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
Aaron Stinner’s work with Mudfoot and Geoff McFetridge might have been one of the raddest collaborations last year. For those of us who grew up skateboarding, Geoff’s name resonates with unique design and seeing it translated to something we all love – cycling – was both exciting and frustrating. The latter because, well, we couldn’t buy a piece of that pie for ourselves! Seriously, the bikes came out sick!
The most important thing to walk away with from this conversation is that you too can make rad shit happen in your town, with your local artists and your local builders. It just takes initiative.
For more what went into this collaboration, head over to Stinner Frameworks’ blog!
As for more 35mm shots from this ride, they’re coming…
Rapha’s lookbooks are always so well compiled, filled with roadscapes, portraits and inspirational riding photography. Their Spring and Summer 2014 lookbook for the training and racing line came out stellar. I’m stoked anytime there are photos of people smiling and laughing while riding their bikes.
See the 2014 Rapha Spring and Summer Training and Racing lookbook here.
Photo by Daniel Wakefield Pasley
Sometimes, rides go south and I’m not talking about Georgia. Yonder Journal has been to the Mythical State of Jefferson twice now. The second time, didn’t go so well… Check out a few words by Kyle von Hoetzendorff:
“WE ARE TIRED, HUNGRY, AND BEATEN. Around us mountains rise like picket signs to mock our day’s progress. This trip, which trip specifically doesn’t matter, is familiar; you, me, we have all been here before, a day full of motivational derision packed with mind-chiding expletives like “just around the corner”, “this is the last hill,” and “I am sure it’s just right up ahead.” The road we’re on, our road, has petered out, it’s a dead end stub built by the type of people who knew exactly where they came from and who had no choice but to return there. We on the other hand need to carry on, turning back is an admission of failure, an admission that all those involved had seriously considered and yet none of us were smart enough to act upon…”
Continue reading at Yonder Journal! I really enjoyed this piece Kyle.
… and to see these two. Although this trip Kyle will probably be wearing more clothes.
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!
Photo by Kyle Kelley
The Necronomicog knows no boundaries when it comes to two-wheeled sacrifice and as alluded earlier, this insane Cannondale track bike served for plenty of entertainment on my last night in Los Angeles. Of course, Kyle’s film photos do this icon of American aluminum track bikes justice. See more at Kyle’s Flickr!
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!
Photo by Sean Talkington
Sometimes you hop the big log… and clear the trail, only to hit another log and wreck (gracefully). Everyone’s gotta pay the piper.
I can’t wait to see the rest of Sean’s photos from last week in LA on the Team Dream Bicycling Team Blog!