SUPER GRASSROOTS USA
The evolution of our very successful Grassroots amateur development program, Kona’s Super Grassroots Team represents a collection of some of the best and brightest of both up-and-coming, and established cyclists from around the world. In disciplines ranging from Enduro to Downhill, Freeride, XC and Cyclocross, Super Grassroots riders are both established legends of the sport, like longtime Kona rider Wendy Simms, and soon-to-be-pros like Enduro racer Ryan Gardner. Stay tuned to the Cog for their race results, associated media and ride adventures throughout the year.
Sam BrownSamuel is a 16 year old XC focused racer based out of the Colorado Mountains. He has been racing bikes since he was five/2005. Sam is racing at USA Cycling 15-16 and 15-18 category races. He also has been racing in the adult men’s sport division in their local mountain bike race series and in the Colorado High School Cycling League/NICA races. Starting this year his is going to race in some Endure and not focus on CX. Throughout his cycling career, Samuel has won many individual and overall races. His most recent accomplishment is qualifying for USA Nationals. Over the last four years he has been working and volunteering to help the local biking community. This past summer he worked for the local recreation district at a mountain bike camp and at his father’s bike shop (Mountain Pedaler of Vail). Sam also volunteered at a kids BMX camp, at the kids adventure race, and many trail work days. He hopes this next bike season to strengthen the cycling sport community at every race he goes to.
Scott CountrymanWhen I hear someone say they really love bikes I can’t help but giggle inside a little bit. You see, I love bikes so much my life nearly revolves around them; it’s a bit pathetic but I wouldn’t have it any other way. From the time I can remember, riding bikes has been my favorite thing to do. I started racing XC in the early second decade of my life, went on to try my hand at road racing, DH, watercolor painting, dual slalom, and eventually settled in with the new enduro fad. Enduro encompasses my two favorite aspects of mountain biking in perfect harmony; jumping and being cool. Just kidding, technical skills and fitness. Racing at the professional level has always been my dream and I am stoked to have reached it, but there will always be so much room for me to grow and improve and that excites me more than anything. When I am not on my Kona Process or Explosif finding new ways to separate my shoulder I am hanging out a Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution getting deeper into your bike than you might prefer. If you find yourself in Flagstaff for any reason, stop by and say hello!
Craig EtheridgeCutting his teeth on Wisconsin XC single track 15 years ago, Craig Etheridge has grown to be an established racer in multiple disciplines in the years since. Craig really developed his passion for riding all bikes in Seattle, where he lived for over 10 years. A dedicated year-round cyclist spending much of that time working as a bicycle messenger honed his handling skills that magically transferred over to professional cyclocross career focusing on single speed. A recent transplant to the East coast puts Craig in a unique position to incorporate all the things he's learned while riding and racing out of the Northwest while containing the element of surprise on unsuspecting fools! Hodala! Craig looks forward to racing regional cross-country races on Kona bikes and spreading the hydration love with Nuun & Company. #getelectorlit
Rae GandolfRae Gandolf, certified mountain bike monomaniac and animal doctor extraordinaire, has an ardor for all things mountain bike. This fervor has landed her several regional titles in the past years and put her on top of the USAC rankings in pro women's downhill in 2014. Rae uses that same enthusiasm in providing mountain bike instruction as a coach, in certifying people as instructors through IMBA's certification program, and in leading her regional mountain bike club so she can better spread the mountain bike addiction. In her 4th year with Kona, Rae plans to hit the national and international circuits once again, compete in the AOA Mayhem Enduro, keep trying to dial in her air time, and instruct across the country. When she's not riding, you are likely to find Rae supporting her bike zeal with her animal zeal- doctoring any type of unsuspecting critter you can imagine.
Becky GardnerBecky Gardner has been racing Downhill both nationally and internationally for over eight years winning three collegiate national championships and countless other national wins. Although racing downhill is Becky's main focus she also enjoys trail riding, dirt jumping, BMX and progressing her riding in anyway possible. After graduating from Fort Lewis College this year with a degree in marketing and graphic design she hopes to continue racing while getting more and more women stoked on the sport. For the 2016 season Becky will be racing the Pro GRT downhill races in edition to some national and world enduros with her older brother and fellow Kona rider Ryan.
Ryan GardnerRyan Gardner is still the older and wiser half of Gardner Racing. Based out of Oakland, CA Ryan mainly races Enduro aboard his Process 111 and Process 153, but has also found a sweet spot for running over barriers with his Major Jake in hand. In 2015 Ryan made his Enduro World Series debut finishing 64th and 70th in Ireland and Scotland. Back stateside Ryan pulled his first major win at a fast paced group ride in NY. He also won the Mammoth Kamikaze Enduro, took 5th at the Downieville Classic and ended up 3rd overall in the California Enduro Series. Besides racing, Ryan enjoys the #vanlife and somehow holds down a full time job as a Sustainability Consultant.
Evan KinzeyEat, shred, sleep, repeat; that is how life should be. My name is Evan Kinzey and I try to live by those standards. While you are reading this I am most likely gearing up for a ride (because while writing this, that is exactly what I am doing). Growing up in the countryside of middle-eastern Pennsylvania, it was either ride somewhere or stay at home, and I never chose the latter. However, when going somewhere, you could take the road or take the dirt tractor paths, and they were always fun, which lead me to cross-country mountain bike racing. Currently I race enduro professionally, downhill, cross-country, and road bicycles, with the occasional BMX race here and there. Last year I won Gravity East Series’ Category 1 overall, and placing third overall in the Eastern States Cup category 1 division. Also, I reigned Pennsylvania State Champion in downhill and enduro, and also a New York State Championship in enduro. This year was a little different however, with a vast mash-up of racing disciplines spanning as far as cyclocross, with in my first ever cyclocross race, starting dead last (late start) out of 120 participants, and finishing 18th overall. Needless to say, that was a wet blast! But, with the end of a season comes a fresh start for training, which means many cross-country and trail rides, of which I have to do now. Live life with no remorse, and seize the day.
Nick LemkeNick is a Wisconsin boy living in New Mexico, pursuing some Western wanderlust while racing bikes. He’s also a working man doing psychiatric research and training and traveling as much as possible in the pursuit of 'cross glory. Nick cut his teeth on the fast and furious Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) back in the 90s and early 2000s before taking time off for graduate school and transitioning to the road bike. After building the engine for a few years on the roads of New Mexico and the Gila, Nick was introduced to ‘cross and immediately fell in love. He now races as many UCI events as his full-time job allows, and aims to finish in the top 25 of Elite Cyclocross Nationals in North Carolina in 2016. A two time NM State Champion, Nick can be found hitting races in the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, and Northwest – nationwide! Check out his race schedule, results, and photos at http://ntlemke.wix.com/dasblitzencracker
James LucchesiJim grew up in the Northern tip of California, with his dad helping him start his racing career at 14 on a Cowan hardtail. Since then, he's relocated to UCSB to study ecology and pump tracks. Through collegiate racing, Jim has expanded his racing adventures to include all disciplines from downhill to cross country, which have turned out to be perfect stomping grounds for his Explosif. When not studying the birds and the bees, you'll most likely find him careening off a cliff aboard his Process 153 or laying some sick skids in the Isla Vista pumptrack with his Explosif. For 2016 Jim plans on laying siege to as many west coast enduros as possible, graduate and find a job, and ride his Explosif until his legs fall off. If you're ever around Santa Barbara stop by Velo Pro Cyclery, or Revolution Bicycle Repair in Arcata, and let's go for a ride!
Ali OsgoodThis will be Ali’s second year with Kona and she is super duper excited about what the 2016 season holds. Ali will be focussing on Downhill as she chases the Pro GRT series and any other race she can fit in to her busy schedule, she’s even giving enduro a chance, although she isn’t so sure about all the pedaling. When she’s not shredding on her Operator and Process 134, she works with a bunch of stinky dudes at her local bike shop, Revolution Bikes, enjoys craft beer, hosts a Beatles radio show on Monday nights, and enjoys building trail, hosting events, and helping grow the mountain bike community in Humboldt County. Currently, she is studying broadcast journalism at Humboldt State University while racing for the cycling team. This last mountain bike season was extra special after she took home her first collegiate national championship in downhill. Ali is a passionate cyclist eager to get other women stoked on mountain biking. She is usually wearing a smile, and always excited to make new friends and encourage other riders to grow in their love of the sport.
Her other sponsors include: Deity Components, E*thirteen, Ride 100%, Crank Brothers, Revolution Bicycles, and Fit NorCal.