PHOTOS BY MIKE HORN
PHOTO BY MIKE HORN
PHOTOS BY MIKE HORN
PHOTO BY JUSTIN CASH
PHOTO BY MIKE HORN
Don't Miss Out on The Frendly Gathering June 27-29, 2014.
I've been to The Frendly Gathering the past two years. It's such a fun weekend filled with great live music, delicious food and a bunch of frendly folks. Each year I've gone with good frends and left with great frends. You can bring your own booze and food, camp, hike, skate, and enjoy the sights and sounds from atop Timber Ridge, Vermont. Simply put, it's one of the best music festivals of the summer so grab tickets here and look for us there.
Photos + Words by Randy Elles
Crested Butte's mountain biking is world-renowned for many reasons, and Deer Creek is one of them. The 29-mile ride offers more pleasure than pain. In addition to its lung-busting climbs and sliver-like singletrack are meadows bursting with wildflowers and awesome views of Gothic Mountain.
PHOTO BY MIKE HORN
Last fall, I pedaled 150 or so miles on a backcountry bike tour of Eastern Idaho and the west slope of the Tetons. I'd be hard pressed to think of a better way to explore a new place—and experience a wide breadth of its intricacies in a short period of time. When you're pedaling through the middle of "nowhere," every gust of wind, stretch of washboard and ray of sun feels stronger, bigger, more intense. And ends up being more memorable as it turns out.
When Todd Walton first called to invite me, I was immediately intrigued. Never been to Idaho, for one. As he relayed the roughly 150-mile itinerary, a lil anxiety twisted my gut. That's a lot of miles on a very foreign type of bike. I ride singletrack several times a week, but have never surpassed 30 or so miles in a day. Never mind tacking on an extra 20—and doing it three days in a row—with a far more seasoned crew of cyclists. What am I getting myself into?
Just as the leaves started changing in the high country, I flew into Idaho Falls, and traveled by car through potato fields and golden acres of wheat to the Teton Springs Lodge in Victor. The next morning, we met our guides and geared up at Fitzgerald's Bicycles. I was surrounded by fast-looking dudes in spandex, including Jay Petervary, one of the most badass endurance cyclists on the planet and the owner of the BikeTender guide service. He is driving this train from Victor to Island Park, along with all-star chef and support crew specialist Xander Ault.
I was off the back and we hadn't even left the parking lot. My fellow riders were hammerheads: writer/ripper Aaron Bible pedaled from Colorado to Salt Lake City this summer and spoke of it like it was no big deal. And Tom Puzak is an adventure racer with quads like a velodrome competitor. Aaron confided that he’d “seen his legs on Facebook” and that we were in for it. Great. I'll be lucky to survive this ride. Before I left on this trip, a friend told me there was no shame in jumping in the support van for a few miles. These guys might say otherwise…
My bike—a Salsa Fargo—was familiar and foreign at the same time. It has a fully rigid frame, 29-inch wheels with knobby tires, and "woodchipper" handlebars—very similar to a road bike with a slightly slacker angle on the lower bars that remind me of a mountain goat’s horns. The shifters are located on the bar ends and brake levers run parallel to the curves. The first hour or so I kept grabbing for my mountain bike levers and coming up empty.
As we peeled away from civilization, instinct took over and these mostly-uninhabited miles blurred into a slideshow of life beyond the main road. Rather than counting miles, JP talked in terms of "time in the saddle" and provided some sage advice. "If you ever start asking yourself, 'Why am I doing this?' just have some sugar."
By the time we reached Island Park and stepped off our bikes one last time, I was actually starting to feel like I could keep going. After a cold beer of course. I basked in the surreal sense of satisfaction as we came together for one last meal, and rehashed the trip's highlights. We saw bear and moose; pedaled for miles without seeing a soul; met some hardcore locals; visited a national park; and ate like kings the entire time. For a guy who's never really road biked, this trip was totally doable, and enjoyable. Cheers—
WORDS+PHOTOS BY MIKE HORN
Once our "idea" was locked in, Neal Campbell and I left southern California for a weeklong trip. Everything else was unknown. No technology...no phones, GPS, swell reports, Yelp etc.
The only thing "set" on this trip was surfing the biggest waves we could find. Everything else was decided by word of mouth: where to surf, where to eat, what roads to take, where to stay and so on. The first day we felt a weird, almost "unsafe" feeling, but by the third day we decided this wouldn't be the last disCONNECT trip we'd take.
It spawned a new mind-easing way to travel. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is truly looking to get away and tune in to where they are and what they're doing.
WORDS+PHOTOS BY JOHN O'CALLAGHAN
It's amazing what a lil Vitamin D and some singletrack can add to an average work day. Denny Annarelli cuts the grass on Crested Butte's Upper Upper Loop, May 28, 2014.
PHOTO BY MIKE HORN
Cyclists like Jay Petervary are reclaiming Eastern Idaho's old railroad grades and backwoods trails on gravel road-inspired bikes, and venturing on point-to-point tours in Teton Country and beyond. I tagged along on a tour last September that spanned 150 miles over three days—a minor epic for me—but just a mellow spin for an endurance cyclist like JP. Full story coming soon...
WORDS + PHOTO BY MIKE HORN
Old school—skating an ancient Sicilian city dating back to 1300 BC. LINK
Have there really been 18 Superparks? Yup. And it's still an awesome event. LINK
Straight up surf edit: no packing shots, no plane shots, no fluff. LINK
Some people go to the south of France to eat and drink. These guys ripped bikes. LINK
We're proud to present our new StokeLab Missions series. StokeLab contributor IJfke Ridgley kicks it off with an incredible journey in Oman, where she explores idyllic canyons, rivers, streams and sand in search of adventure in this sparsely-visited country.
How much fun can you pack into 20 hours?
Just west of Grand Junction, Fruita, Colo. is a mega-popular mountain bike destination this time of year. In particular, the 18 Rd. area is revered for its ride-from-camp access and mix of terrain. My bro-in-law Denny had to check out an RV in Grand Junction Friday afternoon, so I went along for the drive figuring we could camp and ride to our hearts' content at 18 Rd. and still be back in Crested Butte by Saturday night. Storm clouds swirled all around us but we landed the perfect 20-hour window. Three bike rides, two flat tires and two boxes of mac 'n cheese later we packed up camp and headed home. —MH
In the days prior to our mid-April mission to Moab from Crested Butte, people warned us about how busy it would be. It was Moab's annual Jeep Safari Week after all. The kids in Utah and Colorado were on Spring Break. It's still snowing in the Rockies and half of Colorado was migrating to the desert. Despite the warnings, and being on a collision course with a storm system blowing west from California, we piled ourselves and the dog into an overstuffed '99 Honda CRV and headed west against a wicked headwind.
We set up camp on BLM land off Willow Springs Rd. about 10 miles north of Moab proper. The first night could've been our last. Gale-force winds nearly flattened the tent. Rain drops sounded more like ricocheting BBs trying to pierce the wispy rainfly. Sleeping on the windward side caused the tent wall to intermittently surge inward and press down against me like a piece of damp Saran Wrap. By morning, billows of charcoal-colored rain clouds rolled in from from the west and it was raining sideways by mid-day. Needless to say, riding bikes was out of the question so we killed a few hours browsing the bike shops in Moab and stocking up on supplies. By evening the storm started to roll out and the next morning broke cold and clear.
When we reached Dead Horse Point there was fresh SNOW on the ground. At around 6,000 feet in elevation, it sits pretty high, so I guess we shouldn't have been too surprised. After some brief squawking about the biting cold, we layered up and ventured out on the Intrepid Trails for our first ride of the year.
CB local Rusty "Trip Leader" Thompson knows Moab better than most people know their own backyards, and he put us on a perfect ride. The flowy singletrack circuits featured moderate step-ups and the occasional rock crawl, but for the most part this was a cruiser's paradise flanked by mind-boggling views of earth's most intricate and beautiful sandstone architecture.
The origin of the name "Dead Horse Point" is based on the following legend:
Around the turn of the century the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck was then fenced off with branches and brush. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.
After an awesome first day of day riding at Dead Horse Point, we kicked back in our camp chairs and watched the moonrise. Nothing but clear skies and more trails to ride on the horizon.
The "Brand Trails" are just a few miles north of Moab and offer up everything from mellow singletrack (Lazy-EZ) to more challenging mixed terrain (North 40) to straight-up slickrock (Circle O). There are around 10 total trails, and four of the trail names (Bar M, Circle O, Rockin A, Bar B) are based on cattle brands and spell out M-o-a-b. Hence the "Brand Trails."
Rusty gave us the beta on how to loop a bunch of the Brand trails together, and before we knew it three-plus hours passed. It was our second ride of the year, and while the stoke level was high, our endurance levels were not. Satiated, we finished off a lap on North 40 and rallied down Maverick back toward the parking lot.
Another day, another new zone to ride. Klondike Bluffs (just a few miles north of Willow Springs Rd.) features a well-signed and maintained collection of trails. We rode Jurassic to Baby Steps to Mega Steps to Dino Flow. It was a great loop (once again courtesy of "Trip Leader Thompson") that covered 16 miles give or take, and spanned singletrack to slickrock and back again.
After three days of riding in the desert sun we were feeling pretty cooked. So Lori, Denny and I did a quick morning lap on the Sovereign Trails and then headed to Mill Creek for a little chillaxation. The dog was stoked, too.
We could spend another 10 days exploring the trails around Moab and never ride the same thing twice. But home was calling, so we're left with a map covered in notes and lines ID'ing all the things we missed and will surely be back for. As for the crowds we were warned of, well, from our experience they were non-existent with the exception of Moab's main drag and the popular Jeeping trails.
After reluctantly packing up camp, we dropped into the nearby Brand Trails one more time and rode until our legs could take no more. Until next time, Moab.