APRIL 19, 2014, BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. Words and images by Philip Beckman/PB Creative — You have to feel sorry for SoCal skiers and boarders. A touch of sympathy. A couple of soft pats on the shoulder and perhaps some warm, quiet words. A scrunch of the eyebrows with a benevolent shake of the head. Boo-Hoo.


Due to drought conditions and minimal snowfall in southwestern U.S. this past winter, fans of sliding sports were literally left high and dry — except in their eyes.


Their pain, our gain. Cyclists around these parts, on the other hand, took great comfort in a summerlike winter. Then when it was announced that the Snow Summit Bike Park was going to open early, all we could shout was Boo-Ya! (Just not within earshot of our snow-bereft buddies.)


This venerable ski hill in Big Bear Lake — backyard playground for 18 million day-tripping Los Angelenos — is going through a renaissance when it comes to mountain bikes. Once the virtual center of the universe in terms of MTB riding of all types, the property was closed to two-wheelers for nearly a decade following a couple of serious injuries, a change of ownership and pressure from the Forest Service.


True downhill bikes in particular came under severe scrutiny. If a rider showed up with a bike sporting a dual-crown fork, eight inches of suspension travel and weighed more than 38 pounds, they were met with a stern shake of the head and gesture toward the exit. And there really was no plan B in terms of lift-serviced mountain biking.


That all changed last year when Snow Summit once again opened its arms — and two ski lifts — to owners of all types of MTBs. Riders were delighted with what they found: new or refurbished, professionally designed trails with big, swoopy berms, man-made jumps and wooden features reminiscent of those built in iconic locations such as Whistler and Snowmass. The real deal.


Snow Summit Bike Park began its sophomore season with the first annual Summer Kickoff Party on Saturday, April 19th, earlier than any other “lifted” facility in North America. The base area — at 7000 feet above sea level — was the event’s hub, with enough color, sound and energy to remind us of the heydays of the sport at this resort (think early- to mid-1990s).


An expo row included displays from Trek, Marin, Redline, Intense, Oakley, Marzocchi, Ryders Eyewear, Troy Lee Designs, Five Ten, Smith Optic and Freestyle USA. The unmistakable Red Bull MXT truck had DJ Slip Matt cueing tunes. Numerous raffles and prize giveaways helped keep off-bike excitement high.


Common topics of discussion centered on some new obstacles and trail sections, as well as the rerouting of some old trails. It was announced that an all-new “green” trail (parlance for beginner-friendly) will be open by July 4th. Many of the hundreds in attendance were dazzled by the day’s traction, thanks to a quick but convincing thunderstorm that had rolled through the previous afternoon.


The Snow Summit Bike Park has a lot to offer, at reasonable prices. Season passes are now on sale for just $279; hard to beat if visiting often this summer and fall. Downhill mountain biking is back in a big way in Big Bear.


For more, visit


Exhibitors put the final touches on the expo before the doors open for the season.

Exhibitors put the final touches on the expo before the doors open for the season.


You may encounter Trouble on the black-diamond Party Wave Trail.

You may encounter Trouble on the black-diamond Party Wave Trail.


You may encounter Trouble on the black-diamond Party Wave Trail.

Exhibitors put the final touches on the expo before the doors open for the season.

Exhibitors put the final touches on the expo before the doors open for the season.

It didn’t take long for the lift lines to fill with eager downhillers once the event got started.

It didn’t take long for the lift lines to fill with eager downhillers once the event got started.

It had been a while since genuine downhill bikes were being hoisted onto Snow Summit’s lifts. This event marked the second season in a row they’ve been allowed back.

It had been a while since genuine downhill bikes were being hoisted onto Snow Summit’s lifts. This event marked the second season in a row they’ve been allowed back.

A view from the Scenic Sky Chair shows what little remains of this past “winter’s” snowfall.

A view from the Scenic Sky Chair shows what little remains of this past “winter’s” snowfall.

Snow Summit Bike Park offers fun and adventure for all ages.

Snow Summit Bike Park offers fun and adventure for all ages.

SoCal is not very green these days, but you’ll find some at Big Bear.

SoCal is not very green these days, but you’ll find some at Big Bear.

Getting high at more than 7000 feet above sea level.

Getting high at more than 7000 feet above sea level.

Snow Summit does not lack for breathtaking scenery.

Snow Summit does not lack for breathtaking scenery.

Ski lifts and downhill mountain bikes go together like peas and carrots.

Ski lifts and downhill mountain bikes go together like peas and carrots.




APRIL 5-6, 2014, LOS OLIVOS, Calif. Words and images by Philip Beckman/PB Creative — It’s fitting that the Santa Ynez Valley Classic is situated in the heart of wine country. Like a fine wine, this event is not getting older, it’s getting better.


Over the years there has been a lot of hard, championship-level racing at this particular chunk of land. But this scenic acreage just a few minutes north of touristy Solvang has changed hands and names several times since competitive MTB events started staging here in the late 1990s, without distinguishing itself as a must-do date. You might even say things had become stagnant.


Until, that is, area native Mike Hecker came aboard a few years ago. A self-described “diehard cycling activist,” Hecker and his small crew tidied things up, started cutting in new singletrack, added features like a pump track and playground, increased marketing and created The Dirt Club, selling memberships for access to this private property. Members can now ride on Wednesdays and weekends, as long as they put some time into “community service” at the property. At the moment The Dirt Club has approximately 50 active members. All mountain bike riders are invited to join the fun; the $15 gate fee is waived for members.


Veteran competitors who rolled in for the 15th Annual Santa Ynez Valley Classic last weekend were in agreement: this was the best it’s ever been. Recent rains had greened up the rolling hills, brought out the poppies and quelled the dust without leaving a spec of mud. The weather cooperated nicely, although breezy on Saturday for the Super D and warm on Sunday during the Cross Country. The significant amount of new trail was universally praised for its creativity and flowing nature. Add in the well-oiled machine that is Team Big Bear to run the race program, and Round 4 of the 2014 Kenda Cup Series presented by the Sho-Air Cycling Group turned out to be a true mountain bike delight.


“Fun” seemed to be the operative word during a festive awards ceremony. It was even the first thing Frenchman Julien Bourdevaire brought up during an interview after winning the Pro Men’s class. The Blackstar team member — also the winner of Round 1 at Vail Lake — had held off the advances of brothers Eric Bostrom (Next Level/Sho-Air Cyclery) and Ben Bostrom (Specialized) to win by just over a minute. Stephane Roch (Swami’s/Skilz) and John Nobil (Bear Valley Bikes) completed the podium.


“I enjoyed this race, and this circuit particularly,” stated Bourdevaire. “It is very different from Bonelli and Fontana [the second and third rounds, respectively]. It is more green and less rocky. I led after the first climb and had no problem. It was a smooth race; no mistakes.”


Several Endurance classes ran concurrently, and at the end of the day Sho-Air/Cannondale’s Tinker Juarez had completed the four-lap, 44-mile challenge in an amazing 3:13:30, more than ten minutes quicker than next-best Stu Gonzalez (Bear Valley Bikes).


Only two Pro Women entered the Cross Country event, so they were started with the Pro Men’s field. Eventual winner Larissa Connors (Marin/CTS) found this to be motivational. As she explained with her ever-present smile, “It’s good to have someone to chase. I went out really hard and tried to stay with the men as long as possible. The first lap was a little painful! It was a really fun course, even with doing an extra lap after my finish. And I’m still going out to do two more laps. I have to get ready for Sea Otter.”


Indeed, many of the competitors at Santa Ynez were moving straight on to Monterey. That classic course may have a hard time measuring up to The Dirt Club’s. For more info, visit


The fifth of seven events on the Kenda Cup schedule takes place at Bonelli Regional Park on April 27. For more information and complete results and series standings, go to


Complete Super D and Cross Country galleries from the Santa Ynez Valley Classic can be found at

Kenda Cup #1 Report MTB CROSS-COUNTRY



Kenda Cup #1 Report


MARCH 1-2, 2014, TEMECULA, Calif. Words and images by Phil Beckman/PB Creative — Do you believe in miracles? Yes! After two years of virtually no precipitation in SoCal, leaving regional trails even more baked hard, sandy, rocky, dusty, dry-slick and grayish beige than usual (which is most of the time) an unexpected winter storm finally broke through and soaked the area with up to eight inches of rain and a coating of snow on nearby peaks.


Two days of sometimes heavy, flash flood-spawning showers took place just before round one of the 2014 Kenda Cup Series presented by the Sho-Air Cycling Group, raising considerable concern about course conditions. Would it be a mudder? What tires should I mount? Do I really want to subject my brand new carbon fiber steed to a couple of hours on a grinding wheel?


Thankfully, the thirsty soil soaked it up like a Scotch-Brite pad that’s been hiding under the sink for a decade or two. As a result, the 8.5-mile course laid out by the Team Big Bear and SoCal Endurance crews at Vail Lake Resort consisted almost entirely of hero dirt. Velcro.


An impressive turnout of competitors proved that mountain bike riders are not easily intimidated. It was gloomy, overcast, humid and cool enough to see your breath, but enthusiasm ran high and the mud factor low. In the midst of a winter that was very similar to summer, this was a miraculous turn of climatic events.


The French must love these sort of conditions, because there were two of them in the top three at the end of the three-lap Pro Men’s race. Twenty-three-year-old Julien Bourdevaire and younger brother Jean-Louis — both wearing freshly unwrapped Blackstar Racing kits after being recruited to the powerhouse team only days before — finished the season opener in first and third, respectively.


Jean-Louis set an inflammatory pace that shredded the field during the first two laps, then “Jules” took over and took off on lap three. Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt) was one of the shredees early on, but was sensible enough to avoid the red zone and ride his own race. Siegle gradually worked his way back into the picture and then all the way to second place, but at the line he was still 42 seconds in arrears of the elder Bourdevaire.


Fourth place fell to the veteran John Nobil (Bear Valley Bikes), while Mexican Miguel Oregel (Buena Park Bicycles) rounded out this cosmopolitan podium.


“I’m super happy,” the winner said later. “I didn’t know the names of the other racers except for my brother. I’m new here, since January. On the second lap my brother did the job for me. He went to the front and was pulling hard. Then I just had to sprint and finish the last lap as fast as I could. There were no problems at all. I am planning to do all of the U.S. Cup races until June, then my brother and I go to South Africa because we’re both qualified for the Marathon World Championships.”


An unfamiliar name ended up at the top of the Pro Women’s results sheet as well. Jen Todd (Platinum Performance), had little trouble dominating the small field, with Deya Guerrero (Veloz Team) and Kata Skaggs (Adventure Bicycle Co.) trailing by many minutes after three laps.


As we learned at the awards ceremony, Todd is a former Pro mountain bike racer who has been active in the sport of XTERRA racing since 2006. In fact, she is the reigning World Champion in the 35-39 age group.


“This is my first race back in about six years,” she revealed. “I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a great course; I couldn’t ask for better conditions. It was great being out there again. I forgot how much I love it. Everything went as smooth as I could have hoped for in my first race back. I think the stars were aligned for me. I’m planning of doing most of the series if it doesn’t conflict with the XTERRAs. That is still my first priority.”


A five-lap endurance race, run concurrently with all of the day’s foray, was once again the domain of mountain bike legend Tinker Juarez (Sho-Air/Cannondale). The Energizer bunny of MTB racing topped Danny Munoz (B-Rads) by just under three minutes to take the Open Men division in a time of 3:07.54. Nevada’s Timari Prius (Kenda/Pivot/Wins Wheels) rode over four and a half hours to take the Open Women win.


Six races remain in the 2014 Kenda Cup Series, with five of a rider’s best seven events on the calendar counting for the final standings. For more information, full results and more, visit

A full photo gallery can be found at


Ninja Night Race 2 Set for January 16

Ninja Night RaceFledgling cycling club Team Ninja announced today it will host its next mountain bike event, the USAC-sanctioned Ninja Night Race, at 7:00 p.m., January 16 2014 in San Diego’s popular Balboa Park.

“Judging by the feedback and excitement we had after our first event, the only thing speedier than a ninja in the dark is how fast this event will sell out,” said Team Ninja captain Richard La China. “We’re very proud to be working with terrific sponsors like Zumwalt’s Bicycle Center and Sock Guy to stretch the Ninja Night Race events into a series.”

The first Ninja Night Race was held late-October at Lake Hodges and will go down in history as the first-ever USAC-sanctioned after-dark race. Now, returning with their second venue, the Ninja Night Race organizing team, as well as the enthusiastic racers themselves, are hopeful more trails will be open to the thrill of night racing.

“The thing we really like about Balboa Park is how spectator-friendly it is,” said Michael Whitehurst, course director with Ninja Night Race. “With short laps, a central location, and the festive vibe we try to bring to all our events, racers and their friends and families alike can look forward to a really fun night out.”

“I had such a blast at the first event there’s no question I’ll be first in line for the next,” said cat 2 racer and Team Ninja member Kristen Gross. “There’s nothing like the feeling of racing in the dark — cool night air, easy-to-spot competitors, the adrenaline boost you get when your light catches some glowing eyes just off course, and of course, having the tamales at the end was an awesome touch.”Ninja Night Race

Registration will open on December 15, 2013 at midnight. To sign up to race or volunteer, please visit Though racers do not need a license to participate, USAC licenses will be available at the venue, or racers can get licensed online by visiting  Licensed racers will be competing for points, and if racing in the cat 1/pro categories, there are cash prizes for podium finishers. Proceeds from the event will help support the San Diego Monarch School.


Report – Mt. Sac Fat Tire Classic

mtsacci-1NOV. 3, 2013, WALNUT, Calif. Words and images by Phil Beckman/PB Creative —


Mountain bike racing legend David “Tinker” Juarez taught the kids a thing or two at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic presented by SC Velo. If class had been in session, he would have been the dignified man at the board in the front of the room wearing a bow tie and tweed jacket with leather on the elbows, holding an unlit cherrywood pipe in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other. “And this, students, is your lesson for today.” If, that is, professors had dreadlocks.


The Fat Tire Classic has been taking place on the grounds of Mt. San Antonio College for some 22 years, making it one of the longest-running races in the sport. For an “off-season” event, a respectable turnout of 164 athletes took to the six-mile course featuring two steep climbs, one harrowing descent and two tunnels per lap. Their eyes were on the prize of beautiful brushed-steel trophies handcrafted by the Mt. SAC Welding Dept. Some came to bring closure to their three-race Triple Crown Series campaign as well.


It would have been a surprise had Juarez not dominated this year’s Fat Tire Classic, which was held under ideal racing conditions. Riding for powerhouse Team Sho-Air/Cannondale, the 52-year-old Juarez is a multi-time cross-country champion, a two-time Olympian and a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame since 2001. These days he’s nearly unbeatable in ultra-endurance MTB events.


Juarez shot out to an immediate lead in the Pro Men’s field and slammed together five laps in just 1:46:35. Finishing runner-up nearly nine minutes later was Alfred Pacheco (Buena Park Bicycles), while Chris Heinrich (The Path Bike Shop) rounded out the podium in third. Pacheco’s performance was strong enough to clinch the overall Triple Crown Series title.


Nancy James was in a class of her own at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic—literally. She was the only Pro Woman to participate. Sadly, no Pro Women completed the three events needed to qualify for Triple Crown honors. So instead we’ll give a tip of the helmet visor to Shannon Vandevelde, who captured all three races in the Expert Women Open division.


For full results and more, visit here.


A full photo gallery can be found at


Crusher in the Tushar


Crushed – Nicole Duke

Crushed – Nicole Duke


Crushed – Nicole Duke
Leading up to the third annual Crusher in the Tushar race, there was much discussion between participants
about the details of the race. What bike should I ride? With what gearing? Suspension or no suspension?
Knobby or slick tires? What pressure? How many water bottles do i carry? Will i die out there? Maybe.
The race had gained momentum and had drawn names such as Levi Leipheimer and Jonathan Page. It’s no
wonder as Burke Swindlehurst had proved himself as a top-notch promoter in the events previous years.
The race is dialed, and runs like a well oiled machine with volunteers working as if they owned the race
itself, with intensity, joyousness, and pride. Every rider receives a professional mtn bike style number plate
with tracking device inlaid on back, event t-shirt, gourmet lunch, beer, stickers, drink koozies, 1st
Endurance supplements, and 5 of the most beautifully laid out aid stations with all the food and drink you
could ever want. And then, there is just the pride and satisfaction, knowing that you’ve finished, Crushed,
or survived, The Tushars.
My tool of choice for this race was my Alchemy CX bike equipped with my SRAM gearing of 34/28 and
Zipp tubulars with extra tire and screw driver taped under the seat. The year before I ran a 36/27 and paid
the price. I debated heavily and had the mtn rig set up to go also. I knew the gearing would be a better
choice but was torn to ride the cx’er as this was is my discipline and I felt I had to represent.
Unfortunately, I had come down with a summer cold in the week leading up to the race so needed to lay
low leading up to the start. I figured I would recover and do ok for the race. The year before, I remember
it being hard but enjoyable, if not just from the pure beauty of the mountains. This year the ladies field was
a bit larger and held returning winner Gretchen Reeves, former road National Champion Kimberly
Baldwin, and many other strong women representing many different disciplines.
We would take off on the first road section of the race at our usual mellow roll out pace. The non-pro men
started behind us this year and would soon catch and pass us on the road. We glommed on with the men
half way up and our pace quickened, we would not wait for the dirt climb to start racing this year. I was
surprised to see that even the single speed men were pacing as fast as all the other muti-gear heads. My
friend Danger, who I thought was absolutely nuts for doing it on a single speed would pass me and never
look back.
As soon as we hit the dirt, I knew my race was over and that this day would be pure survival. Either you
have it or you don’t and this day, I didn’t. I would sit at 4th and 5th place for most of the day with men
passing me constantly. The heat was getting to me, the year before cool temperatures and cloud cover
would keep us protected all day, no such luck this year. My only moment of glory would come on the
long, fast and washboarded downhill into the valley. The addition of disc brakes to my bike this year made
a huge difference. If only there was a QOD on this section as there was a prize awarded for the KOM on
the flip side of this mountain.
After the downhill there is a long road section that everyone searches for anyone, someone to pace with as
you don’t want to be left blowing in the wind alone in the valley. I would tuck and apply my speed skills to
catch the next rider far ahead of me. As I got closer and closer, I would realize that this rider looked
extremely familiar. It was Ben Berden, my hero, come to save me and drag me through the heat, wind, and
flats of the valley floor before attempting to climb back out and up. Ben had some technical problems and
had fallen out of the race. I felt for him but was also selfishly happy to have him by my side on such a day
of suffering.
The largest complaint that I heard from most competitors was that they almost died riding the dirt section
through the valley floor from heat exhaustion. This happens to be one of the slower sections in the race as
it climbs back up to the big uphill on a 4 wheel drive dirt section and leaves riders exposed to all elements.
I too thought that I might succumb to heat stroke as I had run out of water by this point.
We made it back to the tarmac, looked ahead and saw the misery that laid before us. The downhill that had
been so long and fun now turned into my biggest challenge of the day as we would have to climb back up
and out. This is where every gear counted. Up the tarmac and the road then turns to dirt as the climb
steepens. A police Marshall sat at this transition point and I decided I had enough, I pulled over, asked if
he had a gun, and told him he needed to put me down. With a chuckle he encouraged me and told me I
could do it. Easy for you to say, I thought.I would continue up the climb slowly but surely and would dismount and remount the bike around 8
times…..the year before, not once. I was sitting in 4th but this is where I would get passed by two riders.
The last being my friend Kimberly Baldwin, and as she passed I heard her say, “are you kidding me, this is
ridiculous”. Yes, yes, it is. I started to think maybe I didn’t want to be friends with Burke anymore, he was
a cruel, cruel man.
We would crest over what you think is the top and a sign reads KOM, another cruel joke played by Burke
as we only kept climbing after this sign, albeit not as steep, but climbing none the less. I was suffering like
never before and would tell Ben, “I really don’t know how I’m going to make it”. He would wait patiently,
encourage me and every once in a while give me a boost. He could see if he did leave me, I might end up
camping out for the night on the side of the road.
The miles went by, scenery kept me alive, and the last right hand turn would be one mile straight up to
Eagle Point. Slowly but surly, Ben and I crossed the line together. As in true Crusher style, there was a
volunteer waiting for every rider to take their bike, hand them a cold rag, and fetch what ever beverage was
needed. My choice was coconut water.
I had finished 6th but less concerned with placing and more concerned with just getting across the line. It
had been one of those days. My time was around 15 minutes slower than the year before.
Now time to relax, eat our gourmet lunch and watch the podium presentations. Gretchen Reeves won the
women’s field and broke her record from last year by 2 minutes. Joey Lythgoe finished second, benefiting
from a bike change from last years race. Meghan Sheridan third, Anna Jo Dingman fourth, and Kimberly
Baldwin fifth. In the mens field, Levi Leipheimer blew the competition away by 15 minutes. Tyler Wren,
winner of the previous two years was second, Barry Wicks third, Jamey Driscoll, who blew away the
downhill was fourth, Rob Squire 5th and Jonathan Page finished a respectable seventh.
Of course there was talk about how tough the course was and comments such as “I will definitely not ride
that bike next year”. But most just couldn’t believe how much climbing there was. I saw people of all
shapes and sizes out there and met a gentleman that rode a 32lb full suspension bike carrying about 75 extra
pounds on his body that finished and said he would be back for more. We had all suffered together, bonded
through the same experience and had come out able to laugh together. The Crusher makes you feel special,
it’s a tight crew of 350 racers that have come to know the course and are looking for ways to tweak
performance or just enhance the experience. Even though during the race I said I would never do it again, I
will be out there next year, ready to bond, suffer, and bleed with fellow Crusherites.
 Please visit our blog at

Results-Images- Crusher in the Tushar


crusher05_IMG_7152This unique 69 mile course starts in quiet downtown Beaver, Utah and finishes at Utah’s newest ski resort, Eagle Point. The course features a nearly perfect 50/50 split between pavement and dirt fire-road sectors which allow riders to explore the stunning back country of Utah’s little-known Tushar Mountains and Fishlake National Forest.



27 LEVI LEIPHEIMER Pro/Open Men 39 M SANTA ROSA CA Clif Bar 04:06:16 1 1

1 TYLER WREN Pro/Open Men 30 M SALT LAKE CITY UT Jamis/Hagens Berman 04:16:01 2 2

51 BARRY WICKS Pro/Open Men 31 M BEND OR Kona Bikes 04:16:05 3 3

13 JAMEY DRISCOLL Pro/Open Men 28 M PARK CITY UT Jamis/Hagens Berman 04:16:36 4 4

45 ROB SQUIRE Pro/Open Men 24 M SANDY UT Amore Vita 04:17:22 5 5

18 ALEX GRANT Pro/Open Men 31 M SALT LAKE CITY UT Cannondale 04:17:35 6 6

36 JONATHAN PAGE Pro/Open Men 36 M FRANCIS UT Fuji/Spy 04:26:12 7 7

87 JUSTIN LINDINE Pro/Open Men 29 M NEW SALEM MA Seattle Bike Supply 04:32:29 8 8

29 JEFF LOUDER Pro/Open Men 35 M SALT LAKE CITY UT A Little Bit Louder Now 04:39:57 9 9

39 LEROY POPOWSKI Pro/Open Men 38 M COLORADO SPRINGS CO juwi-Slipstream 04:41:59 10 10

5 BENJAMIN BLAUGRUND Pro/Open Men 40 M BOULDER CO Team juwi solar / First Solar 04:44:29 11 11

30 CHRIS MACKAY Pro/Open Men 25 M PARK CITY UT Competitive Cyclist 04:50:38 12 12

304 FRANK OVERTON 40-44 Men 42 M BOULDER CO Fascat Coaching 04:51:12 13 1

20 ERIK HARRINGTON Pro/Open Men 37 M SALT LAKE CITY UT RMCC 04:52:12 14 13

17 ADAM GAUBERT Pro/Open Men 40 M DURRANGO CO Team Wooly Mammoth 04:53:40 15 14

50 NATE WHITMAN Pro/Open Men 37 M LOS ANGELES CA Herbalife24 04:54:40 16 15

280 LINK KING 40-44 Men 43 M PHOENIX AZ Bicycle Haus 04:55:24 17 2

269 TY HOPKINS 40-44 Men 42 M AMERICAN FORK UT 4Life/Maddog Cycles 04:55:36 18 3

260 RYAN HAMILTON 40-44 Men 40 M BOZEMAN MT Team Rockford 04:57:37 19 4

19 CODY HAROLDSEN Pro/Open Men 34 M SALT LAKE CITY UT Ski Utah – Markestar 04:58:18 20 16










Words and Photos by Phil Beckman/PB Creative


APRIL 28, 2013, Riverside, CA.— Sponsors may have looked on in bewilderment at

fifth round of the 2013 Kenda Cup West Series, held on a sultry Sunday at Sycamore Canyon Park. Jersey zippers were falling faster than congressional approval ratings, displaying not corporate or team logos but pasty white skin, heart rate monitor straps, chest hair and sports bras.


Mother Nature decided that it was time for summer in Southern California and turned the thermostat up past 90 degrees with very little wind to provide relief. A zipped-up jersey was not going to be a priority for anyone grinding up the sauna-like canyons, especially as the blazing sun reached its zenith.


Casey Williams (Whole Athlete/Specialized) handled the toasty conditions like it was just another day at his mountain home in nearby Big Bear. This 19-year-old up-and-comer has been on fire this season, posting several impressive rides against the best in the country in his quest to be part of the U.S. team competing at this year’s World Championships in South Africa at the end of August. Williams has trained and raced there before.

[Read more...]