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. 

Can't tell you how blessed and stoked I am for being the race team manager for another year. Tani has been great to work with and has been more that willing to help grow this team. With support from bike brands from Santa Cruz, Giant, Juliana and intense as well as countless other awesome sponsors, 2017 is set to be very promising. 

Returning to the team we have Megan Welch who earned a 2nd place racing the California Enduro Series in expert women. Blake Wray who not only races enduro but also xc in the Kenda cup series. Blake is more motivated than ever to race his Intense Recluse in the junior division. New to the team we have Blaise Janssen who earned a 3rd place in the JR expert division racing the California Enduro Series. Blaise had his eyes set on the top step on his Giant Trance. Racing veteran Danny (#Smiley) Mollineda is also returning for another enduro race season. Danny will be racing expert class and looking for podiums in a stacked field of men. We will also be at all the Kenda Cup races, Over The Hump series, SoCal Endurance and a few other races. Also stoked to have race mechanic Raul (Chivo) Garcia travel with is to make sure our bikes are race ready! 

Can't thank Tani enough for his support of the team and making it possible for me and the rest of the team to ride and race killer bikes as well as Megan for her hard work at the shop, Megan is not only a racer but also help me with the race team. Stoke is high for 2017.

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