Endurance 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…

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

Imaginary Domination Under the Eye of Stravaman

After suffering a mishap 15-miles in to a 54-mile day, Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson shares his experience of what possessed him to keep riding real hard through the forests of the Black Hills.  

On the penultimate day of March, spring seemed preterm in the Black Hills (Capitol Forest) outside of Bordeaux, WA. Just shy of 200 bike riders gathered in the chilly, misty fields of the Evergreen Sportmen’s Club, set at the edge of the forest. Named for its border with the Black River, which is named for the “dark water” of Black Lake, the woods of the Black Hills did not hide their sinister nature. Indeed, the Eye of Stravaman loomed over all who pedaled through.

Spooky woods

Bordeaux, WA circa March 1903. Not much has changed except that there are bicycle races here on the weekends.

This was the sophomore year of the Cascadia Super G, put on by the Race Cascadia crew, which is best known for its regionally popular Cascadia Dirt Cup Series. This event was intended as a blend of enduro-meets-road-racing, or what these days we popularize as “gravel racing”.  At 9:30am we set out on a 54-mile course (shortened by 1 mile due to logging activity) to see just how we would fare. Unfortunately, the enduro timing system (which was supposed to record special downhill segments along the way) had been stuck in customs, so aside from the clock ticking at the finish line, we were all left with the Eye of Stravaman to decide the (unofficial) champion of the “race within the race”.

They say few can endure its terrible gaze, but for better or worse, with the Eye staring down, it didn’t matter so much when I suffered a nasty gash in my sidewall just 15 miles in, which I proceeded to have trouble fixing. After a few false starts of plugs, CO2s, boots, pumps, and even a nice helping hand who pulled over to see that I was alright (thank you, kind Sir!) I had lost around 18min. The race was rightly over, so it was time to go in to TT mode and let the Eye see what I was made of.

Blazing through moody clearcut vistas and spooky woods, I got to say hello again to most of my fellow bike racers who had passed me while I dealt with my mishap. For the next two hours I carried on with the Computer of Power weighing ever heavier on my handlebar. Lured by the Eye, I saw just how fast I could sustain.

With cracks beginning to show at the seams, I crossed the finish line a bit over 3 hours since I’d left it. According to the the clock I was 5th, but according to the Eye, I’d logged the fastest times on the major climb and descent segments. Be that as it may, the Eye grants no real dominion, only imaginary domination. And thus the ride was done and we left the Black Hills behind for another go some other day.

Chris Mcfarland

Racing against myself after getting rolling again…flat-out from mile 15 to 54.

Relive ‘Morning Ride’

 

Spring petals and pastels. Super Jake dressed pre-race like it was ready for an Easter egg hunt (it was Easter Weekend).

Super Jake with CX/MTB gearing combo (46/36 front, 11-40 rear) was the ride of choice for the 2018 Cascadia Super G

Super Jake, super gravel style. It was just an unlucky matter of physics and statistics (okay, and probably rider error!) that got the better of an otherwise burly tire setup.

The Computer of Power, displaying some heavy numbers from the day. It was “flat out” despite “flatting out”.

Crown Town

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

Kona’s Cory Wallace Wins the Highest Mountain Bike Race on Earth

Kona Endurance Team rider Cory Wallace became the first foreign rider to win Nepal’s Yak Attack stage race in its 10-year history. We’re looking forward to hearing about the marathon mountain bike race specialist’s grueling ten days on the bike above 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) elevation when he returns to civilization. For now, we say congratulations to Cory on an accomplishment that has been a long time coming!

Follow Cory Wallace on his blog and on Instagram.

untitled-1