The Santa Rita Pricklypear, Opuntia santa-rita, is a brilliant magenta-colored cactus, specific to the Sky Islands of Southern Arizona. The Ruta Del Jefe gravel race traverses this magical mountain range and this unique opuntia are the inspiration for Shimano’s new RX800 gravel shoes in a “purple and green” colorway. Pulling inspiration from the natural world brings awareness to these delicate ecosystems and the Santa Rita Mountains are still under attack from mineral extraction companies. Find out more about the fight to save these mountains at Save the Scenic Santa Ritas and see more details of these beautiful shoes at Shimano.
Bikepacking Roots is releasing the long-awaited Bears Ears Loops bikepacking route network – 700 miles of riding options through the high deserts and subalpine wilds of central and southeastern Utah. Their goal with these routes are to empower riders to confidently and safely immerse themselves in the remarkable but intimidating landscape, develop an informed sense of place, and experience some of all that is at risk to be lost if the Bears Ears region is not protected.
The current administration has no regard for sacred lands, indigenous peoples, or public lands. After reducing Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante, and other national treasures, the construction of the border wall has threatened the Arizona Trail:
“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced their plans today to construct two miles of border barriers through the Huachuca Mountains within Coronado National Memorial and across the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Beginning Monday, July 13 the southernmost two miles of the Trail will be closed in the interest of public safety during construction activities.
This project will significantly impact the southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, transform the landscape, and forever alter the Arizona Trail experience. The border barrier project includes 30-foot-tall steel barriers filled with concrete, the installation of a linear ground detection system, and the installation of lighting, which will be supported by grid power and embedded cameras. In addition to a 100-foot-wide road along the border wall which will be frequently driven by Border Patrol agents, CBP will also build an access road down Yaqui Ridge. This new road will be within 50 feet of the Arizona Trail.”
Read more about this travesty at AZtrail.org and remember to VOTE!
“The Great American Outdoors Act is a broadly bipartisan bill that strategically invests in our shared lands and waters and in equal-opportunity access to places where we can recreate, recharge and rejuvenate. The bill would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), permanently securing the financial integrity of one of our most important conservation and access programs. (Since its establishment in 1964, LWCF has funded everything from municipal ballparks to river access sites.) The bill also would address long overdue maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters, dedicating unobligated energy revenues over a five-year period to lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education. This is also a responsible bill that uses existing funding instead of taxpayer money.”
Read more about this groundbreaking bill at the Hill.
I’m not at all accustomed to talking about my love for backcountry mountain biking within the confines of a stale hotel ballroom. In a past lifetime as a geologist, I gave plenty of ballroom presentations about glacial erosion, cosmogenic radionuclides, and Arctic climate change – it’s easy to get academics to connect to your words in such a bland setting. But how do a couple of mountain bikers get an audience of equestrians to connect with a shared passion for the backcountry from within the confines of a suburban cube?
Recently, we got back on an old trail that we used to ride, especially during lunch breaks. We used this trail to train in view of a multi-day bikepacking trip. Over the years, wind and snow have broken and even uprooted many trees, resulting in an unpassable section of singletrack that crosses the coniferous forest. So we decided to clear the passages obstructed by the trees. That’s when we noticed that on some of these trees there were bird nests. From time to time, the characteristic noise of the woodpecker at work could be heard in the distance. At that precise moment, the idea was born to “recycle” some sections of these conifers and create birdhouses with them, letting the rest of the logs follow its natural cycle as humus.
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.
The Hawes Trail System, located in Phoenix, Arizona’s East Valley, is quickly becoming one of metro Phoenix’s more popular mountain biking destinations for both tourists and locals. Situated in the Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest, the zone is known for spectacular views and around 25 miles of designated trails that range from easy to very difficult; featuring bermed corners, steep climbs, and chunky rock drops.
Trails don’t just magically appear and maintain themselves. It takes people putting in hours upon hours of work and money! Which is why the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz are running another Ante Up for Trails fundraiser, where you can win an Ibis! Head to MBOSC for more information!