Summer Solstice on the Swift Campout with Beat the Clock in Austin
Words by Gideon Tsang, photos by Gideon Tsang and Spencer Brown
On the morning of the Summer Solstice, Beat the Clock hosted a Swift Campout in honor of the longest day of the year. We awoke to the familiar cloud cover that has come with Texas’ rainiest year on record. Swampy barely beats the scorching summer sun but beggars can’t be choosers, eh?
13 of us rolled out from Sa-Ten Coffee and Eats onto the desolate roads of central Texas towards Bastrop State Park. The protagonist of the route is Old Sayers, a 10 mile gravel road filled with rolling hills and handsome oak trees. It always feels like we’re riding into a Terrence Malick film. If the storybook setting weren’t enough, we pulled over for a nature break at a tree swing. We swung with giggles and ‘Grams.
As we arrived in Bastrop early in the afternoon, the rain gods welcomed us by opening the heavens. The remainder of the evening was spent fashioning coyote scarves, camp coffee and of course, whiskey. If all days could be spent bike camping with friends, make them days longer!
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I got food poisoning. My allergies are killing me. I have a fever. It must have been the shrimp I ate. Whatever the excuse was people all over the world got sick today, calling into their jobs and taking the morning off to ride bikes. The idea is genius and also a bit sketchy. You could get fired! Or you could just spend a day on your bike instead of in an office. That was the intention anyway.
When Sean from Team Dream Team first brought up the idea of #GetSickDay – which at the time was called “fuck work day” – I thought it was brilliant. After a bunch of emails behind the scenes, he organized a bunch of group rides in cities all over the world. Portland, SF, Los Angeles, NYC, London… the list goes on and on.
I happened to be home in Austin, so I led a mixed terrain ride and Andre led a road ride, both leaving from Mellow Johnny’s downtown this morning. We rode around 40 miles after determining the original route would take even longer. Rides like this take forever and that’s the intention.
Take your time, eat tacos, drink a beer and hit a few swimming holes!
Riding in the Tetons with Mavic
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
A couple weeks ago Mavic invited a group of journalists, athletes, and myself to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to put a few pieces from their revamped Ksyrium lineup through their paces in and around Grand Teton National Park. This was my first time in Wyoming and really my first time riding in the Rockies at all, so it goes without saying I was excited to see what the riding was like.
Get pitted, so pitted on the White Rim!
Photos by Kyle Kelley and Liz Browne, words by Kyle Kelley
Before I begin to tell you about my trip along the White Rim Trail, I’d like talk about the rising popularity of bike packing and other two-wheeled exploration. With the current events surrounding “The Death of The Oregon Outback” I feel the responsibility to say a little something about wilderness etiquette. It might seem like common sense, but we have an ever-growing responsibility to this earth and the wild places we’d like to keep wild. Be it car camping, back packing, or bike packing – please always clean up after yourself and even the visitors who came before you. Do not leave campsites as you found them, leave them cleaner! I’d also suggest taking the same approach on rides as well. Take care of your own trash, but go a step farther and pick up everything you see. And always stay on designated roads and trails. Fragile ecosystems don’t need you making things any harder.
When Golden Saddle Cyclery first opened one of our customers told me about a 100 mile bike ride in the Island In The Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. I had just been in the park a week before, but without a bike so I was especially interested in hearing about the ride. As a big fan of the area, and the desert in general, I returned for a handful of visits before finally bringing along a bike this past March. And let me tell you, it wasn’t until riding the White Rim Trail that I felt like I had really experienced this magnificent place.
Stories. We all have to have stories to coincide with photos right? Nowadays, someone has to get lost, or their life threatened, or lose a battle to nature’s mood swings. Catastrophe, calamity and someone’s a casualty of what everyone seems to be dubbing “adventure.”
Truth is, a bike ride is hardly ever an “adventure.” Much less a bike launch. I don’t like that word: “adventure.” It tends to envelop so much of our day-to-day lives, especially those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors. Was it an adventure? No, it was a hike. Or we went swimming. Or we got lost for an hour. “Adventure.” It’s been watered down, branded, packaged and delivered to us in a freeze-dried, waterproof pouch. We share our curated lives exposed through meticulously VSCO’d / Photoshopped vignettes on Instagram.
While this may seem cynical, I can assure you it’s far from that. It’s more of an explanation, or a primer if you will and here comes to the top coat: while the word adventure’s definition is subjective, the spirit of conquest is the thing that ties all facets of that word together. For some people, conquest lies in what others might deem an obtainable task. For others, it’s something so far-fetched that it’s more of an impossibility than a probability… Whatever it is, “adventure” means different things to different people, but we should all be more creative in how we define it. According to my opinion anyway.
Over the next few days, I’ll be rolling out coverage from what we all began to call the “Tour Divide Simulation Ride” but first, I’d like to begin with a quick gallery from the Grand Depart in Banff, Alberta.
Traditionally, the race begins in the YWCA parking lot, just across the river from the main tourist thoroughfares in Banff. This year’s turnout was the biggest yet, with around 150 people registering for the race. A quick headcount revealed around 130 at the start, with a handful of people beginning a day early or later that morning.
Still, to see a Grand Depart this size for a race like the Tour Divide was more than I expected and quite the scene. Men, women, old, young and even a canine left Banff with aspirations of finishing this grueling challenge. Over the next few weeks their mind, body, bike and soul will be put to the test…
Our trip was a bit easier but even after three days on the road, I have a new found respect for anyone willing to tackle such a feat. Best of luck to all the racers and riders still out there on the TDR.
Through the Valley and Over the Pass
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
On many occasions over the last couple of years I’ve gazed at the old, abandoned road that zig zags its way beyond 11k ft, above an already stout paved climb outside of Bishop, CA. Thousands of feet up these rugged slopes is a gateway to the John Muir Wilderness. I’ve made quick forays a little ways up it in the past (on bikes ill equipped for the condition of this particular road), but I knew that doing this thing right would require a bit of time and planning.
Pints of Beer and Tri-Flow on the 2015 Oregon Outback
Photos and words by David Klayton
Looking back on the 2015 Oregon Outback I’m inclined to call it the best yet.
This year was my second run of the Oregon Outback and I finished in two days and 11 hours. Day 1 included a bit of rain, but overall it was a blast and I reached my goal of getting to Fort Rock. Day 2 started rather abruptly as rain fell on my open bivy, but I rallied and rode out with Team Swift and Limberlost.
Singlespeeds and Sunburn in the Lost and Found Race
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
It’s not too often you get asked to hop in a car and drive 8 hours north, race (I didn’t do much racing though) a 100 mile “Gravel” Race with 7,000 feet of elevation on a Single Speed, then hop back in the car and drive another 8 hours home. So of course I said “Yes!”
While I said yes, I must admit I was kind of worried. I’d agreed to do something I really knew nothing about. I’m not in the best shape at the moment, definitely not in 100 mile Single Speed shape. This is kinda like hiking 16 miles round trip to Half Dome in brand new boots, which I’ve also done. I never said I made the best decisions, but luckily I’m still having fun and the 2015 Lost and Found Gravel Grinder was no exception!
Heritage is not something that can be bought, or self-prescribed. It’s grown and nurtured over time. Heritage is not a by-product of the self aware, or the overly ambitious. It can’t be self-stated either. Not unless your company began in 1946 and the whole time, has had a presence both locally and internationally in this world we so often call the cycling industry.
De Marchi apparel was started by Emilio De Marchi shortly after WWII. It began as a motorcycle and cycling store in an era where there were no cycling-specific jerseys. If you cycled, you wore the same jersey that you played futball in, or wore while you rode your motorcycle.
It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that De Marchi stepped away from motorcycle apparel to focus solely on cycling. This was after multiple cycling brands had offered to buy De Marchi for a hefty profit, yet Emilio stuck to it. Again, heritage.