Conor Brady grew up in Ireland, where his father Bill would leave every August on a two week ride around the country. A ride he called "the big lap." Bill Brady lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2013, and Conor never got to share that ride with him. In the summer of 2017, Conor pieced together his father's route from his old maps, and he and the Leave It On The Road crew set out to recreate The Big Lap, riding 1,000 miles in 10 days to raise donations for the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer.
We put some detail into the details and had some rad folks agree to build something with that many details. Thank you to Todd at Stoemper and Josh at HiFi for making something so fantastic.
OOPS...We did it again. Great photos from this year and 22 riders showed up (what a bunch of lunatics)!
A look at this custom machine for Randall Fransen of Mettle Cycling w/ HiFi wheels and custom paint from Stoemper's Lucas Strain.
Everyone hoped it wouldn't happen, but here it is: Video Proof of the 2016 SSCXWC. When the circus comes to town, you bring your best whether you're paid talent, slave labor, or a spectator. Tired of seeing drunken flemish men falling over barriers turn into the most exciting part of the day? Do you love the smell of Port-O-Pottys? Sick of seeing World Champion Domination?
This is for you...except the last part. That still happened and 149 other racers from around the world got to line up against the best: Sven Nys.
Remarkably, nearly every mile of riding down the coast from Portland to SF has a memory tied to it; right down to which debate was currently brewing and who was ultimately "right." That includes recalling most of our original motivations and layering on new ones.
"Though I travel down a dark path, I know victory awaits and glory will be someone's if not mine; or my teammate's... or my other teammate's. My heart leads me. Courage propels me. I will make my ancestors feel true PRIDE! Hark! Epiphany! I've passed the pizza hand-up but must travel course-direction to vanquish it!"
This is the second year Mettle has been able to participate in the Leave it on the Road ride. Before you dive deeper into this post you should get to their site, read their story, maybe even purchase something. Drop $5 for cancer. It's not just about riding the bike, after all.
This year, we doubled the distance, added a few riders, and broke up the ride into two parts. Here's the first part in words and images... mostly images:
It doesn't matter what project I'm working on or how much focus I have, inevitably, my attention turns to what's happening during the in-between bits. Capturing the present moments that are quickly forgotten when the assignment calls for serious, epic, or otherwise professional work. We may be riding bikes as friends but the cause requires some priority be given to the message. That message doesn't really involve an Instagram feed clog from a bunch of yahoos. So I saved all the moments and put them in one spot because that's one of my favorite things in this world.
Even at altitude we had hot temps but once again, it was a ride that generated more smiles than "spots of bother" and put this route on the maps of our minds as a stunner of a day.
Mettle sent out the call a few days before the Solstice and we rounded up the participants with working alarm clocks to set out on a completely amazing ride for 10 minutes of impressive scenery in the Columbia River Gorge.
Mettle's first true road race of the season was a circuit out at Montinore Vineyards this last Sunday. The circuit is a 6 mile loop with a .7 mile climb and hilltop finish; just long enough to string the fields out on a summer day. The descent is fast and makes catching back onto the main group difficult at times.
We've been waiting a long time too... After much testing and sourcing, we're finally offering a small run of our Speed Strap for the "on the bike" photographers. Here's a quick rundown of the strap and the best ways to use it after riding over 1000 miles with the first prototype.
Mettle took some video of this famous century ride in the Portland area. Just for fun and for a camera test. The best part is the soundtrack and that's about it...
Early season training in the PNW means a lot of solo miles indoors. We asked some of our team members and riding partners how it feels to them and documented one of their trainer sessions. This is Alex's story and his words.
Living and riding in the Pacific Northwest has it's own flavor; base building here also means building up a resistance to cold, wet-weather riding. Just like anything else, as long as you plan for it, you'll be fine. As they say, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. My mistake has been a never-ending optimistic belief that the weather report isn't as bad as it seems. This has resulted in more under-dressed rides than I can count this year. What can I say? I miss wearing shorts. I miss Vitamin D almost as much.
We spent the season racing, yelling, and snapping photos. While cyclocross rages on for UCI points and the pros have many more dates, our season in the PNW has basically wound down with the culmination of State Championships and the last Cross Crusade race. These photos are everything we love about Cyclocross! There's also a link to a video from the mud fest of Cross Crusade's last weekend at the bottom. Please enjoy!
Sights and sounds of Cyclocross in the Pacific Northwest. We shot this between races for the final race of the 2015 series.
"Natural breaks" are part of cycling. That's just truth. So when it comes time, there's usually some modicum of modesty and desire for an appropriate location...
Fast forward to Day 6 of our ride for Leave It On The Road and the "Radius of acceptable distance" between those taking the break and those who were not shrunk from a good 50m to no more than 10m.
And that's the only story I need to tell to illustrate what happens when you ride 800 miles with good people and become true friends. Here's proof:
It's the reintroduction back into the longer-standing "routine" that's the hardest for us. Insulated from our daily consumption of processed news and sugar, we spent 8-10 hours a day in the saddle. Our diet and consumption of all things purified. Our hearts aligned in support of this cause. Our lungs pulling each other down the coast for nearly 1000 miles. For 8 days, all we had to do was eat, ride, laugh, and sleep. Now we're expected to return to the office and give a shit about analytics reports, timelines, and resource allocations. What the fuck is that about and how can we get back on the road? Let's just keep going to Mexico, man...
Long time comin'... Light reading for the curious (Our Story)