Eric Hunner’s Counting Coup 2009 Race Report

–RL Policar: Counting Coup has to be one of the tougher races hosted here in SoCal. On race day, it was estimated that over 300 riders participated in this yearly masochistic fest. Once again, our very own Eric Hunner didn’t disappoint us by racing this event with his single speed.

The results of my last MTNbike event have been posted, the 44 mile, 8,000 +- feet of elevation gain “Counting Coup” 2009 Pow Wow, 10th place overall, 2nd Rigid Singlespeed, 05:09:55 time, 320 plate, age 30. I beat my 2008 time in this event by 8 minutes, this was the most important thing to do in this event. I wanted to come in under five hours, it just didn’t happen. It was bitter cold on March 7, 2009. The event started at 05:30am in the dark. I was armed with a Mini Mag 2 AA LED flashlight zip tied to my helmet, this little light supplied plenty of power until sunrise, don’t knock it until you try it.

I was greeted by The “Moe” at the start of the race, he has some really pictures of Eric Young my buddy, and myself with sunblock not rubbed in, all over my face. I was a little distracted when applying sunblock due to the events early start and trying to make coffee on a Coleman Stove, I think next year I am going to stay at home the night before the race and not camp. I love camping but I am aiming for the Vision Quest next year on a SS. I am going to need every bit of luck next year to finish the VQ one of the 10 most difficult MTN Bike events in the country, and still be able to move when it is all done.

The Pow Wow started on time and we were off to Beeks place, some 10 miles away uphill. I am greeted by Joe “Mama Jamma” about an hour later. He snapped some sweet pictures and gave me some support to dig out steep climb around the corner.

The other riders around me looked at me like they wanted some support from their peers as well. I pedaled another 12 miles before a rocky, narrow switchback called Motorway. I made it down even passing three full suspension bikes, and letting two speed demons pass me as to not be in the way. I get to the first aid station and go to take my Ergon Backpack off to refill the bladder, I had to get help from one the volunteers to get my pack unclasped. My hands were freezing and rattled after coming down Motorway on a rigid bike. Soon my hands were feeling normal again, I was refueled and ready to climb Maple Springs. I caught up to my biggest competition at the SRC race’s Mr. Rod Leveque and offered him some teriyaki turkey jerky, he looked at me like I was crazy. Rod was in the Vision Quest (56 mile) event on gears. We had some friendly hill climbing competition together eventually he broke away.

I was able to pedal up most of the hills this year, I removed my Spot hub and laced in a new Hope SS hub days before the race. With this change I had a built in travel alarm for hikers, and was able to easily change my gearing to 32×20, last year I ran 32×18 and fought cramps early in the morning and hiked most of the steep terrain. Being able to pedal most of the hills this year feels better than walking, and its faster. I thought I would able to come in under five hours with not hiking as much this year but two factors were the snowy ice on top of Saddleback mountain slowed me down, and the bitter cold, it took me forever to feel my burn. The cold weather was keeping me numb.

After all the climbing I was again greeted with another downhill to the finish line, if you have never been down Upper Holy Jim put it on your short to do list, if you like scary ruts going into corners, rocks, stairs steps, gravel, switchback’s, rollers, high speed action for some 10 miles. I made it though the 44 miles without injury, bike failure, or cramps thanks to SportLegs, six liters of fluid while riding. Next year I aim to step it up to the Vision Quest (56 mile) and keep climbing when I get to the bottom of Holy Jim. It is time to start training for next year’s Pow Wow already

To see more of Eric’s photos from the event (56 total!), check out the Counting Coup Flickr Set.

Sycamore Canyon Ride Report

Months of racing every other week can take a toll on a person. After seeing Joe’s Sycamore Canyon video, we set up a relaxed vibe ride last Saturday. One of the things we wanted to do was ride the trail on single speed bikes. I checked with our buddy Randall and he said that the trail was SS friendly. Well, I should have taken into consideration that Randall doesn’t own a SS and that he rode the trail on his 27spd bike.

The posse, I was showing off my new sunglasses that I purchased at the Ladies section at Walmart…$10 bucks and they even had a star on the temple!

With that said, we still set out for the trail. We met up with Jeremy, David, Val and two new friends, Dan and Ian. This was Priscilla’s first group ride on her SS and I have to tell ya, she did great! The girl was a natural. All her spin classes had paid off because she was pretty darn consistent, meaning she was climbing most of the hills and was able to keep up with the other multi-geared riders.

Since Joe was on this trail not too long ago, he was our tour guide. With his handy dandy GPS device, he was leading us through some tough climbs and sweet single track.

At one point…I think mile 4 of the ride, we came across some rocks that was beckoning my name…like a sweet sound of Sirens, I dared to go up on the rock in an attempt to jump it.

Here’s the entry…

The mid air shot

The rough landing…

and the result…

After brushing myself off, we continued on our adventure and found more miles of climbing and wonderful single track. But we stopped at another rock formation to get a group shot. Here’s Val and David taking a “sniper” shot of us.

This was also Jeremy’s first SS group ride. Oh I have to mention that he was riding the newly built Sette Razzo. If you’re wondering why David is walking down the hill, well he was trying to assist me. I was jacked up from this ride. My whole body was starting to give up.

There were many hike a bikes, but if you look, the guy with the sleeveless white shirt, that’s Dan. He made it up the hill on his granny gear!

We started the ride around 7:30am and didn’t get out of there until about 11am or so…by the end of it all, most of us ran out of water, and some were cramping up like crazy. However, I would like to thank Joe for leading the group and for being patient with me. Let’s just say I complained quite a bit…Here’s a helmet cam video that I took with the Vholdr. I wish I had more footage of the better single track, but my batteries died…bummer, but enjoy!

Sycamore Canyon Ride from RL Policar on Vimeo.

Relaxed Vibe Ride: Sycamore Canyon-Join us!

Hey Fart Faces!

Come ride Sycamore Canyon and meet the staff of MtnBikeRiders.com. That’s right, you’ll meet:

Lady P

Big J, no not Jesus, but Jeremy Yang

R to the L! If you’re good, he may just show you some “tough love”

Joe “The Meat Inspector” Solancho. If you bring your meat, he’ll check it out for you.

Unfortunately, The Moe can’t make it. He’s got a big race on Sunday so he’s taking the day off.

So here’s the details of the ride.

Start time 7:30am
Sycamore Canyon
Here’s the trail head location.
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=92835&daddr=33.9543789,-117.3210212&h1=en

Hope to see you there. Oh by the way, a majority of us will be riding single speed. So if you’re in the mood to throw up…then bring your SS out!

Eric Hunner: SRC #4 and a training ride to follow. A long day in the saddle

RL Policar-Eric never stops to amaze me. Not only did he race, but he went on a training ride right after the event!

My race prep started days before the actual race, this included shopping for healthy food, riding my local spots, and making a trip to Shimano to drop off some cleats to hopefully get replaced under warranty. I didn’t plan on the tread ripping from the bottom of my cleat only days before the race. It is just something I have gotten used to, bike parts breaking on me at the worst possible time. As I expected the cleats didn’t make it back in time. It was on to plan “B”; I pulled my old cleats out of retirement. I arrived early at Southridge to preride the new cross country course; I had some trouble in the fresh cut winding single track on top of the hill so I rode it few times until I cleaned it. I was warm and ready to race. I made my way back to our base camp and the rest of the MtnBikeRiders team was setting up now. I made what I thought was the last of adjustments to the bike before the start of the race.

The call goes out “All cross country racers go to the start line” I make my way over to the start and the bike feels sluggish. I spin the rear wheel and nothing until I set it down in the dirt, totally flat. I run back to our base camp and ask for a foot pump. Kim Finch {Champ} runs over with pump in hand and turns into my own personal PIT Crew. RL runs over with a new tube. I am in and out of camp fairly fast and make my way over to the start with a few minutes to spare. Teammate David Sanderson and I had a strong solid race free of mechanicals thankfully. In short course racing I have found just throwing your chain off will cost you positions on the podium. Better make sure your ride is solid. David Sanderson finished fourth, and I finished third. I just finished my seventh short course race 18 miles or less since the longer events of 2008. The shorter races every couple of weeks is great for staying competitive and prepared for the longer races.


I left Southridge shortly after my race concluded and headed towards Saddleback Mountain to add some more miles for training and to break my body down to see how far I can push myself. The next event for me is the “Counting Coup” put on by the Warriors Society http://warriorssociety.org/ this event is 44 miles long and is a real test to even finish. I will be doing this on a single speed again as I did in 2008.

I parked my truck on Blackstar road and grabbed my bike and backpack that was still set up for short course [one tube, pump, tire irons, no patch kit]. After some grueling miles climbing Blackstar Canyon especially after a race I made it to “Beaks Place”. Moments later the rear flats again just as it did before the race. What a perfect time to take a break at “Beaks Place”. I tear into the rear tire and find that the rim tape had failed. I now remember that my tools and tubes are limited and not set up for epic rides. I carefully reset the rim tape and install my only tube. I continued for another mile and a half on Main Divide road and came up and some shuttled Downhillers, they were about to drop in but hit me up for some allen wrenches, that I had. I chatted with these 4 guys wearing assorted items from “The PATH” before they dropped into Corona, I decided it best that I turn around and head for home.

This part of the story ends much like it started. My Team & Friends bailed me out-and kept me rolling. Upon my decent down Main Divide I came up on a couple taking a break at “Beaks Place”, just as I pass the woman she said, “Hi Eric” I then realize it is my friend Shannon. Shannon is one of my friends that rides in our group on Wednesday’s (Shannon was out training for the Counting Coup as well).
Shannon and Robert were resting after their climb up Blackstar. We chatted for a bit and continued downhill. About ten minutes later I was out of the game with a pinch flat no more tubes or patch kit. I tried to tie the inner tube in a knot at the cut, but it didn’t seal. Just then Shannon and Robert came around the corner and threw me a tube. Luckily they stayed with me, it was not my day. As I was filling the tire with air the valve stem broke in half. Shannon throws me a second tube this one was Animal approved much better quality. The tire holds air and we ride for another six miles, we get to the road safely without walking. Day’s Total 6 mile warm up lap, 12 miles of racing, 23 miles of post race training, 4 inner tubes, 2 gallons of water, 1 gallon of Gatorade, 5 Power Bars, 1 bag of Turkey Jerky, half pound of trail mix, 4 bananas, 2 apples, 1 orange, 10 sport legs, and a hard lesson to bring the proper supplies when going on longer rides= priceless.

It’s nice to have great friends to help you when you need it, and don’t hesitate to stop and help someone on the trail. You just might meet someone really cool.

Looking for more pictures of the Southridge Winter Series? Click on the banner below!

Shimano Winter Series #3: Eric “The Animal” Hunner

RL Policar-Eric “The Animal” Hunner is the team’s power house. Not to take anything away from the other riders, but we all would agree that Eric has to be one of, if not, the strongest rider we have in our arsenal. So it brings me great pleasure to present to you a short, but sweet account of the Animal’s SS race at Southridge.

I had a good feeling about racing Southridge Winter Series the week before the actual race on Saturday. I was training and riding I thought a good amount, I was eating correctly up until the night just before the race my Dad took my family out to dinner, we feasted on some tasty Chinese food. I love any kind of food with meat and a side of rice, you could say a have a weakness for white rice. It was raining buckets of water while were eating, I kept thinking to myself, Wow I am racing tomorrow Rain or Shine. I think I was in a Rainy Day mood, I kept shoveling food down the hatch.

I started the race with a great start and then reality set in, or should I say dinner did. I didn’t feel sick, I just didn’t feel like I had the juice to stay with the leaders. Two weeks before in the SRC winter race #2, I was leading almost the entire first lap with Rod Leveque, hot on my heels. He pushed me to go even faster in that race, the two of us left a rather large gap between us and the other SS’s. That was not the case in this race the 35 and older group was on fire this round. Two things happened to me that I learned from this race, Don’t eat like an “Animal” before you Race, and don’t Train so hard that when the race does come you still have some gas left in the tank to perform. My training leading up to Race was pretty intense, I believe I over trained and was feeling a little burned half way though the race.

Later on, one of 35+ racers said to me “I didn’t know who you were but you sure did take off at the Start of the race”. I replied back to him “Did I start the fire on your seat because you killed the water tower hill” he laughed and called me an “Animal”. I then told this fellow racer [I think he name was Timothy Sparks] that won his class in the 35+ SS that “Animal” was my nickname on my MTNBikeRiders Team he said something like that is fitting.

Timothy asked me about riding/racing a rigid SS. I told him that going downhill is challenging, but I LOVE riding a rigid bike for cross country, especially uphill mainly for the fact it Pedal Bob is Not riding with me. [Pedal Bob = crushing suspension while climbing and transmitting your pedal strokes to your suspension , it is like being robbed at gun point when you are heavy weight]

This brought up the “Question”, exactly how heavy are you? “240 weighed myself this morning.” Timothy gave me props for fetching second place in my class 34 and under, Timothy said,” I thought I was heavy @ 195 pounds and you are riding rigid SS to boot”

How 1×9 got me ready for SS

As many of you know, we recently added the Sette Razzo frame to our lineup of bikes here at mtnbikeriders.com WCH. The Sette Razzo was built up as a SS. I have to admit, I was, and still am, very tentative about riding a single speed. I probably got that way due to all the Moe & RL puke stories. I, like many of you, are not a fan of puking.


SS can be quite a workout, especially if you go rigid

I decided to hit my local test loop, the Fully loop, for my first ride on the Razzo SS. The loop starts off for almost flat with just a twinge of an incline. I immediately felt the desire to shift gears and go faster, so much so that my right thumb twitched. Of course, there was no gear to change into so I ended up spinning really fast here and there. But I wasn’t used to all the spinning and my legs quickly got tired of it. I’m going to have to work on that part of SS riding.

What I was really afraid of were the climbs. None of the loop climbs are particularly long, about the only thing the loop is missing, but some are on the steeper side. The first short quick steep after crossing Euclid was conquered without any issues. Rolling along the street after the climb was a bit annoying because again I couldn’t get my legs to spin up fast enough. But ahead lay the climbs and as much as I was annoyed by all the spinning out I was cognizant that the lower gearing would be greatly beneficial on the climbs.


Redline Mono 9 has 9 gears. This helped get me ready for Single Speed riding

The climb that really got me antsy begins with a mild fireroad ascent. It then rolls along a little before hitting a short rooty section followed by a short steeper section. The end of this is a little past the halfway point of the loop. No puking on this climb. I was close… but I held it down. One more climb which is made difficult with railroad ties was up next and only my pride plus the presence of a couple of hikers stopped me from letting it flow.

What I came to realize over my SS ride was that my body had built up a bit of a familiarity to sustained standing climbs which is really your only other “gear” when you’re riding a SS. The familiarity was achieved when I began riding the Redline Mono 9, a 1×9 geared 29er. Before the 1×9, I would sit and spin my way up but when I rode the 1×9 consistently I realized that if I sat and spun all the hills, I’d quickly run out of gears.

So I adopted a different approach to climbing that included a mixture of spinning for a while then climbing while staying in the same gear. For example, if I was in gear 4 on a seated climb and I felt I wanted to change gears, instead of choosing to shift I’d stand up and climb for a bit. This essentially doubled the number of “gears” I had available to me from 9 to 18 and also eased my transition from 27 gears down to one.

Being comfortable with sustained standing climbs turned out to be a great help when I rode the single speed. I truly believe that if I went straight from 27 gears to just one, I probably would have joined RL & Moe with puke stories of my own.

Sette Razzo = Single Rigid

OK, no it doesn’t, but mine is. My Sette Razzo build is more of a parts bin build than Joe’s White Zion, but I’m not jealous since mine is a 29er! 😉 The Sette Razzo came to us just under two weeks ago from pricepoint and after finding some parts and picking up a tensioner kit, we finally have it built up.

The shiny finish on the Razzo makes matching anything to it pretty easy

The decision to go SS was quite easy. Everyone else was doing it, so why not me? j/k. I’ve been intrigued with SS ever since I picked up a SS commuting bike. I have been enjoying my singlespeed commutes to work so much that I knew the next logical step would be to try it out on the trail. Of course my commute to work is nearly flat and the trails are… well not flat. At times, I do wonder what kind of pain I’ve gotten myself into.


Got to run the bigger rubber up front for more cush. Rigid is tough on the body, but big wheels and bigger rubber makes up for the lack of suspension

Rigid was an easy decision as well. I really liked the eXotic Carbon fork on a previous bike so it was an easy call to go back to rigid for the Razzo build. A carbon fork which dampens some of the trail chatter plus a wide front tire provides me with enough cushion for most of the rides I’ll ever do on a singlespeed bike… at least that’s what I currently think. We’ll see if that changes with more saddle time. One thing I’ll have to be aware of is how much air pressure I run up front. I want enough to prevent pinch flats, but not so much as to lose the cush.


Forte’s Singlespeed Conversion Kit made for an switch to SS. Not the cleanest look, but effective

The easiest decision was getting the Forte Singlespeed Conversion Kit. I received a gift card to Performance for Christmas and we’ve had some good feedback in regards to the kit. But if Performance sold the White Industries Eccentric Eno Disc Hub, I’d have a much more difficult time with the decision. Thankfully, they don’t and my wallet is safe.


Shiny spacers to go along with the shiny frame. Props to our master mechanic RL for all the help with the build

First ride will be this week. Running through some of the geometry numbers shows I might need to shorten up the stem a little. We’ll see, though. Geometry numbers are just that: numbers. Although geometry numbers can indicate a lot of different things, riding is still the best way to determine comfort. Riding the bike will let me know for sure whether I need to perform a couple of parts swaps. Keep checking back in as I get in some rides on the Sette Razzo.

The Animal: Up Close

For those that have been fortunate enough to meet single speed phenom, Eric “The Animal” Hunner, they will tell you that Eric is one gigantor of a man. He literally out weighs his competition anywhere from 50-100lbs. To give you an idea on how big he is, check out the following photos.

Look at the people on the left side of the photos…tiny compared to the hulking Animal.

That’s all MAN right there…

Here’s another perspective, the dude is all muscle if you haven’t figured it out yet.

Did you guys get your tickets? The tickets to the GUN SHOW!!!

Though he may be huge, he’s a great guy, very friendly and a big teddy bear when his little daughter, Dana is around. So don’t be intimidated to shake hands with him if you meet him, but I warn you, you’ll feel really tiny when you’re next to him.

Southridge Race Report: Eric “The Animal” Hunner

As we all know, Eric Hunner has earned a nick name of being the ANIMAL because of his ferocity and his massive size of man. Plus he’s got these gigantor hands that surprises anyone that shakes them. We’re pretty lucky to have him part of the team. As in traditional fashion, Eric wrote a race report that talks about the world of Single Speed Racing.

Race Day is not just a day for me, it is an event that is weeks in the making. I think of these races as a report card to myself to see how my riding is progressing and where I stand in the pack of local riders.

In order to get good grades on my report card I had better do my homework. Southridge was the last stop in the Triple Crown for our Team. I was the only person on the team that had not ridden Southridge before. Planning for the race included making time in my busy schedule to preride the course.

Time was short, but I made it out to Southridge by 4pm two days before the race. Thankfully I left my lights on the bike from an early morning training ride. The sun was falling fast, I was lucky enough to run into some other racers that were packing up to leave, and they pointed me in the right direction of the trail head. The trail head consisted of little orange arrows spray painted on rocks to lead you on your way. Some of the arrows are are far apart so preriding this course is a bit of scavenger hunt especially when the sun is going down. When making my way back to the parking lot I ran into Griffith Vertican. I proceeded to ask Griffith questions about the course and he was nice enough to show me some of the turns I missed on my preride, we ended the tour with some high intensity sprints up the hill to the water tower.

Saturday: Race Day. I am entered in the 34 and under Single Speed. I am sitting at the start line and I hear RL Yell out Go get those skinny guys Animal. The race starts I am amped, and feeling good. All of Single speeds left 5 minutes after the pros, at least ten SS together riding in a pack all pretty even paced for the first mile. The terrain at Southridge can be tricky rocks and ruts that are not avoidable, you need to be on your “A” game.

I make it though the race almost without any problems. On the second lap after some jarring downhill sections it feels like I am pedaling with the rear brake dragging. I try my hardest to just pedal and try to keep some distance in front of Andrew a fellow competitor in my class. I later discover after the race my rear SS specific hub was letting its life slip away, another rear hub with trashed bearings.

Now my other problem surfaces; holding off Andrew with my rear hub sucking the life out me. Andrew was geared a little faster than me I think he said he had to walk the hill in the back of the course, I was able to pedal up this nasty hill running 32/18. When the two of us hit the flat straight he pulled ahead, until the last major hill climb I pushed my bike and body to the max, I took the lead and held it until 10 yards from the finish line.

Andrew tried to pass in the last turn of the finish and crashed into the racers in front of us, then tangling handle bars, pedals, and plastic fencing together with me he got out of the fencing first. The difference between 3rd and 4th place ONE second. I ended up in 4th place, Andrew apologized for the mix up at the end. I kept my cool and was glad I finished the race in one piece. I did however collect a very nice Trophy for the 2nd place overall Single Speed in the Triple Crown Series.

The www.MTNBikeRiders.com Racing Team made this enjoyable team experience possible with all of our sponsors help in supporting us.

www.HossMTB.com
, Ergon, Evomo Clothing, www.bikecommuters.com

New Rigid Single Speed project

For my birthday last month, my fiancé bought me a Zion 660 EBB (eccentric bottom bracket) frame from Jenson USA.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure which route I wanted to build the bike – either Rigid SS, SS w/suspension or a 1×9.  Unsure for awhile, I even thought about returning the frame and save the money for something else.  With several bikes already in my stable, do I really need another one?  Uhhh… YES

IMG_9583 copy by you.                                       ZION 660 EBB frame

All this recent talk about rigid bikes on our site hasn’t helped.  As a matter of fact I finally decided to go with… a rigid SS build.

I’ve heard both good and bad things about the Zion EBB frame.  However I’ve always been one to take good care of my things, so I don’t foresee having too many problems… at least I hope not.  I am very excited to build this.  The frame is a 4130 double butted chromoloy and comes in at 5.26 lbs.  With many spare parts in my garage, I’m sure I’ll be able to have this completed sooner than later.  It probably won’t be the lightest off the bat, but I’ll be able to ride it a lot sooner.  I’ll make changes along the way or as appropriate.

IMG_9578 copy by you.                                        EBB-Eccentric Bottom Bracket

First on the build in the Axis SL headset from WOOdman components.  Following RL’s instructional video on “how to install a headset”, the build in under way. 

IMG_9586 by you.                                      Frame weighing in at 5.26lbs.

Waiting in the wings are Race Face ISIS BB and Deus crankset.  I also have a Sun Ringle Singletrack wheelset, laced to XT hubs ready to assemble with new Maxxis Larsen TTs (also received for my bday from MtnBikeRiders.com).

I’ll be posting updates regularly on the build so stay tuned.