All Hallow’s Eve Cyclocross Racing

It’s been a while since I had been to a ‘cross race. Maybe even a few years. And it had been just as long since I stood in a considerable, torrential downpour for hours on end. The Surf City Cyclocross All Hallow’s Eve event was my reintroduction to the world of cyclocross racing and my introduction to monsoon season in California.
Huge props to the Santa Cruz Factory Team for racing fast and keeping things positive in spite of the conditions.

A cyclocross rider in a bright MASH kit runs up a muddy hill at the Surf City Cyclocross.
A rider in a custom MASH kit and Santa Cruz Stigmata lighting up a dark day.
A large pool of rainwater on the side of the All Hallow's Eve course
It rained. Hard.
A black and white photo of two bike racers at the Surf City Cyclocross event in Aptos, California.
Justin Robinson chasing the leader on the last lap. Justin eventually took first for Santa Cruz Factory Racing.

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Something’s Brewing

The sun peeks through a brewing storm cloud over Brian Head Utah. Two mountain bikers look on from a rocky cliff over the forest.

Re Wikstrom and Shaun Raskin take in the view over Brian Head, Utah. Mountain bikes got us there and mountain bikes got us back… but not before the storm hit. Muddy rides are worth enjoying.

The Location in Brian Head

This overlook is a classic stop on this particular ride. Some days it’s overcast, some days it’s sunny, and some days you get a powerful mix of weather. Re and Shaun provide the perfect amount of scale for this photo.

High Quality H2O

|| Dusty, dry, and loose, that’s Utah trail riding in a nutshell. It does rain too, but rarely. Maybe a weekend in the spring or a Thusday during the fall. I’m not complaining though, because this particular personality of local weather means that you can roll across ridges and power through valleys without maniacally carving the fingerprints of your tires into well-worn trails. Sometimes though, I do miss playing in the mud. ||

Wagon Wheels

A photograph of the Civilian Bikes logo printed on the frame of a Young Turk 29er mountain bike frame

Civilian Bikes company logo showing a man saluting, printed on the frame of a Young Turk 29er mountain bike

A photograph of the graphics on the frame of a Young Turk 29er mountain bike from Civilian Bikes

A complete Young Turk 29er mountain bike from Civilian Bikes photographed against a brick wall

|| Tiny wheels turning bigger wheels turning still bigger wheels. Six inches of suspension saves your butt far more often than you know. Sometimes it’s nice to drill the pedals and feel the trail immediately through the handlebars. On smooth singletrack it’s amazing how fast this bike picks up speed. Two rides on a prototype and I was hooked, there was no turning back. Although limited in my hardtail experience, I feel like you can sense the difference between a bike made by a mouse-jockey and one crafted by a designer who rides. CAD might spit out an acceptable knockoff, but shaping a bike that feels like it was poured in under your feet and sculpted from the surface of the ground into the palms of your hands, that’s art. I’ll take it.

I shot these photos of my Young Turk 29er mountain bike after picking it up new from Civilian Bikes on Backcountry.com. After a long summer of riding, I know it’ll never look this clean again.

In case you’re curious about the 29er vs. 26 debate, here’s an interesting article from Bike Radar.||

Paved

|| An injured shoulder doesn’t leave much mountain bike time on the agenda. Today I took to the road and followed the bike paths around Salt Lake City. Quickly I realized that dodging traffic might be more hazardous than trying my hand at a downhill trail. These days the Spring sun shines later and later, it warms the pavement and the air until dark. Mill Creek Canyon was my destination, and after about 30 minutes of weaving through neighborhoods I was able to find the road I needed. Single-speed bikes aren’t usually the best for sustained climbing, but I have to say it offers a unique strength training regime. Over the next few weeks I look forward more time on the pavement. ||

As Real as it Gets

|| Life, it’s a serious game. Bills to pay, ladders to climb, decisions to make, and just when you get it figured out, often it answers back with a swift kick to the teeth. Stay too serious and you could find yourself living in a van…down by the river. Just make the wheels smaller, the color a little more pink than red, and the tires? White, obviously. It’s a shame that mountain bike tires aren’t sold in a stock white option. Wouldn’t it make the world a more laid-back place if you were handed a football helmet and a set of bleached rubber when you bought a 26-inch wonder-machine? Keeping it real, that’s the game. ||