No Thanks, but Thanks
Photos and words by Kyle Von Hoetzendorff
I have made the decision to believe that that yes, global warming is happening. There is a ton of heavy shit that goes along with that, I know, I get it; superstorms, biblical droughts, floods, famine, plague, strife, real estate devaluations, shorter ski seasons, etc. A truckload, boatload, superfund, Yucca Mountain amount of issues right? Mega fusion/fission, black hole singularities, end-of-days issues.
But that’s all in the future right? I mean we’re good for a little while anyway. Us humans, as a social species, as a global community, we have never really been good at preventative care, especially if that means making things harder on ourselves. You could say that human evolution has really just been one long march towards the Lazy Boyz, on-demand, and a multi-stage high and low compression and rebound damping. By and large, we are a “wait and see” bunch…
While the Rouge Roubaix and coincidentally, the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge were both huge successes this year, there were a few things that I felt needed recognition. These can best be broken into a few groups: Chris Diminno’s hard work keeping us all fed, Mosaic’s team of ladies that crushed it, Will Jones’ dedication to the safety of racers and last but not least, the vernacular found in the Deep South.
Down and Dirty in Santa Cruz
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington
Ty, Ryan, Jackie and myself were recently invited up to Santa Cruz to meet with some of our fellow Instagram bike brethren (aka nerds). We were brought up to test out the new Roubaix Di2 disk outerspace/starwars bikes by Specialized. I was getting over a cold so Ty and I decided to carpool up a day later. We showed up a little late but arrived just in time to partake in what we hoped to be four straight days of great riding with or without torrential rainfall. Regardless of the forecast, we were optimistic. Each day was scheduled to be wetter than the previous, but the terrain was going to be so good that the weather wouldn’t be a factor.
Everything was pretty awesome. Things couldn’t be better! That is, until the start of day 3. That’s when it happened. When I got the feeling in my stomach. You know the feeling?! The feeling when your stomach drops, like REALLY “droooooooops” (30 minutes into the ride) and you start sweating profusely (even though its 51 degrees outside). Then you realize you’ve caught the stomach bug that has been going around the house (Rudy from The 5th Floor had it the day before and a European journalist before him).
I would now like for you to put yourself in my shoes for a minute (or better yet my bibs). You are now officially going to turn your insides out. The probability of you holding it in for more than a single minute is extremely low and while the rest of the group keeps on riding, you start to fall off the back. Then you realize you left your phone at the house because you didn’t want it to get wet. So you have absolutely no idea where you are or how to get back to the house and of course you don’t know the address/location where you are staying.
Up Nort’ With Angry Catfish
Words and Photos by Kyle Kelley
Every year QBP invites people from all over the world to visit Minnesota during the coldest part of winter for Frostbike. Why they chose this time of year I don’t know but I’ve gone twice and wouldn’t trade it for any other bicycle industry event or convention. The people at QBP, and everyone else I’ve met in Minneapolis for that matter, are exactly the kind of people you wanna be hanging out with when it’s below freezing. They want to keep you warm and comfortable and a bit liquored up and I am A-OK with that.
When I found out I was heading to Frostbike again this year, I put the feelers out to see if anyone wanted to do any partying after the event and Josh from Angry Catfish was the first to respond. All he told me was to bring warm stuff and he’d take care of the rest. So, the Monday after Frostbike Josh picked me up and we headed Up Nort’ to the Angry Cabin with Thomas and Parker, also from Angry Catfish. I made a quick assessment of the supplies packed in the truck and all I could see was loads of beer, tons of cured meat, a comically large flask full of Booker’s and four fat bikes!
Let’s play a quick word association game. Think about Los Angeles for a second. What comes to mind? Chances are if you haven’t spent much time there, or even if you have, you’ll quickly rattle off something along the lines of: traffic, congestion, Hollywood, smog, sprawl and road rage.
As the roughly 3.8 million residents move about the city’s crowded freeways in their cars, the ever-expanding population of cyclists take to both the urban streets as well as the surrounding hills and mountains. While LA is flat in some areas, it packs in its share of elevation. With Mount Lukens being the highest point within the City of Los Angeles at 5,074′, Mt Baldy breaks 10,000′ in LA County. Everything from sea level to around 9,000′ is accessible by bicycle. If you know where to look.
Southern California is a second home to me, for many reasons, the obvious of which being the excellent cycling and the people that live here. Life’s a bit easier when it’s always sunny and excellent riding is at your finger tips. Perhaps that’s why Ben from Argonaut has always liked the crew at Pedalers Fork in Calabasas. They’ve got world class roads and trails literally surrounding their unique restaurant, coffee and bike shop.
I can’t tell you how many times people attempt this business model, yet Pedalers Fork didn’t just attempt it, they nailed it. Excellent food, great coffee and high end bicycles. Pedalers Fork has created an environment that caters to the local cycling scene with group rides, fund raisers and parties. While their bike is small, they turn out many precision high end builds. Up until this point, they’ve sold only Moots. Not because of any exclusivity deal, but because they were looking for a carbon fiber match to the brand. That’s where Argonaut comes in.
A few weeks ago, Ben from Argonaut asked if I wanted to come out to Calabasas, ride bikes, eat great food and hang out with friends. All to celebrate this new union. Well, that and Ben would be giving a presentation of sorts about the brand to a few select people… and I’d shoot some photos.
We spent the morning riding bikes over the Santa Monica Mountains, with lunch at Pedalers Fork, an afternoon Putt n Pump track action at a secret location before attending a dinner, curated by Chris DiMinno of the Chris King Gourmet Century.
Rough day, huh?
Waking up to unfamiliar sounds, namely from animals, is highly underrated. Like an alarm clock going off full tilt, your brain processes new audio notes with a different intensity. Maybe that’s why I sprung from my bunk in our hut at 6am that morning. Scratching my head, semisomna, asking myself “what the hell was that?”
We’re too far south for it to be a Bunyip – the Australian Yeti – and too high in elevation for it to be a chicken. There it is again, now multiple times, surrounding the cabin. I grabbed my coffee kit and headed out to the porch to see what the commotion was all about. Immediately, I began to witness these wingless birds chasing each other around, making this unique call.
The Weka had welcomed us to the Old Ghost Road. A flightless bird, a bit bigger than a kiwi, diurnal, and very vocal. At a certain point, the need for coffee and a few sunrise photos overtook the interestingness of a damn bird.
Pardon the brief nature geek moment, we’re here to talk about bikes.
Europe is blessed with ripping trails, from the seas to the tops of the alps. Many of these trails began as footpaths, or cattle trails, or even military roads, traversing mountains, connecting towns or other trade routes. New Zealand, however, had very little need for such intricate trail networking. Being an island, it was easier to go around the mountains, than over them, even in colonial times.
However, if anything can motivate man, it’s gold.
Which is why and how some of the first mountain trails were made in this country. The path we rode on the Stigmata the day before, the Charming Creek Trail, was the beginning of a network of mining rail lines, which stopped just before our home base for the remainder of the trip, the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge.
After settling in New Zealand, just outside of Nelson, we awoke to one of Mother Nature’s most memorable spectacles of the year in the form of a full-nuke sunrise. Skies were scorched, clouds were obliterated and as it began to mellow out, I put down my camera and began to grind my coffee beans in preparation for my morning ritual.
When I was first contacted for this media launch, I heard four words: Santa Cruz New Zealand. During what I call the slow and sleepy first of the year, news like this is exactly what I needed to kickstart my stoke for 2015. All I could think of were the sick trails that photographer Sven Martin had been sharing on his Instagram and what HouseMartin seems to be best known for: trekking into insane singletrack and ending rides at the beach.
Eroica translates to the heroic in Italian and perhaps that was the intention when the Eroica California team designed the course for the forthcoming event in April. While the original event was born in the Italian countryside, on pristine strada bianche, the California event takes to the hills and mountains separating wine country from the beautiful coastline…