Northern California has some gems for sure, but without a doubt, Santa Cruz is my favorite place. With dirt for days and ocean views like this to end a ride, who can complain. It’s been a blast once again. We’ll see ya again soon. Thanks to everyone that made this weekend so memorable.
Usually the sequel doesn’t stack up to the original, yet the consensus I gathered at the Rock Lobster Cup II was that this year’s event was way harder and way more fun. Or maybe just way harder. Having only raced the sequel, I can’t say for sure, but having not raced ‘cross for two years, It was all I could have asked for and more. (more…)
When I was in Santa Cruz after Grinduro, I swung by to see Paul Sadoff, the man behind Rock Lobster Cycles. Paul’s always pretty busy and this trip was no exception. He was in the throes of planning the Rock Lobster Cup Two, which is being held at the lighthouse park in Santa Cruz. After talking about the course, why it was moved from Bonny Doon and how he’s planning on making a relatively flat course exciting, I decided I’d skip town yet again and come up to photograph the race. Hell, I might even jump in it.
Because you can’t swing by Rock Lobster and not take a few photos, I documented the shop’s current condition, which I might add, is the best I’ve seen it so far. Check out a few more photos below. (more…)
Tobin Ortenblad isn’t your typical 22-year-old, nor does he fit the mold of most professional bicycle racers. Sure, he has a coach and a training plan, but that’s where the path begins to blur. Tobin was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California and spent most of his formative years riding BMX bikes, building jumps and eating burritos. Fast forward a decade and he’s fresh off winning the Under 23 Cyclocross National Championship in Asheville. This year, racing in the Elite category, his results have proven that the off-season wasn’t squandered at the beach. He’s finished consistently in the top ten (or top five) at UCI C1 races and a top thirty at both World Cups. Most impressive is that he’s currently doing all this, without a pro contract. We wanted to catch up with the privateer and see what he’s been up to since his big win in January. (more…)
Todd Ingermansen has been working in the cycling industry for a long time. Too long if you ask him. Since the age of 13 he’s had a presence in bike shops. What began as sweeping the shop floors eventually culminated into being a mechanic, riding bikes and living bikes. Yet, Todd wanted something more. Running parallel to his bike shop jobs was his art school education, where he realized his 2D and 3-dimension eye for details. In his early 20’s he chased his love of singlespeed MTB riding and racing to Oakland, California where cycling completely enveloped his life.
Back then, there weren’t any US manufacturers of singlespeed MTB frames. Or at least none that piqued Todd’s interest, so he began building his own. A few friends helped him out, some frames worked, some didn’t, yet every frame taught Todd something. Eventually he moved back down the California coast, to San Luis Obispo and began fillet brazing. He had built a dozen or so frames before landing a job with Rick Hunter of Hunter Cycles. Under Rick’s torch, Todd began to realize the importance of actually making a bicycle frame, something that stands true even today.
For the past 14 years, Todd’s been building a brand, and a modus operandi to how he believes bicycles should be made. Black Cat Bicycles are unique, arguably unlike anything else I’ve witnessed in my years of documenting framebuilders. Much like his mentor, Rick Hunter, Todd doesn’t just weld a mail order kit of parts together and paint it. He engineers his own dropouts, builds stems, machines metal into whatever he pleases, carves his own lugs and bends his tubing in very unique shapes. For instance, how do you make chainstays that are bent, yet have an ever-so-slight arc to them? (more…)
Bikepacking. It’s one of my favorite ways to travel and for Blackburn, it’s not only a passion for them, it’s a challenge. How can design be intelligent, intuitive, reliable and most important, resilient to constant wear and tear? You can spend all day designing products in an office, but the real test is out on the open road.
One of the ways Blackburn vets their products is through the Ranger Program. Each year, they send out a call for entries before selecting six or seven Rangers to get kitted out with a bike from Niner and full Blackburn product. Their journey begins, oddly enough, at the San Jose Airport… Well, parking lot B at the San Jose Airport. (more…)
If only everyone’s commute looked like this!
You can’t throw a press launch in Patagonia without a solid plan and you can’t throw a race in Patagonia without experienced organization. The Rally of Aysén began as an idea, born in the offices of Santa Cruz Bicycles, some 10,446km away from Coyhaique, where the event would take place.
The idea was simple: in a time where enduro is hyped up, bring a rally format, multi-day event to the Aysén region of Chile, where mountain biking is in its infancy. The event would include timed climbs, timed cross-country, timed descents and downhill segments. It’d be a true battle of the most well-rounded riders and was not for anyone afraid of a bit of navigation or pushwacking… (more…)
Kitsbow brings the super chill, super send-it vibes with Tyler Frasca in Santa Cruz, California. I’d say this video captures the riding there quite well!
Bikepacking with BMXers on Cross Bikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Photos by Brian Barnhart, words by Brian Barnhart, Bill Arlew, and Sam Pederson
Introduction by Brian Barnhart
As much as I love bikepacking, I just don’t do it enough. Living in Santa Cruz, it is so easy to surf, BMX, hike or mountain bike, and then spend the night at home. I can’t complain about the accessibility. But when I got a group text about scheduling a long weekend of bikepacking, I was in! The group got narrowed down to two guys I had never met, but I knew we would bond over the experience.
After some planning and a few bike mods, the morning came to pedal into the mountains. The three of us got acquainted sharing singletrack and fire roads, and discussing our packing setups along the way. Billy and Sam had an exciting route planned, now it was time to put it to the test. Three days of riding and two nights of camping in Castle Rock State Park and Butano State Park respectively.
Our bikes and packs created a bond within our group, and also with folks that we talked to along the way. We shared an enthusiasm for being in the middle of nowhere, pedaling our way in and finding our way out. The recently drenched forest was alive with newts, banana slugs, and vegetation, and at night a campfire gave it warmth. We challenged our bodies and were rewarded with endless views and mysterious fog topped mountains. The descents flew by at exhilarating rates, full attention given to every bump, rock, tree, angle and edge. And the flat terrain provided a time to relax and appreciate it all.
We rode hard, and sometimes walked hard when the grade got too steep. We came out better riders and more prepared for next trip. We found that feeling we all crave when we are off our bikes. It happens when the conditions are just right, and our brains narrow our thoughts down to what is happening right now. For us it was climbing steep hills then bombing down the other side through redwoods, chalky bluffs, open meadows, and coastal roadways. Being cold and wet, then warming up as the time and miles passed. Stimulated by scenic overload, quiet of deep forest, and the scent of untouched wilderness we smiled all the way home. (more…)