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.

Foothill High School Mountain Bike Race Team at Race 4 Cruise The Keys 2013Race #4 of the 2013 SoCal High School Mountain Bike Racing Series was the "Cruise the Keys" held at Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area, Lake Isabella on April 14, 2013. For those who are not familiar with the area, the course is a rollercoaster style single track with fast fireroad climbs. Riders did multiple laps of the course and battled high winds and dry conditions on race day.

The Foothill High School Mountain Bike Team was out in full force with great efforts and strong finishes. Team members Ben Bennett, Chris Taylor, and Collin Timmermans were all top 10 finishers in their race classes.  Gavin Bruddos was close with his best ever 11th place finish.

The Path Bike Shop is a proud sponsor of Foothill High School Mountain Bike Team, part of the SoCal High School Cycling League. They work to establish and maintain safe, quality high school mountain bike programs for student athletes (grades 9-12). Their first-class race series is an amazing opportunity for our local kids to get involved in the challenging and exciting world of competitive cycling.

Race #5 in the race series is the Cow Pie Classic, to be held on May 5, 2013 in Los Olivos, CA.

 

2013 Rocky Mountain Altitude 650B 27.5By Luke Wronski, employee of The Path Bike Shop

When I began the search for a new bike I was looking for an aggressive and snappy handling  6" travel 26er. When I found the Altitude, I found it to be just as snappy and fun as any 26", with improved pedal-ability due to the slightly larger wheels.

Ascending

Due to Rocky Mountain's "Straight up Geometry", which pertains to the straight up seat-tube angle, the Altitude climbs even the steepest ascents with comfort and ease. I've managed to climb comfortably with the bike in its slackest setting, but if climbs are a struggle the adjustable geometry chip is there to help. In addition to the geometry, the 27.5" wheels also help this bike maintain traction on technical climbs, and help the rider stay planted in the center to preserve energy.

Descending

In rough stuff the Altitude easily plows through the roughest rock gardens and feels confident on steep chutes and drops. Although the bike is stable and confidence inspiring, this is not at the cost of playfulness and flick-ability. The rear suspension of the Altitude is progressive, which favors a rider who tends to push hard into obstacles and needs the suspension to refrain from bottoming out too much.

Race report by Matthew Palmer, member of The Path Bike Shop race team

2013 Counting Coup rider for The Path Bike ShopI've heard about Counting Coup and Vision Quest for a couple years now. It's the local ride (race) hosted by the Warrior's Society that starts way too early in the morning, and covers a majority of the Santa Ana Mountains I ride in isolated segments all year long. I tried to register for the 2012 race, but after logging on an hour after registration started, I was immediately denied. So for 2013, I was  eager to register, not knowing what the ride demanded.

 
I rode the course once before the event, but nothing could have prepared me for the epic ride I experienced Saturday. Even now I see photos of the event, and it it's only a fragment of the memories I have.
 
Climbing up Blackstar with a 150+ commuter lights winding and chasing up the switchbacks, cresting the Divide at sunrise above the fog with only a view of the peak in the distance, and flying down HJ with green grasses as far as the eye can see. The surreal scene seemed to stay with me as I cruised along the route at a content rhythm — mostly alone.
 
I switched up my gearing for the ride to have fresh legs for the peak after making it up the pitches of the divide, and it paid off. I beat my previous course time by 30 minutes and still felt like I had more in me. I finished 11th overall and was the first SingleSpeeder to cross the finish.
 
 
Adrian jumping a 2013 Kona Operator DH mountain bikeAdrian Valdez, Kona Grassroots DH rider and employee of The Path Bike Shop

When it comes to producing cool bikes, Kona is on it! The 2013 Kona Operator is definitely one of the best downhill bikes I have owned and pedaled and honestly I was really sold on a Specialized Demo 8 thinking there was nothing better. Once I rode the Kona Operator, I was blown away!

It didn’t feel like a big, sluggish DH bike and I immediately noticed it sat higher in the travel. When I corner in braking bumps it feels way more stable than all my other DH bikes I have ever owned and the bike tracks very well through high speed corners to rocky off camber turns. The short chainstays really enhance the cornering and at the same time is still super stable at high speed chunk and straightaways. I felt comfortable the first time I jumped this bike, it handles well and was very predictable in the air and getting back on the ground!

Josh at the start of the 2013 Ultra Quest mountain bike raceBy Josh Jacquot, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team
 
Photos: Bill Freeman Photography, Greg Groom, Cheryl Thiele, Carl Bauer, Tanya Jacquot

The email from UQ race organizer Dave Wonderly the night before was as simple and it was true: “It’s going to be epic.”

And when the morning dawned wet, cloudy and warm, there was ample conjecture among UQers about what we faced in heights above. Speculation was as thick as the mud we’d be riding through as to how much frozen precipitation the mountains might hold. And with routinely minimal fanfare, DW lifted the flag and the pedaling began.

Sixty meters later, it ended.

The Path Bike Shop team and shop riders at Ultra Quest 2013

Kudos to all The Path Bike Shop team and shop riders - (pictured, left to right) Jesse, Gerrin, Jake, Darin, Sanjay, and Josh - for their participation at the 2013 Ultra Quest this past weekend! They rode 38 miles, 12,000' elevation gain, 90% single track. Whew!

The conditions were amazing, the riders were stoked, the finishers were tired and a new course record was laid down.

Results: 

  • 1 - Josh Jacquot 0:00 6:53
  • 6 - Sanjay Shanbhag 0:49 7:42
  • 9 - Jesse Peterson 1:24 8:17
  • 12 - Jake Nelson 1:50 8:43
  • 37 - Darin Maxwell 4:53 11:46

 

SRAM's XX1 installed on a mountain bikeby Josh Jacquot, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team

Five Weeks, Zero Chain Drops

SRAM's XX1 Still Causes Fits

Live with SRAM XX1, the new 11-speed, single-chainring, slackless drivetrain for five weeks and you're going to have some regrets.

First, you'll find yourself stuck with the urge to burn all front derailleurs. Not just yours, either. Your friends will be beating you away from theirs, too. But that's not all. Oh, no. All your old-school chain-slapping rear derailleurs will be destined for the flames as well.

Truth is, if you ride in a way that's ever made your chain fall off, you'll be riding this stuff inside of 12 months. It's that good. With the switch from a Shimano 2x10 setup I lost both the chain-dropping antics common to clutchless drivetrains (yes, Shimano makes one. No, I didn't have it) and three quarters of a pound from the bike. It was like losing a noisy anchor. Missed it about as much, too.

Foothill High School mountain bike team at the 12 hours of Temecula race 1, 2013The annual 12 Hours of Temecula Endurance Race Series had its first race of the season on January 19, 2013. The Foothill High School Mountain Bike team came out with a strong four-person team. They ended up landing a solid 3rd place finish in the 2-4 person Jr class, completing 12 laps in just 10 hours and 58 minutes.

Upcoming races for the team include 5 High School races, then State Championships in May 2013.

The Orange County Register did a feature on mountain biking in Orange County that included an interview with Ross Bennett, head coach of the Foothill High School team. This article also appeared in the print version of the OC Register with an additional interview from Tani Walling, owner of The Path Bike Shop.

We're really happy to sponsor and support such a great group of young local riders, and they're really proving what great accomplishments they are capable of.

For more information, race schedule, and to support the SoCal High School Cycling League, visit their website.

Top photo: Foothill High School team member McHenry Carlson prepared for his first lap with teammate Chris Taylor at the 12 hours of Temecula.

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.

podium at Caspers Wilderness Park for the Enduro Stuff OC Parks Tour 2012by Bryan, a.k.a., "The Lad"

It was a great turnout for the last race of the season at Casper Wilderness Park on November 3rd, 2012 for the Enduro Stuff OC Parks Tour Race series.  We had perfect weather conditions, an exciting technical course, and lots of energy all around. 

Being a US Kenda Cup racer for the past 2 years, it was a pleasure to have participated in a local race series which utilizes the mountains I consider my backyard.  I was thrilled to have placed 1st for the Single Speed category and placing podium for all 4 races which resulted 1st for the season. 

I’m grateful to have support and motivation from my family and friends.  It is of great honor and privilege to be riding with some of the best riders out there.  A special thanks to Tani Walling, Neil Adams and my fellow teammates from the Path Bike Shop.   It’s been a great season, and I’m pumped up for what’s to come for next year’s series.

 

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.

 

2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy LTcby Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, member of The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team

"…no sir, I'm holding on too tight, I've lost my edge…" (Top Gun)

Ten months ago, my left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) was completely ruptured, every other ligament in my knee was at least partially torn, and one of the meniscus required repair work (basketball injury).  Enter one magnificent orthopedic surgeon (Dr. David Gazzaniga), one stellar rehab center (Breakthrough Physical Therapy), and six months of arduous rehab and the knee is back FSA (Full-Speed Ahead).

Six weeks on crutches, 10 weeks off the bike, and about 14-weeks off the dirt messed with my mind:  Or perhaps it was just mental games of wanting to avoid another blown ACL.  I felt like that pilot, Cougar, in Top Gun, "…no sir, I'm holding on too tight, I've lost my edge…"

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.

Podium photo from the single-speed class at O'Neill Park OC Cup Tour raceRace report by Matthew Palmer, member of The Path Bike Shop race team

Really fun race on August 25th, 2012 out at O'Neill Regional Park as part of the Enduro Stuff OC Parks Tour Race series. The overcast conditions that have been hanging around the past couple days decided to stay around just long enough for the race to conclude. The weather made for comfortable riding on a fast and technical course. For me, it was awesome to reconnect with the local race community after participating in so many sanctioned races up in the mountains for US Cup and Rim Nordic.

I felt really sharp for being so late in the season. This race was one of my last for the year for XC MTB, so I was ready to go out on a high note alongside other Path riders and spectators. I continued to feel great during the fast 14.5 mile race with 2,200ft of climbing, finishing 1st in the Open Single Speed class.

Bike on road ridereport and photos by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team
 

Eleven Point Two

It's 4:30 on a Monday afternoon, quittin' time!  It's been a long day of staring at rows and columns of numbers, getting blinded by the fluorescent glare, and wondering, "what am I doing chained to my desk on this beautiful day!?!?"  Progress on a project has been slow and the realization that it's going to be a grind of a week sets in.  Pushing back from my desk, I set off for home.
 
Seven miles is the length of the typical bike ride home.  The ride helps clear my mind and get the A-Game back on track to spend some quality time on the home front.  Pedaling from Irvine to Tustin along the suburban bike trails, a game time decision is made to grab some extra credit mileage before heading home…DETOUR!!!!

rider at Skibowl in Mt. Hood Oregonby Carla Bray, Webmaster at The Path Bike Shop

race photo: Ruandy Albisurez Photography

I thought I'd share my experience racing downhill for the first time in the Pacific Northwest.

I've raced out at Fontana and at Woodward West in California. That's the extent of my downhill racing experience, which is not very extensive to say the least. It's been a couple of years since I've tried racing DH again. An opportunity came up to race at the NW Cup Race #5 which was held at Skibowl in Mt. Hood, Oregon. I thought I'd give it a shot.

Saturday's practice day was bright and sunny, a welcome sight around these parts. Dirt was in perfect shape since it had rained the night before. Skibowl has a chair lift, which was separated into two lifts in order to get all the way to the top.

Group shot outside The Path Bike Shop Live Oak Center locationreport and photos by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team

The chance to enjoy the independence that was declared by our forefathers on July 4, 1776 with a Path shop ride, what else could one ask for?  About 20 riders showed up for good times at the future Live Oak location of the Path Bike Shop.  The mood was light: with a rogue water gun roaming the area, Tallboy manuals abounding, and frequent explorations through the new location

At about 9:15, the troops were rallied and "BANG!"  enthusiastic pedaling reigned…for about 5 minutes.  Swooping and whooping through O'neill Regional Park and up into the trail system the group rode off.  Quite a motley crew, ranging from spandex clad XC racers, to Dickie-wearing-iPod-rockin' ol' timers, to patriotic jerseys, and a blend of every possible world all wrapped into one ride.  Heck, Brian Blair was even spotted riding a 26-inch Santa Cruz Blur TRc:  truly, armageddon was upon us!  GOTTA LOVE RIDES LIKE THIS!
 
Up through the live Oak trail system the ride progressed and tied back into the bottom of Live Oak Canyon Road.  Auk had to leave early and started pedaling up the hill.  Perhaps this is what inspired further enthusiastic pedaling as Neil took off shortly after and reeled him in, catching (and passing) him on the downhill towards Cook's Corner:  at 5'8" 155 lbs, Auk had no chance against Neil's 5'10" 205 frame.
 
group photo of Path Bike Shop volunteers at Over The Hump racerace report by Eric (Auk) Akiyoshi, member of The Path Bike Shop Ambassador Race Team

Course Marshall report? What the heck?  This is a slightly different perspective on an age old tradition of ride reports and race recaps, the "Course Marshall Report."

The Path Bike Shop was the featured bike shop at the June 19th Over the Hump Race:  an hour long lactic acid sufferfest and all around good time!

Matt Wenger and crew put on a great race and encourage a strong family atmosphere with kids races, music, and good food: oh yeah, the adult races are well put together too!  The Path Bike Shop had: 1) racers (shop regulars, employees, and race team members) in virtually all categories (Experts, Super Sports, and Sports), 2) a tent with fruit platters, special edition water bottles, and mechanics, and 3) a small army of volunteers to help with course marshaling the race.

Sagebrush Safari race podiumrace report by Chris Heinrich

So I got back from a week and a half shindig in Hawaii a couple days before the Idyllwild Spring Challenge May 5th. I new it was going to be a painful race after a week and a half of sun and gluttony so my plan was to ride my own race and not get caught up in the hype of a world cup start, blow my load, and try to recover over the rest of the 25 miles of dirt and pavement.  I wore a Camelback filled with my delicious blueberry pomegranate sports drink, confident enough that I would stay hydrated and I wouldn't need a feed. I normally would bottle feed, but an unfortunate injury to my FEED thumb told me otherwise...by the end of the race I was shifting with my palm. I had my Gu's and my tools and even got in a decent warm up.

I was ready to race, but within about 40 minutes I would find out that I wasn't prepared. 

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