Daily Archives: 09/13/2019

ACK and Back

By James Joiner

In a world where everything is always at our fingertips, islands maintain a certain mystique. Maybe we read too many pirate stories as kids, maybe it’s their inherent disconnectedness.

For an island at the heart of so many fantastical adventures – Moby Dick, anyone? – from first appearance Nantucket isn’t especially exotic. There’s a small downtown area, lots of fancy vintage cars with fancy rich vintage drivers, and then just miles of beaches with booming surf, sandy roads, and rambling old money estates.

Yet even if you live just thirty miles away in a relatively identical place like Cape Cod, Nantucket stirs the imagination. Especially if, like me, you love exploring by bike.

The fast ferry from Hyannis whisks you across Nantucket sound in just one hour, barely long enough adjust to the heady fumes of sea spray, bad coffee, and diesel. An eclectic crowd of passengers is assured. Unless you’re one of the upper crust who fly over, making Nantucket’s tiny airport (ACK) even busier than Boston’s Logan International in the summer months, by boat is the only way for workers, vacationers, drug mules, fishermen, and anyone else to get there. On arrival, the ferry glides past Sankatay Head lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor and everyone gathers together on deck, tap-tapping smartphone screens. After nestling in amongst mega yachts, wooden sailboats, fishing charters, and the Ocearch shark research boat, passengers are disgorged into the very heart of quaintness.

James Joiner

Nantucket was originally made famous as a whaling port. Fortunes that endure to this day were carved from cetaceans harvested during long months or years at sea. The downtown area – the only real “downtown” on the entire 17-mile island – is exactly what you’d expect from a New England village designated as a national historic landmark. Cobblestone streets are lined with wood shingled or brick shops and nautically themed cafes and bars. While now a summer playground for the rich and rich aspirant, Nantucket’s population is still fed by the oil of whales – it’s just that these whales have whales embroidered on their Nantucket red shorts and never wear white after Labor Day.

Speaking of Labor Day, it’s long weekend marks the official end of their tourist season. If you want to avoid gridlock traffic, congested sidewalks and bike paths, and angst-ridden locals trying to get to work against an impossible tide of vacationers, your best bet is to visit after this. Things wind down quickly as September wears on, and you can find yourself blissfully alone as you push your bike from trailhead to trailhead along achingly beautiful stretches of beach. Our most recent trip was during the second week of September, and many of the neighborhoods outside of the immediate vicinity of Nantucket town were packing it in even though late summer was still in full effect.

James Joiner

Tourist frivolity aside, Nantucket retains a palpable air of independence. You have to, when all it takes is heavy winds to effectively cut you off completely from the mainland for days at a time. This independent spirit was most dramatically portrayed in 1977: Angered when redistricting resulted in less representation in state government, Nantucket and sister island Marthas Vineyard voted overwhelmingly – if ultimately in vain – to secede from Massachusetts.

Being one of Nantucket’s 11,229 year round residents takes a certain level of toughness, no wonder when you hear about them doing things like surfing slurpee waves in the middle of winter. Granted, there’s also not much to do on a seasonal island in January. For cyclists, there’s plenty of singletrack connected by sandy, rutted roads if you know where to look and don’t mind creeping across the occasional stretch of private property. Wrapped in 82 miles of sandy coastline, fat biking is also a great way to explore. One bike shop employee claimed to have circumnavigated the entire island in just a single day last winter, though I’d take that with a grain of sea salt.

James Joiner

As for our most recent trip, we pieced together a mostly unpaved 50-mile meander roughly tracing the outskirts of the island, with a midway stop at the Cisco Brewery for a liquid lunch. Beer helps mitigate aggravation during hike-a-biking when sand becomes too deep on trails to spin through. Don’t worry: drivetrains were made to be tortured.

James Joiner

Pro tips. Ride wider tires, and, more importantly, be extra vigilant when checking for deer ticks. Nantucket is ground zero for Lyme’s disease, with at least 40% of households having suffered an infection. Ferries go back and forth from Hyannis multiple times a day, year-round, so getting there is easy. The fast ferry is about $50 round trip, with a bike. There are multiple year-round bike shops in town, though most are geared toward the rental crowd. Ride With GPS and Strava have multiple routes to choose from, but I suggest setting your phone map app to satellite and making a go of it on your own. Cisco Brewery is midway around the island and is a must-visit if you like to drink. Of note, many places, close for part of the off-season. Bartlett Farms, right down the road from Cisco, offers year-round co-op grocery style supplies including a deli counter, beer, and wine. 

Five Podiums for the Kona / Bike Ranch Team at the Schwarzwald Marathon!

Nico Le Carré | KONA COG

Letztes Wochenende war das komplette Kona /Bike Ranch Team beim Schwarzwaldmarathon in Furtwangen am Start. Die Wetterbedingungen, es regnete und Temperaturen um 7° Grad forderten den Bikern alles ab. Mit Frank Herr und Michael Hofmann sowie Theresia und Sofie Ketterer hatte das Team gleich 2 Staffeln über die 120 Km Strecke mit 3100 Hm am Start. Bei den Männern machte Frank Herr den Anfang. Er konnte sich gegen die jungen Fahrer behaupten und übergab auf der Katharinenhöhe an Michael Hofmann. Dieser gab auf der zweiten Hälfte alles und verteidigte den dritten Platz bis ins Ziel mit 5:15:31 Std Gesamtzeit. Super lief es für die Mädels im Team. Sofie Ketterer begann das Rennen. Im Vergleich zum letzten Jahr war sie 15 Min schneller und übergab in Führungsposition an ihre Schwester Theresia. Die fuhr ein souveränes Rennen und konnte den Vorsprung weiter ausbauen und so wurden sie am Ende mit dem Sieg in 6:51:20 belohnt. Markus Ziegler war über die gleiche Distanz alleine unterwegs. Er konnte sich nach dem Start mit mehreren Fahrern absetzen und erkämpfte sich den Platz 10 in der Gesamtwertung . In seiner Klasse belegte er somit Rang 5 in 5:02:33 Std. Platz 5 belegte ebenfalls Thomas Fischer auf der gleichen Distanz.

Nico Le Carré | KONA COG

 Uli Brucker, der ehemalige dreifache deutsche Meister nahm die 60 Km mit 1300 Hm in Angriff. Am Ende belegte er in seiner Klasse Platz 3 in 2:16:08. Mirjam und Carsten Schnürle , die Leiter des Teams waren auf derselben Strecke unterwegs. Mirjam Schnürle erreichte Platz 6. Ihr Mann Carsten hatte Pech und stürzte in einer Asphaltkurve und beschädigte dabei sein Bike. Er brachte sich dennoch mit 3:00:49 Std ins Ziel, das reichte dann nur noch für Rang 66. Auch Biker aus dem Team Bike Ranch waren am Start. Hier glänzte Elke Schlageter mit einem Sieg auf der 60-er Strecke. Ihr Mann Michael belegte Rang 6 über die 90Km Strecke mit 2250Hm. Matthias Schwer stürzte schwer und musste in die Notaufnahme. Er war auch auf der 90-er Strecke unterwegs.

Nico Le Carré | KONA COG

Das gesamte Team kämpfte auch um die Firmenwertung, hier geht es allerdings nur um gefahrene Kilometer. Leider fehlten auf Grund des Sturzes von Matthias 90 Km zum Sieg, das war aber in diesem Fall auch Nebensache und so wurden sie dennoch Dritter.

Enduro One Kirchberg / Tirol – Double Top Ten for the Kona Gduro Team

Baboons, Frank Froetschl

Enduro race season got to its climax in central Europe. This time our favorite race series E1 held its stage event in Austrian Kirchberg/Tirol next to the famous alpine ski track the “Streif” in Kitzbuehl.

The weather promised a warm weekend at 25° Celsius in the Alps. The stages in this area are up to five minutes long, so the suspension and brakes are really tested over the whole weekend.

Saturday is training day with four stages to be inspected while the remaining stage four had to be raced blind. Late afternoon the race starts with the prolog which is also the last stage five next day. On race Sunday itself we were sent on the 25 km long track after the routine check-in. Five stages and over 1,400 alpine meters of altitude difference had to be completed.

Baboons, Frank Froetschl

Stage one was one of the black lines of the local bike park area. Not really technical challenging but becoming more and more demanding as speed rises. Short steep chutes and wide open grass single tracks alternated with narrow switchbacks and some root section. I found my pace there and got fifth overall.

Stage two and three followed straight one by one on the famous Lisi Osl Trail with countless gravel berms. Not my type of riding but the next two stages promised more high speed technical rooty stuff. 

Stage four was a blast. I overtook one of the competitors after 20 seconds and letting the Process work over the roots and rocks until a loud dull noise on my back wheel occurred. A big dent released all air and I had to ride half of the stage with a flat tire. That half minute plus was impossible to catch up on the last stage.

Baboons, Frank Froetschl

The last stage unfortunately was too short to caught some time back and I missed the podium by one place.

Matthias had a strong race as well. He was fast in all five stages and missed the podium by a very small margin of half a second! Good job, bro!

Next race will be Frammersbach with steep trails but more pedaling.

Stay tuned!

Stefan Westerveld