Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Rapha Prestige returned last year with twelve event locations around the world. Dillon Osleger designed and hosted one of the events in the Los Padres National Forest outside of Santa Barbara, CA. Accompanied by imagery from Jordan Clark Haggard, Dillon describes the Prestige ride along his untraditional route that became an expression of a special place, of its varying ecosystems, unique culture, and epic vistas.
I met Chris Orr when I was fresh out of high school, smoking dope and working as a mechanic at VeloPro in Santa Barbara, California. Working at that shop was a truly memorable time in my life and Chris was one of the shop locals who was friends with all the employees and a regular shredder on our after-work shuttles to the top of Camino Cielo for a ripping sunset run down Tunnel Trail.
It’s worth noting that Blake, Vincent, and Tom mentioned in this interview were also employees of VeloPro at this time. For me it was an unforgettable time in a very magical place. But the years pass, and people fall out of touch. I moved from California to Portland in 2005 and it would take 10 plus years and social media for me and Chris to reconnect.
This past summer, Chris was up in Portland to work on the Adaptive trail system at Gateway Green and I was fortunate enough to have him over to my backyard for a safely distanced dinner. He has been a passionate supporter of people and community throughout his life and has a long and inspiring history of building trail systems and communities. Chris is no-bullshit.
It’s my experience that incredible people like Chris are not anomalies, that their goodwill and good deeds build the places and spaces where we find solace, safety, community, and honest enjoyment. That there are more of them in the world than we are aware and that’s a problem. It’s my belief that awareness is the mechanism for inspiration, growth, creation, community, prosperity, and peace. So please meet Chris Orr.
I walked into the shop and was greeted by an animated guy covered in tattoos. While talking to him, I noticed he was locked onto what I was saying. Paying attention to every detail or timid question I asked, he was ready to help me. Understanding that I was new to mountain bikes, he took the time to deconstruct explanations of the mechanics of a mountain bike. No matter how silly I felt asking a question or calling something by the wrong name, he was quick to politely correct me to ensure I was informed. As we walked through my bike’s features, I could tell he was extremely knowledgeable. Without any hesitation, he was able to explain things, while simultaneously working away. He was in a flow state of mind at this point and there wasn’t much that was going to take him out of it. This ability only comes with an expertise that is unmatched.
Ventura is one of the last remaining quaint little beach towns in Southern California that is known for its surf. I know I’ve said this about Santa Barbara before, but compared to Ventura, the city just north has seasonal waves at best due to the Islands that block South tropical swells from barreling into its beaches. Plus, some go as far as saying that the Santa Barbara county line was, in a way, gerrymandered to include Rincon, the only break that really puts it on the radar. This is a tangent, but who cares, right? I know this is the Radavist, and we’re typically mountain people. Hang in there. The mountains are coming. Ventura has its unique point break right off the California St exit and next to the fairgrounds where I’d go to watch the Van’s Warped Tour as a kid in the 90’s. This point break is known as C-Street. I would argue rivals Rincon at certain swell angles, with its many take-off points that lead into a long, smooth yet punctuated ride requiring you to navigate sectioning walls through a sea of people and of the literal sea, making your way down the beach.
I don’t know what to title it. But the bike is really fun, so this is worth the read. I like to think that the writing is also fun, making it double worth the read.
The bottom line at the top: The new Juliana Joplin ups the “raucous trail ability” of its predecessor a few ticks with the new build: feeling right at home pointing down chunky and steep serpentine terrain, while somehow maintaining that xc pedal-ability we sometimes care about. While the positioning of the historic Juliana Joplin, which launched with the brand in 2013, pointed towards super-capable cross country, this bike and its lineage have always pushed the boundaries of the technical ability of a bike that can still pedal fast.
I’ve been looking forward to this stage since the first time Rapha North America and I discussed doing the Tour of California again. Why? Because Stage 05 ends in Santa Barbara, home to one of my favorite dudes / frame builders, Aaron of Stinner Frameworks.
Our plan was to get into town super early and hit a quick road ride before waiting at the KOM for the Hot Boyz of PRO Cycling to crest. Well, when you’ve been on the road for around a week, plans get shuffled around a bit.
We got to town late, like four hours late, but we quickly assessed the race via the ATOC app and figured we could hammer it up Old San Marcos road to the KOM in time.
Side note: I was over shooting frame builders in their studio, so it was nice getting Aaron out onto a bike. If only I could do this for every “shop visit”…
After literally hammering it up to the top, the breakaway group summited, then the peloton and eventually, the stragglers. The temps were up in the high 90’s and it was hot, hot, hot.
20 miles and 2800′ elevation later and we were ready to hit the road…
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