Review by Blaise Janssen, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

2017 Santa Cruz 5010 and team racer at The Path Bike shopFourth in a five-part series - team manager and four elite racers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team chose their 2017 race bikes, and told us what features they loved and why they chose the bikes they did.

My name is Blaise Janssen, I am a 16 year-old enduro and cross country mountain bike racer for The Path Bike Shop. For the 2017 mountain bike race season I, with the help of team manager Lou Mollineda, have chosen to race on the 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 1.

I have chosen this bike because of how comfortable I feel on the bike while riding, and when a rider is comfortable while riding or racing it allows the rider to preform at their maximum capabilities, which is a necessity to succeed as a mountain bike racer. The geometry of this bike also suits me very well, having a longer frame allows me to fit in the cockpit of the bike providing me more comfort and opportunity to ride and handle the bike to its best ability as well. This bike is the perfect all around racing bike for me due to the fact that the bike can pedal just as well as a cross country bike, but can also descend similar to a downhill bike; and as an enduro racer, this is the perfect choice for a bike because there are races where we're doing 30 plus miles and over 4,000 feet of climbing. The 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 1 pedals very efficiently allowing me to preform at my maximum capability and on the descents of those races where I need a bike to conquer the rock gardens, steep, rugged, and technical terrains of these courses, the bike handles all with ease.

The proof is in the results; I first took this bike out to demo, riding only two practice runs for the Southridge USA Golden Series, raced the bike the same day and came away with a win in the Expert Men's 34 and Under class. Since then I have been racing this bike in the 2017 Southridge USA Winter series, and with each race that I am racing on this bike I only get more comfortable and faster finishing with improved results each weekend in the Expert Men's 34 and Under class. Starting with a 4th the first race, a 3rd the second race, and a 2nd the third race. I regularly ride many local trails where I have noticed my speed has increased substantially by earning several K.O.M.'s (King Of The Mountain) on Strava, whether it be climbing or descending.

For this being the beginning of the 2017 race season, having my confidence and comfort levels being so high on the 2017 Giant Trance Advanced 1, I know there are going to be great outcomes for the rest of the season, all while making great memories and spending good times with The Path Bike Shop race team along the way.

Here's to a great season aboard an awesome bike, the Giant Trance Advanced 1!

2017 Santa Cruz 5010 at The Path Bike shopReview by Danny Mollineda, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

Third in a five-part series - team manager and four elite racers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team chose their 2017 race bikes, and told us what features they loved and why they chose the bikes they did.

Why the 5010?

Simple, this bike rips. The Santa Cruz 5010 is a very capable yet playful bike. Its short travel makes it a great bike to ride daily, capable of handling anything that you throw at it. But because it is a short travel bike, your line choice for rough terrain is more slim and has to be precise. The bike handles rough terrain with ease, but the consequences for choosing the wrong line or going off line won't be as forgiving. With this in mind, I knew that this was the bike for me to race on this season, following the California Enduro Series circuit.

Review by Blake Wray, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
 
Intense Recluse The Path Bike Shop Race Team riderSecond in a five-part series - team manager and four elite racers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team chose their 2017 race bikes, and told us what features they loved and why they chose the bikes they did.
 
There were several reasons why the Intense Recluse stood out from all of the other bikes that I rode. First of all was the head angle and and the suspension set up. It was ideal for the kind of riding that I do! Also, it was a good bike that I could move around easily. Some other bikes I ride weren't like this, but the Recluse was super good at doing this. Lastly was how good the climbing was. Even with the suspension in the long travel position, it still was one of the best bikes for climbing that I rode. All of these features of the bike led me to believe that the Intense Recluse was the right bike for me.
 
Thanks to The Path Bike Shop and Intense Cycles for this opportunity.

2017 Santa Cruz Hightower at The Path Bike ShopReview by Lou Mollineda, manager of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

First in our five-part blog series - team manager and four elite racers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team chose their 2017 race bikes, and told us what features they loved and why they chose the bikes they did.

Blown away with this awesome 2017 Santa Cruz Hightower CC 29er. For me this is a do all bike as I plan to do a few races in 2017. I had the pleasure of practically riding all the demo bikes The Path has in the fleet. Not many shops have the selection The Path has to offer. I was able to ride the Giant xc hardtail, Kona carbon Honzo, Intense Primer, Pivot 429 trail, Santa Cruz Tall boy and several others but in the end it was the Hightower that won me over. It has a good pedaling platform thanks to the VPP. Bike is decked out with RockShox suspension, RaceFace wheels with DT Swiss hubs and the ever so popular Eagle drivetrain.

Santiago Oaks is usually where I ride and if you have been there you know it's super fun. Not a very big park but it will challenge you with short steep climbs with fun down hill trails to reward you. I will be using Oaks as my training grounds on and off the bike to help me lose weight and build speed and strength. 

by Megan Welch, Manager at The Path Bike Shop.

Lezyne Macro GPS Cycling computerA cycling computer was always something I wanted but could never justify the price. I always read into each one available and the features they offered, but once I scrolled down for the price I was turned off. So I settled for just using my phone to record my rides. For the most part, using just my phone is fine but if I had thought of listening to music and recording my ride...forget about it. I don't always want to listen to music but sometimes those soul road rides call for it.

Lezyne first introduced their line of GPS devices in mid-2015. You had two options: the Power GPS or the GPS Mini retailing at $169.99 and $139.99 respectively. These two devices gave us riders what we wanted in a computer at a reasonable cost. They have since updated the line a bit and have added a few more models to choose from. The Power is now called the Super GPS and retails for $149.99. The Super is going to hold the most hours of ride data, longest battery life, and a bigger screen. There are two versions of the Micro GPS with the main difference being that one is a color screen, the Micro C, which also has a few more features and stores a tad more ride info.

The one I tested is the Lezyne Macro GPS. I went with this model because I feel it is the most bang for your buck in the line up. At $99 you get a large screen, incredible amount of run time of 22 hours, and a 100 hrs of stored ride data. Set up was pretty easy, but the instructions given were not that thorough so I relied mostly on just hoping for the best but it all turned out to be pretty simple. With all Lezyne GPS devices you must download their app, the GPS Ally v2. This allows you to manage your rides and view your rides mapped which is powered by Google. This is also where you will be able to upload your rides to Strava once you sync your account.

Race Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photos: Called to Creation.

Two mountain bikers from The Path Bike Shop Race Team at the OC Classic Race 4, 2016November…a time to celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy the fall weather, get ready for the holiday season, and RACE! The season finale of Non-Dot Adventures’ OC Classic was held November 12th at Caspers Wilderness Park. It was the last of four races of the series, and I was fortunate this year to be able to race in all of them. Each race has it’s own unique challenges and atmosphere, and Casper’s to me is one of the most beautiful but also very challenging mentally. While not especially technical, the long steady climbs along the ridge and all out pedaling sprints in the canyon makes my legs and lungs scream “stop!!” Knowing that I have to repeat three times makes it even harder! All the while though I am surrounded by the gorgeous scenery and the awesome crowd. Pedaling through the old corral each lap and hearing those cheers and cowbells always gives me a boost!

The Path Bike Shop race team riderby Megan Welch, Manager at The Path Bike Shop. Photos: Called To Creation (top) and Megan Welch

As someone who has tried to stuff all the needed trail tools into a jersey pocket instead of sporting a full hydration pack, I am on board with the fanny pack trend. On The Path Bike Shop's first shipment of Dakine Hot Laps packs, I grabbed one right away. I took that pack on every ride except for the occasional epic ride where I would succumb to a full pack. It fit one water bottle and everything needed for a quick trail fix. Camelbak came out with the first fanny pack (that I saw), the Camelbak Palos 4LR that included a bladder. Not longer after that Dakine came out with their version (the Low Rider) and again I picked one up on the first batch.

I went with the Dakine Low Rider 5L for a few reasons: the Low Rider is a smaller pack both length and height wise, has a larger bladder, $10 less than Cambelbak, and I prefer the Dakine color options. However, I did learn if you fill the pack to the limit it becomes bigger. My first ride with the pack was a 4 hour epic so I filled it up and by the end of the ride it deflated. So it isn't a deal breaker as it reminds me to drink more water and I only have to suffer with the extra weight for a bit. On the daily, few hour rides I fill the bladder halfway and I'm good. Both the Dakine and Camelbak have a comfortable back padding that also provides a good air flow. No one likes the sweaty back full packs give, another reason why the fanny packs just make sense.

The Path Bike Shop jr team racer Ava at the 2016 Over The Hump MTB Race SeriesRace Report by Ava Fong, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

My name is Ava Fong and I am 11 years old.  I have been racing Over The Hump Race Series for about 5 years. It has been an amazing experience for my fellow competitors and I.  This season was special for me because it was my last year racing in the 9 to 11 year old girls.  I missed 3 races early in the season, so I wasn’t doing well for the overall title at first. But then, I kept working harder every race. My placing in this last race would be very important for me so that I could have a chance to be the overall winner of the series.

The course conditions this evening were typical for Over The Hump—dry and dusty. My Dad has had me running my tires a little lower pressure than when it’s packed and tacky. This has made my bike feel more secure in the loose gravel. At this race, the girls got to start on their own horn blast after a gap from the boys race. I made sure to get a good start. I went hard from the line, standing out of the saddle up the first hill. I was afraid to slow down and that the other girls might pass me.

I was relieved to finally cross the finish line. I got 1st place, and that was enough points to get me 1st on the podium for the Overall Series!

Next season, I will race Junior Girls and face a tougher course and many fast girls. I couldn’t have done anything without my supportive family and friends. I also want to thank The Path Bike Shop for all they do for me.

custom built 2016 Turner RFX at The Path Bike Shop in Tustin, CAHere is a full custom built Turner RFX that we did for our customer, Rodel.

The build is made even sweeter with custom built carbon Derby rimmed wheelset, hand built here at The Path Bike Shop as well.

A few custom build specs:

  • Hope brakeset
  • SRAM X01 drivetrain
  • Chris King hubs
  • Chris King bottom bracket

Path Bike Shop ladies team at 2016 Over The Hump Race 2Race Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

Summer is officially here! In my opinion, the beginning of the Over The Hump weekly Tuesday night MTB race series heralds the arrival of the summer season. For most, OTH is a casual, fun, family event where one can kick back, knock off some of that work or school week stress, and even imbibe in some post-race brews and Wahoo’s tacos. For others, it’s a terrific mid-week training ride, a great way to measure the effects of hard miles of interval or endurance training against other worthy competitors. For me it’s a little of both. This year I don’t have any specific races or a race season I’m training for as I have in years past. This year is more about finding fun challenges in my everyday riding, trying to become a better rider, and using racing to keep motivated to stay fit and sharp as a rider. So this year I have had a blast at the first 2 OTH races trying out the Elite women’s class of competition, having fun but also pushing myself to the limit!

This year OTH series has moved to a new location at Oak Canyon Park (behind Irvine Lake) and a new course set-up. Each week the organizers have listened to feedback and tweaked the course here and there, resulting in a fun and fast race course. My first impression of the course at week 1 was that it’s very well suited to the large amount of racers of all levels on the course at the same time. There is not much bottlenecking and plenty of places to pass. Week 1 was amazing, with a huge main start venue with what seemed like twice as many vendors and shop tents set up compared to last year. As always the organizers had everything running smooth with parking, registration, check in, and timing of the races. There were tons of volunteers helping to keep things going, which was so appreciated.

The Path Bike Shop team racer Steven Nadaskai at the 2016 California Enduro Series Race 2 in Reno NVRace Report by Steven Nadaskai, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Robert Koen Photography

After the first race of the California Enduro Series was held local at Fontana, all of us from SoCal had to make a 8-hour trip up Reno, Nevada for Race #2. I was super excited to finally race the first "far-away" enduro of the season. For the weekend my main goal was the stay upright with no bike problems and come away with a podium in a category I had to transition up to: the Expert 18-29 category.

What's a road trip without memories to go behind it? After the 8-hour drive up, my teammate Ben and I decided to get out of the car and immediately preride some of the stages. We found out it wasn't the best idea after being in a car for so long and eating In-N-Out 30 minutes before. Nevertheless, we made it through and finished the day on a good note. Heading into Preride Day 2, I was ready for some more of Reno's rocky terrain. I'm not talking about small pebbles; try sharp, boulder-like rocks. If you ever decide to race or ride there often, I probably wouldn't advise super lightweight tires. I'll see you on the side of the trail if you do end up running them.

Waking up on race day, I felt ready and didn't feel that nervous. A big thing with being a successful racer is not letting your nerves control you, so I've really been trying to train my mental being. I started a slow start on the first stage but after that, I felt really comfortable. I felt I was flowing with the trail but sprinting on any section I could. After finishing up the last stage and cruising back to the venue, I was exstatic with how I ended up.

2016 Rinm Nordic Enduro Race 2 The Path Bike shop TeamRace Report by David Hardwick, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Dan Williams

I didn’t get a chance to try any of the races at Rim Nordic last year because of scheduling conflicts, so when I saw I was free to hit Round #2 of the 2016 Rim Nordic Enduro 5-race series I jumped at the opportunity. My teammate Dan hit me up the weekend before and mentioned he was going to go up and do some recon on the course changes for the upcoming race. I told him as long as we can through it a detour to Exploration trail when we were finished that I was totally in. So the weekend before the race I met up with Dan and another teammate, Sam, to go check out the race stages. It was a great day of riding, laughing, learning and teaching. We all learned something new and Dan and I traded race lines to try and get a step up on the competition.

Okay, now to the meat of the story. Saturday morning is here way to early but it’s race day and I’m feeling excited. I know Dan is going to be waiting for me at the shop so we can carpool up to the mountains. There’s a little extra pep in my step this morning. We meet up at 7am, move his bike and gear to my Subaru and it’s time to get moving. We arrived at Rim Nordic about 8:30 or so, allowing some time for socializing and me time to get registered. We met up with a few other teammates and chatted about the changes from Round #1 and how we were feeling about our prospects for the day’s race.

Brooke McFerrin team rider for The Path Bike Shop podium 3rd place in Elite Women at the 2016 OC Classic Race 2 at Aliso WoodsRace Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

This is my first year racing with The Path Bike Shop team, after moving here from Florida last year with my husband (and fellow Path Bike Shop team racer) Peter Osborn. We are happy to have found a “bike shop home” at The Path and are proud to represent them racing cross country this year.

We were looking forward to race the Non-Dot OC Classic Race 2 at Aliso Woods since we raced a few Non-Dot events last year and knew that they throw fun, challenging and well-organized events. The Aliso Woods event proved to be no exception! This year had a fantastic venue at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park in a beautiful shady area, and the course had some changes from last year.

This is also my first season racing Elite Women and I have been enjoying the challenge of “moving up”. The competition is awe-inspiring and all the women racing out there at every level have been so welcoming and friendly. In fact, as our small group lined up at the start line and took off, it felt almost like a pleasant Saturday “Girls Ride” rather than a typical XC heart-attack leg burner start! I knew however that soon enough, the true racing would be coming! Sure enough, after almost 5 miles of slightly inclining fire road at the bottom of the canyon we were heading up Cholla in a freight train of Super Sport Men and us “girls”.

The Path Bike Shop team rider Dan Williams at Race 1 of the 2016 Rim Nordic Enduro SeriesRace Report by Dan Williams, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

May Starts off on a High Note for The Path Race Team!

May 1st saw the beginning of a new month and the beginning of gravity racing up in the San Bernardino National Forest, as this day saw Race #1 of the 2016 Rim Nordic Enduro Series. Rim Nordic is located in Running Springs, California, just east of the more well known ski/biking city of Big Bear Lake (think Snow Summit). Rim Nordic sits at approximately 6,700 feet above sea level, which makes pedaling quite a bit harder for those of us who live and ride by the ocean hills of Laguna and Aliso Viejo.

The terrain at Rim Nordic is not exceedingly rocky, but don’t let that fool you. There is still quite a bit of loose, off camber turns to keep you on your toes that are mixed with high speed, steep chutes!  The organizers did a great job for the first race of the year, putting together 5 stages, and one of the stages was part of their old downhill course!

Anybody who has ridden up in this area or Snow Summit knows the terrain; loose decomposed granite that lacks grip, and forces you to become a master of cornering if you want to put down a decent time. Big thanks to our tire sponsor Kenda Tires, as they provided us with their Honey Badger DH tires. Those tires gave us the extra bite we needed so we wouldn’t blow corners!  In addition, the day before the race saw small amounts of snow in the morning, then rain in the afternoon. This made for “hero dirt” conditions the day of the race....YEE-HAW!

The Path Bike Shop team rider David Fong at Bonelli Park Race 4 2016Race Report by David Fong, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: PB Creative Photo

I raced Cat 2 at the Kenda Cup West Bonelli Park #2 event. This race weekend was also part of USA Cycling's US Cup, a UCI-sanctioned competition for the pros.

They shortened the course for all races on Sunday due to rains the previous day. This meant extra laps to make up the distance. Of course, the part they closed off is the less technical portion, so there was little or no recovery on the very demanding technical side. That said, the track was perfect--tacky hero dirt. However, there were some grassy areas we had to ride over and these had their share of pooled water and mud which made for some spectacular slide-outs for those who took the direct line through the muck instead of a safer line off to the side. I was actually more hesitant making turns on the flat muddy areas over my four descents down the "Rutted Rock Garden" section (Strava URL: https://www.strava.com/segments/1093516).

I was pretty exhausted afterwards but managed to get 8th Place in a very talented field. This is a great race series to attend as you just might see that domestic or international pro you like.

Custom Kona Process 153 mountain bike at The Path Bike Shop in Tustin, CAIn preparation for the SoCal DH season coming just around the berm, Tani, the owner of The Path Bike Shop (a gravity-minded rider) has built up an extraordinary Enduro bike as well as a shop favorite - a Kona Process 153.

Many riders can definitely benefit from a true DH rig but if you have enough bike handling abilities, an Enduro bike can offer a more lively feel for the kind of terrain we have down here in SoCal. Especially at local ride locations like Snow Summit in Big Bear, CA!

Some of the unique features of this particular 153 build:

  • 170mm crankset (to get down and dirty)
  • ENVE M70 wheels (why not?)
  • Fox Float 36 w/2 volume reducers
  • SRAM GX 1x11 dérailleur
  • XO1 cassette (cuz it's lighter than anything else)
  • SRAM Guide RSC brakes
  • Customized ODI lock-on handlebar grips

Photos (clockwise, from top left):

Dog Rosie overlooks the new build.
Custom ODI lock-ons add a personalized detail.
Tani (pictured, left) and Erik "Auk" Akiyoshi (pictured, right) discuss future plans.

2016 OC Classic MTB Race Series Race 1 Whiting Ranch The Path Bike Shop Race TeamRace Report by David Fong, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photos: Called To Creation

A Race of Truth

While some teammates have already been racing this year, my 2016 season just got off to an exciting start at Non Dot Adventures first race of the season, the Whiting Ranch Ultimate Time Trial on March 19th. This is the first of four races they conduct in the Orange County Parks. Rather than a mass start of a typical cross-country race, riders are released once every 30 seconds to race against the clock. Many call a time trial “the race of truth” because there is no hiding in a pack, it’s just you and the clock. And your burning legs.

On race morning, we were greeted by chilly, overcast conditions with many racers wondering how to dress or even when to shed their jackets prior to the start. The cool air and clouds would soon be appreciated, however, once the riders started up the infamous Dreaded Hill, a nearly one-mile beast with grades averaging 14% and portions up to 26%.

The Path Bike Shop Race Team rider Dan at Race 5 Fontana Winter Series 2016Race Report by Dan Williams, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Called To Creation

This past Saturday saw the 5th and final Super D race of the Southridge KMC Chain Winter Series. Weather for the day was almost ideal, with mild temps, somewhat overcast skies, and no rain for the day.  Unfortunately, the downhill race the following day didn’t have it so good.

As usual for the series this year, Southridge put together a two race run format; but this time with a little twist. Racers rode down a very fun, yet somewhat short course that had awkward and tight “S” turns, ruts, and a rock littered field that kept your wits sharp. At this point, we climbed back up to do the same course, but for the second time, they would have you continue over the road to the Super D’s famous Waterfall feature of somewhat intimidating rocks, then a dozen turns before you hit the sprint to the 4X course and the finish line.

The Path Bike Shop junior racer Blake WrayRace report by Blake Wray, Jr. racer and member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

Coming into this weekend I was a little nervous because I broke my arm a couple of weeks prior. During the 6-week period of having to stay off the bike, I was anxious to see if I had lost any bike handling skills that I would have to work up to. It was my first big weekend of racing! Saturday was the SoCal Enduro and Sunday was the Kenda Cup cross country.

Saturday was super exiting and fun! The courses were fast but also had some fast sections. All 4 of my runs were safe, but some felt faster than others. The first 3 stages were my strongest stages while in Stage 4 I had a couple of mistakes. They weren't bad mistakes but they cost me about 3 seconds. Stage 3 was my favorite because it had both the fast and technical parts in the trail. The day was successful and I came out with a 2nd place in a field of 18 racers in the 12-17 age class.

2016 KMC Winter Series Race 4 podium 1st Place Bryan Bolt from The Path Bike ShopRace report by Bryan Bolt, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.

Coming into my second race for the 2016 Fontana KMC Winter Series was fantastic! It was yet another perfect day for the 4th race of the season. It had rained 2 days prior which made the trails desirable for riding and the weather was in the low to mid 70s.

I decided to race in the open class single speed this time around since I had just finished building my new Pivot LES 29er. With the new 142x12 dropout, the bike’s performance was awesome! The course was pretty tough on the single speed due to the short steep climbs, however, I’m glad I geared down to 20t from 19t in the rear and 32t in the front. The bike handled great on the technical downhill and the transfer of power to the rear was effective when pedaling hard. The adjustments definitely paid off showing that I beat my final time by 2.5 minutes compared to my first race in gears in which I also got 1st place.

I can’t thank my sponsors enough and for always cheering me on. Big shout out to The Path Bike Shop: owner Tani Walling & team manager Lou Mollineda

Path Bike Shop team racer Amy Rambacher in the 6 Hours of TemeculaRace report by Amy Rambacher, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Called To Creation

Wow! This past weekend was pretty eventful! First race of the 2016 season for me was the Ironbutt Challenge, which consisted of riding the 6 Hours of Temecula solo on Saturday followed by the SoCal Enduro on Sunday. I chose to do both races instead of just the enduro for training purposes. I'm doing a lot of multi day enduros this year so this was a good tool to be able to simulate racing multiple days in a row and to gauge my progress in my training with the Trans NZ right around the corner.

The 6 Hours of Temecula was the first endurance race of this sort that I have ever attempted. After getting some good tips from many people who have done this race and races like it before, I formulated a plan to ride 2 laps straight, eating every hour/lap, then come to our campsite (yup, we camped Friday and Saturday nights, something I never do before a race but we will be doing for the BC Bike Race in July), swap out my water bladder, eat some more food and head out for 2 more laps and see how things went after that.

Bicycling Magazine 100 Best Bike Shops logo

League of American Bicyclists bronze logo

IMBA International Mountain Bicycling Association logo and link to website