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Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide – Ryan Wilson

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Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide – Ryan Wilson

Taking the Scenic Route to Peru’s Great Divide
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Continued from “Beasts of the Southern Blanca

Following my trips through the Cordillera Blanca, I knew I would be heading for the Peruvian Great Divide Route. This route was established fairly recently by the masters of all things cycling related in the Andes, Neil and Harriet Pike (andesbybike.com). Their website and books are absolutely invaluable resources if you have any interest in riding in the Andes, so I would highly recommend checking them out.

The divide route is almost entirely along quiet dirt roads that endlessly undulate between 10,000′ and 16,500′. It also passes through many remote villages that are far off the tourist trail, where the locals are always excited to see you (and probably welcome you into their home for a hot meal and coca tea).

Beasts of the Southern Blanca – Ryan Wilson

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Beasts of the Southern Blanca – Ryan Wilson

Beasts of the Southern Blanca
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

After finishing up the circuit around Huascarán, I landed in Huaraz. This is the capital of the Ancash region of Perú and the central hub for all activities related to the big snow and ice capped mountains that dominate the landscape. While Huaraz is not totally flooded with tourists, it is certainly the most visited town in the area, and a “gringo” barely gets a second look there when compared to the surrounding villages. Most importantly, Huaraz has pizza, so it makes for an obvious place to spend a few days taking it easy and swapping stories and routes with fellow cyclists and trekkers passing through the area.

Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit – Ryan Wilson

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Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit – Ryan Wilson

Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Last time I was in Peru, the main focus of the trip was centered around circling the highest mountain in the country, Nevado Huascarán. The route has that perfect combination of spectacular scenery, challenge, and culture, so I knew I’d have a hard time resisting going for it again on my way south this time. The fact that the forecast called for clear skies the whole time sealed the deal. Last time I was here, the mountains were engulfed in rain clouds virtually the entire time, so I never really got to see many of the massive glacial peaks that dominate the route.

Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB – Ryan Wilson

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Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB – Ryan Wilson

Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

As I was planning for this trip to South America I started thinking about what bike would be ideal to tackle a broad range of terrain and would be comfortable over the long haul. I went back and forth through a number of options, but I never quite found a stock option that fit all of my criteria (and fit me). I knew I wanted a rigid steel frame that could fit a plus sized tire, have loads of mounts, thru-axles, ample mud clearances, and a good amount of space for a frame bag. I started to focus in on B+ as the happy medium between 29 and 29+. I also liked the versatility of being able to put on a standard 29er wheelset at some point in the future without it throwing the geometry way out of whack.

The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera – Ryan Wilson

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The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera – Ryan Wilson

The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

I started trying to scheme up a way to make this return trip to the Andes happen while I was sitting in the Lima airport last November, waiting for my return flight to California. With the most significant cost involved being purely the cost of getting there, and with all of the opportunities for riding throughout the entire range of the Andes, I knew I had to make this an open ended trip.

Farewell For Now, California – Ryan Wilson

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Farewell For Now, California – Ryan Wilson

Farewell For Now, California
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

A little over a month ago I left my job of ten years and was in the final stages of moving out of my Los Angeles apartment. I was putting together the final pieces of the puzzle that would eventually result in me riding through South America for 10 months or so (more on that soon).

As luck would have it, a tiny hitch in my setup resulted in me having about 9 days without a job or home in California. So, I did the first thing that came to mind (the thing that typically comes to mind)… Road trip.

Ryan Wilson’s New 44 Bikes Olive Drab 27.5+ Bikepacking Rig

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Ryan Wilson’s New 44 Bikes Olive Drab 27.5+ Bikepacking Rig

When Ryan Wilson @RMDub told me that he was quitting his job to go bikepacking around South America for the unforeseeable future, I was stoked. When he mentioned wanting to do Reportage for the Radavist while he was down there, I couldn’t resist but to get on board. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping him put together this 44 Bikes OD green 27.5+ bikepacking rig and Kris just posted completed photos of the frameset. There’s more to come but for now, head to the 44 Bikes Flickr to see more!

Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca – Ryan Wilson

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Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca – Ryan Wilson

Traversing the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

For a little over a year it was just a pipe dream. I had come across the Cordillera Blanca while sifting through google maps one day and was immediately struck by its rugged and unique landscape. For a few months I kept looking back, doing a little more research, and eventually making a few routes. It was always just wishful thinking though. I had never even left the country before and I knew about as little Spanish as you could possibly know. It wasn’t “realistic”, so I just kept the idea floating around in the back of my head…

Coming Tomorrow: Ryan Wilson’s Peru Photos

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Coming Tomorrow: Ryan Wilson’s Peru Photos

Ryan Wilson, aka @RMDub decided to take on multiple 14,000′ summits with his bikepacking rig last year. Little did he know something sinister was waiting for him in the water… Check in tomorrow for the full story and one of the most amazing galleries to ever grace this website!

Forging Ahead on the Foundry Overland – Ryan Wilson

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Forging Ahead on the Foundry Overland – Ryan Wilson

Forging Ahead on the Foundry Overland
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

A couple months ago Foundry sent over their new titanium cross/gravel bike, dubbed the “Overland“, for me to spend some time running it through the wringer. From long mixed-terrain rides, endless dry/dusty Southern California fire roads, through alpine snow storms (two), bike park single track, and trekking through wilderness with it strapped to my back. This versatility is really what the Overland is built for. Foundry’s slogan may be “racing matters”, and I’m sure this bike would perform well in a frantic one hour burst on a cross course, but it is perfectly at home traversing backroads and exploring some off-the-beaten-path single track.

Riding in the Tetons with Mavic – Ryan Wilson

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Riding in the Tetons with Mavic – Ryan Wilson

Riding in the Tetons with Mavic
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

A couple weeks ago Mavic invited a group of journalists, athletes, and myself to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to put a few pieces from their revamped Ksyrium lineup through their paces in and around Grand Teton National Park. This was my first time in Wyoming and really my first time riding in the Rockies at all, so it goes without saying I was excited to see what the riding was like.

Through the Valley and Over the Pass – Ryan Wilson

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Through the Valley and Over the Pass – Ryan Wilson

Through the Valley and Over the Pass
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

On many occasions over the last couple of years I’ve gazed at the old, abandoned road that zig zags its way beyond 11k ft, above an already stout paved climb outside of Bishop, CA. Thousands of feet up these rugged slopes is a gateway to the John Muir Wilderness. I’ve made quick forays a little ways up it in the past (on bikes ill equipped for the condition of this particular road), but I knew that doing this thing right would require a bit of time and planning.

Going Just Because:  Three Months of the Sierra Nevada – Ryan Wilson

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Going Just Because: Three Months of the Sierra Nevada – Ryan Wilson

Going Just Because: Three Months of the Sierra Nevada
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Every year fall rolls around and the itch hits me. I know the days of many of the high mountain passes throughout California’s Sierra Nevada mountains are numbered. If we’re lucky they’d be buried in feet of snow for almost half of the year. It turned out this year was yet another unlucky one, but still I feel that push to go and explore the roads in my favorite mountain range while I know I can…

Down and Dirty in Santa Cruz – Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington

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Down and Dirty in Santa Cruz – Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington

Down and Dirty in Santa Cruz
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington

Ty, Ryan, Jackie and myself were recently invited up to Santa Cruz to meet with some of our fellow Instagram bike brethren (aka nerds). We were brought up to test out the new Roubaix Di2 disk outerspace/starwars bikes by Specialized. I was getting over a cold so Ty and I decided to carpool up a day later. We showed up a little late but arrived just in time to partake in what we hoped to be four straight days of great riding with or without torrential rainfall. Regardless of the forecast, we were optimistic. Each day was scheduled to be wetter than the previous, but the terrain was going to be so good that the weather wouldn’t be a factor.

Everything was pretty awesome. Things couldn’t be better! That is, until the start of day 3. That’s when it happened. When I got the feeling in my stomach. You know the feeling?! The feeling when your stomach drops, like REALLY “droooooooops” (30 minutes into the ride) and you start sweating profusely (even though its 51 degrees outside). Then you realize you’ve caught the stomach bug that has been going around the house (Rudy from The 5th Floor had it the day before and a European journalist before him).

I would now like for you to put yourself in my shoes for a minute (or better yet my bibs). You are now officially going to turn your insides out. The probability of you holding it in for more than a single minute is extremely low and while the rest of the group keeps on riding, you start to fall off the back. Then you realize you left your phone at the house because you didn’t want it to get wet. So you have absolutely no idea where you are or how to get back to the house and of course you don’t know the address/location where you are staying.

The Long Road to Titus Canyon – Ryan Wilson

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The Long Road to Titus Canyon – Ryan Wilson

The Long Road to Titus Canyon
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

It started for me two years ago when I made my first trip to Death Valley National Park. I was rolling along the road to Ubehebe Crater when I passed a little dirt road named “Titus Canyon” that gradually sloped out of the valley floor until hitting a seemingly impassable rock wall a few miles in the distance. No signs of the road switching back and climbing over it… just abruptly ending.

Fast forward to a year later, I had done a bit of research and found that the road does in fact go through the range and over the Nevada border. It’s a 25 mile stretch of dirt that is a one-way road from the Nevada side into California. Plans were set, and I was going to give it a shot. Only hitch was that I wanted to climb it rather than descend it (on a road bike), so I would be heading up going the “wrong” direction, then looping around over a paved pass back into Death Valley…

Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best – Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington

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Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best – Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington

Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington.

Ryan and I recently planned a ride up Highway 39 to get some “work” done. We needed to shoot some of the Team Dream products in their natural habitat (shameless self promotion #1). We asked our friend Jackie to come along as a lady model. Jackie originally wanted 10K in cash (up front!) to model but settled for a turkey sandwich (also up front!) instead.

This ride is (in our opinion) the absolute hands down best climb in all of Southern California. The road used to be closed to cars a few years back and in those days you could do the bulk of the twisty climb without ever seeing another human. It was really post apocalyptic feeling back then. Now the 39 is open to motor vehicles until just after Crystal Lake, but even with the occasional “Fast And The Furious” car ripping by you every so often, this climb is still easily #1.

Chasing Peaks In The Cascade Range: Part 2 – Ryan Wilson

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Chasing Peaks In The Cascade Range: Part 2 – Ryan Wilson

Chasing Peaks In The Cascade Range: Part 2
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

I woke up on day four in Bend, Oregon at 6am, in what is likely the shittiest motel the (otherwise quite nice) city has to offer. Next door I could hear the muffled sounds of what seemed like an escalating argument over who stole whose bag of weed. Rather than stick around for the thrilling conclusion to this one, I quickly packed up and headed straight to Smith Rock State Park just a few miles north.

Chasing Peaks in the Cascade Range: Part 1 – Ryan Wilson

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Chasing Peaks in the Cascade Range: Part 1 – Ryan Wilson

Chasing Peaks in the Cascade Range: Part 1
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

It started last fall when I got my first taste of the Pacific Northwest on a one week road trip, riding in parts of Northern California and up into the Cascade mountains of Central Oregon. Immediately following that trip I started laying the groundwork for another trip that would span the entire range of the Cascades from California’s Lassen National Park to Washington’s Mount Baker, near the US/Canada border. 15+ days of volcanic peaks, lush rain forests, and tired legs.