Category Archives: gravel
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.
I had no idea Matt from Ornot was taking video with his RX100 the whole time we were riding Up the Devil’s Ass. You’ll see all the party boyz and girlz of cycling in this one.
And if you missed my ride photos from this rad day, check them out at Riding Dirty Up the Devil’s Ass.
With the success and failure of Erik and my last AWOL ride on the Diablo range, we started looking for another mission to continue the story. This couldn’t be just any camping trip, it had to be hard. Like, really, really tough and big and stuff.
Then it dawned on Erik (I was too busy to actually look for anything) – we’d do Velo Dirt’s Oregon Outback. Erik contacted me in his Swedish voice “ok mannn, we’re going to do this really fucking tough ride, called the Oregon Outback, are you in?”. Me: “Of course!” – not wanting to sound like a sissy. At the time, I was probably traveling for something and I didn’t even know what the Outback was. I just assumed it was a chill weekend getaway…
Ian from Icarus is selling a size 51cm ST by 52cm TT commuter / gravel rider cantilever frameset for $1900 including a paint job by Circle A. Head over to Icarus for the details.
Photo by Craig Lindner
As I’m packing for the Oregon Outback, I just looked over Craig’s photos from this year’s Almanzo and suddenly, I got stoked for some dirt… See the full set at Craig’s Flickr!
The Panaracer CX Fire is indeed a great tire, but with a 45c measurement, it’ll be a bit too big for a traditional cross frame. That’s why SOMA responded to the demand with a 40c mixed terrain tire called the Cazadero, made by Panaracer in Japan. Head over to SOMA for the scoop. These look damn good and yes, gumwalls…
This is the video Brian Vernor made, documenting both the Argonaut disc gravel racer and the Rouge Roubaix. We were in St. Francisville for three days, where Brian and I did our best to document the bikes in action, before and during the race. His interviews offer insight into what makes the Rouge Roubaix tick, while opening up the personalities of the race officials and local vernacular.
Let’s just say he captured it all perfectly and it was an honor to work next to him that weekend!
Let’s see, where were we? Oh yeah. We left off with the Blackburn Rangers at the top of Granite Mountain – 7,000′ – in the Prescott National Forest. Camp was set up, we consumed calories, sat around a propane campfire and after we killed all the liquor, we settled in for the evening. The weather report called for a 60% chance of rain and temps in the low 40’s. All was well, right? Wrong…
We had a busy day ahead of us. One filled with supplying the Whiskey Off Road racers with bacon and high fives. The plan was to descend to around 4,000′ at a site right before the last climb of the day and before a stretch of technical 1-track. From there, we’d blast music and shove bacon down the gullet of any hungry racer. My job for the day was to document all the fun…
Check out the full day’s Reportage from the Whiskey Off Road race with Blackburn in the Gallery!