We’ve just added a ton of new stuff to the international Kona web store. There are three new t-shirt designs, three new beanie colors and a very limited edition set of Kona etched Fix-It-Sticks, and we’ve even added the very, very accurate presta version of Accu-Gauge’s 30psi tire gauge, for getting those tire pressures absolutely spot on. Click on any of the pictures below to be transported immediately to our web store.
For those in Canada you can find our Canadian web store here. (We’ll be adding new t-shirts to the store over the next few days)
Everything I’d heard about Tahoe riding was dust, rocks, and more dust. The high-altitude trails are buried in snow all winter and then emerge into moondust throughout the summer. We flew from Bellingham a few days before training started to acclimate and familiarize ourselves with the terrain.
I went out for an evening ride with some friends who are local, and quickly realized how difficult it is to climb and ride at altitude. Any hard effort had my heart rate spiking and legs burning. The trails we descended had some technical rock rolls and gardens, some loose dust, and some high-speed sections with jumps. I felt a bit out of my element, but was also excited to learn and ride new terrain.
I rode these trails a few more times throughout the week until we finally got to ride the Northstar resort trails for practice. The resort trails were also full of technical rock sections, loose dusty corners, and terrain that was very foreign to me. During practice, I stopped more times than I ever have in a race to reride sections of trail and pick lines. Line choice was important for this race to stay smooth through all the rock sections.
Day one included two stages; River Styx and Karpiel. Stage one on River Styx was flat and rocky at the top and then dropped into steep rutted sections filled with dust. It had one steep technical rock roll that had racers trying different lines and then finished out on a flat but high-speed trail. I was super nervous starting this stage and rode pretty stiff at the top which resulted in a small tumble that lost me some time. Once I loosened up my riding, I rode a lot better. You have to ride pretty loose here and let the bike move to be successful in the tractionless dust.
Stage two on Karpiel had a ton of dusty berms and then ended in a big rock garden at the bottom. I struggled on the berm section to find speed, feeling uncomfortable in the loose corners.
Day Two included the remaining four stages. Stage 3 was the Queen stage and was a long pull from the top (past the chairlift) down to the bottom of the resort. It started with a fast road bomb to a steep dusty chute and then flow trail most of the way down. I felt fatigued from the altitude, and noticed more arm pump than usual. It was also hard to put power on the pedals.
Stage 4 was my favorite. It started with a super steep & loose rocky chute, then opened into a high-speed jump section with gaps. It followed a road down at mach 10 and then (literally) shot you back up onto a trail that quickly got steep again. It was then dusty & loose mayhem until the end. I had my best result on this stage with a 6th place.
Stage 5 was short but gnarly with several challenging rock sections and a massive rock garden at the end with huge boulders.
The last stage on Boondocks was less gnarly, but a fun technical trail with some loose berms and jumps back to the finish.
I was happy to ride pretty clean despite feeling foreign on this terrain and to have my best result on the gnarliest stage. I feel like I gained a lot of valuable experience in this race and came away with new skills in riding dust and rocks. I also had a blast hanging with the Kona team, and getting to ride with them all week.
Overall I’m happy with how my EWS experience has been this year, and I’m stoked to keep the momentum going. A bit last minute, but I’ll be at the final round in Finale Ligure, Italy, so stay tuned for a bit more racing this season!
Thanks to everyone for your support, the mtb community is something special.
Kevin’s Honzo ST has been a while coming, since he first tagged it with #KonaDreamBuilds emails have found their way to junk folders, file downloads have expired and it just slipped under the radar. Thankfully we finally have it here for you because this single speed race steel race machine is a thing of beauty!
“I race XC for a Behind Bars Bike Shop in NE Minneapolis and a few years ago my race bike was down for repair, so at the last minute I called the shop owner Chuck personally and asked him to borrow a bike for a race, of course being my buddy he helped me out. Chuck told me to come to his house and pick one up. When I showed up he handed me a Honzo set up single speed, this was a big surprise for me as I did not race SS and I had never even rolled one on a trail. Needing the points, I took the bike to give it my best shot. I finished the race third overall (in my age group) and would have taken first in the SS class if I had registered SS. From then on I wanted one, and now years later I’ve built this bad boy. “
A set of Race Face’s reliable and stiff 175mm Turbine cranks combined with a 32t Race Face narrow wide chainring keep the Honzo moving forward at pace while the hidden Hope BB ensures that its going to keep spinning in all types of muck..
Out the back you’ll find an 18t chainring on a Hope Pro4 SS rear hub as well as a super tidy way to keep the locknut in place on the adjustable horizontal drop outs.
Kevin has taken the gold from the frames decals and echoed it in the chain and the single speed spacers.
Oh and the gold pops up again in the nipples for on these custom built 45mm wide Velocity Dually hoops.
The 2.4 Continental X-Kings are even sporting that gold highlight!
Stoping is looked after by Hope’s Tech3 E4 brakes….
… with 180 rotors.
RockShox’s Pike RCT3 Debonair keeps the front end tracking while a 150mm stealth Rock Shox Reverb gets that WTB Volt out of the way when things get rowdy.
More gold and more Race Face this time in the cockpit where Kevin has enlisted some 800mm Turbine R bars, and the matching 35mm stem, complete with Ti Gold bolts. The black Hope headset is a nice touch, gold here might have pushed things over the top.
And in case you didn’t get the memo… Gold… Well that rad Portland Design Works Sparrow cage is actually copper but those Ti cable guides sure look gold.