Jeremy Kampp on the Snoqualmie River

You get the sense that Washington State alone contains a lifetime of riding. Road. Trail. Everything in between. Thousands and thousands of miles of it. Here, Seven Ambassador Jeremy Kampp shares another little slice of his home state with us:

Seven months and over forty inches of rain might have been a dream as I awake to a spectacular 5:20am sunrise in May.  A weather window with the temperature in the 70’s leaves me thinking about an adventure combining riding and fishing rather than riding and layering against the dampness.

Have I told you about the enormous brown trout that I hooked but got away? Oh yeah, that fishing story has been told before.  This story involves my Mudhoney SL bike and tenkara fly rod to explore along the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River and the fishing holes yet unseen.

Scattered white cumulus clouds sail above the snowy peaks. Deciduous trees reach for space between the towering evergreens with their apical buds of light green yielding little.  At the trailhead I can hear the river rapids running over the cobbles before I can see the green flow.  Water, food and rod on my back I accelerate up the road on my bike, ecstatic to be riding in the sun.  The thrill of riding is timeless and the freedom to roam is cherished.

Through the forest on a trail and over a suspension bridge reveals a swollen snowmelt river.  Sandbars to fish from won’t be available for two more months.   I fish eddies on the main river, make a note of holes that will be prime for trout in 1-2 months, and then seek smaller tributary creeks to fish.

Riding a winding singletrack trail with blue butterflies flitting near the drying mud I cross several streams along the way.  Rock hopping is easy. Wading is cold and sometimes necessary.  In the end the fish swim free, I am energized by the day of exploration and the dream of the next trip forms as I ride down the long tree shaded road towards home.

 

 

Joe Cruz in Croatia

Another missive from our buddy Joe, adventure cyclist/philosophy professor, this time from Croatia. Beautiful images. Good words. All his. All adventure. Read on.No place is a unity, not if you’re open and look to learn something even from small things. In riding in Croatia, then, we didn’t find it to be one place. But the diversity was macroscopic, ranging over the thick parts of culture and movement and affect. In a single day we might pack up our gear from a woodland camp, take lunch dockside in the swirl of festive Europeans on holiday, clinking white wine glasses and bobbing yachts as backdrop. We might then climb on rutted tracks between centuries old stone goat fences up through half abandoned villages—cherry and apricot trees twisting in brightness—to pedal with our hearts in our throats through uncleared landmine acres, then sit at mountain camp with grinning Croatians sharing their stew and bread and stories. The next day we’d drop down off the ridge again.

Our hours were that kind of glorious haphazard fabric, unexpected warp and weft. The only constant was Homer’s wild northern sea, the Adriatic, always in sight or at least its suggestion.

Another evening after a restaurant dinner, the owner talks about her family’s olives, how when growing up in the era of Yugoslavia she used to drink olive oil as part of becoming strong for gymnastics. She doesn’t say so, but her voice suggests that it’s also a metaphor. With the sun a few fingers over the horizon, we pedal to a late ferry to Krk. When we reach the island, it’s plenty dark so our headlamps go on and we ride onto a dirt track, looking for a camp spot. The riding is rugged, dry. Demanding though buoyant. Water will be hard to find for these coming weeks. We’ve learned to spot the wells, low stone chimney looking blocks with an iron lid. Looking down at our reflections, the rain water is placid in the catch, three meters down. We lower an improvised pail, a cut in half soda bottle with a long length of wire. Jack carries the wire coiled on his saddle bag, I carry the bottle strapped on my front roll.

Later we feel the accumulation of ascent, scaling passes into a cracked plateau with the white gravel track disappearing before us deep into Velebit National Park. There’s a feeling of remoteness that we didn’t expect: from towns and people, of course, but also from the recent history of this region, as if the crags are trying to be a sanctuary from memory. For the first time on the trip we’ve had to put on our jackets against chill and a greying sky.

In total we ride a mix of demanding mountain bike track, dirt roads, asphalt that remains new in the way that only sunny warm climes can allow. We sweat and bend our shoulders against the sky, exalt in long descents and sometimes push our wheels up through thorny brush to emerge into expanse. We visit a Croatia that’s wilderness, that’s jumping accelerating commerce, that’s nearly silent alleys. We stop at the Nikola Tesla museum to have our arm hairs stand straight up near the big coil. We ride around holes in the tarmac where we can’t tell if they are from heavy truck tread or from shell fire twenty-five years ago.

Croatia unfolds to us and our days there are far too few.

Joe Cruz is a professor of philosophy, an expedition cyclist, and an ambassador for Seven Cycles. Find more of his words and images at joecruz.wordpress.com and on Instagram @joecruzpedaling.

The Kind of Email We Love to Get

We wrote to Putter to find out how he liked his new Evergreen PRO, and here’s what we got back:

Thanks for reaching out.

Yes, the bike is great.  Did my first gravel race 2 days after it was built.  Was hoping to have a bit more time to train and tweak the bike but that’s life and small world problems.

Very forgiving ride but stiff to my liking for climbing.  The race was 81 miles and 7300 feet so the Evergreen Pro was put to the test.

 Attaching a picture/s of it fresh out of the womb and then 2 days later.

 Putter

Bike are, after all, for riding, and this one, built with our friends at Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle, came out really well.

Rik’s Sola 29S Monster Cross

This is Rik’s Sola S 29er, built monster cross style. We partnered with our good friends at Cyclefit in London for this one.

Rik says:

Picked up Tuesday. Built Weds/Thurs. Ridden Saturday!!

Proper good. Def. not gravel, or road-plus, this is proper monster cross!! Very happy man!!

Cheers 

Rik

Jeremy Kampp in the Sol Duc Valley

Jeremy Kampp lives and rides in the Pacific Northwest. He rides an Evergreen S adventure bike and a Mudhoney SL race bike. This is the first of what we hope will be many of his shared adventures.

Fog swirls through the cedar trees in the fading light of dusk as frogs croak somewhere near the flowing river in the darkness beyond.  I’m in Olympic National Park nestled in the Sol Duc valley anticipating the next days mixed terrain ride. An early spring adventure to mark the return of soft light giving way to vibrant sunshine that had retreated to the South for the winter.

Warmed against the 34F morning with eggs, bagel and coffee I pedal over a bridge spanning the Sol Duc river.  A sleepy two-lane road winds along the river descending under the canopy of moss and trees of the temperate rainforest.  Although I’m vaguely aware that this thrilling winding and rolling descent will be a climb on my return I laugh it off with a whoop and pedal harder.

Black tarmac with a double yellow stripe yields to brown squishy soil littered with decayed leaves, yellow green lichen and derailleur grabbing broken branches.   I pedal on the shoulder of Lake Crescent.  With a 40c tire on my Evergreen S the varied terrain is a great match. Only the creek crossings, downed trees, and a rock slide prompt me to hike.

Time passes on the trail among ancient trees and flowing waters. Salt crystals on my cheeks remind me of the summer rides to come.  For now the gentle spring rain begins to needle down upon my helmet and drip off the brim of my hat.  My ride is complete except for the rest I take falling back into the soft moss bed below a tree in the forest.