Photos by Verdict Digital
On December 14th, a bunch of contenders turned up for the Cadence Dope League 002 Gentlemen’s Race. This year’s course included a good amount of dirt and scenic byways. You know, the kind of ingredients to make the rest of us extremely jealous! See more at Cadence’s Flickr.
Top 5 finishers:
1: Riley Marmesh
2: Nat Futterman
3: Andrew Goessling
4: Dan Russell
5: Jake Teitelbaum
With the advent of the 1x drivetrain, be it SRAM (who arguably brought the technology to the cycling industry), Race Face, Wolf Tooth or the hundreds of other options, the ‘cross bike lost a bit of its versatility, when compared to having a 34t inner ring. For racing, a 40t front and 11-28t cassette may be fine, but add in a substantial amount of climbing, on dirt roads exceeding 12%, for miles, and you’ll find yourself a bit “knackered” as our British comrades say.
My decision to drop the front derailleur on the Geekhouse came after a few misguided chains that cost me precious placing in a race. Truth: I was already ready for a 1x setup. So I went with a CX1 rear mech and the CX1 11-32t cassette.
The rear range is crucial. Especially when compared to the standard 28t cassette. SRAM’s CX1 made it easy with its 32t cassette and in January, the 36t cassette will be available. Now let me preface this by saying, I’m well-aware that most of you find CX1 sacrilegious due to its pricepoint or whatever, but let’s not steer off path just yet.
My bike feels great with a 40t front and 32t rear in racing, but riding fire roads, not so much. The 40t front ring and 32t max cassette had my legs burning on the first pitch, especially with 40mm tires. Remember, the larger your wheel’s diameter, the longer your gear inches. I couldn’t imagine an 8+ hour ride with the current setup. Maybe a 38t front would help?
After a few jaunts on familiar ground in LA, Sean and Moi offered to take me up into the Verdugos. A mountain range that sits across from the Western ridges in Santa Monica, and only a quick jaunt from South Pasadena, where Sean lives. My decision to carry my camera was the right move, after we crossed the gate. It’s really strikingly beautiful up there.
The plan was to climb up the fire road and bomb the singletrack down, then ascend once again in the dark to take yet another bit of doubletrack down, at night.
Plans < Photos
We were fucking about for hours up there and before we knew it, it was pitch black, save for the glow of the city lights. We all brought lamps and layers, ideal for descending down one track and avoiding rocks on the climbs but that doesn't mean we weren't ready for dinner.
The whole time, I kept thinking I'd love to have a 38t on the front of my drivetrain, as I began tick-tacking up the dirt. 40t x 32t with 40mm tires is no joke on a 15% grade. Especially when you're lugging a DSLR on your back. What doesn't kill you...
Still, at the end of the day, we surpassed expectations of the versatility of these “race bikes”, bombed plenty of steep, rain-rutted tracks, saw a bobcat – Sean freaked out, ate pizza, drank beer and proceeded to be enamored with just how rad cyclocross bikes are.
Now, where is that 38t Wolf Tooth ring I bought at the beginning of the season?
Personally, romanticism of intense physical exertion hasn’t been my thing. Probably because as fitness found me like a dog finds the wheel of a moving car, the ability to document rides took precedent over turning myself inside out climbing.
In short, the main motivation for getting fit was being able to ride, shoot photos and not be dying the whole time.
Presenting cycling as something that is excruciating alienates a large potential of thrill seekers, at least according to my opinion – ATMO. Instead, going up that tough climb and stopping along the way to capture a switchback, or redirecting the group back to a technical section for a photo, always lends itself to a more engaging riding experience.
People often ask if it’s possible to get a real ride in while documenting the whole time. The answer is yes, your definition of ride just needs to change.
Introduction aside, there are a lot of people I know who, at least at some capacity, live by this loose mantra of riding. Most of them are really, really, really fucking good at bikes, but even better at fucking around. These dudes live, breathe and eat cycling. Cycling, and tacos.
Yesterday, Sean from Team Dream, Ty from Golden Saddle and myself headed up Brown to El Prieto for a quick and easy MTB ride. We’re all strong in our own ways. Sean can sprint up a fire road and look scared on descents like none other. Ty is a gravity bully on descents, but will always stop to hit a line that no one else sees.
Myself, I’m an ok climber, equally as ok descending and decent at shooting photos. My crowning achievement yesterday, however, was my #RubberSideUp. Party on dudes.
For the past two years, a few guys from Beat the Clock Cycling have taken to the open roads the morning after Thanksgiving to escape Turkey-snacking and Black Friday madness. This time of year is when we get in our camping trips. It’s not 100º out and the only worrisome factors are the sudden cold fronts that blow in and yeah, the horrible headwinds that make trekking south-bound unbearable.
Still, knowing we might face rain and 30+ mph headwinds, a few of us loaded up our TT bikes (tent time bikes) and glanced over Nick’s route through Texas Hill Country. On the agenda: Pedernales State Park and Guadalupe River State park, the former of which, none of us had ever been to.
Our previous trip was such a success that we were all stoked to just get out and ride. John had missed us the first round – he was on his honeymoon – but brought along a whole bottle of Weller 12 year that was left over from his wedding. That and a bag of Flat Track Coffee…
One of the things I’m trying to do here at the Radavist is get more people’s voices in the day to day content. That includes product testing, specifically bikes. This afternoon, I pulled my intern Andre out to some trails to rip on the Wraith Paycheck disc cyclocross bike.
Let’s just say, he didn’t complain! More to come…
Nice vibes in this one from Pici Bici.
This one’s a truly unique ride. PAUL cantis, Rene Herse cranks, vintage Dura Ace and a paint job that will only look better with dirt, mud and road dust caked into the nooks and crannies. Jonathan’s dirt road bike is a dream build!
See more at the Bishop Flickr. Chris, this is a fine bicycle!
A Fool’s Errand: The RGR in Boulder
Words by Kevin Scott Batchelor, photos by Kevin Scott Batchelor and Jason Paul Stewart
When Jeremy Dunn called me and said Rapha was planning to hold a Gentlemen’s Race in Boulder, I was, plainly, stoked. I’ve always followed the coverage of the other races and hoped we’d have the chance to share our characters and terrain here in Boulder with everyone, too.
And… Here we go!
This has got to be one of the best Rapha Gentlemen’s Race to date. I can’t wait to see the full feature photo gallery. It’s great to see Tyler from Pearl Velo in there!
Hawaii is a haven for cycling. From Mauna Kea on Hawaii to MTB trails on Kona, this archipelago has it all. One island you mustn’t overlook however is Kaua’i. I’ve already touched on a few points here on the Radavist. Including Kaua’i Cycle and a few random photos from a quick cross ride I did, so let me further expand on those.
Chris and Jonny from Kauai Cycle take to the woods when they can on their mountain bikes. In the drier months, hog trails open up to form a dense network of singletrack. Other service roads open up, as the plant life withers and thins out, but right now, in the middle of summer, everything is overgrown.
While visiting Lauren’s parents, I brought my cross bike and ventured into the woods with Chris and Jonny, not knowing what to expect. I was promised “Jurassic Park” landscapes, a swimming hole and lots of ripping down dirt, well, mud roads on the island. We did 45 miles and around 3,300′. More than enough to leave your legs and shred sled, sated.
If you ever find yourself heading out to this island, do not leave your bike at home!