Traversing the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
By far the number one thing people bring up when they find out you’re going to Peru is Machu Picchu. In fact, that’s probably the response at least 95% of the time. To be fair, prior to stumbling upon photos of the Cordillera Blanca on Google Earth one day, Machu Picchu was always the first thing that came to my mind as well, so it’s a hard thing to fault. (more…)
The prefrontal cortex is relatively well-developed in my brain, meaning self-control and personal safety awareness is high. Honed even. Other riders out there might have a more underdeveloped PFC, meaning they’re willing to huck themselves down massive step-downs and over canyons without more than a few moments of hesitation. In the world of mountain biking, I’d rank myself and my friends as capable riders. Obviously, many of the riders I photograph have skill levels that are a few notches higher than mine. Some of them grew up riding BMX or motocross and a mountain bike just feels natural up in the air, oftentimes one wheel or two at a time. Photographing these rad atavists is just one of the reasons why I love my job, yet all it takes is a change of scenery to feel like you’re in over your head. This sea change was found once we left the common trails in Hurricane, Utah for a neighboring outpost called Virgin. Home to RedBull Rampage and other free-riding spots, Virgin is in many ways, the home base for the sport. (more…)
Touring the Rocky Mountain Front
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
“Mel’s Diner, 9ish?” is the text I received from Cameron. The night before, he left in a frazzled state to go to the Rocky Mountain Front, and I followed the next morning. This vast expanse of abrupt cliffs where the Rockies meet the Great Plains spans much of North America, so I was glad that he specified a diner as a meeting place. We fueled up on strong coffee, plenty of biscuits and gravy, bought a map, two slingshots, whiskey, lemonade and a few cookies from the Augusta general store. A fine establishment that acts as the local liquor store, gun shop, grocery, outfitter and purveyor of homemade baked goods. (more…)
My buddy Tyler is moving to California from Austin, TX to work at Strava in San Francisco. On his drive to his new home, he swung through Los Angeles for two days. While yesterday was a grunt of a dirt ride, today we found our pain in the Hollywood Hills. I love taking people on rides in LA and I only wish we could round out his experience on mountain bikes! Next time, buddy!
The high desert in the winter is unpredictable. It could be sunny one minute and stormin’ another. Because of this schizophrenia, we found ourselves seeking local reconnaissance before heading out on our next trail ride. The roads could be in horrible condition, or the trails under snow. After talking to a few locals, we were advised to swing by Over the Edge in Hurricane. The shop workers had been scouting all of the local trails to determine shredability. We had already planned on visiting the shop, so now we had another incentive to do so.
With Hurricane being a MTB destination for tourists like us, the last thing we wanted to do was piss off the locals by riding wet trails, or driving on roads with excessive mud. Luckily, we didn’t venture up to Gooseberry, as the guys at Over the Edge advised against driving on the road. Instead, they pointed us to neighboring Guacamole Mesa. While it’s not as famed as Gooseberry, Guac has a lot packed into this relatively small area. (more…)
Hurricane is not HURRUHCANE it’s HURRAH-KIN. Spend any amount of time in Utah and you’ll quickly learn that. After our exceptional romp in St. Geezy, we loaded up our Yotas with our bikes and drove an hour to Hurricane, home to arguably the best trails in Southwestern Utah. We had a few days to explore with not a lot on the agenda, other than Gooseberry Mesa and the IMBA Epic Rim Trail. IMBA Epics are just as they sound, epic rides categorized by IMBA. It’s not often you come across one of these treks, so when you do, you’d better do your best to ride it. (more…)
Where do they come up with trail names? Seriously, I want to be the guy that names new singletrack. On our last morning in St. George, we planned on meeting with Jon from Sabrosa around 1pm, giving us time to take on a few of the trails on the other side of the wash from Zen trail, namely what we found to be called the “three fingers of death.” Don’t worry, we survived. No one’s ghost-writing this. If they were, it’d probably be a bit better composed…
Anyway, we went out hoping to spend an hour or so on the trails and ended up racking up over three hours exploring the area. The Three Fingers are these mini alluvial fans that cascade down from the top of a fire road into the Green Valley. They are not deadly, but if you’re not comfortable doing a drop at the end of a downhill ridgeline, you could very well break yourself off. In the hour we spent doing laps, we saw a good number of people almost go full-on scorpion over the bars and into the red clay. (more…)
Utah’s public lands are home to some of the most amazing sections of singletrack, especially in the St. George and Santa Clara area. After we rode the Zen trail and refueled on a camp-cooked lunch, we loaded up Josh’s pickup and made the trek to the Santa Clara River Reserve. This area is home to a number of trails, all of which can be connected in a big, backcountry loop. Using the MTB Project App, we figured we had enough daylight left to take on Barrell Roll, Precipice, Sidewinder and part of Suicidal Tendencies, a black diamond trail in the Reserve. Linking all these trails together presents a 12-mile ride with around 2,000′ of climbing. The trails are clearly marked and are heavily-trafficked by knowledgeable locals.
Parking at the Cove Wash Trailhead, we pedaled out into the brisk winter air towards the sun that was already setting behind scattered cloud cover.
A few months back, the boys from Angry Catfish in Minneapolis invited Kyle from Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles to meet them in Utah for five days of riding mountain bikes in St. George – aka St. Geezy – and Hurricane – aka Herahkun. The only problem is, Kyle doesn’t have a car and he didn’t quite feel like pedaling all the way to Utah from Los Angeles on his singlespeed mountain bike. That’s where I came into the picture. I’ve got a car, with a bike rack and enough room to carry all our shit for a week. Now Kyle had a ride, I got to ride in Utah and everyone would get some sweet-ish photos out of the whole shindig. (more…)
DFL the (Baja) Divide
Photos and words by Spencer Harding
I went into the Baja Divide grand depart expecting it to be more of a social occasion than a bike tour. I’ll admit, despite the plentiful resources provided on the Baja Divide website, I barely looked at the maps and descriptions of the route. All I knew was that there would be a bunch of really wonderful people there that I wanted to hang out and ride bikes with. So I piled my car full of chubby bikes and wonderful humans and headed south to San Diego. (more…)