I live in the Northwest, so my winters are usually a little dark and wet, if not down right gloomy sometimes. So I usually look forward to any chance to travel somewhere warm. My year usually starts fairly slow, but this year Aaron Laroque and I spent a week in California in January working with the Athertons, which was an awesome treat. You can check out two of the posts from that trip here
. Then February brings the Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival and to me this is the real beginning of the bike season. You can check out this year's Jamaica FTF story here
. Returning from Jamaica into full on winter in the Northwest usually results in a deterioration of motivation to do bike related things, and a bunch of time spent skiing...
The first real road trip of the year usually ends up being Sea Otter
, a drive to California. The road to California is long, and stops are definitely scheduled for riding and shooting photos, and this year was no different. While I can't show you any of the photos yet, this years trip involved some great shoots in Bend with Kirt Voreis and Carl Decker for Fox Head. Actually you can check out some of the photos in the Fox Head Catalog, and possible even an ad or two... This year Sea Otter was a bit of a bonus as well, kind of like Christmas in April actually. Suzuki gave Pinkbike a brand new car to play with for the summer, a dedicated vehicle for road trips and other adventures.
This year at Sea Otter was the Strength in Numbers Premier
, and also the FMBA Rain or Shine Jam
, and we also featured a bunch of new products.
Immediately following Sea Otter was the 2012 Underworld Cup
in Port Angeles. This years event was a US National Pro GRT event, a NW Cup event, and a US Grand Prix of MTB all in one. I also took a bit of time to finish up some Fox shooting with Josh Bryceland.
After arriving home from Sea Otter the first adventure planned with the new ride was a trip down to Hood River to check out a few Ellsworth 29ers and shoot some photos with Sam Pinner. It was a short trip, but a good one. It gave me a chance to feel out the car, and come to the quick realization that if I was going to use this car for work it needed a bike rack. There was a little bit of trunk space, but it filled up quick with my Santa Cruz Nomad in it...
After the Oregon trip we wasted no time in getting things dialed in with the car, setting it up with a double rack on the roof from Yakima. Gas mileage was going to suffer a bit, but it would be functional.
While the Hood River trip was a great little test run, he first big trip planned was the Peel Out Festival in Williams Lake, BC. Back in the day before I was responsible (married, mortgage, and a 4 year old) I used to get up to the puddle a fair bit, whether it be for film and photo trips, or just to ride the Caribou single track and hang out with friends like Mark Savard from Red Shreds Bike and Board. Williams Lake has a plethora of great rides, and they just keep getting better every year, so when the festival was announced it was an easy decision to make the 7 hour drive north for a long weekend full of adventures.
Driving 7 or more hours by yourself without a break is not always the most fun, so I decided to stop off in Kelowna on the way and go for a few rides with Johnny Smoke and Barb Haley. Unfortunately planning is not always my forte, and I ended up missing them by a few hours as they were headed North to the puddle as well. No big deal, I still got to ride in Kelowna, and I picked up a passenger in need of a ride to make the drive a little more interesting. Monica McCosh had just worked her last day at her job in promotions for Tree Brewing in Kelowna, so she was ready for a riding road trip, and she had a bunch of beer. Sounded good to me, and the fact that I like her taste in music only made having her as a co-pilot a bit sweeter. Peel Out was an awesome event, and it happened to be on the May long weekend, which meant an extra day for most. The first two days of the event were spent racing and enjoying the general festivities, camping at Marks out on the lake, and in my case photographing these things. I also took a little time out with James Doerfling and Shreddie to judge the dirt jump comp.
Less than a week later it was up to Whistler to get the scoop on suspension tuning with our good friends at Rockshox.
And then off to Sloquet hotsprings to shoot a little something with Holly Feniak. You can find some of those photos in her Women who Ride feature.
While the Kizashi has push button all wheel drive and was more than up for the 60 miles of gravel to Sloquet, we opted to leave it behind and take the Kranked rig. Probably a better decision anyway with 4 people and gear.
The next real trip was Jump Ship
in Victoria a few weeks later. Not much of a road trip, it takes about two and half hours to get there from here, but the ferry is two of that. Check out a few fresh photos from a little session at Boss' jumps before the event.
After Jumpship I took a little break from road trips and went a little bigger. First off was a trip to Chicoutimi, Quebec, to check out the new Devinci Carbon Wilson
then pretty much straight off to Sun Valley for the Scott Genius and Gambler Launch
, followed by a trip to North Carolina for US Gravity Nationals
and a catalog shoot for Specialized. Check out a few little extras from those trips...
Unfortunately I can't really show you anything we shot for Specialized, but it was a great trip. I worked with some awesome people, and everything started off on a great note when we arrived at our house for the week and found a fridge stocked with Dales compliments of Dale himself. Can't beat that! If you're in Brevard next year be sure to check out the new Oskar Blues Brew Pub
that should be opening there sometime in the next months.
After that it was home for a few days before heading back to Vancouver Island for the Bearclaw Invitational
Our photography team for the event consisted of myself as well as Fraser Britton and Ale di Lullo, so we played a little game of see how much stuff you can fit in the Kizashi.
The hardest work of the summer is usually Crankworx, and this year I added Tippie's wedding and Deep Summer to that. Basically start off a solid week of photography work with four 18 hour days in a row. But I think it was worthwhile...
The two biggest highlights of Crankworx
for me were probably Steve Smith winning, and Jamie Goldman's huge superman.
After that it was back home for a bit, and I threw in a quick session at the bridge jumps for this article by Ryan Berrecloth
Tippie and I have been trying to get a few things shot for a while now, and I finally got a chance to shoot with him up in Kamploops. The weather wasn't perfect, but we still managed to get a few awesome shots in the bag.
Next up was Vegas for Interbike. Another big road trip, and time to drop off the Suzuki after a summer of fun driving. On the way down I hooked up with the Ryders eyewear crew who were doing their own roadtrip to Vegas, and I got in a few rides in Hood River and Bend, Oregon. That was followed by a drive to Reno to shoot some stuff for Deity with Cam Zink, can't show you now but you'll see it soon enough.
While I was at Interbike I did a fun little promo shoot for Steve Romaniuk, who is now riding for Vampt, and I spent a bit of time hanging out with the new Jr Women's DH World Champ, Holly Feniak.Interbike
is another huge week of work, shooting photos, checking out new stuff, hanging out at the On Dirt Demo, and going to a bunch of parties. Top of the list was the Where the Trail Ends Premier.
Interbike was followed up by a very quick road trip up to Retallack Lodge for a shoot with Kirt Voreis, unfortunately that didn't go as planned (story to come) and I ended up doing a shoot with Lindsey Voreis instead.
Then it was straight back down to the desert for 5 days of Red Bull Rampage
Rampage usually marks the beginning of the end of the Mountain Bike Season, and it was the same this year. Just one event left, and one more road trip. This time down to San Francisco for the SF Bike Expo, and AT's Showdown
. I also spent a little bit of time catching up with Alex Reveles and shooting a bit with him in the hills above Santa Cruz, and then stopped by to visit Terry Cox at College Cyclery in Sacramento on the way home...
While this is a pretty big list of events and shoots, it's still a partial list. There were many more studio shoots, product shoots, and non mountain bike shoots that I did in between all these this year. And next year will probably be busier...