The rules are simple: Ride 1000 miles, entirely under your own power, without support crews or cars, without caches stashed along the way, and without the benefit of drafting another's wheel to shield you from the wind.
You must haul all the gear you'll need to complete 1000 miles of bike riding through some of the most remote and beautiful, unspoiled areas of Oregon. There are no sag wagons coming to usher you safely home if you bail out; this is an Uber-free zone. It will be extremely hot, extremely dry, and extremely exposed, leaving you susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion. There are no cool, luxurious 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets awaiting you at night. Your options are either a bivy sac you carry yourself or a flea-bag motel. Oh, and and it will hurt. A lot.
So why on earth would anyone want to ride the Steens Mazama 1000? And, once decided, precisely how does one do such a thing?
We asked our sales guy extraordinaire, David Barstow Robinson—who completed the ride in 7 days 23 hours and 25 minutes—why he signed on for this. David shared the highlights—and low lights—of his trip and a few photos, because even though the Steens Mazama 1000 is a race, the wild Oregon backcountry insists on picture taking for remembering later.
So, why? I did this race because I wanted to find out what I was capable of, to test my mettle. I wanted to do a long-ride that would take more than just a weekend. I love the whatever-it-is about long rides, and thought that a stupid long ride would involve a lot of that—and it did. I wanted to see Oregon’s diverse landscapes in a unique way. I saw at least a dozen unique landscapes, rode the state's highest road, covered vast stretches full of nothing but nature, and found out where my limits are and how far I can push past them.
The "Oh, hell yes!" moment: Being the first racer to reach the Steens summit. Technically it was a fake summit, but only by about 8’ elevation. It was a real struggle to get up there. Took me about 10 hours. I hadn’t slept much or eaten well at that point.
The "Oh, hell no!" moment: About 8500 feet into the climb up Steens mountain—just a few meters from the summit—I decided to turn around. I drank my ‘summit beer’, then had a bit of a breakdown over giving up so close to the top. I pressed on and finished the climb anyway. Then came a moment on Hart Mountain, as I was grinding uphill on gravel into a headwind. I had been passed by my closest competitor and was fighting off Achilles tendonitis that made me seriously worry about finishing my race. I walked a bit, stretched, found some Icy-Hot in Plush, and started an ibuprofen regimen in Lakeview. It helped, and I pressed on.
Favorite part of the ride? Descending into Lakeview at about 12:30am on day 5, the day after I climbed Steens mountain. I had spent most of the day riding across the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, which was an uphill slog into a headwind on washboard gravel. I decided to push from Plush to Lakeview (about 36 miles) as the sun was setting. With 10 miles to go I was wearing every piece of clothing I had with me—including rain gear—to stay warm and keep riding. I was about to summit Warner Pass when the GPS beeped at me to turn left onto a gravel road. The official route had us taking a gravel shortcut into town, sparing us several miles and a few feet of climbing. Between the Exposure Revo on my bars and a fairly bright headlamp, I had enough light to ride confidently down the mountain across terrain that varied from overgrown doubletrack to rough gravel. It occurred to me that spirited downhill gravel riding— after midnight, at the end of a very long day of hard riding—may not be the best idea. But I climbed under the no trespassing gate and rode the hell out of it, grinning my head off until I pulled into town and got a hotel room.
|Frame & Fork||Fairdale Weekender
|Wheels||Custom built SRAM X0 rear, Shutter Precision PD-8X front laced to WTB FREQUENCY CX TCS i19 rims|
Arisun Gravel Plus 40c 120tpi; tubes are Cyclone brand with removable valve cores, with some WTB Sealant squirted in
|Drivetrain||SRAM Rival 1x11 42t crank; 10-42t cassette
|Saddle||Brooks Cambium C17|
|Stem||Thompson X4 10"x90mm|
|Brakes||AVID BB7 Road S with 160mm HS1 rotors|
|Pedals||Tioga Surefoot MX PRO platform pedals with screws mounted|
|Light||Exposure Revo dynamo-powered light|
|Electronics||Sinewave Revolution USB charger running to a cache battery
|Bags||Revelate Design bags|
I had a single mechanical issue; lost 50% air at the top of a hill in Oregon City with less than 12 miles to go.
Kit stuff: Patagonia wool base layers, Outdoor Research Helium rain gear and bivy, Gore Tex socks and long gloves, Giro short-fingered gloves, SmartWool socks and balaclava, Adidas Sambas, lots of water (2 bottles and a 2L bladder), tools, and food. The bivy was the only camping gear I brought, so I spent a lot of time camping in post offices and hotel lobbies. I also brought a Patagonia Houdini wind vest, Marmot Calen puffy jacket, Outdoor Research buff, PDX LOX St. Helens U-lock, Endurolytes and Caffeine Pills in a ziplock bag I referred to as 'Pillbo Baggins' .
Favorite piece of gear: My green Marmot puffy coat; very rarely ridden in, but usually put it on within 5 minutes of stopping.
Soundtrack: The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers (Wild Horses played for some cows, while the actual wild horses got to hear Sister Morphine). As the album ended, Who Needs Sleep by the Barenaked Ladies came on, and I laughed at the irony of having slept about 3 of the past 48 hours at that point. Later, while riding across the desert, Beethoven’s 9th. Other random earworms: Minka, by Spike Jones and A Horse With No Name by America. Side note: I'm not usually one to name my bikes, but as I was rolling into Needy near the Mahler Refuge, I officially named my bike The Horse with No Legs, after the song.
Advice to newcomers/first timers to the sport of gravel adventure racing: You can always double your previous best mileage. Go farther, even if you’re not prepared. Drink beer.
As Knight Composites' distribution partner, we could tell you all about the technical specs behind Knight wheels. We could talk shop and explain how "laterally stiff, vertically compliant" really is a thing. We have stats; research that proves Knight wheels are faster, stiffer, and more efficient than the competition. We could try to convince you that Knight makes the best carbon fiber composite wheels on the market, but would you believe us? After all, that's our job, right?
Well, don't just take our word for it. The folks over at Decline magazine have a few things to say about Knight's ride quality. After putting the wheels through their paces, writer Drew Rohde summarized the experience this way:
Knight’s Enduro wheelset have quickly become some of our favorite wheels to ride. Directly comparing these wheels to the Enve M70s we ride so often, we’d have to say the ride quality is superior and we greatly appreciate the vertical compliance. Traction is better, rider fatigue is reduced while we’re still able to rail corners or slam the bike into a berm with force and still have the wheels right beneath us
His ascension was nothing short of miraculous. His tenacity incredible. His rugged all-American good looks and Texas-born swagger combined to polarize public opinion of him: you either loved or hated Lance Armstrong.
I did neither. I’ve always had an affinity for the underdog, so I found myself betting on rivals Ullrich, Basso, and Vinokourov. But Armstrong himself was something of a scrappy underdog who earned my respect; I mean, the man had kicked cancer to the curb and gone on to a brilliant athletic career.
But love him or hate him, more than anything in the history of US cycling, Armstrong’s hero status boosted interest in the sport. The US Postal team fired up both national pride and interest in road cycling as an amateur sport. Road bike sales surged as the number of cycling enthusiasts increased by millions.
I was one of those millions. I fell in love with road racing the minute I entered a local amateur circuit race. I joined a team, trained religiously, and hired a coach. I even went so far as to get my USAC Coaching Level 1 certification. I found myself driving to San Francisco with my teammates to chase the Tour of California around, scribbling messages for Leipheimer and Voigt on the rolling roadways of Santa Rosa.
I had never been into spectator sports but I began meeting up with a group of die-hard TdF fans at the local french café to watch Le Tour on a big screen TV. For three weeks every July, our tribe would arrive, clad in sweaty lycra, our bikes leaning in piles against street signs on the sidewalk as we sipped coffee and nibbled flaky croissants while watching the race. What was it that made us sit transfixed, year after year, watching a sport which—let’s face it—is really not that exciting to look at?
Endurance races like the TdF don’t typify the American notion of “sport” which usually features broadly-shouldered, muscle-bound big dudes either playing ballsports or engaging in some gladiator-type stand-off like boxing or MMA. Pro cyclists don't look like athletes the way we've been trained to think about athleticism. What these skinny, lycra-clad dudes with shaved legs can do with a bike looks subtle, boring even; in reality bike racing is anything but.
So when the doping scandals erupted and pro after pro fell from grace—Armstrong falling hardest of all, being stripped of seven Tour de France titles and facing a lifetime ban—interest in the sport fell too. As interest fell, sales fell. The local race series became a ghost of its former self.
Millennials are not flocking to cycling as a sport the way Gen Xers did. In general, cycling fans all say the same thing: everyone dopes. After all, if your competition is doing it, how else can you be competitive?
It's been a few years since my last road race. I’ve traded my 700c’s for 650b’s in hot pursuit of hero dirt, rock gardens and sweet jumps. But there’s a part of me that still wants to love the Tour and road riding; there is so much history and culture around this annual event that I hate to see it tarnished by doping. Perhaps cynicism is justified, but it still tastes bitter.
Yes, doping sucks, but what sucks even more is giving up something you love because of other people’s bad behavior.
That's why I've decided if you can’t beat ‘em you might as well join ‘em. This year I’m going to enhance my performance—or at least my visibility—as an 100% human-powered athlete, through doping. Sock doping, that is. Better living through textiles.
This week I returned to the French bakery to watch le Tour, partly to see what Cavendish and Sagan could do, but partly to see if the old crew would be there. There were a handful of old-timers, sipping tiny espressos, munching sugary beignets, eyes fixed on the big screen, collective sighs on every crash, and triumphant cheers at the finish.
Maybe we're an anachronistic bunch, but together we carry the torch—for tradition, for competition, for skinny dudes in stretchy pants, pedaling their asses off, trying to perform well in one of the world's most grueling events. This July—like every July—we gather together for three weeks—as best friends, as comrades, and fans and as cyclists. We catch up on what's happened the other 49 weeks of the year in between races. And this year, and I hope every year forward, as a symbol of riding clean we sport our dopest socks.
Join the sock doping party! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag @cyclonebicyclesupply #dopesocks on your favorite sock doping examples. At the conclusion of the Tour we’ll choose our favorites and send the winners some dope socks to add to your performance-enhancing wardrobe.
You asked for it. And now, you've got it. Announcing our new and improved free freight allowance policy.
We’re reducing our base-level free freight program to $250 and making it easier for you to add bulky, oversized items (BOI) to your freight allowed small parts orders. And if your order totals $1200, we're throwing in a freight allowance for ALL products—including BOI—giving you the best bang for your buck.
Even though BOI items are expensive to ship, we offer freight incentives on them when you include them on larger orders. This freight allowance helps you maintain or increase margins on your end.
You’ve heard the saying: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. So when we heard the rumors about Knight Composites making the fastest wheels in the world we were skeptical, but we were also curious. What allows Knight to make this bold claim?
We decided to check it out. We met with the Knight Composites founders and development team to find out whether this was just a clever marketing claim or an actual, measurable truth.
It turns out it’s really true. In multiple scenarios, utilizing three different wind-tunnels to analyze performance, Knight’s composite road wheels truly are faster than anything currently available on the market.
The secret? It’s that the leading edge is actually the trailing edge design.
The Trailing Edge of Aerodynamics
Most aerodynamic wheel design research focuses on the leading edge—the tire and rim’s outer edge. But the aerodynamics of the leading edge is largely dependent on the tire used. This data that comes out of this research is solid and should not be ignored, but Knight engineers discovered that designing around the trailing edge could offer greater aerodynamic benefit.
This pivotal insight, coupled with a rapid prototyping process allows Knight designers to manipulate the rims on a micro scale, perfecting the most minuscule details of the designs.
Knight Composites are the only wheel manufacturer using an Expanded Polysterene (EPS) layup and molding process. Combined with aerospace-grade Toray carbon fiber, this allows the company to produce a lighter, stronger, more reliable and precisely constructed rim than any other manufacturer.
Knight’s commitment to providing superior wheels at a competitive price was so compelling, it was a no-brainer when they asked us to become their US distribution partner.
Want to Know More or Demo a Set?
Ask your Cyclone sales rep for a wheel demo or download our 2016 Look Book to learn more about this revolutionary approach to aerodynamic wheel design.
Heading out to Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival June ? We're collaborating with Seattle's Dirt Merchant to provide Knight Composites demo wheels on a fleet of Turner bikes.
Reserve a time to ride online, or look for the Turner / Dirt Merchant demo at the event.
Fair weather is synonymous with more bike rides in most urban cycling markets. That means more butts on bikes, and more bikes on the road…and ultimately, more need for quality bike locks!
That’s why we’ve partnered with Kryptonite to offer our customers special pricing for all Kryptonite products ordered received now through June 17th, 2016.
Check out these deals! You won't find a better price on the market!
Order $750 of product and receive 5% discount.
Order $1500 of product and receive 7% discount.
Order $2500 of product and receive 10% discount.
Order $5000 of product and receive 15% discount.
Plus we’ll also throw in FREE SHIPPING on all qualifying orders.
Stock up now so your customers can find exactly the lock they want, at a price they can afford.
GET YOUR LIMITED EDITION KRYPTONITE BLAQPAK
We have a handful of limited edition Kryptonite backpacks—custom made by hand in Portland, OR by Blaq Paks. Designed especially for Cyclone, when these puppies are gone, they’re gone, so talk to your rep and get ’em while they’re hot.
Delivery Program 2016
Hey Cyclone people,
After moving our warehouse from NW out to Clackamas, we don't get to see all you lovely people as much as we used to. We've heard your requests for more convenient shipping options for our local Portland area IBD's. We feel your pain.
So, starting April 1, we will be running the local delivery service 4 days per week.
Who is this guy?
Long time "Cyclonian" (is that even a word?), Scott Owens, will be heading up the delivery efforts and managing the routes. If you see Scott coming through your door, don't be afraid. He's big and burly, but soft and cuddly too.
How does it work?
To make this work for everyone we have divided the Portland Metro Area into 3 zones. And if you’re in our part of town, Will Call is still available at the Clackamas facility. In addition to timely delivery of product to your shops Scott will also be showcasing local specific promotions and new product too. (Download a larger version of the delivery zone map here)
Zone 1 – The Inner Eastside out to SE 39th/Cesar Chavez to NE Broadway, NE 33rd and north to N Prescott, and all of NW Portland. This zone will get delivery 4 days per week, Tuesday –Friday 1-5PM
Zone 2 – North of N Prescott to the Columbia River, and east including Gresham. This zone will get delivery 2 days per week, Wednesday and Friday 1-5PM.
Zone 3 – SW Portland, Beaverton, and Oregon City. This zone will get delivery 2 days per week, Tuesday and Thursday 1-5PM.
Your order must be placed online or with your rep before 12 noon.
Free delivery for orders $250.00 and above.
A $10 surcharge will be applied to orders below the minimum
12100 SE Jennifer St Clackamas, OR
Same day Will Call is still available after 2PM.
Please allow 3 hours from time of order for processing.
As of April 4, 2016 all Action operations are now part of the Cyclone Bicycle Supply system. If you have been a loyal customer of Action over the years, we’d like to welcome you. If you have not yet transferred your account, or been contacted by your rep to transfer your account, take this opportunity to do so, click here to complete your dealer agreement. We know it’s a pain, but we want to make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle. We’re glad you’re here.
Over the next few days, the guys in New Jersey, the same guys you’ve always worked with at Action, will be contacting all of you to set up web store login credentials and help you establish your Cyclone account.
As a Cyclone customer you will see more options for you to create value for your customer - wider product selections, innovative ordering tools and increased shipping options - all designed to help you succeed. Over the past decade we have built our reputation on pushing the boundaries of what's possible. We look at the 'business as usual' attitude of the bicycle industry as a challenge. We are determined to make it better. More profitable, and smoother for all of us.
Again, we'd like to welcome you all to Cyclone. It's been a wild ride getting to this point and it's only getting better.
Here we go!