Delia Massey

Lost and Found: An Ode to My Honzo

Words by Ambassador Delia Massey. Photos by Kinsey Smith.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

What do you do when your Process 153 is in the shop for a few weeks, but it’s the perfect time of year for big alpine adventure rides? You throw some Minions on your Honzo and get ready for a wild ride! I usually choose my full suspension bike when I have hours of rocky singletrack ahead of me, but I found that my hardtail was more than up to the task and was actually the better choice for some sections. 

Angel’s Staircase is one of the most scenic rides in Washington, passing through forests, around alpine lakes, and up and over mountain passes with sweeping views of the North Cascades. It’s also one of the most challenging and physically demanding rides in Washington, and it’s the second highest trail you can ride in the state, topping out at just over 8,000 feet elevation (Pyramid Mountain in Entiat is about 100 feet higher). The best time to go is late September/early October when the larches have changed color and it’s not blazing hot on the exposed sections. But, you have to time it just right because if you wait too long, you might get snowed out! After getting turned away by a mix of sleet and rain the weekend before, I saw that the third Saturday in September was going to be the perfect day. My Process was getting some service done at the Kona Bike Shop, so my Honzo was my trusty steed for the big day ahead. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG
Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

We woke up at 4am to get to the trail by 9, and as I had predicted, the weather and conditions were perfect. Thanks to the rain the week before, the normally dusty trails were tacky, and while it was clear and sunny out, we never got too hot or too cold. With my pack full of snacks, water, and extra layers, and we set off up the seemingly endless climb. The Honzo is always an excellent choice for climbing, and I had to remind myself to slow down and wait for my fiancé. We passed the point of no return, Cooney Lake, and did the hike a bike section up to 8,000 feet. Hiking with my Honzo was actually quite nice because it’s much lighter than my Process! The rocky descent down the backside was admittedly a bit rough, but I rode most of it aside from the gnarlier switchbacks, and we eventually made it to Boiling Lake. One more big climb/hike (a moto rider cheerfully told us “it’s only four switchbacks!”) and after four very long switchbacks, we got the reward of the final descent down the Eagle Lake Trail. I’m not going to lie, my body felt a bit beat up after almost 25 miles of pretty rough trail and 6,000 feet elevation gain on a hardtail, but the Honzo handled it like a champ. As I stuffed pupusas in my face at our favorite post-ride spot in Wenatchee and reflected on our ride, I couldn’t stop smiling after another great day on the bike. I’m stoked for more big adventures on my hardtail this winter!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

There Cannot Be Light Without Darkness

Words by Kona Ambassador Delia Massey. Photos by Kona Ambassador Riley Seebeck.

Late winter and spring were a journey through darkness for me, but I feel like I have finally come out into the light.

The past few years I have had a policy of “just say yes” to everything—every bike ride, race, trip to Sedona/Moab/Canada, or bikepacking adventure. I thrive off of a packed weekend and post-work schedule of outdoor activities. Getting outside to exercise solo or with friends helps calm my mind and gets me through hours of sitting at a computer for my day job.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

This year, I had to just say “no” to everything so I could focus on my career, and I lost my physical, emotional, and social outlet. I had to take my professional engineering exam in late April, which meant spending my weekends indoors studying in addition to a full workload. It nearly killed my soul, but it’s the biggest and most important milestone in my career, and necessary for me to advance in the environmental consulting field. I put so much pressure on myself to pass the first time (only about 64% of people pass on their first try) and to be the first female PE at my company, that my anxiety about the exam grew to be almost unmanageable. I started having physical manifestations of anxiety like body tingling, shortness of breath, and chest pain, which was a terrifying experience and made it hard to focus on studying*. I would allow myself to go on one bike ride per week, but even then, I would get mad at myself for being out of shape and having rusty skills, and guilty for taking time off from studying. I tried to stay off social media because it made me sad and angry that everyone else was seemingly out having fun all the time, and I had nothing happy or positive to post about.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

As my exam approached, I had to get through my least favorite day of the year—April 9th. This marks the anniversary of my brother’s death in 2016 after a 12-year battle with drug addiction. Every year in the weeks surrounding that date, I relive the intense feelings of grief, anger, and loss at his passing. My anxiety and insomnia grows even worse than normal, and I feel fatigued and exhausted by social interactions. Usually riding my bike is one of my biggest comforts during this time, but I was now studying two days per weekend to prepare for my impending exam. My life was devoid of joy, and I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Exam day came, and I was tired and extremely nervous. I felt like I bombed the first half, and almost drove away at lunch and didn’t come back. I took a deep breath, reminded myself of my inner strength and tried to focus on positive self-talk, and went back in and did better on the second half, but was still afraid that wouldn’t be enough to pass. I went home and spent the weekend in a black depression, thinking I had failed and would have to re-take the exam, which would mean more weekends of studying, and admitting to everyone at my company that I was a failure. I went on a group ride to “celebrate” being done with the test and my friends were shocked at how down I was, compared to my normal cheery self.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Six days later I got my exam result. I HAD PASSED. I was so relieved I started shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t stop crying—my own personal hell was over, I was done forever, my hard work had paid off. The burden of my intense anxiety about the exam mostly melted away and the darkness lifted. For the first time in months, the future looked bright and hopeful. I am still working on fully digging myself out of my mental and physical hole, but I’ve made a lot of progress. I can finally brush the cobwebs off my bikes and start planning out as many summer adventures as I can possibly fit into my schedule!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

*I would like to thank my therapist and my fiancé for their support while I navigated this dark time. There’s no shame in asking for help!

Bikepacking the Denali Park Road

Words by Kona Supreme, Delia Massey. Photos by Delia and her riding partner, Kinsey.

Two days before I left for a week-long vacation to Anchorage, I decided I wanted to bikepack the entire Denali National Park Road. My last-minute trip planning escalated quickly, from realizing that Denali was a 4-hour drive from Anchorage, to discovering that the 90-mile road through the park was only open to bikes and park buses, to finding blog posts from people that had bikepacked the whole 180 miles out and back. I had never full-on bikepacked (just done an overnight with a stay at a hotel), but I figured why not go big for my first real trip?!

My partner in forest crime, Kinsey, reluctantly agreed to my crazy idea, and we quickly rounded up some lightweight gear, packed our bikes and lots of warm layers, and got on a plane to Alaska. The night before we left, I sent an email to Revelate Designs, an Anchorage-based bikepacking company, asking if we could stop by and get some bags the next day. They responded yes, so we got off the plane, picked up our bags, and after a trip to REI for food, a bear can, bear spray, bear bells, and some other emergency supplies, we were as ready as we would ever be!

Fast forward to Sunday, May 27th. Kinsey and I drove up to Denali National Park, checked in with the ranger, and picked out our planned backcountry camping locations (both were around mile 60 on the road, assuming we would cover 60 miles a day for 3 days). We watched a video on park etiquette and safety, which was very useful, but also heightened my fear of having a bear encounter. We had our final meal of burgers and beers at 49th State Brewing, and did a practice run with our borrowed Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 tent at a local campground. Aside from putting on the rain fly inside out, we were dialed.

Monday morning, we got up early and drove to the Denali Visitor’s Center, where a couple of moose wandered the parking lot while we attached our bags to our bikes. We set off around 8:30, starting with the climb up the first 15-mile paved section of road (and the only section open to cars). Spirits were high, our fully loaded mountain bikes were cruising on the pavement, the sun was shining, and excitement was in the air. We got our first views of Denali around mile 9.5, and I was awestruck with how large it was. Rainier seems big, looming over my home of Seattle, but Denali is simply massive. At the 15-mile mark, we came to the gate that only allows bikes and buses through, and we saw our first grizzly bear, near a river. Seeing the size and speed with which the bear moved did not make me feel any better about camping in bear country!

As our tires hit gravel, the adventure truly began. No more cars, just buses full of tourists rumbling by every so often (and that only lasted to mile 53, where the buses turned around due to snow). I felt like we were part of the park as the people on the buses took photos of us and waved. We steadily pedaled mile after mile, with plenty of breaks for food, water, and bathroom breaks. There were bus stops and designated campsites with bathrooms and trashcans along the way, which was a huge help. Water was plentiful, with clear streams from snow melt along the way, so we never carried more than 2 liters each (treated with a Steripen).

We climbed over Sable Pass and Polychrome Pass, both of which offered spectacular views, and made our way to our first campsite on a gravel bar right near mile 60. The park rules dictate that you must camp at least a half a mile off of the road, and must be out of site of the road, which is why I chose to pedal in flats to make the hiking easier. We cooked our freeze-dried dinner, had some M&M’s, and stored our bear can away from both the cooking area and our tent. We attempted to sleep, with sunset around 11:30pm. I woke up at 5:00am with the sun and was convinced there was a giant animal walking around outside our tent, sniffing at our things. Kinsey woke up and poked his head out of the tent, and we didn’t see any evidence of any big animals, so perhaps it was just the wind and my overactive imagination. We did find that his helmet straps had been chewed by a hungry ground squirrel!

Day 2 was bright and sunny, and as we came over the Stony Hill Overlook, we had a crystal-clear view of the south side of Denali. It was absolutely breathtaking. I stopped and took the greatest photo I have ever taken with my self-timer, and after soaking in the views, we pedaled on to the end of the road. We passed many kettle ponds, formed when large chunks of ice detached from a glacier and become buried in sediment and melted, and finally reached Wonder Lake at mile 85, and pushed on to our final stop on the road, a beautiful outhouse between mile 89 and 90, that offered us shelter from the wind to cook lunch, and a stream nearby for water.

After that, we began the slog back up the 30 miles we had just descended. We paused for a bit at the Eielson Visitor Center at mile 66, made friends with a marmot, and kept moving back towards mile 60. We saw a momma bear and 2 cubs around mile 62, headed directly for our planned camping spot. We decided it was safest to continue on a few more miles, finding a bluff at mile 58 with a good view of the surrounding terrain.

We survived without any midnight bear attacks and pushed through a headwind on Day 3 to finish up back at the car around 3:30pm. Tired, delirious, with sore butts and sore legs, we were full of joy and adventure! Riding through the park was the ultimate experience, something you can’t get on a bus or in a car, and I highly recommend it. The wildlife was abundant, and in total we saw 18 grizzlies, as well as caribou, Dall sheep, marmots, countless ground squirrels, ptarmigan, hares, and magpies.

I learned that nothing compares to the simplicity and teamwork of bikepacking. Your only goal for the day is to pedal, and your only concerns are food, water, warmth, and wild animals. It was challenging and painful at times, but I loved it, and I’m already planning my next big trip!

Gear list:

  • Tent: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 (Thanks Mal and Kelly!!)
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation down quilts, 20 degree
  • Cocoon silk mummy liner
  • Thermarest Neo-Air
  • Sea to Summit pillow (for delicate Delia)

On bike (Delia had a Kona Honzo CR Trail DL, and Kinsey was on an Evil Following MB):

  • Revelate Egress handlebar pocket: (snacks, map, gloves, hat, buff, Steripen)
  • Revelate Handlebar Harness and Salty Roll: Sleep system, synthetic puffy jacket, rain jacket and pants
  • Tent (Delia) or bear can with food (Kinsey) attached to harness with pocket
  • Revelate Ranger frame bag (1-L water bottle, fuel, tubes, toilet paper, charger/cords)
  • Revelate Gas Tank (Tools: pump, tire levers, tire plugs, multitool, derailleur hanger, master links, knife, headlamp, ski straps)
  • Revelate Pika Seatbag: full change of base layers, extra fuel, emergency bivy, emergency ponchos, MSR reactor stove
  • Swift Industries Sidekick Pouch w/ Nuun water bottle
  • All food aside from clif bars/shotblocks was carried in the bear can at all times unless cooking!

On Delia:

  • From High Above Cascadia hip pack, with 2L bladder
  • Bear spray!!


  • 3 dehydrated dinners
  • 2 freeze dried breakfasts
  • 1 freeze dried lunch
  • 4 tuna packets
  • 1 bag of beef jerky
  • 1 bag of roasted dark chocolate almonds
  • M&M’s
  • 1 bag of instant mashed potatoes
  • Various clif bars and shot blocks
  • Nuun electrolyte tabs




Kona Supreme Hannah Bergemann reports from the CDC Capitol Forest Enduro race:

Capitol Forest has one of the most stoked and supportive bike communities of any riding zone I’ve traveled to. After a few hours of riding and hanging with the locals, you feel welcomed as part of the crew. Not to mention they work countless hours to build and maintain some of Olympia and Washington state’s best trails and trail systems. They host several events each year, including the Capitol Forest Classic XC race, and their events never fail to be some of the best. The Cascadia Dirt Cup started with their very first enduro race in the area back in 2013, and it’s cool to come back to the original venue and see the massive progression in racing over the last few years.

This year we got to race a completely new trail system on a different side of the mountain. In the past, Cap Forest has been known for its flowing XC trails and long descents. This year was quite different, with several short, steep, and technical descents on freshly built loamy trails.

The race was one of the shorter races of the season but definitely didn’t lack any excitement. We arrived Friday afternoon to pre-ride the course and were surprised with a late spring downpour. Despite getting completely soaked, the rain was happily welcomed as it revived the previously dry and dusty trails.

Just a little wet and muddy after Friday practice

On the day of the race, the sun came out and made the trails just slightly on the wet side of hero dirt.

Stage 1 was a short, technical descent down a trail called stormy. It was surrounded by bright green moss covered trees and ferns that made it feel like a trail deep in a tropical jungle. It was pretty greasy after Friday’s rain, so the main objective was to stay upright on the wet roots.

Photo: Chris McFarland

Stage 2 brought us to the top of the mountain for a longer descent. The first section raced through a clear-cut with fast bermed corners and a few gap jumps.

Stage 3 ducked back into the dense forest for a ripping descent down a trail called “Down and Rowdy”. It was quite fitting as the trail was scattered with jumps, ripping fast sections through the ferns, and technical steep bits.

Stage 4 was my favorite of the day. It was a newly-built downhill track with fast berms, large jumps, and plenty of steep off-camber sections of trail.

Stage 5 was another short, technical trail similar to the first stage with a few crucial line options to save time.

I landed on the podium in 2nd, with Delia right behind me in 3rd! Once again, the Capitol Forest crew never ceases to impress me with their incredible community and trails. Looking forward to next year!