Fear and Climbing in the Rockies

It is 11:34pm and my body is tight with anxiety. This is not an unusual state of being to find myself in – the sensation is nearly constant for me. But right now, approaching midnight, the sting of it is more acute. I’m laying in bed, I’ve just set my phone on the floor next to me, and I need to be awake again in five hours. Tomorrow I’m riding into the Rocky Mountains alone.

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Rodeo Adventure Diaries: Strade Bianche

Logan Jones-Wilkins

Over my spring break I had $1,000 dollars of flight credit to use, built up from four postponed trips. After so many false starts, it was time to go again – and go I have. First up, Siena for the Strade Bianche. For the trip, I put away my Instagram and my updates and I turned to my journal. Over dinners and downtime, I wrote down my sensations. These are the moments that captured the trip for me, and I hope you enjoy the “crudo” distillation of my week in Tuscany!

March 3, 2022 — Firenze Centrale, Florence, Tuscany

People seem to flow here. In scarfs, overcoats, down puffers, and other regal regalia built for temperatures colder than now, the Italian masses move with effortless intention. In twos, and threes, and four, and sometimes ones but nearly never fives, people would come, and people would go in a swirl of the sing-song language of the land.

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French Winter Gravel

Why did I say yes in the first place?

In January my buddy and I rode Gravelman Paris – a 350 km gravel race around Paris with start and finish close to l’Arc de Triomphe. They call it a race but that’s not really what it is. Riders can start from Thursday 5.30 am and have until Sunday 11 am to finish. A little 200 km is gravel, the other 150 km is asphalt. One rider actually approached it as a race, and finished within 25 hours, including 4 ‘inactive’ hours. He rode an average of 16.8 km/hr.

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Armenia: The Final Dispatch

Evan and Bo have wrapped up their final dispatch from their two month ride across, around, through, and into Armenia. It’s been so inspiring to follow along on this journey with them through words and photos. It seems that Rodeo and Armenia have been woven together through our experiences there, and we can’t wait to see where inspiration takes us next. In the meantime, enjoy this final post.

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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. 

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Spaces Between Them

By Logan Jones-Wilkins 

I try to avoid cliches. 

After copy editing last year with a classically gnarled old-school journalist, I have been on the prowl to slash and burn the cliches I have in my writing. I think I am improving. Nevertheless, sometimes those cliches are cliches for a reason and I’d be a fool to let a good trope pass me by. So, as I have emerged from my forced concussion sponsored reset, I am going to have a little fun with some lazy formatting because it’s what I want to do. Sue me. 

In my ruminating on my summer in Ecuador, the old Clint Eastwood cliche keeps seeping in. It was good. It was bad. It was ugly. And I just couldn’t help but share this worn triumvirate in the third installment of Ecuador shorts. 

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Armenia Dispatch: Chapter 2 – The blitz

Armenia Bikepacking

Words and images by Evan Christensen with supplemental images by Stephen Fitzgerald

When I walked through Tom’s door and saw a flood of bikes and bags and cameras sprawling over the floor on the other side, I knew I was walking into another adventure entirely. Bo and I had been alone, just the two of us, for months up to the point. We’d ridden with other people for two days at the most, and in the three months riding to Armenia together we had developed a harmonious rhythm. It had been dug deep and as we fell deeper into that entrancing rut we rode through splendor and excitement and pangs and a new world at our own pace. We were happy with it. I felt like it could have gone on forever. 

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Ecuador: “A Landscape Without a Country”

The following is an except from my upcoming article on the larger political and economic story from Ecuador. Although it may not be a cycling specific piece, it is the perspective of the region and the context of the cycling. Enjoy and look out for the full story soon.

Situated one ridge over from the outskirts of Quito, Ecuador, deep in the towering shadow of the mountainside staircase of an unnamed mine, sits San Antonio de Pichincha. In an arid landscape, defined by human domination of the landscape, the town is hardly reminiscent of the bustling metropolis to the south. 

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A Bus through Guayas

Over the month of August, I spent my time backpacking through the country of Ecuador on a research grant from the University of Richmond. While the subject of the research was not a cycling story, the scenes from the road were on their own, little nuggets of intrigue. Here is the first!

The absurdity of Guayaquil, Ecuador is hard to understate. In the dense neighborhood and enclaves, the worlds of many fuse into a convoluted web of urbanization. As I wheeled to a halt at the sudden terminus of a bike path on the outskirts of the city, that chaos was inescapably and suddenly present. 

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Finally there: Armenia Dispatch 1

The big mountain, the big city. 

I’ve never done research on a place I’m traveling to. I’ve never read the top 10 lists and taken notes or looked into the history or geography or culture. I’ve always followed my gut and shown up jet-lagged and blind and let the bike and whoever I meet along the way lead me through discovering a place. I don’t often regret not making it to the most known places. I’ve found stumbling through a place is how to really get to know it’s charm. 

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