It’s that time! We excited to once again be attending the Sea Otter Classic, April 10-13, 2014! In addition to having the worthy mission of “making people’s lives better through participation in sport and recreation and through celebration of an active outdoor lifestyle,” Sea Otter is known for its incredible attendance — some 65,000 fellow bike folk (including professional riders, cycling enthusiasts, and the best bike gear companies) will be out and celebrating all things cycling at this weekend’s season opener in beautiful Monterey, California.
Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing: Red Rock Rendezvous is here!
Whether you are on road tripping through the Southwest for spring break or taking a break from the lights of Las Vegas for the weekend, there is something for everyone to participate in.
Who’s going to be there, you might ask? Well certainly, top outdoor brands, climbers, athletes, and anyone and everyone who has an interest in climbing, biking and trail running. This will be Osprey’s 4th consecutive year attending Red Rock and there are plenty of reasons why we keep coming back for more. Osprey’s booth will be packing some heat this year with incredible demos, prizes and smokin’ deals, not to mention clinics put on by some of the best athletes in the industry! Let me fill you in on the rest:
- 20% off packs in celebration of Red Rock Rendezvous- This is the best deal you will get on our selection as we bring a variety of our hydration, climbing, and running packs discounted at 20% off just this weekend, so get one while the gettin’ is good!
- Not sure what pack you want? No problem! We’ve got your back and will have our demo fleet of bike, climbing, and running packs available all weekend! Stop by the booth and talk with our team of expert pack fitters and outdoor enthusiasts who can help you make the best selection for your needs. You can even purchase the pack at our booth and take it out to the trails or crag that very day!
- Clinics with the experts- Yeah, the good times don’t stop rolling, and you can improve your skills (or learns some new ones) because clinics from some of the best athletes in the world will be offered this weekend. Whether you want to learn how to climb multi-pitch routes, mountain bike diverse terrain, or want to get certified in wilderness medicine, Red Rock Rendezvous is your one-stop shop (in the form of an incredibly fun event) where all of those opportunities are available…and then some! Check out a full list of clinics here.
- We’re thrilled that our very own Krista Park, pro mountain biker racer, will be leading a variety of clinics for all skill sets. Here is Krista’s perspective on coaching clinics:
“My goal is to make myself available to anyone, at any level, to share tips, skills, encouragement, resources, or anything that will allow racers, riders, or potential riders to fall in love with the sport of cycling as I have.”
- On the climbing front we will have Majka Burhard, long-time Osprey Packs athlete, film-maker, and climbing enthusiast who has attended Red Rocks for the past few years. Majka’s enthusiasm is contagious, which makes her a damn good climbing coach and fun to be around.
Osprey Athlete Payge McMahon is an adventure athlete, ‘rockin’ yogi’ and journalist who travels the world inspiring others to get outdoors, try new things and start checking off that bucket list.
Have you had it up to “here” with winter? Are you ready for MTB season to start? We’re kicking off the season in Moab with Poison Spider Bicycles and a fun Moab mountain bikers’ tradition: THAW! Join us February 28 – March 2 in Moab, UT for rides, skills clinics, food, demos and (of course) parties! We’ll be there with a complete demo fleet, lots of great giveaways, and a display of the entire Osprey Packs cycling line. Register here and check out the full calendar of events below!
When we read about an artist who’s creating life-size sculptures of man’s best friend out of repurposed bicycle parts, we decided pretty immediately that it was something we had to share with the world. Here’s how the magic happens:
The artist is a talented woman named Nirit Levav Packer, who collects bike parts from bike shops around Tel Aviv. Then, she solders bike parts that she collects from garages and bike shops all over Tel Aviv. According to The Telegraph article:
“The series, called HOW!WoW!, began by chance when Nirit examined some bicycle parts being thrown away at her son’s bike store, and instead of seeing them as rubbish she saw a potential to do something creative with them. Within a few months, she had left a successful career in wedding dress design for metal sculpture.”
We are incredibly proud to have two Osprey Athletes who are among the youngest National Caliber mountain bike racers in the world: the Yackle Brothers. But what makes them outstanding is not just their abilities on the bike, but also their incredible work ethic and mentality toward the world. As young individuals who work hard on their sport, they also take a considerable amount of time to contribute to community service, and that’s something that we can all learn from (especially during the holiday season) and resolve to do more of. Yackle Brothers Team Director Kevin E. Yackle tells us a little bit more about what the boys have been working on lately:
“Over the Team’s race seasons we’ve accumulated a whole lot of swag that we wanted to find a good home for, so we had an idea to visit a kids hospital to brighten the lives of the kids and give these items away. In September, we contacted Angie McEvers, Child Life Director at Children’s Hospital of Renown Hospitals, Reno Nevada. We arranged a visit for November 13 to give a talk and visit child patients. Next, we contacted our Sponsors to inform them of our plans. Though we already had sufficient swag and promotional items from a few sponsors (FSA, Jamis, Yakima, Osprey) some donated additional items. We had two great visits! On November 13th, we raffled just a portion of the promotional items that were Sponsor provided, due to a unusually low patient population.
Mrs. McEvers was delighted to have our Team come provide support to the Kids and it went so well she invited us back for the Children’s Hospital Christmas Party on December 9th.
Well, yesterday we attended that event. It was another great experience for our Team and the Hospital. We were blessed to have the opportunity to be involved! We were joined by a few Athletes from the University of Nevada, Reno. A few hundred Hospital patrons, families and children enjoyed the 2 hour program Mrs. McEvers organized.
On Novermber 13th, we gave a talk about our Team’s history, showed a video about our Team and spoke about the road to achieve our accomplishments. We set an example, gave inspiration and motivation to kids to get involved in athletics/bicycling. We encouraged the kids to “shoot for the stars” and achieve their dreams. We toured the facility. We meet with Kids who were too sick to leave their rooms. We passed out swag gifts to give encouragement and held a raffle for a Osprey Pack, Light & Motion Bike Light, Ergon Grips and a Jamis Bike jersey.
On December 9th, we prepared a sign board with Team information, sponsor logo and event happenings. Displayed our Race Bikes and components in Feedback Sports stands. Set up a Sign Board. Played a Team video. Showed our Team portfolio. Laid out our 5 groups Raffle Prizes. The boys mingled the room talking to patient kids and families. They passed out small items of sponsor swag. Mrs. McEvers was a very gracious host. She introduced our Team to the audience and invited them to come see and talk with us at our table. She brought Jake and Nye on stage and introduced them and recognized their awesome accomplishment in sport. She invited them up 5 separate times to for them to describe the items in the raffle prize and them present it to the winner. Jake and Nye did a great job as they mention each item with its Brand name. Each of sponsors generous donation was well highlighted.
As expected, I was extremely proud of how the Boys professionally handled this opportunity to be at this Event helping out the Community, Hospital, Children, Team and their Sponsors.
We enjoyed our involvement with the Hospital and will be endeavoring to make this a reoccurring activity.Thanks to our Sponsors for your involvement and assistance with Yackle Brothers Racing efforts to make a difference in our Community!”
Americans get behind things. I mean, when there is something Americans believe in, they wholeheartedly invest their time and energy into making it a reality. Us laid-back Canadians might poo-poo this idea, but in many ways it is true. How do you think the good ol’ US of A grew into a superpower in the span of a few short centuries? Or, look at the near-rabid following of the Tea Party, or hardcore evangelism. When people wanna believe, they stick to their guns (forgive the pun).
It’s no different with mountain biking, and the way mountain towns have latched onto the sport as a way of bringing tourist dollars into their communities. This fall I traveled to America with some friends from Vancouver, on a road trip to some of the new, and old, mountain bike meccas of the Lower 49.
In the span of ten action-packed days we drove to and rode in Sun Valley, Moab, Fruita and Park City. All mountain bike hotspots in their own right, and deserving of a “mecca” status for different reasons.
Sun Valley, our first stop after leaving Vancouver, was a spot I had visited years ago on a Bike Magazine assignment, driving through the American MidWest in Honda Elements and riding the most obscure spots we could find. Sun Valley is far from unknown, especially in the ski circles, and the riding surrounding Ketchum and Hailey, the two towns that make up Sun Valley, is world class.
Our host this time was Greg Randolph, the director of public relations and social media for the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance. Greg has a rich background in cycling, and straight up loves where he lives, which shows in all of his marketing efforts and events hosted. Lucky for us mountain bikers, he does play favourites, organizing an annual mountain bike festival, developing a detailed trail map and generally stoking out the mountain bike community whenever possible.
We rode two days of perfect singletrack, from sinuous desert rips to flowing loops in the forest. We hit the road after riding the Prairie/Miner Loop, a mini-epic that took us up into the fresh snowline of the alpine, and where Greg had to get in a dip in one of the close-to-freezing-over lakes. “I never miss a swim up here!” he exclaimed, surveying all the new snow in the high country. With ambassadors like this, Sun Valley is going to continue to attract keen riders for years to come.
A late night drive, along with a stop at a suspect Taco Bell in Salt Lake City, took us to Moab, our southernmost destination and a spot I had never ridden. Yes, I had never ridden. That’s blasphemy according to many riders who consider Moab the true Mecca, and make pilgrimages whenever possible. I thought I had to check it out for myself.
Moab is a place that seemingly needs to do no work to attract mountain bike tourism. Gracing covers of magazines worldwide, the surreal landscape of the Utah slickrock has implanted itself in mountain biker psyche as the place to go, as the ultimate mountain bike experience. This is evident in the number of bike shops, guiding outfits and shuttle services that dot the town. While the Slickrock trail has sustained this mountain bike boom for years, Moab is not one to rest on its laurels. The Whole Enchilada, a 42 km, 7,000-foot downhill epic draws thousands of riders each year, as does Captain Ahab, a newly-handbuilt maze carved out of the unforgiving sandstone that offers perfect flow its entire length. The mountain bike community in Moab has seen the sport evolve, and has evolved the trail offerings to match.
We were welcomed to Fruita by a three-story banner of a mountain biker in action plastered to the side of a grain elevator towering over the small town. A sure sign that the community is on board! As we only had the day to check out the riding, we tried to maximize our efficiency and headed to the 18 Road trail system. We were not alone here, and for a mid-week day the parking lot was surprisingly busy. The trails were flowy and fun, and we looped back and forth underneath the Bookcliffs, sampling as much singletrack as we could possibly muster. We ended the day with amazing pizza at the Hot Tomato Café in town, a business born of the mountain bike boom, owned by mountain bikers, and a rad spot that definitely catered to the two-wheeled brethren.
Another late night drive (and more shady Taco Bell) took us to Park City, our last stop on this roadtrip. We had planned this stop based on some rumours, and a friend who promised great singletrack. I had not ever heard of the riding here, but was willing to give it a try. When we arrived it was obvious that Park City is ready to show the world what they have to offer. With over 400 miles (yes, 400) of trails, three lift-served bike parks (and some free public bus shuttle zones) this place is a mecca in the making. IMBA apparently knows how good it is here, and this year gave Park City the first (and so far, only) Gold Level Ride Center designation.
It was certainly golden in Park City, with vibrant fall colours from the aspens lining the long singletrack climbs and epic descents. We rode trails straight out of our condo, and did shuttles to 10,000 feet. The mix of trail styles was amazing. The main street indicated the level of commitment Park City had to mountain biking as well. Every lamp post was adorned in bike-focused slogans; “IMBA Gold Level,” “Epic Singletrack” and more. Money abounds in this wealthy area, but smart minds prevail also, and are not letting the mountain bike tourism opportunity pass them by.
Real life was calling the desk jockeys on our road trip, and we sadly pulled up stakes and made the painfully long drive back to Canada. During the drive we had plenty of time to reflect on the impact that mountain biking is making in these small communities, and marveled at how Americans really do get behind whatever they believe is a good thing. Lucky for us, in these cases, it’s singletrack.
“Nothing is possible without the participation of females today.”
In Afghanistan, females riding bikes is still considered taboo, and is hardly considered a given right. But some brave women are working very hard to change that by way of the Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan. From Vimeo:
“Afghan Cycles introduces the first women to ride bikes in the country, illustrating the gender and social barriers that the team is breaking, one pedal stroke at a time. Highlighting 4 of the 12 teammates, we look at their lives on and off the bike. From training on dangerous trucking highways to following them through a typical day in Kabul, the film shares the intimate story of these brave and passionate young women who feel free when they are on their bikes in an otherwise oppressive culture.”
Check out the trailer for this short documentary film above, and take a minute to peruse the new Afghan Cycles website too.
We’ll start this post out by saying on big, huge, giant thank you to all of those editors, bloggers and journalists out there who write reviews of Osprey Packs. We’re excited every time we see a new one, and we treasure your opinions. Every once in a while, we come across a review that strikes us — and we like to share those to make sure they get read as much as possible! This one in particular comes from Urban Velo, written by Urban Jeff. First of all, he says this:
I’ve yet to find a need for their All Mighty Guarantee, which seems to be one of the best in the outdoor industry, but it’s refreshing to know that my pack is covered for life.
And he continues…
One thing many companies try to accomplish but fall just short of is creating a backpack that allows air to pass between you and your pack. Osprey’s AirSpeed backpanel does this better than any pack that I’ve ever used. It uses a combination of stretched mesh which rests against your back and a curved, rigid panel with contoured padding to hold the pack away from your back. The packs main straps are also made with mesh and perforated foam to increase ventilation without sacrificing comfort.
And tops it all off with…
The size M/L Radial 34 measures 22″ x 15″ x 12″ and weighs just under 3 lbs. With such a lightweight design you might suspect its durability, but as I said earlier, Osprey packs are built to last. My Talon pack has been ridden hard and put away wet for years, seen its share of brambles and tumbles, and save for a smattering of mud stains, it’s still every bit as good as the first time I put it on my back. I have no reason to expect anything less from the Radial 34.
Here at Osprey, we’re incredibly proud of the product we provide — and we appreciate any and all feedback we get on that very product. With all of that said, here’s one last huge thank you and cheers to a great write-up!
With snow beginning to fly and temperatures plunging, our cycling season in southwest Colorado is coming to an end. Of course, there is still riding to be done by the lunatics that get out in the snow on their fat bikes and the hard men and women who suffer through frigid temps on the their cyclocross bikes, but the rest of us are packing away the bike gear and dusting off the skis or snowboards. As a Colorado native, I have been through this annual ritual plenty of times, as have most of my Osprey co-workers. This year it was a little harder to let go so we decided to celebrate a terrific year of biking by going out with a bang. The “bang” being a company-sponsored three-day journey around the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park. The White Rim is an iconic ride that circles the Island in the Sky on a mesa above the Colorado and Green rivers in southeastern Utah. Overall distance for the loop is a bit over 100 miles and with the exception of a few relatively short, hard climbs, elevation change is minimal. The lure of riding the White Rim for us was as much about the scenery, camping and camaraderie as it was the actual riding. One person in our group compared the ride to a river trip for cyclists, which is a perfect correlation.
The Osprey trip started on Thursday night where we all convened for dinner at the Moab Brewery and then headed to a campsite near our ride start point. There was definitely some nervous anticipation among those who were on their maiden White Rim voyage. Those of us who are veterans of the trip were constantly bombarded with questions of, “How far is it again?” and “How hard is the trail?” Our team consisted of a mixed crew of riders ranging from experienced riders, to bike commuters who hadn’t spent much time on the trails, but we had confidence that all would come out the other side with flying colors.
After a quick breakfast and some gear shuffling on Friday morning, we started the ride. A few miles of rolling pavement on the highway served as a perfect warmup. Conditions were stellar when we finally turned onto the dirt road and approached the steep Schafer switchbacks dropping off of the Island. The route we would be riding could be seen for miles in the distance and hundreds of feet below us. The thrill of standing atop the mesa at Schafer and seeing the trail drop down the canyon walls, knowing that you will be down there in a matter of minutes, was pretty special. Once everyone was safely down the descent, we naturally settled into smaller groups and rolled on our way, stopping occasionally to soak in the postcard views.
Each day would be a repeat of riding the rolling terrain while straining to maintain a focus on the route without becoming too distracted by the amazing rock formations, towering cliffs, distant mesas and snow-covered LaSal mountains. Multiple stops along the way for sightseeing and adventure broke up the riding segments. Landmarks such as Musselman Arch, White Crack, Murphy’s Hogback and the Holman Slot Canyon were not be missed and we made sure to spend some time enjoying the spectacular landscapes of this region. An exploration down the Holman Slot Canyon resulted in non-stop laughter as we struggled to climb back out of the slickrock canyon. The group up top had a rope and gear to get us out if needed so we were never in real danger, but instead we took on the challenge of an unaided egress.
Afternoons and evenings were a highlight as everyone reconvened at camp. We settled in to celebrate the day’s ride with cold beers, hot food and great story telling. It is amazing how good everything tastes when you have been on the bike all day! Everyone got to learn a little bit more about the people they work beside every day without the distractions of ringing phones, email and text messages. The skies remained perfectly clear making the stars and moon so bright, we barely even needed headlamps.
After three days of riding and two nights of camping, we ascended our way back off of the White Rim and up the intimidating Mineral Bottom switchbacks. Looking up these switchbacks from the bottom was as awe-inspiring as looking down the Schafer switchbacks the first day. The difference is we had to claw our way up these instead of joyfully speeding down. Eventually, each rider celebrated his and her own personal success and reached the upper rim to the cheers of those ahead of them. We laid out one last, well deserved spread of food and basked in the joyous feeling of a mission completed. Even though it was late on Sunday and we all had to drive for a few hours to make it back for work on Monday, it was obvious that no one was really in a hurry to leave. Our legs were tired and we hadn’t showered for days, but I am almost sure that given the opportunity to keep riding and do the whole thing over again, every person would have jumped on their bike and ridden off into the sunset for another lap.