Category Archives: Recent Roll
Backbone – The Santa Monica Mountains on Cyclocross Bikes
At this point, Eric crawled out of his pain cave and was in great spirits.

I’d like to think the kind of riding my friends and I enjoy would be considered “dumb”. From the freestyle on track bikes, all the way to the trail riding on cross bikes (even road bikes), sometimes, it’s just more fun to use the lesser-capable tool for the job. When Sean from Team Dream asked if Ty, Eric, Kyle and I wanted to ride Backbone trail during my last trip in LA, I said hell yes. Then I asked “which bike should I bring to LA?” The answer was what I had hoped for: cyclocross.

My bike has been through the ringer and it’s still one of my favorites to ride. Climbing some serious mountains, both on sealed and gravel, blasting trails in Texas, Vermont, California, Australia, Minnesota or where ever my travels take me. It’s been the most diverse beast in my stable. This ride however, this ride outdid just about everything else.

The day would be big. 60 miles and 7,500′ of climbing. 85% on dirt. Most of it on legitimate / illegitimate singletrack. There were very few chill spots. This was a MTB ride on 33c tires and drop bars. Even as part of our group passed a guy on a full sus MTB riding a downhill section, the dude had the audacity to label our cross bikes as “cheater bikes”. Ok Mr. fullface helmet and pads.

For as many fire road climbs, there were 1-track descents. Nothing was too technical or difficult to ride down, but some parts were too steep to climb with a 34/28. To top it off, I broke my fucking pedal in half at mile 20, Eric was just getting over a serious injury from a car hitting him and we were grossly unprepared for the lack of water.

High points: finding water that had been stashed in the bushes for months (the labels were bleached out, condensation formed at the top – i.e. it had been forgotten), the damn Coke machine at the Malibu Creek State Park (make sure you have plenty of $1 bills – I had 10), the subsequent swimming hole and wearing a hip bag, stuffed with a mushy breakfast burrito from Pedalers Fork.

THE HERO OF THE DAY WAS CARLA, SEAN’S GIRLFRIEND FOR DROPPING US OFF AND PICKING US UP!

We started at the Yerba Lot trailhead (one, 10 mile section is closed to bikes, so we had to re-route around that) and ended at the Santa Monica pier inside the photo booth.

I know I post a lot of ride photosets, but this one is not one to be missed! Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Kodak Portra 400

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Mar 7, 2014 16 comments
Diurnal Ride Up Mt Lowe on Cross Bikes
Soon, the sealed road ended and the fun began!

Granted, the last time I did this ride in Los Angeles, it was during sunset. The views were spectacular but I certainly missed a lot riding in the dark. What was originally going to be a scouting ride for the Mudfoot Dirty Hundo, became a slow and steady march to the top of Mt. Lowe.

We rode from Silverlake for 15 miles or so, then hit Cheney trail, the beginning of Mt. Lowe. It was hot, steep and after close to 10 miles, we had climbed 4,000′. Henry was on a road bike with 28c tires, the rest of us, on cross bikes. I don’t think any of us were really feeling all that well that day.

Good thing the views made up for it and the Cokes at Red Box. We totaled 54 miles and 5,400′ of climbing.

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Portra 400

Feb 19, 2014 10 comments
Super Bro Weekend Dirt Century
Pretty sure this sums up "Texas winter".

Super Bowl Weekend. It’s an excuse for people to drink, eat and yell at the television while a bunch of men in spandex chase a ball around a field. Personally, it’s not my thing and luckily, not my friends’ thing either. So rather than spend the weekend indoors, myself, some friends and Beat the Clock Cycling decided to take advantage of the vacant Texas parks and plan a ride.

Well, I planned the ride. 100 miles, over half of it was dirt. I did one of the roads on the last Yonder Journal Brovet and I wanted to explore the area even more. We’d leave from Inks Lake and take a series of back-country, private roads and kick in Willow City’s popular loop before heading back to camp. Water? Food? None. We had to pack it all in. Most rode cross bikes or light tourers, with bags for food. There was maybe one stop along the way.

Because I had to drop Lauren off at the airport that Friday morning, I drove with two others. The rest either drove out that night after work or rode the 75 miles from Austin, fully loaded.

Since we wanted to convey only the chillest of riding paces and as a protest to the Super Bowl, most of us left the lycra at home. Giro was kind enough to supply some New Road apparel, shoes and helmets. I brought the bourbon. Spencer brought a dull hatchet and we were all stoked.

Did I mention cliff jumps in January? Yeah… Check out more photos in the Gallery, all shot with my Mamiya 7ii and Portra 400 / Kodak TMAX 400. Many thanks to Giro for supplying equipment for this ride!

Feb 18, 2014 33 comments
Locals Only Hike a Bike with Golden Saddle
Yeah...

I’ve found, more often than not, that rides with Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles usually turn into hike a bike trails at some point. Even on “road rides”. The Locals Only ride is one of my favorites. It’s short, steep and sweet. Just long enough to get your heart rate going and early enough in the day that the light is usually nothing short of spectacular.

Last week’s Locals Only ride came right after some rain. The trails were sticky and the light was insane. A dense fog moved in from the sea and began to envelop the hills and mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that in LA before. It was one of those mornings where you almost wreck because you’re staring off at the distance and not at the singletrack in front of you.

Like I said, we did some hiking, but the descents were nothing short of intense! See more in the Gallery!

Feb 14, 2014 13 comments
See Ya Later LA!
RecentRoll02_LA-8

… as always, it’s been a blast! I feel like I’ve gotten some of the best content on this trip, all while doing some of the best rides I’ve ever done here in Los Angeles. Many thanks to Golden Saddle Cyclery for re-energizing my stoke!

Feb 13, 2014 3 comments
Ty Hathaway’s Bike Pack Rafting in Arizona
Guest Gallery: Ty Hathaway - Bike Pack Rafting in Arizona

We all have “roll models”. You know, people who ride that we either know or don’t know but for some reason, we look up to them and aspire to one day tap into their radness. Maybe we follow them on Instagram, or witness their riding on a website…

Over the years I’ve gotten to spend some time getting to know Ty Hathaway, co-owner of Golden Saddle Cyclery. His past exploits include finishing the Tour Divide, being a general ripper on anything with two wheels and exploiting his spontaneity through planning (or not planning) some pretty incredible rides.

Last year Ty bought a Surly Pugsley and started riding the shit out of it. After doing a few small excursions, he called up one of his best friends, Moi Medina to go on a two day ride in Arizona. The story and Guest Gallery inclosed below is all from Ty directly, in his words…

Read on below for what I consider one of the raddest Guest Galleries ever to grace this site!

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Feb 11, 2014 10 comments
It’s Been Real Nice in Los Angeles

…Perfect for riding and sometimes, hiking. Excuse the lack of updates today, the weather has been insane! Keep tabs on my Instagram @JohnProlly for more updates and I’ll be posting a bunch of rad shit next week!

Feb 8, 2014 Comments are OFF
The Last Frames
This sunrise was incredible. Those clouds rolled over the mountain in a matter of minutes.

When you shoot a lot of film, you end with a few frames left over from time to time. Some of these photos are from my AWOL ride, others from MTB trails in Austin and a few randoms. None really mean much together but as individual frames, they tell their own story. Check out narrated photos in the Gallery!

Feb 7, 2014 4 comments
The Yonder Journal Mythical State of Jefferson Brovet
RecentRoll_YJMSOJ-COVER

Flashback to July. I was in considerably good shape, coming off a lot of base miles in the early spring with China and Australia, back to back. After those two countries, I kept pushing myself to be a more fit cyclist. Why? Because I knew this Brovet was coming up and I had something to prove. Both to myself and my friends, who had heckled me incessantly since my bonking in Pittsburgh. Let’s just say, I was ready.

My equipment was dialed, my fitness was in-line and aside from a MTB wreck the week before, I was in tip top shape. The initial talks of the route had numbers like 250 miles and over 30,000′ of climbing. After we completed the route, it turned out to be around 235 miles and 18,000′. Still, no small feat.

Look, it was hot, tough and with around 10 people in our group, it was the largest Brovet ride yet. Was it fun? You bet your ass! It’s amazing how enjoyable rides like this can be when you’ve got the fitness. You’ve already read Yonder’s report, so here are my photos from the ride, in as accurate of an order as I can recall.

Feb 3, 2014 7 comments
#GoYonder Let’s Do That Again!

Looking at the photos on Yonder Journal today reminded me of how fun it is to go on rides like that. I still can’t get over how incredible the roads were, like above for instance. I’ve got a ton of film photos I’ll post at some point, but this one is doing it for me right now.

Jan 28, 2014 2 comments