Garry at MBW Bike Shop’s Fat Bike Challenge #1 – Bluegrass Enduro Ballyhoura 21st – 22nd September 2013
This all started back in the Summer when Kona decided to bring out their own version of the iconic ‘Fat bike’ the Kona Wo. This got me to thinking about what this bike could do, what disciplines it could conquer, and if it could be the ultimate do it all bike…
When the Wo came into the shop I rode it round for a few days and quickly realised I would have to change a few things to set it up for the last round of the Bluegrass Enduro Tour, which was to be held in the Ballyhouras mountain range. So Wednesday last it got set-up ready for the endurance trial both it and I were about to get!
Thursday evening came and it was time for a spin in the local woods for an hour in the dark to check out the bike and make sure it ran ok… After that it was all systems go!
Friday afternoon the Wo was loaded into the van for a good nights rest before the first two stages of the race on Saturday. Saturday came and the pit area was already set up for the weekend allowing all the riders a place to check bikes and get ready for the first two stages.
As I rolled the bike out of the van there was a lot of finger pointing and comments from fellow racers ‘you’re mad to enter on that thing’, ‘you won’t have a chance on that’.
Even the race organisers were stopped in their tracks and asked for a look as I came up past them!
The bike was awesome to ride down the gravity trails. It wasn’t just awesome, it was easy! All I had to do was pedal and the bike did the rest of the work! I finished out day one in the top ten and could not have been more impressed with the bike, only having ridden it once on trails before.
Back in the town that was hosting the event and even more people were looking at the bike. It was the centre of attention in the race village. The pro riders came up to have a look and a spin.
Pro riders including Kona Grassroots rider Jonathan Maunsell and European Enduro rider Greg Callaghan One of the lads dared me to ride up a set of steep stairs, and seeing another opportunity to test the strengths of the bike, I accepted the challenge… And pulled it off!
Then it was back to the lodge where I was spending the night for some TLC on the bike and some dinner in my stomach.
Sunday and there was very little to do on the bike (another bonus is the simplicity of the thing!). The Kona Connemara Mtb pit area was set up and the bikes were placed out on display. Again the Fat bike was attracting a huge amount of attention. It was at this point that I realised why the Wo was so called, as it was the first thing people said when they saw it!
It was a long days racing and I covered in excess of 30kms on the bike, both steep ups and steep downs. It was able to handle all the obstacles put in front of me and I was even able to jump where necessary.
The bike did really well over the course of the weekend and I am looking forward to the next Fat Bike challenge… Stay tuned to find out what that will be!
More on the Wo HERE