Enduro

Processing the French Alps – Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ride Tignes/Val D’ Isere

Ah, the French Alps. The land of good cheese and great wine. It also happens to be home to two high alpine bike parks that are the perfect proving ground for the all-new Kona Process. This past September, Kona Super Grassroots riders Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ventured to Tignes and Val D’ Isere bike parks where lift tickets are free (no joke) and caught the perfect weather and autumn light making for gorgeous, and rather treacherous big mountain descents. Regnier’s weapon of choice is the Process 165, the perfect bike park, all around ass-kicking machine, while Kangas opted for the Process 153 AL/DL 29er, proving that big wheels love big descents.

Kona videographer Joonas Vinnari and photographer Caleb Smith were on hand to catch all of the action.

Jordan Reginer

Alexander Kangas

The Process line features seven new models that progress our goal to build a bike that not only descends confidently but also climbs exceptionally well. Be sure to check out the full Innovation story for complete details. The Process is available in carbon and aluminum and both 27.5 and 29″ wheels, ensuring a bike for every rider and a bike for every budget.

Process 153 AL/DL 29

Process 165 

Lost Trails Found, Trans Cascadia 2017

An adventure in the woods. Rustic trail. Real fast. Part race, part revelry, part trail stewardship, the Trans Cascadia is all about uncovering ancient trails, creating a valuable resource for those who like to share good times amongst friends going self-powered through the woods on two wheels.  Our own Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson takes us inside a distinctive journey to the Old Cascades of central Oregon as part of the third annual Trans Cascadia, where he partook in four days of riding racing uncovered trail.

Daniel Sharp

A long time ago, before any so-called mountain bikers roamed, a wide web of trail was built in these here hills…the Old Cascade Crest…in a land called now Oregon.

Trails once upon a time meant to move through the forests in order to skirt the flanks of fearsome mountains, to be with the land and to trade things like huckleberries. Later on, to move wagons and pack animals, or to spy forest fires. Eventually, trails just to have trails, to experience nature, and move through the forests. 

Leslie Kehmeier

Eventually the trails were lost, or forgotten. Signs marking the way had become one with the trees, and the path through the forest was no longer.

Mike Thomas

Until, one day, a party gathered in the woods to uncover these old trails and clear their way through the forest again.

Dylan VanWeelden

“Mountain bikers”, they were called. These new trail stewards, those who value a certain way of going through the forest. Many came to rebuild, and then the rest came to ride the handiwork.

Mike Thomas

The goods are best when shared, yet kept secret enough. Undisclosed until the night before, queue cards are handed out in camp and studied under headlamp.

Mike Thomas
Nate Johnson

Like the operators of the old Santiam Wagon Road, the hosts treated their people very well and looked to every detail to make their stay comfortable. Much food is prepped for 100 people spending five nights in the forest. Special ingredients are added to stave off the inevitable loamatosis, which afflicts those who consume lush trail with such gluttony.

Nate Johnson

…and after dinner ceremony, neon dance revelry…

Mike Thomas

…and after neon dance revelry, neon sleep in the woods ritual…

Lyden Trevor

…and come morning, the wheeled stables bring the steeds and their riders out the paved road and on to the primitive trailhead.

Chris Hornbeck

The ride begins along an old way through the forest. The trail is barely perceptible through the thick green moss. Walking.

Mike Thomas

A delicate balance across the creek to the next path. No pole vaulting required, just bike balancing.

Mike Thomas

Eventually out of the thick forest and up into the mid-alpine meadows, kept open long ago for living and hunting, the trail is barely perceptible through the golden grass. Old stone cairns mark the way, and clouds float.

Chris Hornbeck

Across misty, huckleberry-strewn ridge tops they go.

Leslie Kehmeier

As the descent becomes ever closer, the excitement builds.

Mike Thomas

Dropping down through the fiery fall foliage.

Dylan VanWeelden

Travelers were obliged by the swiftness of the trail to join in a train of shred. Unlike covered-wagon routes, these trails are as serpentine as possible.

Shimano

The author foot out, flat out

Mike Thomas

A section of trail ripe with Loamatosis shredarensis

Lyden Trevor

Airborne, peak sustained speeds in the section: 33.6 mph

Leslie Kehmeier

Returning to covered-wagon speed, back uphill again, across the next section of the pass.

Mike Thomas

Trail snacks galore since 1873…

Dylan VanWeelden

Along the Old Cascade Crest…

Mike Thomas

Really, it was like a dream. Repeat.

 

Joe Lawwill

The author and his steed. Spencer ended up 7th overall aboard his 2017 Process 111, snagging a few 4th & 5th stage placings across 16 stages in four days, and over 25,000 ft of descending. Check out more of Spencer’s outings on his blog, or follow along his Instagram account @slaxsonMTB

 

 

 

All New Kona Process Tops the Podium at EWS Finale Ligure

Kona riders were out in force over this past week in Finale Ligure for the final round Enduro World Series. New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland, France and Canada were all represented. The physical and technical nature of the seven stages did take its toll on riders, however: Jonathan Maunsell, Alexander Kangas and Jordan Regnier all had their weekends end abruptly, but our two U21 riders, Leah Maunsell and Rhys Verner, both had weekends they will remember forever.

Rhys had an absolute stormer of a weekend. Not only did he ride the all-new Process 153 CR/DL to the top spot in the men’s U21 category by over a minute, but his time was fast enough to put him in 13th in the pro-men’s field.

Leah, who led after the first day of racing, tried her best in the tightly contested women’s U21 field to lengthen that lead on day two. She’s no stranger to the podium at EWS events but the stop step has eluded her. The final of stage would be her undoing, losing precious seconds relegating her to second place. Not the top spot she was looking for but an amazing result for the young rider all the same.

We have both Rhys and Leah‘s race reports below, along with some fantastic photos from our EWS photographer Sven Martin.

Rhys Verner

What a week for me! This was pretty much a dream trip as far as racing and fun goes. The whole week leading up to the final round of the Enduro World Series was great, going for long rides and just taking in the amazing scenery of Finale! Pre-riding the stages I felt great and right at home on the new Process 153 CR DL and I genuinely couldn’t wait to get the racing underway. The weekend started out with a 20-minute stage from the highest mountain at around 1400m and descended almost all the way back down to sea level.

I’ve always been a fan of the long stages coming from XC but this stage went better than I could have hoped for. I ended up pulling a 39-second lead on the 2nd place U21 rider and had by far my best stage result ever with a time that would have had me 5th in the Elite men’s category. The rest of the day I tried to ride smooth and just stay within my limits as to not toss away the lead. I ended day one with a 36-second lead in U21 and ranked 7th overall.

Day two I woke up again ecstatic to get the racing underway and pedaled up to the stages full of energy and just living the dream. I again rode smooth throughout the stages and ended up winning stages four, five, and six, with one stage left to go I had a 1:14 lead on the nearest competitor. Stage 7 was a rough stage so I played it on the safer side as to get down in one piece and secured my first EWS win with an overall time that would have placed me 13th in the pro men’s field.

I am coming away from this race with a lot of confidence knowing that I can ride with the best and really couldn’t be happier with how the week went! – Rhys Verner

Leah Maunsell

Coming into day two with a 9-second lead after the first day’s racing was great, but I knew it was going to be a tight battle right until the end. With a 50km loop and 1300m of climbing to tackle it was going to be a tough day in the saddle. I was delighted to be battling it out for the top step right until the last stage but missed out by 12 seconds. I could say that I’m a little disappointed, but how could you after a great week riding in Finale Ligure. Getting to finish off my season with some really tight racing and ending it on the beach with some gelato with your mates was amazing! – Leah Maunsell

Process 111 Swan Song & Trans Cascadia Tech Talk with Team Rider Spencer Paxson

Kona team rider and endurance/backcountry specialist Spencer Paxson reports with an in-depth bike & gear check as he preps for the 2017 Trans Cascadia, a renowned 4-day blind format, backcountry enduro event taking place somewhere deep in the mountains of Oregon’s Willamette National Forest on September 28-October 1.    

Just as my 2017 event season began in April with a mountain bike stage race (Pisgah Stage Race in North Carolina), it will conclude in October with another multi-day mountain bike event – the coveted Trans Cascadia, a 4-day blind-format, backcountry enduro race through Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. It’s the sort of event that eager-beaver MTB folks save up for all year in their piggy banks and vacation hours in order to capture a gourmet, catered, well organized wilderness experience with friends, and the remarkable autumn riding conditions unique to the Cascade Mountains.

After a 2-month mid-season break from travel and competition (“parental leave!“), I’m looking forward to representing at this special event – a showcase of trail stewardship, eco-tourism, high-level competition, and plain old good times riding bikes in the woods. One of the special aspects of this event is that it is the impetus and fulfillment of reviving forgotten Forest Service trail networks, expanding high quality recreation resources and bringing them back into the fold for others to enjoy. See a more in-depth write-up from our friends at Pinkbike.

In keeping with the inner geek in most of us mountain bikers, below is a rundown of the gear I’ll be taking along, and my rationale for using it. As I’ve said of previous gear-related posts, hopefully you know to never listen to a sponsored professional, as they never provide unbiased advice…;)…but they do come from experience…

The 2017 Kona Process 111 w/ Team Spec – size Large. Indeed this will be the swan song for this trusty steed, as the new Process G2 platform (released earlier this month), is bringing on a new generation of trail machines well-suited for events such as Trans Cascadia. From my perspective as a team rider, the new bikes are better off selling like hotcakes and going into the hands of Kona customers asap…me, I’ll get my turn eventually.  In the meantime, lets give this horse one more good run through the mountains.

I am 5’9.5″ (1.75m) but with a relatively long torso, so the reach of this bike (475mm) suits me well, especially in a gravity & speed-oriented scenario.

I balance the long reach with a short stem (35mm Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail Stem), 740mm bar (Pro Bikegear Tharsis Trail), and a 46mm fork offset (MRP Ribbon 130mm), which provides 5mm longer mechanical trail compared with the standard 51mm offest.  In my experience, this combination provides a pleasant balance of quick steering axis with slightly increased high-speed stability and consistency through corners.  It’s a bit different than my XC race bike setup, but not wildly different (see other post on the 10,000-meter ride setup on Hei Hei). I keep a grip with WTB’s Padloc Commander grips (30mm diameter). Shimano XTR M9020 Trail brake levers can handle a bit more abuse than the light M9000 brethren, plus the additional stopping power and reduced fade is noticeable. Those brakes are using a 180mm rotor in front and a 160mm rotor in back…and metallic pads in the calipers for longevity.

Critical to any “long” bike setup (or really any MTB, for that matter) is a dropper post, ideally one that drops all the way to the seat collar. Back on the handlebar, I run the small KS Remote lever on the left side pointing downwards so my thumb has easy access while the rest of my hand stays safely positioned for handling and braking. I run the KS Lev Integra paired with a WTB Silverado saddle on top.

Suspension – The front end is held up by MRP’s new Ribbon fork, highly adjustable and reliable, which I’ve enjoyed to great success across a diverse range of trail conditions, from marathon XC racing to aggressive trail riding. The rear end is held up by FOX’s Float DPS Evol shock.

This fork is set at 130mm. I weigh around 155 pounds (70kg) hydrated without riding kit. For fast riding I typically run a firm sag around 15%, with the positive chamber filled to 95 psi (~10psi higher than factory recommended for my bodyweight) and the negative chamber filled to 102 psi or just under 110% the pressure of the positive chamber. I have the Ramp Control knob set to 14 (2 clicks from fully “ramped”), rebound at 11 (from closed), and low speed compression is a quick flip switch at the top right leg, which at this firm setting stays open most of the time. This setup works for me because it feels very supple and progressive, and for my riding style works well for moving proactively along the high-speed, velvety, high-traction conditions of many of my favorite trails in Washington and Oregon…but of course may take some tweaking once we get to these new trails at TC.

I run around 25% sag in the rear with the custom Process factory tune from Fox.  This works out to 142 psi with rebound set at 10 clicks (from closed) and the compression switch flipped to “open” most of the time. Again…this may need to be adjusted for the conditions in Oregon.

Wheels and Tires – WTB tires and wheels go round and round.  Given the blind format racing, I plan on needing extra braking traction on the front end of the bike to keep from flying into the woods on unfamiliar turns, which is why I’m likely going to run the 2.3 Vigilante, Tough Casing, Fast Rolling compound.  It’s a bit heavy (1140g) compared with the next option, the 2.25 Trail Boss Light Casing Fast Rolling (795g), but the extra grip and security may be worth it.  We’ll see.  In the back I’ll run the Trail Boss.  And depending on conditions, either dual Trail Boss if it’s not too rough, or dual Vigilante if the skies decide to open up. Tires are mounted to the WTB Ci31 29″ rim, laced to Shimano XT hubs.

Trail Boss…a bit less bite than then Vigilante, but this casing option is significantly lighter and may be the ticket for speed on the balance of climbing and descending.  It treated me well on the 10,000m Challenger High Epic back in June.

 Tire pressure will be a day-of decision based on trail surface and conditions, but in general have been running anywhere from 18-21psi, typically the same front and back (weight distribution shifts to either balanced or more weight on front of bike while riding aggressively down). I think about “system weight” for tire pressure…bodyweight + kit + bike.  Though I weigh around 155lbs (70kg), my system weight is closer to 190lbs (86kg).Drivetrain – An MRP 1x V3 chain guide keeps things in line aboard the Shimano XTR/XT drivetrain, with 175mm XTR M9020 cranks, 36t ring, XTR M9000 rear mech, and XT M8000 11-42 cassette, and XT M8000 chain.  The front chainring size certainly isn’t for everyone (nor is anything on any bike, for that matter, all setups are individual!), but I prefer it because 1) I have the strength and power to push it efficiently, 2) there is slightly less chain-wrap around the ring so it feels a bit better and wears less in the muck, and 3) I can keep a bit more tension on the chain as it spends more time in the smaller-interval middle cogs in the back (15-17-19-21) …and if I need to cover lots of ground at a very high speed, I don’t spin out as quickly. Pedals are XTR M9000 pedals…with fresh cleats after a long summer of riding!

I spend the majority of my bike time in the more fitness/endurance-oriented world of XC, marathon, and cyclocross, and since 2012, a power meter has been an important training tool.  I use a Stages power meter mounted to my XTR crankarm in order to collect performance data from training and competitions so that I can be more efficient with training for a specific discipline, tracking progress and managing fatigue along the way.

The ride kit will include the following items tucked into a High Above Designs Lookout hip bag, and a Barrier Micro seat bag by Blackburn Designs:

CLIF product (Bars & Bloks) in a 1/2 size screw cap “snack can”; Sawyer water filter & 1L bag (there’s time to stop and refill in putt-putt enduro biking); tire plugs for quick fix + 2x spare tubes 27.5×2.3 w/ tire lever, filled by Blackburn SL Mini Pump w/ CO2 backup; emergency whistle, space blanket, compress & quik-clot, plastic baggie /w NSAIDs + antihistamine just in case; zip ties, spare der. hanger, Blackburn Wayside multi tool for a good fix; iphone + GoalZero battery pack.

Off the trail…Though Trans Cascadia will provide tents and sleeping pads a generally posh setup, I’m still planning to travel with my go-to quiver of Kona Adventure Team gear. After all, this is a backcountry adventure.  You never know what’s going to happen!  Tents from Eureka, sleeping systems by Klymit, bags and camp wear from Mission Workshop, backup camp food from Mountain House, cookwear from JetBoil (in case we need some midnight snacks), and gear bags from Blackburn Design.

Over and out for now…

Kona’s Leah Maunsell is 2017 Irish National Champion in Both Enduro and Downhill!

Here’s an update from Irish Kona Pro Leah Maunsell, who’s proud to hold the 2017 Elite Women’s National Championship in both Enduro and Downhill. Congrats, Leah!

This year my brother Jonathan and I were delighted to have the opportunity to return to the Kona Bikes Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis at the beginning of August. Jonathan acted as coach and I was the Kona Bikes Women’s Ambassador. I jumped at the opportunity to ride with and race against the best young girls in the world!

I really like the structure of the camp: it not only teaches the kids bike skills and how to approach racing but also that racing is not the be all and end all. Si Paton was on hand with loads of really helpful information for the kids about racing.

We also enjoy lots of off the bike activities during the week which are very entertaining. We spent an evening at the fun park at 1,800 metres altitude and and then took the “Flitzer” rail toboggan back down to the town. It is such an action packed week! I personally do think that the race is a nice way to finish up the week though! I really enjoy the challenging race track they have there. I was happy to finish 3rd U19 Women against the best up and coming European downhillers!

I did an Interview about our trip to the Kona Rookie Camp in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis which is now up on Pinkbike.


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

Next up on the schedule was the Irish Enduro National Champs in Carrick, Co. Wicklow, on August 19-20. Carrick is home to the Emerald Enduro – a round of the Enduro World Series for the past 3 years – so to me it is a special place to have our National Champs. It is one of my favourite riding spots in the country and I was so eager to get out and ride there for the first time since the very wet EWS round back in May.

After a fast and dry practice day I was so excited to get racing! With rain forecasted for the afternoon I was happy with my early morning seeded position. It would be a mission to beat the rain! Despite a crash on Stage 3 I managed to keep it clean for the remainder of the day. I took 5 out the 6 stage wins. I was delighted to retain my National Title by taking the win in Elite Women. So that leaves me as 2017 Irish National Champion in both Enduro and Downhill – stoked on that! And all on my Kona Process 153 DL, what a capable machine!

After that it was a round of the Irish Downhill Series so close to my door in Mallow, Co. Cork it was hard to miss. During Saturday morning practice the track was bone dry but with the classic Irish rain in the forecast for the afternoon that dry track wasn’t going to last long. Lo and behold the rain came in and changed up the track. The open top section became quite greasy but the lower wood section really turned in to an ice-like layer of mud! This section claimed the most victims of the weekend and wasn’t long being christened ‘Carnage Corner’ I took a spill there myself during Sunday practice but luckily I was ok. I had a clean race run to take my Kona Process 153DL to the top spot in Elite Women yet again.

The following day I passed my Driving Test – woo hoo, watch out world! It’s not all just riding bikes 😂


Photo courtesy Sven Martin.

The final round of the Gravity Enduro Series took place in Djouce, Co. Wicklow on September 9-10. Due to school commitments I was unable to make the practice but still went up on race day. Djouce is a great venue with terrain to challenge every rider. The forest was littered with roots and loam despite the odd puddle! I made a few silly mistakes almost taking out the tape due to lack of knowing where I was going! I was really happy to hold it together to take the win in Elite Women and grab 2nd in the series overall having missed 2 rounds due to racing in Europe.

I have just written another interview for Prime Mountainbiking magazine in Germany, so I’m excited to see that as well.

Soon I will be leaving for the last round of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure which takes place on the 30 September – 1 October. I’m really excited to give it everything at my last big race of the season. Praying for a bit of sunshine!

Pedaliero Team Reports from the German Enduro One Series

Here’s an update from Kona-supported pedaliero team in Germany, who have been busy racing the regional enduro series this summer. You can follow their progress at pedaliero.

Words by Stefan Westerveld. Photos by Nico Gilles.

For the third time the region around the 1024-metre-high Ochsenkopf was the venue for the growing German Enduro One series.

With the Bullhead House and the organizer WSV Oberwarmensteinach, the BABOONS crew had once again brought in two competent partners who made the best of the trails around the Ochsenkopf and the local bike park.

A total of five stages, with Stage 5 also being the prologue on Saturday evening, had to be raced on Sunday.

The relatively short round with 18km and 350hm had everything for intermediate technical skills but between there were always difficult bits which had to be mastered. And the very rocky terrain provided some flat tires for the riders.

Nevertheless I didn’t choose a tire with a double wall and rode my favorite tire Nobby Nic with a little more pressure on the rear wheel again which worked well in Laax.

The weather played along and everybody had a smile on their face at the end of the day.

But the organizers should perhaps think about Stage 4 again. A 40 seconds “straight line” along a lift corridor would be much more fun with at least a few berms.

In the end a top ten, a podium and a nice weekend was a perfect outcome.

The Enduro One series is a favorite for many Enduro racers these days. For a good reason! Be sure to join in if you’re in the area. In the beginning of October we will see each other at the final in Wipperfürth!

Cheers!
The pedaliero crew

The Kona Process G2 is Here!

You’ve been waiting patiently, and we appreciate that. We’re proud to introduce the first major revision of our popular Process platform: the Process G2. The Process has a long history of dominating the descents, and with this new design, now has climbing manners more commonly attributed to shorter-travel bikes. No switches to flip, just pedal up efficiently, then smash the descent.



The Kona Process is synonymous with progression, and we haven’t been resting on our laurels. Process G2 represents an evolution of that game-changing platform, featuring an updated suspension design with superior pedaling performance, larger bearings for improved stiffness, and an all-new carbon or aluminum frame. Standover remains low, chainstays are short, and we increased the seatpost insertion depth so riders of all sizes can benefit from longer travel droppers. Did we mention it fits a water bottle? No? It fits a water bottle. Yeah, we did that. Because we love you.



An all-new carbon frame is at the heart of the Process G2 project. We used a vertically-oriented, trunnion-mounted metric shock to achieve the ride characteristics we desired while accommodating a water bottle inside the front triangle. As you’d expect, all Process bikes use bearings at all pivots, including big 20mm ID bearings at the main and rocker pivots and a new 3-piece locking pivot axle design.



The carbon frame features the same internal routing and cable access port introduced with our Hei Hei Trail platform, while aluminum frames use external routing. All models feature an aluminum chainstay for durability. We worked hard to improve the platform’s ride characteristics without sacrificing the durability and playfulness the Process has come to be known for.


Video – Kona Process G2: Development Story and Technical Details

Kona Product Manager Ian Schmitt dives into the development story and technical details of the Process G2:


Three Frames, Two Wheel Sizes, Seven New Process Models

With two materials and two wheel sizes spanning three distinct frame platforms, the Process G2 is a well-rounded range of aggressive trail bikes. The Process 153 27.5 and 29 share fit characteristics and frame geometry. The Process 165 is more focused on descending, but climbs surprisingly well for a long travel platform. Framesets are available in Process 153 27.5 carbon and aluminum, Process 153 29, and Process 165.

Process 153 27.5

Process 153 CR/DL 27.5

Process 153 CR 27.5

Process 153 AL/DL 27.5

Process 153 AL 27.5

Process 153 29

Process 153 AL/DL 29

Process 153 AL 29

Process 165 27.5

Process 165

The all new Process G2 is now available through your local Kona dealer or Kona Ride Online.

For all the details on the new Process, head over to Konaworld.com, and check out the in-depth technical details on the Innovation page.

______________________________________________________________

Video – Process G2: Sea to Sky with Rhys Verner

Kona pro team rider and Sea to Sky shredder Rhys Verner is a perfect match for the all new Process. Together, they climb efficiently and descend in harmony.

Check out the full photo gallery and story from our Sea to Sky shoot with Rhys and the Process G2.

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.