Monthly Archives: June 2019

Victory and Sheep Crashing in Mexico

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Adventure man Cory Wallace recently took home the victory at the Teenek Race Xcross Hidalgo, a stage race in Mexico. According to Wallace it’s known as one of the toughest races in the Americas. Roughly 90 racers took on the 300km race with over 8,000m of climbing!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The week consisted of consuming all the tacos, fending off crazy dogs and even a crash that involved yard sailing with a sheep! Yikes! Read all about it in Cory’s race recap.

Shifting Gears + The Kona Bike Shop Women’s bike camping weekend

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

We did it again! Shifting Gears, a local non-profit in Bellingham, WA and The Kona Bike shop came together to lead 10 ladies on a first time, semi-supported, overnight bike adventure. This is the 2nd year we have been able to do this thanks to the sponsorship of the Kona Bicycle Company.

The trip is a vision that Kona staff member, Amanda Bryan has wanted to host since she first started with Kona in 2015. “I remember being asked what my goals were with Kona during my interview and I was gunned and ready with so many ideas, but this trip was the one I wanted to make happen the most”.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Amanda Bryan Kona USA sales

Amanda was injured the year prior and couldn’t co-lead the trip but managed to keep herself mostly intact to help guide this year and cheerlead the other participants up, over, and through the mountains. “This year was an emotional one for me as I got to see these badass women pushing themselves to do things they weren’t sure they were capable of doing. All weekend these ladies were thanking us for hosting this trip but all of us were so thankful for them! It’s hard to put into words the amount of heart-swelling gushiness myself and the trip leaders experience from trips like these. I’ll admit It, cried a bunch on this trip – all happy tears!”

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG
Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

This women’s bike packing 101 trip had all the local star power in attendance. Hilary Neevel, the owner of Pack NW, was one of the trips leaders and route designer. Pack NW along with friends and family outfitted all 10 women’s bikes – It really does take a village!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Hilary used this trip to gear test before bike packing the Tour Divide this summer. Good luck, Hilary!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Shifting Gears showed up with some heavy hitters as trip leaders and we were spoiled with the humor and experience this team brought to the table.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Left to right: Nadine Van Niekerk , Shifting Gears Executive Director and Camp Mom. Jenny Schmidt, Shifting Gears President. Kari Humphreys, Shifting Gears Program Manager.

Kona ambassador Delia Massey and Kona gravity/enduro team member Hannah Bergemann are two returning guides that always know how to turn up the party.

Paul Kelly

Delia Massey on her single speed Honzo CR/DL

Paul Kelly

Hannah Bergemann on her Big Honzo ST doing what she does best, playing! The Kona Bike Shop invites all of the participants and the leaders at the bike shop on Friday before the trip to host a packing party. This part is really fun because the ladies that show up have no idea how they are going to fit all the gear they brought on their bikes. It’s great watching as tents, sleeping bags, and clothes start to fill up every inch of free space and seeing how creative people get with strapping stuff on just about anywhere they can. It can be a frustrating process, but laughter quickly takes over. The packing party is where the excitement really starts to build and it’s so infectious!

Paul Kelly

When Saturday morning finally rolls around, everyone meets at the shop for a last min bag and safety checks before we get the party started. This year the mechanicals were kept to a minimum and we were able to blast music and show off how to connect the greenway trails of Bellingham, Wa to the single track on Galbraith Mountain. The trip in its entirety is about 35 miles and just shy of 2000 ft elevation.

Paul Kelly

Smores were consumed and ice-cold beverages are enjoyed while belly laughs took over the campground. The weekend was stuffed full of challenges overcame and new friends being made. 10 ladies came together to try something new and left with new, bigger goals in mind. We are all already looking forward to next year!

Paul Kelly

Huge thanks to Paul Kelly for the snaps!

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the KONA Demo Tour is headed your way!

Come demo some of our favorite bikes including the Process 153 CR 29 and 27.5, and Big Honzo CR. We’ll even have a few Libres ready to ride at select stops. We’ll have full sizes runs ensuring everyone can find a bike that fits just right.

Here are some events coming soon! Details in the posters below.

July 5 – Saint John, NB
July 6 – Halifax, NS
July 7 – Halifax, NS

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

The Longest Day

For our third ambassador challenge we requested our team think about what they can do with the longest days of the year.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

First up is Canadian Ambassador Cole Pellerin, who in one day rode Whistler, Golden, and made it to the top of Mount Seven in time for sunset. Whistler doesn’t even start spinning their chairs till 10am, so Cole had to do some serious driving in between bike park laps.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

He documented it all aboard his Operator DL and Remote CTRL in his version of The Longest Day.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Photos by Jayme Rashelle and Andrij Chubaty

Go Big, Then Eat Donuts!

Winter is not a particularly difficult time for bike riding here in California. With our mild temps and hero dirt it’s hard to really call it a winter at all. But, there is one thing that even a Mediterranean climate cannot provide: enough daylight hours to do a silly big ride. Not just a long ride, but one of those rides that you sketch out on paper and wonder, will this actually work? Between a full work schedule and an ever-growing list of races, early summer offers a short window of time where conditions lend themselves especially well to epics. This year, longer days, no races, a huge stretch of beautiful California coast, and good friends all came together in the form of a 176-mile adventure from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo. Taking the iconic California 1 through Big Sur over the course of 12 hours was just the thing to kick off the summer.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

There is just something special about starting and ending a ride in the dark with a vast distance checked off in-between. However, it can be daunting locking yourself into a ride that just might be too big for your britches. One way to ease yourself into a big ol’ ride like this is to plan an escape route. For this particular day out we set ourselves up with a sag van filled with all the snacks, beers, and parts needed for a well-supported cruise down the coast. This not only allowed for frequent fuel stops, but also allowed easy bailout points so everyone in our diverse crew could dial in their preferred level of mileage. As for me, I had a hankerin for suffering that only a full-pull of coastline could satisfy.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

While most of my favorite rides require a bit more travel, my trusty Major Jake fitted with some nice wide slicks was the perfect vantage point for 12 hours’ worth of views like this.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Route, although mega, is fairly straightforward. Start yourself in Santa Cruz, make it to the legendary Hwy 1, and head south. There may be a few hills and all-time vistas in between and like any good day-long ride, this one ends with donuts and exhausted smiles. With the solstice right around the corner, it’s the best time of year to get out there and go big!

Relive ‘Morning Mar 30th’

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Cory Wallace Reports from Costa Rica

Adventure team racer Cory Wallace recently competed in the Trans Costa Rica 4-day stage race in… you guessed it…Costa Rica. After spending some time acclimitizing to the humidity and terrain, Wallace and many top-level South American riders took on the grueling race.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Wallace found himself well prepared and towards the front the entire race aboard his Honzo CR. With some big, big climbs and crazy shenanigans at the top of the final mountain, he would finish in a fantastic 7th place!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Cory has the full details of this wild event on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Pro tip: don’t feel bad if he makes you feel lazy. Cory is absolutely off the charts strong and dedicated to his endurance racing.

Solstice Season

Paris Gore

Endurance and Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson prompts us to scheme up and get the most out of big days on the bike during the longest day(s) of the year.

Since I’ve begun to keep the racing shoes in the closet more regularly over the last two years, the several-week period around the northern summer solstice (typically around June 21-22) has become my new favorite season. I call it “Solstice Season” for the span of time it affords in terms of daylight and open terrain in the high country – a chance to scamper out beyond the edge of the Shire and put to action some of the harebrained ideas that crop up during the dark winter months.

Three years is hardly a tradition, but for so many solstice seasons I have made a game out of doing something “big” (and yes, in many ways pointless) on the longest day of the year, or checking off a bucket list of long days during the three-or-so weeks on either end of the summer equinox. Each of these experiences has been wildly difficult yet hugely rewarding for me, and have helped re-calibrate and boost my attitude on riding, life, appreciation of snacks, etc. Based on these results, I would wish for anyone to achieve their own version of a big day fulfillment. So with that, a few prompts and ideas for coming up with your own outing this Solstice Season:

  1. Something fun (fun to you…okay, “Type 2” fun) that you haven’t done before – Whether it’s a new place, a new route on familiar trails, or some feat that hitherto you have not achieved.
  2. The right amount of challenge and uncertainty for your experience – If you are new to pushing your physical and mental limits, I recommend a very non-scientific prediction that falls within at least 60% (but less than 80%) confidence that you can pull it off. If you are experienced at pushing your limits, then it’s okay to play around with ~50% likelihood of success.
  3. Get weird, go long – Whatever the objective, at least make it a goal of being out all day. It doesn’t all have to be on the bike, either. If possible, start at sun up and finish at sundown (with as many breaks as you need!). Enjoy the entire day! Get the day off if you can, or wait for the next closest weekend day (after all, “Solstice Season is a season). Plan for child care. Make an extra sandwich.
  4. Have a clear concept – It can be pointless (those are usually the most fun), but should still have some kind of theme or essential mission. Numbers can help to start, but ultimately it’s not about the numbers… It doesn’t hurt to get a little philosophical, either. You’ll be going deep into the mental tank, so some forethought might help. Make a Venn diagram of reasons why you are doing it…that way it forces you to find a common center to come back to when it gets hard, and you can lean in one of several directions as you navigate the day.
  5. Plan your logistics and break the day into units – If it’s going to be a very long day (let’s say “very long” = >10hrs), think in terms of what you can accomplish per hour, and break the day into phases. This is key so that you can imagine the entire effort in advance, but in the moment, take it one chunk at a time and that’s it.
  6. Invite friends – Happiness in this sort of hubris is most real when shared. That said, solo vision quests are pretty good, too, but it does add to the experience to include some company for at least a portion of the experience.
Spencer Paxson | KONA COG Get weird.
Spencer Paxson | KONA COG A few other ideas/tips on what to carry on the bike for a long day…

Colorado & Utah, the KONA Demo Tour is headed your way!

Come demo some of our favorite bikes including the Process 153 CR 29 and 27.5, and Big Honzo CR. We’ll even have a few Libres ready to ride at select stops. We’ll have full sizes runs ensuring everyone can find a bike that fits just right.

Here are some events coming soon! Details in the posters below.

June 22 & 23 – Park City, UT
June 28, 29, & 30 – Aspen, CO
July 5 & 6 – Eagle, CO

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

Julian Tennyson | KONA COG
Julian Tennyson | KONA COG

Kick off summer with Swift Campout!

For the fifth year in a row, Swift Campout is on the horizon. Nothing tells us it’s adventure-season like this annual solstice celebration. Are you down?

Swift Campout is a global call for folks all over the world to go bike-camping on June 22nd. Pack your camp gear and pedal to camp for a night under starry skies. Head over to swiftcampout.com and sign up. When you build your campout profile, you’ll be entered to win a limited edition @konabikes x @swiftindustries Rove, and over $4k in bikepacking gear. You’ve gotta be part of this!

#swiftcampout

eddy | KONA COG

ENDURO ONE WINTERBERG : Season start for the Kona Gduro Team from Germany

This year the season starts late on the first weekend of June for our Team. While Matthias had the chance to ride a blind race in the Belgium enduro series the official kick off for our team was the enduro race during the Dirtmasters Festival  in Winterberg.

With some extra interval training units we felt well prepared for the maybe most pedaling race of the season. The weather promised perfect conditions with around 25° Celsius the whole weekend. 

Baboons Matthias had a solid top ten result in the strong senior class! Good job, mate! 

As always the organization from host Baboons was excellent. A professional setup from stage routing to timing combined with a familiar atmosphere makes every Enduro One Race a special race. Regarding timing unfortunately stage 6 had to be canceled due to some technical problems.

Saturday is training day with four stages to be inspected while all other stages have to be raced blind. But most of them are located in the Winterberg trail park and are also known from last year’s event…except stage one which is the blackline of the local bike park and the only really technical stage in this event. Therefore we invested here a little more time to find the fastest and smoothest line.

Late Afternoon the race starts with the prolog which is also the last stage next day. Just one and half minute long but utterly exhausting this one was a good impression for what will follow the next day.

Race day started late on Sunday and Matthias and I followed the little uphill to stage 1 thru the already crowded festival area. I felt good this morning and very confident to be one of the fastest rider on stage 1. Hit all the lines I wanted with a good speed a but the offcamber section before the last corner was still wet. Both wheels slipped surprisingly and I had a hard crash on my left side.

Damn, this was the only stage where I could have made time against all my competitors. I stepped up as soon as possible and slowly rolled around the last corner thru the finish. Body Check ! Seemed to be nothing serious but time was lost…On Stage 2 I had the fastest time last year and this year was quite fast as well. Second best is not bad.

All other stages were defined of long pedaling sections and just a few technical bits. Not my preferred type of terrain but I could always find a good ground speed and flowy lines. Even on stage 8 I made up 2 seconds compared to the prolog. At the end it’s the curse of Winterberg which put me in 5th place again. Another podium though ! Matthias had a solid top ten result in the strong senior class! Good job, mate.

Baboons Stefan Westerveld finishes at a solid 5th place.

Next race will be Roßbach with steeper trails and less pedaling. That’s where the Process 153 is made for…Stay tuned !

Stefan Westerveld