While we were in Japan, Brian Vernor mentioned that he and Chris McNally were working on a couple tshirts together. Intrigue. There were a couple of shirts on the docket and from the sounds of it they had been thought out all the way from initial photograph to execution. The one thing that they did not have covered was a way to get them out into the world. Ding! You see, guys like Brian and Chris are constantly on the move, they like making things and putting them out there and seeing where they end up. Which meant that we were ready to help out, this is the Athletic Community after all, is it not?
Cut to last Thursday and a few of us taking half a day to "shred the gnar" (did I say that right?) out at Sandy Ridge Mountain Bike Park. Mr. Watson was in town to help the newly minted Poler store launch their bike collaboration with Specialized AWOL. So, I figured, since this big box of tshirts had just arrived, we should shoot them on the most famous bike blogger known to man.
John Watson models the - Vernor & McNally Battery Townsley Tshirt.
Do not get me wrong here, this wasn't your typical lights over Manhattan photo shoot. Those are real muscles. These were real woods. We were really sitting in the parking lot of one of the best man made mountain bike parks in all of the country. And yes, in case you're counting, Prolly did drink more than one of Kyle's beers while he was off shredding his own gnar in the woods.
It was a wonderfully hot day and John was more than enthused about his brand new Rosko Cycles mountain bike. Now, I know little about this frame builder and even less about John's skills in the woods with these types of bikes - I've seen videos of his "fixie freestyle" skills and I've ridden both cyclocross and road bikes with him - but that is about the extent of it. Mountain shred sleds are an entirely different story, but one - I am happy to report - that has a happy ending to it (not that type of happy ending you sicko) none the less.
Not only did John keep up with everyone who happened to be on full suspension bikes, but he did it in style. Tail flipping and busting some heavy shit wherever possible and out climbing even some of the most proficient "grimpeurs" in the group. However, it was not all tailwhips and unicorns out there - John must have done something to anger the VTT gods, because on the last couple runs he was relegated to having to ride behind...me. Sorry about that dude.
John Watson models the Vernor & McNally Wilder Ranch Tshirt.
All jokes aside and as I tried to take stock of what we were using on the trail that day my mind spun into a fever pitch about the state of mountain bike riding these days. As I looked around the lot and thought back about the few runs that we had just taken my heart started to warm to the fact that we might be on to something here:
- Wildcat - one of the runs on the "other side of the road" at Sandy Ridge could possibly be a real, big time UCI event in the next couple years. According to Nick Gibson it is "where we go when we want the runs in Whistler to look a little smaller." Don't believe him? Well, he did just take Remy Absalon riding there a few weeks back.
- I have now seen two amazing uses for the Generic Sticker Volume 2. Tim has mounted it to his helmet in such a fashion that it spans across the air vents and just generally looks cool. The other had to do with an apple laptop and cutting out one of the geometric shapes so that the glowing apple shown through. Neat.
- Abby and I have come to the conclusion that the Wildwood Trail sock matches pretty much everything and works in almost every occasion. Running, riding, racing and I even once wore it to one of those events where I was expected to "dress up." Just a common observation folks.
- Hunter Bumbag - Ok, He might call them "Shred Packs" but whatever. Our good friend Kyle has the diamond encrusted one. Our other friend Bo can't stop talking about ones made in Wyoming. Either way you slice it, if Prolly is into it, you can bet every kid on the blog, I mean block, is going to have one.
- Abby's Trek - WTF! I didn't see much of this one, because she smiles and waves when you finally catch up to her, and then while you are leaned over your handlebars trying not to retch, she takes off and you never see her again.
- IBIS HDR - WTF! WTF! This one deserved two. This was my first time on a full suspension bike since an Ellsworth I borrowed a number of years ago. Needless to say this was a more enjoyable experience. No numb hands (and wrists and elbows and arms and feet) on the descent and the bike - despite its weight - actually felt pretty light going over some stuff I never knew I could ride. Plus, the 650b thing is probably here to stay, so we should just get along with that as well, eh?
- Last Runs are the Worst Ideas - say whatever convention it takes to avoid talking about the last run of the day, because they suck. Abby flatted. I broke my derailleur cable and Greg injured himself in ways that he is still finding out about. Don't worry though, the helmet took most of the impact. No one more times. Just don't do it.
Do go into the woods every once in a while. Whether it be to ride on the trails or hike through to a secluded spot with your best friend, your dog, or your best friends dog. You'll be happy you did (unless you're Greg Johnson and you're still trying to piece together just what happened after your "front wheel slipped off that lip").
Side Note: Brian Vernor sent through some inspiration notes and process photos of the creation of these lovely shirts which we will be revealing in the coming days.