Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

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Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

Ruta del Jefe has officially announced the dates and the new venue – March 21-24, 2024 in Cuenca Los Ojos, Mexico –  for the next edition of this adventure, education, community, and advocacy event. Cuenca Los Ojos is a protected natural area in the Sky Islands of the Mexican state of Sonora, southeast of Agua Prieta/Douglas, Arizona. Daniel Zaid and Karla Robles recently linked up with, organizer Sarah Swallow and, below, document her new new Otso Voytek, which she has been using for scouting the 2024 Ruta Del Jefe route. Additionally, Daniel and Karla share an update on the work Cuenca Los Ojos has been doing to provide the best platform for Ruta del Jefe in advance of the event’s first season south of the border…

Sarah Swallow and Her Specialized Diverge Gravel Bike in Elgin, Arizona

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Sarah Swallow and Her Specialized Diverge Gravel Bike in Elgin, Arizona

Southern Arizona has become a destination for many cyclists over the years but it’s long been a refuge for snowbirds with the nation’s largest rock and mineral show, the Gem Show, hitting Tucson in February and bringing in over 50,000 registered buyers annually. While Tucson is bursting at the seams with RVs, campers, and retirees in February, Sarah Swallow resides about sixty miles south of the city at the Appleton Whittell Research Ranch  – an Audubon property nestled just outside the quiet little town of Elgin – planning each year’s Ruta del Jefe event…

Hope is a Function of Struggle: Sarah Swallow, AWRR, and the Swift Industries Holiday ’21 Dovetail Collection

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Hope is a Function of Struggle: Sarah Swallow, AWRR, and the Swift Industries Holiday ’21 Dovetail Collection

Riding 100 miles in the rain with a fully loaded bike from the San Juan Islands to Seattle, pushing a 50-pound touring rig up a mountain in Montana for 6 hours and 6,000 ft, getting stuck in Dallas after the last leg of my flight was canceled at midnight (more on that later)… as a cyclist, I’m no stranger to struggle. And according to Brene Brown, hope is a function of struggle.

When we encounter struggle, we face the moment when we don’t think we can make it and sometimes finding resolve within to not only survive but to triumph. The next time life offers a seemingly uncrossable water crossing, muscle memory kicks in, and we think, I’ve been here before, I can do this! That, Brown says, is how one becomes a person of hope.

The Bike That Flew: Sarah Swallow on the Tour Divide

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The Bike That Flew: Sarah Swallow on the Tour Divide

Over at Rapha, Sarah Swallow shares her story about how her Tour Divide almost ended before it even began:

The journey began with a three-day drive from my home in Colorado to the start line in Montana. My partner Adam and I were wrapping up a long day of driving and looking for a place to camp south of Seeley Lake, Montana when we drove over a large bump in the tarmac at 60 mph. The entire truck bounced like a sea-saw, causing us both to cringe when we heard a snap and saw something in the rearview mirror.

“What was that!?” I yelled.”It was a bike…” Adam answered.”Was it your bike?” I asked desperately.”I think it was your bike…” he responded.We stopped the car, and I got out to confirm that my Tour Divide bike lay one hundred yards down the road. I ran toward it hysterically like it was a loved pet that had just been run over.

Head on over to the Rapha blog to read more!

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How Sarah Swallow is Preparing for the Tour Divide

Our friends Sarah and Jorja pulled together this video, showcasing how Sarah is preparing for the Tour Divide this year:

Sarah Swallow, professional adventure cyclist, cycling the 2021 Tour Divide Route. In this video we find out more about; 1. Who she is 2. What she is setting out to achieve 3. Where she is at with her preparation for the 2021 Tour Divide 4. and answers some questions from friends and family Check out her GoFundme for the Cairn Project here;

“For this challenge, I am teaming up with The Cairn Project to fundraise $5,000 to provide outdoor opportunities for more young women and girls. I have had the incredible privilege and opportunity to make my passion for adventure cycling as my work. I want to help create accessible pathways for more young women and girls to pursue a similar lifestyle, adventure goal, or profession. I never knew this life of mine was possible or even an option. If young women and girls could feel inspired by what I do and see that they could do it too, or to get exposed to what they love to do outdoors at an early age, I think it could make a positive impact on their lives, and the lives of others around them. Over the next few months, I’ll be fundraising for The Cairn Project by sharing my story as a young girl and how I found purpose in life through riding my bicycle as I prep my mind, body, and equipment for one of the most significant endeavors of my life. To learn more about my trip, read my blog post. To follow my journey, follow me on Instagram.

Sarah Swallow’s S-Works Diverge Has Been Pushed to the Verge

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Sarah Swallow’s S-Works Diverge Has Been Pushed to the Verge

Progression happens when people push the current paradigm causing a shift, or a schism in the model. This applies to bicycles as well. From the era of the klunker and the cruiser influencing mountain bikes to people riding 23mm road tires on gravel roads. Hell, I think it’s safe to say that our generation has seen various permutations unfold from people who push their bikes just a little more than others. To the verge, even.

What’s in a Name: A Recap of the 2019 Land Run 100 – Sarah Swallow and Brian Vernor

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What’s in a Name: A Recap of the 2019 Land Run 100 – Sarah Swallow and Brian Vernor

What’s in a Name: A Recap of the 2019 Land Run 100
Photos by Brian Vernor and words by Sarah Swallow

You might be wondering, out of all the gravel events popping up around the world, what makes the Land Run 100 special? Why ride gravel in Oklahoma, in a place known as “Tornado Alley”? If you are wondering this, you are not alone.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in my first Land Run 100 gravel race. Bobby and Crystal Wintle host the event from their shop, District Bicycles, in the center of historic downtown Stillwater, Oklahoma. The race attracts two thousand gravel cyclists from around the country and has some legendary stories attached to it. For instance, in 2017 rain soaked the red dirt roads to the consistency of peanut butter mud and only ~25% of the riders who started the race finished. Despite the treacherous conditions that bad weather can bring on race day, the Land Run 100 has established itself as a must-do event on the gravel race circuit. Before I talk about why I think that is and what I learned from my experience there, I’d like to acknowledge the history behind the name of the event.

Sarah Swallow’s Sick Flatbar 27.5 Sequoia

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Sarah Swallow’s Sick Flatbar 27.5 Sequoia

The general rule of thumb is if you build it, people will cram the biggest tire possible into it. I wish we lived in a world where tire clearances were maxed out with drivetrain efficiency in mind, but it’s not always the case. However, when it is the case, you end up with a very capable bike. So yeah, if you build it… with ‘it’ being the Specialized Sequoia. While people have certainly put mountain bike tires on this bike before, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone fit as big of a tire as Sarah Swallow did with the Ground Control 2.1″. This bike is her recon bike for her 125 mile race next month, the Ruta de Jefe, in Elgin, Arizona. While there is no singletrack per se on the course, the roads can get rowdy, where a wide bar and fat tire will soften the blow from the washboard and ruts.

It’s built with a Rogue Panda framebag, SRAM Force 1, PAUL Klampers, a Revelate Feed Bag, one of those WTF Bikexplorer bidons, and a set of those S-Works Overendz Bar Ends.

Some might call it a hybrid, or just a rigid MTB, so that nomenclature is welcome, but bottom line is, I doubt anyone foresaw a build like this arising from the Sequoia platform!

Also, as a personal note, happy birthday Sarah!
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Follow Sarah on Instagram.

Sarah’s Madrean Pinion Gearbox S&S Dirt Tourer

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Sarah’s Madrean Pinion Gearbox S&S Dirt Tourer

Last week, we took a look inside the shop of Madrean Fabrication and Hubert’s own dirt tourer. Now we get an up close and personal look at Sarah’s Pinion gearbox, S&S coupler dirt tourer.

Both Sarah’s and Hubert’s Madrean have very similar details in terms of construction and stance. They’re both designed to be a multi-day bikepacking machine, where the only limit in terms of trip time is the rider’s schedule. For Sarah, she spends a lot of her year bikepacking or touring all over the world, so having a stout and reliable bike is of the utmost importance, hence the Pinion Gearbox.

What’s Old is New Again: Crust X Ron’s Bikes Alumalith Rigid MTB Review

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What’s Old is New Again: Crust X Ron’s Bikes Alumalith Rigid MTB Review

Unveiled at the 2022 Philly Bike Expo to much fanfare, the Alumalith is a realization of Ronnie Romance‘s dream to incorporate his favorite aspects of vintage mountain bikes into a deciededly modern offering. Featuring a non-suspension corrected Switchblade-style fork, rim brakes, sharp angulation, and 6061 aluminum fabricated by renowned craftsman Frank Wadelton–but with internal dropper routing, clearance for 27.5 x 2.6″ tires, and a contemporary approach to geometry–the Alumalith is nostalgic delight for riders of today. Josh picked up an Alumalith earlier this year and has spent months building it, riding, refining, and riding some more. Continue reading below for his review of this niche yet capable and fun machine…

Unicorns and Sparkles and Rainbows: Finding Joy through Art, Ecology, and Bikes

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Unicorns and Sparkles and Rainbows: Finding Joy through Art, Ecology, and Bikes

While earning, or enduring, her Ph.D in Environmental Life Sciences, Courtney Currier began spending more time on the bike as a way to further connect to the places she was studying, and as a way to just spend time outside during the very inside days of the pandemic. In a very real sense, her time on the bike was inspiring and she began making art again. Building up and custom painting a unicorn fixed gear commuter brought everything full circle! Below, as she plans for what comes next in life post-Ph.D, Courtney reflects on bikes and joy, along with Tobias Feltus’ overview of the build process.