This week in Fontana, CA was a windy adventure, to say the least. The final Super D course of the 2015 KMC Winter Series was a combination of the first section of Super D Races #1 and #4 of the series. Never have I felt so comfortable on a course although there was one issue being there was a lung burning climb shortly after the start into single track. Due to the physical nature of the race course, I went with The Path Bike Shop XC jersey to keep cool. For tires I paired up my Kenda Honey Badger XC tire in the rear and the Kenda Nevegal X in the front. Since I was riding an all-mountain bike I wanted to make up all the time I could on such a pedally course.
I had a great start out of the gate, quickly catching the rider in front of me through the fast turns. Once we hit the flats, I couldn't find the will or energy to pass him. For those who ride mountain bikes or motorcycles, you know that you go where your eyes are looking. In this case, I was right on the racers' rear tire when he went off an embankment into vegetation and rocks. Not paying attention because of my exhaustion I followed him off course and off my bike. I managed to get back on course and I finished strong, holding onto 4th place in the Super D Expert 34 & Under category.
This past weekend was the second race of the 2015 SoCal Enduro Race Series in Vail Lake, CA. Going into the race, I was expecting to be racing in pouring rain because the weather predicted 80% downpour. With having expected rain, I also was worrying about the stiff competition in the Jr. Expert class. I knew Jake Marr and I would be battling the whole race, but I didn't know what to expect with the other competition.
After the easy pedal up to Stage 1, it seemed like no rain was going to hit but the clouds were still menacing. At the top, everyone was scoping out the top rock garden as it was probably the most technical part of the stage. After seeing the pros hit their lines, I went for a different option and followed the same line as Team Big Bear pro, Ian Odom. The line was to stay left and double the rock section instead of sticking right and going over the two rock rollers. During the race, doubling the rocks proved to be the faster line as it was smoother and also carried speed a lot better. After clearing the top section, I felt really confident and went all out to the finish. With a smooth and clean run, I earned a 2nd place spot in Stage 1 by a mere 0.5 seconds back.
Since I've only been riding mountain bikes for a little under two years, racing was not exactly in my game plan this early in the game. But because the growth of the Path Bike Shop Race team for 2015 was so strong, it was without hesitation that I decided to race. Mountain bike racing needs more women out there as well. I get to represent both women and The Path Bike Shop. A win already!
This weekend was the 2015 Kenda Cup West Enduro Race #1 (which was also the 2015 SoCal Endurance Enduro Race #2). The first SoCal Enduro a month ago (my first ever Enduro race) I took 1st in the beginner class. I was stoked on my first win, but frustrated that I could have taken 1st in Expert class. After weeks of kicking myself and taking the "sandbagger" title, I have gotten over it and moved on with my life. With that being said, I moved up two categories and am now racing expert.
Coming into the 2015 season, my nerves have been all over the place. Since my year was cut short in 2013 due to an AC separation in my right shoulder, I decided to take time off from the race scene to regain my confidence slowly but surely. 2014 was my year to find the love for mountain biking again.
Now 2015 is here, and I did my first Enduro race in about a year and a half. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it again. Vail Lake has always been a local favorite of mine.
The day started with a pedal to the top on a mellow fire road that generally takes everyone about 10 to 15 minutes to climb. As I got to the top, I could see everyone scanning the first line. The new-to-me top section of stages 1 and 2 was littered with rocks and tricky lines; it created an awesome environment! Everybody from beginners to professionals were discussing lines and practicing them before the race start. I went through the top section a few times and had my line picked for the day.
Great times at Round 4 of the KMC Winter Series in Fontana! The Path Bike Shop team was in full force rocking our fresh new factory kits. The cross country race had a great turnout with some fast guys in the Cat 1 class. After several rounds of racing I'm beginning to know my competition better and able to pace accordingly. I was able to stay with the leader of the race for most of the three laps, but unfortunately he managed to pull away towards the end of the third lap.
In the end I finished in 2nd place with a PR (personal record) of over 4 minutes faster than my previous best.
It's still early in the season, and I feel that at my current rate of progression I am poised to have a fantastic season! Huge thanks to The Path Bike Shop, Kona Bicycles, Kenda Tires, and Big Lou (our team manager) for keeping me rolling. Looking forward to the final round of Winter Series next weekend!
This weekend at the 2015 KMC Winter Series #4 Super D Race in Fontana, we were fortunate to have perfect racing weather. Throughout the weekend The Path Bike Shop Race Team could be spotted from afar due to our new race gear for both XC and Enduro. The new threads provided the team with the confidence and comraderie needed to have a fun and successful weekend. Compliments were given all weekend while our sponsors were represented proudly. Kenda Tires provided the team with new tires to keep us rubber side down. This week I ran 27.5x2.4" Honey Badger DH Pro tire up front and a 27.5x2.35" Nevegal X Pro tirein the rear, giving me the assurance to go fast.
I have been riding for 7 years or so and have raced here and there, but this is the first year I wanted to make a concerted effort to really put my all into racing. The Path Bike Shop and Lou (our race team manager) have given me a chance to represent them along with a fantastic team or racers this year.
I jumped into the season starting with the 2015 KMC Winter Super D Race Series to get my racing going. I signed up for Sport Men 35+, and I have met some steep competition.
This last weekend was Round 3 in Fontana, CA and a course I’d never ridden before. I arrived just in time to register and head up the hill for practice. I got a couple of runs on the lower rock garden then made my way up to the upper section, which was entirely new to me. On the way up the course seemed deceptively easy with a few fun sections that I was looking forward to. This illusion was soon removed as I headed down and found washed out corners, rock ups precariously placed after short flats or uphill requiring some creative pedaling, and a blown out right hander with sneaky hidden rocks just waiting for my front tire to come say hi.
Early last week I decided I wanted to try racing Super D with the vast majority of The Path Race Team at the 2015 KMC Winter Series Round 3. I only have my Kona Taro hardtail 29er for a trail bike at the moment and wanted to give it a go; I’ve been riding my Taro all over in the last 6 months, and I feel very confident on all sorts of trail terrain with it.
The 2015 KMC Winter Series XC Race 3 in Fontana, CA was a great day on the bike.
The wind that had plagued round two was non-existent and temperatures were a nice spring warm. Fifteen seconds before the start of the race I realized I still had my knee warmers on, and temperatures were far too high to desire extra warmth. With no time to spare, I decided I would have to race with toasty warm knees.
At the start of the race two riders from the same team took control of the pace. By the end of the first lap myself and one other rider had established a commanding lead. Having recently put a dropper seat post back on my Kona King Kahuna hardtail, I knew if I could get in front of the other rider before the long descent I could put a gap between us. My plan worked, and by the middle of the second lap the other rider was a safe distance behind.
This weekend's SoCal Enduro Series Race #1 at Vail Lake was a blast and I'm super stoked on how I did. As the first Enduro race of 2015 in Jr. Expert category, I was pumped but I went into it knowing I'd have some tight competition. And I definitely did.
At the top of Stage 1, I was just telling myself to just keep it clean and smooth as this stage was the most downhill-oriented and technical. I ended up pinning all my lines the way I wanted, and having a clean run put me into 1st place by 4 seconds.
Stage 2 was the most brutal stage of all. It was a 1.9 mile stage that had a few little climbs but a lot of full-gas pedaling. Towards the top, I just couldn't get my flow down in some sections and that really messed me up. After Stage 2, my placement dropped from 1st down to 4th with 14 seconds behind 1st place.
Race #4 at Casper's Wilderness Park was held on October 18th. It was a perfect day of racing to end a fantastic race series.
Here's a recap by Luke Wronski, Kona Grassroots rider and employee of The Path Bike Shop:
"The final Non-Dot series race at Casper's Wilderness Park could not have gone better. I was feeling great on the King Kahuna. I went out strong and managed to maintain my pace for the duration of the race. I finished 1st in Expert Men class with 2nd place 11 seconds back. The win at Casper's was also enough to clinch the win for the series overall. This race reaffirmed my decision to focus a bit more on XC for the 2015 season, and be more selective with the Enduro races I choose to participate in."
Race Report by Luke Wronski, Kona Grassroots rider and employee of The Path Bike Shop
Race #2, the Whiting Ranch Time Trial was a painful event. The course was a 20-minute race up a climb they call "Dreaded Hill" down a flowy singletrack, and out to the finish line. I decided to race the brutal mostly climbing time trial on the Kona Process 153. I wanted to see how good I could do against a field of 20-lb hardtails. Despite the extra weight, I still managed to finish 5th!
This weekend's OC Classic Race #1 at Aliso Woods with Non Dot Adventures was awesome! After a week of being sick I was skeptical of how well I was going to do. In addition, this was my first XC race of the year, so I had no gauge on where my fitness was at.
At the start of the race I made it my goal to stay with my Path Bike Shop teammate Josh who's been really strong all year. We broke away at the first climb up Meadows, which is a brutally steep climb. Our plan was to establish a big gap early on in the climbs and descents, in order to not get caught in a power battle in the flats. We maintained our lead for the three laps of the race. After completing our final descent down Rock-it we had a two mile false-flat to the finish line. At this point I decided to go for it for fear that if I waited we would be battling with guys who are fare more adept on the flats than Josh or I. I led the race for 3/4's of the final two miles, but along the way another rider had managed to bridge the gap and was now siting on my wheel. He managed to out-power me at the line for the win.
All in all it was a fantastic day of racing. I couldn't be happier with my 2nd place finish out of 18. My time would have been good enough for 3rd in pro. I was also stoked to see such a good turnout for the event (180 total riders)!
The Shop's Kona Hei-Hei 29er was the perfect bike for this technically challenging XC course.
Andrew Vollmer (Cat 2 - 14 & under) placed 2nd in XC at the Kenda Cup Series Race #5 at Bonelli Park. Here is Andrew's race report:
"For Kenda Cup #5 at Bonelli Park, it was my second XC race of the weekend. I came back from a little race in Los Olivos as a warm-up for Kenda Cup. The entire time I was at Bonelli I couldn’t wait for the race to start because my legs felt so good. After the long wait I was on the starting line and anxious to race. Finally, we were off and a lead group of a 17-18 year old racer and the leader of my group quickly formed. Knowing it would take a little bit of luck to beat the leader of my race, I was happy sitting in the chase group of me and two others. Once we hit the climbs I made sure I was leading the group because I wanted to drop the kids behind me. I managed to drop one but the other one wouldn’t budge! So, I asked if he could pull, but he didn’t want to work so I just pushed it on the second lap and dropped him on one of the first climbs! Now I was just had to keep him away. I was solo for the rest of the lap and was happy with the result of finishing second out of six for Cat 2 14 & under. I also made a 3-4 minute gap on third place!"
Our young DH ripper Ryan McGarrity (Beg Men 10-11) placed 1st in DH at the California Golden State Series in Fontana.
Our junior racers are ripping out at Fontana in the 2014 Southridge Winter Race Series! Race #2 in the series was last weekend, January 25-26. Whether it's downhill or cross country racing, they're out there getting the job done. We're proud to have these two talented racers out there representing The Path Bike Shop. Great job guys!
Jarod Hanson Jr, DH racer for The Path and Kona Bikes, has placed 3rd back to back for the last 2 downhill races in the Expert 18 & Under race category.
"I had a blast this past weekend at Fontana for the Winter Series Race #2! There was a technical/expert split up on the top half and then the rest was a lot of sandy berms and flat turns. Before my run I was watching the pros go down the tech section. They were trying to go too fast and they kept crashing. So at that point I realized for my run I had to slow it down so I could keep it rubber down. My run was great I felt really smooth! I had a small bobble in one of the sand berms but that was it. I couldn't be happier! The new kona supreme operator felt so good! It's super smooth and stable through the rocks! It also corners like no other. I can just pop in and out of all the turns, it felt really good! I want to say thanks to The Path Bike Shop and Kona Bikes for setting me up on the new bike I feel that we are going to have a solid season and more to come!"
Andrew Vollmer, XC racer, is on a roll in the series as well; he placed 6th at Race 2 in the Sport Men 18 & Under category.
"Southridge Race #2 was super fun and I was stoked with my race times. There were about three times as many people racing today in Sport Men 18 & Under than the first Southridge race, however I increased my time by two minutes and got 6th out of 21. My chain unfortunately fell off at a crucial point before the finish, losing my spot in 5th place. But the competition was fierce and I was happy to place up there."
Andrew keeps doing us proud in this 2014 race season. He placed 3rd in the Sport Men 18 & under class at the Southridge Winter Series XC MTB race on January 11, 2014. We're looking forward to seeing Andrew at Race 2 in the series, which is coming up this weekend.
Here is Andrew's race report:
"Today I raced the first XC race of the Winter Series for Southridge USA in Fontana. I competed in the Sport Men age 18 & under category and had a great time. At the beginning of the race my legs were not warmed up, but I caught up to the two leading riders on an uphill. On the first downhill of the race I unfortunately had a little spill on a sandy corner losing the 2nd place rider’s wheel. On my second lap I could see 2nd place in my sights but followed a racer from a different category off the track. By then 2nd place was far away and I settled with a 3rd place out of 8, but two of my good friends took 1st and 2nd and I was the youngest in the category, so it was all good!"