The Sequoia and Kings Canyon Loop – Sean and Ryan

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon Loop
Photos by Sean Talkington and Ryan Wilson words by Sean Talkington, photo captions by Ryan Wilson.

About a month ago I received an email invite from Ryan Wilson to join in with a small group riding Kings Canyon Loop. I had never really ridden with Ryan and had no idea what Kings Canyon was, but seeing so many of his bitchin photos in the Western Sierra on Instagram was more then enough to lure me into a day of riding. What I didn’t know was that this guy goes out on some REALLY HUGE days to take these shots of scenic wonder and most of the time he does it alone.


#ponylife

My alarm went off at 4am (on a fucking Saturday), and after meeting up with Ryan and Mike we threw bikes in the back of my truck and were on our way… for about 30 seconds! Ty at GSC had recently gifted me a tailgate cover for shlepping mtb’s around, so I asked my buddy Mike if it would be cool for road bikes and he said yes. Mike is an engineer, so I figured he would naturally know the answer to questions like this. Then we got on the freeway and one of the bikes immediately starting floating about 3 feet from the bed of the truck! Holy shit was that scary, but at least it was Mike’s bike doing the floating.

Three hours later we arrived at the base of the mountains on Highway 198 and met with the rest of our group. I’m usually game for just about anything that happens on a road ride, but when we started pedaling at 9am Ryan said “we better really get going now or we’ll be riding home in the dark” I was a bit rattled. I nervously laughed and looked at him waiting for a laugh or some sign that he was joking. Ryan just smiled and said “OK, lets go” and I felt a giant hole in the pit of my stomach (the pit could also be from the lack of breakfast food in my belly…Ryan’s fault).

1 minute and 27 seconds into the ride Mike flatted…

Whitaker Hairpin

37 miles and 8,000ft of climbing later we were only 4 hours into our ride. It was at this point that I realized this was going to be a day equal parts tough as it was long but at least we were in good company riding through amazing scenery and the weather was perfect…then it got cold! It was really cold. Giant clouds came barreling in and none of us were prepared. I would venture to say that I was least prepared in the group & had to stop a few times on the descent sections from shaking uncontrollably (this was wild).

Snow melt

Ryan planned a shit ton of detours/stops to see lakes, domes, the biggest tree in the world (General Sherman), trees you can ride/drive through and some amazing views. We spent the bulk of the day shivering and taking in beautiful sights. The Seqouia covered climb up Whitaker Forrest is easily one of the most beautiful I have ever seen and the 25 mile snake descent down the 198 is hands down the most fun EVER on a road bike.

Mike on Moro Rock

The day was filled with a perfect mix of both Type 2 & Type 1 fun. Type 1 fun is generally the type of fun that you realize you are having in the moment, for example you are flying down a fun twisty turny decent and say to yourself “Oh Boy Oh Boy! This Is Fun”.

Decent Descent

Type 2 fun on the other hand is usually the type of fun that you trick yourself into thinking you’ve had after you’re done feeling miserable. An “Epic” ride is usually a good mix of both Type 1 and Type 2 fun. The Kings Canyon Loop ride is easily Epic with a huge mix of both.

…then Mike and Sean both flatted.  Atleast the view was good.

Oh, and we road the last hour back in the dark.

Check out our route at Strava.

____

Follow Ryan on Instagram and at his Tumblr and follow Sean on Instagram and his Tumblr, Team Dream Team.

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  • Western Rapid

    Brilliant write-up and pics.
    John, this site just keeps getting better and better – seriously, man.

  • jim jones

    ryan, do you have a title for the last pic? it blows me away every time i see it.

    • rmdub

      I call it “Hurry up and change your damn tubes, we didn’t bring lights and still have 10 more miles to ride!” dot jpeg :)

      • Sean Talkington

        Ha!

  • Cooper Johnson

    Pretty sure they used that second dream home in season 3 of the Walking Dead. Shit is terrifying.

  • Justin Scoltock

    This gets me so stoked! Thanks fellas.

  • barry mcwilliams

    So damned amazing.

  • Matt Long

    another great set, Ryan. Ur slaying it !

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Ryan AND Sean! ;-)

    • rmdub

      Sean deserves most of the credit on this one! I ordered some Portra 400 and stole one of his cameras the day I saw his film shots from this ride!

      • Sean Talkington

        I usually perform pretty well whilst malnourished.

  • Matt Long

    Sean, you slayed it as well. My bad dude. :)

  • kermitonwheels

    Whoa that’s a lot of pretty.

  • Peter Ryan Amend

    So great, guys. I’ve been trying to convince my friends for years that this is one of the best road rides in the Central Valley. Spectacular.

  • N8theDestroyer

    Leaving for Sequioas and King’s canyon weeklong trip tomorrow! Glad I stumbled upon this last minute account on some good POI’s, Thanks John!