The Abominable Snow Mountain Bike Men on Strawberry Peak

It might snow, there might be rain, the temperature is dropping tonight.

Still wanna ride? Of course. While the whole adoration of the inevitable clusterfuck or yard-shitting makes for interesting stories, sometimes just appreciating the spectacle that is mother nature’s mood swings merits documentation, regardless of how ethereal tales told on the internet tend to be.

Four hours. We had four hours to ride before the day’s responsibilities would set in for us. Kyle from Golden Saddle and Brian from Brian Vernor Making Blog (heh) wanted to ride Strawberry Peak in the Angeles National Forest. I’ve never been, but was promised picturesque San Gabriel shredding. While Strawberry Peak is strictly XC riding, there are plenty of places for unbalanced placement potentially resulting in catastrophe or consequence. I.e. exposure and lots of rocks.


With the launch of Ringtail around the corner, Kyle wanted to get some action shots of the Ringtail jacket as it went from zipped to unzipped in various stages of temperature fluctuation.


Veni, vidi, vici. “Camp coffee”, “coffee outside”, and so on ensued as the sun moshed its way through the cliffs, illuminating the road for the commuters down HWY 2. The sound of the Japanese burr grinder being interrupted by the downshift of some clapped out Civic with a grapefruit shooter exhaust tip.


After coffee, some apples and a discussion about warmth and or dryness, we pedaled our way up the fire road, towards that moody Mother Nature and promises of photogenic panoramas which did not disappoint. At the end of the ride, we were all literally soaking wet from disturbing the rain and snow-heavy plants from their slumber. My flannel and merino base layers, soaked. Shoes, soaked. Gloves, soaked. All extremities were freezing. Yet, all we had to do was kick out of the trail, hop onto the 2 and get back to our car. Chattering teeth, frozen tips aside, was it worth it? Of course!

These are some of the favorite photos I’ve ever shot on a MTB ride period.

Music notes: Der Blutharsch and The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand “Today I want to Catch Clouds

  • Tyler Shannon

    Nature is metal as hell. So good!

  • Jamie McKeon

    far out

  • boomforeal

    sick set

  • Tyler Morin

    Looks like a rad time!

  • Brian Sims

    Cool to read the full story. That is a great loop. Hopefully you got to ride the section of trail from Red Box to Switzer.

    Huge thanks to Bellfree for their hard work, REI for their generous grant, and the support of CORBA (hope I got everyone). These folks helped repair this trail after the Station Fire.

    • geoff mcfetridge

      Great for you to mention this. The trail is in great shape, and the trail work is really noticeable.
      So buy your MSR stove at REI people.

  • Tony Clifton

    Nice At The Mountains of Madness reference…

  • cork grips

    Brian’s got killer trail style.. by the looks of that apple eating pose I’m pretty sure he knows it.

  • Naz Hamid

    These are great, indeed.

  • Brian Sims

    Looks like y’all shipped the Gab section from Red Box to Switzer. Sounded like you had limited time. Hopefully you can get back out there soon.

    • John Watson

      Yeah we wanted to do that but ran out of time.

    • hans

      that part is sick

  • Bill

    Is that blue Rosko a 26er on 27.5 wheels?

    looks tight.

    • John Watson

      29r with a 430 stay, 69° HTA

  • TrailYeah

    Cool shots, cool shoes, and quite possibly the first Niner I’ve ever liked.

  • Fredrik Baker

    What shorts is Brian rocking?

    • John Watson


  • hans

    where is the shot of kyle hopping up party rock! i know he did!

  • Tyler Morin

    Did you take the parts of your previous Rosko or is this a full new build? I know the ENVE wheels aren’t from the previous…

    • John Watson

      ENVE wheels are from my Tallboy C. All other parts were from the previous build.

  • blatzfromthepabst

    I want to hear more about those Vittoria Bombolonis on Kyle’s sled!

    • John Watson

      Long story! Which is coming…

  • Brett Rothmeyer

    this is the shit.

  • scottmbobbitt
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  • jamie

    Just wondering if ride with ringtail jacket would keep me warm in Australian winter ? (40ish fahrenheit) ?

    • John Watson

      For sure. Especially if you layer well.