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.Continue reading
If you have been following the Rodeo Labs stories on Instagram you’ll likely have caught onto a theme. Every week stories get posted of smiling faces on Flaanimal’s. Better yet with captions noting you, yes you, can demo the Flaanimal 5.0 directly from Paper Trail Bike Cafe. While Stephen has met both Paul and Mark, I had some catching up to do. Therefore it was only natural to get on a call and hear the ideas they have been concocting throughout pandemic quarantine. They had plenty of time to ideate and now in full swing is the Gravel Travel arm of Paper Trail.Continue reading
Note from Stephen: In late May may dad, who lives with my mom in Armenia told me that the country was overly ripe for exploration by bike, and that Rodeo should put on a bikepacking race there. I was at first skeptical. If the riding there is so good why haven’t I heard more about it? But after I flew over the country in 3d on Google Earth and looked at some of my dad’s photos I was convinced that further exploration was at least necessary. The only problem was that it is quite difficult, nay close to impossible for me to get there any time soon. As life would have it Evan Christenson had just finished a bikepacking tour of the the Baja Divide with his girlfriend Bo Shan. Evan was looking for what was next in life and was in no mood to settle down for anything mundane. In nearly no time at all the idea hit me: Perhaps Evan and Bo could be sent ahead to scout the country and report back? I pitched the idea to Evan, and then Evan pitched me back a more rounded out concept. It was decided that Rodeo would create its first ever On Assignment For Rodeo Labs project, and Bo and Evan would be the first to undertake an expedition such as this under such a title.Continue reading
The last time we heard from the miniseries, Stephen and I introduced the crew heading to the Atlas Mountain Race. With roughly three months until the race kicks off we knew we needed an update. So we caught up with Ashley and David to hear how they are feeling. The conversation that followed is a good reminder that the road to Morocco (or any event) is not linear. Everyone has faced challenges in their preparation. Including, loading the wrong map, losing navigation and a lighting system, a hub disintegrating on the Kokopelli Trail, unplanned night rides with only headlamps, pulling the plug on a big ride, and reflecting on rides long past. In sum, this episode is a good reminder that being human means ups and downs are to be expected. Despite it all, it gives space to reflect and have resets, physical or mental, as well as new goal setting (like finding ways to enjoy riding at night) the crew is honing in on AMR!Continue reading
Photo credit Eddie Clark.
As bike enthusiasts or even, dare I say, bike nerds, we obsess over bikes, gear, weight, suspension (or lack thereof), geometry, and tires. We can’t help but keep track of what are the the latest trends and tech. So when bikepacking.com releases their the famous list of participants bikes and photos tackling an event, we can’t help but ogle at the myriad of choices. We are giddy with excitement for what is to come; often untold hardship and profound moments for the participants. On the other side dot watchers are all over checking in at various points throughout the day only imaging the vast terrain that yields slow, but steady progress.Continue reading
My dad, a lifelong educator, has a favorite saying whenever he takes a group of his students camping:
“There are two types of people in life, like in s’mores making, there are ‘Browners’ and there are ‘Burners.’ Burners play with the fire, while Browner’s have trust in their time.”
While that saying is predominantly about soft, goopy, pseudo plastic desserts, the debate applies perfectly to an event like Unbound. In a world full of Burners, it can pay to be a Browner.
But enough about marshmallows! Here is the story of my Unbound:Continue reading
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.Continue reading
I wrote this journal before starting Unbound on Saturday. I was going to post this on Friday, however, my hotel’s internet was toast, so here it is as a little preview of the big report. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this little insight into how the sausage was made!
A couple weeks ago I realized I made a huge mistake. As an unabashed fan of controlled chaos and the benevolence of mess, I cannot say mistake are uncommon. Mistakes are really more a consistent reminder of the progress I continue to make.
Or so I say to myself.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
Much like a release of any thrilling docuseries on Netflix, the opening episode sets the stage– a cast of characters introduced, various pathways illuminated, but not yet explored. Similarities to the Netflix model diverge immediately. Unfortunately this miniseries will not be binge-able until much, much later… We are building the ship while sailing it, we don’t know if there is a satisfying conclusion to this story, the only way to find out is to press on!Continue reading