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.
"Honest race bikes. Made in the USA"
You're damn right. When I first connected with Sophie Ballo of VYNL bikes, we were both trying to make something out of nothing with all the grit we could muster and some help from our friends. It wasn't long before VYNL became something and started blasting out these stellar aluminum frame sets with as much honesty as their ethos declares.
As this year's Leave it on the Road ride began to take shape, I was honored to receive an invitation to ride one of these monsters and ultimately auction it off with all proceeds going to the chosen charity: The Colon Cancer Alliance. We set to it and over the course of our dialogue, we put together a custom painted road racing machine that anyone should honestly appreciate.
The warmth of Vinyl and a throwback attitude to what simply works was echoed in the paint scheme. A classic Burnt Orange with a hint of that vintage muscle charm gets some gold detail in pinstripes and details from LIOTR and Mettle to commemorate the ride and the cause.
Outfitted with Ride HiFi Mixtape Bombers and SRAM Red 22, this is a dream road machine in the midst of the all-road pack that's more available than ever these days (not that there's anything wrong with that).
If you ride roads, you should seriously consider building up one of these with some custom paint. The DNA of this bike is complicated and storied but that only appears after you try to understand how fucking no-nonsense it really is. To execute on anything that enables the user to ignore the details is a true accomplishment. Get on their site and show some love for a small brand giving a big piece to a huge cause.
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.