Adventure Team

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…

The Last NIMBY

Patrick Means

There’s something to be said for leaving the party while it’s still thumping – that way you are left with all the positive vibes without the letdown of the last call and the lights coming on. But sometimes the party is so good that it’s worth jumping to the final beat of the last song, and when it’s done, you’re not sad that it’s over, you’re happy because it happened. In the case of the NIMBY 50 marathon cross country race in Pemberton, British Columbia, the party was that good, and it carried on for ten solid years until its final round on May 26, 2019.

Team Kona landed itself across the podium and five of the top-10 spots. Spencer fought a tight battle with eventual winner Ricky Federeau (2004 Canadian XC National Champ), Michael Van den Ham (3x Canadian cyclocross National Champ), and past Nimby winner Quinn Moburg, with the win coming down to a handful of seconds in a dogged sprint across the fields to North Arm Farm. Cory put together an amazing ride for being the fastest rider on a hardtail (on a decidedly NON-hardtail course) with the Cinderalla story Mark “Donny” Allison nipping at his heels in a sprint across the line for 5th. Barry rocked in aboard his Process 153 Carbon in 6th as the fastest person on a 6″ trail bike, while Rhys spun out his enduro skills and XC roots for 9th.

Some six hundred racers plus their families and friends showed up for the last call and the most rowdy and rad rendition of the Nimby so far. Rain had soaked the already technical course for the prior two days, which may have even amplified peoples’ spirits, for it meant an even greater challenge lay ahead. That’s what the “BC-XC” vibe is all about. Dedicated community, awesome terrain, and superb trails. In all it added up to as good a “valedictory” edition of the Nimby 50 as possible. And to fit the occasion, the spectrum of Kona team and alumni in attendance made it even more special: Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon, the original “BC Bike Racers”; Cory Wallace, ultra-endurance and 2x 24hr World Champ; Spencer Paxson, ex-World Cup XCer and recent dad-strength convert; Rhys Verner, XC-to-enduro sensation; Sean Babcock, ex-Kona Factory Cyclocross and Team S&M tough guy; and perhaps most remarkable of all, Mark “Donny” Allison, a Kona Bikes staff Product Manager and unofficially latest inductee to the “working class” elite roster of hairy-legged Kona hammer smiths.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Spencer Sprinting to third place!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Donny and Cory Wallace
Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Photos by Patrick Means

Say Hello to the 2019 Endurance and Adventure Team!

Guess who’s back? The Kona Endurance and Adventure Team! This four pack of distance/type-two/pain-loving cyclists plan to travel across every kind of terrain on multiple continents throughout 2019. In its third year, the Kona Endurance and Adventure team returns ready for some big days in the saddle. From lung-busting gravel grinds, mountain biking in places we may not have ever heard of, to a full season of Elite XC, gravel and marathon racing, they’re ready to dig in, ride hard, and capture all of the excitement they can find aboard two wheels.

The Endurance and Adventure team is made up of Kona veterans that know exactly what it takes to squeeze the most out of every single adventure. Team ringleader Barry Wicks is back with a full agenda of rides all across North America and the World accompanied by probable world record-holder Spencer Paxson, 24hr World Champ Cory Wallace, and the ever-keen-to-crush and party pumper Kris Sneddon. And be on the lookout for guest appearances by Kona Maxxis Shimano CX racers Kerry Werner and Rebecca Fahringer. Together they make up a crew that is champing at the bit to push the limits of where bikes can go, how hard they can be ridden, and how much fun is actually possible while inflicting what seems to mere mortals like some sort of self-inflicted punishment.

Oh the places they’ll go! They’ll cross the plains and race the Dirty Kanza, traverse BC’s best trails in the BC Bike Race, leave their marks in the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder, spend days in the high alpine of the Trans Rockies and pay visits to the Epic Ride Series of events. In addition, they’ll be busy crossing many a mountain pass, bikepacking to locations that seem impossible to reach, racing the races that scare most people, and leaving dusty contrails in their wakes as often as possible. If it sounds like a challenge, these guys are up for it.

Barry Wicks

Barry Wicks

Cory Wallace

Cory Wallace Photo: Margus Riga

Spencer Paxson

Spencer Paxson

Kris Sneddon

Kris Sneddon

 

Stay tuned to the Cog and Kona Features for the latest on their travel shenanigans.

All photos by Patrick Means and Duncan Philpott

Werner Hits US Mountain Bike Nationals

Three days after BC Bike Race ended Kerry took a “red eye” home to the east coast. He spent Tuesday being a zombie. On Wednesday he drove 5hrs to Snowshoe, WV for the 2018 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals.

He spent the week watching sunsets from high up on Snowshoe Mountain, scoping out the course, and trying to catch up on sleep.

 

You can watch how it all played out on Kerry’s Vlog!

Next up for Kery is a cyclocross camp. He will be hosting a skills camp in the mountains of western NC to help those who are aware that #crossiscoming and want to get a jump on sharpening the axes!

Whiskey Dessert: A Kona Adventure Team Project


Do this after you’ve left home a few hundred times, kids: do something you’ve done many times before, and do it with a big twist. Such was our experience at the 15th Annual Whiskey Off Road. We’d done it collectively around thirty times. We’d been on the podium, we’d been around last place, we’d been somewhere in between, and so the race itself was nothing new. The twist was that we traveled to-and-from the event by mountain bike. Instead of the typical racer’s approach of arriving at the airport, renting a car and zipping to a comfy accommodation, we mapped out a route across 130 miles of urban sprawl into desert scrub into pine-forest mountains. We slept in the dirt. Then we did the race. And then we rode back. Instead of six or eight hours of total ride time during a typical race trip we logged over thirty. Indeed, we made the most of it, and it was remarkable. Here are some moments that stuck. Read more over at Pinkbike.





Kona Adventure Team Pedal Packs to Whiskey 50

The Kona Adventure Team congregated in Phoenix on Tuesday night. When the sun came up on Wednesday morning they loaded up their HEI HEI‘s with the bike packing bags and headed north west to Prescott, AZ.

The goal was to get out of the PHX sprawl ASAP and take the Black Canyon Trail north to Prescott. The unrelenting heat took a toll on the boys and they had to alter their plans from mostly single track to mostly gravel roads. With no water out in the desert, the choice was an obvious one, if they wanted to survive.

Kerry Werner will be posting up a 3 Vlog series on this mission. The first is up below…

The next two will be posted as the team navigates the Fat tire crit on Friday night, off day Saturday, racing the Whiskey 50 on Sunday, then riding back to PHX (on more single track) over the course of Monday- Tuesday. Laughs will be had and suffering will be felt, but it’s always more enjoyable amongst friends.

Three Peaks Challenge: A Kona Adventure Team/ Team S+M Project

Oregon, specifically the Willamette Valley, is a very wet place. This is no secret. The secret is what lies beyond the foggy curtain that covers the deep, dank, moss filled forests of the Oregon Coast Range.

Just west of the sleepy college town of Corvallis, Oregon lays a wealth of single-track, hand sculpted and etched into the earth by a dedicated and diverse group of mountain bike-minded humans.

When I was in my junior year at Oregon State University, a strong, tight-knit crew of rugged bike nerds had banded together and rented a ragged, sprawling house a few blocks from campus.

I occupied the detached cinderblock garage that only had a single roll-up door for access. For $100 a month, I got a roof over my head, a propane heater and access to the main house for the kitchen, bathroom, and most importantly, a large well stocked bike work area.

In the basement bike shop, we had a whiteboard where we would scratch out challenges to one another. Various bicycle related feats of strength were hatched, but the one that seemed to stick, gain traction, and become a tradition among our crew was the Three Peaks Challenge.

The premise was simple. Grab three beers, ride to the top of the three main peaks in the forest and drink a beer. Over the years various additional challenges were included, including doing the ride at night without lights, riding the final decent nude, or completing the challenge on our road bikes.

Ever since I left college and started my racing career, I had mostly forgotten about the TPC. Then my friends Sean and Patrick moved back to Corvallis and started talking about it. A chance trip back home to work on my mother’s house was all the impetus we needed to revive the tradition.

On a fittingly damp and cold day, we set off at the crack of 2:30 pm. First stop, the obligatory beverage procurement at the Country Market and Deli on the corner of 53rd and Oak Creek Drive.

As they do, beer is sold is portions of sixes, so with three riders, we selected a 12 pack. With the conclusion that it would be the appropriate procedure to stash the extra beers, one at each summit for others to enjoy, we filled Sean’s backpack with all 12 while he wasn’t looking and then set off.

The first peak is actually only a small hill, aptly named Bald Hill, but what it lacks in elevation it makes up for in spades on its greased lightning trails. Slipping and sliding our way off the peak, giddy with our quest, we set our sights on the next, much higher summit.

Topping out on McCullough Peak for summit number two, the wind had picked up considerably. Our soggy frozen fingers struggled to rack the beers, but we got it done, downed the nectar, stashed the extra and then sent it down one of the gnarliest trails in the forest.

Exciting the bottom of South Side Slip coated in mud and laughing, we steeled ourselves for the final push to summit three.

Good natured shit talking became joking half attacks became full throttle race mode as the summit approached and we raced our way to the large tree marking the top of Dimple Hill.

As we downed our final beverages and looked out over the soggy city, the wave of nostalgia was almost enough to convince Sean to disrobe and shred the final descent au natural, but fading light and a worry of shrinkage (and common sense) took over and we headed down into town to gorge on the best Thai Food in the universe.

A final round of high fives was exchanged as we saddled up for the final cold solo miles back home. Tired, cold, covered in mud and with a perma-grin plastered all over my ugly mug, I said a silent what’s up to all those who have completed the Three Peaks Challenge before, and to all those who would follow in our sketchy footsteps. Get it!

Cory Wallace Report: Annapurna 24

Recently, Kona Adventure Team rider Cory Wallace attempted a monster challenge: complete the Annapurna Circuit in under 24 hours and raise $1,000 USD to help build a training center for Nepalese cyclists. This is no minor feat. The Annapurna Circuit is a grueling 215km ride at super high altitude with zero amenities en route. Riding fully self-supported on his Hei Hei DL, Wallace knew the ride would be a challenge, but what he endured was far beyond his imagination. The good news? He made it… in 23:57, just under the wire and managed to double his fundraising goal. It wasn’t without tribulations, though, and Wallace has an intense report up on his website to share with the world. Grab a coffee and give it a good read. It’s an incredible story. Congrats, Cory! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

 

Velonews Highlights Kerry Werner’s Rising Star

 

Velonews has released a profile on Kona cyclocross rider Kerry Werner that tells of Werner’s big goal: to dominate the CX field. Werner has had strong results this season and continues to improve each year. Check out the full story on Velonews.

And, just in case you’re looking for a little motivation today, check out Kerry in our video, Cross/Roads.

Introducing the 2017 Kona Bikes Pro Teams

For 2017 the Kona pro team roster has expanded. As with years past we have two distinct teams in the Kona family, and in 2017 both of these teams have had their scope expanded to include a wider range of athletes and events. Our 2017 Team pages feature an interview with each rider with some serious and some not-so-serious questions, a gallery of images, and links to their media on the Cog blog.

Kona Endurance / Adventure Team

endurance adventure team portraits

The Kona Endurance and Adventure Team returns for 2017 ready to continue its global reputation for two-wheeled excellence. From gravel grinders to cyclocross, marathon adventures to pure, hard-core cross-country, and the ever-popular enduro, it’s all good, all of the time.

The 2017 Kona Endurance and Adventure Team brings incredible young talent to the races with Rhys Verner, Amira Mellor and Kerry Werner. Combined with the veteran squad of Spencer Paxson, Kris Sneddon, Cory Wallace, Barry Wicks, and Helen Wyman, the team is set to turn heads and nail down podiums around the world.

Meet the 2017 Kona Endurance / Adventure Team.

2K17_Team_endurance_adventure

Kona Gravity / Enduro Team

gravity enduro team portraits

For 2017 Kona is supporting athletes in both gravity and enduro disciplines. From the Enduro World Series to the Downhill World Cup to freeride, our riders are pushing the limits of the sport. Take three of Australia’s fastest downhillers, a quick junior downhiller, a big mountain specialist hailing from Canada, and four fast enduro riders stepping up from our Super Grassroots program, and you’ve got the makings of one of the world’s most exciting mountain bike teams.

With the podium contending skills of Connor Fearon, Josh Button, Tegan Molloy, and Anthony Poulson on the World Cup DH circuit, Graham Agassiz at Rampage and on the big screen, and Ryan Gardner, Scott Countryman and siblings Jonathan and Leah Maunsell holding down all things enduro, big things are happening with Kona’s Gravity and Enduro team in 2017.

Meet the 2017 Kona Gravity / Enduro Team.

2K17_Team_SponsorsGroups_gravity