Category Archives: Austin
Today I Watched the UCI Pro Women Crush the 2014 Mellow Johnny’s Classic
2014 Mellow Johnny's Classic UCI Pro Women's Field

Yesterday, I got the hair brained idea to race the 2014 Mellow Johnny’s Classic at Flat Creek Ranch outside of Austin. I’ve never raced MTBs before, but figured what the hell? My buddy Hanson Little and I drove out, paid the $40 and raced. I started at the back and made it up to 4th. Hanson got 3rd. We were stoked but the highlight of the day for me was watching the UCI Pro Women absolutely crush the course. Check out the recording from the day here and the results here.

Team LUNA Chix was in top form, absolutely shredding every lap, leading the pack by well over a few minutes. It was really great watching these women rip the course apart! While I didn’t make a big deal about shooting photos today (man, it was hot), I did manage to get a few worth sharing. Check them out in the Gallery!

Mar 1, 2014 4 comments
Chris’ Serotta Pronto Ti Road
Chris_Serotta_Ti-COVER

It’s a shame when a name like Serotta shuts their doors after years of building steel, titanium and carbon frames in the USA. When the brand collapsed, The Pros Closet on eBay liquidated a ton of frames, which is where Chris scored this Pronto Ti frameset for a killer deal. It took him a little bit to gather all the parts. At the time, Deda Superleggera parts weren’t easy to find, SRAM was in the transition from 10 to 11 speed and he was thrashing the wheels on his cross bike. Once cross season ended, it was time to dial in his road bike.

Chris already has an insane Icarus, but he wanted something new. A new mistress if you will. Being a mechanic at Mellow Johnny’s, he was rather tedious with this build, dialing it into perfection…

See more in the Gallery!

Feb 18, 2014 14 comments
Andrew’s Festka Zero Carbon Road
Festka_Road-COVER

When I first saw Festka at NAHBS last year, their High Voltage track bike caught my eye. How could you miss it? It’s been a busy year for the Czech-based frame builders, as they began to ramp up fabrication and finally, their international presence. It just so happens that a local shop here in Austin is the official importer of the brand. Cycleast is beyond stoked to be working with Festka and already, they’re receiving orders.

Take Andrew’s Zero carbon road bike for example. With a bright blue custom paintjob and a build comprised of Fizik, SRAM Red, Ritchey and Rolf wheels, this Czech-born machine is rolling thanks to Russell and his staff right here in Austin. Coincidentally, this is the first Festka in the United States.

Interested in one of these beauts for yourself? Holler at Cycleast and Czech out more details in the gallery!

Jan 27, 2014 6 comments
Benedict’s Trek 970 650b Shred Sled
Bene_Trek_650b-COVER

The 970, one of the last made in the USA, lugged MTB frames ever produced by Trek. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest for these bikes. Especially seeing as how a XO-1 can set you back a pretty penny. They’re Wisconsin-made, rugged and actually pretty lightweight, considering. Frames can be found on eBay for around $200.

These bikes are, one of the best options out there for those looking for to convert a 26″ MTB to a full-bore 650b Shred Sled. Which is exactly what Benedict began doing a few years back. After procuring the frame, he immediately stripped it, then acquired new decals and treated it with shellac.

Next up: the fork. He wanted to keep the frameset Wisconsin-made but needed an upgrade to replace the stock unicrown. Clockwork did the job for around $200 – a Pacenti crown, with a nice, classic bend to the blades. From there, it was pretty straight forward: Suntour Cyclone rear derailleur, XT front, XTR cranks, Suntour power thumb shifters, Nitto post, Brooks saddle, Tektro cantis, Bullmoose bars and some older 650b wheels a friend gave him. Oh and a Campy Record 10 speed chain, drizzled with garlic-infused, extra virgin cold press olive oil, because what else do you lube a Campy chain with?

Benedict’s added numerous personal touches to this bike. The Sackville bag carries his stealth camping gear, pipe and tools. Newbaum’s cloth bartape provides ample grip, protection against chain slap and an additional wrap on the brake lever ensures proper skids.

With all those details, most people would scoff at the thought of riding in Austin on it, with its rocky and technical trails, but little do they know, the captain of this shred sled is a master at roosting. Besides, he’s got a lucky penny on the fork crown!

I don’t really know what else to say about this bike, especially since the photos do the talking! See more in the Gallery!

Jan 24, 2014 47 comments
Review: Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC with SRAM XX1
... and yet, this bike just crushes.

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling the MTB industry’s best 29r’s on the market. All of which, I might add, are exceptional machines and with the right parts and group, can easily be tailored to your riding style and home terrain. While my Indy Fab rigid has proven to be more than fun on my local trails here in Austin, it’s still a rigid bike, limiting not only the lines you can take, but the speed at which you can take them. The latter being one thing I’ve found out the hard way: the faster you thrash, the harder you crash.

One might argue that riding a new bike on unfamiliar trails is a true test of the bike’s performance and the rider’s ability. While I’ll surely agree with that, seeing as how my experiences with many 29r’s have been on new trails, I will say that ripping your local trails on a new bike is the true test. Especially a more than capable ride like Santa Cruz’s Tallboy LTC. Add a Sram XX1 group and ENVE‘s tubeless-ready wheels and you’ve got more than enough reason to thrash fast.

At this point, I’ve spent enough time on a Tallboy to back my bold claims and even with this bike’s accumulated accolades since its inception, I don’t think anyone will disagree with me.

Check out more of my Trail Tested review of the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC below!

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Dec 4, 2013 56 comments
Ross’ Icarus Light Tourer
Ross_Icarus-COVER

Since moving to Austin, Ian from Icarus has been making custom steel frames for my friends. Many of which have requested an all-arounder of sorts from him. Ross already has a pretty deep stable of frames. A Richard Sachs cross, a Speedvagen road and now this Icarus light tourer.

I say light tourer because Ross is a bit of a camping weight weenie. Usually a bivy sack will do the trick on top of his titanium Tubus rack. For the front end, Ross chose a Wound Up fork for its fender mounts and tire clearance. He didn’t want ‘cross clearances’, just room for a 28c and fenders. Right now, he’s got it set up for a few weekend outings and just the other day, he put over 300 miles on it.

Other highlights are the split-paintjob chevrons, precisely finished by Bryan Myers at Fresh Frame and full Campagnolo gruppo. Personally, this is one of my favorite Icarus frames, mostly because it’s so tailored to Ross’ idiosyncratic tastes. Check out more below!

Dec 2, 2013 16 comments
Well That Was Cold…
WeWentYonder-1

At this point, we’ve all come to accept the fact that the Brovet is cursed! Yonder Journal was in Austin for Brovet #04 this past weekend and after all the warm weather we had the past few weeks, mother nature turned on us yet again.

The temperature dropped over 40 degrees in 7 hours and as we set out into the mid-30 degree, rainy, windy weather, all we could do was laugh. Ok, so no one cried, but we were all pretty broken.

Even though we didn’t finish the route I planned, we all completed the altered course. Check out a few Instagram photos from the ride below! Of course, there will be more from Yonder Journal and myself in the future…

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Nov 25, 2013 3 comments
Matt’s Samson Basket Track
FlatTrackSamson-COVER

If you were around in the mid-2000′s, rode a track bike on the streets and still have that frame, chances are, it might look like this. I love seeing friend’s zippy, fast, track-drop equipped bikes get swapped out for a spinny gear, risers and a Wald basket. When Matt wanted something more lively to ride to work each day, he bought his friend’s old Samson track bike and quickly made the transition to basket track.

Matt is co-owner at Flat Track Coffee, my local shop and every day he rides to work in Vans, with his made in the USA, Austin-based, Helm boots in the basket and a few bags of coffee for customers. This bike is always parked inside the shop and finally I got around to photographing it. Personally, I love this bike so much, as I’m sure Matt does.

See more in the Gallery!

Nov 20, 2013 9 comments