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It's rare that I step out of my role in the company to give a personal take on particular events but I felt this would be the most candid and genuine recap I could give. Many of the photos below were taken with an iPhone or are "behind the scenes" shots to offer a unique perspective of the experience. 2014 was a tremendously memorable year for myself and State Bicycle Co. and I hope to broaden the spectrum of adventures for 2015.
As 2014 comes to a close, the New Year is a time to look back and reflect on the highlights that made the year so special. I believe it is valuable to reflect on the past in order to remind us why we do what we do, what memories made our lives better, and to seek out more of those opportunities going forward.
So without further adieu, here are the Top 10 Bike Moments of 2014:
10. Imperial Sand Dunes w/ B-Hard (State Bicycle Co.) and Chris (Drunk Cyclist)
(photo via iPhone)
If anyone is a Star Wars fan, this is the backdrop for the planet Tatooine. The landscape is unlike anything I've ever seen. Trust us when we say that going on a weekday was definitely a good idea. The dunes were wind-swept and we were able to avoid all of the dune-buggies that dominate on the weekend. This truly was the perfect place to shoot our Fat Bike, Monolith. Having the entire place to ourselves was surreal. Going on a couple of runs down the dunes myself made the entire experience even more memorable. I can't wait until my fat bike arrives because I am heading off-road with friends the second it does! Our trusty photographer, Jeff Olsen, did a great write-up on the trip and capture some phenomenal shots.
9. Thanksgiving Throwdown IV(photo shot with Yashica T5D)
Hosting Thanksgiving Throwdown is always a highlight of my year and the 2014 edition was no different. Now in its fourth year, the annual Thanksgiving Throwdown has become the largest and most successful alleycat in Arizona. Great sponsorship continually increases and the turnout grows larger each year. It also gives me the opportunity to see lots of friends from out of town. This year's race was a new format that resulted in a tie for 1st place. We settled this with a "mano y mano" style drag race. Cheman Cuan won the race and joined Marco Creacy, Joey Korkames and Thomas Keating in the history books of Throwdown winners. Full results posted here.
8. Salvation Mountain & Slab City
(photo via iPhone)
The weirdest trip of my life. Hands down. Jeff is dropping a blog post with all the crazy details in a few weeks. There is WAY WAY WAY too much to write about but if you get a glimpse into this bizarre place they call Slab City, Vice did a cool documentary.
7. Horseshoe Bend | Page, Arizona
(photo via iPhone)
Our home-state of Arizona is the home of many breath-taking scenes. Horseshoe Bend is one of the best. Heading up to shoot our new CycloCross bike, the Warhawk, was a true delight. Taking this shot was a little nerve-racking, though. It was very windy and a 1,000 foot drop to the bottom.
6. Cross Vegas
(photo via The Radavist)
Cross Vegas is the official kick off to the CX season. It has also become an opportunity for the cycling industry to party while watching the best CX riders in the world battle it out. This year was exceptionally special for us because we released two CX bikes. It was a treat to see our riders and friends Tyler Coplea and Thomas Keating go toe-to-toe with the best of all-time: Sven Ness and US Champion, Jeremy Powers.
5. Mt. Lemmon with Jeff Olsen
(photo via Jeff Olsen iPhone)
Summer time is hectic in the State Bicycle Co. office. In order to get away from the daily grind, I decided to head 90-minutes south to Tucson for a little stay-cation and some much needed time on the bike. Mt. Lemmon is one of 7 Strava's Classic Segments in the USA so I was dying to ride it. This was easily the longest climb I've ever done on my bike. I've heard stories of pros training here but running into Garmin rider Tommy Danielson was icing on the cake!
Pro-tip: when you make it to the top visit the Cookie Cabin. Get a cookie & skip the pizza.
4. The Undefeated Shoot w/ Hern, Colin, Crihs, and Jeff
(photo via Jeff Olsen)
Working with Colin and Crihs from Macaframa this year was a dream come true. For the release of the 2015 Undefeated, we needed something to top 2014's media shoot in Chicago with Trashhand. No easy feat but Hern Montenegro tearing up the streets of San Francisco was a serious spectacle. We had three straight 5 a.m. - 8 p.m. shooting days filled with Hern bombing hill brake-less through traffic, Colin driving an uninsured rental van 50 mph and breaking every traffic law in the book, and Crihs risking his life to film everything rollerblades. This trip gave me a new appreciation for how skilled, brave, and crazy Hern truly is. It also gave us the opportunity to create something with filmmakers who were so influential to us in the early days of State Bicycle Co. Check out the video below (and make sure to watch the last few seconds of the video. Being in the van for that made my heart stop).
3. Hell Ride, High Noon
(photo shot by my wife, Natalie, with Yashica T5D)
Riding up South Mountain at noon is something we've talked about doing for years. In 2014, we made this a reality. Atop the mountain, this is a picture of myself and fellow co-founder and brother, Reza. I still can't believe how many people joined us for this event to brave 100°+ F temperatures. Read the full recap.
2. Riding from Phoenix to Tucson
(photo shot by Jeff Olsen, with Yashica T5D)
Riding from Phoenix to Tucson has been a goal of mine since I first started cycling. During Explore Your State Vol 1., I was able to realize this goal along-side so many of my fellow riders. The overwhelming positive response we received from participants after the long ride really strengthened my belief in the rewarding work that we do. We even had the US Pro National Champion, Eric Marcotte, join us! Trying to build a community is something that has always been at the forefront of the State Bicycle Co. agenda. Unforgettable. Get the full event recap.
1. Riding Up Mt. Diablo with Team State Bicycle Co.
(photo courtesy of Hacheon Park shot with Konica BM-201)
This picture of the crew was shot on top of Mt. Diablo. We rode to the top to watch Stage 3 of the Queen Stage of the Tour of California. The ride was tough, the weather was scorching (even for guys from Arizona), and our legs were burning from the nearly 4000 feet of climbing we did with HEAVY packs on our backs. Despite all that, this motley crew of riders had many a spectator commenting in disbelief that someone could make the trip to the top on a fixed-gear bike. I have distinct memories of everyone that day.
- Jason entertained the roadies by doing wheelies on his track bike.
- Thomas and Hacheon both skidded through brand new tires and it was doubtful whether or not they were going to make it down brakeless.
- Russ was able to sweet-talk some VIP passes for the crew.
- And Myles doled out $100 hand-ups to the pros while Hern kept the crowd amped with his vuvuzela.
The significance of sharing all of this is to remind us to get off our phones/computers/couches more often, call up a friend and go do something EPIC. I've never regretted going on a ride but I have certainly regretted missing some.
Please let 2015 be the year you make some BIG memories.