Counting Coup race route 2017Race 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!

Race Report by Dylan Vanek, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team

The Path Bike Shop Race Team rider Dylan Vanek at Vision Quest 2017I 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.

2015 Amtrack Century Ride at dawnby 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.

The Path Bike Shop Race Team on a training road cycling ridereport and photos by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team
"In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."
Alright, so it isn’t 1972, we weren't sent to prison, there were both men and women, we did more than “survive,” and we aren’t wanted by the government (as far as I know). Still, The Path Bike Shop’s “A-Team” road contingent was out in force today for a Santiago Canyon loop: 33 miles, 2,900 feet of climbing, and a hoot of a good time.  The ride was a mix of some hammerheads, some new to road riding, and some building a base for the coming race season. Although the group split a couple of times, there was always riding company for all involved.

2014 SART Hellride with mountain bike riders from The Path Bike ShopA few people from The Path Bike Shop participated in the 2014 Annual SART Hell Ride on Saturday November 1st, as part of the Bike For Bender ride series.

Bike for Bender is a local California non-profit organization that was founded in memory of Robert Bender, who lost his fight to cancer at the young age of 26. Proceeds from their annual hosted events benefit many local community groups, including High School Mountain Bike League Teams, Boy Scouts of America, fallen riders, cancer research institutions, as well as efforts to improve and develop local trails and cycling pathways.

Here are two ride perspectives from two of the participants from The Path Bike Shop staff and race team, congrats to all for toughing it out!

Kona Pro racers on a mountain bike with The Path Bike Shop team and friends at Santiago Oaks Regional ParkMembers of the Kona Race Team - Barry Wicks, Kris Sneddon, and Spencer Paxson came out to The Path Bike Shop Tustin location last Thursday March 20, 2014 for a meet and greet with our friends, customers, staff, Path Bike Shop team racers, and Relampago team racers. Then it was off to Santiago Oaks Regional Park for a mountain bike ride. We had over 25 riders join in the fun! Ian and Jeff sported matching shirts and beards for the occasion.

The ride was followed by the all important recovery drink...at the Tustin Brewing Company.

Thanks to Kona Bicycles for your continued support of our shop and riders.  

Ian and Jeff matching shirts and beards at The Path Bike Shop MTB ride

Kona Race Team pros with The Path Bike Shop race team

Sunday Mountain bike ride in the Santa Anasby Jesse Peterson, Mechanic at The Path Bike Shop Live Oak

“He knew how to handle pain. You had to lie down with pain, not draw back away from it. You let yourself sort of move around the outside edge of pain like with cold water until you finally got up your nerve to take yourself in hand. Then you took a deep breath and dove in and let yourself sink down it clear to the bottom. And after you had been down inside pain a while you found that like with cold water it was not nearly as cold as you had thought it was when your muscles were cringing themselves away from the outside edge of it as you moved around it trying to get up your nerve. He knew pain.” ―  James Jones,  From Here to Eternity

   Although I know many things can be said about a simple ride through the Santa Anas, come Monday morning (a day after the Sunday Tour) I found myself short of words and still in thought. It is back to a busy life, enduring the tasks and responsibilities in this shared network we call "real life." Back to the grind. Seemingly uninspired I searched for a frame of reference that I could build a blurb about our Shop Ride with, and upon reading through a bunch of quotes about endurance, serenity replaced anxiety and my thoughts became simplified...making it much easier to type a short page on my MTB ride.

Santa Anas MTB Rideby Jesse Peterson, Mechanic at The Path Bike Shop Live Oak

The Sunday Live Oak shop ride was well worth depriving myself of sleep to make, although a couple more hours of snoozing would have been so nice, but that's then and this is now.

I got to the shop at 6:50am, and to my disappointment, nobody was waiting there. I supposed a 21 mile single-track ride wasn't on people's agenda for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but I was soon proven wrong as Jeff (a fellow Sprockethead) pulled up into the driveway. I was relieved. On the way out of the parking lot, Jeff broke a chain (which we fixed with two rocks and tight MacGyver skills) just as Pat (a long-time Path groupie) showed up late to join us.

Maple Springs MTB ride with The Path Bike Shopreport and photos by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team

The annual Path Bike Shop Turkey Day Ride rolled out of the Maple Springs trailhead at 6:30am or so with temps in the mid-forties.  Dense fog socked in the lowlands of Tustin, but at the trailhead, sunny skies and crisp weather welcomed 15 riders to conquer the Maple Springs pavement and experience epic views from Four Corners. 

Neil quickly moved to the lead position with Brian (The Lad), Melody, and Auk in tow with Gregg sweeping the rest of the group along.  Good spirits (literally and figuratively) were in store as group reformed at the transition to the dirt.  As the group gain elevation and rode out of the fog, blue, sunny skies greeted the group and conversations rolled on as easily as the climb to Four Corners.

2012 SHARE Whiting Ranch Poker Ride, with The Path Bike Shop volunteersLast Saturday September 29th was the SHARE Poker Ride, benefit for OC Parks. Great turnout, 350 riders came out to ride through Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

Special thanks to our The Path Bike Shop employees and friends for coming to help out! Heather, Auk, Andy, and Jordan, way to represent.


view of the Kona Bicycles warehouseby Tani Walling, Owner of The Path Bike Shop

Visiting Kona Bicycles Headquarters in Washington, then driving up to Whistler, B.C. - a trip I will always look back on with great pleasure.

Every summer for years, I have been telling myself that this would be the summer I would make it to Whistler. After years of letting myself down, I was beginning to lose hope. So when our long time friend and Kona rep Kelly invited me to join him for three days in Whistler following the 2013 Kona product launch, I jumped at the chance. We flew in to Bellingham, Washington on Wednesday August 22nd. We arrived at around 4PM, and before sunset, we were racing around Bellingham on Kona Dr. Good bikes. The team up at Kona all are passionate and ripping riders who really know how to share a good time.

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