Category Archives: Santa Cruz
Stoked Is the New Suffering
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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.

Dec 9, 2014 25 comments
Santa Cruz Gets More Rowdy with the 27.5 V10

The V10 is one of Santa Cruz’s longer-running frames, with its 6th generation raising the bar even higher for the world of DH. Now offered with 216mm / 8.5” of travel and two adjustable geometry positions. You can choose either a high setting of 64° headtube angle / 360mm bottom bracket height or a low, with 63.5° headtube angle / 353mm bottom bracket height. Seeing one in person surpasses any skepticism you might have. The layup and frame design is top notch…

But that’s only the beginning. See more at Santa Cruz.

Dec 8, 2014 1 comment
The 2014 Surf City Cyclocross Finals – Brian Vernor
The 2014 Surf City Cyclocross Finals - Brian Vernor

The 2014 Surf City Cyclocross Finals
Words and photos by Brian Vernor

My own history of racing cyclocross with the Surf City Cyclocross Series is too long to recount in a short article. In brief, Surf City Cyclocross is why I made my first film, Pure Sweet Hell (which premiered ten years ago this month), and why I have kept cyclocross near to my heart since my first race as a junior in 1993.

There are many heartlands of cyclocross. I’ve been to Belgium, Spain, Holland, Japan, and all over the United States, searching for the best action, beautiful courses, and the cult-like communities which make up the cross scene in each of those unique cyclocross heartlands. I appreciate all of them, but I appreciate none of them more than my own scene. That’s how it should be. People here in Santa Cruz have doggedly stuck to the core of what is cyclocross in America. Cyclocross is a contradiction; it sucks to do, and it’s glorious to have done it. Cyclocross will never have the audience and participation of football, basketball, or baseball, though we involved are always trying to grow it while keeping it true. Truth comes first and growth comes second.

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Dec 1, 2014 24 comments
Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter – Brian Barnhart
Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter

Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter
Words and photos by Brian Barnhart

I agreed to this trip before I knew where we were going or what we were doing. I recently moved to Santa Cruz from the east coast and take any chance I get to explore the area with friends. I’m primarily a BMX rider / commuter who does the occasional tour, as is my friend Mike who invited me on the trip. Our friend Chris, on the other hand, rides trails every morning and gets a kick out climbing a long steep hill. Finding out on Friday night that we were about to climb 6000 plus feet was a bit painful sounding, but we were up for the adventure.

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Oct 29, 2014 7 comments
Jeremiah Kille’s Chevron Caletti Ti Road
Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.26.42 PM

Jeremiah Kille is an artist in Santa Cruz, California and like John Caletti, he creates vibrant pieces of work, relying on geometry and color. This new titanium road was built to Jeremiah’s specifications, utilizing a plethora of chevrons, inspired both by the sunsets of Santa Cruz and classic surf culture of the 70’s.

Photographer Peter Thomsen took his time documenting this one. See a few more below and the full set at Peter’s portfolio site

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Sep 24, 2014 8 comments
Ride Along: Garrett Kautz from Strawfoot
Ride Along: Garrett Kautz from Strawfoot

Ride Along: Garrett Kautz from Strawfoot
Words and photos by John Watson

Strawfoot is one of those companies that has gained a lot of momentum over the past year in the cycling industry because of social media and word of mouth. While Strawfoot is a bag company, they’re most known for their socks. I was first introduced to Garrett from Brian Vernor last year, when I visited his small shop in Santa Cruz.

Over the past few months, Strawfoot has grown. They’ve moved to a bigger shop, are sponsoring a cross team and yes, he’s continued making socks, which sell out almost immediately…

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Sep 2, 2014 4 comments
Navigating the Lost in the French Maritime Alps – Ty Hathaway
Riding in the Maritime Alps

Navigating the Lost in the French Maritime Alps – Ty Hathaway
Words by John Watson photos by Ty Hathaway

The French Maritime Alps are riddled with the remnants of man’s conflict of bygone eras. With the most recent being the Italian invasion of France in WWII. The Battle of France took Italian troops over these very mountains as they lay claim to Benito Mussolini’s demands for a ‘surplus population’. Or, in short, simply expanding the Italian empire.

As it goes with war, many souls are lost, leaving nothing but the roads, paths and man’s ruin…

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Jul 31, 2014 8 comments
Robin’s Santa Cruz Digi Camo Highball Dirt Dropper
Robin_Santa_Cruz_Highball-10

So… it’s been a wild few daysBlackburn brought me out to the Whiskey Off Road to see some new products, meet the Rangers and document the weekend as I saw fit. All of which will make for some awesome posts – once I sort through the photos.

For now, here’s Robin’s – the Blackburn brand manager – DIY digi camo paint Santa Cruz Highball dirt drop all-road bike. SLX triple cranks, Cambium saddle, barcons, TRP levers, interceptor brakes and massive clearances (it’s a MTB frame after all). This bike is another great example of fully-customizing a production model frame.

I shot some photos of it, at the top of the range, before we got hit with a nasty snow storm that covered our camp site in a few inches of fresh powder

Apr 27, 2014 28 comments
Giro’s Santa Cruz Effect Two Day Ride
Final stretch!

Santa Cruz is a city that never disappoints. No matter what the occasion, I have a blast riding my bike. So when Giro invited me along to their Santa Cruz Effect media event, I gladly accepted.

Even though we were on a pretty tight schedule, we had two days of riding bikes in the woods and coastal roads of NorCal to look forward to. That meant we were to expect a lot of temperature fluctuations throughout the day, the perfect climate for merino wool.

The group included men and women, from all over the world, all of which were related to the cycling industry in some way. We had some locals with us, including Todd from Black Cat, Jeff Traugott, Jake from Steel Wül, along with a few Giro employees. Those dudes put on one hell of a ride, taking us through some great roads and down some incredibly fun (i.e. sketchy) descents.

Here’s our Strava from Day 1 and Day 2 for those interested in a route. I highly suggest doing this as a one-day loop. We were taking it chill…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Porta 160

Apr 15, 2014 15 comments