After months of races in the Kenda Cup West series, the team title is coming down to the last race: the Big Bear Shootout #2 Finals! Bear Valley Bikes is sitting in contention with 1168 points behind Team Veloz, who has 1233 points. We are hoping to get as many Bear Valley Bikes fans as possible to support the team on Sunday, June 15th. The races start at 10:30 am with the Endurance races and continues at 11:15 for the cross country races.
Vail Lake, March 1st
The Kenda Cup West opened up with a grueling, mud fest. Luckily, we had PB Creative there to capture the moments of slinging mud as many bikes were eaten up by the course! In the Pro Men’s race, shop owner Derek Hermon toughed out a difficult race with no brakes at all to finish 14th, Nikki Peterson crossed the line in 2nd in her first Kenda Cup race ever in the Cat 1 19-29 Women’s division, Mitchell Dann toughed out a 5th place finish Jr. Men 13-14 division, and finally, Mitchell’s father Stephen came in 8th in the Cat 2 Single Speed Men’s Division.
The die-hard athletes, Stuart Gonzalez and Greg Gibson, decided to torture themselves for even longer by competing in the endurance race. Stuart ended up on the podium with a 2nd place finish while teammate Greg Gibson finished on the podium in 4th place! Several other athletes started the race but could not finish because of mechanical failures. Though the race was tough on the bikes it was a great test of mental strength!
Bonelli #1, March 14th
The Pro men took a break on this weekend but several athletes competed in the Cat 1/2/3 divisions. Mark Blakeslee led the team with a 4th place podium finish in the Cat 1 Men 60-64! Reggie Lamson took 19th in a very competitive Cat 1 Men 50-54 division, Kadi Niinberg finished strong with a 5th place finish in the Cat 2 Women 19-29 division, and the father-son duo of Mitchell and Stephen Dann had strong showings in 4th (Jr. Men 13-14 division) and 11th (Cat 2 Single Speed). Derek Hermon decided to compete in the Super D so he could man the Speed Evolution booth and sell tubeless valves, Speed Lube, and Tire Sealant Super Sauce! In addition to the team racing, the first US Cup was held and featured world-class athletes from all over.
On another note, local California girl Larissa Connors had a stellar effort with her 5th place finish in the Pro Women’s race! Larissa has been on the local scene for several years now but really stepped it up with this performance.
Fontana, March 20th
The action continued the next weekend on the technically challenging and always-hot Fontana course. As the second race in the US Cup, Bear Valley Bikes once again was on the starting line with athletes from all over the world. Joh Nobil led the team with a very solid race moving all of the way up to 71st after a call up in the low 100’s. Next in for the Pro Men was Derek Hermon who cracked the top 100 in a stacked field. Trey Jarno also competed with a strong effort!
In the Cat 1 races Bear Valley Bikes had a strong showing. Nikki Peterson made the podium with her 2nd place finish (Cat 1 Women 19-29) while Kim Hermon (Cat 1 Women 40-49) and Raulie Tarango (Cat 1 Single Speed) each had 3rd place finishes! Reggie Lamson rounded out the Cat 1 division for Bear Valley Bikes with a 9th place finish in the Cat 1 Men 50-54 division.
The next day, Bear Valley Bikes saw a slew of podium finishes as Mark Barrett (Cat 2 Men 60-64), Kadi Niinberg (Cat 2 Women 19-29), and Mitchell Dann (Jr. Men 13-14) all had 4th place finishes! Stephen Dann also had a solid race with a 9th place finish in the Cat 2 Men Single Speed race! Derek Hermon and Trey Jarno went for it in the ultra-competitive Pro Men Short Track race.
Bonelli #2, April 11th
The next week saw the US Cup round 3 return to Bonelli Park! Nino Schurter even showed up…. And we all lined up to take pictures with him! Bear Valley Bikes had a large showing (the largest local team!) in the Pro Men’s race with John Nobil (62nd), Stuart Gonzalez (69th), Greg Gibson (70th), Derek Hermon (82nd), and Trey Jarno (83rd) all racing! The next day the men lined up for the Short Track. Our good friend Martin Loo, the Estonian National Champion who is sponsored by Speed Evolution, led for several laps, won a $100 on the bonus lap, and finished in an impressive 10th place after finishing in 9th the day before. You can follow Martin throughout the World Cup series as he tries to make the Estonian Olympic team! You can see the coverage here: http://uscup.net/us-cup-tv/ and see Bear Valley Bikes all over the screen!
In the Cat 1/2 races, Bear Valley Bikes saw 8 athletes compete in the loaded fields. Mark Blakeslee stayed consistent and finished in a stellar 3rd place in his division (Cat 1 Men 60-64). Nikki Peterson was also 3rd in her division (Cat 1 Women 19-29) while teammates Kim Hermon finished in 7th (Cat 1 Women 40-49) and Raulie Tarango finished in 6th (Cat 1 Men Single Speed). In the Cat 2 Men 60-64, Mark Barrett crossed the finish in 4th place while Ken Ridley did not finish due to a lingering sickness (but he did get FREE In-N-Out from Cannondale!). Stephen Dann raced in the Cat 2 Men’s Clydesdale 35+ division and finished in 2nd place! Stephen’s son, Michael, rounded out the Bear Valley Bikes team with 4th place on the podium!
Santa Ynez, May 3rd
The team took a break during the Sea Otter Mountain Bike Festival and showed up to Santa Ynez fresh and ready to go. Derek’s daughter Siena even showed up to support the racers! The course was loose with plenty of climbing and was much dryer than previous years. The Pro Men Endurance race saw Greg Gibson and Stuart Gonzalez once again finish on the podium as they got 3rd and 4th place respectively. Legend Tinker Juarez won the race with a smile on his face! Derek Hermon had a strong race and battled for a 9th place finish while Trey Jarno had a broken chain and did not finish. Mark Blakeslee (Cat 1 Men 60-64) kept his streak going with another 3rd place finish. Ken Riddley had a strong showing in the Cat 2 Men 60-64 division in 4th place. Nikki Peterson (Cat 1 Women 19-29) stepped it up and won her first Kenda Cup race and Kadi Niinberg stood on the podium in 3rd place (Cat 2 Women 19-29). Michael Dann rounded out the podium finishes with a strong 3rd place in the Jr. Men 13-14 division. All in all, Bear Valley Bikes had 7 athletes standing on the podium at Santa Ynez!
Big Bear Shootout, May 31st
This past weekend, May 30th and 31st, Kenda Cup West #6 took place here in Big Bear Lake! Bear Valley Bikes had a solid crew and saw team members standing on the podium in many of the categories. Greg Gibson was a double winner as he took 1st place in the Endurance race as well as the Enduro the previous day! Stuart Gonzalez stood next to him in 3rd place. Greg and Stuart are currently ranked 1st and 2nd in the Kenda Cup Series Endurance category. John Nobil was winning the race by several minutes until a flat tire kept him from finishing. Greg even stopped for a bit to try and help Nobil before continuing on to win the race… that is awesome teamwork! The Big Bear Shootout also saw husband-wife duo Doug Benedon (Endurance Men 50-59) and Louise Boyer (Endurance Women 40+) compete and finish 10th and 4th in the 46 mile race! As always, Louise was smiling the whole race…. How awesome is that?! Our friend Cheryl Parish, who visits Bear Valley Bikes often, finished right behind Louise!
In the XC race, Pro Man Derek Hermon had an awesome race on his home trails and finished in 4th place! Reggie Lamson (Cat 1 Men 50-54) crossed the finish in 12th place, despite suffering from cramps. Mark Blakeslee (Cat 1 Men 60-64) moved up a step and finished 2nd place while Nikki Peterson (Cat 1 Women 19-29) finished in 3rd after a crash towards the end of the race. Yeny Vergara joined the Bear Valley Bikes squad the day before and showed that she will be a huge asset by placing 2nd in the Cat 1 Women 30-39 division! Mitchell Dann (Jr. Men 13-14) and Raulie Tarango (Cat 1 Men Single Speed) both came in 4th place!
Big Bear Shootout #2
Tomorrow is the big finale… please tell all of your friends to come out and make some noise for Bear Valley Bikes!