Back in 1999, a rider named Jon Anderson got the idea to start a group ride in his old stomping grounds around St. Francisville, Louisiana, West Feliciana Parish and Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Jon had been riding these roads since the early 80′s, as a form of escapism and reflection. Like most cyclists I know and ride with, Jon enjoyed a bit of pain at the hands of the dirt gods.
It wasn’t until the early 2000′s that the Rouge Roubaix shifted from being a group ride to a sanctioned event. Racers from all over the Southeast came out for promises of punchy, steep climbs, lots of gravel, scenic roads and yes, pain. It boasts 100 ish miles, with 30-40 miles of undulating gravel and dirt roads. This year, the Rouge is being run by Will Jones, the current organizer and I gotta say, he really delivered a hell of an event!
As part of an ongoing story detailing the design of a new disc road bike, Ben from Argonaut Cycles flew out two members from the Rapha / River City Bicycles Team to race with as well as Brian Vernor and myself to document the event, the culture surrounding it, the performance of the bicycles and let’s be honest, to experience one of the oldest and most intriguing gravel races in the United States.
See more narrated photos in the Gallery and don’t miss those last two photos!
Photo by Gary Perkin
Juliana Bicycles, the sister company to Santa Cruz, sponsored a rather epic MTB excursion in February with Anka Martin throughout New Zealand and the surrounding areas of the Nelson Tasman district. I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand and now, I want to go there even more. This looks like it was quite the trip!
I’d like to think the kind of riding my friends and I enjoy would be considered “dumb”. From the freestyle on track bikes, all the way to the trail riding on cross bikes (even road bikes), sometimes, it’s just more fun to use the lesser-capable tool for the job. When Sean from Team Dream asked if Ty, Eric, Kyle and I wanted to ride Backbone trail during my last trip in LA, I said hell yes. Then I asked “which bike should I bring to LA?” The answer was what I had hoped for: cyclocross.
My bike has been through the ringer and it’s still one of my favorites to ride. Climbing some serious mountains, both on sealed and gravel, blasting trails in Texas, Vermont, California, Australia, Minnesota or where ever my travels take me. It’s been the most diverse beast in my stable. This ride however, this ride outdid just about everything else.
The day would be big. 60 miles and 7,500′ of climbing. 85% on dirt. Most of it on legitimate / illegitimate singletrack. There were very few chill spots. This was a MTB ride on 33c tires and drop bars. Even as part of our group passed a guy on a full sus MTB riding a downhill section, the dude had the audacity to label our cross bikes as “cheater bikes”. Ok Mr. fullface helmet and pads.
For as many fire road climbs, there were 1-track descents. Nothing was too technical or difficult to ride down, but some parts were too steep to climb with a 34/28. To top it off, I broke my fucking pedal in half at mile 20, Eric was just getting over a serious injury from a car hitting him and we were grossly unprepared for the lack of water.
High points: finding water that had been stashed in the bushes for months (the labels were bleached out, condensation formed at the top – i.e. it had been forgotten), the damn Coke machine at the Malibu Creek State Park (make sure you have plenty of $1 bills – I had 10), the subsequent swimming hole and wearing a hip bag, stuffed with a mushy breakfast burrito from Pedalers Fork.
THE HERO OF THE DAY WAS CARLA, SEAN’S GIRLFRIEND FOR DROPPING US OFF AND PICKING US UP!
We started at the Yerba Lot trailhead (one, 10 mile section is closed to bikes, so we had to re-route around that) and ended at the Santa Monica pier inside the photo booth.
I know I post a lot of ride photosets, but this one is not one to be missed! Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Kodak Portra 400
Talk to anyone familiar with the trails in this area and they’ll tell you that we went up to Inspiration Point the wrong way. Truth is, however, we’ve been going up the right way too often (on cross bikes) and wanted to try something new. Riding, or in this case, hiking up a downhill line ain’t fun. Especially on a long travel bike.
Kyle from GSC, Sean from Team Dream and myself had a lotta fun on the mountain that day. I was riding the Foes F275, we did a quick review, stopped a lot for photos and blasted down one of my new favorite trails.
Our route for the day: lower Merrill to upper Merrill, to Inspiration Point, back down upper Merrill, down a trail called Monkey Face, to Sunset, Brown and El Prieto. It was a short day on paper, but a big ride on the legs. Any MTB riding in Los Angeles is tough on the legs…
If you’re from the area, you know how fun that is. If you’re not, well… check at the photos in the Gallery!
Granted, the last time I did this ride in Los Angeles, it was during sunset. The views were spectacular but I certainly missed a lot riding in the dark. What was originally going to be a scouting ride for the Mudfoot Dirty Hundo, became a slow and steady march to the top of Mt. Lowe.
We rode from Silverlake for 15 miles or so, then hit Cheney trail, the beginning of Mt. Lowe. It was hot, steep and after close to 10 miles, we had climbed 4,000′. Henry was on a road bike with 28c tires, the rest of us, on cross bikes. I don’t think any of us were really feeling all that well that day.
Good thing the views made up for it and the Cokes at Red Box. We totaled 54 miles and 5,400′ of climbing.
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Portra 400
Super Bowl Weekend. It’s an excuse for people to drink, eat and yell at the television while a bunch of men in spandex chase a ball around a field. Personally, it’s not my thing and luckily, not my friends’ thing either. So rather than spend the weekend indoors, myself, some friends and Beat the Clock Cycling decided to take advantage of the vacant Texas parks and plan a ride.
Well, I planned the ride. 100 miles, over half of it was dirt. I did one of the roads on the last Yonder Journal Brovet and I wanted to explore the area even more. We’d leave from Inks Lake and take a series of back-country, private roads and kick in Willow City’s popular loop before heading back to camp. Water? Food? None. We had to pack it all in. Most rode cross bikes or light tourers, with bags for food. There was maybe one stop along the way.
Because I had to drop Lauren off at the airport that Friday morning, I drove with two others. The rest either drove out that night after work or rode the 75 miles from Austin, fully loaded.
Since we wanted to convey only the chillest of riding paces and as a protest to the Super Bowl, most of us left the lycra at home. Giro was kind enough to supply some New Road apparel, shoes and helmets. I brought the bourbon. Spencer brought a dull hatchet and we were all stoked.
Did I mention cliff jumps in January? Yeah… Check out more photos in the Gallery, all shot with my Mamiya 7ii and Portra 400 / Kodak TMAX 400. Many thanks to Giro for supplying equipment for this ride!
I’ve found, more often than not, that rides with Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles usually turn into hike a bike trails at some point. Even on “road rides”. The Locals Only ride is one of my favorites. It’s short, steep and sweet. Just long enough to get your heart rate going and early enough in the day that the light is usually nothing short of spectacular.
Last week’s Locals Only ride came right after some rain. The trails were sticky and the light was insane. A dense fog moved in from the sea and began to envelop the hills and mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that in LA before. It was one of those mornings where you almost wreck because you’re staring off at the distance and not at the singletrack in front of you.
Like I said, we did some hiking, but the descents were nothing short of intense! See more in the Gallery!
… as always, it’s been a blast! I feel like I’ve gotten some of the best content on this trip, all while doing some of the best rides I’ve ever done here in Los Angeles. Many thanks to Golden Saddle Cyclery for re-energizing my stoke!
Our ride today was rad and very tough but we still stopped for some roostin’, GSC style.
The Hump Hundo was such a rad time that the guys from Mudfoot are throwing the Dirty Hundo Cyclocross edition. In typical Mudfoot fashion, it’ll be a fun, but tough ride. 90 miles, 9,000′ climbing and 35 miles of dirt. We did part of this ride the other day and it’s amazing.
Head to Mudfoot to find out how you and two of your friends can ride.