Risk / Reward: Black Bear Pass

The summit post of Imogene Pass.

I stared up the rusty colored scree field and strained to make out the solitary post just barely peaking above the ridge line that topped it. That was the prize. That was the summit of Imogene pass, the second summit of the day, the crux of the ride. The post was not far as the crow flies, maybe only a couple hundred feet away. It felt much further, infinitely far all things considered. Our progress was painstakingly slow. The fatigue and altitude had quietly stolen away all of our spit and venom all day long leaving us with dry mouths and heavy legs. The 4×4 road surface was generously strewn with wet, coarse rock. We shuffled on our feet.

The summit post of Imogene Pass.

I swiveled left nervously, my eyes following the ridge line west until they found their target about a mile away. A dark wall of clouds was quickly approaching us. Only ten minutes earlier they had seemed twice as far away. The clouds didn’t move if you stared at them but if you turned away they darted closer at an astonishing pace. Now they were nearly on top of us, thumb and index finger shaped like an O, ready to flick us off the mountain.

The summit post of Imogene Pass.

A quick mental calculus painted an obvious picture: We weren’t going to make it. We were only a half mile from the summit, a distance that we could cover in a few minutes on a normal ride, but at 12,600 feet with steep gradients ahead of us it would take us more than fifteen minutes to cover the ground.

“What do you think?” I asked Peder, hoping he would contradict what I knew to be true.

“It’s going to hit us.” he said. So much for that. “But I really don’t want to high tail it back down to Telluride.”

A strong gust of wind hit us, a light rain along with it. If we turned around now we would fail to complete our planned loop but if we went for the summit we’d get t-boned by the storm; completely exposed on a ridgeline at 13,114 feet.

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Traildonkey in CX: A State Championship win

Co CX Champs

Race photos by Kit Hunders

As the end of 2017 arrived, the Colorado State Cyclocross Championships arrived with it.

Cyclocross has changed for me over the years. A half decade ago I was so jazzed about the bike racing discipline that I couldn’t even sleep the night before a race. I would genuinely dream about it. I wanted go fast, I wanted to see if I could win. I had a pretty singular mindset.

Gravel racing is great and all, but in terms of drop bar bikes Cyclocross delivers the quickest, most intense punch in the thrills department.

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Flaanimal 3.0 custom build gallery

Flaanimal 3.0 custom blue

This 3.0 frameset started life the same way all Flaanimals do: With a full dip of anti-rust coating inside and out. Instead of painting this frame after the dip we set it aside for a special project and its day finally came. We added a layer of matte clear coat over the ED to protect the coating then applied the blue graphics with custom cut vinyl decals. We also took the time to match our 2.0 carbon wheels, putting the decals into the debossed graphics that are molded into the surface of the rim. The end result is an incredibly unique look and build, and if the new owner ever gets bored with his colors he can completely redo the graphics with very little effort. How’s that for flexibility?

Rodeo Flaanimal 3.0 custom blue gravel adventure bike

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Best adventure bike? Run what ya brung!

It is happening.

The adventue bike segment is getting bigger, exploding. The offerings are more vast with each passing week.

You know how they say that the universe isn’t just expanding, but that the rate of expansion is accelerating? Well, that’s “Adventure” bikes too.

When we build Traildonkey 1.0 in 2014 the pickings were slim, and in our opinion nobody had really nailed the sweet spot for a multi surface, multi terrain bike capable of properly ignoring traditional bike categories – which is why we decided to go for it ourselves. Now almost four years later the industry has caught up. Almost every major brand (with a few notable exceptions) has a super legit gravel adventure bike. And here’s the thing: They are pretty much all great bikes. I can’t think of a single company that has made something awful and my money says that the genre is going to keep getting more interesting, more capable, and more fun.

Centennial Cone Adventure Biking

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Flaanimal 3.0 // Rapha Brevet build

The kind folks at Rapha Boulder asked us if we’d like to display a Flaanimal 3.0 in their store with their Brevet collection.

Instead of sending a stock frame build over Rodeo designed and painted this one-off graphics scheme to compliment the Rapha aesthetic while at the same time trying to keep it “us” as well. We worked within the Rapha palette and hinted at shapes in play in their collections, but we also included distinctly Rodeo queues such as the trees from our 4.0 kits and 2.0 wheels as well as our Ride / Explore / Create iconography. The Flaanimal and Rodeo Spork logos also got unique treatments in the overall design.

It’s a really cool opportunity and an honor to be asked by a respected brand like Rapha to show what we do in their space. We had our own little Monster Garage, jammed on it almost non-stop for 3 days, and finished with zero time to spare.

We decided to keep the build functional, not stratospheric so our parts selection was intentional. Sram Rival 1 is a perfect gravel / brevet grouppo to work with, having a huge gear range and simplified shifting. Brooks C13 saddle and matching rubber bar tape provide ultra durable and compliant contact points. Clement Xplor MSO tubeless tires mounted on our proprietary 2.0 carbon wheels offer versatile, strong, and light rotational performance. Fizik Cryano controls match the aesthetic of the build. A Chris King i7 headset will provide endless performance up front and the Praxis Zayante hollow forged 1x crankset will due likewise in the propulsion department. This build is balanced, functional, dependable, and attainable and those are Rodeo qualities.

This build will be on display at Rapha’s Boulder Clubhouse in the coming weeks and can always be seen in our Flickr gallery. For purchase inquiries please shoot us an email. This Flaanimal is a size 58cm. For inquiries on custom paint and custom builds on any of our bikes always feel free to get in touch.

Rodeo Labs Flaanimal // Rapha Brevet Bags custom build

Traildonkey Build: XTR Di2 / 1x

Every once in a while we complete a Traildonkey build that ticks all of the boxes. These bikes tend to be unique and nuanced in their build spec and it’s a great opportunity to showcase just how creative our build collaborations can get.

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Flaanimal 3.0 Adventure Bike. specification preview

Update: The Flaanimal is now live at www.rodeo-labs.com/flaanimal3

Flaanimals in Road Bike, Adventure Bike, and Trail Bike configurations

We promised we’d do this on January 31st, so it is time to spill the beans on the production spec Flaanimal 3.0 adaptable frameset.

Let’s start with an overview and recap. The Flaanimal adventure bike project has always been a bit of a younger sibling project to the Traildonkey. Insomuch as we never intended to release a carbon adventure bike, and then we did, we also never intended to release a steel adventure bike, but now we are.

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Dirty Kanza 2016

The 2016 Dirty Kanza was probably my favorite ever achievement on a bike. The significance of the event was profound for me on many different levels. To land on the podium was almost inconceivable. Racing against such a talented and fast group of riders was hugely intimidating and also an honor. Overcoming the setbacks of flats, dehydration, heat, and headwinds with a never-say-die mindset was deeply satisfying.

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