are a few of the women that we’re proud to call family.
In the House!
If Kona were actually a bicycle, it’s safe to say that women are the drivetrain. Our administrative team is made up almost entirely of women. They do our finances, our forecasting, work directly with our factories, ensure all vendors are paid and keep the money coming in. Without our administrative team, we’d be nothing but a run bike, and run bikes don’t climb mountains very easily. A huge shout out to Jen Studer (who very seriously runs the show), Katie Lowe, Jackie Goodall, Cristina Callahan, Angela Staton, Debbie Smith, Willie Edwards and Myra Schimscal.
Outside of administration, we’ve got some big personalities in sales and marketing with Amanda Bryan and Lacy Kemp. Amanda is our territory manager for D.C., Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, W. Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and helped start the Kona Supremes team. Lacy Kemp, our Communications Manager, spends her time at Kona and outside of Kona writing everything. She’s also pretty addicted to riding her Process as much as possible.
Around the Globe!
We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of women in biking beyond the walls of Kona’s offices and are proud to have top-notch women headlining our race teams. Miranda Miller kicks off her enduro season this weekend in Windrock, TN. The Canadian downhill World Champion brings style, personality, and speed to every track she his. Along with Miranda, our enduro program features Aussie pinner Shelly Flood who corners better than you, and Bellingham’s Hannah Bergemann, who can go head to head in a game of B.I.K.E. against anyone and have a damn good shot at winning.
And, just because it’s not cyclocross season doesn’t mean we forget about the super strong women that flew the Kona flag this year. Rebecca Fahringer had her strongest pro season yet as part of the Kona Maxxis Shimano CX team, finishing with a 16th place at World Championships. Additionally, the Team S&M CX out of Portland is a powerhouse women’s cyclocross team that had massive success on the circuit this year, including a national championship by Clara Honsinger. It’s safe to say women’s CX is growing at a strong rate, and we are proud to be a part of that story.
Beyond the race tape, we’re proud to support women from all around the globe as a part of our Kona Ambassador program. We have been blown away by the contributions of these women over the past couple of months and are so excited to see what they have in store! The women ambassadors are artists, world travellers, engineers, scientists, teachers, and activists. Some race professionally, some are major community stewards, while some are breaking barriers on inclusivity in sports. They all have one thing in common, they’re all badass women that exemplify progression in the sport and show a true passion for cycling.
On behalf of all of us at Kona, we salute you all for being a part of our family! Happy International Women’s Day!
For the 2019 Race Season we wanted to do something a little special for our Gravity team riders and their race bikes. Inspired in part by major team sponsor RockShox’incredibly fast looking (and performing) Lyrik lowers, we’d like to present you with the Team Issue Kona Process 153 CR DL.
Connor Fearon, Miranda Miller, Rhys Verner, and Shelly Flood will be shredding these bikes at EWS races and at select enduro events this season, built up as you see here with a plethora of parts from our fabulous 2019 team partners.
The Kona Gravity Team Process bikes are fully custom built from the ground up and feature a full suspension setup from RockShox, drivetrain and brakes from SRAM, rims from Canadian company WeAreOne, hubs and headset from Chris King and tires from Maxxis. The cockpit combines parts from Deity, OneUP and ODI and the build is rounded out with pedals from HT and tire inserts from Cush Core.
Miranda Miller and Rhys Verner will be taking the new Team Issue Process Bikes for their maiden race outings this weekend at the Tennessee National, an EWS qualifying event based out of the Windrock Bike Park.