storytelling

Solstice Season

Paris Gore

Endurance and Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson prompts us to scheme up and get the most out of big days on the bike during the longest day(s) of the year.

Since I’ve begun to keep the racing shoes in the closet more regularly over the last two years, the several-week period around the northern summer solstice (typically around June 21-22) has become my new favorite season. I call it “Solstice Season” for the span of time it affords in terms of daylight and open terrain in the high country – a chance to scamper out beyond the edge of the Shire and put to action some of the harebrained ideas that crop up during the dark winter months.

Three years is hardly a tradition, but for so many solstice seasons I have made a game out of doing something “big” (and yes, in many ways pointless) on the longest day of the year, or checking off a bucket list of long days during the three-or-so weeks on either end of the summer equinox. Each of these experiences has been wildly difficult yet hugely rewarding for me, and have helped re-calibrate and boost my attitude on riding, life, appreciation of snacks, etc. Based on these results, I would wish for anyone to achieve their own version of a big day fulfillment. So with that, a few prompts and ideas for coming up with your own outing this Solstice Season:

  1. Something fun (fun to you…okay, “Type 2” fun) that you haven’t done before – Whether it’s a new place, a new route on familiar trails, or some feat that hitherto you have not achieved.
  2. The right amount of challenge and uncertainty for your experience – If you are new to pushing your physical and mental limits, I recommend a very non-scientific prediction that falls within at least 60% (but less than 80%) confidence that you can pull it off. If you are experienced at pushing your limits, then it’s okay to play around with ~50% likelihood of success.
  3. Get weird, go long – Whatever the objective, at least make it a goal of being out all day. It doesn’t all have to be on the bike, either. If possible, start at sun up and finish at sundown (with as many breaks as you need!). Enjoy the entire day! Get the day off if you can, or wait for the next closest weekend day (after all, “Solstice Season is a season). Plan for child care. Make an extra sandwich.
  4. Have a clear concept – It can be pointless (those are usually the most fun), but should still have some kind of theme or essential mission. Numbers can help to start, but ultimately it’s not about the numbers… It doesn’t hurt to get a little philosophical, either. You’ll be going deep into the mental tank, so some forethought might help. Make a Venn diagram of reasons why you are doing it…that way it forces you to find a common center to come back to when it gets hard, and you can lean in one of several directions as you navigate the day.
  5. Plan your logistics and break the day into units – If it’s going to be a very long day (let’s say “very long” = >10hrs), think in terms of what you can accomplish per hour, and break the day into phases. This is key so that you can imagine the entire effort in advance, but in the moment, take it one chunk at a time and that’s it.
  6. Invite friends – Happiness in this sort of hubris is most real when shared. That said, solo vision quests are pretty good, too, but it does add to the experience to include some company for at least a portion of the experience.
Spencer Paxson | KONA COG Get weird.
Spencer Paxson | KONA COG A few other ideas/tips on what to carry on the bike for a long day…

Wild and Free

Brooklyn Bell is a Kona Ambassador that is pushing the boundaries of comfort and expectations on a daily basis. Aside from cutting her teeth on a mountain bike as a Kona Supreme, Bell is also a widely-recognized artist, public speaker, and stellar athlete. In fact, she just competed in her first ever Freeride World Tour skiing qualifier contest in Lake Louise, Alberta.

Bell’s art is a direct reflection of her experiences in life and it’s one of the reasons her work is so vibrant and powerful—because she is also vibrant and powerful. For her “winter” ambassador assignment Bell created this gorgeous drawing, pulling from her experiences at Mt. Baker this season.

She had this to say about her piece.

“I made this piece of art during January. During that time I was mountain biking on wet and warm days and skiing on the dry days. This piece to me represents the special dynamic that happens between skiing and biking, sea level and being at 6,000ft. They somehow magically co-exist in this place. They are different in so many ways, yet so similar. Their landscapes seem to have contrast but also flow seamlessly into each other.”

You can see more of Bell in this month’s Patagonia catalogue in the mountain bike section. To view more of her incredible art work please visit her website.

New “Features” Section on Konaworld.com!

We are excited to announce a new storytelling feature on Konaworld.com. You may have already checked out this new feature when we announced Miranda Miller joining the team. Or, perhaps you saw the Dirty Kanza feature we did on super racer Cory Wallace. While the Cog has been our centralized place for new product announcements, reviews, and more, our Features section will focus more on deeper stories with a photojournalistic twist. We work with a ton of talented photographers, athletes, and writers,  and we wanted to give them a platform to share their experiences.

You can find the Features section at the top of our navigation under “News.”

This widescreen, visually stunning experience is formatted for both desktop and mobile so any device will work well. We already have a bunch of gorgeous visual stories on the site such as:

Miller Time– Welcoming Miranda Miller to Kona with photos by Paul Kelly.

In the Pasture– an essay written by Spencer Paxson

The Funnest Known Time- a photo story by Patrick Means with writing from each of our Adventure Team members

Dirty Kona – A photo story by Anthony Smith about Cory Wallace’s experience at the 2018 Dirty Kanza

 

We have lots more feature stories coming soon! Be sure to check Konaworld’s features often!