Drawing cycling portraits admittedly started as a self-serving venture. Looking for a breather from the largely geometric aesthetic I gave my illustration work, I dug down deep to my formal college Drawing 2 class and after a seven-year hiatus, I gave realistic portraiture another shot. After some hesitation, I decided to publish them but still didn’t have the courage to tag the people referenced. The internet can be a small place and they were quickly tagged for me but this served as the little form of validation I needed. I figured if people could be recognized, then they couldn’t be that bad right?
When I organize a ride you should know what to expect: 8-10 mile an hour pace, lots of breaks to session cool features, take pictures, and definitely eat a lot of snacks. I aspire for all my rides to basically be glorified picnics.
After we featured various Lael Rides Alaska stories last year, PEARL iZUMi has sponsored this wonderful video project by Rue!
Lael Wilcox is a 4th generation Alaskan and an ultra-distance cyclist. In 2014, she began pushing her limits in her home state and dreamed that one day, she’d ride all of the major roads in Alaska– connecting the dots and traveling under her own steam to places she’d heard of but never seen. In 2017, after her first year running Anchorage GRIT, Lael spent the summer riding all of the roads, some 4,500 miles. She had the time of her life but rode mostly solo, and that experience was all her own. In reflection, she wanted to share more–to show people the beauty and truth of Alaska and inspire more people to ride there. The global pandemic of 2020 provided a unique opportunity to revisit this project–ride from home, spend time with her family, bring them along, and encourage others to pursue their own adventures.
Riding roads is feeling topography and weather, seeing history and reality, and experiencing everything along the way. If the finish line is home, how much farther can we go? If we bring along our loved ones, how much more will it mean?
This project is in support of the Anchorage GRIT project and the “Lael Ride Alaska Women’s Scholarship Program.”
Over the years, having had the chance to ride a lot of different bikes, I’ve whittled my personal preferences down to a few assumptions about geometry and materials. Based on these preconceptions, I wasn’t sure I’d be into the Ritchey Outback.
Gravel bikes with carbon forks are pretty predictable in my experience: more capable and adaptable than the ‘cross bikes they evolved from, but too stiff to be enjoyable on rough terrain or long days in the saddle. Gravel bikes have also evolved to have longer rear ends than ‘cross bikes, and yet the Outback has the longest rear end of any performance-oriented drop-bar bike I’ve ridden.
I will also say that I’ve learned to keep an open mind about this stuff, and in the past couple of years I’m finding myself excited to ride bikes that don’t fit into neat and predictable categories. The chance to review oddball bikes helps me expand my experience and therefore become a better bike reviewer. I’m open to being surprised!
Well, there must be exceptions to rules and there must be challenges to preconceptions, and the Ritchey Outback fits into both of those categories for me.
Halo, makers of various wheels and components, have entered the gravel market with three new models of tires. Their RXR (650b x 47mm) is an all-road/hardpack tire, GXR (650b x 47mm) is an all-surface tire, and the GXC (650b x 47mm or 700 x 38mm) is a gravel tire with lots of grip for the roughest days out on backcountry roads. Each tire comes in black or gumwall and you can find out more at Halo Wheels.
Shimano takes a look at gravel riding in their latest video, the Path Less Paved.
Alaskan summer energy, at its height, seems endless. You don’t need lights because the sun never sets. Schedules are mostly irrelevant— ride late, sleep in, take breaks, or never stop. It’s all possible.
Then the dark starts eating into the day. In late August, we start losing minutes that cumulate into hours over weeks. It’s hard to adjust. Night returns. And maybe that’s part of what makes it so special. That fleeting feeling of freedom that leaves, but not forever.
Who says you can’t do-it-all, or at least most, on drop bars? Industry Nine‘s newest video blends in multiple disciples all on drop bar bikes…
Last week members of the Colorado cycling industry, including retailers, government agencies, and journalists, attended the first Trinidad-Las Animas County Off-Road Cycling Symposium hosted by the City of Trinidad and Trinidad State Jr. College. It was a chance to share and learn more about the emerging southern Front Range cycling scene. Attendees heard from speakers like Troy Rarick and Paul Aieta of Over the Edge Sports in Fruita and Tony Boone of Timberline TrailCraft, and myself discussing gravel+mountain bike destination development in the region. Fueling the two days of discussion was the new Fisher Peak State Park and TSJC Trail Maintenance and Construction program. Most agreed that Trinidad’s historic setting on the tail end of the old west provides a unique platform to discuss the future of sustainable bike destination town development. A number of innovative ideas were shared around transportation, hospitality, and what a gravel+mountain bike destination could look like in SE Colorado and NE New Mexico. Many are already looking forward to continuing the conversation at next year’s symposium.
It’s been a long time coming but DK’s parent company, Life Time Athletic Events, finally announced what the controversial race’s name will be changed to, effective immediately. The new event takes place June 3-6th, 2021. Read the full press release below for Unbound Gravel…
At $100, the new Ranger Shoe is a budget-minded dirt shoe with a silhouette developed from a classic XC MTB shoe, making it ideal for gravel and trail riding alike. The Ranger features a nylon and rubber co-molded outsole for added grip, a Synchwire mesh upper for breathability, rubber fortification in high-abrasion areas, and three, easy to use velcro straps for fit adjustment. The Ranger comes in grey, olive, and black and is in stock now at Giro.com and your local dealer.
We continue our Lael Rides Alaska series with a beautiful story from a series of rides on some of Alaska’s islands. Check out more from this series in the ‘Related’ column below when you’re done reading this entry. Enjoy!
Staring at maps in 2017 on my mission to ride all of the major roads in Alaska, I was drawn in by a few remote destinations with more extensive road networks, specifically Nome, Kodiak Island, and Prince of Wales Island. In that summer, I made it to Nome and rode the three roads out of town— to the native village of Teller, to the river that leads to the historic gold mining town of Council, and to the active mining road that ends at the Kougarok River for a total of 230 miles.
Gravel? What is gravel? If you live in the US, you instantly think about the big gravel rollers which you can find out in the mid west. Gravel roads where you can ride a 100 miles before turning, well at times they definitely feel like a 100 miles. Those brutal headwinds!
Reader SeanMauceri sent in this video of him riding along some of the most beautiful country roads the Northeast has to offer, just north of Woodstock Vermont amidst the Green Mountains.
Woodstock, Pomfret, Quechee Loop.
If speed on all-roads and surfaces is your thing, check out the new Teravail Washburn. It’s a fast-rolling, 700x38mm, 700x42mm, 650x47mm wide tire with minimal tread, a slick center for a wide contact patch, and grippy knobs on the side for cornering on loose roads. These tires are meant for 23mm wide rims, come in a variety of casing designs, in black or gumwall, and carry a retail price of $55-$60 depending on casing. They’re sold out currently on the Teravail site but your local dealer can order them for you.
Today is full of inspirational gravel videos! The latest from Shimano sheds light on Colombia, a country known for its coffee and amazing road riding but as this video showcases, the dirt ain’t bad either! Check out the video above and read the full feature at Shimano.
We land in Deadhorse on the North Slope of Alaska in the evening under sunny skies and drag our cardboard bike boxes out of the single gate terminal. We’re the only passengers on the flight not starting a two-week work shift on the oil fields. The wind is ripping so fast, it’s hard to put the bikes together. We help each other. We velcro bags to our bikes and load up our camping gear. It’s cold enough that we put on all of our clothing layers. We cram days’ worth of food into every pack. The workers at the airport are kind and helpful. A woman gives us directions to the shop where we can buy a camping stove canister and a can of bear spray that we couldn’t bring on the plane. She asks us to leave our bike boxes in storage. They always save the big ones for hunters.