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Riding on Fumes at the Nova Course During the Eroica California 2019

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Riding on Fumes at the Nova Course During the Eroica California 2019

The world of gravel racing is still very foreign to me. At least the competitive side of things, yet I find myself getting roped into these races, namely the ones where they boast features like timed sections. These enduro-inspired gravel races, like Grinduro, adopt this format in hopes that people will hang out and make the event more casual, rather than an all-out battle for who crosses the finish line. In events like Grinduro, this works perfectly, keeping the pace party-level and the conversations lively. This party vibe isn’t easy to cultivate. You’ve got to convince people it isn’t worth charging ahead, stringing the group out.

So maybe that’s why I felt compelled to try out the Eroica California’s Nova race. It boasted timed segments, chiller riding vibes, and I have ridden in the area, twice before, as well as the Eroica California’s course, back when it began and ended in Paso Robles. With this year’s event starting in the sleepy town of Cambria, it surely would be one to remember. Oh, and it was.

The Sandal Boiyz do Mallorca: Toros De Gravel – Ultra Romance and Kyle Kelley

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The Sandal Boiyz do Mallorca: Toros De Gravel – Ultra Romance and Kyle Kelley

The Sandal Boiyz do Mallorca: Toros De Gravel

Words by Benedict Wheeler, photos by Kyle Kelley

Note: this article contains NSFW imagery. Blame Benedict!

Mallorca was a place that every true fan of pro road racing knows about.  Especially if you are into the DEEPly nuanced euro trash aspects of the sport…

Mallorca is where the professional teams come to train and party in the winter months. Scores of doping scandals, both performance and party enhancing, have clumsily unfolded with the spanning mountains and electric blue waters of Mallorca as a scenicback drop.  Would simply going to Mallorca allow me to be immersed in cycling scandal like all of my heroes of the golden doping age?  Would Michelle Ferrari notice my talents on the beach and pump me full of ox blood in his secret lab/discotheque??

We Spent Black Friday in the Mountains of Los Angeles!

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We Spent Black Friday in the Mountains of Los Angeles!

While Black Friday follows a holiday meant to celebrate the togetherness of friends and family, we oftentimes get swept up in consumerism. Hey, it happens. Deals here, deals there. Lines, lines, lines! The whole ordeal can really taint an otherwise pleasant weekend. Don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving in itself. (You should read the history behind what this holiday was founded on, written by the Manataka American Indian Council.) Now, I’m not writing this piece to get into the complicated history of Indigenous Lands and religious zealots’ squandering of natural resources. I actually like what this time of year embodies but I approach the subject with great care. No matter how you look at it, we are all on Native Lands.

Scenes from the Sim Works Convenie Pop-Up at the Cub House

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Scenes from the Sim Works Convenie Pop-Up at the Cub House

Over the past few months, the Cub House has been host to a number of pop-up shops inside its San Marino space. There’s a 10’x10′ room which happens to make for a perfect space for brands to display their product. This round, Sean, Danny, and Carla reached out to Japan’s Sim Works to open a “convenie” – Japanese slang, shortened from convenience store – filled with Sim Works, their outdoor brand, RAL, as well as Japanese snacks and trinkets. In the Cub House fashion, the team decided to make a big deal about it, throwing a group ride, and pinging Mick from 100 Tacos to cater the event.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, be sure to swing through the Cub House to see the Sim Works Convenie Store!

The Cub House
2510 Mission St
San Marino, CA 91108

Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country

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Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country

Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country
Photos By Renaldo, words by ‘Cobra Bones’ Sinkford

The show coming to the east coast for the first time meant all eyes are on Connecticut, and who could provide the ultimate pre-NAHBS experience with home court advantage than the mayor of Lobster Landing himself? I was told Nutmeg Country was a place of peace. A place of pizza, and pancake flat roads soft to the touch and pleasing to the eye. Two of those things are true.

Over the holidays the modern and progressive geometry of the #ultranutmegger was designed. Sklar would build a nutmeg themed dream bike for NAHBS, as custom as desired. That was a rabbit hole he should have never walked down. Seriously. One bike became two, because I was not going to be left out of the party. Truss forks and custom racks haunted young Adam’s dreams as the parts started to roll in, literally like Christmas.

For Your Winter Wanderlust

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For Your Winter Wanderlust

I never go on a bike ride without a camera. Call it what you will, but documenting the rides in the greater Los Angeles area is something I love to do. Add to the list, taking out of towners on rides they’ve never done before. Our good friend Erica is in town for a bit, on a riding holiday/work trip from Nevada City, California and expressed an interest in riding up Mount Lowe in Altadena. Now, for those of you who haven’t done this ride, it’s the hardest road ride in the LA area, ATMO, but you can choose to bite off as much as you wish, establishing the general ride vibes early on, or as the hours go by.

Last weekend, we opted for the full experience and it left me a bit vanquished for a few days, so Erica and I took the party train up to Inspiration Point for some reflection on what it means to be a cyclist in a city with so much car culture. Spoiler alert: bikes will always win… and yes, I got sunburnt. In winter.

Check out a few more below and see our route from the Cub House at my Strava.

Dirty Mulholland at Sunset

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Dirty Mulholland at Sunset

A favorite ride is always amplified by winter light and cycling tourists. Tonight, Kyle and I took Kelly out on a Dirt Mulholland sunset ride, which turned into a Topanga Creek Outpost banana bread run, turned mad-dash through Melrose gridlock at rush hour. The thrills are never short on this ‘cross-town jaunt. If you’ve never done this route, be sure to check it out on Strava and click-through to check out more photos…

Seeking Cloud Cover on Iconic Los Angeles Rides

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Seeking Cloud Cover on Iconic Los Angeles Rides

Over the past week, nature flipped a switch. Suddenly, like migrating birds, the 100º weather had flown to the southern hemisphere, leaving behind clouds, cooler temperatures and even traces of precipitation. Basically, the perfect ingredients for successful dirt bike rides. All summer, I’d stuck to shorter, partially shaded rides, or banked on getting in my mileage before the heat of the day and now I felt comfortable taking off up my favorite dirt climbs.

Thanks for Coming Out to Friday Night Bike Lights!

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Thanks for Coming Out to Friday Night Bike Lights!

As part of the Cub House’s closing weekend (don’t worry, they’ve got a new space in the works,) Sean from Team Dream and myself organized a night ride in Cherry Canyon. A pleasant mix of dirt roads and singletrack made for a fun-filled two hour ride and as the sun set over the mountains, we all turned on our riding lights to make it even more interesting. I’m not sure if this will be a regular happening, but we’re gonna try to make it at least a monthly occasion. Head on over to the Cub House today, at 11am for a closing weekend sale, with a party beginning at 6pm. Details are in the “Related” sidebar on the left.

A New Low

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A New Low

We haven’t seen Smokey Bear this stoked in a while! When the fire danger is low, it’s a good thing, especially for the dirt. This morning I showed Connor around our local hobo trails on a quick jaunt. I’m always excited to show out of towners our local rides.

A Saturday Snow-Capped Mountain Ride

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A Saturday Snow-Capped Mountain Ride

No matter where you are in Los Angeles, the snow-capped, towering mountain loom overhead. It’s rare that we get this much rain in such a short amount of time here in Southern California and at the higher elevations, that translates to snow. Over the past few days, there’s been snow and ice as low as 1,800′ in the Angeles National Forest, yet with the warmer weekend temperatures arriving, we weren’t sure just how much we’d encounter once we reached the 5,000′ mark.

On Saturday, Cari and I drove up Highway 2 into the Angeles National Forest, parked the car and began riding a loop I’ve wanted to take her on for a while now: we’d climb Mt. Disappointment and cut through to Mt. Lowe via an unmarked trail, resulting in a short, but scenic ride. As we pedaled up the mountain, on the icy road and through all the people building snowmen and taking selfies, it was apparent even with the warm temperatures, the north-facing sections of road would be entirely frozen. The theme for the day was “go slow, and avoid sliding out” on the black ice and slick roadside.

The views did not disappoint, nor did the riding conditions. That’s the beauty about the wilderness here, you’re only a short jaunt back to civilization…

Riding Bikes in Joshua Tree on the Section 6 Trail Network

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Riding Bikes in Joshua Tree on the Section 6 Trail Network

Hold up! Before the internet police turn on their sirens, technically, this post is about riding bikes in the town of Joshua Tree, not the National Park. We don’t condone breaking National Park rules and regulations. With that said…

We’ve already stated the obvious here on the site multiple times: the desert is best explored in the cooler months and in Los Angeles, with the Mojave just over our mountains, we hear its call all too frequently, especially when guests come to town. This past week we’ve been playing host to Jeff Frane from Bike Jerks and All-City Cycles. Jeff wanted to be here in LA for the new Mr. Pink launch and more importantly, he wanted to go to a National Park with us to explore, camp and partake in the rituals that go along with desert camping.

Riding in the Santa Monica Mountains with Golden Saddle and Rapha

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Riding in the Santa Monica Mountains with Golden Saddle and Rapha

Yesterday, Golden Saddle and Rapha led a ride up through the Hollywood hills and onto Dirt Mulholland, in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s the classic East to West ride in LA, with a bit of everything, for everyone. We had about 40 people show up and the group’s dynamic was perfect. Everyone waited to regroup at the turns and to finish off the day, we stopped for fish tacos and margaritas.

Thanks to GSC and Rapha for putting this together and to everyone who came out! If you’re interested in doing this exact ride, check out the related stories in the sidebar on the left and see more photos below.

Exploring Northern Tasmania by Bike: Climbing Jacob’s Ladder in the Ben Lomond National Park

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Exploring Northern Tasmania by Bike: Climbing Jacob’s Ladder in the Ben Lomond National Park

An entire gallery of just a single climb? Why not. When I first saw photos of Jacob’s Ladder, many years ago, it solidified my desire to ride bikes in Tasmania. There’s something about a series of switchbacks or hairpins cascading their way down a mountain pass that is not only incredibly photogenic but a very satisfying feeling to tackle on the bike. With each corner resulting in a feeling of accomplishment, the climb always feels a bit shorter.

The Ben Lomond National Park attracts all kinds of tourists, but I’d argue cyclists might appreciate the final approach a bit more than any motorists… Enjoy! No matter which way you ride it, Jacob’s Ladder is an out and back.

Many, many, many thanks to Tourism Northern Tasmania for funding this jaunt, Scott for being a model and Rob for providing the shuttle from Derby to Ben Lomond. Also, thank whatever kept me from falling 100′ to my death while I was scaling up the rock faces to find a new vista…