Interbike 2017 – Trend & New Products

interbike0Last week I headed to Interbike Vegas 2017, where cycling industry veterans gathered to show off the latest trends and technology in cycling. The first two days of Interbike was Outdoor Demo, where cycling industry pro’s get to view and ride new bicycles, followed by three days of tradeshow. With three exhibition halls full of gear, Interbike gives you a glimpse of the future. Continue reading “Interbike 2017 – Trend & New Products”

Ride Report: Rapha Rising 2017

It’s so hard right? You’re cranking along at your day job with lots of hours and sometimes cool projects among balancing life and all those rooftop IPA evening events with your bro’s. Then along comes a challenge. Not a ridiculous challenge that is totally out of reach, but something that’s just beyond normal grasp. This is the type that is even more enticing as you play with the idea of completion, over and over in your mind.

Summary : 133miles, 15,000ft of climbing on some of the most beautiful and challenging roads around Mt.Hood Oregon. This single day event brought a few mechanical’s and a lost rider but that’s part of the challenge of long days and chasing high elevations


For us (a crew of rag tag riders), this year’s Rapha Rising was exactly that sort of life situation and challenge that we needed (?). With the goal of 15,000 vertical feet spread out over a month it’s doable, but… A couple of chaps at Stages (power meter company) who were determined to complete the challenge started mapping out what it would take to do this in one day.


Yep, that’s 15k feet in one day – that’s a lot of going up and a long way for most normal cycling folks out there. After fifteen or so route iterations they came up with a route which balanced the ups and the downs, good climbs with proper timed descents for recovery. Throw in a few strategically placed services for water and food and, to top it off, roads along spectacular less traveled routes with amazing views not just laps on your local 1,500ft climb. The route was essentially a 360degree loop around Mt. Hood, and hit some of the lesser known mountain roads, a lot of which were from this ride. But also took in about 12miles of road ride-able gravel, as it’s hard to plan a ride on hood without a little G.


Fast forward to the day, Sat July 15th, start time 7am at Government Camp, bodies dragged themselves out of cars knowing that there was no escape on this route – “one and done” as they say. Bottles filled and tons and tons of sports bars and snacks crammed stretched jersey pockets shrouded by lightweight gillets. A chilly start at that elevation but the first 2k climb to Timberline had us warmed up in no time.

see the route here:

west_leg_webClimb #1 -West Leg up, the air was chilled and fresh at 7am. The younger chaps hammered it. I bide my time, its a long day and the mind flicks to the strategy of survival ahead knowing that you have to make this and there is no way out.

timberline_webaApproaching Timberline Lodge,  top of the days first big climb (2000ft) . This shot is taken at about 6,000ft elevation.

timberline_2_webA quick break at the Timberline lodge (created in 1937 as part of Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression ) Anthony is prepared for the 5000ft chilly descent.

timberline_4_webThe descent down from Timberline is pretty stellar, looking South with Mt Washington in the distance, before eventually turning up Lolo Pass Rd at Zigzag.

lolo_pass_01_webThe Lolo (NF1810) gravel is short in distance and generally pretty light, certainly ridable on a roadbike taking caution in deeper sections. The road twist and turns eventually opening out to old logging areas.

lolo_pass_02_webJust after the summit of Lolo, we rounded the corner onto 1810 to amazing views of Mt. Hood and a few miles of gravel.

chain_fix_weband just like in the Tour, mechanical’s happen. Kyle and Anthony roadside conversion to a singlespeed. Needless to say, not the most ideal setup for a route with tons of climbing.

mechanical_webThe odd mechanical : Anthony’s derailleur managed to remove it’self from the bicycle, sheared right off the hanger during the gravel section of Lolo Pass. Unfortunately he had to cut the route short, but in true hardman style he endured the steep grades of NF16 to make the route back.

wheel_change_bennett_webThis guy and his superlight tubes 🙂 .Sticky bottles and support vehicles – there was none of that in this tour de hood. Bennett is outta luck.

lostlake2_webClimb #3 leads to Lost Lake, probably the most photographed view in Oregon, and for a reason.



Vista Ridge (NF 16) – climb #4 and some amazing views from the ridge that overlooks the Northern area of Mt.Hood all the way towards the town of Dee and takes in view of Mt. Adams, WA


Zipping up through Parkdale’s orchards to views, before climbing Cooper Spur #5 – Make sure to load up on energy and visit the grocery store in Parkdale at mile 86.


Climb #6 (no picture) after Cooper Spur climbs up Hwy 35 North, and there’s a reason for no picture. This is a heads down and crank section. Two basic gradients over 11 miles, the first averages around 3% and the second around 4.5%. I have to say this is the most mundane climb up to Meadow’s Ski Resort. Bang it out and forget about it.

rd48_webLate in the ride came climb #7, out this out and back jaunt on Rd 48 towards Tygh Valley was really not that bad, the elevation profile is stair stepped and gives you flats in between to recover, but at this stage a requirement to get the elevation needed.

white_river_snow_webNormally this place is full of snow – White River area just after the 7th major climb of the day on the SW side of Mt. Hood


trillium_01_webThe last gasps of elevation – we took to some gravel via a detour that routes us off Hw26 and down and a round Trillium lake, by this time (7pm) the crowds are thinning out and it’s just the idiots on all day bike rides.


Zipping around Trillium and cranking back towards Timberline road, the car is just around the corner, but we are 600ft short of our goal, so close. A climb up West Leg is called for to make up the elevation difference.


Boom. The face of done, so done. Thanks Rapharising 2017, until 2018.


The better half perspective- Festive 500

Christmas is a time for family, giving unto others, eating lots of comforting foods, chilly days spent by the fire and, in my household, the Rapha Festive 500. As if Christmas and the New Year holidays aren’t stressful enough with family and friends, making sure all of the last minute shopping is complete and coordinating huge holiday meals – we also have to figure out how my husband will cycle 500 kilometers between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

We live in Portland, Oregon, where December weather is rather unpredictable. Some years it’s warm-ish (50 degrees) and extremely wet, another year it might be dry with highs just below freezing. This year, for example, it’s hovering at freezing in the morning with fog and some moisture and then it warms up to 40 degrees and rain. Totally miserable. James leaves the house each morning wearing layers of spandex. Layers!
I am not a cyclist. I have two bikes that are ridden a few times during the year – always in the warm dry months. Before I met my husband, I found looking at men in head-to-toe spandex to be a bit uncomfortable. Now it doesn’t even phase me. Sometimes I find men in spandex to be quite attractive! I’ve known James for almost 7 years now and he’s always been an endurance cyclist and has done the Festive 500 the last four or five years. At this point it’s a part of our holiday tradition – I know it’s coming and I know we have to work it into our plans along with all of the other things that come with the holidays.
There was one year, before we were married, where we spent Christmas in the foothills of Mt. Hood and temperatures were hovering below freezing. Roads were icy and my parents were due to meet us at the cabin mid-day for presents and Christmas dinner. Of course, James had to fit in a minimum 40 to 50 mile bike ride before their arrival. He left early in the day and was gone for several hours and my parents arrived before he returned. I was thinking about what point I would head out in the car and look for him when we finally saw him riding up the gravel road looking absolutely frozen. I think he tried to smile at us, but the nerves in his face were frozen. I have no idea what my parents must have been thinking about this icicle of a man I was dating, as he entered the house, shivering, bright red and unable to move.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is always interesting. James always has to work so he has to figure out how he’ll ride an average of 50 miles each day, while working full time. Did I mention we have about 8 hours of daylight in Portland this time of year? Thanks to the Festive 500, I don’t see much of James during this week. I wake up in the morning and he’s gone – like a bicycle ninja – off into the early morning darkness, riding some ridiculous route to work. He gets home later in the evening for the same reason – he’s riding his bike in the dark, heading from NE Portland to SE Portland by way of the West Hills.
There is a chunk of time each evening during the Festive 500 where he disappears to our basement garage for a while, as he prepares his gear and bicycle for the next day, since he knows he’ll be up before the crack of dawn to do it all over again.
Cassie Buckroyd

Rapha Festive 500


Epic, amazing or telling the world a “hard man” cycling story is not my take on Festive 500, for me it’s about perseverance and conquering while finding the reward in both mental and cycling fitness.  Needless to say my wife’s perspective is a bit different, but the Rapha Festive 500 is tough, always has been, and after having done it a few years I sorta knew what was in store – but in all honesty, I was not even sure I was even going to complete it. It’s a challenge that requires a lot of riding (500km to be precise), you have 8 days and I missed riding on the first 3 days. Remembering back to the 2015 Festive 500 gave me horror thoughts; 2015 was really hard, wet and cold, so I was not even fully committed. In a post-Christmas typical manner I have to work full time during that week; these all sound like excuses not to do it or to half arse it. Finally, I bucked up my ways but it took me until the 27th to mentally commit. 

headed east – the warmth of the sunrise

I find it best to plan routes, it helps me stay on track and not just slack off and find a cafe mid ride! This year because I had slacked off in the first few days meant that I was looking at riding about 60-70 miles (97-115km) a day to complete the challenge. Now fitting that into a regular work / life schedule is pretty difficult, especially starting midweek. Another challenge this time of year is having routes which are safe, and when I say safe I mean routes that have good riding surfaces, no ice, no huge piles of grit / gravel in the road and on routes which are less travelled by cars but are efficient and safe.

the northern lake – interlatchen

Most of my rides started at zero bloody dark thrity (or 6:30 am) in order to get to work on time, sometimes the temp dropped to 28degrees and freezing fog, but this year was pretty dry in general – thankfully meaning no ice and I would hasten to say even sometimes quite rewarding as you start in the dark and cold and you ride into the sunrise with the feeling of warmth hitting your many layers of cold-defeating gear.

freezing fog near the portland docks

After 3 days of  70mile (115km) rides you can definitely feel your fitness start to come back. This feels great after a few slacker months of Sept, Oct and November where I did not do a ton of riding. I found logging miles on Strava and enrolling in the challenge also kept me engaged and tracking how much left I had to go and how I was comparing with everyone else.

tagged boat chained to a gate, trash everywhere, every day find right?

This year with the lower temperatures and lack of timing I found it best to break rides into 35mile (56km) routes, which meant riding twice in a day. Once early morning and another in the evening. At about 2.5 hours each ride, this is quite a commitment, as my wife and family can tell you. Don’t forget to add in the preparation time and bike cleaning and maintenance, your gear needs to work if you are going to crank out 500km in 4 days.

nr i5 bridge – marine drive
Looking west the eastern light provides a nice glow

If I had to do something differently I would say ride with groups and friends, they make the miles go by a lot faster and you can pick up route tips. Freezing fingers are rubbish and distracting so I would also say make sure there was always a pack of hand warmers in my jersey or jack, just in case.

marine drive sunrise

2017, you should do this! Plan your routes, wear good gear, make sure you have newer durable tyres because changing punctures in the cold or wet is not fun. Oh and maybe prepare your wife (here is my wife’s sunshine view of teh Rapha Festive 500)

foggy mornings
Most of my miles were solo not by choice, but my last 50k was spent with these guys, makes clocking the miles easier.
And of course, it’s always good to take quality cafe breaks

BlackSnow 2016

Wednesday night hammer, 5:15pm – Vera Katz on the Eastbank – Bring your Roadie skills and a spare set of legs.

Regular route is Springwater > Cemetery > Terwilliger > Chart House Climb > Fairview > Council Crest > Hewett >61st > Barnes >Skyline > Zoo > Hawthorne > Ladds

6/15 – The first climb (cemetery) is always a tough decision for me, crush it or save for later. Luckily tonight was chill(er) yet Joe setting the pace after some first turns then Seb (orange starburst) bringing the heat close to the end, punching it hard in his rocket ship steez.  He took it, I fell off the wheel right at the end. I blame jetlag.

Then the climb to Fairview, a few interesting construction elements to say the least! a sand pit a curb, luckily I was third through so I got to dig holes for the others:-) but again lost it at the end by a handful of wheels. Joe crushing it.

The battle between Josh (tropical blue starburst) and Joe began, chasing like nutters. I was chillin. Then the icing on the cake. My favourite 61st climb, i knew 10% into it I didn’t have it, my pop is normally proper mad at the bottom of 61st at the old hump. Then my legs fell off on Barnes rd so I had a chat with Tony. It was worth it. Tony is da humblest (yellow starburst)

5/25 – Some local superstars showed up. Joe’s red trek bike looks pretty saucy digging the finish on the paint. My cemetery climb was slow today, body wasn’t having it.  But after the climb to council crest, I woke up and smashed 61st ave climb, sorry to whoever I bumped across the yellow to my left – my head was buried in my bars for that first kicker. It’s gonna be three weeks till my next wed smash, so enjoy fellas. Ride safe.

5/18  – the great Black Snow throwdown as usual, starts off with that nice flat springwater corridor that me and Dylan love so much, then turns into the regular uphill pukefest and as usual Sick Nick Gibson was crushing, holding my wheel like a monster. Watch out for the shimano logos and pink livery, it indicates a monster time.
A nice number of folks showed up,  making for a nice pack and chit chat, Joe on his new superlight 13lb Trek with a spicy matte red finish and Dylan on his fancy pants carbon and electric. Sebastian seemed to be healing up well from his your de tarmac last week. Till next time crushers.

How to ride gravel

Being mainly a road / gravel rider nowadays, but having experience on a mountain and cyclocross bikes, I pulled together several years of experience to produce these tips that will help you with the daunting thought of riding gravel at speed. Continue reading “How to ride gravel”

Blacksnow June 29th

Today marked Ron’s inaugural ride, 82degrees and busy as hell on the Springwater, neutral roll to a full on LaCava cemetery climb, gapping all the way with a few in the chase group, I’m second trying to close 3 bike lengths, Bernie pulls by me, I egg him on. LaClava is 5bike lengths on Bernie now, Tom and Seb come whizzing by, they run out of juice before the gate. 12345…. Nice job.

Second – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Third. – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Forth – Joe takes the flyover to Council Crest rd, everyone seems to peter out for the Council Crest climb, well maybe not, but im at the back chatting shit with Josh, so whatever…

Council Crest has a free play piano. yeah that happens and its pretty cool. Ron of The Shins tickles the ivory. Then Seb gets on it for some swinging shenanigans. Not sure what the evening lawn dwellers thought, but I liked it, Bravo musical cyclists.

Fifth – Hewett comes fast. Im solid chilling chatting it up with LaClava about road racing and how cat3’s are fast nowadays, like endearing old men but LaCava is a young punk. Something happens at the front. I don’t know but I’m like yeah 61st climb is next. Oh shit.

Sixth – Dropping into 61st climb fast with Tom on the speed approach, I like it this way to kick the first bump, go in fast, top gear and just grind, summit then recover. Tempo up, push it.I keep a gap. I see LaCava, punk, he’s on it. Hold him off by a solid 15-20..Break the stop sign onto Barnes rd and hold it. Punk gains, I think it’s over, then he fades. I soft roll to the end. Propper buggered.

Crew kinda breaks up a bit, chaps roll off. I’m well out of it now, buggering around taking photos as normal. Then I think Bernie took the lads sprint from Joe but it’s a blur to me.

Till next time. Good crushing. Beers next time, apologies on bailing,

Petal Pedal ride 2016

There’s something good to be said for a simple yet highly rewarding bike ride. If you have ever wanted a day on the bike,  a simple day with lots of camaraderie and beautiful views, but you don’t want to climb up steep mountain passes or to have to think about where to get water, food, or even too much about stressing over the route,  the Petal Pedal is for you.  Continue reading “Petal Pedal ride 2016”

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