Category Archives: gravel
Photos by Andy Bokanev
The world of “gravel grinding” and “adventure” bikes has expanded exponentially over the past few months. While Specialized is no stranger to dirt, the new Diverge all-road disc bike takes cues from their MTB line and adds them to a new drop-bar bike called the Diverge…
There’s something magical about waking up to the call of the Magpie, in a dingy hotel room, with holes in the walls (wall paper peeling off) and to the stench of post-parma flatulence mixed with dirty bib shorts. Now, I know that was grotesque, but it’ll paint a vivid picture for ya.
Personally, I was stoked on our accommodations. For $30 Aussie notes, we slept like logs on a windless summer night. The sunrise looked good and best of all: it wasn’t raining. At all. Yet.
After scarfing down a “scroll” – Australian for cinnamon roll, two tangerines, a pie (meat pie), another pie (meat pie) and a breakfast croissant (ham and cheese), we were ready for mediocre coffee and yellow-tinted water for our bidons. The sun was still shining, so we went off, rain jackets strapped to our bags.
The winter in Victoria can be unforgiving. One minute, it’ll be sunny and the next, a monsoon. After losing a 5D Mkiii body to the Roobaix (R.I.P. baby), I was hesitant to shoot in the rain, so a sunny morning meant more photos and more photos means more “recovery stops.” Even, in the end, that means for hurterer legs. Bugga!
Our day would be packed with hardpack. Lots of climbing, up steep hills, over the range and back down into Healesville. On paper, it looked easy, on the legs, not so much. 65ish miles and 7,000′ of almost all dirt meant we were in for a long day and even longer descents. BRAPPPPP!
Thankfully, the morning light and afternoon landscapes kept my mind off the lactic acid fermentation forming in my quads… See for yourself in the Gallery!
A few years back, Andy from FYXO and Dan from Shifter took a 220lb blogger from America on a ride in the Yarra Ranges to which the bloke barely came out alive. That ride broke me and in the process, jump-started my path to personal fitness. If I was going to keep documenting rides like that, I needed to be in shape.
Each time I visit OZ, we do another ride and while they’re not necessarily as difficult, they end up being special in their own regards.
This trip, UpDave planned a route that would take us from Healesville to Alexandra, skirting along the Yarra Ranges and through the Cathedral mountains. There were going to be eight of us in total but as the ride neared, one by one, the riders dropped out, including Dave, leaving Andy, Tom from Rapha, Daniel from Soigneur and myself.
From eight to four? Sounds good to me. I looked forward to the peace, the sun, the solitude, the gum trees, the wildlife and that silence you find in the ‘bush. You know, the only noise you’ll hear all day is the cyclocross tires spitting sand off as you ride along and eventually the word “cunnnnnnt” echoing as the pitch steepened.
That and the cockatoos… Even the giant black red-tailed beauties!
Since it was winter, we had very little daylight and totaled only 66 miles and 5,600′ after Andy’s morning mechanical set us back a few hours. Fine with me. More time to shoot photos… Read on in the Gallery!
Thanks for letting me go on another overnighter ride in the Aussie bush. It’s exactly what I (and my bike) needed. What a perfect 48 hours… oh and happy 4th of July!
For the next 48 hours, I’ll be riding in the outer reaches of civilization deep in the Yarra Ranges with a handful of mates. As per the norm when it comes to these rides, there will be ample documentation upon my return.
This trip will be atypical from previous treks, since it’s winter and the weather can change in the blink of an eye…
See you soon!
Seek and Diverge, Deux North’s Hunt 4 in California
Photos by Andy Bokanev and words by Dylan Nord
In the months leading up to the trip, Deux North’s Hunt 4, we were all focused on miles. Like most of us, I’d done a few big days on the bike before, 8+ hours in the Rapha Gentleman’s Ride or a trip upstate, but never back-to-back-to-back. None of us knew exactly what to expect on the third day, when we would all line up to race the King Ridge Grasshopper Adventure Series.
Ummm… Holy shit. Ira really killed the Oregon Outback on his Breadwinner throwback B-Road Gravel Bike and there’s video evidence. Such a great watch!
The 2014 Schwarzwald Giro – Kevin Sparrow
Photos and Words by Kevin Sparrow
Most of us got a good night sleep in our camper. The nights in Freiburg are chilly and it doesn’t start to warm up until the sun peeks over the tree line later in the morning. Everyone met at Biosk at 9:30, for a planned roll out at 10. It would have been nice to get a decent breakfast but Josh and I downed a bowl of cereal and I took a nutrition bar for a reserve. Others stuffed their jerseys full of snacks. We all knew we had a long day ahead of us…
When Erik and I committed to riding the Oregon Outback, we didn’t want to absolutely kill ourselves, but we wanted it to be tough. On paper, 360 miles is totally doable in three days without crushing your spirit. Hell, I think we could have done it in two and we still would have been ok but that’s not the point.
I had a responsibility. One that I take seriously and that’s documenting this trip. Granted, most of the time, I didn’t want to stop to shoot a photo, or hop off my bike, I just wanted to keep going…
The second day of any big ride is usually the toughest. Your body just assumes it’s going to be on the defensive for an unknown amount of time and begins to push back. Usually, that is. For Erik and I, we awoke in the Silver Lake Community Park f-u-c-k-i-n-g freezing. The weather said it would drop to 45 degrees as the low, so he and I brought hammocks and 40 degree bags in the interest of space and weight.
At 4am, my phone said it was 28 degrees. A cold front had moved in.
I was shivering uncontrollably, had I known it was going to be that cold, I would have brought a sleeping pad and a tarp, both of which I’ve used to alleviate the loss of body heat that happens in hammocks at such low temperatures. But alas, you reap what you sew. We would be cold on this trip.
All our field guide said about mile 120-240 was that we’d be crossing altitude desert and would be without water for up to 80 miles. I brought an Arundel Looney Bin to hold a 48oz Nalgene, which, after making breakfast, I filled up. Along with my two large Purist bottles. We had to get moving. Fast… It was 6:30am.
Continue reading in the Gallery captions.