Photos by Kyle Kelley
I have to admit, it was a little weird traveling with my Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC instead of a cross bike this last trip to Los Angeles. Riding mountain takes it out of you. There isn’t the same kind of physical recovery or relaxation that you get on a road bike. No zoning out. You’ve gotta be there 100% of the time, or there are consequences and I knew we’d be hitting it hard every day.
Apprehension aside, the first ride we took on was Upper Chilao in the Angeles Forest, off the 2. I’d been up in this neck of the woods before on my road and cross bikes, but never on a mountain bike. I knew what to expect for the most part: upper altitude desert / arid riding. There would be no mud, but rather rocks, sandy switchbacks and fast, technical descents.
On the ride was Brandon, Sean from Team Dream, Kyle, Ty from GSC and Lyle from Mission Workshop. That’s three cross country bikes, a fatbike and two Tallboy LTCs. We were prepared, already hitting the flask and ready to roll, but first, a small climb up to the Rosenita Saddle…
Check out more in the Gallery!
I shot photos of this bike back at Crossvegas but first, Ryan wasn’t pumped on the build and I wasn’t that stoked on my photos. So last weekend at SoCalCross, I stole it yet again to shot more photos. This time around, I think we’re both stoked.
Paul Mini Motos, Thomson, Chris King and that bright orange-red frame make this Stoemper one of my favorite SSCX bikes I’ve shot this year! And Ryan is living the (team) dream. That is, until he fell and lost a bar plug during the race.
At any rate, see more of this beauty in the Gallery!
When I found out that London’s Tokyo Fixed Gear reached out to Death Spray Custom to design the paint job on one of their new track frames, dubbed the Ono, I couldn’t wait to see what the outcome would be. It wasn’t until seeing Kyle’s built up in person earlier this year that I could finally geek out on all the little details.
This bike slays and not just in the ride, but the overall presentation. The paint just pops! Kyle’s build ain’t too shabby either. The purple Chris King headset and that AARN track ring really set it off for me. Mixed in with the vintage Shimano post and Cinelli Unicanitor…
Kyle says this is his favorite track bike to date and I can see why! See more photos in the Gallery…
Year after year, one race promises a good time and delivers. The SSCXWC is often riddled with controversy and inclement weather, luckily this year, the latter only applied. After a successful qualifier at the Bilenky Junkyard Cross course, the racers took to the main event at another location. This year’s course was part taped, part off-road through hobo trails and singletrack. To top it off, it started snowing at the onset of the chaos. Out came the kegs, the grills and the party hats. When the dust settled, two champions reigned supreme, Adam Craig and Vicki Barclay. That’s two in a row for Craig…
Chris King’s Dylan VanWeelden is quite handy with his camera. From shooting for the Chris King blog and various products, to covering events, Dylan has his lens tuned into the Buzz. Check out a selection of his photos in the Gallery!
Year after year, Bilenky‘s Junkyard Cross brings in a varying crowd of cyclists from the party-racers to the pros. This year however, Steve and the gang played their cards a little differently, embracing the SSCXWC in Philly and throwing Junkyard Cross as the qualifier for the main event. Things got weird for sure…
Photographer Chris Lee was on the scene with his 35mm SLR and DSLR to catch all the action. Check out some selects in the Gallery!
Today I took Brian Vernor over to Ian of Icarus Frames‘ shop. Those two individuals have inspired me to continue to support small, local frame builders consistently over the years. Their work embodies the craftsmanship and creativity that I look to for inspiration during the daily grind, so I was stoked to introduce them.
While Brian was getting to know Ian, I took a few photos of this unique track frameset that just so happens to be for sale. This is no “street fixie”, it’s a tough-as-nails, stiff, true track sprint machine, complete with inverted 29r chainstays, a 44mm head tube and all oversized tubing. It’s a sprinter’s dream machine!
Check out the frame details and pricing below!
Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling the MTB industry’s best 29r’s on the market. All of which, I might add, are exceptional machines and with the right parts and group, can easily be tailored to your riding style and home terrain. While my Indy Fab rigid has proven to be more than fun on my local trails here in Austin, it’s still a rigid bike, limiting not only the lines you can take, but the speed at which you can take them. The latter being one thing I’ve found out the hard way: the faster you thrash, the harder you crash.
One might argue that riding a new bike on unfamiliar trails is a true test of the bike’s performance and the rider’s ability. While I’ll surely agree with that, seeing as how my experiences with many 29r’s have been on new trails, I will say that ripping your local trails on a new bike is the true test. Especially a more than capable ride like Santa Cruz’s Tallboy LTC. Add a Sram XX1 group and ENVE‘s tubeless-ready wheels and you’ve got more than enough reason to thrash fast.
At this point, I’ve spent enough time on a Tallboy to back my bold claims and even with this bike’s accumulated accolades since its inception, I don’t think anyone will disagree with me.
Check out more of my Trail Tested review of the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC below!
One of my favorite bike dudes to hang with (and photograph) was recently interviewed over at Optimus Fixed.
“OF: I remember you as a relaxed and interested person with a modest atitude. So do you have any special philosophy in live?
My philosophy in life at its most simple is to do what makes you happy. Take whatever opportunity you have to travel, and further yourself as a human. I’m lucky enough to be able to go all over the world, with people that I love, and get together on a level that pushes us all to our physical limits.”
Check the rest out here!