Crankworx

Reflecting on Crankworx

Words by Hannah Bergemann, who was having an incredible race at the Whistler EWS, holding on to 11th place when an irreparable flat forced her to pull out on the final stage.

Crankworx started off with practice for the enduro. It was my first time getting to hang out and ride with the Kona Gravity team.

Practice was fun and challenging with lots of trails and features to remember in and out of the bike park. Conditions were a bit dry, but the trails were running great. It was awesome to see the skills of racers cruising down the tracks and choosing their lines.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Day 1 started off late in the evening with the Top of the World queen stage. It had been threatening to rain all day but continued to hold off as we rode lifts up to the alpine. I was nervous and stiff at the start of the stage resulting in a small wash-out that required me to stop and straighten crooked bars. After a few minutes, I began to warm up and felt much better towards the end of the 24-minute stage. I felt a huge improvement from last year where I was just surviving towards the end, trying to make it down in one piece. This year I rode conservatively, saving energy expecting to get fatigued again like last year. In hindsight, I wish I had been a little more aggressive and pushed harder. I finished stage 1 in 28th place.

Right after finishing the first stage, the storm finally rolled in, and rain started to fall heavily. It didn’t let up all night and continued into the morning leaving the trails muddy and slick. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Boris Beyer Photo

The 2nd day started with a pedal across the valley to a trail called Jaws. The stage had some steep, gnarly rock rolls and chutes covered with slimy roots that were now very slick. My run was messy, but I made it down without any crashes and felt pretty good about that.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Boris Beyer Photo

The next stage brought us over to Blackcomb to ride Roam in the Loam and Golden Boner. Both fun trails to ride, but hard to race with lots of steep, punchy climbs and one long grueling road sprint in the middle. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Boris Beyer Photo

After a pit stop, Stage 4 was back in the park at the top of the Garbo lift. We rode rocky Whistler tech trails down to Creekside on some new and insanely rooty trails that were wild in the wet. My goal was to ride smooth and hold momentum through all the crazy roots. I was nervous, but it ended up being an awesome run for me. I found a stride in the wet conditions and found myself in 11th place after this stage.

Stage 5 was a raw, low angle track that became a mess with the rain and hundreds of racers. I dabbed my feet in most corners and found my wheels in several muddy holes trying to get through the stage. I held onto 11th place and was excited to be almost done with the race.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Boris Beyer Photo

The last stage started back on the upper mountain on In Deep. The tech sections were spicy in the rain, with lots of slippery rocks. After popping out onto the expressway road, I was trying to hold my speed when my front wheel found a rock in the wrong place, burping my front tire flat in a few seconds. I tried to continue on, sprinting up and across the road sections and dropping into the next trail with the front flat. When I got down to Clown Shoes, a little spill on a slippery rock reminded me of the steep rock sections ahead and that it wouldn’t be safe to ride it with the front flat. I pulled over to try and repair it. After no luck with my CO2 or my tube, I decided to pull out of the race. 

Luckily my friend Tyler happened to be standing right there on the track, so we walked down together as the race finished up down in the village (and shared a beer on the way down).

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Tyler Deschaine Photo

I was super bummed to have to pull out right at the end but was also super proud of the way I rode in the gnarly conditions, coming back from 28th to 11th place in the end, and for keeping my body healthy!

I learned a ton and had a lot of fun during this race, and was stoked to see some huge improvements from last year! I’m heading down to Tahoe for the next round today, and hoping I can put together a good race! 



Miranda Miller 6th at Cranwkworx AirDH

Kona gravity team rider Miranda Miller finished in a solid sixth place on Wednesday aboard her Process 153 in the Air Downhill race at Crankworx Rotorua. Miller, whose primary focus is the Enduro World Series, was thrilled with her placing and looking forward to practicing for the EWS race, which starts tomorrow.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG PC: Andy Vathis

Up next for the Kona team is Speed and Style with Caleb Holonko, happening today. You can stay up to date with all Kona team riders and the events with our Crankworx Post here.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG PC: Andy Vathis

Hannah Bergemann’s First EWS

Words by Kona Supreme, Hannah Bergemann

I successfully finished my first EWS at Whistler last weekend. It was such a cool experience to ride and race with some of the world’s best in one of the best places!

Some highlights of the weekend started with practice on Friday and Saturday. I got to ride some amazing and classic Whistler trails in the bike park and in the valley with people from all over the world. Some rain on Saturday evening made for some tacky dirt and helped hold off the dust for the race.

Race day started with a pedal through the village over to the Blackcomb trails. I was nervous about making my start time and pedaled maybe a little too quickly up the steep road to Microclimate for stage 1. I rode conservatively on this stage with my nerves running pretty high, but rode clean and relatively smooth for such a technical trail.

Stage 2 brought us back up the road to Crazy Train, an even steeper, gnarlier version of stage 1, with more than a few big moves. I felt like I rode my best on this stage, passing a few people and riding clean on all the big features.

After pedaling around Lost Lake and getting stuck in a long line for the Creekside gondola, I rushed over to stage 3 and made my start time with a few minutes to spare. Stage 3 on Delayed Fuse was a bit of a contrast to the previous stages with some steep chutes and greasy roots. I made a few mistakes and ended the stage with a slightly crooked brake lever after a minor tumble in some wet roots.

After a short transfer, I started down stage 4. This stage had a bit more flow, a lot more pedaling than previous stages. I finished completely out of breath but had a clean run.

For the last stage, I took 3 different lifts and gondolas to get to the Top of the World. This stage started us across a suspension bridge hanging across two peaks. The final stage was expectedly brutal, descending 5500 feet from the Top of the World to the bottom of the bike park, and I was definitely low on steam at the end of the day. The top of the stage is basically a 3.5 mile long rock garden. After descending that, we still had to descend another 3000 feet all the way down the bike park (through some rather bump filled, dusty and blown out trails) to the base of the park where we started. When I finally finished the race, I had to peel my hands from the handlebars.

I ended up placing 25th overall, a solid midpack finish for my first EWS. My bike was running great all weekend despite taking some serious abuse on all the Whistler trails. Thanks to everyone for all the support this season!! Looking forward to trying some more big races next season!

Crankworx 2018

It’s been a whirlwind week as we wrapped up Crankworx Whistler, 2018 this past week. We rode the rollercoaster of a parched and smokey Whistler, BC for 10 days and what a ride it was!

With no official booth on site, we spent most of our week competing in events, catching up with old industry friends, and riding some of the best trails in the world.

Kona athletes had a strong showing in the EWS, Speed and Style, Air Downhill, Whip Offs, and the Canadian Open.

The Riders

Tristan Lemere, who took first place in the men’s junior category for Air DH AND Canadian Open DH!

 

EWS racer Alexander Kangas

 

EWS racer Scott Countryman

 

EWS racer and Kona Supreme, Hannah Bergemann

 

Super stylish mega whip master, Caleb Holonko

 

Downhill racer Anthony Poulson

 

Downhill racer and current holder of the #10 world ranking, Connor Fearon

 

Master of style and going big, Graham Agassiz

 

The Action

Kangas on course at the EWS

 

Bergemann navigating the Whistler forests during the EWS

 

Countryman on his way to 69th place in the EWS

 

Lemere on his way to victory in the Air Downhill

 

Kangas finished 35th on the iconic A Line track

 

Connor Fearon seems to really love the number 10. 10th place in the Air DH for the Aussi.

 

Anthony Poulson on A Line

 

Caleb Holonko in Speed and Style

 

Fearon going big in Whip Worlds

 

Aggy always gets sideways during Whip Worlds. Unfortunately, he went down and broke his scapula. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery!

 

Holonko made it to finals and was boosting huge the entire session.

 

Holonko in the stratosphere

 

Connor on his way to a scorching 2nd place in the Canadian Open DH.

Tristan Lemere taking his second gold of the week at the Canadian Open DH!

Congrats to all of the athletes and their amazing results. That’s a wrap for Cranwkorx 2018!

Under a Rotorua Moon – Kona Gravity Rider Anthony Poulson Gets sideways in the Whip-Off Finals

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” Coach Taylor’s mantra from Friday Night Lights applied to the Kona Gravity Team’s youngest member last night as he made the finals at the Crankworx Whip-Offs in Rotorua. The weather earlier in the week has wrecked havoc with the Crankworx schedule and the Whip-Offs were moved from their original timeslot in the daytime to an evening slot under lights. Anthony is in town for the DH but loves getting sideways and could not pass up the opportunity to compete in the event. The Downhill is taking place later today we are hoping Anthony can translate his style on the massive double to a solid result on the race track!

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“Yes yesterday’s DH training went really well, the track was super slippery so I put two Maxxis shorty’s on and had a lot of fun. Today’s training didn’t go as planned though. I had a big crash in my first run which left me with a really sore shoulder, I decided to not do any other runs today especially because they were talking about moving the race to Sunday. Now it turns out it’s tomorrow morning! I’ll be changing up some of my lines because the track is pretty much dry now and I’ll hope it’ll work, should be good fun. Tonight was the whip-off comp too, on probably the sickest jump I’ve ever ridden. Had so much fun and made it until the end so I’m really happy!” – Anthony Poulson

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Kona Does Crankworx Good – The Full Report

_g5y4533Andreu wins VW Best Trick, Bas takes 4th in Slopestyle, Joe Smith Shreds, Grassroots Cleans House

In the six years since it’s inception, Crankworx has become the biggest, wildest, most diverse mountain bike festival in the world. Multimedia shows to live music, outdoor demos to epic parties, and lest we not forget, every single kind of gravity fueled mountain bike competition you can think of: enduro straight through to women’s slopestyle.

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