Race Report by David Hardwick, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team
I don’t exactly remember why I decided embark on this challenge but I do know it all started with a 16 mile ride after work on February 27th, 2018. It Ended with an odometer reading of 160.9 miles traveled from Terra Haute to Richmond Indiana.
The longest distance I had ridden at that point was 70 miles and the longest time was somewhere near 10 hours for Push A Kona #12 in 2015. I knew I was going to need a training plan if I was going to ride more than double my longest distance. I started looking at training plans that would fit a 16 week schedule and found one for a double century. Knowing that work, injuries and generally life can get in the way of the perfect training schedule I figured training for 200 and coming up a little short would put me right where I needed to be. My schedule had me on the bike Tuesday & Thursday for smaller rides and Saturday & Sunday’s for bigger mileage gaining rides, allowing me to build from 90 miles in a week up to 200. As I predicted some rides were cut short by mechanicals, fatigue or road conditions. Some rides were missed to allow myself a mental break and go Ride a mountain bike park with my friends. Some Rides were missed because again, as predicted, Life had her own plans for me and my extended family.
When I stated training I was riding a Specialized Roubaix that I purchased new in 2010 after a pretty serious mountain bike crash that kept me off the dirt for a good while. I toyed with the idea of getting a new bike knowing that my current one was a little worn. I test road a few and could certainly feel 8 years of technological advancements in materials and componentry, but when it came to being comfortable with no compromises I knew I would feel better moving ahead with my old trusty steed. I did refresh the drivetrain and made a great upgrade on my wheelset thanks to SPEEDTuned Wheels and Brandon. We put together a great set of custom wheels that took me through my training and all the way across Indiana and the finish line.
Race Report by Charlie Gilmore, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
Fifteen years ago I set a goal of finishing the Warrior's Society Vision Quest as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Since that first year, Vision Quest has become an annual obsession for me and this year I was hoping to finish my 15th consecutive. This was also my first year racing with The Path Bike Shop and my first Vision Quest on my Spark RC. Several weeks leading up to the event I was dealing with a lingering cold so I wasn’t sure how I would feel on race morning. I didn’t feel great race morning but I contributed that to the fact that it was 3:15am. I grabbed a cup of coffee, my traditional race morning peanut butter and honey sandwich and headed to the race start in Blackstar Canyon. I had plenty of time to get ready and even got a nice warm-up in which I usually don’t find time for. The weather was perfect which made it much easier to prepare because I didn’t have to worry about wearing or carrying extra layers.
The race started at 5:30am sharp and I could instantly tell that the warm up helped as my legs felt ready to go. I knew I was riding well when I hit the top of Blackstar in near record time for me and I felt strong across the main divide and down motorway. At the first aid station I quickly took on some water and headed up Maple Springs. I was definitely starting to feel fatigued at this point but I began catching other riders which kept me motivated. I crested the top of Santiago peak and had a clean run down the back side and Holy Jim trail. It is a bit demoralizing at the second aid station when you see Counting Coup participants turning right to the finish and you know what is in store for you so you have to stay mentally tough at this point.
Race Report by Dan Blurton, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
My 2018 race season kicked off on March 18th in San Dimas at Bonelli Park for the first round of the 2018 GoldState Series (or in years past, known as the Kenda Cup). All winter I was super nervous for the 2018 race season as it is my first year racing Cat 1. The last few years racing Cat 2, I felt strong and ready to move up.
I headed up to Bonelli on Saturday, the day before, to do some pre-riding on the course. Ran into fellow Path Bike Shop racer, Blake Wray, so we rode together to check different lines out and see where we could gain some time. It was good to see his line choices! After a good day of riding, I headed home to get my bike prepped and ready to do battle!
Now it’s race day and my nerves are going crazy! I make the short drive back up to Bonelli, all the while going through the course in my head over and over coming up with a game plan. I arrive, suit up, and head out to do some warm up laps because for me I’ve got to get in a good warm up in before or I am nothing! Not long after, I hear them calling up all Cat 1 racers to the line. I end up in the front row of a field of 14 deep fast dudes so if my nerves weren't already at the peak, now they are. We are off! I got a great start as I was second going up the first hill, and I felt great as we head into the first lap. I was able to complete lap 1 holding on to second place, but not long after, the third place rider reeled me in and passed me. Now I’m just going as hard as I can to manage to hold onto third place, but these dudes are fast! Then about a third way into the last lap I get passed again by a guy who I figured was not in my class until I notice him looking back at me. Oh no! I just let him around me! With only a quarter of the way to go I sped up a bit more but it just wasn't enough. So I ended up 4th Place in my first Cat 1 race, a great feeling coming from a field of 14 fast guys.
Thanks to Josh Wray for the awesome bottle hand-offs and everyone who came out to cheer me on! Thanks to the Path Bike Shop, Kenda Tire, Docent Brewery, Sta-Tru Wheels, Dirt Bagz, Accumed and CPRX Physical Therapy for all you guys do for me to make it possible to go racing! On to the next one!
Photo Credits: top from Sho-Air, bottom from Sam Wiernucki.
Race Report and photos by Charlie Gilmore, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
This was my third time racing the True Grit Epic and it is hands down my favorite race. The course is about 45 miles in length with over 5,000 feet of climbing and combines some of the best mountain bike trails in Utah, including Barrel and Zen Trails and Barrel Roll. In addition to being physically demanding, the course tests your bike handling skills, both up and down. This year I traveled and roomed with three really fast riders, including Chris Heinrich who also races for The Path Bike Shop and is an accomplished single-speeder.
On the drive out, Chris educated me on his strict race diet which includes a heavy dose of Cheetos and Taco Bell along with a spirit or two. We arrived in Santa Clara on Thursday and settled into our condo which was less than one mile from The Zen Trailhead. We met up with Brad Keyes (Carbo Rocket Keyes) and got a great pre-ride in on some of the most technical trails on the course. Friday we did a shorter Zen ride, had a very relaxing pre-race day and got to bed early. Race morning we did a very brief warm up ride and lined up for our race. Chris was racing open single speed and I was racing in the 50-59 category and we both started in the third wave.
Race Report by Dan Blurton, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Racing Photos: PB Creative
My race weekend started out like always, with a late night rush to get all my gear and equipment ready the night before. Made and packed all my food and got my bike all prepped for a grueling race ahead. Off to bed I go! Next thing I know my early morning alarm goes off. I really start to second guess myself on this race, but I load all my stuff up and off we roll to Temecula.
Once I arrive I get all signed up and decide to try my hand at the Open/Pro Class. Get my pit all set up and my food out and ready to go. I roll my bike over to Kenda to get some new rubber put on and like the awesome guys they are, Raul from The Path Bike Shop and Roger from Kenda Tires rush to get the tires set up on my bike.
Now it’s 5 min before the start, I roll to the start line, and my nerves start going wild! 5...4...3...2...1 and we are off for 12 hrs of fun! Race started good as I was riding with the lead pack. Next thing I know I start clicking off laps. I hit the half way point, nothing too crazy had happened in the first half so I am feeling good.
Race Report by Liam O’Neil, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Racing Photos: PB Creative
This weekend I braved cold, wind, rain, hail and a flat tire in the Nevada desert, but came away with my first win in dual slalom.
The DVO Nevada State Gravity Championship took place at Bootleg Canyon near Boulder City, Nevada Jan. 19-21. Like the other races in the DVO Winter Gravity Series, it featured downhill, enduro, and is one of the few within driving distance to include dual slalom. I raced my first DS race last year at Sea Otter and have been waiting for another chance. Races at Bootleg are pretty similar to Southridge races at Fontana; it’s a little mountain with shuttles, vendors, friendly riders and a cool vibe. It’s right near Hoover Dam, which is worth a visit and going on the tour.
I was really looking forward to racing my new Polygon TridZZ that I special ordered from The Path. The weather report looked perfect earlier in the week, but Saturday afternoon when I showed up to practice, I could see rain off in the distance in the desert.
The qualifiers were scheduled for 4 p.m., with the races heading down after dark. We each would get one timed run that would determine our race brackets for head-to-head racing. Because the races were set for after dark, they had a company there setting up these cool helium balloons with lights to illuminate the course. Unfortunately, the winds were so strong, it was like they were trying to fight one of the Macy’s parade balloons in a hurricane.
Race Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photos: Called To Creation
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.
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.
Race Report by Dan Blurton, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: PB Creative Photo
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!!
Race Report by Brooke McFerren, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photos: Called To Creation
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!!).
Written by Chris Heinrich. Photos: Chris Heinrich & Pinkbike
Now, I don't consider this my end of the year recap, but more of a, "hey! this is what's going on in my life on two wheels and one gear". Yes! I turned into a Single Speed dirt racer and truth be told, I'm having a fantastic 2016. I want to give a little bit of the history behind my SS transition which started last year (2015) before the Over The Hump race series. We all get burnt out once in a while no matter what it is, work, sports, hobbies, food, etc. It’s up to you, the individual, to decide how to deal with the redundancy. I found mountain biking 19 years ago and it has been my one true passion ever since. Getting burnt out or just plain bored is commonplace in my world. My coping mechanism, "change". Whether it's a new pair of riding shorts, gloves, wheels, trails, people, a new ride, you name it! I'm pretty sure I've done it to rekindle that loving feeling of pedaling a bike. Last year I decided to add a twist on the way I'd pedal a bike on the trails by taking away gears. And honestly, I wanted to win the OTH single speed series while doing it. So, with the help of my beloved sponsor, The Path Bike Shop, with its well of two-wheeled information and resources, I proceeded to build a seriously fun Full Suspension SS. The platform, the 2015 alloy Kona Hei Hei. This bike had (yes, "had", because I prematurely sold it, which I will briefly discuss later) unsurpassed traction, pedaled great in or out of the saddle, and was a bundle of joy to descend on(120mm Rock Shox Reba w/ handlebar remote lockout). I ran a Yess chain tensioner to handle chain growth during suspension actuation and NEVER had a problem dropping or breaking a chain. I ran a 32/16t for the duration of the 2015 OTH series and a 32/18t for motoring around the local trails of Orange County. A bit steep for our trails and hard on the knees, but hey, I was a rookie and I still had much to learn about this discipline. Please keep in mind that I still have a garage primarily occupied by my other faithful two-wheeled steeds. The SS was still more of a novelty, "a bike pedaling inducer" at this point. My main goal for the past 9 years has been to get to the All Mountain Championship at the Downieville Classic in good health and have a blast. And the SS was going to help prepare me for the 2015 race. Didn't have a bad run with a 20th in the XC, a 15th in the DH and a 21st overall, but after crossing the DH finish line I asked the race promoter if there was a single speed "all mountain" category. Low and behold, they had just brought it into the mix for 2015 and I foolishly made it my goal to podium at the following years SS All Mountain Championship in Downieville.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.