AN INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE AT DESIGN, AND THE OUTDOORS WIT AROUND THE GLOBE. BROKEN & COASTAL Volume 02 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Christopher San Agustin EDITOR Terra Mahmoudi DESIGN Christopher San Agustin Gritchelle Fallesgon CONTRIBUTORS Adam Kachman, Andy Evans, Ben Popper, Brandon Harrison, Brian Barnhart, Dain Zaffke, Eddie Barksdale, Garrett Lau, Gritchelle Fallesgon, Jackson Allen, Jillian Betterly, John Alcantara, Jonathan Neve, Kelli Samuelson, Kyle Emery-Peck, Marius Nilsen, Matt Kile, Oliver Toman, Paul LaCava, Randall Fransen, and Ron Lewis. GET IN TOUCH CHRIS@BROKENANDCOASTAL.COM
FIND US ONLINE BROKENANDCOASTAL.COM INSTAGRAM: @BROKENANDCOASTAL COVER PHOTO MARIUS NILSEN
Broken & Coastal is published quarterly by Broken & Coastal, 5109 SE Stark Street, #A, Portland, OR 97215. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photography, or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited.
THE INTERSECTION OF CYCLING, TH STORIES FROM ADVENTURISTS CONTENTS DFL SNAKE PIT NORWAY SCANDORANDO PDX TO THE COAST MTBMXER THE SUPER DUPER A TALE OF TWO TRIPS WORTH THE SWEAT SIDE BY SIDE NO RACING, JUST SMILEY FACING TRULY SPECIAL TRAVERSING THE HOLY MOUNTAIN IN GOOD COMPANY IMPULSE TO AUSTRIA #ONMYMETTLE GROW UP WITH THE COUNTRY SEA TO SKY THIS IS WHY WE CANâ€™T HAVE NICE THINGS
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DFL WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON HARRISON
The bicycle can be interpreted in many different ways. For most of the public, it’s hard not to get lost in the marketing circle of materialistic cycling. I like to think of it in terms of its basic function: getting from point A to point B. I used to ride my BMX bike to get around town, and now I find myself constantly researching how to get places on the bicycle. It’s an amazing tool of freedom. I went through almost all the disciplines, from track bikes to mountain bikes and even road bikes. But once I discovered touring, I knew that it was what I loved the most. It’s the bike at its most basic function. Point A to point B. I’ve been lucky enough to make a few tours happen over the last couple of years. Last summer, I spent two and a half months riding from Portland to New York. This past July, I spent ten days riding the Continental Divide with great people who I now call friends. The adventure is endless on the bicycle, and the possibilities continue to expand. I only hope that more people can find this simplistic form of therapy.
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SNAKE PIT WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY JILLIAN BETTERLY
The Idaho Hot Springs loop was full of beauty, accomplishments, and kindness. Three of us women took off with a plan to pedal nine days through Idaho, following the adventure cycling route. Working our way counterclockwise, we enjoyed all of the towns, including Stanley, Cascade, and Idaho City. Everywhere we went, we would meet someone who told us their story. When we told them ours, it usually led to some kind act. The hot springs, the true star of this ride, were unforgettable. Each one had its own charm. From Snake Pit Hot Spring’s killer view to Boiling Springs Hot Spring’s aptly named temps, we loved them all. Add in some wonderful mountain scenery and revolving dynamic landscapes, and this route is a bikepacker’s dream. I highly encourage you to go have your own adventure on the Idaho Hot Springs loop.
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NORWAY NORWAY NORWAY NORWAY
SCANDORANDO SCANDORANDO SCANDORANDO SCANDORANDO
NORWAY SCANDORANDO TRAVELING 350 KILOMETERS AND 10,000+ METERS IN ELEVATION IN JUST TWO DAYS WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIUS NILSEN
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Day 1: Woken up by the sound of a freight train passing, I look at my watch—it’s 5:15 in the morning. I’ve only slept for three hours, but it’s time to get up. Traveling by train the night before, we arrived at 2:00 a.m. and had snuck into the station’s waiting room to catch a few hours of sleep before embarking on yet another epic rando trip. My usual travel companion, Christian, still sleeps like a baby. He always does—whether we’re in a roundabout in rural France, in a parking lot in the Swiss Alps, or in this case, on the tiled floor of the Dombås Station in Gudbrandsdal, Norway. At dawn, after a quick breakfast of fruit and sandwiches, we head out to see the sun rising above the surrounding peaks. Leaving the solid tarmac of the wide u-shaped valley behind, we start climbing the first of six upcoming mountain passes. It’s late September, and the leaves on the birch trees have started to turn yellow and red. At about 1,200 meters above sea level (MASL), it’s warmer than usual for this time of year, and the air is still as we pass through the tree line. As we reach the mountaintop, an eerie dark cloud suddenly appears in the sky, engulfing us as we cross the plateau. I start to wonder if the next 200 kilometers will be wet and muddy, but much to our relief, the ominous clouds pass as we begin our descent into valley for our first stop of the day: Christian’s morning coffee fix. COASTAL
After a couple of cups, we continue toward our biggest climb of the day. With an average incline of 10 percent and long stretches around 14–16 percent, the 13-kilometer road up to Juvass is one of the biggest climbs in the country, bringing you up to Galdhøpiggen—Norway’s tallest mountain at 2,469 MASL. As we approach the start of the climb, our surroundings shift from peaceful fields and lakes to a raging river and a narrow v-shaped valley. We start to make our way up. Whether it’s the rigor of the climb itself or the rise in temperature to 20 degrees Celsius, we soon find ourselves sweating like crazy. Helmets off, we push on. The trees slowly dissipate, and as we pass the 1,200-MASL mark up Juvass, we find ourselves exposed to the amazing views of the surrounding mountain range. Once we hit 1,800 MASL, the temperature drops and the wind increases. Finally, at 1,850 MASL, we reach the end of the tarmac. Having been focused on keeping a steady pace on the way up (at least until I started dreaming of a compact crankset in the last hour or so), I was more than ready for the descent. A mandatory hardstyle photo, and down we go! [Insert the sound of two stoked dudes going downhill at 70 kilometers per hour, here.] Safely down, we head for the next pass—a slightly different climb than the last one. Just 40 kilometers later, we’re greeted by murky skies, light drizzle, and four degrees Celsius. As we travel through the Sognefjellet mountain pass, we see the snow from last winter clinging to the surrounding peaks. We continue our ride toward the setting sun, realizing that we won’t make it to Årdal before nightfall. Still, our spirits are high—we’re on some of the best tarmac this region has to offer, and the the scenery makes it all the more worthwhile. With the last mountain pass of the day, the sun sets behind our backs as we make our way up and over the the last cols. Lights on! A 30-kilometer descent takes us from 1,315 MASL to sea level. After beer and pizza, we’re happy and tired. We start cycling around Årdal, looking for a dry place to sleep. There it was: switching our lights off, we quietly sneak in and unpack our sleeping bags under the football field’s shelter. Naturally, Christian falls asleep within minutes. I giggle quietly, thinking of our bum-like rando style. Day 1: 200 kilometers.
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Day 2: Six and a half hours later, it’s time to rise and shine—it’s 5:30 a.m.! We quickly eat breakfast and hit the road—or the gravel, more like it. Built more than 150 years ago, this stretch of gravel road is truly impressive with 47 hairpins taking us up from sea level to 1,000 MASL in just 12 kilometers! We knew the road was closed due to rockslides, but we proceeded anyway, setting a pretty good pace. Easily one of the most amazing places I’ve ever ridden a road bike, the climb quickly unveiled stunning views of the fjords beneath us. Soon, though, it becomes evident exactly why the road is closed: a large section is missing! Massive stone roadblocks make it impassable for cars, but it’s still doable for us. On we go. My heart races as we cross a section where the road becomes a single track with a 600-meter drop just 90 centimeters from my front wheel. We push on, now through our last mountain pass, trying to make up for the time spent zigzagging between the rocks on the gravel road, but oh boy, did we underestimate its condition. I had spotted the “road” in satellite view on Google Maps a few days earlier, and since I couldn’t find a description of it or any markings on other maps, I just told Christian that it was “less traveled.” Little did I know the road was completely gone, washed out by an overflowing lake! There was no way around it. We crossed the river and continued by foot through the deep mud for about four kilometers, before we reached a semblance of a road that eventually led us back to gravel. But, as if we hadn’t had enough luck for one day, it started to rain heavily, turning the oncehard gravel into soggy, stale mud. We stop talking and focus on pedaling for three long hours. Finally, we make it to Gol Station with just 20 minutes to spare before our departure. Drying our muddy gear over the heaters in the train station’s waiting room, we look at each other laughing. Let’s do it again! Day 2: 150 kilometers.
TOTAL LENGTH: 350 KILOMETERS AND JUST OVER 10,000 METERS IN ELEVATION.
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PDX TO THE COAST WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY GRITCHELLE FALLESGON
Last summer, I joined my friend Laura for a few days on her bike tour from Portland (where I live) to San Francisco (where she lives). While it would have been awesome to have done the entire tour with her, I was heading to Mexico a week after her start date. After numerous emails back and forth, we decided to take the scenic Nestucca River Back Country Byway to the coast, and then take Highway 101, hopping onto any bike-friendly routes we encountered along the way. I would ride as far as I could with Laura and take a series of buses back up the coast to Portland. The most memorable part of the trip was when I broke my rear rack on day two! Shortly after departing camp on the Nestucca River, I hit some pot-holes really hard, which broke the adjusters that connected the rack to the frame and stripped one of the screws. Luckily, Laura is a brilliant problem solver, and she managed to MacGyver my rack back together. Her clever work held my broken rack together for another 82 miles—the distance between us and the nearest bike shop, Newport Bikes in Newport, Oregon. The next day, we headed into the shop and had the rack replaced. If you’re ever touring down the coast, I highly recommend Newport Bikes. They’re a super friendly shop with a lounge, shower, and laundry machines for bike tourers! I only ended up riding with Laura for four days, averaging about 60 miles per day before we parted ways in Florence, Oregon. While it was a short trip, it was incredible to experience part of the Oregon coast by bike! The coast was absolutely stunning. It reminded me a lot of the California coastline, but with that unique PNW vibe. I miss the days of riding along the oceanside, so being able to explore the coast by bike filled my heart with happiness.
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MTBMXER MTBMXER MTBMXER MTBMXER
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1. Billy manualing through the castles. Fort Ord, California.
MTBMXER WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY KYLE EMERY-PECK
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You would think that, having grown up in Marin County—the birthplace of mountain bikes—and seeing groups ride by my house by the dozen on the way to the trailhead every day, I would have taken an interest in the scrappier, bigger brother of BMX. Ten minutes from my doorstep laid an almost unlimited source of singletrack, ranging from slow, tight switchback turns filled with roots to fast berm’d, white-knuckle slashers. But when I was a teenager, I just wanted to ride BMX, and that was it. I somehow turned a blind eye to mountain bikes. Street riding at the local community college and grade schools had enough to keep us entertained. When we got bored of that, we had an ongoing spot to build jumps behind the sanitation plant off the bike path. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a large, dedicated crew. When we were old enough to drive, that just meant exploring deeper for street spots and abandoned pools. I got into photography, shooting my friends grinding their first handrails and 360ing their first doubles. I kept shooting BMX constantly for the past thirteen years. Now that I’ve gotten more into riding MTBs, I find myself wanting to shoot in this space, too. In this article, you will find BMXers who ride MTBs photographed by a BMX photographer. Read about their origins and why they ride big squishy bikes in the woods. 1. SAL MUSH DROPPING INTO THE STEEPS OF A BERKELEY POOL, OR BERKELEY POACH. BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA. 2. RIP AND DIP. DANNY SHOWING HIS TECHNIQUE TO GET BY THIS TREE. CHINA CAMP, CALIFORNIA.
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“Do you really need these Troy Lee shorts to go ride? Or that crazy paint job? Di2, wtf? Do you really need to be thinking about the modulus properties of your carbon frame? Being in the woods on your bike is a rich experience, but that shouldn’t mean that it’s only for the rich.”
“My BMX background allows me to make mountain biking look how I want it to look. It also helps us view the trail as a canvas and bring creativity on the trail. BMXers will find jumps where there are none.”
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1. RIDERS LOVE THIS WALLRIDE SETUP, BUT NO ONE GETS AS HIGH AS JAKE DOES WITH THIS GAP TO WALLRIDE. PACIFICA, CALIFORNIA. 2. TABES ARE TABES, REGARDLESS OF WHAT BIKE YOUâ€™RE RIDING. PACIFICA, CALIFORNIA.
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“I feel like modern day mountain biking is lacking some individuality. Everyone seems to want the same bike and to look a certain part. Like if you are to own these things or dress a certain way, you should be taken more seriously, which seems odd to me.”
“We are fortunate to live in an area with multiple amazing places to go ride, so it felt like I was just expanding my horizons riding-wise. The people I ride with are some of my best friends, so I get to spend more time with them doing what I like to do.”
1. CARVING TRANNY IS SOMETHING JOHN TWIN IS FAMILIAR WITH. DIRT-WAVE CARVE. MILL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA. 2. JOHN’S STINNER FUNDERO IS HANDMADE IN SANTA BARBARA AND BUILT TO GET RAD.
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“Riding different types of bikes improves balance and adaptability. Your average BMX rider has an acute sense of where every part of the bike is and is constantly calculating, consciously or not. They’re always weighing whether or not something is possible, like ‘will my bars clip that bus when I pass it?’ or ‘do I have enough momentum to transfer from one bowl to the next?’ The same awareness, honed on a BMX bike, is equally at home on a bigger bike in the forest.”
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“Descending is everyone’s favorite time, but climbing has its own unique rewards; it’s a meditation on gravity, not some disconnected and strenuous physical activity. Keep ascending, and the views from higher altitudes are inevitably more expansive. Of all the feelings you get at the summit of a long climb, regret is usually not one of them.”
1. PEDAL GRIND ON A SHELF. HOPE YOU BROUGHT YOUR CHAIN BREAKER. FAIRFAX, CALIFORNIA. 2. ONE-HANDED SKID ON OAK MANOR DRIVE. FAIRFAX, CALIFORNIA.
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â€œGrowing up riding dirt jumps and skate parks means I can whip my MTB around pretty well, but it also means I look at MTB riding differently than most. I see jumps in the smallest rocks, and I always choose the skinny or tech line on trails.â€?
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���Since I spend most of my time on my BMX instead of on long trail rides, when I do ride MTB, I like to take a lot of breaks to rest and to sesh spots. That’s why I either ride solo or with other BMXers; most MTBers don’t really understand seshing.”
1. BILLY NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME WITH HIS RAW SKILL ON ANY BIKE. TABE ON A NATURAL HIP ON HIS “MOUNTAIN BIKE.” FORT ORD, CALIFORNIA. 2. HIGH-SPEED FOOT DANGLE. FORT ORD, CALIFORNIA.
“I’m still chasing that initial thrill of heading full speed into a turn with no idea what’s on the other side.”
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THE SUPER DUPER WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN POPPER
The sun will not rise without a sunset, and the sunrise is mine. I have seen more sunrises since becoming a father than I had seen in the 28 years prior. I find that it is magical to climb for hours through dense forest to pop out of the tree line at a mountain pass, summit or lookout, timed so that it is only moments before the sun makes its appearance. I’ve become intimately connected with the sounds of morning and the changing colors of light. For every time I’ve had one of these amazing moments on my bike, I’ve had five times as many even more amazing moments with my family. When our family made the transition from the flat metropolitan life in Chicago to the rugged mountain culture of Seattle, we embraced every opportunity. And, in our fourth summer, that meant we didn’t spend an entire weekend home in over three months. Most weekends were spent backpacking in the backcountry with our five-year-old son and elderly dog. I pretend to be an avid cyclist. In actuality, I don’t get on my bike very much and it has to do with alpine lakes and fishing. My son has wanted to catch his first fish desperately. So much so, that he will sit patiently beside a lake as the sun sets longer than he will sit in one place anywhere else—all in hopes of whatever he thinks it is like to catch a fish! The problem is that fishing is not my game. Having grown up vacationing on Wisconsin Lakes, the only experience I have with it is limited to earthworms, bobbers, and largemouth bass. So, when it came time to teach my son, we tried all sorts of things that set us up for failure. First, it was a traditional worm-and-bobber setup. Then, we naively tied a dry fly on, thinking we were smart. On some “local” advice, we gave neon-yellow, putrid-smelling PowerBait too many tries than it was worth. Then came the Super Duper. It is dark, and I am stressed out about deer. The twitchy swarms of them in the Methow Valley seem to have a death wish. There is a sign as you enter the valley that warns you of nighttime speed limits, the number of deer hit this year, and the resulting dollar amount in vehicular damage. So, without another car in sight, I am coasting up the road to the Cutthroat Pass trailhead 30 miles per hour under the speed limit, slamming on the brakes at every strange reflection in the bushes. This is going to screw up my timing. I pull into the lot, and there is one car unloading and packing climbing gear, another ready to hit the trail with a packraft and fishing stuff, and now, me, clipping into my mountain bike. I wonder if they’ve got kids as well.
Iâ€™d hiked the two-mile trail to Cutthroat Lake a few times, but had never been the three miles beyond to the pass above. I had heard that the trail descent was super fun on two wheels and knew that this was going to be my last opportunity to give it a run this year. It would also be a pretty sweet spot for coffee and the sunrise, but I was behind. I hammered out the first two gradual miles to the lake cutoff, but I slowed significantly as the trail rose to the pass. Maybe I am getting old and out of shape, or maybe it was the extended birthday celebrations the night before, but I knew with three miles left to go, I wasnâ€™t going to make sunrise. I pressed on for the next best option: getting above the tree line for first light. I made that, but missed the sun cresting the ridge from the pass by five minutes. It was the first time I had ever missed the sunrise, but there were better firsts to be had this day. I warmed and lounged in the sun before making quick work of a dusty, late-season descent. My son jumped from the concrete walking path onto the dirt trail, stomping up a cloud of dust as if to signal he was finally on his turf. The easy, paved hike to Rainy Lake was perfect for our multi-family, wildlife-frightening, half-a-dozen-kids afternoon outing, but it was tame by his standards. We pounded off into the woods in search of a suitable spot. Off the front, thrashing down barely kid-sized game trails to the water, I struggled to find
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what he declared the perfect beach. By perfect, he meant a mud spot with a long, sun-bleached log protruding from it. He was right. He was also already standing on the log with his pole in hand. I had bought the Super Duper from the hardware store on a whim after lamenting with a buddy that we hadn’t caught anything and that I wasn’t a very good fisher. Standing on the log with my son, I tied the lure on and let him fling it into the icy water. I could see the fish following it almost immediately. The lake was filled with hungry, late-season, alpine cutthroat trout. One curiously followed the lure toward us, checking it out until it got too close and swam off. Another cast and I saw the line go taut almost instantaneously. I reached down and gave the top of the pole a quick jerk to set the hook and told my son he had a fish. Rapid, flailing, and jerky line-reeling began—he was pulling the fish out of the water to give it a five-year-old lesson it’ll never forget. I removed the hook and offered it to him to hold for a picture. I am not sure what he had expected, but he was not at all excited to hold this slimy, wiggling fish. Still, it was a beauty. I snapped a few quick pictures before it flopped out of his hands and back into the water. I will always be willing to miss a million miles on my bike for moments like these.
A TALE OF TWO TRIPS WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN ALCANTARA
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I did two consecutive trips this past summer, one of which was my first tour ever. The back-to-back experience, like the photos capturing it, was both challenging and rewarding in many ways. Described as a “dirt odyssey across the state,” Oregon Outback was an experience in and of itself. With spectacular views, gravel roads, a 30-ounce steak for dinner, and the opportunity to camp under the stars, the 364-mile trip was one for the record books. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. A couple of weeks later, I did Mississippi to NOLA. Traveling straight through Mississippi toward the Gulf of Mexico, I traded the spectacular views of my last trip to bike on gravel roads in the DeSoto National Forest. Despite the grueling heat, which made it one of hardest trips I’ve ever done, I wasn’t in a hurry for the trip to end. Sure, I wanted to feel a cool breeze, but I was in the company of great people who kept me motivated to keep going when times were tough. Both trips were phenomenal, each in their own right. Hooked, I’m now planning my next trip (it could be to just about anywhere!), and you should too! Go ahead and get out there, get adventurous, and keep the stoke way up. Maybe just don’t do a tour in Mississippi in the middle of July. Maybe.
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WORTH THE SWEAT WRITTEN BY KELLI SAMUELSON PHOTOGRAPHED BY GARRETT LAU & MATT KILE
If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would be owning and running an elite-level women’s cycling team, traveling around the world racing my bike and providing opportunities for riders to showcase their talent on a national stage, I probably would have laughed and asked what an elite-level women’s cycling team was. At that point in my life, I had a successful career as a hairstylist, had only been out of the country once, and had no intention of ever racing a bicycle. I didn’t even know what a “bike race” really was! I was completely happy just riding for fun. I had moved from Seattle to LA a few years earlier and had found my place in the “fixie” world. We rode around at night, we drank beers, and we definitely didn’t wear spandex. Fast forward to today. Sitting in my office, I’m surrounded by bikes, parts, and gear. I am a full-time team owner, I’m established in the cycling industry as a key influencer in the women’s market, and I’m debuting LA Sweat on the national level for the third year in a row. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was headed into Interbike with my two friends on a mission to create a small local team with Ritte. Something clicked that week. I was where I was supposed to be. I was in my element. I went home after the show, and a few months later, I quit the career I thought I would have my whole life and threw caution to the wind. I wanted nothing more than to become a professional bike racer. Let’s just say my parents weren’t super excited. I worked on my own personal cycling goals, but my focus turned more and more to the team. Each year, I wanted to create something new, something different that got people talking. At the end of 2014, I sat down with my good friends at Manual for Speed, and we decided we were sick of the old, traditional billboard style of professional teams. With that, the Ritte women’s team was reborn as LA Sweat.
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LA Sweat is going into its third year now. We operate on a budget that’s laughable. I make sacrifices in my personal life and invest my own money, but I wouldn’t change a thing. After running the team while also working a full-time job, I was finally in the position to take 2016 to focus entirely on LA Sweat. My days are filled with constant emails, logistics, answering rider questions, and an insane amount of organizing. My racing has taken a backseat, and my focus has been on the continued success of this team. With each year comes more pressure to up the support to my riders. I’m constantly networking and searching for that “pot of gold” at the end of the sponsor rainbow. I’ve said before that this is my full-time job, it just doesn’t pay. At least not how you normally think of a salary. Instead, I am paid when I get to see this amazing group of inspiring women succeed in accomplishing their goals. I am incredibly thankful to the brands and people who have supported me personally and in my career— who have never hesitated to jump on board with all my crazy ideas! I couldn’t do any of it if I didn’t have my best friend, teammate, and partner, Becca Schepps. She runs our site and blog, helps with our social media, and brings her insanely good eye for style to the team. It can all sound glamorous, and at times, it is. But being a small self-supported team also translates to endless hours in the car, sleeping on strangers’ couches, and living out of backpacks for weeks on end. The struggle is real. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will continue to strive to grow this team and grow the support for my riders. I am a mom, doctor, director, mechanic, driver, chef, bottle filler, number pinner, and boss, but most importantly, I’m a lifelong friend. And I will keep searching for that perfect partnership to turn LA Sweat into a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the bike.
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SIDE BY SIDE WRITTEN BY JACKSON ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRIAN BARNHART
There is nothing quite like jumping a bicycle. This isn’t an effort to denigrate keeping your wheels on the ground, but simply a short celebration of being in the air. In the intervening years since we started digging at Erik’s, every Freedom 40 local has come to own a bike, be it mountain or road, with wheels larger than 20 inches in diameter. We have learned to appreciate gutting out a climb and the exaltation of picking an effective line down a rough section of trail. I would contend that these forays into other kinds of riding have distilled my love of jumping rather than dulled it. After a rough mountain bike ride, I am more conscious of how exquisitely smooth a well-groomed jump or berm feels. The ground covered and the breadth of scenery on an all-day ride can be astounding, but I still delight in the feeling of domesticity you get at the trails, the spartan pleasure of the pre- and post-ride chores, and the intimate knowledge of every inch of an acre of land. The camaraderie of riding side by side on a fire road climb, of watching a friend take his last runs in the waning light of a summer day, is no less significant, just different, than sharing beers around the fire pit. So, let’s just take a minute to raise a glass to jumping a bicycle—and to riding one, as well.
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NO RACING, JUST SMILEY FACING WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY OLIVER TOMAN
Loving cycling for sport and style, we dreamt of creating our very own kits. We didn’t want them to be a club or a brand, but something in between. We were just a few dudes who enjoyed riding their bikes through the Viennese Woods. We didn’t want to be too serious about things. No racing, just smiley facing. And that’s how SINGI got its start. The first jersey was illustrated by Frau Isa, who also happens to be my wife. Designed by Jürgen Friesinger, a Viennabased illustrator known as BOICUT, the second jersey was crazy colorful. We limited production to 30 pieces each—a small batch that upheld them as limited artworks. It was the perfect amount since we wanted to keep things small. Plans now are in motion for 2017. Another year, another jersey? We’ll see.
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SINGI WAS INITIATED BY OLIVER TOMAN, A PASSIONATE GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR FROM VIENNA, AUSTRIA.
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TRULY SPECIAL WRITTEN BY DAIN ZAFFKE PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHRISTOPHER SAN AGUSTIN
I went to Grinduro with a badly broken hand and couldn’t ride. Normally there’s nothing worse than seeing other people enjoy a bike race that was supposed to be your main focus of the year. The feeling of missing out can be all consuming. But I drove home from Quincy filled with more stoke and optimism for bike riding, the bike community, and humanity in general than I’ve ever felt before. I saw over 1,000 smiling faces at Grinduro. People of all ages and backgrounds were united by a love of two wheels. It was a weekend free of attitude, without drama or road rage. As one of the creators of Grinduro, of course I’m proud of that. But we should all be proud to be a part of the bike-riding community. Our community is something truly special, and Grinduro really showcases that fact.
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TRAVERSING THE HOLY MOUNTAIN WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY RON LEWIS
SPIRITS ARE HIGH. FLASKS ARE PASSED. RIDERS ARE GETTING LOOSE. THE BULK OF THE CLIMBING IS FINISHED AS WE TUCK DOWN THE SMOOTH ASPHALT OF WEST LEG ROAD. THE PAVEMENT FEELS GREAT AFTER NEARLY 4,500 FEET OF ROCKY CLIMBING, BUT THERE’S NOT MUCH RELIEF ON THE DESCENT ONCE WE LEAVE THE TARMAC. CAMP CREEK TRAIL IS BESET WITH A SERIES OF WOODEN SINGLETRACK BRIDGES SMELLING OF SUN-WARMED PINE TAR, DIPPING AND SNAKING WESTWARD TO CONNECT WITH CROSSTOWN TRAIL AND, ULTIMATELY, PIONEER BRIDLE TRAIL. THOUGH NOT TERRIBLY TECHNICAL BY FAT-TIRE STANDARDS, UPPER PIONEER BRIDLE IS QUITE ROCKY, SO LINE CHOICE AND HANDLING BECOME PARAMOUNT ON CROSS BIKES. I’M GLAD TO BE ROLLING ON 38C TIRES AS I PASS SEVERAL RIDERS HOBBLED BY FLATS. I BEGIN TO THINK MY SLIGHT MEZCAL HAZE AND THE LOOSE INTERPLAY ON THE BIKE MIGHT JUST BE THE TICKET AS PIONEER BRIDLE TWISTS RUTHLESSLY OVER ROCKS, ROOTS, DROPS, PUNCHY TECHNICAL CLIMBS, AND MORE ROCKS, GRADUALLY EASING AS WE PASS THROUGH THE STONE TUNNEL BENEATH THE OLD HIGHWAY 26. Lower Pioneer Bridle is a fast and furious affair. We log quite a bit of airtime over the rhythmically spaced waterbars, perhaps against our better judgement. But hey, it’s a Saturday, and we’re feeling punchy. We cross 26 for the last time and head over to East Henry Creek Road and Road 19 for what feels like a bit of a victory lap. Legs are moderately tired, but our wrists and hands bear the brunt of these kinds of descents anyway. Stoke is high as we reach Lolo Pass Road, but unfortunately, some of our mates are headed left and few of us are headed right. After high-fives and farewells, we part ways and head northward to Muddy Fork to set up camp along the Sandy River and call it a day well ridden. The Pre-Ride: The concept was simple enough—string together an accessible but moderately challenging loop that connects some of the best of Mount Hood’s south and east sides and strikes a balance of familiar territory and deep cuts. If there happened to be ride-up camping available, all the better. We knew we wanted to start with the Still Creek Road climb and finish by descending Pioneer Bridle Trail, but everything else had yet to be determined. The first recon pass along FR 2660 included bits of pristine forest road around Clear Lake, however, an ill-advised Barlow Road (FR 3530) climb left us pretty beat before even considering Pioneer Bridle. The second version was a stellar loop our buddy James Buckroyd concocted that incorporated Still Creek Road to Trillium Lake, then hopped up
Timberline East Leg to West Leg Road, and climbed beneath the chairlifts the remainder of the distance to Timberline Lodge before completing the loop with a descent back to Zigzag entirely on singletrack. Did I mention the idea was to do this on cross bikes? Having ridden Still Creek to Trillium several times, I was curious about the Veda Lake and Dry Fir trails further to the south. I found the rough-and-tumble climb of Kinzel Lake Road to be an appealing contrast to Still Creek and decided to give it a solo roll. Dry Fir proved to be one of the highlights. Rounding out the recon with the climb to Timberline, I was eager to savor the curves of the Timberline to Town Trail, but in my jetlagged haste, I took some corners a bit hot and went down, cracking a couple of ribs in the process. An additional pre-ride the following week refined the route with bookends of singletrack and forest road at the suggestion of my pal, Ryan Francesconi. The Day Of: The ride kicked off with the realization that, once clipped in, we were still five miles from the start with ten minutes to get there. After a spirited time trial down Lolo Pass Road, my riding partners—Ryan Francesconi and Brandon Day—and I rolled up to the Zigzag Ranger Station at 9 a.m. on the nose to encounter a cross section of racers, randonneurs, and adventure types. Riders were on everything from carbon hardtail 29ers to classic lugged steel, but the drop bar cross bike was the predominant ride of choice. I was happy to see a lot of familiar folks as well as some new faces.
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After cold brews and a brief announcement regarding course conditions and stashed boozy treats, we were off. Dappled sunlight and swirling mists made for ideal conditions as we headed east up Still Creek Road. The lead group, giddy with fresh legs, chatted and cracked jokes, hammering the paved Still Creek rollers at a good clip, before settling into a nice groove when we transitioned to gravel. Things tended to stretch out a bit as riders settled into their tempo. Sliding off the back of the lead group for some quiet time, I was pleasantly surprised to come across Charlie, a rider I had first met by chance on this very road a year and a half prior. Charlie had brought some friends. A snack break turned into a joint passed, and things were looking up. Soon, we were kicking up Kinzel Lake Road and approaching the Dry Fir trailhead. We found the lead group had discovered the first cache: a flask of mezcal and a joint, both of which were nearly finished by the time we arrived. Dry and woody up top and damp and loamy below, Dry Fir gently descends three miles with delightfully ramshackle switchbacks before connecting up with Trillium Lake via fast-rolling, overgrown gravel. We regroup, pushing across 26 to East Leg, a lesser-known bit of rocky gravel that climbs steadily upward from Snow Bunny, and crossing Timberline Highway onto a quiet bit of forest doubletrack leading to West Leg Road. Iâ€™m amazed at this point at how completely wild and remote it feels for such close proximity to major tourist arterials. Water bottles are refilled. I use a Sawyer MINI Water Filter. Itâ€™s simple, lightweight, and effective. The second cache is found, but left for subsequent riders. At this juncture, the original route would have continued climbing to Timberline Lodge, but a hastily publicized mountain bike race on our connecting trail prompted a last-minute re-route. We set off for the long descent back to Zigzag.
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IN GOOD COMPANY WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONATHAN NEVE
Austin, Texas, is a noisy, conflicted garden where bike racers and good friends flourish under the viscous, endlessly beating sun. In this town, we’re satisfied by good company, especially when it takes the form of post-ride swims in the cold waters of our many creeks, rivers, and swimming holes. Here in Texas, being a “roadie” or “racing road bikes” doesn’t necessarily mean being as disciplined or exclusive as it might have in the past. Most of us are blue-collar wannabe pros, who scramble to get our shit together to train a few hours a week, either early in the morning or late at night (times when you can avoid the sun’s angry glare). We break up the week with a joyride or two with a ragtag group of friends of all skill levels, whether we plan ahead a little and go out in search of scenic views or just wander aimlessly toward tacos and a cold drink. You’d have to dig pretty deep in the city to find a young racer who’s actually worried about aerodynamic drag, the weight of their food, or whether they have the lightest wheels in the bunch. In Austin, race bikes often double as 24/7 bikes, piloted by folks who love to have a good time, care deeply about the people around them, and work really hard to keep their community thriving. Our bikes may have been spotless and new at one point, but now they’re worked over, salty, and always looking ahead to the next steep climb. The traffic sucks, so a ton of people commute by bike to get from here to there. We meet up on heavy bikes and camp under the stars when time and weather permits. We ride some trails that are legal and some that aren’t (shhh), and we try to get to bed by a reasonable hour so we can do it all over again the next day. You may hear some talk about power meters or carbon components, but rest assured—the people who love to race bikes here in Austin aren’t the weightweenie, dead-serious, no-room-for-fun type. This community fosters the type of person who can race their heart out, but who also loves to cheer on their friends and who sticks around for the kids’ race and post-ride festivities every time. So next time you’re here, drop into a local shop, join us on a ride, grab yourself some BBQ, and come out to our weekly crit race series—see for yourself what makes this place just so damn special.
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IMPULSE TO AUSTRIA WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDY EVANS
“WANNA GO TO AUSTRIA THIS WEEKEND?” THESE ARE WORDS I NEVER IMAGINED COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH. THAT WAS BEFORE SPRING OF 2016, WHEN MY WIFE RECEIVED A PROMOTION WITH ADIDAS. FAST FORWARD A FEW MONTHS, AND HERE WE ARE LIVING IN BAVARIA, GERMANY, LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE, EXPERIENCING NEW CULTURE, FOOD, AND BEER, AND EXPLORING AS MUCH AS WE CAN WHEN WE CAN. In Germany, there seems to be at least one public holiday every month. This offers up loads of opportunities for three-day weekends. For us, the Day of German Unity seemed like the perfect opportunity to leave Germany and check out our first neighboring country, Austria. We stayed just north of Salzburg in the countryside near where they filmed The Sound of Music. Our Airbnb hosts were rad Austrian hippies who built yurts for a living. We stayed in one of the demo models in their backyard. A Mongolian-style yurt is a hut that’s designed to be taken down and moved to fit a nomadic lifestyle. It’s composed of one circular room with a skylight that can be opened when it’s hot or, if you’re going for the full experience, when you make a fire inside. We opted to play it safe and join the family fire they had in the backyard, sipping red wine as the children taught us Austrian German and we tested their English (they won). We stayed for three days and two nights. The weather turned south after one day, and my opportunity to get a ride in fell to a do-it-or-waste-bringing-your-bike decision. Monday morning, I crawled out of the yurt before sunrise and headed to Attersee, the largest body of water in the greater Salzburg area. My route was simple: one lightly traveled road encompasses the entire lake with little elevation and amazing views all the way around. The lack of elevation led me to a detour up a gorgeous winding road that overlooked mossy waterfalls akin to those in the Pacific Northwest. I was lucky in my choice of roads to climb and was rewarded with killer views of the lake and the northern tip of the Austrian Alps. This was one of those rides that double in time because you can’t resist stopping for one more photo. I have a saying—“This is
your Tuesday afternoon moment.” It’s my way of reminding myself that on Tuesday afternoon, this is where I’ll wish I was. It helps me remember to appreciate the moments in which I’m fortunate enough to find myself. I had many “Tuesday afternoon” moments on this ride. I’ve never seen mountains so great that seemed to jut straight up out of the ground, sometimes right in someone’s backyard. The peace of the solo ride and the views that refused to leave me put me in a calm, zen-like trance. The rhythm of my legs pulled me around the right turns circling the lake like a magnet saying, “just stay here, forget the outside world and ride.” Eventually, when in a state of mind so calming, something has to pull you out. My wake-up alarm came in the form of cold winds and rain. The 40-kilometer ride I planned ensured that I wouldn’t have to endure the cold rain and wind for long; I was already 34 kilometers in, which meant the loop should be complete soon. I later discovered the 40-kilometer route I found on Strava was an imperial illusion. I had somehow forgotten with my move overseas that I had changed Strava to the metric system. So my short 40-kilometer ride was in fact 40 miles, excluding my detours. This explained why, when the rain came and I assumed I was almost done, there seemed to be a lot of lake left to circle. As so many rides tend to go, the first half’s majesty turned into a second-half tragedy of frozen feet, hands, and face—one of those rides where you can’t unbuckle your helmet or unzip your drenched jacket due to numb fingers. But what do we always tell ourselves in those moments of pain? Would I do it again? You bet your ass.
PROST TO THE NEXT GERMAN HOLIDAY WEEKEND!
#ONMYMETTLE WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY RANDALL FRANSEN
Dichotomous is a single word that describes me best. My focus has never been on one thing. I’ve always been more of a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of guy. I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years creating digital work, but at the opposite end of the spectrum was my need to build something without ports or a power source, something useful. Mettle Cycling was born out of this desire. Truth be told, I’m relatively new to the long-standing culture of cycling. That’s probably why I receive comments on how Mettle has a “fresh take” on the industry or how I’m not “bound by the politics” of it all. It could be a compliment or it could be a nice way of saying, “Oh how cute, he’s starting a cycling brand, and look at those little hats!” I’m too naive to know the difference. Either way, cycling has taken over my life more than any other obsession. Ever. My life is saturated with bikes and bike things. So Mettle is the perfect intersection of physical product, passion, and creative outlet. It started in 2015, when I just decided to (as the saying goes) throw things against the wall and see what sticks. As young as Mettle is, I’ve hardly had time enough to watch the paint dry. But here I am 18-months later with a whopping 2,100 Instagram followers and a few loyal customers that can appreciate what Portland does best: small-batch, handmade products for incredibly specific sub-cultures. Our products solve only modest problems, but if they do it with a bit of panache, usefulness, and above all, quality, then I’m happy. There’s a lot of research that goes into what cyclists buy, and if one of them says, “Yep, that works—I like it!” then that’s my greatest reward. Money isn’t a motivation. I have a day job already. Mettle is in no rush to break into the “cool kids” scene. Slow, purposeful growth is the only way we’ll stay alive and, frankly, the only way I will, too. For now, we’ll stick to filling the niches in the industry and the gaps in the peloton, and see how far we can get.
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THREE OF METTLE’S NOTEWORTHY INNOVATIONS THE TOOL ROLL If you’re not a fan of black cordura, imported designs, and the swish-swosh of weight on your saddle as you climb a hill, I promise there is a better way. “Buy once. Buy right.” is a good way of thinking about the Tool Roll I developed. I turned my guest bedroom into a war zone of a workshop, bought some canvas, and went to work on a borrowed home sewing-machine to produce the first eight prototypes, and I had my friends ride with them through the winter. Three years later, they’re still in use with no issues. Fuck yeah! Crushed it! THE SPEED STRAP Cycling’s platform of choice seems to be Instagram (unless you count clever Strava titles as its own medium). The proliferation of storytelling and photography to bring something to the internet other than #foreverbuttphotos has been on the rise, and ultimately, this camera strap was a no-brainer. It’s far better than another bulky bag or pack, and it’s proven to be the thing that Mettle is best known for. “Oh yeah, you sell camera straps!” THE 5-PANEL CYCLING CAP And the success train comes to a complete stop rightttt here. Cycling caps are supposed to be shitty, but juuuust right. I built a complicated one that did not fit—at all. It’s only recently that they’ve become acceptably wearable and even more recently that they started to look decent, too. The “luft factor” is low, but the construction is very high.
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GROW UP WITH THE COUNTRY WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY EDDIE BARKSDALE
“GO WEST, YOUNG MAN, AND GROW UP WITH THE COUNTRY.” This popular quote by Horace Greeley has certainly shaped American history. At the time applied to the concept of Manifest Destiny (a complex issue beyond the scope of this piece), the idea behind the quote has lived on well past its 19th-century origins, and the desire to explore and experience the West Coast is still thriving. Whether it’s Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland (my hometown), or anywhere between, the West Coast is the hip place to be. We have the coast, we have the Cascades, we have our own variation of the desert. We have at least three seasons, most of which don’t involve a monsoon. We have the largest cyclocross series in the US, we’re the home of SSCXWC, and we have Grinduro and the Amgen Tour of California. We’re currently the home to some of the most influential and innovative bicycling companies in the world, both large and small. And beyond that, this is my home. My fucking home! And while the stoke of that is great, I can’t help but gravitate back to, “Go west.” Yes, there is much for me to explore here and beyond, but is it really the best? Does it matter? I am a young man, but where am I to go when everyone seems to be coming here? East! Go east, and experience what else the world has to offer. Why? Well, here’s the thing: while people are moving west, people are also staying in their home states, exploring the old and building new upon it. There is still exploration to be had in these areas. For some, reexploration. For me personally, it is time to find myself in places unfamiliar, to experience the vast eastern frontier. I know I’m not the only one who finds that all of the West Coast somehow feels like home, but what will the rest of the world feel like? Hell, even just the rest of these United States? The last few years, I’ve slowly been forcing myself east. Not often, not that far, but enough to make me more curious each time. Yes, the West Coast has trees wider than I am tall, a gorgeous coastline, a few months (at least) without rain, and 16-hour-long days in the summer—all of which is beautiful and unique. But have you seen the red rocks of Sedona? Been on roads so bumpy you would swear they were paved with Idaho potatoes? Seen nothing but an endless, flat horizon that made you feel like you were at sea? Seen tens of thousands of years in layers of dirt walls? Maybe you have, but how recently? There’s so much land left out there to explore, whether on the West Coast or anywhere else. Go forth, experience the world, and grow from what it has to offer.
SEA TO SKY WRITTEN BY PAUL LACAVA PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHRISTOPHER SAN AGUSTIN
“Sea to sky.” These simple words, when mentioned with a trip to this area of BC, immediately spike the heart rate, get the mind turning with ideas; how lucky we are to head back to this place. Heck, any part of BC, for that matter. Even with a broken thumb and a Whistler Mountain biking trip a few weeks away, my anticipation is high. No time like the present though, and I still make the trip up, this time for the first in many years with my lady Suzanne, to meet friends—Michael, Chris, and Brian—for a few days of riding the park and backcountry trails. The crew departs for a day of lift-accessed airtime, roots, rocks, and supreme dirt. I get antsy after checking emails, apply half a roll of sports tape to my thumb, and pedal out to some local trails around Lost Lake. It works. Arthritis can wait, there are trails to be ridden! Beer flows that night, condo couch-surfing occurs, and shit talking with old-man Michael and crew encourages optimistic thinking. Lift tickets purchased—this time all of us riding the park for days, hitting up the valley trails—Comfortably Numb, Crazy Train, Micro Climate. It’s really cool to see the crew progress, try new lines, jump a little farther than before. Whistler, these mountains, and these bikes have a way of making it happen, no matter the circumstances, often with old friends and new. Not the first time, and won’t be the last.
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THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY ADAM KACHMAN
It’s known across social media as “That Pacific Northwest Bridge,” a 347-foot-long structure straddling 80 feet across a crisp mountain river, surrounded by evergreens. The setting is nothing short of awe-inspiring. This spurs eager adventure seekers to trespass private lands and risk their lives to get the now-classic picture of their legs vulnerably hanging over the edge of the 90-year-old behemoth that is the Vance Creek Viaduct. We, as humans, have a contentious relationship with natural splendor. Suffice it to say, we seem to have a proclivity for ruining these spaces for ourselves and others through ignorance, carelessness, or even outright malice. It is this dynamic with our surroundings that has led to increasing limitations to the public’s access to natural areas. Warning signs and partitions are an everincreasing sight among the old-growth forests or the backdrops of mountainsides and rushing glacial rivers. Whether by fate or folly, we find ourselves leaving traces of our presence in the places where “leave no trace” is the age-old mantra.
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Sadly, as its popularity increased exponentially, Vance Creek became the Pacific Northwestâ€™s proverbial poster child for the issue of public access to areas of historic significance and natural beauty. Increased awareness of its location and prominent sharing on social media has turned what was once a place of solitude and silence into a selfie-stick-riddled destination for privileged millennials with an irreverent lack of appreciation for the tenuous nature of their surroundings. Fortunately, a fellow adventure seeker, Ben, and I were able to visit this place of splendor last year and take in its colossal presence. Leaving town at 2:30 a.m., we headed toward Shelton, Washington, a small logging town on the Puget Sound that served as hub for steamboats at the turn of the century. We found a small church along a gravel road and deemed it a suitable place to begin our trek over the ridge line to our destination. Daybreak was two and a half hours away, and by our estimate, we would be able to ride 90 percent of our route before shouldering bikes and hiking the remaining terrain.
Gear checked and packed, cameras slung over shoulders, and lights mounted, we began rolling on gravel roads flanked by frost-covered trees under the blanket of night. The fog laid thick in the valleys over sleeping herds of horses and cattle as Ben and I continued our journey in near silence, our heads swiveling in awe at the fact that we had the road and nearly everything around it to ourselves. These momentsâ€”when one can have a silent conversation with nature set to a chorus of quietly crunching gravel and rustling pine needles alongside a best mateâ€”are rare nowadays. The road turned up rather abruptly, and our tired legs creaked in protest as the terrain changed from valley to foothill. Red earth passed swiftly under our wheels, and the sky began to glow along the horizon. It was a magnificent purple and orange fade with Mount St. Helens looming in the distance, sitting just as quietly as we traversed the rugged foothill roads. I could go on about the ride to the bridge for some time, waxing poetic about diving into the hedgerow to avoid being seen by the locals and the subsequent flannelripping hike to the bridge. But instead, I will leave on this note: the Vance Creek Viaduct sat in wait for us at 5:45 in the morning. We had our coffee and watched the sun rise over the river from 347 feet up. We took photos on 35-millimeter film, and we appreciated each weatherbeaten piece of wood that spanned the valley. We felt the patina of the steel, flaking with paint and coarse with rust. You may already be planning a trip to this very spot as you read these words. The imagery providing inspiration to leave your home and seek out this magnificent area, to feel the wind against your face at sunrise on one of the tallest free-standing bridges in the country. Alas, that plan will never come to fruition, as not long ago, a careless, selfie-stick carrying individual decided to have a campfire atop the 90-year-old wooden bridge. The subsequent damage to the aging monument, combined with the inherent danger associated with starting a campfire during peak wildfire season, led local lawmakers to conclude that the public could not be trusted with this space. And now, beam by beam, the Vance Creek Viaduct is being demolished. This is why we canâ€™t have nice things.
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