Riding East With Tom

Tom and I are not alike.

He’s into obscure Welsh rock. I’m into hip hop, I think. He went to law school. I was done after high school. He leans to the left, I lean to the right of whatever left means. I don’t think he’s religious at all. If I didn’t have faith I think I’d be dead. Tom likes a very tall riding position with an absurd stem because ergonomics. I like a low, sleek position, because vanity. Tom was a pipe smoker once upon a time. I’ve literally never smoked anything, ever, not even the tires on my car. 

The roads out east go on all day long, and would continue into the next day were you were curious, and fit enough. Over each roller is another. Once at the top of any given roller you are denied parole and sentenced to ten more, your good behavior ignored by the cows, horses, and deer that decide such things out here.People used to try to live out east when living meant a lot more than it does now. Nature dehydrated their houses, money, and spirit and left only dust. People still live out east, but in an F350 / Dodge Ram sort of way. Still living, but probably a little less so than their predecessors. As a city dweller I’m in a unique position to judge hearty country folk because I know how to blow out my lawn sprinklers on my own. No sprinkler companies service my lawn thank you very much. I’m a survivor.

Tom and I rode all day long, into exactly the last light of the day. This was an important ride for me and Tom, on a friendship level. I’m quite burnt out on work, life, and everything in it. I wanted to cut our loop short because of fatigue. Tom wanted, needed to do the whole loop. Soon he will take a stint off the bike to battle cancer. Him needing to do the whole loop was enough reason for me to need it too.

We talked and rode bikes all day. Tom cares about people. I care about people. Tom loves his kids. I love my kids. Tom is a giver, and that’s a goal for me. Tom wants the world to be better. I want the world to be better. Tom loves, loves, loves crazy rides. Ditto. The crazier the better. I want people in my life that I can just talk to, all day long. Tom does too. Guards come down.

Tom and I are very similar. We figured that out a little bit more while riding together, out east.

The New Normal Podcast

Andrew Maher, an avid cyclist an technology podcaster stopped by last month for a sit down talk about what Rodeo Labs is up to in regards to social media and communicating with customers. It was a fast paced conversation, and Andrew may or may not have added to that by speeding up the speech a bit. That allowed us to cover a lot of ground. We also talked about the supply chain problems of 2021, how we have handled those setbacks, then got nice and abstract as we explored just what exactly innovation is here at Rodeo. If you’re interested in our back story and how things work behind the curtain do have a listen here or on your favorite podcasting platform:

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Flaanimal 5.0 build gallery

While we wait impatiently for Traildonkeys to arrive we’ve been quite busy building and delivering Flaanimals. Lately Flux customs has been completing our Cerakote and custom painted frames in waves so we’ve had some great looking bikes leaving. Below is a gallery of builds and details.

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Rides Of The Herd: Andrew Patra

What’s your name?


Andrew Patra


Where do you live? Were you born there and if not what brought you to where you live today?


Living in Boulder, Colorado. Moved here from New York when I was a kid thanks to my dad’s job

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What would you like to share about what you do for a living?


I work for a media company based in Boulder focusing on outdoor adventure sports!


What was your entry into cycling, and how did that ultimately lead you to owning a gravel bike?


I started cycling in college around 4 years ago just as a way to get around. I needed to upgrade my hybrid bike, with the only goal of getting a new bike with disc brakes. One of the guys at the bike shop I went to recommended looking at a gravel bike instead of a hardtail like I had planned. I wound up finding cycling quite fun while getting to class so I bought a pair of clipless shoes and some cheap kit. I evidently got really into the sport, and eventually found myself working in the industry at Rapha and meeting some of the Rodeo crew!


Do you have a go-to route that you hit when you want to have a sure-thing good ride?


Marshall Mesa and Flatirons Vista is a good mix of easy road to get there, mellow, flowing single track, and some technical rocky sections that really challenge your bike handling skills. Great pretty much all year round too. I’ve lead some folks around the loop too, and it’s a great way to get your friends into some kinda silly gravel. 


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35913730


How do you keep cycling fresh? How do you challenge yourself?


I like to avoid planning a route as much as possible, especially if I’m in a place I’m familiar with. Less structure to the ride let’s me follow whatever road looks like it could be fun. I’ve found great trails between houses, out on the plains, and of course, a few dead ends. But it’s always fun to explore somewhere you’ve never been.


Do you like to ride alone, solo, or do you like a mix of the two?

I mostly ride solo, but I do love riding with my friends and shooting photos of them while we ride.


What is the most sketchy ride or ride situation that you’ve ever experienced?


Recently I was in Grand Mesa, very unprepared for the altitude and the rain. The only communication I had was a walkie talkie that I just had to hope was in range of my friends back at the cabin. I found myself on some super sketchy 4×4 roads where the off roaders were having issues in the mud. I had to bail out after my wheels kept getting swallowed by it, and I’m thankful it was a cooler day out, otherwise I probably would’ve run out of water really quickly and been stuck at almost 11,000 feet and a long walk ahead. It’s always ok to say “nope”!


Do you have a singular favorite ride experience?

I think my favorite ride experience was the first time I was able to climb up Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. At that point, even the smallest hills felt like a huge challenge, so being able to check it off the first time without having to walk really boosted my confidence and helped me prove to myself that I could actually be a serious cyclist, and even consider myself an athlete. Especially since I always thought of myself as a kinda wimpy kid in high school. Goes to show that you can always work at something and get better and prove to yourself that you can do it.


What would you like to see change about cycling as a sport, a way of transportation, a community, or a lifestyle?


I’d love to see other cyclists try to expand from their boundaries. There should be more mountain bikers on the road, more roadies trying gravel, gravel riders on track bikes. Sometimes we get too in our own niche, and the best way to improve as both a cyclist and a person is to try something new. Be bad at something for a little, you can only get better.


Tell us about your Flaanimal build? How did you narrow down the incredible amount of build options into what you are riding today?

My Flaanimal started as the most basic GRX build you could get when preorders opened. I was pretty bummed that I graduated in 2020 so this was my consolation prize, on a college budget. I wanted a bike that I could throw around and not worry about. Big rock in the trail that I hit? Oh well. Fell off the rack in my garage, no worries. It has a bunch of metal parts, big 700×45 tires, Silca titanium cages and a Silca X RCC frame pump (everyone deserves a treat) and of course the awesome steel frame. Bikes are meant to be ridden after all, and scratches just mean that the bike is personalized. 


Is there anything you would like to change about the frameset or the way that you have it built?


I plan on keeping this bike for years to come, so the best part about it is that there will always be something that will change on it. But the frameset will stay the same throughout, though I may get some custom paint on it to give it a bit of a refresh when the time comes.


Any final thoughts, observations, or points of inspiration that you’ve had as a cyclist or a person that you would like to share?


I’ve met so many cool people just because they stopped to talk about my bike or the fact that they’re also owners of a Rodeo or they ride too. There’s such an awesome community in cycling, and bikes are a great way to make friends, see cool places, and push yourself farther than you ever thought you could. 


Do you have any social media / strava profile that you would like to share if people want to follow along?


You can find me on Instagram at @andrewpatra!

1000 miles on Campagnolo Ekar

Before 2021 I had really only ever had one singular ride on Campagnolo components. It was during a cyclocross race in Portland, Oregon more than a decade ago. My bike was disabled with a flat tire so a friend lent me his Campy equipped steed for my race. Having spent the majority of my drop bar riding life on Shimano components the instant transition to this new Italian groupset was quite jarring. In short: I just couldn’t get the shifting right. The Campagnolo controls were somewhat reversed from the Shimano controls that I was used to, so throughout the race I repeatedly went to shift to an easier ratio for a hill, but instead the reversed controls had exactly the opposite effect: I dropped into a more difficult gear and stalled out. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. It wasn’t love at first sight and there weren’t any immediate plans to try Campagnolo again any time soon.

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Georgia Rodeo Rally – Del Rio Road trip

The summer heat is upon us at Georgia Rodeo Rally and we know to beat the heat one must take your gravel rig to the mountains and gain some elevation. Fortunately for us an oasis appeared – our Rodeo family up in east Tennessee, George and Clint have invited us to come to their neck of the woods near Hot Springs, NC to wrassle some gravel and climb some mountains – Snowbird & Max Patch. Of course, we could not refuse. We accepted their invitation and give you the Georgia Rodeo Rally – Del Rio Summer Field Trip.

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Rodeo Pro Gravel // Co2uT Race Report

If you had told me years ago that Rodeo would be sponsoring a gravel racing team in the future I would have laughed in your face. For a long time I was very anti sponsorship. I didn’t believe in “paying people to ride our bikes”. I also didn’t like the attitudes that I had seen in sponsored athletes in previous experiences I had had with some high level racing teams. I had seen a very offputting sense of entitlement on display in those teams and it bummed me out. More than once I’ve heard sponsored athletes telling me or a fan: “I don’t really like this product, I just get paid to ride it”. It made it seem like some racers had attitudes of entitlement, and few attitudes are a bigger turnoff for me.

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Georgia Rodeo Rally – Vogel Springs – May 15

If you are in the Georgia vicinity or within distance of the drive we highly recommend the Georgia Rodeo Rally events that one of our O.G. Rodeoers Mike Smith has been putting on and hosting. Mike is super passionate about community building and puts on these terrific, challenging, and inclusive rides to which all are welcome. He often builds multiple courses per event so that people can dial in the challenge for themselves. Even if you aren’t in the local area it is worth keeping an eye on the Georgia Rodeo Rally Facebook group as he has ideas for expanding the territory of where the rides take place and he is working on ideas with partners as well. Check it out and sign up here.

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