Review: 2009 Kona King Kahuna

Who:
The Kona Bicycle Company designs, manufacturers and distributes more than 60 models of purpose-built, high-performance mountain, road and urban bicycles. Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Ferndale, Washington, USA, Kona bicycles are distributed worldwide in more than 60 countries through independent specialty bicycle dealers. Kona funds several professional road, mountain and cyclo-cross racing teams that include World Cup Champions, World Champions and National Champions.


Kona King Kahuna, freshly built up

Product Tested:
Kona King Kahuna

Website’s MSRP:
$2,299

Specs:
Frame sizes 16″, 18″, 19″, 20″, 22″
Frame tubing Kona Race Light Scandium Butted
Fork Fox 32 F29 RL 80mm
Headset FSA Orbit DL
Crankarms Shimano SLX
Chainrings 44/32/22
B/B Shimano SLX
Pedals Shimano M520 Clipless
Chain Shimano Deore
Freewheel Shimano Deore (11-34, 9spd)
F/D Shimano SLX
R/D Shimano XT Shadow
Shifters Shimano XT
Handlebar Kona XC/BC Deluxe Riser
Stem Kona XC/BC Deluxe
Grips Kona Race Light
Brakes Shimano SLX Hydraulic Disc
Brake Levers Shimano SLX Hydraulic
Front hub FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Rear hub FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Spokes FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Tires Maxxis Ignitor 29×2.1 Kevlar
Rims FSA XC-290 Wheelset
Saddle WTB Rocket V Comp Cromo
Seatpost Kona XC/BC Deluxe
Seat clamp Kona Clamp
Color Grey Metallic/Pearl White

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.


Clearing a long climb on the King Kahuna at Fontana’s XC Winter Race Series

Testing Grounds:
Whiting Ranch, Fullerton Loop, Southridge and many other trails in Southern California.

First Impressions:
The Kona King Kahuna is a looker. The build up was easy as most of the bike was pre-assembled. The brake lines were a bit long. They were not so long as to cause any issues while riding but they were long enough that they look a little awkward even though functionally they were fine. If this were a bike I was to keep I would have invested in shortening the lines but since this was a 3 month demo I decided to leave them as is.

Strengths:
I have to say that the Kona King Kahuna is one knock out bike. It is very pretty if you’re into those things which I happen to be. The color scheme is excellent. The graphics on the bike are top notch and very cool. The paint job held really well even after I ate it a few times out on the trail. The blue on the top tube has a sweet metallic finish that shimmers in the light. White forks have always been a plus in my book and I personally like the look of the SLX crankset as compared to Shimano’s LX or XT cranks.


Dropping into a local trail, taken by Mr. Ivan, photog extraordinaire

But what sets the bike apart from other bikes is the Kona branded parts. House brand parts can be hit or miss especially when there is very little information about the parts. You really can’t stack them up against the Race Faces, Eastons and Ritcheys of the world with such a short review period. Over the testing period the parts worked fine which is always a plus but where the Kona parts really shined was the look. The stem, handlebar and seatpost drew rave reviews from virtually everyone who stopped to look at the bike. I was even asked if Kona sold those bike parts separately from their bikes. All I knew was that they were on the website, but without pricing details, I wouldn’t know if they could be purchased sans bike.

Beyond the superficial and subjective opinions on the look of the Kona King Kahuna, what makes the King Kahuna really stand out at this price are two things: 1. the Scandium frame and 2. the Fox fork.

The frame rode surprisingly well for a Scandium frame. Coming off of riding a steel hardtail I was expecting the Scandium frame to be brittle and harsh, but over the testing period I never thought twice about the frame. I was very impressed at how great it felt for not being steel. I wasn’t able to get an exact weight for the frame as the bike came 80% assembled to me but the full bike was probably at least a pound less than my similarly built steel hardtail.

The geometry used on this frame seems to be the “standard” 29er geometry right now. The 71/73 degree head tube/seat tube angles respectively seems to be the norm for 29er hardtails and when I jumped on the bike, I felt pretty much at ease. About the only thing I have to point out is the slightly taller standover height. Most bikes at 19”/Large size do not sport the 32.5” standover height. This, thankfully, did not rear its head in testing, but it is something to be aware of when considering what size to buy.

The Fox F29 is a very good fork. It is stiff and plush for being only 80mm of travel. It took me only a ride to get it fully adjusted to the way I like it which to me makes it easily adjustable. The surprising part to me about the fork is how well it worked on pretty much everything I threw at it. I wasn’t able to get out on really rocky or long technical descents rides but I did ride a lot of my favorite trails. On the trail, there were many times I would just look to find the gnarliest line and send the King Kahuna down it. During those sections I never really wished for more travel which sort of surprised me. The travel is really good on the F29, so much so that the 80mm advertised seems incorrect.


Dropping the King Kahuna in to Cactus at Whiting Ranch

I was able to get the King Kahuna out to Fontana for a XC race during the winter series. The bike carried me to a fourth place finish on a course that had a little bit of everything including muddy climbs, rocky climbs, sandy descents, switchbacks, singletrack… The King Kahuna did a great job of navigating me through it all.

Weakness:
I really had no issues with the Kona King Kahuna from beginning to end. The geometry is good and the bike is a looker. The components are good for the price, all the way around the bike save two parts.

About the only thing I can nitpick on are the two Deore level components on the bike: chain and cassette. These are two “hidden” components that, at this price point, should not be spec’d on a bike. At $2,300 I feel that the minimum level of componentry should be SLX and higher. From our friends in the industry, I know that spec’ing bikes is a difficult process. Getting the best parts for the price is a difficult task but Deore level components, which although not bad are still two steps below SLX, in my opinion should not be on a $2,000 plus hardtail bike.


Steep downhill section at the Fontana race, see the Pro rider behind me? j/k. He was on his 2nd lap… me just finishing my first.

Summary:
The Kona King Kahuna is Kona’s high end hardtail 29er. It comes with a great Scandium frame that combines surprising comfort while also keeping things pretty light weight. The Fox fork and strong components make for a durable well rounded bike that can withstand some hard trail riding while also easily slipping into the racer mode if you so desired.

For more info on the Kona King Kahuna, click here.

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 #4: RL’s Downhill Report

This was race #4 of a 6 part series at Fontana. What’s neat is we’re starting to see familiar faces of other racers and we’ve made a few friends here and there.

On Friday I was able to take one practice run right after the marked the DH course. One run just isn’t enough to get familiar with the course and even find hidden lines that would work better on your race run. With that said, I made sure I took a helmet cam video during practice and watched it over and over again just so I can see where I needed to go.

Come Sunday, I arrived at the venue late. Basically as soon as I pulled up, they announced that sign ups were closed for the day. I quickly ran as fast as I could to the ladies that did registration, and because of their kindness, they let me in. I soon checked the seed list and saw that my old rival, Johnny Dow of KHS Bicycles was my only competition. As soon as I turned around, JD showed some relief that he would have someone to race with. We chatted for a bit and we parted ways since I had to get my gear and bike ready for the race.

A few last minute check up on my bike and I was ready to roll. We boarded the shuttle vans about an hour after registration and at the top of the mountain, JD and I hung out. What’s funny about JD is that he likes to make you think that he’s not a good rider. But I’ve seen how he works on the trail and the guy does have some talent.

As they called up each group to race, a few of us had to wait until the end to line up so that gave us an opportunity to cheer on our team mates as they rode through the course. First it was Tony Finch, man that guy flows like water. Then it was a Moe, Joe and eventually Kim’s group as well as my group (JD and I) lined up.

Right before Donny counted down JD, I gave him a pat on the back and said for him to have fun and be careful (we had seen quite a few crashes already). Off he goes and he had a great start and I watched him disappear as he went into one of the turns. What’s funny is, I normally don’t get nervous until Donny counts me down from 15 seconds. I take a deep breath, and as soon as he said 1, I pedaled.

I rode through the somewhat unfamiliar course as fast and as safe as I could. I knew I was going way too slow on some of the parts. I make it through some of the toughest sections in which we had seen many riders go down and I eventually make it to the bottom of the mountain. Before I get to the lower rock garden, there’s an inclined road that I normally would sprint through. But my legs were feeling the burn and I sat down and pedaled as hard as I could. I get to the rock garden and there are still a large number of spectators watching and I maneuver through the area, but I felt like I was in slow motion. I finally pass the garden and hit the infamous wall.


In the last few races, I hammered the wall to make up for lost time, but that day, my body was worn out. My legs were burning, my lungs were on fire and I had nothing left but a weak pedal through the finish line. I meet up with my team mates and ask them how far I was behind Johnny, Moe said he counted about 30 seconds and Kim’s face wasn’t reassuring as she said that I took a while to get through the line.

Walking to the awards ceremony.

Though no mechanicals or crashes occurred, I felt that my run was lack luster. Results were up and I saw that JD took first by beating me with a whopping 6 seconds! I walk over to JD to congratulate the fella, that was a well deserved win. JD is one great rider and I was honored that he and I were able to compete against each other. The last few races, he wasn’t able to ride due to illness and he really showed his determination this past weekend.

Now that the race is over, I keep going back in my mind about all the scenarios where I could have done better. I’m sure everyone does this and I am pretty resolved that more training, practice runs and time in the gym will be needed to execute a better race run.

So here’s what was encouraging. When I entered my first DH race, I placed 15th out of 22 or something like that in the 27-34 age group. I purposely gained weight (its called the holidays) and raced in the 200 Club since my previous race time was more consistent with riders in that group. But when I saw my race results this past weekend, I was pleased to see that I would have placed at least 8th in the 27-34 category. Keep in mind 27-34 are a fast group of skinny riders. Though 8th place isn’t podium, but I considered it progress that I could hold my own against some really fast racers in the 27-34, I figured once the winter series were over, that I’d drop at least 20-25lbs or more and compete with my respective age group. As for now, 2 more races to go and I’m already looking forward to go against JD!

I’d like to thank our sponsors for supporting us through the series, Evomo Clothing, Ergon, Hoss MTB and I’d also like to thank Ibex Bikes for providing me the Ibex Ignition Frame to race with.

Eric “The Animal” Hunner’s Southridge Winter Series Race Report

RL Policar-Eric “The Animal” Hunner is our BIGGEST racer on the team. Not only does he stand at a towering 6′ 24″ tall, he also weighs somewhere around 240-900 lbs, and that’s ALL MUSCLE. This guy is so powerful, his torque when he pedals is strong enough to snap crank arms in HALF! Yes I said in HALF! With all that said, for a big guy like Eric, who can easily outweigh his competition by at least 100lbs…this gentle giant can move like a cheetah.

I did not know if I was going to make it to this race, there were a few issues I needed to take care of. First off the Holidays, need I say more. My training time was more then cut in half. I tried every home baked goody at least three times and ate like a king. The weekend before the race I was stuck in bed with some nasty stomach flu. My training for this race consisted of watching movies and eating junk food.

Next there was the bike, there was this nagging problem that popped up in the last race at Southridge, it felt as if the rear brake was dragging. Upon closer inspection I found that the bearing flanges on the rear axle were binding on the hub under weight, and pedaling due to a tweaked axle. One day before the race I stopped at the LBS and picked up a set of inexpensive Single Speed wheels. I got home slapped some skinny 26×2.1 on rode it down the street and parked it. Well I am almost race ready. I just pack up for the day and get the family in the truck bright and early to make the trip to Fontana.


Driving to the race was an experience in the Santa Ana winds. A Semi trailer was laying on its side on the 60 Freeway near the exit to the race, palm trees were bent over, and dirt was in the air. I knew this was going to to be rough racing due to the winds, my prediction was right. I really thought I was cutting it close to cut off time for SRC registration, I made it in time. Registration took a
while because it was the first race of the season and number plates had to be labeled.

I get back to our base camp and get ready asap to line up at the start line, no warm up riding before this race. I chat with some familiar face’s in our Single Speed group and introduce my fellow Teammate David Sanderson to the group. Thirty seconds to start. The race starts we take off with the pack and we catch a slower rider from the previous group, all of us Single Speeders start to pile up behind this rider. I break out in a sprint to get in front of this rider, the competition follows. I kept the lead for a while until we hit the road to the water tower. The Santa Winds were pushing us back down the hill, my lack of warming up surfaces while climbing this hill, two SS pass me [in another class 35 & up], ouch! That fired me up, I didn’t want that to happen again. Rod Leveque a fellow competitor was having a good day, he was fast, and smart on his lane choices when climbing around traffic. Rod passed me and a few other racers on a technical uphill, I caught up to him at the finish line two minutes off his time. Rod with Team Jenson collected first place, Eric “The Animal” Hunner and David Sanderson with Team Mountain Bike Riders collect second and third place.

Joe’s Race Report: Southridge Winter Series #1 – Super D

Back to the grind!  After about a month break with plenty of eating through the Holidays I opted to skip the XC race for the Southridge WS #1.  There to meet me at Fontana Saturday morning were team mates RL, Priscilla, Kim, Tony, Moe, Eric, David and our families.

 

SUPER D…  With little time spent pedaling in the past month, I decided to stick with Super D.  It’s been almost a year since I raced this discipline so I was very excited to give it another shot.  Making it more interesting was my teammate Moe will be in the same category with me.  Always fun when you have someone you know racing with you. 

 

IMG_1289 by cycle_moe.                The Moe and I on top of the course.

 

Around 12:15 Moe and I took the shuttle up to the top of the DH section.  Super D courses changes from race to race so we were anxious to see what was in store for us.  The race was scheduled to start at 12:30 but like everything else for the day, everything was running late.  With the high winds blowing, it was cold and uncomfortable on top of the hill. 

 

The Course:  With plenty of time until our line-up, I was able to walk and pre-ride some sections of the course.  It appears that the climbing would be at a minimal for today’s race – maybe 15% and the rest will be a descent through a winding singletrack crossing three bridges then onto off camber sections of the DH course.  Then ultimately through the lower rock garden, the wall and finishing of where the DH ends.

 

The Race:  Lining up, I was positioned behind Moe.  A little friendly bet between friends motivated me to try and run him over… j/k.  As Moe approached the starting point, I tapped his helmet and wished him luck.  I then turned on my helmet cam to record my run.  30 seconds after Moe started, off I went.  This course started off with a mild descent then onto several turns on a singletrack.

 

3186365151_882c153eee_o by you.

 

I then made a sharp right into the only ascent of the course.  Here was a quick grind to the top.  Along the way up, there were a group of downhillers hiking their bike up for practice.  I yelled from the bottom to make way.  Passing them the climb ended.  I turned right into more singletrack descent which winded towards the bottom.  Several corners were washed out but I was able to navigate through them.  Along the way I pass two bridges.  The third bridge was not visible from our view point at the top of the hill.  It came up suddenly for me.  As I turned into it, I see Moe down at the other side off his bike and another rider slowly approaching the bridge.  Fear of running into the other rider I panicked and veered off the course, into a small bush.  Fortunately I did not crash.  I quickly steered my bike towards the bridge, rolled over and pedaled to gain speed and time for what I just lost.

 

SR DH practice 1-10-09 superD 165 by you.

Making my way down.  Photo by Chris/Sharky.

 

Onto the off-camber turns then onto the long sprint towards the lower rock garden.  Approaching this section, I catch up to another rider.  I was on his rear tire going into the rocks.  As he gets to the bottleneck point, he goes over the bars in front of me.

 

             I was right behing this guy. Photo by Eric Foltz.

 

Blocking the only way, the quickest was to pick up my bike and run around him.  As soon as I did, I got back on my back and sprinted to the finish. 4th place – A fun run indeed!

 

 

DSC_0150 by you.

The Moe’s race report part 2

After my lovely wife cleaned my battle wounds, I quickly suited up to do my first ever Downhill practice. Joe, RL and I took the shuttle to the top and waited for our turn to ride. I was really nervous because I’d seen a few riders really eat it on the course. I didn’t start with confidence and it showed, I washed out 3 times and wussed out once on a more difficult section.


Lower Rock Garden

Once I hit the lower portion of the trail, it seemed familiar since I’ve just ridden it on my Super D race. As soon as I got to lower rock garden, I basically let the bike do its thing and I made it with no issues at all. I was sort of comfortable with the lower section of the trail, but I knew I had some work to do on the top portion.


Image by Chris/Sharky

On Sunday, RL and I walked our bikes to the top, we didn’t want to wait about 45 minutes for the shuttle to take us to the top. Also, walking up the hill gave us a good warm up and we loosen up a bit. Again, I was having difficulty on the top portion of the course so we stopped and climbed back up to ‘session’ the part that was kicking my butt. I finally cleared the section and I headed down to the car to wait for race time.


“The EvoMoe”

Once race time approached, I was nervous about my run, heck, I was borderline scared. As I was chatting with Tony Finch, he gave me some sound advice: “Take it easy on top section, if you crash on the top, you will lose confidence and ruin your entire run”.


Tony Finch: The DHzen Master

As I was sent down by Donny, I remembered what Tony said and took it easy on the top, as soon as I cleared it, I pushed it a bit and rode well on the lower part of the course.


MtnBikeRiders.com DH riders

I had a blast on my first downhill race, I made it in one piece and I placed 8th out of 9th. I don’t think that I would have tried Downhill racing if I wouldn’t be riding the KHS DH200, this bike is totally awesome and I owe a big thanks to Vince Calvillo from KHS Bicycles for letting me review the bike. I also want to thank Quinton Spaulding for letting me use his cutter, Tony Finch for his advice, Joe and RL for their support and most of all, Kim Finch for showing me that everything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Oh yeah, I can’t forget the sponsors: Evomo (you know I look bad ass on that jersey), HossMTB, KHS Bicycles and PricePoint.com

The Moe’s race report part I

I arrived at Southridge with trailer in tow, Eric, David, Tony and Kim were already there. We formed a little caravan circle with our cars to block some of those fierce Santa Ana winds that plagued us the entire weekend.

Registration lines were really long, we waited for about 40 minutes to get our numbers, plates and other goodies that SRC gives its members. If you are thinking of doing at least 4 races, the membership is totally worth it.

On my way back, I stopped by the KHS trailer and chatted a bit with Quentin Spaulding, KHS’ Factory Team manager. He gave me an insight on the Lucky Seven as well as some advice about setting up the KHS DH200.

Joe and I were shuttled to the top of the hill and we were told that the Super D race was going to start next to the Downhill start. We walked our bikes up and we inspected the course. All we saw was nice sweet singletrack, although I’ve ridden Southridge a few times, I’ve never ridden that particular singletrack.

The race had only 1 uphill, the rest was downhill and we also rode through the lower rock garden, which was part of the downhill course.

I had an eventful race, I crashed 3 times and saved quite a few. It just wasn’t my day. I still ended up coming in at 6th place, but I left a little skin on the course.

As usual, I want to thank KHS and Mr. Calvillo for the Flagstaff 29er, HossMTB for their great and durable shorts, Ergon Grips, Serfas and my entire family for going to see me race.


Image Courtesy of Chris/Sharky

Stay tuned for my Downhill report.

Weekend Ride Report – Southridge and The Luge

We recently received the Epic Stealth Camera from GSM.  We met the folks of GSM at Interbike in September and they had agreed to send us a unit for testing.  Since RL and I had planned on doing some practice downhill runs, I decided to put it to use.

IMG_2069 by you.        EPIC measuring approximately 3″ and weighs less than 3 oz. 

THE CAMERA:  

Basic features:

  • 30 frames per second digital video
  • Built-in microphone for continuous audio sound
  • Easy-to-use 2 button operational design
  • Capable of taking still pictures (Hi-Res 5mp / Low-res 3mp)
  • Uses AAA batteries (lithium recommended)
  • Uses SD card

Technical Specs:

  • Camera Lens:          5P Glass IR Coating, 47 degree view
  • Camera Aperature:   2.8 mm
  • Focus:                   Fixed or 1 Meter to Infinity
  • AVI Resolution:        30 Frames Per Second, VGA 640×480, QVGA 320×240
  • Still Image Res:        5 Mega Pixel (Hi), 3 Mega pixel (Lo), VGA (Base)
  • Supported Formats:  Video: AVI Photos: JPG

I’ll be riding with the EPIC Stealth Cam in the next few months and will be posting follow-up reviews.  For more information visit their site at www.epicstealthcam.com .

 

THE RIDE:

On Saturday we headed to the famous Southridge in Fontana, CA.  RL and I were geared to ride the downhill course while Priscilla, Jeremy, Ner and Steve headed to the XC course.  (XC Ride Report to follow from one of the guys).  In the video I was able to capture good footage for my first use.  There’s room for adjustment with the camera placement but footage seems to be ok.

 

RL and I did two runs.  On the first run we lucked out as Lala from Incycles gave us a lift to the top. This saved us time and energy.  We rode the same course from the last race in November. I was still having issues navigating through the rocks however overall I felt much more confident than last month.  RL on the other hand seems to fly through the course. I’m confident he will do well in the 09 Winter Series.

 

Second run – we went down behind the water tower down to the singletrack that parallels the paved rode.  On the 2nd run you’ll see two diggers.  First one RL slipping into a rut and the other is me going over the bars (OTB).  You can’t really tell from the video but basically my front wheel hit a rock and I didn’t have enough momentum.  I got bucked and I bailed out while trying to get my footing running down the hillside.  Fortunately RL’s fall was minor and mine resulted in a tweaked back.  Nothing that IcyHot cant fix. 

 

We had a good time despite having only two runs. We plan to come back in about a week.  We definitely learned a lot from this day… learned that the people in Fontana practices safe sex however litters… 🙂  

On Sunday – Val, Ner and I headed to Whiting Ranch in Lake Forest, CA.  Both Val and Ner have never ridden this trail before so they were looking forward to it.  While we were getting our gear together, a gentleman drove by and asked if he can tag along since he hasn’t ridden Whiting either; off course we said yes (I believe his name was Mark). After getting ready we all rode to the entrance of Whiting.   There to greet us was a CLOSED sign due to the recent rain.  This was a surprise as it had been four days since the last rain. Whiting Ranch must have received significant amount that many portions of the trail were still wet.

 

What to do…We were all geared up and no where to ride.  I then suggested that we head to Santiago Truck Trail (STT) / Luge, which was located behind Whiting Ranch.  Reaching our destination, we parked along the Modjeska Rd.  In the video below, our new friend Mark, got stuck on the side of the road while trying to park.  We tried to help him out but to no avail.  He ended up passing on the ride.

 

Off the three of us we went… up Modjeska Rd to the trailhead.  From here it would be a long 3 mile grind to the Flag.  There were many mountain bikers on the trail that day.  The ride up was refreshing however uneventful.  Reaching the Flag we stopped and rested for a few minutes. 

IMG_2067 by you.       Val touching the flag in honor of his recent US Citizenship.

 

 

At this point is a split – you can either continue climbing up to Old Camp or descend down the Luge.  We chose to go down the Luge.  Overall the trail was fun. It’s been quite some time since I have ridden here. Val and Ner had a great time as well. Below is a video documenting our ride. 

Priscilla’s Southridge Race Report

In case you didn’t see the video yet, I just want to say that “YEEEEA, YEEEEA, YEEEAH…I WOOOOONNNN!!!!!!!!” 😀 I am so excited about this weekends race. Southridge is one of the most technical and difficult trails for me to ride so I am so happy to have barely made it out of there in one piece!!

I actually had no plans to ride this race up until a month ago. I promised myself though that if I made podium at Mt Sac then I would have to ride this race for a chance at that Champion spot. It took a lot for me to muster up the courage though. The first time I rode this trail (which was about a year ago), I literally ended up in tears because I was so terrified out there! No kidding!

For the most part I felt pretty good out there this past weekend. I keep thinking back on all my what-if moments. My regrets – not hauling butt quick enough on the first big climb. I ended up stuck behind some riders that rode a little sketchy and slow on the singletrack. And I ended up munching it on a downhill section as I was trying to avoid my competition that had crashed in front of me. I took a clean fall but it really cost me some time. The mom in me – I had to make sure she was okay before I could take off! This gave me the opportunity to get in front of her again but not by much as the climbs really kicked my butt.

Through the majority of the ride I knew I had been passed by two other women already in my category. So I was riding hard for that 3rd spot. And my competition was never too far behind me. Near the end of the race as I was flowing through some sweet singletrack, I took another bad fall. I really can’t recall all that it entailed but I remember my rear tire hitting something and I immediately was thrown to the side of the hill. It was bad. The wind was knocked out of me. My head slammed on the rocky hill side and my backpack saved my back. I couldn’t say the same for my knee or the right side of my body though. My right hand was used as a face saver…I really thought I had sprained my wrist. It took me a minute to gather myself and then it happened! My competition passed me and I was in 4th place again. There was no way I was going to lose that 3rd place and I had to finish anyway so I jumped back on my bike after her. I was frustrated because I found myself on her tire most of the time…but on a singletrack there is no where to go! I lucked out when we came to the downhill portion of the singletrack. You have an option to take a steep gutter pavement down the hillside or some dirt. She hesitated, so I dropped down to the gutter…and pedaled on down past her and hauled butt to the next climb. My wrist was fat and throbbing by this time but I was determined to finish 3rd place.

I think the pain in my body motivated me to haul butt to the finish line….I was in some serious need of ice and pain killers! I was happy to finish in 3rd place after all that. And my 3rd place secured me the Champion Spot for the Triple Crown Series. Lucky for me there were only a few of us that had competed in all three races. ;D

And I think I am healing well. I felt like I had been hit by a car when I woke up yesterday, but I only have one oozy boo boo. The rest are bruises and surface scrapes. My doc gave me a tetanus shot and she threw in a flu shot for kicks. 🙂 It’s all good.

I am loving my jersey!!! So proud of everyone out there. Kim did awesome as well. She took home her Champion jersey as well as 3rd place for XC and 1st place for Super D. That girl is amazing! I am actually looking forward to more rides and maybe more races out in Fontana. 😀 Good times!!!