Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ride the Ridge

When you're down and out, where do you go? How do you escape, find mental clarity, and begin to trudge forward, once again?

Above San Luis Obispo, which rests along the Central Coast of California, a natural divide separates east from west, common from uncommon.

On this Wednesday morning, as the dreary, picturesque town rises once more, we head for the hills. What are we looking for? In the end, who knows. However, pedal strokes at sunrise, brisk morning temperatures, quality company, and insane settings always lead to some form of clarity, comfort, and confidence.

It's roads like these that we're searching for, always. Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard).

Departing from town, we strike gravel on Cal Poly's campus. Bit by bit, we climb, begin to dampen, shed layers, and reach for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Smile. Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard).

After a gradual slog to the ridge, there's peace in the silence. At this hour, there are no distractions. The ticking of gears, a search for singletrack, and looming morning classes keep us moving. As we head northwest, the flow of a fireroad that closely resembles a buffed out sprint-car track is exhilarating, ideal, and worthy of a grin.

On the pedals. Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard).

Upon reaching the end of a maintained fireroad, the good times get better. It's around one gate, before descending a rocky and rutted fireroad. This leads up to where we wanted to be all along. Scooting off the fireroad, there's a poorly marked singletrack. On bicycles suited for gravel, it's a neat challenge, one that takes us down to Cerro Alto campground, outside Morro Bay, a coastal town.

He can't always be behind the camera! It's Adam Evard.
Good vibes only. Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard).

With plenty of enjoyable moments behind us, it's back to reality. The buzz of cars and the honking of horns are stark reminders. However, is it really reality? As someone is late for their morning coffee run, an appointment, or the beginning of an eight-hour day, we're in the middle of a four-hour gravel loop. I suppose it's just a lifestyle. This is important to us. You can't take this away from us.

As we search for clarity, find the uncommon and be different. Where is your escape? Try the ridge. Which one? A local can't release every secret.

Stay tuned for more Everjourney adventures. This favorite included Sean Bird and Adam Evard.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hawaii Friday: A Cal Poly Cycling Tradition

If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

As a cagey second-year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Tyler Mastromattei released Hawaii Friday, a social-paced, Hawaiian-themed, mountain-bike ride to Cal Poly Cycling. Since spring 2016, the concept has continued to flourish. Now, Mastromattei is a fourth-year student at Cal Poly and the president of Cal Poly Cycling.

The man himself, Tyler Mastromattei (@tymastro). Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)

Initially, the idea was simple. Combine mountain biking and Hawaiian shirts to gather the tribe. Since its inception, the growth of Hawaii Friday has provided ample entertainment and plenty of quality memories.

@instavince_ - Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)

With rider counts exceeding 50 mountain bikers, Hawaii Friday has been a blast for new and continuing students at Cal Poly. Students, alumni, and advisors are all in on the scene. Banter, laughter, and smiles are constant, while friends consistently try to outdo one another. Certainly, heads are being turned and interest is present from the Cal Poly community, as well as avid trail users in San Luis Obispo.

@jptacoman - Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)
@christopherblevs and @andersjohnson35 - Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)

With its roots in San Luis Obispo, Hawaii Friday travels with Cal Poly Cycling, depending on upcoming events and races. For Cal Poly Cycling's annual mountain-bike race in Los Olivos, California, the Dirt Club has become a recurring site for Hawaii Friday action. Also, this past weekend, from Nov. 10-12, while Cal Poly Cycling was in Santa Cruz, California, Hawaii Friday took place before a mountain-bike race weekend.

Locally, in San Luis Obispo, Hawaii Friday has varying weekly routes. With plenty of dirt access just a short jaunt from Cal Poly's campus, it's simple to keep the fun flowing on a variety of trails. 

@s.e.brennan - Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)

The vibe of Hawaii Friday is always around Cal Poly Cycling. During fall and spring, this event is popping. Every Friday, from Cal Poly's Campus Market, join us around 4-5 p.m., depending on lighting. To stay in the loop, check in with Cal Poly Cycling's social-media antics: Facebook and Instagram.
  
Thank you for your support of Cal Poly Cycling. See you on the trails soon.  

@sean.m.bird - Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Everjourney

Storytelling...wherever, whenever, and however we want to. This is Everjourney, a project motivated by the adventure and freedom of cycling. Wherever you are, be all there.

On this journey, your lead navigator is Sean Bird, a local of Southern California and a fourth-year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While studying journalism and integrated marketing communications, I have remained influenced by my exhausting interest in two wheels.

Scouting gravel. Photo: Adam Evard (@aeevard).

Now, growing out of Sean Bird's Cycling Blog, Everjourney is my next step. While combining a variety of interests and passions, Everjourney will continue to focus on cycling. However, it will carry a deeper purpose.

Everjourney is meant to resemble the everlasting journey of life. "Ever" represents wherever and whenever. "Journ" represents journalism, storytelling. "Journey" is self explanatory. A hodgepodge to carry deeper meaning, Everjourney is about adventure and travel, finding your outlet, and being present in the moment.

Way back when, this whole writing thing began with the wish of a college counselor. After having beneficial luck with a few English professors in high school, I realized that reading and writing were of interest. Then, when considering future steps, I started a cycling blog to discuss product reviews, race reports, and industry news. Writing was interesting, no doubt. Then, with the reveal of Thereabouts #1, storytelling wasn't going to let me go. Beyond racing, the bicycle provides a powerful appeal, which is revealed by Angus (Gus) and Lachlan Morton.

At this point, through their influence and the motivation of many other characters in the world of cycling, I'm out to continue focusing on the positive, while taking it easy.

Please, follow along. Truthfully, I only have some clue as to what this will become. However, it's a journey now. Thank you for your support.

A recent sunset above San Luis Obispo, California, with the Adventure Aide crew. Photo: Luke Bender.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GU Energy Labs | Kona Ironman World Championship Content

After returning to San Luis Obispo for a fourth-and-final year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, continued work with GU Energy Labs has consistently stoked the fire, while satisfying my bug for adventure and travel.

From Wednesday, October 11, through Sunday, October 15, I found myself in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for the Ironman World Championship event. While gathering marketing content for the event, I was continuously impressed with the emotional and physical fortitude of numerous competitors. From the blazing-fast professionals to accomplished amateurs, there was no shortage of inspirational, motivating, and raw moments.

Below, from the event, content has been published. From interviewing Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae to documenting the Underpants Run, Kona was on another level. A massive thank you to GU Energy Labs for their trust and support.


Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae discussed her first time not racing Kona since 2009.
Recapping Kona, this event was powerful.
It wasn't all serious business, and the Underpants Run sure lightened the mood.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

GU Energy Labs | Summer Content

This past summer, working with GU Energy Labs, in Berkeley, California, was an absolute blast. After working the events scene for many years, it was neat to be in office, while focusing on sports marketing and marketing communications.

After spending time at Death Ride, Tahoe Trail 100 MTB, Downieville Classic, Leadville Trail 100 MTB, and Breck Epic, event involvement was a focus. Additionally, through events and working with GU Energy Labs athletes, a role was played in more than 30 content pieces.

Below, a few have been listed.

Death Ride: A Cleansed Course
Blood Road: Film Q&A With Rebecca Rusch
The GU (Pit) Crew In Action - Leadville 100 MTB 2017






Pro Tip: Rebecca Rusch Discusses Crowded Starts And Being On the Rivet
Pro Tip: Mikaela Kofmann Ups Her Hydration

From Breck Epic, six original videos were produced. These are gradually being published.


Moving forward, I am eager to return to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where I will finish my senior year as a public relations and marketing student. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cal Poly Cycling | Spring Video Content

Recently, it has been a pleasure to work with Cal Poly Cycling, while gathering spring content. Working with Adam Evard, for photography, while Quinn Tirpak and I gathered video footage, a collection of mountain and road riders are featured.

Below, find links to both mountain and road video edits.



Cal Poly Cycling. Credit: Adam Evard
Cal Poly Cycling. Credit: Adam Evard

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It

Competing: "to strive to outdo another for acknowledgment, a prize, supremacy, profit, to engage in a contest."

During the collegiate road season, week in and week out, animated individuals are competing and consistently pushing forward. While racing "Storm The Fort," a Stanford University hosted event in Seaside, California, I was brutally reminded of stern competition.

Ba-da-boom, ba-da-boom, ba-da-boom. Sunday, April 9, began with an early morning awakening, 3:30 a.m. to be exact, prior to collecting three teammates. We rolled north from San Luis Obispo, California. The early-morning hours proved to be a time of peace and reflection, as my mates drifted, notching additional rest.

Come venue arrival, Cal Poly Cycling swung into action. With a host of individuals competing, we managed to be a buzz of activity. By 8:00 a.m., three categories containing Cal Poly Cycling members were cruising. Meanwhile, for those departing later in the morning, brief moments of rest were appreciated, before catching race finishes and beginning diligent preparation.

Throughout a weekend of racing, Cal Poly Cycling entered 20 events with 12 individuals. On Sunday, April 9, a win from Josh Gieschen in the Men's D race was a blast. For the birthday boy, it was only fitting to sing "Happy Birthday" at the race start. Also, Michael Beard earned a third place finish in the Men's B category, another positive showing for Cal Poly Cycling.

Michael Beard (right), during the Men's B road race.
With morning races wrapping up, a showdown in the Men's A race was approaching. Throughout the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference (WCCC) season, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been impressive. After consistently showing their force, this weekend would be no different.

Racing around a choppy, punchy Ft. Ord course, UCLA was willing to put the hammer down, early and often. In a matter of minutes, 12 to be exact, the Men's A field was being shelled on Ft. Ord's lone, substantial climb. For a former military base, this seemed fitting. As the field strung out, a brief glance over my shoulder reminded me to "hop in my foxhole and hunker down," words formerly spoken by Yuri Hauswald, at Petaluma's Bantam Classic.

For at least one more lap, of nine for the day, two teammates and I remained with the front group. As Peter Aster, from Cal Poly Cycling, rolled with me, I plainly uttered, "This is going to be a long day." After four laps with the front group, I was dispatched, before bouncing around and settling with a mid-pack finish. Colin Patterson, from Cal Poly Cycling, continued to fight, finishing with a top-ten finish in a hotly contested competition.

With anything, great days are to be cherished, while poor performances need to be accepted. Despite the training, preparation, and interest, this was a tough day for many. With that being said, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. 

Post-race grub, the norm.
This season, thank you very much for your interest in collegiate road cycling, while browsing multiple weekend dispatches. For the support, comments, and advice, thank you. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Discovering Motivation, Cherishing Community

In Santa Maria, the places we ride.
The places we ride, the people we meet, the memories that are forged. What motivates you to complete millions of pedal revolutions and endure plenty of fatigue, all while pressing forward?

As a current third-year student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the collegiate cycling scene is no mystery. After receiving exposure in high school, before processing tales in college, collegiate cycling is a place for plenty of laughs, a plethora of smiles, and, surely, a satchel of memories.

With a revived interest in competition, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo student-athletes ventured south at the beginning of March, while competing in a University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) hosted event. Looking ahead, for the next seven weekends, Cal Poly will be represented across California, before landing in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Considering this load, how does motivation emerge?

On March 4, UCSB hosted "A Bicycle Race!" that quickly became a race of attrition for the Collegiate Men's A field. Fortunately, Cal Poly lined up eight men for the event. For the weekend of road and criterium racing, 18 competitors entered 27 events, with one win and eight top-five finishes. Along the Central Coast, the stoke was alive and well.

A posse of Cal Poly cyclists, with racing complete for the day.
During Saturday's road race, with eight men to control the Collegiate Men's A field, high hopes were present. Early, Cal Poly's Tim Mabray entered a break, relieving some pressure. Eventually, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) elevated the pace, while controlling the front for multiple laps throughout a five-lap, 70-mile ordeal.

After frequent flyers and consistent sprints early on, the pace had settled. Unfortunately, while sitting comfortably, I was struck with a front puncture, day done for me. "Carry on, men, air support is headed home," I joked with teammates, bummed about my poor fortune.

Continuing on, with evening hours approaching, final-lap fireworks caused an implosion. At the finish, Christopher Blevins (Cal Poly) and Samuel Boardman (UCLA) finished clear of the splintered pack, jostling for position, before Blevins nudged a victory.

A trio of Cal Poly cyclists.
 With racing complete for the day, a sense of community continued to spread. Slowly, very slowly, competitors left the race venue. However, little sense of urgency existed. With plenty of sprite individuals, all gathered on a Saturday, conversation and jubilation filled the air.


With this crowd, at the end of the day, competition is memorable, laughs and smiles are cherished, pedal revolutions and fatigue are accepted, all for the joy of two wheels. Plus, a post-race In-N-Out Burger tradition never hurt. 

What motivates you? Whatever it may be, while forging memories, carry on.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Don't Call It A Revolution

A nod of the head, a flick of the elbow, and a brief bit of chatter, that's all it took for the casual pace to escalate. With a winter of preparation in the rear-view mirror, collegiate racing was rolling, all with the assistance of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), hosts of a climber's paradise in Pearblossom, California.

A sight from Pearblossom, California, at the UCLA road race.
Recently, Alex Howes, a road cyclist with Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team, dropped knowledge from inside the WorldTour peloton. "Nowadays, with all these marginal gains, it’s a sport full of weight weenies, power dorks, and flesh-and-blood robots," said Howes.

On the contrary, while not elevated to the same level as professional cycling, collegiate road racing is injecting cycling with a sense of lightheartedness. In Southern California, discussions of Belgian speculoos crushing the Americanized, Trader Joe's equivalent, talk of Lachlan Morton, and not taking sport so seriously whistled through the air. For men and women who are simultaneously balancing a course load, practice program, part-time work, and some sort of social life, cycling provides a sense of relief.

Cal Poly Cycling's Sean Bird, in the Men's A UCLA road race.Credit: Paul Schmidt.
This lightheartedness doesn't imply that collegiate road racing isn't "badass," a criteria for improving modern cycling, as mentioned by Howes. Infiltrating the UCLA road race was Menso de Jong, a former member of Jelly Belly Cycling, as well as numerous students that have competed in Belgium, an eye-opening experience for aspiring cyclists. This collegiate posse qualifies as a "hardcore" peloton, an additional bit from Howes.

Plenty of competition, especially from a load of talented cyclists, caused the Collegiate Men's A field to become splintered when the pace was inflated on lap three. With University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) driving the pace, it wasn't long before I was dispatched, settling for 14th position. Meanwhile, Cal Poly Cycling's Colin Patterson proceeded trading punches with the front group, finishing the day in fourth place. Between all collegiate fields, Cal Poly Cycling contributed 12 athletes to the UCLA road race, tallying three top-five finishes. 

While it is easy to oversimplify, collegiate road cyclists seem to represent a relaxed crowd, all while maintaining a balance. With this bunch, as I discovered in the Collegiate Men's A field at UCLA road race, when it comes time to nod the head, flick the elbow, and throw down the gauntlet, collegiate road racing is doing just fine.

 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Art's Cyclery Photo Content

In San Luis Obispo, California, Art's Cyclery is beginning to host weekly group-ride options. Recently, to advertise a Wednesday event, a poster was released with content from a photoshoot.


Monday, January 23, 2017

The Coast Ride: GU Energy Labs Edition (Online)

As seen online, I was fortunate enough to share my Coast Ride thoughts, feeling, and emotions with GU Energy Labs. For a detailed summary, as well as captivating footage, check it out.

Van GU, rolling down the Central Coast!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Coast Ride: GU Energy Labs Edition

"Nah man, I took the Greyhound," he responded, after being questioned about his arrival in San Luis Obispo, California, from Chico, California. For a weekend scheduled with heaps of travel along California's coast, it seemed a fitting Friday afternoon response.

From Saturday, January 14, through Monday, January 16, GU Energy Labs diligently supported The Coast Ride, a three day, 378 mile, and 23,000 vertical foot trek down the coast of California. Rolling from San Francisco and finishing in Santa Barbara, The Coast Ride offered plenty of time for reflection.

 
As one cyclist mentioned, "Man, it's all good. I'm out here and I get to ride with my friends." Although a simplified, brief comment, it was spoken with relief and pleasure. While many cyclists suffered, others embraced the plentiful moments of freedom. These moments of freedom began with backpack-clad cyclists, the original coast riders. Now, we're more than willing to pick up the slack, while providing course support.

Between early mornings, late nights, extensive travel, and exhausting physical efforts, former strangers possessed plenty of time to acknowledge their counterparts. To complete 378 miles in three days, it is entirely necessary to work well with other individuals. Personally, I see this as a beautiful aspect of cycling. With a common goal in mind, cyclists rotated through pacelines. As the experienced group rolled south, speeds gradually, but noticeably, increased.

All the while, I peered on from the GU Energy Labs van growing more and more excited to be supporting such a dedicated group of cyclists, as well as increasingly jealous, a common side effect for endurance junkies.

To complete a substantial effort is rewarding. After this past weekend, I understand that to support a massive journey is equally rewarding. During the course of three days, formerly random individuals became grateful friends.

The bicycle is a powerful tool. During the weekend of January 14-16, The Coast Ride perfectly tested its might, while allowing adventure, teamwork, and nature's beauty to collide, all reasons why so many call themselves cyclists.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Art's Cyclery Video Content

As a brand ambassador for Art's Cyclery, May's content shoot has continued to produce a plethora of video footage. Now, with a recent focus on "How To" videos, content has continuously been incorporated.

Recently, through the Art's Cyclery "Ask a Mechanic" YouTube series, "How To: Select a Road Bike Pump" displayed updated video.

Art's Cyclery: "How To: Select a Road Bike Pump"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cal Poly Cycling, A Feature Site

With a return to San Luis Obispo on the horizon, reflections from the beginning of my 2016-17 academic school year have been occupying my mind.

This past quarter, with a heavy focus on Cal Poly Cycling, as well as innovative journalism and marketing, I completed a Cal Poly Cycling Mountain-Bike feature website. Structured as a project for advanced digital journalism, this responsive site features original content (photo, video, audio). Below, follow a link to the site. Please, let me know your thoughts.