Enduro

The Kona Supremes Sturdy Dirty 2017 Race Report

Amanda crushing some of the classic roots and corners of Tiger. Photo: Patrick M

The weather cleared up just in time for the annual Sturdy Dirty race, aka ‘The Best Race of the Year’. The Kona Supremes, minus Brooky B, pulled up to Tiger Mt. smiling from ear to ear; the stoke was already high. Over 200 women signed up for this all women’s race event. Not to mention that most of the husbands/partners/and supporters of these racers came dressed to impress. By the time the first wave of racers left the parking lot we had already seen a banana suit, a princes’ costume, half-naked cowboys, and an 80’s disco man.

The climb up the Master Link trail went by fast with all the encouragement from the other ladies as well as a few sighting of hecklers along the way. Emerging from the woods and entering the road you could hear the faint sound of music in the distance. The steep climb became easier the closer we got to sounds of the party taking place at the summit. It was all worth it for that adult snow cone.

Hannah B getting really excited for those pineapple skewers provided at the summit. Photos: Chris McFarland

Stage 1: East Tiger Summit was the perfect trail to get all the race jitters out; it was fast, flowy, and fun! It was also just the right length, not too short and not too long. Not to mention that you start out the day with a killer view of Mt. Rainer.

Between stage 1 and stage 2: Beer provided by man in leopard suit named “Jaguar”.

Stage 2: Off The Grid (OTG) trail features lots of roots, rocks, and punchy climbs. Dropper post is key on this trail. This is the longest trail in the race so encouragement from hecklers was much appreciated to keep up the stamina.

Between stage 2 and stage 3: Ribs and Fireball.

Stage 3: Everyone’s nemesis; Joy Ride and Fully Ridged. These trails consist of tight corners, awkward roots, and one particular climb that seems like it lasts forever. Riding these two trails well requires focus and patience. Thankfully we were waved out of the starting gate by beautiful men in pink princess’ gowns in order to boost our confidence.

Stage 4: Legend/Mega Fauna. Depending on which category you were racing this is where the course started to differ. This stage is short and fast, with big berms, and a few rock drops. Most of us agree that this is one of our favorite trails on Tiger Mt. Pro and expert class raced Legend straight into Mega Fuana while sport and beginner class just raced Legend.

Mickey and Steph at the bottom of stage 4 before heading back to the after party.

Between stage 4 and stage 5: Tequila shots prepared by a man in a gorilla suit.

Hannah crushing some of the classic roots and corners of Tiger. Photo: Patrick M

Stage 5: PREDATOR. If this trail doesn’t get you hyped then the men chasing you down it in ass-less chaps sure will. This trail offers a little bit of everything, from gnarly root lines to steep rock gardens, making it the most difficult trail on the mountain. But none the less, that didn’t stop our very own Hannah B from getting in the fastest run, landing her in first place for the pro category. In order words, she was the fastest woman on the whole mountain!

Hannah B snagging the top spot on the podium for Pro. Photo: Chris Mcfarland

Dance off: The Sturdy Dirty team and sponsors sure know how to throw a good party! Complete with beer, burritos, raffle, and a dance off. Supremes pulled off first in the dance battle against Liv and Juliana. Naturally, our moves consisted of dropping it low, shaking booty, and spraying beer on the crowd (Amanda). If there is one thing the Kona Supremes can do, it’s light up the party!

Huge thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this awesome day possible, you rock! See you all in Capital Forest for the next CDC race!

You can keep up to date with The Supremes on their blog here.

Ryan Gardner’s California Enduro Series Round 3 winning Process 111

The California Enduro Series went north this weekend to the rugged coasts of Mendocino County. After two short races on the dusty fast single tracks of Auburn and Monterey, a visit to the redwoods of Northern California was a welcome reprieve. The Wildwood Enduro is also a substantially longer race than most of the California Enduro stops. With over 45 miles and 7k feet of climbing over six physical stages Wildwood promised to test the fitness and concentration of even the most seasoned racers. The race itself was held in the Jackson Demonstration Forest, a green swath of redwood trees and deep drainages less than a mile from the coast. The trails here are a pattern of high speed bench cuts across steep faces followed by shut down corners which all seem to contain overhanging redwood trunks. The result are physical stages requiring dozens of short sprints throughout each race run to get back up to cruising speed as quickly as possible before the next shut down. 

My weapon of choice for this event was my perennial favorite, the Process 111. After a few years of building up this frame I think I have come across the perfect part spec and just look at it! This bike is just a ray of sunshine.Up front I have increased the travel to 140mm with a Fox 34 Factory stuffed with the maximum allowable air tokens which gives me a super progressive feel and keeps the front end from diving too much in the rough stuff. A Fox Float run on the plush side does the work out back.

With all this aggressive geometry and suspension this 111 can get up to speed quickly. Slowing down again with a 200lb rider on it however, takes some doing. This year I upgraded to the TRP Quadium four piston brakes with a 203mm rotor up front and a 185 out back. Being able to slow down quickly means I can break later and is well worth any weight penalty.

For this race I went with my go to tire combo from WTB. A tough casing fast rolling Vigilante up front provides tons of bite for my over the front end cornering style, while a tough casing fast rolling trail boss keeps everything rolling fast. It’s the mullet of tire combos, business up front, party in the back!

Ethirteen provides the only plastic components on this bike with their carbon TRSr cranks and wheels. I have had incredibly good luck with these parts and they have really changed my mind about how durable carbon parts can be. Plus, having some light stuff is ok sometimes too I guess… I have also come to rely on their TRSr cassette to get me through big days. With over 500% range I can always find the gear I need. At the end of a 7k foot day of climbing, it can really make a difference on those last few stages.

VP’s VX Adventure pedals have been my go to for the past few seasons and like most of the other parts of this bike I have sacrificed a bit of weight for a nice big platform that provides comfort and stability worth much more than a few grams.

Being comfortable on my bike, and knowing that it can handle a tough situations (like rider errors) gives me the confidence to get way more loose than I have any business being on a 4” 29er. Throughout the day I had more than a few close calls weaving through the redwoods. Riding out of the forest towards the finish area with a group of great friends, rehashing the days moments of glory and mishaps, I was suddenly hooked on racing all over again. This event was exactly what I had needed. When we all dipped our chips and the times started rolling in it was an added bonus to see that I had laid down a good one and took the win by just five seconds after 28+ minutes of racing. Now it’s time to break out the big bike again as the CES heads back to the Sierra for the DH oriented China Peak in two weeks!

James Rennie Finds the Silver Lining at the Vedder Mountain Enduro

Words by James Rennie. Photo James Cattanach 

When racing, sometimes things don’t go to plan. You can do everything you can to make sure your bike and body are in tip top shape, yet the result at the end of the day shows none of that effort. The first two races of the 2017 season for me certainly haven’t gone to plan!

The 2017 season kicked off with the Pemberton Enduro which is always a favourite of mine, even if I haven’t had the best track record there. This year the PORCA team laid on another great course with a mix of new trails and old favourites. I however got a little too excited in practice and found myself nursing a very bruised and swollen hand which forced me to pull out after the first stage. You win again Pemberton.

After a week of rest and ice my hand was almost back to 100% and ready for the first round of the Canadian Enduro Series at Vedder Mountain, this race also doubled as the first round of the North American Enduro Tour which meant the pro field consisted of 40 riders!

If you haven’t been, Vedder Mountain is a must ride. Its plentiful amount of dirt alone is worth the trip. The course this year was much the same as last year with the addition of a short loam trail to start the day off. This was then followed by the same 3 stages as last year which in total would add up to over 30 minutes of racing with the last stage getting close to the 15 minute mark!

The day started well for me as I fired into the first short stage and found a good flow on the bike, this stage probably wouldn’t decide the race but it was a nice warm up for what was going to be a rather long day. I posted the 4th fastest time on the stage and felt in good shape for stage 2.

Stage 2 would prove to be my undoing. After riding the steep top section fast and in control I started to build some good speed and hit the short climb a few minutes into the stage with a good amount of pace. I then entered the tight middle section and felt great but managed to snag my derailleur exiting a rut, I thought I had got away with it until the cage started to fall to pieces about 30 seconds further down the trail.

At that point I conceded defeat and contemplated rolling back down to the car, my day done, but after watching a few of the guys rip past me I thought ‘this dirt is too good not to ride’ so I hustled a chain breaker and binned by broken drivetrain at the feed station. I raced the rest of the day chainless and even managed a 19th place finish on the 3rd stage even though I had to run and push through a flat and soft lower section.

All in all it wasn’t a total waste. The trails were running perfect and I finished the race having ridden all the stages surrounded by good group of people (some of which even pushed me up the hill), hard to complain really.

Got Mud? Ryan Gardner and Alexander Kangas Embrace Yet Another Wet EWS Round in Madeira

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Alexander Kangas chases Ryan Gardner down one of Day 1’s slippery stages during the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal. Photo Sven Martin

California-based Kona enduro pro Ryan Gardner and Swedish Grassroots rider Alexandre Kangas have made the trip to Madeira, Portugal for round 3 of the Enduro World Series. The pair headed out today to practice on stages 1 through 4. “It’s crazy how different each trail is as you work your way down the mountain.” Ryan is not alone with his statement here, as both riders note that every stage is like an entirely different ecosystem, each containing differing terrain as the race drops from the alpine to sea level.

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Alexander uses his tires to soak up that pesky mud during the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal. Photo Sven Martin

It seems like every Enduro World Series event of late has been battling the elements. Riders who were early to arrive to stop three in Madeira have been enjoying dry weather and riding this past week. But it seems as though the EWS might just be cursed, the moment the official practice kicked off earlier today, the rain arrived.

Looking at the forecasted weather though, it does look like we will see a reversal of the first two rounds, with overcast and sunny days on the horizon. Always looking on the bright side, Ryan was quick to point out that it wasn’t wet all day. “First day of practice was full on! We had a good bit of rain on the higher elevation stages (1+2), but the sun was shining on and off once we made it down to the lower ones.”  Alexander echoed his sentiment “I’m very happy with how the day went, I felt fast and strong all day, the rain made it tricky here and there, but I think it will make for some good racing come the weekend!”

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Ryan Gardner finds off camber gold/loam. Photo Sven Martin

After today’s practice, both riders are pumped for the weekend’s race days, stages three and four in particular. As Ryan puts it “Stage 3 is super gnarly with slippery rocks up top and high speed rough sections down below. The final stage of day one (stage 4) is completely different with deep ruts and good dirt. My process 153 is doing a phenomenal job eating up the chunk add I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow’s practice brings! So far this island is incredible!” Alexander agrees “The first day of practice was great but challenging, we had rain showers on most of the stages today which made things super tricky! Stages 3 and 4 are in my opinion the best, but they are also the most challenging ones!”

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Photo Sven Martin

With tomorrow’s practice looking it might be free of rain, things should go a little smoother for the two Process 153 riders.

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Alexander

During the third stop of the 2017 Enduro World series in Madeira, Portugal.

Ryan.

Leah Maunsell has a Craic at the Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series

This weekend’s racing was round two of the Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series. It is a series run by local clubs and having the craic is a priority. The one day blind race format is unique in that riders do not get to practice in advance, but can attempt the three stages as many times as they like before the cut-off time (usually a maximum of two attempts per stage). The technical standard of the trails and venues is on a par with national enduro competitions so it is a great pre season warm up! It was the driest Irish race of the year so far!

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You can also run the stages in which ever order you like. So judging by track freshness and conditions I decided to do stage 3 first as I thought it would cut up as the day went on. I didn’t have the best start to the day as I had a bit of undergrowth lodge itself in my jockey wheel which jammed up solid so when I tried to put the power down to pedal hard it sent the chain into the spokes behind the cassette. It wasn’t a quick fix causing me to stop and remove it taking a few minutes. After losing so much time I decided to just cruise down the rest of the stage to check it out for my next run. Back up for a re-run straight away and I was happy.

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Next was stage 2, the shortest of the three stages but not without a few kicker climbs. I was happy with how the stage was going until near the end when I heard a really loud hissing from the rear tyre… Dammit a puncture. Back up again to repeat this stage. It wasn’t the best start to day but luckily things got better from here.
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Last stage, stage 1. This was a longer, more pedal heavy stage. I was happy with how this stage went for me but I decided to repeat it anyway because I had lots of time before the stages closed and hoped I could go faster on the second run.

So all in all, even after a few mishaps early on, I was still able to keep it together in my second runs to take the win! Thanks to everyone for their encouragement all day keeping the spirits high. You can’t beat local races for the craic. Cheers Kona Bikes for the awesome Process 153DL.

Kona Super Grassroots Rider Cory Rimmer Wins Brevard Enduro in North Carolina

So this year I have changed my focus a bit, from XC to enduro racing. With limited time to train for longer endurance events and stage races, enduro racing fit perfectly with my schedule. The transition hasn’t been a easy one however, I’ve had to work on my jumping skills and reading the trail at much higher speeds, but mainly I’ve had to work on my mental game the most. If you want to do well at an enduro race you have to be mostly mistake-free, but there is a fine line between going too easy and pushing too hard and crashing. This is a balance I’ve struggled to find until this past weekend in Brevard, North Carolina.

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The Brevard Enduro put on by 3rd Coast Enduro Series was a race I was really looking forward to. I was familiar with the terrain, but due to the high amount of traffic the trails are getting these days, lines are constantly changing. I had pre-ridden the Thursday before and was feeling good about my riding and line choices. Pre-riding also gave me the chance to dial in my Kona Process 153 DL. Due to the rough tracks and high speeds I had to increase the air pressure in my fork and slow down the high speed rebound on my CaneCreek DoubleBarrel Air shock to control the high speed hits. I also switched out my tires to a Maxxis High Roller II with DH casing in the rear and a Minion DHF WT with DoubleDown casing in the front. I took no chances, as the tracks were 95% downhill and very rocky.

Stage 1 was Black Mtn Trail to the bottom of Avery Creek Trail. Everyone was thinking it was going to be a wild day as it had rained all night and things were a little greasy on the climb up. However to my surprise, once I started the stage the trail was in great shape! The tires were digging in great and really boosted my confidence. With the downhill casing tire on the rear I was able to forgo the traditional line that snaked through the rock gardens and was able to just point and shoot right on through. This made for some wild times, but I was able to hang on all the way to the bottom.

After a long transfer and a bit of hike-a-bike with some incredible views, I arrived at stage 2 known as “Upper Black”. This would be the shortest stage at just over four minutes, but was easily the hardest one. It starts off with some fun singletrack with high-speed corners, and then quickly gets you pointed down with some rough rock chutes. As you descend, you gain a lot of speed as you approach the most challenging part of the track. You enter a series of three to four foot drops with landings which can best be described as rocky ditches. Not much of a line as you send off the drops, I just held on and cashed in my luck that I had been accumulating all my life. After some pucker moments I was spit out to scan my chip and finish the stage.

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After telling war stories and describing our near misses with the ground, we all made the short transfer to the third and final stage also known as Middle and Lower Black Mtn Trail. This would be the longest stage of the day at just over seven minutes. At the start everyone was still trying to recover from the arm pump of the previous stage. This would play a factor with my run, as I was barely able to hold the bar at some points. While the upper section was mainly blowout rocky trail as it is tight and steep, the bottom section was more groomed and had more pedal sections. The bottom section also had some smaller jumps that became much more difficult because at that point I was just a blown up blob on a bike trying to make it to the end. Barely able to hang on I had made it to the final scanner and rolled back to the start/finish area.

I had to leave for a collegiate race nearby before awards started and this meant I left before I knew how I had finished. I found out from a friend the next day that I had won the race overall! I was blown away and extremely stoked for my first ever enduro win. The tracks were some of the best all year and the talent ran deep in the pro field, so getting a win here was awesome and a big confidence booster! With two races left in the series, I’m sitting 3rd overall, so now with a win under my belt I will be looking to finish the year out strong!

Two new killer Process 134 models enter the fold

It’s like Christmas has come early! Well not so much Christmas but more like 2016, you see yesterday we launched two new models in the much acclaimed Process 134 line-up, and both just happen to feature our killer new 2016 graphics. First up is the Process 134 Supreme, as you can see we have spared no expense with it’s top drawer build. A SRAM XX1 drivetrain matches up with a RockShox Monarch RT out back and 140mm RockShox Pike RCT3 up front. Shimano’s super popular and always reliable XT brakes (with IceTech rotors) handle stopping duties, while the wheels are a perfect mix of Hope Pro II’s with WTB Frequency i23 rims. WTB’s volt saddle, RaceFace’s Atlas bar and a KS Lev Integra seatpost round out the killer package on this stunning bike. (more…)