1. A couple more photos from the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit.

    Check out the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center blog post and photo gallery over at SamoBiker.com.

     
  2. Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit - Los Angeles

    Check out the complete photoset at SamoBiker.com.

     

  3. Climbing Mount St. Helens

    Over the 4th of July weekend a few of us decided that it would be a good idea to climb Mount St. Helens on our bikes.  Well, we didn’t actually ride up the volcano itself but rather to the Johnson Ridge Observatory, which sits at 4,314 ft and has a direct view into the volcanic crater.  While this may have just been another training day for Anabel, who is at the peak of Ironman training, it was a big day for Mark and I.  


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    Pro tip, have someone provide sag support.  While it’s not critical, it was totally awesome to have my wife, Heather, drive up with us for moral support as well providing us with donuts, water refills, and some warmer clothes at the top as well as photos.  With scenery this good it made it a little easier to convince her that hanging out with us on our all-day adventure was a good idea.

    I know that people do this climb all the time but based on the looks that we got from the tourist crowd at the Observatory, they hadn’t seen many bike “crazies” like us.  We even got a standing ovation from a group of kids that saw us pull up. 

    The ride was pretty straightforward — if you like 40 miles of scenic roads, no stop signs, light traffic and 5,200 ft of total climbing.  The way back is mostly downhill, with the exception of one little climb.  The road is in perfect condition with a wide shoulder so you don’t feel like the few cars out there are breathing down your neck.  The average grade of the climb isn’t too bad, which lets you also enjoy the scenery.


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    The ride starts off with some relatively flat roads through the Washington countryside, sasquatch territory, and tree farms before the road starts to tilt up.  Even after the road turns up it is quite some time before Mount St. Helens makes an appearance.  When the volcano does decide to make an appearance, it’s pretty stunning to say the least.  For the rest of the ride the volcano makes hide-and-seek appearances along with Mt. Rainier.

    As you climb it’s easy to see the damage from when the volcano blew on May 18, 1980.  The mountain has a flat top with a crater in the side where tons of rocks blew out and leveled the majority of trees on the mountain.  In addition, there is a huge river of silt and dirt that was caused by the flood flow from the eruption.  It has been suggested that the total energy output from the eruption was the equivalent to 400 million tons of TNT — approximately 20,000 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs.

    Click here to see all the images from the ride.  SamoBiker.com


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    I would highly recommend this ride to anyone.  Getting out of the car allows you to get a different perspective of the entire mountain.  Seeing the size of the mountain and devastation also helps to put the size and power of nature into perspective.

    http://samobiker.com/blog/2014/7/7/climbing-mount-st-helens

     
  4. SoCal Championships at the Encino Velodrome.

     
  5. LA Circuit Race 2014

     

  6. Backyard Rides - Sullivan Ridge

    After my ride today I was thinking about how lucky I am to be able to enjoy rides right from my front door.  Today with the internet, it’s easy to get jealous of “epic” looking rides that you see all over the world.  Sometimes you just need to stop and take a look at your own backyard to find your own epic ride.

    I have to admit that I have a pretty good backyard.  Living in SoCal, I have access to the Santa Monica Mountains, which are just a short ride from home.  I can even do a few of the rides before work in the mornings.  One of the great standby rides is Sullivan Ridge, or canyon, on a CX bike.  Sullivan Ridge isn’t all that long or all that steep, but at nearly 6 miles and just about 1,300 feet of elevation gain it can be as hard or easy as you like.


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    Being able to get into the mountains so quickly from Santa Monica is amazing.  One moment you are in a sea of latte-drinking, yoga-crazed, BMW-driving crazies and the next you are in the mountains with nothing but dirt, rocks and scrub brush everywhere you look.  The views are always stunning and then some days, when the mountains are shrouded in clouds, the ride can take on a truly epic feel.


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    The main route is along a fire road, but there are mountain bike trails all over if you are feeling adventurous.  Part way up there is a lone tree in the middle of the road to help mark your progress or lack there of.  It was put there by the cycling gods to temp you with the idea of stopping for a respite from the climb or a photo op.


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    At the top, you’re treated to great views of the Valley.  Actually, looking at the Valley from miles away is the best way to see it.  Having it shrouded in fog with early morning light doesn’t hurt either.


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    The descent can be a fire road bomb session back the way you came, a trip through the canyon or a short ride over to the whoop-de-doos on Kenter, aka Kenter Coaster.

    The ride is all about what you make of it.

    SamoBiker.com

     
  7. Riding on water in the LA River.

     
  8. Will Rogers state park

     
  9. 5 of my top images for 2013

     

  10. Top 10 Cycling Shots for 2013


    Here is my list of top cycling shots from 2013—as voted by me!  It’s that time of year and everyone’s doing it so I thought I would put my two cents out there as well. I’m not a pro photog and my photos aren’t going to set the interwebs ablaze, but I’m proud of them.  

    Actually, this was a great exercise.  With digital cameras and cell phones, race pictures are a dime a dozen these days.  There is way too much spray and pray going on at the races.  Just because your camera can take 300 frames per second, they don’t all need to be posted online.  

    I think it’s important to take a critical look at my photos and show just the good ones.  I try to be ruthless with my normal editing and this took things a step further.  I have no idea how many race pictures I actually took this year but there are only 200 left on my computer, and I started this end of year list with 24 before cutting it down to 10.  

    This year I was trying to find my style.  I didn’t think I had one, but when I asked a helpful professional, he thought that I did have a style of my own.  He said, “First and foremost, your style is that of a documentary photographer rather than that of a pictorial photographer. You take in the world as it is, without attempting to artificially craft an image to meet your vision.”  Stepping back and looking at my images, I tend to agree with him.  I like a wide-angle, black-and-white version of the world.  It’s funny how it takes someone else to help you see yourself.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t change over time or try new things, but it does show me where I stand at this moment.

    I hope you like the shots.  And, if you do, browse around and take a look at the rest of my images.  www.samobiker.com