KERKOVE FINISHES 10TH AT THE 64-MILE GUNNISON GROWLER

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Topeak-Ergon USA: 2014 marked the seventh running of the Gunnison Growler, a 32-mile and 64-mile mtb event put on by Topeak-Ergon USA rider, Dave Wiens. As a fundraiser for Gunnison Trails, the Growler brings in over 700 riders from all over the USA to tackle the demanding trails that loop around the southern edge of Gunnison, CO at an elevation of over 8,000 ft.

In his 6 attempt at the Growler, Jeff Kerkove of Topeak-Ergon USA toed the start line on Sunday to cover the 64-mile course. Mother Nature also decided to toe the start line, by greeting the racers with rain and temperatures in the high 30Fs. With rain overnight and at the beginning of the race, it was sure to effect course conditions, as well as rider preparation for a 6 hour day on the bike.

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The race rolled out of Gunnison at 7 AM and the racers bolted for the course to begin the first of two 32-mile laps. Jeff having raced the Growler a handful of time previous settled into his pace. “The race always starts fast, but the course is super demanding and you have to pace it perfectly so you don’t go backwards on Lap 2,” stated Jeff. Dress head to toe in thermals and carrying a Gore-Tex rain jacket, Jeff was prepared for the weather to get only worse. Lap 1 gave riders a slippery and greasy 2.5 hours on the bike. Jeff rode a consistent lap and rolled in after Lap 1 in 14th place, right where he wanted to be. At the transition of Lap 1 to 2 Jeff grabbed more GU nutrition and dropped off his rain jacket as skies began to brighten.

“Lap 2 I knew what I had to do. I felt good and pushed my pace just enough to start reeling in some of the fading riders in front of me,” said Jeff. With nearly 350 riders covering the course on Lap 1, Lap 2 became perfect conditions. With no more rain during the actual race, the course only got faster. Jeff pushed his effort and worked his way into 9th place near the end of Lap 2. “In the final miles I was wheel to wheel with 9th place, but spun out climbing up a steep muddy rock and was passed. It formed a gap and I could not bridge back up on the short remaining miles of the lap.” Jeff would finish in 10th place on the day, his best result at the Gunnison Growler.

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“All I wanted was a good race today. In my previous attempts at the Growler I always seem to have bad luck; pacing, mechanicals, etc. But today, I rode my perfect race, my bike and equipment was perfect. Everything went as planned, ” said a muddy Jeff after his 5.5 hour day on the bike.

Next up for Jeff is the GoPro Mountain Games XC race in Vail, CO and the Bailey 100 in Bailey, CO

RESULTS
Jeff Kerkove, 10th, Pro/Open Men

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KERKOVE TAKES 18TH AT THE FIREBIRD XC

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 | by ergonusa

May 17, 2014
Eagle, Colorado, USA

The weekend of May 17-18 officially kicked off the mountain bike racing season in the high country of Colorado. Taking place at 6600 ft in Eagle, CO, the Eagle Outside Festival brought in over 30 bike industry vendors.  In addition to the festival and demos, the event also offers the Firebird.  What traditionally is a big 40-mile backcountry loop, was shortened to a 25-mile XC race due to snow on the higher elevations of the course.  That did keep the field from swelling to over 90 riders in the Pro/Open field.

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Racing in his home town and on his home trails, Jeff Kerkove toed the start line for Team Topeak-Ergon USA aboard his Canyon Lux CF.  The start was violent, as over 90 men rolled out of the festival venue en route to the trails.  Jeff, known as an endurance specialist, rode in the top 20 as the field made their way to the singletrack.  “I knew the race would be hard with the rough trail late in the laps.  I cannot start fast, so I need to warm up to the pace,” stated Jeff following the race.

Jeff hit the trail in a good position and knowing the course very well began to pick off riders in front of him.  The course is known to be smooth and fast, but with recent wet weather and cattle ranching near by, parts of the course became very very rough. “I was able to catch and pull away from my competition on the rough trails.  No doubt, the Canyon Lux CF was an advantage on the course today.”

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Jeff rode at his limit for nearly 2 hours to go onto finish in 18th place.  “This is the hardest I have ridden in this young season,” said Jeff.  Watching from the sidelines was Ergon photographer, Angel King.  Angel following the race, “You could see Jeff getting faster as the race went on.  He just ran out of race course to better his position.”

Next up for Jeff is the Ergon and SRAM sponsored 64-mile Gunnison Growler on May 25 in Gunnison, Colorado.

RESULTS
Jeff Kerkove, 18th, Pro/Open Men

STRAVA FILE
www.strava.com/activities/142402720

Photos © Angel King / Ergon Bike
Photos my be used freely when full credit is given.

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THE EAGLE OUTSIDE FESTIVAL

Monday, May 19th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Thank you to all of the riders who made the trip to Eagle, CO for the Eagle Outside Festival – Rocky Mtn Bike & Outdoor Expo! It was another smashing success and looking forward to 2015. Everyone, keep this event on your radar. There are not many opportunities like it where you get a very personal demo experience on great trails so close to home. See you at 6600ft in 2015!!  Here is the event through the eyes of our photographer….

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YUKI IKEDA 36TH AT THE RATHAUS HEGAU BIKE MARATHON

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Topeak-Ergon USA racer, Yuki Ikeda, checks in after finishing 36th at the UCI Marathon World Series Singen/ Rathaus Hegau Bike Marathon in Germany….

“One of my goals was to get UCI points which top 40 riders can earn to qualify for the UCI marathon world championships. Top 40 might sound easy, but the competition level in Europe is much higher than Japan or even USA. It was a good challenge for me. The German race course had lots of short and steep hills, and it was mostly paved and very windy on the race day. It didn’t require technical skills, but pure power. I started out around 50th place, felt good and picked up the pace as the race went on. My place was 38th place after the 1st lap and 36th place at the finish. 36th place is not satisfying, but I was happy to earn some UCI points, and huge congrats to Alban Lakata on his win!”

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SONYA LOONEY TAKES 2ND AT THE TITAN DESERT

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 | by ergonusa

April 27 – May 2, 2014
Morocco

The Titan Desert Stage Race is a 6 day in Morocco. Every edition is different with 2014 being the longest and hardest by over 100km compared to previous years. It featured 3 days in the Atlas Mountains and 3 days in the Sahara Desert with a course length of 730km. It was a race of survival, but also a race of teamwork and tactics.

The most intriguing was Stage 2(140km). Riders had to carry their own sleeping supplies, clothing and race nutrition for the current stage and for the the Stage 3 (150km), as well as clothing to survive the cold night where temps dipped into the 30s(F). Sonya Looney noted “I was carrying an extra 10 lbs with me during Stage 2! It was tough with the climbing because we were also required to carry a hydration pack (I used the Ergon BX1 along with the Topeak Fuel Tank ) with 100oz of water for the whole race! It felt like legit bikepacking! I liked this new element. I wasn’t feeling good for most of the stage, but I lit up like a Christmas tree the last hour, hammering on the undulating, bumpy dirt roads to the finish.”

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Stage 5 featured a hike a bike through sand dunes of the Sahara Desert near Erg Chebbi. “It was only 4km! I wanted longer! It was quite surreal and hilarious. People were scurrying as quickly as they could and ultra competitive. There was a pack of camels walking next to me. I was laughing uncontrollably at the spectacle!” There was also a 40km navigation segment of the day where riders were given nothing but a latitude/longitude waypoint and no course markings. “I was alone during this segment because I chose not to follow the people in front of me and navigate in the straightest line possible. It was pretty cool, but I did my have reservations about getting lost in the desert!” During the desert stages, the thermometer reached 113F. “The heat doesn’t really bother me except for my feet! I have massively bad bunions and some days they hurt so bad I could barely walk for hours after the finish. I fixed this by carrying a water bottle specifically to dump on my feet! It was nice not to get rained on at a race which always seems to be my luck!”

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Sonya finished 44th overall in the GC out of 437 starters. About 40% of racers quit due the extremely difficult course. There were pro road racers, pro triathletes, pro mountain bikers, amateurs, and even some Tour de France veterans in the race. “I rode my bike 34 hours in 6 days, longer than I ever have! It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I was happy to finish. Although the course was all doubletrack and dirt roads, it was extremely bumpy, windy, and unforgiving. The girl that won had a team of her own 8 men who were helping her all week including handing her food! I had a great opportunity to win during Stage 4 when I rode solo into the wind for 80km and caught her group, but was unable to get away because of road racing tactics resulting in a pack finish. I rode the majority of the race alone without my own pack of designated helpers. I’m happy to say I earned every bit of my 2nd place and I am proud! Even though every day broke me physically, mentally, and emotionally, I really enjoyed the experience in the end. Morocco is a ruggedly beautiful and unique country with dynamic landscape and interesting culture. I am so happy I got to see it from my mountain bike.”

Next up for Sonya is the most technical XC race in Canada in Pemberton, BC: The Nimby Fifty.

RESULTS
Sonya Looney, 2nd, Pro Women

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TOPEAK-ERGON USA AT THE WHISKEY OFF-ROAD

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 | by ergonusa

April 27, 2014
Prescott, AZ

The Whiskey Off-Road has officially set itself up as the mountain bike throw-down of the year for Pro and Amateur racers in N. America. With $40,000 up for grabs, this event brings out the best from all over the World, including the Marathon World Champion and National Champions. Spanning over 3-days, the Whiskey Off-Road combines world class racing with a world class expo at 5500 ft in Prescott, AZ.

In the midst of a 3-week work and racing road trip, Topeak-Ergon USA was represented by team riders Yuki Ikeda and Jeff Kerkove at this years Whiskey Off-Road.

On Saturday, Prescott, AZ was hit hard with a cold front that brought snow, rain, and strong winds to the Prescott, AZ area. While this was not race day for the Pros, the unseasonal weather pattern help to make the dry and dusty 50-mile course firm and hard pack. Sunday would be race day for Yuki and Jeff. Nearly 100 Pro Men would toe the start line of the Whiskey Off-Road looking for a share of the $40,000 prize purse.

Conditions were fast and nearly record setting. From the gun, the pace was pushed and the Pro field quickly strung out over the 50-miles of course.

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Yuki, who is on a massive 2 month long racing road trip, would have the best result of the day for the team finishing in 43rd place. Following his nearly 3.5 hours on the bike, Yuki said, “It was my first race after I recovered from the altitude sickness at Yak Attack (10 day stage race) in Nepal. I was hurting very bad in the first half of the race because I did nothing but resting last few weeks. However, I started to feel better and better once my body got used to the race intensity. 43rd place wasn’t satisfying, but I was very happy to be healthy and to be able to race again!”

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Jeff would have his fastest completion of the Whiskey Off-Road in his 5 attempts. “Admittedly, I wasn’t super fresh coming into the race. With all the nice weather the last 3 weeks on the road I had been loading up on hours on the bike since Colorado has been cold and snowy. My only goal for the Whiskey Off-Road was to set a personal record for my race time. I did that by a few minutes and was happy with my race execution. I’m looking forward to getting home and continuing racing and training at altitude in Colorado.”

Next up, Yuki spends some time in Europe racing the UCI World Cup Marathon Series. Jeff stays closer to home in Colorado with the Firebird 40 and the Gunnison Growler.

RESULTS
Yuki Ikeda, 43th, Pro Men
Jeff Kerkove, 57, Pro Men

Race file on Strava

Photos © Kathleen Thomas

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DISPATCHES FROM COLUMBINE: IS YOUR BIKE READY TO ROLL?

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Shared via:  http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/2014/04/dispatches-from-columbine-is-your-bike-ready-to-roll/

By Dave Wiens

Is it time to awaken your bike from a long winter’s sleep? Dave takes us through the process of prepping your machine for spring trails – and fills us in on a lesser-known secret for Leadville success. 

No matter where you live and how much (if any) riding you’ve been able to do during the winter, spring is a great time of year to put some thought and effort into your bike. Maybe, like me, you’re extracting it from some deep, dark corner of your basement. Maybe you plan on doing some major work to it this season, such as upgrading components. Or maybe it just needs a good scrub. Either way, here are my suggestions for making sure it’s ready to take on the trail.

I’m hoping to get out on dirt (hitting the Sidewinder Trail near Montrose, CO) for the first time in 2014 later this week. I just pulled my training bike, a Canyon Nerve AL 29, out of that dark corner of the basement I was just talking about. I parked it there way back in early December, after my final mountain bike ride of 2013.

If I was in any way unsure of its condition, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it to Dan, the mechanic I’ve used for more than a decade. However, since I remember it being solid the last time I rode it, I don’t anticipate it needing a ton of work. I’m no ace mechanic, especially now that bikes are far more complex than they were back in the day, so I lean on Dan a lot. But in this situation, I’ll check the bike over myself and I hope to find it ready to ride with just a small amount of work.

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Dave’s DIY Bike Prep Checklist

Let’s walk through my checklist as I prepare to take my bike out on an ambitious trail ride like Sidewinder:

TiresMy main goal is to put new sealant (I use Stan’s Sealant) in each tire, but this is also a great time to replace the rubber if necessary. I inspect each tire closely for damage that may warrant replacement, including tread wear or other damage or wear. It’s a bummer when you discover an abraded sidewall or similar carnage on a tire that still has lots of tread life left in it, but better to find it now than out on the trail.

If I won’t be replacing the tires, I’ll remove all of the old liquid sealant, pull any buildup of dried sealant off of the inside of the tire and dry the tire out with a rag if necessary. If you’re running tubes, you may be able to get away with visually inspecting the tires without removing them from the wheels. My Continental XKing 2.4 tires from last season are still good to go and just need new sealant this time. (The notubes.com website suggests replacing sealant every two to six months. If you ride a lot, I’d replace it at least every two months and strategically before big events.)

WheelsWhile the tires are still off, I inspect the wheels closely. I grab each spoke to be certain they’re all tight, inspect the rim or sealant strip and the valve. I spin the wheel to determine if it is true. Once I’m satisfied that all is in order, I put in fresh sealant and re-inflate the tire.

I’ll try to do a short ride close to home with new sealant just to be certain both tires are holding air and sealed. On any ride in the boondocks, I always carry two tubes, a patch kit, compressed air and adapter and a mini pump like the Topeak Race Rocket MT. I’ll also make sure to have my trusty Joe Blow Ace floor pump in the car so that I can start the ride with the perfect tire pressure.

Shocks Next on the list of importance is the pressure in my shocks. Not only do I add air with a shock pump, I also inspect the shock for oil to be certain that I don’t have a blown seal or any other leaks. I compress the shocks to be certain that they are holding air and functioning properly.

Brakes – Next up I check my brakes. Sometimes brake lines go funky without use and may need to be bled. My Maguras are still perfect and the adjustment of the pads on the rotors is spot on. I check this just by lifting each wheel, rolling it and listening for any rubbing.

The tires, shocks and brakes were my main concern because each of these components requires contained fluid. There was a time not so long ago when the only fluid on my bike was what was in my water bottle.

Now, I put a wrench to every bolt on the bike to ensure tightness. I also install and test the new Ergon GE1 grip with a revolutionary inside clamp.

Finally, I lube the SRAM XX1 drivetrain and run through the gears, which are still perfect (no contained fluid, just good old cables). A little lube on the pedals, a check of the Topeak ProPack seatbag to be certain that it is stocked with a Mini Pro 20 multi tool, a patch kit, a spare tube, tire levers, a small bottle of lube, master chain links and a few dollars to use as tire boots (there are no stores where I ride).

Now it’s time for a spin around town to be certain everything is in good order.  Then I’ll be ready for the Sidewinder.

Checking through the above list on a regular basis has the added benefit of familiarizing yourself with your bike. This could pay dividends should you ever need to play field mechanic and solve a mechanical issue during an epic training ride or in a race.

When DIY Just Won’t Do

I didn’t use Dan, my mechanic, this time around because the bike was in good shape the last time I used it. However, there are times when taking your bike to a mechanic is a must. On that list are new bike builds; brake bleeds; suspension service or rebuilds; wheel trueing; and getting your bike tuned up for a race.

Unless you are a competent bicycle mechanic with ample time to work on your bike, consider establishing a relationship with a bike shop in your area (if you haven’t already). Your local shop may be one of the most important pieces of your quest for success in the Leadville Trail 100. Here are two top reasons why:

1. Success at Leadville most often results from solid training, and solid training means lots of miles on the bike. Lots of miles on the bike means going through parts and pieces – tires, brake pads, drivetrains, etc. Riding a lot simply wears our equipment out. Just like your car, your bike needs service on a regular basis. To be able to get through the quantity and variety of training rides that you have on tap, your bike will need to be ready for each and every one of them.

2. You need multiple bikes. This is often called “the quiver,” and many of you have one. Most common is the quiver of two: a mountain bike and a road bike. I recommend this quiver to anyone who is serious about training for and succeeding in an event like the LT100.

Others have more bikes in their quiver: a heavier trail bike, a lightweight racing mountain bike, a road bike, a singlespeed mountain bike, a ‘cross bike, a fixed-gear road bike, a snow bike and a bike just for the third Tuesday of each month. I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

If you’re in the market for a new ride, whether to use in the LT100 or to enhance your training, your local bike shop can be an invaluable resource.

I often get asked about a certain new bike that someone has found at a great price online and if I think it’s a good deal or not. My answer is always the same: I suggest that the first option should always be to purchase from your local bike shop. This is not just to “buy local,” but there’s an important practical element, too. If you’re shopping for something that never will need service, I understand shopping for price even if that means your dollars will leave your local community. However, your bicycle is reliant on service and the occasional need for additional parts and accessories, not to mention the personal attention you’ll want and need to be able to get things fixed quickly for training rides or before departing for the big race in Leadville. Having that relationship with your local bike shop is key in my opinion.

But which shop? All shops are not created equal.

Research shops in your area by asking other riders their opinions and by going in and talking to the employees. Get to know them. If you’re in the market for a new bike or perhaps a component upgrade, you’ll want to be assured that the sales associate know his or her stuff.

It’s the same for the service technicians, a.k.a., the mechanics. Ask them how long they have been working on bikes, how long they have been working there and what sort of formal training they have with bicycles. As bikes have become more complex, the skillset necessary to be an excellent mechanic is much more technical and requires more time, work and dedication to acquire. Great bike mechanics are in high demand and you need to make sure that one of them is working on your bike.

Okay, enough about shops – time to go for a ride. Enjoy!

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MAKE ANY ROAD BIKE MORE COMFORTABLE

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Outside Magazine recently got their hands on our new CF3 Pro Carbon seatpost.  They spent a few months riding is around the mountain roads of Santa Fe, NM.  Needless to say, they didn’t want to give it back.  They just posted up a few words about their time spent on the CF3.  Have a read by clicking the image below….

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NOMADIC WITH THE NOMADS

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | by ergonusa

Ride along with Dylan Wolsky of the Ergon sponsored, The Nomads, as he rides his new Santa Cruz 650b mtb through Chile topped off with the GA1 Evo grips and the BA3 backpack.

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TOPEAK-ERGON WINS CAPE EPIC 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | by ergonusa

It’s a sensational result for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team at the Cape Epic in South Africa. Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek won the World’s toughest stage race. Sally Bigham and Esther Suess took second in the overall ranking.

With a total of 8 stages, covering 718km and 14.850m of ascent, the race is associated with blood, sweat, sun, dust, rain, fast flowing rivers and wild animals. They are conditions which face the competitors every year at the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and the reason it is considered the hardest stage race in the World.

To win this event is a target for any of the elite professional mountain bikers, and even to take part is something which many dream of. For Robert Mennen (28) and Kristian Hynek (33) of the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, it is a dream which has now come true. After 4 days of riding as the lead team in the yellow jersey, our two heroes won the race on Sunday — a perfect result for the Koblenz based team.

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”I can’t believe that Kristian and I came here, and won this thing!” Robert said after the race. ”Cape Epic was right at the top of my ?must win’ list. This is the biggest win of my career!” Kristian also didn’t hide his joy at the result: ”This means as much to me as my European 2012 Champion’s Title”, which shows precisely how important a result they think it is.

It is a result which wouldn’t have been possible without the Fair Play principles of Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann, who twice helped our team — giving wheels twice sacrificing their own ambitions in order to allow Kristian and Robert to chase theirs. ”Without their help, it is unlikely that we would be stood here,” Robert said in tribute to the Team Centurion-Vaude competitors.

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Amongst the jubilation at the Cape Epic win, there was another result to savor — Topeak Ergon’s Sally Bigham (35) and Esther Süss (riding as Team Meerendal) took 2nd place in the women’s race. A superb result in itself, and one that the team will continue to celebrate.

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All of this success is only possible thanks to the whole team — not just the athletes. Particular mention should go to team mechanic Peter Felber, and the Team Manager Dirk Juckwer. A mention also should go to the sponsors, providing the equipment which is hard wearing enough to be able to take the punishment of this race. From the ergonomic advantages from Ergon’s grip and saddle program, minimizing fatigue, to the performance of the new Canyon 29er full suspension bikes. Everything plays its part.

More information and results at: www.cape-epic.com

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