Non Dot Adventures Aliso Woods XC Race 3
A different time of year for the Non Dot Adventures’ Aliso XC race! At first I was little concerned hearing the race was being held in August instead of April, especially since it’s a longer race and has sections where the heat could be an issue. However the organizers wisely held the race early in the morning and it ended up being a perfect day to hold a race.
Every race has different challenges and therefore different strategies involved, and for Aliso the key for me as a challenge and a strategy was pacing. The Elite women race the same distance as the Elite men, with one trip up Cholla, two trips up Mathis, and three descents down Rock-It. The beginning is also tough-a deceptively easy fire road that stretches for almost 5 miles; however it has a slight grade upwards and several sandy sections which can suck the life out of legs before reaching the first climb at Cholla. After each tough climb the strategy for me was to recover quickly enough to be ready to tackle the technical descent and rock gardens of Rock-It. I had completed a quick pre-ride a week or so prior to figure out a few sections of trail, make sure I had good lines, and do a climb up Mathis, but I wasn’t feeling too ready for the length of the race. Most of my training and racing up to this point had been short, intense distances, and I knew it was going to be tough to estimate proper pacing for the length and challenges of this course. My goal therefore wasn’t necessarily to win but to stay in one piece and try to improve on my course time from last year.
by Jesse Peterson, Bike Technician at The Path Bike Shop.
I have a relatively new bike and it's pretty unique.
What I've built for myself isn't your usual Santa Cruz Bronson 2 CC. Although the Bronson 2 with it's 66 degree head angle and 150mm of snappy VPP travel is enough bike to race down most descents with predictable liveliness, I wanted a bike with as much rake as a DH bike could give without the dead feel of 8 inches of travel, so I created one!
It all starts off with a bike you think will accommodate the modifications you want to make. For instance, when I decided to slacken my bike and put a 29er fork and wheel on the front of the Bronson 2 (which I'll elaborate on later), I anticipated a raised bottom bracket height, so I didn't want a bike that had a bottom bracket that was over 13.5". Likewise, the seat tube will slacken too, so it had to have a steep angle to begin with! After all is said and done, the 13.43" bottom bracket height grew to 13.8," and that wasn't what I was going to be satisfied with. If I had started with something higher I might end up above 14" and that is a kind of weird feeling. Thus stated, I found the Bronson to accommodate these changes very well.
First, after choosing a bike that fits both your body, your style, and your plan, then you begin to compile your build.
Here's another great custom build to come from The Path Bike Shop, from the frame up.
The Foes Mixxer runs a 29 front end and a 27.5 rear. Here are some specs on this custom build:
Here's what the customer had to say after his first ride:
"Went for a short spin on Saturday (Meadows, Stair Steps, Lizards) - WOW this thing is crying for the off menu goods! It ate up the waterfall on Stair Steps like nothing (of course), and held speed like crazy (of course) but what was really surprising was the acceleration and how efficiently it climbed."
Race Report by Leslie Williams, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
My famous last words to my racer friend Heidi: “Ahhhh, this rain won’t be a big deal…. nothing like several years back when Blackstar was a muddy mess…” Well, as we all know, Blackstar was a muddy mess! I love this race. 5:30 am start is right down my ally. I love getting rides in at dawn. I know this route like the back of my hand. I was as ready as a weekend warrior can be. But within 20 minutes I was completely powerless to make my wheels turn over. The mud was so thick front and back, that no amount of digging was going to make my wheels turn. I carried my bike on my shoulder for a long time. I searched high and low for the best sticks to stab at the mud, but to no avail. Sadly, I turned around and called it quits. I was so disappointed, as were many people who made the same decision. Kudos to all those who made it around that whole course!
However, I needed to go back and redeem the training and the experience of finishing this course. Luckily it was my spring break, so on the following Friday, I stuffed my pack with all I would need for the trek, parked at the Path Live Oak, and took off about 4:45 am. It was absolutely freezing getting to Black star, but by the time I reached the gate I was ready to make this day happen. I flew up Blackstar faster than I ever have, and made it across the divide and down Motorway fairly quickly. The main divide, however, will never be easy, no matter what! Those climbs out there are steep and never-ending. Motorway is always a sight for sore-eyes after the endless fire roads, so there’s always that reward.
I started to slow down up Maple, but I was very motivated to finish as quickly as possible so I could pick my kids up from school. Then I really slowed down up to the Peak. That rocky trail is TOUGH. I started cramping, but managed to get to the Peak and to fly down Holy Jim and back to my car, just in time to pick up my son. I even got to see Megan W. and friends on Holy Jim training for the Whisky 50!
Parking at the shop made for a 52 mile, 9000 foot day. There is nothing like being out in the Santa Anas for that long. Even though I’m not in the shape I used to be, I’ll forever be an endurance junkie. I’m so thankful that I was able to get out there and make it happen!
by Jesse Peterson, Bike Technician at The Path Bike Shop.
Pictured here is a seatpost from a customer's bike that has been routinely cleaned with a pressure washer. We recommend NEVER using a pressure washer on your bike...because this could happen to you. Never spray water into the insides of your bike!
Here's how to clean your bike safely:
Heat up some distilled water and mix it with Simple Green, then put it in a commercial spray bottle and shoot the crud off with precision. The heat of the liquid will evaporate quickly, and being that it's distilled, you won't get corrosion like you will with a water hose. Precision is the key. Don't shoot directly at the moving parts.
Another way to prolong the life of your components is to not ride in the mud. If it rains, wait a couple of days and go ride when there isn't mud or dust! You avoid both mud and dust, and you avoid damaging the trails!
Personally, I don't clean my bike very often, but when I do its quickly and usually with a damp rag. I use the spray bottle too. And I'll go the distance when I want to really start fresh, disassembling everything to the frame and going through it all. That's the real way to clean a bike!
But for "everyday" cleaning- DON'T! Don't clean your bike after every ride. If you really feel you need to, just DON'T! Your bike will thank you and you can continue to LOVE THE BIKE YOU RIDE!
Race Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
Sea Otter Classic XC Race 2017 (Women Cat-2 40-49)
Springtime means wildflowers, warm weather and the Sea Otter Classic!! Peter and I were fortunate to be able to travel to Sea Otter this year after a one-year hiatus. We arrived in nearby Salinas early Friday morning, grabbed a few zzzz’s and a free breakfast, and headed over to the venue at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a look around and a pre-ride of the course. Both Peter and I decided to race the shorter Cat 2 XC course this year, which consisted of roughly 20 miles and 3000 ft of elevation. We immediately noticed some course changes from the last time we raced Sea Otter two years ago. A nasty cross-traffic area was eliminated, there was an awesome beach sand downhill surf-a-thon about 5 miles in, and an endless slightly uphill fire road section about 16 miles in. Most of the course was similar to what we had experienced in the past however, meaning uphill singletrack, some speedy asphalt descents, a few tricky gravel climbs and endless gorgeous scenery. The main take-aways from the pre-ride for me were clearing the beach sand descent efficiently (lightening the front end, using momentum, and letting the bike do what it wants) and using the narrow “clean” line during the steep, loose gravel climbs. I also decided my main strategy would involve quick recoveries and blasting down any descent I could find, since the uphill singletrack sections would likely be full of traffic. I felt confident in my conditioning and training since I had thankfully been healthy and able to train the last month.
by Brandon Olson, Technician & Mechanic at The Path Bike Shop
The Rockshox Reverb is one of the best feeling dropper seat posts in the industry. It's adjustable hydraulic lever provides a smooth, reliable feel that allows for almost unconscious use of the component while riding. The Rockshox Reverb is also fully rebuildable. We keep our inventory stocked full of rebuild kits and we also have the ability to upgrade previous generation Reverbs with the newer, upgraded seal kit.
Whether it's resetting the oil level to address a sagging post, bleeding a lever to ensure fast and consistent return speeds, or performing full rebuilds, our technicians at The Path Bike Shop can do it all.
by Brandon Olson, Mechanic at The Path Bike Shop
Here at The Path Bike Shop, we encourage our customers to get their suspension components serviced regularly to ensure proper function. A standard air can service on a rear shock involves partial disassembly, replacing important seals and replenishing the oil within the air can assembly. This can resolve stiction issues, restore small bump compliance and prevent pre-mature malfunctions to the damper mechanism within the shock.
We keep our inventory stocked full of Fox and Rockshox suspension service kits to ensure quick turn around so that you spend more time riding and less time waiting.
Fifth 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.
Just Juliana. My bikes for 2017.
I want to start with my thank yous to all who have set me up for a fun year of riding that is to come. Thank you to Lou Mollineda for being such great support at the races. You cheer for everyone and always say the right thing to keep our spirits up. I want to thank my 2017 sponsors, Juliana Bicycles, Speedtune wheels, HT components, Onza Tires, Tustin Brew Co, Ford of Orange, Acumed, and Raceface. Thank you to EVERYONE I work with at The Path Bike Shop for making me suffer on rides, working on my bike, and making me laugh on a daily basis. Thanks to Mike Mautner, our Santa Cruz rep, for letting me bug you till I got my sweet new rig and allowing me to represent Juliana. Lastly I want to thank Tani Walling for continuing to support and allowing me to be a Path ambassador at my own rate and terms.
Race Report by Dylan Vanek, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team
I remember when I was little my dad told me about the Vision Quest because he raced it right before I was born. Ever since hearing my Dad’s stories about this race, it was my goal to compete in it. When I was 12 years old, we tried to sign up for the Counting Coup, which is a shorter version of the Vision Quest. The Counting Coup is 44 miles with 8,000 feet of elevation gain. In comparison, the Vision Quest is 56.5 miles with 11,000 feet of elevation gain. Unfortunately, the Counting Coup sold out before I could sign up that year. I was very upset. The following year we were successful in signing up for the race. Unfortunately, the race was canceled that year due to weather conditions. The race was set for the next year in October of 2016. In 2016 I was fourteen years old, and I finished in 28th place in the Counting Coup. At the end of that race, I felt like I still had more in the tank, so we decided that next year I would race the Vision Quest, which was scheduled a week after my fifteenth birthday. The day before the race I heard there was a chance of rain, but I was not worried. I continued through my day preparing my bike and creating a nutrition plan for the race. I also planned to wear a ¾ sleeve jersey and baggy shorts in the spirit of enduro! (laughs).
The day of the race I woke up at 4:00 am, giving myself time to eat breakfast and do a final check on my bike before the 5:30 am race start. We left the house at 4:45 am. As we drove to the starting line, it started to rain. Once we I arrived I got dressed in my gear inside the car, and then got out to check my tire pressure before the race started. There was a steady drizzle coming down, and I regretted not bringing a rain jacket. I was certain it would clear up in a couple hours. The thought of a muddy race never crossed my mind.
My race week kicked off with an awesome team training night and some nice mellow rides before heading to Fontana for the 2nd round of the Kenda Cup West!
Race morning I loaded up and headed out to Fontana for the races, wanted to get there early enough to watch young gun Blake Wray in the Cat 1 race! I made it in time to watch him throw down with the older kids and he killed it! After watching him I started to get ready and get going on my warm ups. Since it takes me forever to warm up! Lol
Now was the time to head to the start line and the nerves start kicking in. 30 second count down and it's race time! We take off and I'm trying to stick to my plan of not sprinting too hard off the start, and next thing I know I'm out front! We all start to go at it a little harder and I see my water bottle go flying off my bike! So I decide to calm it down a bit since now I have to run a whole lap with no water! We are all pushing good and we come thru from lap one and I see god... I mean I saw Lou and he handed me a water bottle! Now the fight was on! I ran up front going back and forth with two other guys throughout the race! Now on the last lap on the last gravel road climb I made a move on first and sprinted past him and kept it pinned all the way to the finish! I was able to get the big win there, but by only 3 seconds!
An awesome day racing and I can't thank everyone enough who helps me get here!!
So the 2017 race season has arrived! At least for me it has, and as a great opener to the season Non Dot Adventures puts on a time trial event at Whiting Ranch. However, I was a little hesitant about participating in this race this year. I suffered a bad fall in December that left me with a broken nose and serious neck pain, and followed that up with a nasty sinus infection. That combined with the unusually rainy weather left my training with something to be desired-as in non-existent! In addition, I was graduating from school the day before the race, so I wasn’t sure how prepared I’d be the morning after! But thankfully the last few weeks before the race my health came roaring back, daylight savings time gave me sunshine to train, and the weather cooperated. I was able to get some good training in and felt energized and excited by the time race day rolled around.
The Whiting Ranch Time Trial is a great event to kick off the year. As always the event was well attended and well organized by Non Dot Adventures. It was so fun to see everyone again in our little XC racing community, especially my fellow Elite Women competitors. Quite a few Path Bike Shop Race Team members were there racing and the support from the Path was fantastic (mmmmm doughnuts!!).
Race Report by Dan Blurton, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Race Action Photo: PB Creative.
My day started off by forgetting my breakfast at home and remembering it when I was almost to the event! So with no food in sight I ended up having a pack of Clif Blocks for breakfast! I got all signed up and did some last minute prep on my bike then off to the starting line I went.
The race started at 9am and you have 4 hrs to get in as many laps as possible. So off we went, I look over and people are starting to sprint and hammer! I decided not to because it was going to be a long 4 hours if I blew up off the start. As the I got halfway thru the first lap I started passing a bunch of people and I just got in my groove. As the race went on I just kept my pace. As I came in on my 7th lap I checked to see if I could go out for one more since there were 40 minutes remaining on the clock. They said yeah so I took off, grabbed some more water and off I went! I was able to complete my 8th lap with 10 minutes to spare.
When it all was done, I was able to grab 3rd place in the Master Men 30-39 4-hrs Solo race, which I was super stoked on! Thanks to The Path Bike Shop for all your support!
Review by Blaise Janssen, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
Fourth 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!
Review 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 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.
A 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.
November…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!
by 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.
Race 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.