Category Archives: California
2014 Amgen Tour of California: Stage 08 – Thousand Oaks
TED KING FOR THE MUTHA FUCKIN WIN!

Man oh man. What a day! I’m still buzzing from the final stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. After a week-long road trip with Rapha North America and Tillie, the new Mobile Cycle Club, we were all at our maximum capacity. Late nights working turned into early mornings riding and after a week, all the energy left over culminated into one crescendo of cheering and support for the PRO cycling contingency.

The final stage was a three-lap circuit up and over the (in)famous Rock Store climb. Normally moto and auto territory on the weekend, this road is one of the more treacherous climbs for cyclists in the area. That said, just this one day, for four hours however, the road was ours. Unfortunately, we had to begin early… Like, wake up at 4:30am and drive an hour to start our ride at 5:30.

But, as the saying goes, early to bed, early to shred. With only minimal aggression from motos and autos, we took to the hills of Malibu Creek State Park and eventually scaled Rock Store, where we greeted amass of fans, all in support of the ATOC and looking to party.

It was majestic. Even the pros got down. Thanks so much Ted King!

Read more in the gallery!

May 19, 2014 12 comments
2014 Amgen Tour of California: Stage 06 – Santa Clarita
Typical Rapha routing

For the past week, Rapha and I have been covering the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. In that time, I’ve seen some incredible feats of athleticism from the PROs, met tons of rad people, shot enough photos to fill a book (hint hint) and gone on some very tough rides.

The ride we did up to Diablo – more to come on that – was hard, but the ride we did yesterday was tough. So tough that if our friends at Mavic hadn’t offered support, it would have been a long day.

Deserts can be an unforgiving place. Even with my musette stuffed with extra water, food and camera equipment, I would have succumbed to the bonk goblins if it hadn’t been for Chad and Charlie from Mavic.

Thank you’s aside, we rode from Palmdale to the KOM, made a wrong turn and then hauled freaking ass – I’ve never climbed that fast before in my life – back up to the top.

The race ended and we headed back to Palmdale, finishing out at over 80 miles and 7,000′ elevation.

May 17, 2014 6 comments
2014 Amgen Tour of California: Stage 04 – Monterey
Then the motos come up for hydration. Temps peaked to 99 yesterday along the coast!

How many more of these stages do I have? Are we on the coast yet? It’s been hot as hell… I just want more coffee from the Rapha MCC and some more House Industries caps.

Yesterday was Monterey to Cambria, one of the most scenic routes in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The race course snaked its way through Big Sur and the coastal redwoods as they hit two KOMs back-to-back, three total and one sprint section.

I was in the Skratch Labs Neutral Human Support vehicle, watching them work – more on that in the captions – and trying to get a few shots from the passenger’s window. Meanwhile, with no cell reception, we were all forced to soak in the Cali coast…

Read up the captions, because I tried to be clever this morning.

Side note: if you’re on Instagram, follow Skratch and tag your photos with #SkratchNHS and a quick description of what you think “Neutral Human Support” means for a chance to win a bag of product from Skratch!

May 15, 2014 17 comments
2014 Amgen Tour of California: Stage 01 – Sacramento
... autographs!

Sacramento’s projected high temperature was supposed to be 84 on Sunday, yet it felt like the 90′s. I also made the mistake of wearing all-black (again). It was cooking hot, but how could I complain when the PRO racers were out in the real heat, cranking away calories and watts. Luckily for them, the Skratch Labs team was out with Neutral Human Support.

Us on the otherhand, not so much but we did get to drink fresh espresso at the über-new Rapha Mobile Cycle Club and watch the PRO women race for an hour in a fast-paced circuit race around the State Capitol, which became the highlight of the day for me. Not just watching them cook corners well-done, but to see how engaged the audience was and a majority of the passionate fans were women AND it was mother’s day.

There was a lot of love for the women going around, so I reciprocated that by turning my lens to them.

Stage 01 ended with a phenomenal sprint by Cavendish and everyone’s appetite was whet for Stage 02′s time trail in Folsom

May 12, 2014 3 comments
Ride Along: Hot Boyz of Cycling – Marc Marino
Ride Along: Hot Boyz of Cycling - Marc Marino

Ride Along: Hot Boyz of Cycling – Marc Marino
Words and photos by John Watson

Marc Marino is the nicest guy ever. He’s also super hot. Ladies, take note. He’s got it all: tattoos, tan lines and a track bike. On a serious note, Marc’s a good friend and I always enjoy spending time with him, especially at the Amgen Tour of California.

Today, I forced Marc out into the course to shoot some photos before he woofed down his lunch: a donut with almond butter smeared on the top… Check out a Ride Along interview below!

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May 12, 2014 4 comments
The Road to Mineral King and Kings Canyon – Ryan Wilson
Kings Canyon backroads

The Road to Mineral King and Kings Canyon
Words and photos by Ryan Wilson

A couple weeks ago I woke up at about 4:30am on a Saturday morning with no real idea where I was heading. I just knew that I packed up my gear the night before for a reason, and I was definitely heading for the mountains. I’ve done a number of Eastern Sierra trips the last few months, so I decided to switch it up a bit and head up the 5 from Los Angeles toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon, in the western range of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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May 1, 2014 12 comments
Slow is Fast Movie

Up until last week, I hadn’t heard anything about this movie, Slow is Fast. If you’re thinking of touring the California coast, this is a must-watch!

“In September 2012, Dan Malloy, Kanoa Zimmerman and Kellen Keene rode bikes down the California coast hoping to see their home state in a new slower-paced light — surfing, camping, staying with friends and lending a hand wherever they could to earn their keep. The result of the trip is a beautifully crafted book and DVD.”

Pick up the DVD and book at Patagonia.

May 1, 2014 3 comments
Giro’s Santa Cruz Effect Two Day Ride
Final stretch!

Santa Cruz is a city that never disappoints. No matter what the occasion, I have a blast riding my bike. So when Giro invited me along to their Santa Cruz Effect media event, I gladly accepted.

Even though we were on a pretty tight schedule, we had two days of riding bikes in the woods and coastal roads of NorCal to look forward to. That meant we were to expect a lot of temperature fluctuations throughout the day, the perfect climate for merino wool.

The group included men and women, from all over the world, all of which were related to the cycling industry in some way. We had some locals with us, including Todd from Black Cat, Jeff Traugott, Jake from Steel Wül, along with a few Giro employees. Those dudes put on one hell of a ride, taking us through some great roads and down some incredibly fun (i.e. sketchy) descents.

Here’s our Strava from Day 1 and Day 2 for those interested in a route. I highly suggest doing this as a one-day loop. We were taking it chill…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Porta 160

Apr 15, 2014 15 comments
Jeff’s Rock Lobster All Road
Jeff's Rock Lobster All Road

Jeff Traugott is an artist and his palette is wood. He makes absolutely stunning handmade acoustic guitars in Santa Cruz. These pieces sell for tens of thousands of dollars and are a hot commodity.

It just so happens that Jeff’s shop is right next door to Rock Lobster. Both he and Paul are inspirational individuals who have made a living doing what they love. The word entrepreneur gets thrown around a lot these days, but these two are fuckin’ living the dream.

When Jeff isn’t building geetars, he’s out on one of three Rock Lobsters, this being one of them, an “all road” bike with long-reach calipers and Campy 11 speed. My favorite detail, aside from the frame, is the Calfee-wrapped carbon Easton stem to ENVE bar combo. Perfect solution for the inevitable slipped bars when blasting down rutted, gnarly descents.

I spent two days riding alongside this machine, which happens to be my size. After the first day’s ride from Santa Cruz out to the coast, I snatched up this bike and took it for a quick photo shoot as the marine layer rolled in over the redwoods… #NatureIsMetal

Apr 15, 2014 15 comments
Jake’s Caletti Steel Wül Road
Jeff's Caletti Steel Wül Road

Steel Wül is a club in Santa Cruz, founded by Jake Hess, a local fire chief. He started the club to give people a super chill platform to explore the many roads in the area. I got to ride with Jake during the Giro #SantaCruzEffect event and his Caletti steel road bike looked so damn good the whole time.

Some of my favorite details are the custom-painted Ritchey stem, his family’s names on the stem cap, his battalion number on the NDS top tube, Steel Wül branding and the paint. When we rolled out of the Giro offices, the morning light made the frame just pop.

Granted, it looked even better after descending down that gnar gnar gravel on Gazos Creek…

Apr 10, 2014 11 comments