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Gold in the Ruts: A Love Letter to Cyclocross

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Gold in the Ruts: A Love Letter to Cyclocross

The following is a love letter to Cyclocross and in particular photographing cyclocross. During the 2018-2019 season, I was blessed to attend a few races and got a chance to shoot freely and candidly with no one expecting anything from me but everyone letting me in and close. I had no idea what was about to happen to me, under the lashing rain of Overijse, a small cold flemish town, I fell in love with cycling once again, a way I never expected, cold, easy, mind-blowing and everlasting.

We get to play like kids in the mud but as adults, what else could be better?” – Rebecca Gross

Lael Wilcox Establishes New FKT* for the 800-Mile Arizona Trail

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Lael Wilcox Establishes New FKT* for the 800-Mile Arizona Trail

We are beyond excited to report that after 9 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes our dear friend Lael Wilcox has established a new overall fastest known time for the 800-mile Arizona Trail Individual Time Trial*!

Tackling the Arizona Trail at a record-setting pace, from the Mexico border to the Utah state line, is one of the most grueling cycling challenges in the world and we couldn’t be more excited for Lael’s accomplishment. In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring a full report from Lael’s time on the trail in addition to a short film from Rue Kaladyte. In the meantime, head over to Lael’s Instagram and send her a virtual high-five!

Edited on 4.23.2022 for clarity: We have correspondences with John Schilling, the organizer of the AZTR, where he reached out to Rue, the videographer and Lael’s wife about the media rule. Lael and Rue accept the * by their time for breaking the media coverage rule implemented in 2019. Previous records still stand.

Lael Wilcox’s 2022 Arizona Trail 800 Time Trial Preparations and Gear List

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Lael Wilcox’s 2022 Arizona Trail 800 Time Trial Preparations and Gear List

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is 800 miles of singletrack, stretching from the Mexican border to the Utah border and traversing most of the state’s major mountain ranges. With initial development in the 1990s, the hiking trail passes through several wilderness areas, requiring bike detours. The current bike route is 827 miles, including a 24-mile required bike portage through the Grand Canyon (wheels can’t touch the ground).

Vos is Boss-Pidcock of the Walk at the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships

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Vos is Boss-Pidcock of the Walk at the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships

A strange sensation grips the mind when a long drive begins in the darkness of predawn. The city remains still, holding onto its final few hours of sleep, and the highway remains virtually empty. There is a promise in the loneliness of the opening hours of long highway travel. Exits flutter by in the darkness; distant lights of tractor-trailers and roadside oasis’ are the only possible signs of life beyond the confines of my car. The falling snow has narrowed my concentration to the reflecting lines on the asphalt as I navigate south and west on my way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for this year’s Cyclocross World Championships.

Photo Pace goes Into the Lion’s Den

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Photo Pace goes Into the Lion’s Den

Into the Lion’s Den was a criterium race event held in Sacramento, CA this past October over Halloween weekend. It represented L39ion of Los Angeles‘ vision for the future of crit racing in America. Four members of the Bay Area creative collective, Photo Pace, were there to document the event. Read on below for Christopher Stricklen’s experiential reportage accompanied by immersive photography from Rj Agcamaran, Emily Cheng, and Kyle Thornhill.

The Trans Cascadia 2021 Race Report from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

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The Trans Cascadia 2021 Race Report from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Trans Cascadia explored a new region this year in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. This land is the traditional indigenous territory of the Wenatchi and Syilx people. As a blind enduro, racers are given each day’s map the night before, with no chance to explore the trail prior. Race Director Nick Gibson was excited to get started. “I’m stoked to get people on course after a year’s delay. We’re excited to show people this area, this is the first-ever bike race on these trails.”

With a full volunteer staff, spending countless hours in preparation, racers shuttled into Foggy Dew Campsite, their home for the next 5 days. A remote backcountry experience with all the amenities save cell service, racers are treated to a camp that feels more like a living village. After Covid testing and orientation, participants devoured a stunning southern-inspired meal prepared by Hannah Carlos of The Bayou Catfish under the stars…

Josh Uhl’s 2019 Triple Crown Attempt: A Personal Journey

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Josh Uhl’s 2019 Triple Crown Attempt: A Personal Journey

The beauty of bikes is in the people who ride them—and how they all have a story. I have little doubt that everyone—serious riders, aeroed and grimaced, and carefree cruisers alike—have experienced that epiphanous fresh-air feeling of freedom that accompanies spinning your legs astride two wheels. Sometimes we just enjoy it at the moment—letting the short-lived wave of release and clarity wash over us during a weeknight burrito run, or a trip to the coffee shop. Other times we chase that feeling down with the hope that, somehow, it might change our life.

What first intrigued me about Josh Uhl was, however, not his history with bikes but his podcast Here For Now, which he started in February of 2021. Josh uses this platform to have intentional and intimate conversations with his guests about motivation, struggle, and the big whys of life. Listening to an early episode with Peter Hogan, where the recovering addict asserts that “Bikes aren’t God,” and to a later episode where the writer Zoe Röm reflects on the delusion of “authenticity” on social media, I found myself frequently nodding along. Yes, exactly.

Red Bull Brings Gravel Racing to Marfa, Texas: “Rio Grande Gravel” Registration Opens September 17th

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Red Bull Brings Gravel Racing to Marfa, Texas: “Rio Grande Gravel” Registration Opens September 17th

The towns of Marathon, Marfa, and Terlingua are the gems of Texas, where the Chihuahuan Desert plateau crosses into the Trans-Pecos area of West Texas. This is where the mountainous West intersects with the rolling limestone hills of Texas, resulting in stunning vistas, diverse wildlife, vistas, and the mighty Rio Grande.  “Rio Grande Gravel” is a new gravel race coming to Marfa on November 13th. This event is sponsored by Red Bull and the registration is opening on September 17th. See the full press release from Red Bull below, along with some more photos featuring Colin Strickland and Payson McElveen…

358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

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358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

“You just dance up those climbs. It’s amazing to watch.”

“Thank you.”

These are some of the only words we’ve exchanged, despite riding together for the past ten hours. It’s a few more hours before I learn that his name is Dave. That’s ultra-endurance. Sometimes you talk and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still great to have company riding through the night. I later find out that Dave is in his 50s and from Wisconsin. He must outweigh me by a good 50-80lbs and most of it is muscle. He’s a powerhouse on the flats and I’m light up the climbs. He groans and says “shit” a lot, but when the lady at the gas station asks if we’re having fun, he says, “we’re having the time of our lives.” And we really are. It’s hot and humid and hard as hell, but there’s so much beauty out there. Beauty in the sunset and the sunrise and the warm night— the cows and the fields, the open expanses.

Four Gravel Stages in the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve: the 2021 Migration Gravel Race Recap

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Four Gravel Stages in the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve: the 2021 Migration Gravel Race Recap

A week ago, 61 contestants battled it out over 4 stages through the Masai Mara wildlife reserve, during the inaugural Migration Gravel Race in Kenya. While an epic adventure in itself, there’s more to this race than meets the eye. The MGR is one of the prongs of the Amani project, aimed at creating more race opportunities for East African cyclists to measure themselves with the best on an international level.

What better way to do so than to bring in the very best? With the attendance of 2021 Unbound-winner Ian Boswell and runner-up Laurens ten Dam (who claimed the victory at MGR), the bar has been set for future editions. Sule Kangangi, Kenyan pro cyclist and coordinator of Amani’s activities in Kenya, and 2021 Unbound winner Ian Boswell share their thoughts on this unique first edition.

Here’s to Failings and Revenge: Riding the N230 Route in Portugal

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Here’s to Failings and Revenge: Riding the N230 Route in Portugal

Here’s to failings and revenge, wet feet, cold meals, big appetites, and desperate measures, here is to the losers, to giving up, the fear and the panic, here is to the hopes and resets, the rest and restart, the loneliness and misery, the conquering or coming back, here is to the revenge, the salute, the lost goal, the drive and emptiness, the stomach and the guts, the brain, and the balls, here is to the brave heart and lost souls. Here is to the step back and rebound. Here is to the cold beers at the end and the diners that taste better.
Coming home was the hardest part.

Ride the Gamut: A Massive Unbound Gravel Gallery

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Ride the Gamut: A Massive Unbound Gravel Gallery

Last weekend the town of Emporia, Kansas hosted the world’s largest gravel race, Unbound Gravel. When the event started in 2006, it only offered the milestone 200-mile route. With the growing popularity of gravel racing and in an attempt to make the race more accessible to all cyclists, Unbound Gravel now offers a total of six racecourses. Participants can now choose between 25, 50, 100, 200, and the big, bad 350-mile course. There’s even a High School event! While the 200 is still the marquee distance for the event, Unbound has something for everyone looking to get dusty out in the Flint Hills.

Congrats to Lael Wilcox for Winning Unbound Gravel XL!

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Congrats to Lael Wilcox for Winning Unbound Gravel XL!

With gravel races attracting more and more professional cyclists from road racing, being able to hold onto consecutive wins is becoming more and more difficult. Not for Lael Wilcox, however, who took on the XL at this year’s Unbound Gravel. The XL traverses 358 miles (576km) of the Flint Hills out of Emporia, Kansas, all self-supported and just as hard as years prior.

We’d like to congratulate Lael, who finished in 26 hours, 55 minutes; the first woman and 10th overall. Check out her Instagram page for more wonderful moments captured by Rue!

Go, Lael! GO!

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

This is the fourth and final part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

2020, the year that virtually nothing has panned out as expected, delivered an unexpected opportunity for me to return to the Grand Loop. I flew home to Arizona in late March after an aborted tour across Alaska as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened. My body was exhausted from winning a 4-day-long Iditarod Trail Invitational – conditions were challenging enough that the race took twice as long as it does in “good” years. After the race, I continued touring farther along the trail for another 250 miles before Native villages began closing to visitors. When I returned home, my body was worn out. The next month was devoted to recovery as I watched in awe as the world as we knew it ground to a halt amid the worsening pandemic.

The Open Road: the Orbit 360

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The Open Road: the Orbit 360

2021, March 14th, 5:16 pm Runa, Portugal

Runa is a small village that looks like it was supposed to become a town, it just never happened. Not much to see around here.

Traversed by a fast road right through it, longing a deserted train station that never felt so vain.
All along that single file highway, tiny factories, warehouses, abandoned, emptied in a rush. Nature is invading, reclaiming those empty spaces, plants, and trees through the cracks and walls.

I press on the pedals.

A bit further down the strange fast route, a tiny park and one big tree, one massive tree, an old man walks around, talking to himself, or rehearsing what seems to be a speech or sermon, rehearsing those words while mastering their hand choreography.