Mountain Flyer & Riding with Brian Vernor

The new issue of Mountain Flyer Magazine is out now!

I know that is something that you have all been waiting for. I also have been waiting for it, not for its in-depth reviews (they are actually quite good and read more like personal essays than "vertically stiff" advertorials), nor its race reports written from the perspective of the racers themselves. No, I was more interested in the collaboration between one Brian Vernor and Kyle Von Hoetzendorff. Both of these cats are talented in their own right - the former needs no real introduction, he's been seen around the bicycle world enough for you to know his name. Ok, fine - he is a photographer of the highest ilk - shooting things like Giro Catalogs, The Rapha Continental, trips to Patagonia for the Jamis MTB team as well as making his own films and so on and so forth - it should just be noted that he's awesome. Kyle on the other hand? Well, he's awesome too, but a bit of a sleeper. Remember the name though. He is the brains behind "Communications" for Chris King Precision Components. He could be the reason that we now see Chris King in blog format (well, Dylan too). But here is the real secret - he's a writer as well.

In any case. The article - This is Our Craft - focuses on the elusive element of "capturing the essence of mountain biking." Who, in their right mind would want to be tasked with that? That sounds like something that happens when you siphon the sweat off of Travis Brown's beard, ferment it in Gary Fischer's (city riding) chamois and then roll it up in a Joe Breeze top tube and smoke it while Tom Ritchey watches over with a knowing look on his face. With that being said and without giving too much away (I'm going to reprint the last few lines which gives everything away) they do a fantastic job of capturing the essence of whatever they are doing. The spray of dirt across the opening spread moves quickly into a foggy photo of Kelli Emmet winning the Super D series here in Oregon. The written words of the piece seamlessly meld beer, friendship, alcohol and bikes on every page.

We will continue to make friends at the trailhead, self-deprecate on the climbs, and when we have reached the top, we will once again find that the only reason to be here is in the same place it's always been, right there on the trail. Enduro racing is just a wonderful way of making it easier to find. 

So, there's that. Go check it out. 

Ah, Brian Vernor and his magical way of making everything right through riding, it is wonderful. There is a section in the article where Brian rolls up to Kyle's house and soon enough they are shredding the trails at Sandy Ridge helping Aaron Bradford prepare for that weekend's Hood River Enduro. You can think about they and Aaron Bradford later (or better yet, pick up a copy of MTN Flyer), but my point is that those lines made me think of this:

One time, not too long ago we took a wrong turn while heading towards the finish of one of the stages of the Tour of California and were shunted into the small seaside town known as Santa Cruz.  I felt a little embarrassed over the wrong turn because it meant that we were going to miss that evening's stage finish. But, I felt a little less embarrassed because the stage was coming to a close in less than an hour and we never would have made it anyway. 

"Ok, who do we know in Santa Cruz?" I said to no one in particular. Although both Simon Robins and John Prolly Watson were in the van with me. Brian Vernor was the answer. Thankfully, Brian, answered his phone so that not fifteen minutes later we were in his garage assembling bicycles and talking about the ride he would show us. It was that easy. Not only was it easy, but the ride had dirt, resplendent views of the ocean and a winding trail up through the University of California, Santa Cruz, which offered a different brand of resplendent views. Both Prolly and I were snapping away photos before you could say "so, you're a photographer now!"

There was a deer alongside the road that you could reach out and touch. There were dirt roads that were entirely manageable on road tires (25c Gator Hardshell's to be exact) and there was a ripping descent at the half way point that showed us another side of Vernor entirely as he dropped us with the greatest of ease. His backside.

In any case, thanks for a great ride.

SIDE NOTE: I've been trying to do all this with film photos. I'm into them and I'm forcing myself to try and shoot black and white at least some of the time as well. We shall see how that goes.