In 2020 I dreamt up a route that both thrilled me and terrified me. A Super Sized ride, if you will. Over the years my definition of such a ride has constantly morphed from “I wonder what it would be like to ride my bike for two hours” to their current iteration: Ambitious single day routes built around idealistic objectives. Most often the objectives are peaks, or mountain passes, or geographical features that make me feel infinitely small when I finally arrive at them. Tiny tiny person, huge huge landscape; that’s my ideal, my singularity. That contrast charges me up and fills me with the sense that I am indeed living life, not watching it pass by from the sidelines. I have a small collection of these rides among my memories. They are among my most precious adventure memories: Black Bear + Imogene, Antero, Breck Super Loop, Three Passes, Denver to Kansas, Solo 200, White Rim Solo. There might be others. There are definitely others. Each of these rides gave me equal measures fear and ultimately elation upon completion. Many took more than one attempt to finish. If I were to point at why I ride bikes in an effort to explain it to people, I would point at these experiences.Continue reading
Into the hills, where I belong
Cyclists don’t belong in the mountains once the snow starts flying. Indeed, conditions down in Denver itself were so bad on Saturday that any idea of a final ride of the year, high or low, was Ill advised. But after a week of holiday time off the bike I was anxious for an impulsive visit to the well of inspiration that is The Rockies.Continue reading
Rodeo 2021: A near death experience
Photos by Samuel Fitzgerald, Sheldon Thompson, and Stephen Fitzgerald
It was near midnight June 06, 2021. Emporia, Kansas. I lay in bed restless before the Unbound 200 gravel race. Nerves were high, as is common before events like this, and sleep comes slowly, perhaps even not at all for some. Sometimes you push through insomnia like this and your body finds its way to let go and rest. Other times you push the home button on your phone, because you heard it vibrate. Not the double buzz of a text message, but the single buzz of some other random notification. In recent years I’ve actually learned to put my phone in airplane mode at night, because a single notification can easily ruin a perfectly good night’s sleep. This one did:Continue reading
The Rodeo Podcast: Daniel Connell on the 2022 Tour Divide
When Daniel graduated from UC Santa Barbara, the Tour Divide was not on his radar. However, shortly after Daniel discovered a new passion– bicycle touring. His first bicycle tour was to Columbia, it was a crash course on touring and how to maintain a bike over a six month trip. Daniel has not stopped touring. When Daniel discovered the Tour Divide, he was hooked. The first foray was touring the divide, but the the following two years he has raced it. Now Daniel is patiently waiting for next year. On the podcast, Daniel recounts his experiences from the event. Rain was persistent throughout, start to finish. In between, there were awed moments with wildlife, mishaps with bear spray and quickly fostered friendships on the trail.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
Atlas Mountain Race: The Backstory
I’m in the air right now. Denver to Dallas, Dallas to Madrid, Madrid to Marrakesh, Morocco, Africa.
Rodeo is a slow company.
It is about 4pm on Friday (Date). Nick and I have just completed a seldom or never ridden dirt and gravel ride over three remote Colorado mountain passes approaching or exceeding 12,000 feet above sea level. We’re smashed. Smashed, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is a word that the kids these days use in place of “exhausted”. I think it’s a great descriptor.