UnPAved 2020: My Race of the Year

If life is, as Forrest Gump claims, like a box of chocolate, then 2020 is home to only the chocolate that nobody thinks they want. Yet, despite the funky, rancid, and downright rotten aspects of this year, this particular box of chocolates has some hidden gems. It may not have been the chocolate we had hoped for, but in some cases it has been chocolate I have truly cherished. Here are just a few of those chocolates:

Cover Photo Taken By Mark Yanagisawa

Bike racing? Never heard of her.

Cyclist far and wide have spent 2020 siting, wishing, watching, and waiting for racing. This new new landscape of cycling, one where intentions are crafted anew and every rider’s motivation have been tossed, churned and been spat out, has been a reckoning for many with competitive ambition. Some, who rode because of racing, found the year insufferable. Others, who in the past have raced to authorize the time to ride, have relished in the flexibility and creativity necessitated by the pandemic.

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Montanus: The Wolf’s Lair Bikepacking Film

The Wolf’s Lair is a 400-kilometer bikepacking route that winds through medieval castles, alpine scenery, and ancient italian villages in the Apennines Mountains. The Montanus duo originally traced the route in 2016 after they felt the need to explore the Abruzzo region to learn more about their culture and origins. Giorgio went back to The Wolf’s Lair to film the experience.

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Oh, What a Day!

Storytellers are architects.

Our craft is about projections, blueprints, and framework. While our products seem final in their own context, it is up to us to first enact the scene before scrupulously building and maintain our creations. No matter what we say to explain away our decisive power to dictate our own perspective, that poetic justice is ultimately undeniable. If taught to work around our bias and prejudice, the power to scrutinize, probe and vet is the only path to free and fair constructions of our products. Products which are one of the few things that allow people to connect with thoughts, emotions and revelations that may yet escape their personal perspectives.

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The Grandest Tour: Glacial Lessons

There are some places which defy even the best of cameras.

These are places where the sheer veracity of color can’t be quantified by a manufactured pallet. Where the scale and magnitude of the landscape is too significant to be downsized.  Places so unique that any fleeting snapshot of moments in time neglects the peripheral context to illustrate the divine profundity of its individuality. These are the places of poems, of songs, and of myths that transcend the visual and can only be truly expressed through the emotions of the most exquisite lyrics.

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The Grandest Tour: Wheeler Peak Mountain Duathlon FKT

See a mountain, summit a mountain.

A simple proposition, but one that can entail so many different things. Some mountains are best tackled by a lightweight road-bike, others call for a machine that is a bit burlier, and some can only be conquered by one’s own hands and feet. However, every once and a while there comes a certain summit that calls for blurring the lines between those spheres of separation.

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The Grandest Tour: A Class in Productive Loneliness

Loneliness is such a fickle thing.

For what seems like an overwhelming majority of our population, loneliness is a wasteful feeling. Loneliness is mental destitution; a dead-end street on the front stoop of depression, anxiety, and even death. All around the world, millions face these dead-end streets, and all too many never escape. Over the last year I have had my fair share of trips down that path. There have been the soggy winter rides, the classic case of college isolation, the solo Valentine’s Day dinner, and, of course, the never-ending quarantine in a no-stoplight town.  

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Rodeo Podcast EP3: Jones Pass / Logan Jones Wilkins

On the third episode of the Rodeo Podcast we first gather around to talk about big mountain adventures aboard drop bar bikes. Our recent ride up Jones Pass is a perfect case study of what this sort of riding is like so we use it as the main talking point. Should drop bar adventure bikes be up on these roads and trails that are typically the domain of the traditional mountain bike? How do we kit out our bikes for rides like this? Should you even attempt this sort of route? Is any of this any fun?

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The Tahoe Twirl

The Tahoe Twirl is a deceptive beast- short in mileage but long with rocky technicality, it packs alpine summits and long, sweeping fire road descents into a literal breathtaking package and puts a big fat lake and a Cabela’s right in the middle of it all. The Tahoe Twirl is a beast. It’s no spring fling and no two-step shimmy. This one you plan for, pack for and train for. This one, you need to make an effort to come and see.

So naturally I threw all caution to the wind and showed up without looking at the route and with whatever was left in my truck. I’m off navigation duty this week, so I’ll bring an extra camera battery and settle in for some mindless pedalling. Ben and I chocked this up as a rest week and the finish line for getting my project car on the road and to Lake Tahoe in time. We spent two weeks burning quarts of midnight (and motor) oil to finally show up late, miss the rally location, and start hours behind the others we’re meeting up with. Hard on the gas out of the gate- What’s a vacation.

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