You ain’t seen nothin’, son.

 

*Blip!*

My phone lit up. Text from Peder.

“Looks wet”

His timing was uncanny. It was Monday, I had cleared most of my to-do items for the first half of the day and I was beginning to consider whether or not I’d be able to head out for a ride. My monitor glowed with the Doppler loop of Weather Underground’s precipitation map. Even though we’d been hit with a couple of days of solid rain and the clouds still sat threateningly low, the map actually showed surprisingly few green and yellow blobs of wetness.

“It’s not as wet as you think.” I texted back. My attention was fixed on a spot on the map thirty miles south of me. For about a month I’d been drawn to a place where the flowing undulations of Colorado’s prairies are suddenly, unceremoniously violated with sharp spires of sandstone sticking out of the ground at sixty degree angles. That place was called Roxborough State Park. I had never been there and I had no good reason why not. The idea of finally visiting for a first time has been a dripping faucet in the back of my mind for a better part of a month and on Monday I was considering shutting the faucet up.

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Touring the Native Lands

The Native Lands Classic.

Where to even start on a day like this? To put it simply, this is the kind of day that you look forward to on a bike, yet you can never fully prepare for. Lately, it seems, there is the rise of the self-supported bike event/race. But on further thought, is it a rise? Or a reprisal? Almost everyone has heard or read stories of the old Tour de France days of everything being fully self-supported doing whatever it takes to simply finish. Because before it was a race, the Tour really was just a bunch of crazy guys on bikes seeing if they could do the distance/route. So maybe it has come full circle. Maybe the over-abundance of super serious races and events and rides has spawned some people to come up with events like the Native Lands Classic. Not only to showcase an area of a country, but to bring people back to the fundamentals of riding. To spark that inner thought of, ‘that sounds insane, but let’s do it’.

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Rodeo Road Trip: Tulsa Native Lands Classic (Gentlemen’s Race : 22 March 2015)

Photo by James Gann

So, apparently, this is how plans/ideations for road trips for amateur bike racing start these days:

<Facebook> “A good friend is running a new event for the first time that is very much in the spirit of what Rodeo is about. 100+++ miles of Oklahoma’s paved roads, flat roads, gravel roads, back roads, hills, oil fields, open pasture land, long horns and tall grass to challenge you. We’ve been invited. Roadeo trip, anyone? https://nativelandsgr.wordpress.com/about/” </Facebook>

The entire road trip logistics to race this event as a team were hashed out on one long stream of collective consciousness comment thread, which atomic mushroom clouded into over 150 comments (now 200), questions, quips, and retorts. I hadn’t road-tripped like this with friends since college, and I was in.

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Belgium day 2: Good roads, great company.

It is not difficult to go on a good ride, and it is not difficult to take a good photograph (or at least a decent one). It IS difficult however to go on a good ride while taking good photos. Good rides involve momentum, flow, and that feeling of covering copious amounts of countryside. Good photographs involve putting some thought into what it is you are trying to show and doing it with intention… and some luck.

On yesterday’s ride I didn’t do that, I just rode around in a state of awe and waved my camera around while holding the shutter button down. Zero thoughfulness, zero intention. Click, click, click. Hope something turns out.

As they say on the internet: Sorrynotsorry.

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Lost in the Land of Eagles: Off and Away

I would like to thank Steven and everyone at Rodeo Adventure Labs for giving me a chance and providing me with a platform to share this story. Ideally this will be the first of many entries detailing my exploration of and adventures in one of the last great cycling frontiers on the European continent; the wilds of the Balkan Peninsula and, and in particular, the Republic of Albania. I hope you enjoy.

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Pilgrimage: Donkey does DeRonde. Belgium Part 1.

It’s almost midnight as I try to post this while it is fresh in my mind. What a day it’s been. If kids have Disneyland and Muslims have Mecca, then cyclists have Belgium. The most difficult and storied one day races in our sport’s history have happened here. Outside of the Tour De France it seems to me that there is no bigger crown for a rider than to knock off one of the big Spring Classics that are held here. Stories of cobbles, brutal elements, and gladiators waging bike to bike combat are burned into the minds of those who follow this sport, and most of those stories happened here, in Belgium.

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White Rim in a Day

 

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”  – Sir Edmund Hillary

An epic adventure has equal parts pain, suffering, and elation. It is easy to classify an adventure of epic proportions.  If the pain, suffering, and elation of an epic adventure are not enough of a clear indicator, the constant thoughts and smiles of said adventure many days and weeks after the fact solidify the experience.  The White Rim Trial in Moab is one such ride that easily falls into this category. More than a week has gone by since we finished the ride, and I am still thinking about it.Continue reading

Moab Rodeotrip 1/2: Donkey Does Slickrock

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Sometimes as a cyclist there is a particular ride that calls your name relentlessly. For some it’s an almost mythic European climb like Le Alpe D’huez, for others it could be a right turn onto a dirt road that they’ve never had the chance to take. Over the last year one ride has been calling my name like a record stuck on repeat. That ride is Slickrock Trail in Moab, Utah. I had ridden it once a number of years back and the experience left me laughing at the hysteria and fun of the place. It was unlike any ride I had ever done. Slickrock Trail is almost completely without peer on planet Earth. The frozen dunes of sandstone take on forms that seem drawn by Dr. Seuss. The way it undulates up and down begs you to explore every nook and cranny. The traction of the rock surface is like velcro, and it would seem that there is no grade too steep to climb so long as your legs can spin the cranks. If you aren’t up to the challenge you can just as easily stall out and tumble back down the hill (or cliff) to whence you started.

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The Balancing Act

By Chris Baddick
Bike riding is fun. You know that already. For some of us, racing bikes is just as fun as riding bikes. The rush of pinning on a number, sharing conspiratory glances with competitors on the start line, and drinking the best tasting beer at the end adds another level to why we’re in the cycling community. But then comes the urge.

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