CX

Tulsa Tango

After eating way too much turkey and having way too much fun with friends over Thanksgiving it was time to get back between the tape for the last C1 weekend of the North American CX season.

Doug had dropped the trailer in Tulsa after Louisville so we both flew in and met up on Thursday. We stayed at Jill and Chris Dakin’s house, who were amazing all weekend. Their two 11 year-old boys raced the weekend, Chris did the P 1, 2 race both days, and the whole family came to support all the races all weekend.

Friday, we spent a lazy morning getting ready to check out the course, which opened at 3 pm. Though there is not a lot of elevation change in the park Tanner and the course designers put together a fun track. There was an up and down sandpit, a slick creek crossing, an unpredictable creek crossing, some fun single track in the woods, and some stairs that were rideable.

Day 1 the course went counter clockwise and Day 2 was the opposite.

I was prepared for some tactical racing as the course wasn’t physically demanding. The key was to keep it together as you were seeing red on the rev limiter. One dab or slip up could open up a gap, though, the gaps were hard to maintain due to the nature of the course.

After another pre-ride Saturday around noon, I opted for the Donnelly file treads at 21F-24R.

 

The gun sounded and we were routed straight into the sand section. The field was strung out and we had a large group at the front for the first half of the race. It wasn’t until 5 or 4 to go that the front group was a definite group of 5: Tobin Ortenblad, Gage Hecht, Lance Haidet, Cody Kaiser, and myself.

With three to go Gage dropped his chain on the steps and then it was Lance, Tobin, and I at the front. Gage clawed his way back on as we started 1 lap to go. I found the front halfway through the last lap, which is when we entered the single track. Soon after that we approached the finish.

I thought being in the front at that point was crucial to holding the chasers off. As we came upon 200m to go I was sure I was going to have the win until I went to the outside around a right-hand corner to avoid the steeper part of a ditch crossing, the line that everyone took all race. Tobin came in hot and sent it straight over the ditch on the inside to chop me in the exit of the corner. I was on his wheel but there was no room to move up in the final corners of the race and he held me off for the win.

That one hurt. I was looking forward to getting a C1 win this season and that was my last chance. While it was my best C1 finish, it didn’t come with the satisfaction that those kinds of finishes usually provide. I was feeling physically strong all day and comfortable in the technical bits but Tobin found the chink in my finish strategy armor. Ellery, Chris’s 5 year old daughter, burst into tears when I crossed the line in second because she wanted me to win so bad. I am glad she acted out my emotions so I didn’t have too. Heh.

There exists a sliver lining, though. We went back to the host house and grilled out, had a cocktail or two, and ate outside on a 60ºF night in the beginning of December, but apparently, global warming is “fake news”.

After a pre-ride of Sunday’s course, I opted for MXP’s at 23F-25R. There were a few more roots exposed and the extra grip comforts me when I am riding aggressively, which was the plan for the day.

The wind was howling all afternoon and I knew that would make it even harder to break up the field. No one wants to stick their nose out in the wind and pull everyone along with them, especially on a tactical course like Ruts n’ Guts.

Sure enough, we had a huge group of 15 strung out two laps in, then 10, and then 8. Finally, with about 4 to go, it was a group of 5. Again, I was feeling strong and thinking ahead to the end of the race, where my positioning should be and how to hold off Tobin’s, infamous, last half lap charge.

Just as we entered the woods section after the finish we dipped down and turned left across a small rise. I took a hard pedal stroke out of the corner and SNAP! I managed to break my chain.

I was far from the pit and there wasn’t much I could do but kick push and run. I got a new bike from Doug and proceeded to do damage control. There wasn’t much to race for except the purpose of finishing the race, going hard, and anger management. I could have easily thrown in the towel as I wasn’t going to get any UCI points and the payout for a C2, outside of the top five, isn’t worth getting out of bed for. But I stayed on the gas and stayed in the race mentally, which is a positive take away.

After the race, I was bummed out. I was feeling good all race and looking forward to shaking it up on the last lap to contend for the win, which is the about the only positive take away. There is comfort in knowing that my result on paper was a direct result of something I couldn’t control rather than having a biomechanical. The fitness is there but so was a small lapse in oversight from lady luck.

It’s on to the next one! I’m heading to Hendersonville, NC, which is 2.5 hrs from Winston-Salem and a race I have done for the last 4 or 5 years. I got my first UCI win there and I am looking forward to the course changes that Tim Hopkins, NCCX race promoter and course designer, has made. There isn’t any rain in the forecast but the temps are dropping into the mid 40’s and lows in the 20’s overnight. Maybe we will have some freeze/thaw slick but at least we will be in long sleeve skin suits.

CX Fest in Quebec Was One of a Kind

Nothing short of fun, laughs, and great riding at the CX Fest in Montreal this year. The sub-zero temperatures didn’t stop riders from having a blast on the track custom made by organizer Emile Robillard, who only had one goal in mind: put an event together where people are just having a good time riding their bikes. But, how much fun can it be running to your bike, riding through a school bus, getting into a jungle of pool noodles and avoiding hanging pickles? (Yes, CX is eclectic, but that’s what makes it fun!) See for yourself :

YouTube Preview Image

The event raised just short of $2000 to help out building trails in the area, and organizers would like to thank their partners, La CordeeGroupe Plein Air Terrebonne, and Kona Bikes for their support. Cx Fest will definitely be back next year!
Photos by Judicael Aspirot – Instagram @judjudjud
Video by Maxime Trudel – Instagram @mt_lab

Kona Cyclocross star Helen Wyman takes her first season win

Kona’s newly redesigned carbon Super Jake found its way onto the top step of of a Swiss podium in the weekend, piloted by legendary Kona CX superstar Helen Wyman. It’s her third podium of the season and sure sign she is back in top form!

“This weekend was a first major European road trip as I got to experience the EKZ Cross Tour for the first time after a long drive to Switzerland. It’s a series I’ve heard a lot about and have wanted to start for a long time. The race was a C1 in Aigle, the home of the UCI, and I’m happy to say to I won. It’s been a year since my last CX win, and it’s a relief, and shows I’m getting back to my pre-accident form. The next big race is the first European World Cup of the season in Koksijde”Helen Wyman

Kona’s Kerry Werner goes in to battle at the Charm City Slug Fest

I was checking the weather all week. The meteorologists where calling for 80% chance of rain on Sunday and I couldn’t have been happier. I was looking for something to break up the racing so I wouldn’t have to think so much during. However, then I saw the Charm City twitter update about the massive 21 stair flyover and thought that getting off the bike four times in one lap should help crack open some gaps.

Doug and I showed up Friday around noon, a little early as I couldn’t check out the course until 4:30. Doug got the compound ready and I went off for lunch with the Donnelly Tires crew. Ricoh Riott with Running Quail Productions was not only serving as our host house for the weekend but also doing the filming for a video coming out about the new Super Jake and how it raced at Charm City. He also brought Doug his favorite snacks…

After getting on course we headed downtown to a nice Korean joint for some authentic Bi Bim Bap (rice bowls).

Saturday morning was spent watching Euro CX racing and scarfing down pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup that Jamey Driscoll brought me from his recent visit home.

I got to the course around noon and was immediately greeted by the one and only David Carey. The kid with a bigger heart than I could ever hope to have. He is diagnosed with pre B acute lymphoblastic leukemia but certainly doesn’t let the disease own him. He is a fighter and loves to ride bikes so it was only natural that we get out for a half lap on the course.

The good news is that the intensity of his chemo treatment has thinned out to more intermittent visits, though, his energy levels are easily tapped out. His motivation is plentiful though and it sure was humbling to pedal the course with David knowing that while he could only physically do a half lap he wanted to be out there all day. He’ll get there.

After some fun in the sun on course, I chilled and got into the normal routine of things. The last five weekends have all been the same. Doug and I have even developed a formula for when I get on the trainer. I add 10min to the start time (4:15 at Charm so 4:25) then subtract 1 hr (3:25) and that is when I get on the trainer. This gives me 25-30min of warm up and gets me off the trainer at 20min before the race. Then I have 5min to go to the bathroom, do some leg swings and loosen up before spinning around the start grid. They always say 15min before for staging but they are always a little behind schedule for that.

The hat dropped and I found myself floundering to get in my pedal off the line. I was sitting around 10th once we got off the start straight and into the course. This wasn’t a huge deal, though not ideal, I was patient and moved up over the first 2 laps. With the course being so fast and dry there was no need to be at the front to catch early breaks. The first half of the race saw a big group of six or seven riders.

I found the front a few times but getting away was futile. The course had a few punchy bits but then there were some long stretches that would allow someone, who was gapped, to claw back onto the group. The last lap saw a group of four, Jeremy Powers leading, I was on his wheel, followed by Tobin, and then Stephen. I was happy to be sitting second wheel, though I was a little gassed from a dig I put in with two laps to go. That effort with two to go may have been the reason I ended up fourth.

With half a lap to go I was still sitting second wheel then after a stair section, Tobin dive bombed me on the inside and I tried to get him back on the next corner. I couldn’t get the spot back and got slowed down in the meantime so Stephen came around me and that is where I sat. Tobin went on to nip J-Pows, and Stephen hung on for third.

I was happy to be there at the end but a little chuffed at my lack of tactical prowess and inability to be patient. I didn’t have quite enough in the tank to be as aggressive as I needed to be at the end and I paid the price by watching the podium from my tent on the trainer instead of standing up there.

My parents came to the race because Baltimore is only 2.5 hrs from my Pa residence, Emily and I went out to eat with them in Hamden area, noodles, followed by ice cream at the Charmery, a staple in my recovery routine.

Sunday had the same schedule as Saturday. The rain had come down early in the morning but it was nowhere near as torrential as it needed to be. The course was so dusty and dry that every drop was soaked up and made the track faster. The dusty corners turned into Velcro by the time 4:15 rolled around, which always feels great to race but it also makes everyone a great bike driver.

I had a much better start today and found myself sitting third wheel for the first two laps as Stephen drove the pace. I stuck my nose out there for a bit and then Stephen got back on the front and Spencer Petrove weighed in as well. We were starting to crack Tobin a bit but he was fighting like hell. We would lap him by a few seconds and he would pull it right back on the long straight efforts.

This should have been my cue to take it easy and save some for the end of the race but, again, I was certain I could dislodge Tobin and then sit on while Hyde and Spencer took the reins.

This kind of happened. Spencer threw down after I put a dig in and gapped Tobin off the back of him and Hyde. I was on Tobin’s wheel though and was weary to jump around him right away because I didn’t want to bring him back into the mix, I was also gassed and reluctant to give it another go at the moment.

Thus, Spencer and Hyde stayed away then I put a little attack on Tobin with half a lap to go and rode in for 3rd. Tobin rode strong considering we were all gunning for him. But it was good to get him off the top step and off the podium.

Now for a little R&R! five weekends in a row sure makes the cross season go by fast but I am looking forward to, one, not race this weekend, and two get some consistent training in before the next few rounds of the US Cup CX.

Doug gets to fly home too. We will reconvene at DCCX in two weekends time then hit Cincy and Louisville for Pan Am Champs and the last couple rounds of the US Cup series.

 

CX Magazine Rides the All New Kona Jake: “A worthy successor in the company’s long history of cyclocross bikes…”

Andrew Yee from Cyclocross Magazine joined us for our drop bar launch in Squamish last month. With the all new Jake series out in the wild, we’re happy to share Andrew’s in-depth look at our completely revamped cyclocross platform.

“Kona has kept the Jake line simple: an elegant, race-worthy three-bike line-up that is a worthy successor in the company’s long history of cyclocross bikes.”

There’s a ton of information in this article: geometry considerations and comparisons, spec talk and ride impressions, and a huge gallery with images of all three Jake models. Head on over to CX Magazine to check it out!

Journalists and the Kona Endurance Team gather to ride new 2018 cyclocross bikes. 2018 Kona Jake cyclocross bikes. © Cyclocross Magazine

 

Nous vous présentons le tout nouveau Kona Jake

Des vélos de cyclo-cross polyvalents et prêts pour la course

Compétition de cyclo-cross, vélotaf, bikepacking, le Jake est l’un des vélos les plus versatiles de la gamme Kona depuis son introduction au catalogue il y a 20 ans. Tout a commencé avec un vélo dédié à la compétition en cyclo-cross mais qui est rapidement devenu pour un véritable vélo à tout faire.

Une refonte en profondeur

Cette année le Jake a été complètement redessiné avec de nouveaux cadres en carbone et en aluminium, une fourche en carbone, des axes Shimano “thru-axles” et des freins à disques hydrauliques “Flat Mount” sur toute la gamme.

Joe Brown, chef de produit Kona à propos de la nouvelle gamme Kona Jake 

Trois nouveaux modèles

Née dans les ornières boueuses et les tranchées sablonneuses de la Coupe du monde cyclo-cross, la série Jake de cette année redistribue les cartes avec un tout nouvel ensemble cadre / fourche en carbone. Cela fait deux décennies que les coureurs apprécient le Kona Jake et qu’ils savent que ce n’est pas n’importe quel vélo de cyclo-cross. Pour 2018, le Jake est plus léger, plus rigide et conserve l’essence de ce qui en a fait un vélo de classe mondiale, apprécié par tous ceux qui l’ont roulé.

Super Jake

Le Super Jake est fait pour la course. Un tout nouveau cadre et une fourche en carbone avec fixation d’étriers de frein Flat Mount, axes Shimano thru-axles avant et arrière et fixations pour garde-boue. Voilà les éléments communs à la famille Jake de cette année. Le Super Jake est au sommet de la gamme, équipé d’une transmission SRAM Force 1x, de freins à disque hydrauliques, de roues et pneus Clement tubeless-ready. Que vous visiez la première marche du podium ou que vous rouliez simplement pour le plaisir, le Super Jake sera votre allié.

Super Jake Specs

Spécifications Super Jake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Roues : Clement Ushuaia Wheelset Tubeless Ready
  • Fourche : Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100x12mm
  • Pédalier : SRAM Force 1 X-Sync
  • Transmission : SRAM Force 1 11spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road Light bar, Kona Road Deluxe stem and Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : SRAM Force 1 HRD
  • Pneus : Clement MXP Tubeless Ready 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB SL8 Pro

 

Major Jake

Notre tout nouveau cadre et fourche avec fixation de freins à disques Flat Mount et axes Shimano thru-axles à l’avant et à l’arrière est l’évolution du Jake, né dans les ornières boueuses et les tranchées sablonneuses de la Coupe du Monde de cyclo-cross. Un groupe Shimano 105 2×11, des freins hydrauliques et une paire de jantes WTB montées avec des pneus Clement tubeless-ready. Major Jake : taillé pour la course, parfait pour tous les jours.

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tubeless-ready. Major Jake : taillé pour la course, parfait pour tous les jours.

Spécifications Major Jake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Roues : WTB i19 Asym
  • Fourche : Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100x12mm
  • Pédalier : Shimano RS500
  • Transmission : Shimano 105 11spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road Light bar, Kona Road Deluxe stem and Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : Shimano 105 hydraulic flat mount
  • Pneus : Clement MXP Tubeless Ready 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB SL8 Pro

 

Jake the Snake

Le Jake The Snake a longtemps été le vélo de cyclo-cross à tout faire : course le dimanche et vélotaf le lundi. Cette année le Jake reçoit un tout nouveau cadre aluminium avec passage des câbles en interne, une nouvelle fourche carbone et les axes avant et arrière thru-axles. Une touche de modernité pour un vélo intemporel, alors que les fixations pour garde-boue et porte-bagages sont toujours présents, conférant au Jake sa polyvalence légendaire.

Spécifications Jake the Snake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminum Butted
  • Roues : WTB STP i19
  • Fourche : Kona Carbon Cross
  • Pédalier : Shimano
  • Transmission : Shimano Tiagra 10spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road bar and stem, Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : Shimano Hydraulic flat mount
  • Pneus : Clement MXP 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB Volt Sport

 

Cross/Roads with Kerry Werner

Le coureur pro Kona Kerry Werner est un athlète insatiable, il voit chaque entraînement comme une occasion de se dépasser. Regardez la vidéo ci-dessous et découvrez l’album photo du tournage en cliquant ici.

Kerry Werner met en lumière la polyvalence du nouveau Major Jake dans Cross/Roads.

Rendez-vous sur Konaworld.com, pour connaitre tous les détails des nouveaux Jake et sur cette page pour les caractéristiques techniques.

Cross/Roads with Kerry Werner and the All New Kona Jake

Cross/Roads

Kona Pro cyclocross racer Kerry Werner knows that ‘cross is always coming. He sees his everyday training rides as an opportunity to get rad. In Cross/Roads, we take you into Kerry’s world prior to the 2018 cyclocross season. We apologize in advance if you find yourself digging out your cowbell after this one.













20 Years of Jake

The Jake has a long pedigree here at Kona – twenty years to be exact. It began as a race-bred cyclocross bike but was quickly identified by those who rode it as an excellent all-arounder. ‘Cross racing, commuting, backroad adventuring, the Jake is one of the most versatile bikes in the Kona lineup.

Kerry is riding the Major Jake, one of three all-new models in the Jake series. You can find detailed information on the new Jakes at Konaworld.com, and in our development story with technical video and photo details on our Innovation page.