Jake

Three Bikes in One: Pedal Bicycles on the Kona Major Jake

We’ve always known that our Jake series of cyclocross bikes is highly versatile. Something about confidence-inspiring geometry and room for higher volume tires makes for a bike that naturally gets put to use outside the tape of the ‘cross course. For many years, riders have chosen the Jake for club rides, winter training, everyday commuting, around-town, and of course, gravel (before it was even called that).

With a simple swap of the tires, Tim Krone from Pedal Bicycles in Kalamazoo, Michigan shows off the Jake’s versatility perfectly. From the high volume and grip of the WTB Nano 40c to the cushy 30mm Roubaix slicks to the 33mm Clement MXP ‘cross tire, the multiple faces of Tim’s Jake only prove what we knew all along. Some might say that our Rove series is more suited to broader purposes, but we won’t argue with people who just want to use their bike to its fullest. Here are Tim’s thoughts on his Jake: 

I was talking to my Kona guy yesterday (yes, it does make me feel special to have a Kona guy) and somehow got to bemoaning the way the bike industry feels like it has to slice everything super-fine so there are a million different products and no one knows what the hell they’re talking about or how to differentiate them. I was specifically complaining about adventure vs. gravel vs. cyclocross bikes. “Cripe!” says me. “It’s nothing you can’t fix with some tires, and my Jake will take all sorts of tires.”

That’s how we started talking about Carbon Drop Bar Bikes in which you could (and might!) have a bike upon which you could mount slicks and get out there for the Wednesday Night Ride or something knobbier for CX racing or something burlier still if you just want to get out there and take what nature serves up.

This afternoon I figured I’d demonstrate this premise on equipment that I own. First, here’s Jake with the setup I used all last summer: WTB Nano 40s set up tubeless. Pros: bring-it-on width and tread pattern + smooth ride with low pressure. Cons: pretty heavy even when tubeless, so acceleration is less than thrilling.

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Next up: road ride. Same bike and wheels with some 30mm Specialized Roubaix tires. This is terrific setup if you’re gonna use your cross bike for road riding in the summer. Tons of grip, smooth ride and only a bit heavier than the race tires you’ve been using on your road bike.

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When CX season rolls around, Bang! 33mm cross tires. I found these Clement MXPs tucked away somewhere and was instantly reminded of the fun times I had racing on them in years past.

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The above pics highlight why Jake is probably my favorite drop bar bike of all time. It’s a very versatile bike, and gobs of tire clearance is one of the things that contributes to the versatility. Another thing is the way it’s built, with a comfortable ride. I’ve ridden cross bikes that were so stiff that they crossed the line into the kingdom of Harsh. While those were pretty darn good cross bikes, they weren’t something that I’d get all fired up about riding all day on skinny tires pumped up to big psi.

Last thing on this subject, Jake has good geometry. Due to their need to provide clearance for pretty big tires and mud, cross forks are “taller” than road bike forks, so the bars on cross bikes tend to be higher relative to the bottom bracket than road race bikes. In fact, they get pretty close to the endurance road geometry that’s so popular these days.

Does this mean that I advocate against “pure” road bikes. Absolutely not. I have a road bike in my garage that I enjoy enormously. What I am suggesting is that, with ample tire clearance and disc brakes, the idea of “one bike” is perhaps more attainable with less compromise. I’m also suggesting that it’s not a bad idea to look beyond the way a bike is spec’d on the floor, and think about what might actually work, tire-wise.

While I’ve gone on about my carbon Jake, the argument works just a well for aluminum bikes. Further, I think plus size mountain bike tires and bikes are doing the exact same thing for the “one bike” crowd who desire something with a flat bar and single-track capacity.

Throw Back to Tokyo with Kerry Werner

Words and photos by Kerry Werner.

It all started when I decided it wasn’t a good idea to do the China CX races at the beginning of the season. I started thinking, “What else can I do?” and then it hit me… I remembered Timmy J., Jeremy, and Zac McDonald all had done the CX Tokyo!

I had recently, even before thinking about CX Tokyo, grown a keen interest in Japanese culture, food, and the city lights. It blows my mind how their traditional views within society can keep 40 million people in line. You would think that crime would run rampant in the streets, it would be dirty and littered, and people would be jerks. Everything was quite the opposite.

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People were nice, even though I was a little shocked to learn that many people spoke little English. I guess I am too use to the melting pot of Europe where everyone speaks 3-6 languages. Apparently, the Japanese study English in school but then never have an opportunity to use it so they lose it (if you don’t use it you lose it).

The city was eye popping and with so many tall buildings! The only way to build as a contractor is up. The streets were clean and respect for the space of others was apparent everywhere I went.

I was most excited about the food scene. I had been watching “Mind of a Chef” on Netflix and David Cheng was really getting me excited for some ramen. I had tried to make it myself and I thought it was ok, however, my ignorance was immediately realized upon digging into my first bowl of tsukemen.

So after the post World Championship races Doug and I flew through Istanbul and then into Narita, 30miles west of Tokyo. The next morning we met up with Ryoji Aybeki, the CX Tokyo promoter. He was privy to my quest for the best bowl of ramen consequently we stopped for lunch on the way into Tokyo. In hindsight this was a blessing because when you walk into a ramen shop there is a vending machine type thing that you pick your ramen on, you pay, it prints your ticket, you hand it to the waiter and then wait for a steamy bowl of love.

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The problem was that all the text on the machine was in Japanese and completely indecipherable to Doug or I. We tried to shoot from the hip later in the trip and it wasn’t a complete failure, we still got great ramen, but Doug ordered the biggest bowl on the menu by accident and didn’t eat until the next day at dinner.

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Doug and I spent the first two days in the Tiato-Ku district, NW of Downtown, in Hotel Kurame. We walked everywhere, which may not have been great for the race but I have no regrets! We checked out historic Asakusa and the Skytree.

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And from 350 meters up…

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We had ramen all over and great coffee at “Bridge” recommended by my good friend Hans. We loitered in shop windows, picked up authentic handmade Japanese knives, bought souvenir chopsticks, frequented multi level malls, ate mochi on the road, and tried to blend in. We should have bought some medical masks to do this, maybe next time.

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We wandered through temple grounds…

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And were inspired by the intricate bike parking garages.

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Pre-ride was Saturday. The course was all sand, which didn’t make me particularly excited. There was no need to do openers, simply riding the course was hard enough.

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Doug and I spent all nights riding the train to somewhere new and checking out new districts. The night before the race was no different. We headed to Shibuya to check out the hustle and bustle. If I sat in the hotel room with my feet up, while in Tokyo, I would be looking back on the trip with regret.

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We raced Sunday afternoon, which was nothing special for me. I felt as though I had the fitness just not the finesse. The sand was raping me. Aerobically, I wanted and felt as though I could pedal harder but, technically, my constantly shifting body weight was hindering any power output. I finished 6… I wanted that podium, but instead I pulled out my notepad (literally I pulled up the “Notes” app on my phone and wrote“sand practice”) next year will be better. Notice I had to cut the sleeves off my long sleeve jersey. Sun’s out guns out in February.

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Big thanks to the Shimano boys for letting us take up room in their tent and all their help.

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Doug and I headed back to the hotel, packed bikes, and hit the town. We were going to check out the Imperial Gardens, but were stopped by a guard. I think they close at dark. We had some Gyoza, dumplings, and sake. Then to soak up the nights festivities we had Yakatori in the bowels of the subway station and it was marvelous.

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Monday we embarked on a sobering Journey to find “The Great Buddha”. This entailed a short 5k trail from Kita-Kamakura station to Hase Station. We saw Mount Fuji on the way, which was epic.

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We found it!

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We even checked out the beach then trained it back to the hotel.

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Tuesday we woke early to walk 3 miles to the Tsujiki fish market.

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We were greeted with fishermen who looked annoyed to see tourists wandering around their domain but who cares.

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We plopped down for sushi in the markets next to the auction area and enjoyed. The raw fish had a texture I had never experienced before. It melted in my mouth and the flavor was enhanced that much more as I was watching the Sushi master hand craft my sashimi no more than 3 feet away.

A ball of mochi for the walk back and that was all she wrote. Doug and I grabbed our bags and trained it to the airport.

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I can’t thank Ryoji and CX Tokyo enough for the experience. I don’t think I have a regret or a bad thought about my experience in the city, interacting with the people, or the culture. Though, the jet lag was brutal!

Follow Kerry on his blog and on Instagram.

Helen Wyman Goes 2nd at UCI C1 CX in Hoogstraten, Belgium

Kona’s Helen Wyman Claims Podium Result in Belgium

Words by Helen Wyman, photos by Marcel Hilger and Kristof Bruers.

It’s hard to believe that’s it’s February and I’m only just getting into my first weekend of races in Belgium; it was great to be back however. Saturday we raced in Lille, which is full of sand and if I’m honest I don’t really like sand. So I was thrilled the weekend was a doubleheader and I got to race in the mud of Hoogstraten on Sunday.

Helen - Hoogstraten - Credit Kristof Bruers

My “incident” in October has set me back in the World Ranking, so the start of the race is a new challenge for me now, coming through traffic, albeit world class traffic. Ellen van Loy got her trademark rocket fast start making it all the harder to get back in contention, but after a couple of laps I was moving through and picking up spots. I got on the back of the Katie Compton Express, direction finish line, held on for grim death, then we started to see the next riders.

Highlights Video: 

Passing the greatest rider ever, Marianne Vos, kind of gives you wings. Then I passed the World Champion, Sanne Cant, and the podium was on. I had young gun Maud Kaptheijns chasing me down, but I wanted 3rd. I wanted to finish the season with something to remember aside from disaster. With only 300 metres to go, Maud passed me, but I immediately passed back, and we saw Ellen on the final running section. That was it, I went into Usain Bolt mode, and pushed my tired legs to catch Ellen and pass her for second on the line.

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I’m not back to where I could have been, but I’m certainly further forward than predicted. I’m back racing wheel for wheel with the worlds best. I can now look forward to next season with excitement and anticipation.

Result

1 – Sophie de Boer
2 – Helen Wyman
3 – Ellen van Loy
4 – Sanne Cant
5 – Maud Kaptheijns
27 – Amira Mellor

Event – Superprestige Hoogstraten 5 February 2017

Keep up with Helen on Twitter and Instagram.

Bicycling Magazine Reviews the Kona Private Jake: “More than a cyclocross bike…”

Bicycling Magazine has just published their review of our versatile and capable Private Jake. Just as we hoped it would, the Private Jake’s character as more than just a ‘cross bike shone through, and reviewer Hannah Weinberger found herself well beyond the race course with the bike.

“At $1,999, with the given spec, the Kona Private Jake is a decidedly affordable bike — especially if you aren’t planning to buy other bikes to supplement it. It’s capable and confidence-inspiring in techy terrain, and incredibly dependable between the course tape.”

“The Private Jake makes easy work of mountain bike trails, road rides, gravel paths, commutes, and (naturally) ‘cross courses. It took pushing the bike to the edge of what it can reasonably be expected to tackle to even see it flinch.”

Read the full review at Bicycling.

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Kona’s Kerry Werner to Represent Team USA at Cyclocross World Championships

It’s quite the honor to be chosen to represent one’s country at the World Championships of your respected discipline, and we’re happy to report that Kona Endurance Team rider Kerry Werner is headed to Luxembourg to represent Team USA. It’s nice to see Kerry’s consistent performance over the 2016-17 cyclocross season, including back to back UCI C2 wins, numerous C1 podiums, and a podium at USAC Nats paying off.

See the full list of riders headed to Luxembourg to represent Team USA at CX Hairs.

10,000 Kilometres on the Kona Private Jake with Wiggle’s Tim Wiggins

“With ten thousand kilometres on its wheels, the Kona Private Jake has proven to be one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden.”

This really does go above and beyond – a great testament to the versatility of our Jake series of cyclocross bikes. It doesn’t take 10,000 km to get to know the character of a bike. In fact, most bike reviewers would be content to put 1,000 km on a bike before writing it up. So, when Wiggle‘s Tim Wiggins chose to spend nine months doing all sorts of riding on our Private Jake, it says something.

Over those nine months, Tim has ridden the Private Jake for big single day efforts, long distance commuting with all the fun detours, and some impressive on-road bikepacking feats.

“There are some bikes that are useful, practical, and reliable; they perform faultlessly, and get the job done. There are some bikes that are loud, interesting, and bold; they draw comments from other riders, and make you feel like a fighter pilot when you’re riding them. There are some bikes that just make you smile; they feel perfect, and your ride feels like a ‘state of flow’. For me, the Kona Private Jake has ticked all of the above boxes.”

The Jake series has long been our workhorse, the bike riders choose to ride day in and day out, on the cross course or, as you can see with Tim’s experience, almost anything else you can imagine. Dig in on Tim’s writing on the Private Jake at the following links:

Tim Wiggins on the first 1,000 km with the Private Jake

Tim Wiggins on 5,000 km with the Private Jake

Tim Wiggins on 9 months and 10,000 km with the Private Jake

1,900 km in 12 days on the Coasts and Cols tour

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Seth Cox Battles at the BC CX Provincials in Classic ‘Cross Conditions

By many accounts this past weekend’s BC Cyclocross Provincials in Squamish was the most gruelling, cold, and saturated race in a long time. With temperatures hovering just above freezing and the snow line in sight, racers layered up with double arm warmers and socks, and the game was on. Last year being my first year racing ‘cross in the Intermediate category, Provincials was my first taste of racing with BC’s Elite cyclocross racers and I came up outside the top 20. This year I had been racing with these guys all season, and came into Provincials much better prepared.

For the majority of the race I was riding in the top six, keeping the front of the group in sight and feeling like a top 5 finish might be a possibility. Those hopes were dashed when a rut hidden under a huge puddle took me out in two consecutive laps, sending me sliding across the mud and torquing my stem so my cockpit was misaligned for the last couple of laps. A classic ‘cross race scenario in classic ‘cross race conditions.

Despite eating mud, I was able to hold on to the front group’s pace and not blow up completely in the last couple of laps. I ended up placing 8th in Elite which I’m super stoked on! Quite the change in one year’s time, and looking forward to what next season entails. Thanks for the good times friends, racers, volunteers, and all who put on these great races!

Keep up with Seth’s ‘cross and mountain bike exploits on Instagram. Photo courtesy Scott Robarts.

Spencer Paxson Tops the Podium at the MFG Woodland Park GP!

Last Sunday was the grand finale of the MFG Cyclocross series, which saw close to a thousand racers and even more fans flock to Woodland Park in Seattle. Kona Endurance team rider Spencer Paxson took the win in the Elite Men’s division after a close duel with Olympic MTB runner-up Stephen Ettinger, and Northwest ‘cross juggernaut Steve Fisher.

Perhaps Spencer got the edge from the good vibes and extra course practice after leading a course preview and clinic for new ‘cross racers at 8am. Spencer wrapped up the MFG series in 5th overall, and is now cringing at the thought of going to lose at the single-speed cyclocross world (non)championships of the irreverent in Portland, OR next month.

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Fun in the Mud at the 2016 Kona Kup

The Kona Kup at Nanaimo’s Bowen Park is an annual tradition as part of the Cross on the Rock series on Vancouver Island. The race is run by Nanaimo Kona dealer Rock City Cycles and this year they spiced up the deal with a Private Jake giveaway for one lucky racer at Sunday’s race.

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Photo by Braison Images.

The Kona Kup was the second race in a double header weekend, with Saturday’s Hot Cross Bunnies race at Beban Park setting the tone. Kona Endurance Team rider Rhys Verner saddled up on a fresh Major Jake for the weekend and took to the course with main goal of having fun in the mud:

“After a month off from bike racing it was time to start getting back into things with a double dose of cyclocross in Nanaimo. The first race on Saturday was probably the muddiest race I have ever done. There was so much mud so that most of the competitors could barely ride through it, including a 30 foot long axle deep puddle no go around. I finished the race with a decent result but mainly just had a fun day getting back into it.

Sunday’s Kona Kup course was much better suited for mountain bikers: super twisty, with lots of little climbs and little descents. The Bowen Park course was also quite a bit drier, so it actually felt like you were riding fast. I finished off the race in 10th place and had a ton of fun. I’m really looking forward to doing a few more cross races as well as lots of fun adventure cross rides for the rest of the off-season.”

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The shiny new Private Jake went to Nanaimo local Dave Morris, pictured here with Rock City Cycles co-owner Sean Lunny.

For a taste of this year’s event, here’s a video from Twofiveoh Creative:

Time Flies When You’re Racing Cross: Kerry Werner on the Podium Again

Words by Kerry Werner. Photos by Meg McMahon.

Holy cow! It’s already November!

The last two weekends were great. In my opinion the only thing that would have made them better is a little bit of rain. It has just been too dry lately. CX is mud, ruts, and bike changes! Not dust, roots, rocks, and teeth covered in a thin film of sludge from filtering out the dust-nado that ensues from 60+ racers running sub 8 min lap times. However, I can’t complain. I had solid finishes for both weekends, solidifying my 2nd place in the ProCX overall and pushing me further up into the World UCI ranking. And besides, the warm, dry weather certainly makes for some easy prep and clean up, which is nice.

The Ohio Valley puts on the Cincy Cyclocross weekend, comprised of Pan American Championships on Saturday and a C1 race on Sunday. Those are two YOUGE! opportunities to obtain UCI points. The Cincy weekend is followed by the iconic Derby City Cup race weekend at a venue where 2013 worlds were held. These two races are a big deal in the overall scheme of CX racing in America and have historically been big races for spectator turnout.

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Photo courtesy Dave McElwaine.

The Pan Ams course is always one of my favorites. It plays to the hand of a MTB riders skills as it contains lots of technical corners and even a large rooty shoot dubbed the “Pan Am Plunge”. Coming of the double win at DCCX I was feeling confident and ready to rally and that certainly shined through as I found myself in the top 5 early and stayed there.

I am not a huge fan of group racing. Coming from an MTB racing background the only tactics I am used to are “go hard then go harder”. The Pan Am course provides plenty of elevation change and therefore groups tend to be small and break up quickly. Halfway through the race there were 4 riders, including myself at the front battling for the podium.

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While I say that, the race still came down to a sprint between Danny Summerhill and I for the final podium spot, which he nabbed from me. I hung my head in disappointment at missing out on the podium but internally I was reveling in the fact that last year in this same race with the same competition I ended up 10th, nowhere near the podium.

Sunday turned out to be interesting. The course was very flat, lots of corners, and super dry/grassy. Everyone lined up with file treads because of the aforementioned conditions, though rain was in the forecast. In fact, on the line with less than 3min to go we felt rain drops. Tobin Ortinblad swapped to an intermediate tire immediately and I followed suit. We were the only ones to do this and received some heckles from fellow racers but it proved wise. 2 laps in the rain came down for real and everyone hit the pit. We, however, just kept on rallying.

Again, the race came down to a sprint for 2-4 and I ended up not playing my cards right. We all came into the final corner together but there was no room to sprint around anyone and I brought up the tail end for 4th. Again, I was disappointed but still happy because I got 10th last year on the same course with the same competition. This year I was on the front taking pulls and mixing it up for the top spots. This has been huge for my confidence this year and I have a lot of people to thank but my coach Jim Lehman at CTS is certainly high on the list.

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After a solid weekend and a boost in UCI points Doug and I drove 1.5 hrs southwest to Louisville to hang out for the week before the Derby City Cup. During this time I found Louisville to be a pretty cool city with lots of activities to do in order to skirt the constant tug of boredom. For instance, distillery tours, restaurant discovery, coffee shop frequenting, movies, and cool bike path cruising.

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The race weekend came faster than expected and I was amped up for Saturday’s C1. I was hungry for the podium after, narrowly, missing out twice in Cincy.

The Louisville course is pretty flat, though surprisingly technical. There is a large sand pit that we were routed through three times, lots of loose corners and two off the bike stair runs, unless you are Cody Kaiser (#codyrodeit).

A video posted by konabikes (@konabikes) on

The start is a flat as pancake road section then a drop into a flat as pancake grass section before the first important corner. I managed to set myself up welll for this and found myself in the front group when the separations started to occur. Once Stephen Hyde distanced himself from the front group the battle for the podium was on between four of us. Curtis flatted, which meant one down, two to go. I was looking towards the end of the last lap and positioning before the last corner as there was no hope of sprinting around anyone coming into the finish.

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I found myself second wheel into that corner and brought it home for 3rd. Podium acquired!

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That was the goal for the weekend and with that accomplished the motivation for Sunday waned somewhat. Mentally I just wanted to get it over with so I could take a little break and ramp it back up for the end of the season. This showed by lack of aggressive positioning off the start and I found myself back in 20th or so.

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From there I fought my way up to the front group but by that time I burnt quite a few matches and didn’t have the gusto to be in the right place when the separations started to happen. Three riders went of the front so our chase group of five was fighting for 4th-8th and I got 6th. I was disappointed because I made a mental mistake, though I focused on the silver lining, which was now I could take a break and reset so that doesn’t happen again. Plus, 6th isn’t terrible…

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All in all the last two weeks were awesome. Good quality, high level racing, with good spectator turn out, and lots of good vibes moving forward. Dave Toll asked me if I had gotten on the podium yet this year in a C1 and explained that I had at the KMC Cross Fest back at the end of September, which now feels like last season. Hence, the title of my post.

The anticipation for cross season in July and August make it seem like the racing will never start. However, when it does get going it feels like time travel. With such a heavy loaded front end I have a hard time distinguishing which race was when, they all seem to blur together. Hopefully, over the rest of the season, as the schedule settles down I’ll be able to slow down with it and enjoy the rest of the racing like a slowly simmering crock pot building of flavor overtime. Where the beginning of the season was more like a searing, quick and painless, but now that it’s past I wish it was still happening…

Join Spencer Paxson for a Course Pre-Ride at the MFG Woodland GP

This Saturday, November 13th, the MFG Cyclocross Series heads to Seattle’s Woodland Park. The Woodland GP is the final race of the series and it’s a party. The course is the most technical and demanding of all the MFG courses and traditionally the most muddy. All teams bring a different party/best in show with costumes, fog/foam machines, disco balls, and lots of beer.

Kona Endurance Team rider Spencer Paxson will be hosting a course preview ride on race day. Join Spencer at the finish line at 8:00 am for discussions on line choice, technique for barriers, cornering, and run-ups.

Race info is available at MFG Cyclocross here. If you can’t make it for the race and still want to be involved, MFG is running course maintenance days on the 10th and 14th of November.

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