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.
In 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:
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.
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%.
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.
Race 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.
Race 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
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.
Race report by Bryan Bolt, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
It was great to be back in race mode again! For the last year, I’ve been overwhelmed dealing with life changing events and job issues. However, I decided to race the Fontana Winter Series Race #2 and gave the legs a try.
I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout; the weather & dirt was perfect and most importantly, the people. The race started at 9:30am with temps in the mid 50’s. I was definitely pumped and excited to ride this technical course again. The great energy was so amped and it felt so good to be able to race alongside the locals and just to be back in the game. Without getting ahead of myself, I stayed with the leading pack until the last lap. When I saw that opening, I took that chance and rode to the finishing line and won 1st place.
A special thanks to Lou Mollineda (The Path Bike Shop Race Team manager) for always encouraging me on my abilities to ride. Also wanted to thank Tani Walling (The Path Bike Shop owner), Megan Welch & the rest of The Path Bike Shop crew on ALL their help. Looking forward to the upcoming races for 2016.
I have decided to take on the 2016 BC Bike Race. For those of you who know the race and me as a person, you know how crazy an endeavor this is.
I’ll start with myself, I have been riding for 4 years now. I’m not the greatest rider, but I tend go full throttle on anything I do. Mountain Biking has provided me with a means to stay fit mentally and physically with a smile. The addiction to competition has also fueled my love of the sport. I have raced each year, starting with Beginner class then moved up to Sport class. I have not done amazingly well but have always had fun. This sport has also taken me out of my “OC Bubble”; I have traveled to Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to ride. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest instantly. My trips are what led me to the BC Bike Race. I was in Squamish and Whistler a few years ago during the time of the race, and I had the opportunity to ride parts of the course. They are the best trails I have ever ridden.
The BC Bike Race is a 7-day stage race billed as “The Ultimate Single Track Experience,” with 200 miles in seven days, 3-8,000 feet of climbing per day, and 90% single track terrain. The race starts on July 6, 2016 (it sold out in 4 days in July 2015 when registration first opened). I will be racing on a two-man team with a co-worker Roger Williams. He has a long history of riding and is an extreme person who never quits…the perfect teammate.
Since I feel that my riding is not yet ready for a race like this, I decided to get some help. With recommendations from others I’m using a training plan provided by a coach. She has every day planned out from December 1st, 2015 until race day. I will be riding 6 days a week, weight lifting, stretching and mobility exercises, and Yoga a few times a week. In the last 4 weeks I have put more hours on a bike then I ever have before. I even purchased a cyclocross bike from The Path Bike Shop to get more miles on the bike. I am using my road bike and a trainer at home and work in order to ride every day possible, rain or shine.
Accomplishing a race like this is no small task, I am lucky to have a lot of supporters. My wife has allowed me to spend countless dollars on the race itself, new bikes, and on everything else I need. I also have a 1-year old son and spending time with him is always a priority. I am a firefighter and have the support of my Captain and crew; this allows me to get time on my trainer at work when there are no calls. The Path Bike Shop is a huge support, helping me with everything I need when it comes to riding. They have a crazy amount of brand choices, amazing service, and just a friendly shop with good people. My buddy Lou manages The Path Bike Shop Race Team and has done an amazing job getting the team sponsors that allow us to compete.
I will be writing periodically before the race and my experience in the race itself. In the next blog entry I will detail my race bike I’m currently building up. Hint… there’s no such thing as too much turquoise!
This past weekend marked the first race of the calendar year in Southern California, as both grass roots and World Cup level racers made their annual return to the sandy, rutted, and rock-strewn hills of Fontana, California for the 2016 KMC Chain Winter Series presented by Southridge USA.
The week leading up to the race saw El Nino raise its head, as rain pummeled the SoCal terrain. While this may create a sloppy mess in some regions, the decomposed granite and sandy soils of Fontana simply sucked it up, and racers arrived on Saturday to find some of the most amazing track conditions you could desire at Fontana! No blown out berms, lots of grip, little wind, and cool temps.
Last year saw the preponderance of the one run race format, but this year, Donny and the gang at Southridge brought back the two run format for the first Super D of the year, meaning that riders rode down one stage starting on one hill, then climbed back up to race a second stage on a different hill. So, in essence, we raced a two-stage enduro race. Speaking with many of the other racers, it seems that this was a welcomed format, and racers want more of this. Hey, this guy is included in that! If we did this two run format the rest of the series, I can only see more racers showing up, so let’s keep it going!
Unfortunately I had quite a bit of time off the bike the past few months due to injury and illness, so I knew I wasn’t going to have the optimum stamina and leg/lung power for this race. Therefore I concentrated on bike setup, with emphasis on tire pressure and suspension settings. My Kenda Honey Badger DH tire I used up front felt like I could lean on it in both sandy turns and on rocks, and not once did I feel like it was going to push or give out on me. I also fine-tuned the use of bottomless tokens in my RockShox Pike fork and bottomless rings in my Monarch shock. This helped to keep my Santa Cruz Nomad riding above the holes in between the rocks, yet still gave me great traction, as well as a great pedaling platform when it was time to sprint! Shameless sponsor plug: go to The Path Bike Shop and they’ll help get your rig set up like they helped me!
Back to racing! Stage one started off with rocks, rocks, and more rocks, along with a few small jumps, rocks slab rollers, and steep sections that lead you into sharp corners...more than a few things to keep you on your toes. This fun and rather quick stage finished just to the right of the infamous “wall”, then riders climbed back up for the second stage. The second stage was much more physical, as there was one long pedaling section in the middle that required a good balance of flow and power to keep your speed up, just as it dropped you into another steep rock slab, crossing the fire road into some super fun swooping banked turns with a few jumps thrown in for good measure. You then crossed back over the road, into the Super D Rock Garden, then a long sprint into the bottom of the 4X course before you finish at the vendor area!
The Path Bike Shop Race Team had a very good showing for the first Super D race of the year! Blake Wray was on the podium, earning 2nd in Beginner Men 18 & Under! Sean Small and Nick Patricio has strong showings in a very competitive class, earning 6th and 7th respectively in Expert Men 35 & Under, and Zachary Graves got 9th in Sport Men 35 & Up. Me...I managed to get on the podium with a 4th place finish in Sport Men 35 & Up! I couldn’t have been happier with my finish. By a very long shot, I felt this was the best Super D race I have experienced at Fontana!
I would like to thank Tani and all his employees at The Path Bike Shop, and all the other team sponsors: Kenda Tires, SRAM, Race Face, Crank Brothers, Speed Tuned Wheels, Tustin Brewing (YUM!), Invigorade, Ford & Mazda of Orange, IXS Sports Division, Cal Boring, GoDirect Fumigation, and Johan at Acumed.
Weighing in at 27.5 lbs, this bike is SOLID and trail ready.
Custom Kona Raijin Build Specs:
Keep your Reverb performing well on all your rides, and increase its longevity. SRAM recommends a full rebuild after every 200 hours of use for the Reverb and the Reverb Stealth. We perform this important and valuable service here at The Path Bike Shop.
Does your Reverb need a full rebuild? Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
Troubleshooting first. Here's what to look for to determine if a full rebuild is necessary:
If you have any other questions or would like for us to take a look at your Reverb, come on in! This service runs $80 labor and an additional $65 for the full seal kit.
When Santa Cruz sent over the geometry charts for the new Bronson and 5010 models, I was extremely happy with what I saw. These two bikes have been among our best sellers for a while now, and with the new geometry, they look even better. The changes are absolutely on point; with slacker head angles, shorter chain stays, lower bottom brackets, shorter seat tubes, and longer reach numbers. These two new models also sport boost spacing, and they went to a 31.6 seat tube, which accommodates a 150mm Reverb. Santa Cruz says that the boost spacing helped them get the chain stays shorter and improves the bracing angle of the spokes.
I was already looking forward to a trip to Downieville to ride bikes with the crew from Santa Cruz. The event was called the Gold Rush; attendees included a small group of dealers, Santa Cruz Syndicate riders, media, and Santa Cruz staff. When I found out that we would be riding the new Bronson and 5010 bikes, I felt like a kid at Christmas. The visit started with a presentation of the new bikes, where the Santa Cruz design group went over the changes with us. They mentioned that they tweaked the leverage rate on the rear suspension, and that the suspension improvements might be the most important change to the bikes. They claimed that the new bikes would be more responsive at the top of the travel while providing more support through the mid stroke, and a consistent ramp up. That sounded good to me, but I was skeptical that this would impress me as much as the new fit and geometry based handling characteristics.
The first day, I rode the Bronson (pictured above, in Kalimotxo & Yellow) on a trail called Butcher - we did two runs. Right when I got on the bike, I noticed that the suspension did feel more plush, and seemed to have a more natural feel to it. There are a lot of rocks on Butcher, and the suspension was truly impressive - maybe Santa Cruz was right. It soaked up big bumps and small bumps with control left over. The steady ramp up makes the suspension predictable and facilitates an intuitive rider connection to the bike. There was no wallowing in the mid stroke, or blowing through travel.
I could tell you every little detail about my weekend at the CES Kamikaze Games last weekend at Mammoth Mountain, CA but I'll just share what you really want to hear about...my crashes and other problems that no one wants on race day.
Quick rundown: We arrived at Mammoth 3 days before my race day. Beginners and sport raced on Saturday while Expert and pros had to deal with race butterflies one more day. Sunday came and all I hoped for was smooth runs with no broken bones.
2 days before the race day: While taking some practice runs, my shifter decided to skip. Ex-Path employee Mike Riess at the Shimano tent, saved the day and tuned it up for me.
I have been dying to get some new riding shoes, but that cost money and I have races to pay for! So I've been holding out. What happens a day before the race? The ratchet on my shoe won't secure. I'd like to give a shout out to Roger from Kenda Tires for providing Gorilla Tape to hold it together.
by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, member of The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team
Sometimes epic bike rides have more to do with the company you keep, people you meet, and stories shared with local companions.
I was fortunate to score a spot in the 2015 Amtrak Century Bike Ride. A long running tradition hosted by the Orange County Wheelmen Bicycle Club, the annual Amtrak Century typically sells out in less than 45 minutes (or so I’ve been told). The ride starts from the Irvine train station and ends at the downtown San Diego Train Station. The ride has 3,200 feet of climbing and is well supported; with 60 miles still to go, a buddy riding the SAG vehicle donated his rear derailleur and was Johnny-on-the-spot with a chain tool so I could convert my bike to a retro-cool single speed.
I started the ride from Tustin at 5AM and met my ride buddies James, Dave, and KC at the Irvine Train Station around 6AM. We checked in and were riding the Century event by 6:30AM.
by Nathan Heronen, Ambassador and member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
The 2015 Rim Nordic Enduro Race Series attracts a wide variety of racers from all different backgrounds. The sometimes technical, sometimes pedal-y, always fun stages drive riders to make some pretty specific choices on bike setup. Here is an inside look in to a few of the racers’ bikes at the Aug 15, 2015 race at the Rim Nordic Ski Area in Running Springs, CA.
The Path Bike Shop local Geoff Knight running a large Kona Process 111 29er with a Rockshox 140mm Revelation fork. Drivetrain is handled by a WolfTooth modified 1×10 Shimano drivetrain with a 28t ring and a custom inner chain guide. Wheels are Stans ZTR Flow wheels with meaty On One tires. Seatpost duties taken care of by a 150mm KS Supernatural dropper. Brakes are the always trusty Shimano XT. A modified seat bag attached with an Awesome Strap keeps the tools and spares for racing in place, and a water bottle is well secure by a Salsa stainless steel cage.
Jill Hamilton of Petal Power was rocking the Turner Czar with Rockshox Sid Fork and Fox Float rear shock. Wheels are the ever lusted after Enve Carbons wrapped in WTB Bronson TCS tires. Drivetrain is handled by SRAM 1×11 with a 28t front ring. Jill is also running a KS Lev dropper seatpost to coax out the enduro abilities of her XC rig.
Race report by Nathan Heronen, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
After hitting the Grizzly 100k race in Big Bear for the second time this year, I think I finally got my gear and bike setup dialed. The race is 100k (~63 Miles) with about 8000-ft of climbing and part of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) MTB race series. Much of the race is technical singletrack for extended periods of time. Bike and gear choice can really make the difference between a good day and a rough day. Below is a list of what I chose and why. While I still struggled during the race, I felt good about all my gear choices. This is the setup I would choose for any similar distance race in the future.
Race report by Steven Nadaskai, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
California Enduro Series Race #4: Ashland, Oregon/ Jr. Expert Under 18
With this race being my second California Enduro Series race, I knew I had signed up for a challenge.
We set off to Oregon on Wednesday afternoon, only to get there at around 12am and still having to set up the tents and camp. After getting some sleep, we took the day to practice stages 3 and 4. These were the two stages that we had to get shuttled up on. Once we starting riding down, we all heard a loud....BANG. From there on we finished practice in pouring rain and in some spots, hail. Surprisingly the rain didn't make the dirt muddy. Instead it made it extremely tacky and just amazing.
As Friday came, we were able to fit in another practice day. This day was a little bit different though. We shuttled stages 3 and 4 with no rain, but only extreme amounts of stoke. Once setting off to climb 3700 feet to stages 1 and 2, that's when the rain kicked in. Two of my teammates (Ben and Chris) and myself ended up climbing the full climb in pouring rain, taking about 2 hours. Then once at the top we rode both stages in pouring rain also. The experience of riding in that type of weather was insane and was truly memorable.
Race report by Blake Wray, Jr. racer and member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Jason Marr.
My first MTB National Championship Race was an awesome experience! Before the fun began, there was a lot of preparation and hard work. I had to work very hard with breathing, strength training, and nutrition. Getting on the stationary bike helped me with the strength and breathing. Once I was all ready and done with work, it was time to go up I was excited! It was a long drive up there, it was astonishing!
A week ago was Round 3 of the 2015 California Enduro Series in China Peak. I knew this race was going to be challenge because I've never been to China Peak or ridden any similar trails. The only way I could prepare myself for this race is by going in with the mindset of using all I've learned and trained for.
After hanging out and relaxing on Thursday, we set off to get some practice runs in on Friday. Having the use of chairlifts helped a whole lot, as we were able to fit in 7 practice runs. From the start of practice, I knew these trails were completely different than anything I'm used to. Stages 1 and 2 were what I would call the "warm-up" stages as they didn't have anything that technical but instead a lot of blown-out corners and pedaling sections between those corners.
Stage 3 was by far the most physically demanding stage; it started out with some sketchy technical sections, then dropped you into the trees into a bunch of tight switchbacks and a good amount of pedaling. After the pedaling section, you dropped into the infamous rock garden. I had to look at it a couple of times, but I chose my lines according to how smooth I can hit it. After the rock garden and a couple other fairly technical sections, the course dropped you into more pedaling between the trees all the way to the end.
Stage 4 was more on the technical side, but instead of tight rock sections, it was high speed, rowdy technical sections. This section was rowdy for the majority of the stage until the last 30 percent where it was all washed out turns that were extremely hard to get traction.
Race Report by David Hardwick, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photos: Carla Bray
Round Two of the 2015 California Enduro Series took us the furthest from home that I’ve ever been for a race. We traveled to a little town about 10 hours from home on the Mendocino coast called Caspar. The locals welcomed somewhere near 300 racers, their families, and support staff with open arms, and were thrilled to show their local riding area to a whole new group of people.
I had been saving my pennies and selling everything not bolted down so I could purchase a new bike in time for the race. With the help of Tani & Gerrin from the shop, I was able to get my hands on a Giant Trance 1 with exactly the build that I wanted. I picked up my bike one week before this race and tried to squeeze in every ride I could so I could get to know her a little better before leaving home for the race.
Thursday morning before the race was a blur; I tossed all the last minute things into the car and drove to meet with Zach for our trip 2/3 of the way up the state. The drive up was pretty uneventful and we made really good time. We arrived to find the rest of the team just finishing up their course pre-riding. We geared up and talked the world’s best team manager, Lou Mollineda, into dropping us off at the top so we could get some pre-rides in ourselves before we set up camp for the weekend.
Friday morning we awoke to beautiful weather, lots of sun and perfect temps for riding. After the arrival of a few more teammates, we put together the days plan, trying to get as many of the race stages covered as we possible could. The plan was well executed and I think the team had a good handle on what the trails were like. Friday night I started thinking about how many miles were ahead of me for the weekend, and the pre-race jitters certainly kicked in. I reviewed the trail map multiple times to try and remember all I could about the stages I would be racing on Saturday. The morale around camp was quite high, I think the team felt well prepared and ready to tackle the next days of racing.