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Dec 29, 2021

Co-hosts, Randall and Craig put a bow tie on 2021 with a look back at a few of their favorite bikes and gravel riding experiences.

Episode Sponsor: Competitive Cyclist (Promo Code: TheGravelRide)

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Episode transcription, please excuse the typos:

In the Dirt 27

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. I'm going to be joined shortly by my cohost Randall Jacobs. This is going to be our final in the dirt episode for the year. And we take a look back. At 2021 and a look forward to 2022. Before we jump in, I needed to thank this week. Sponsor a competitive cyclist. 

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[00:01:12] I know, after my conversation with my personal gearhead, Maggie, I came away with a few ideas on how to fill my personal Christmas basket. Those hard to think of items that I knew I couldn't get family or friends to purchase for me, but I needed in the garage. As I mentioned before, I got a full setup of SRAM replacement, brake pads that I couldn't find elsewhere. 

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[00:02:31] The sponsors of this broadcast are very much appreciated. So be sure to go check them out. Would that business out of the way let's dive right in to my episode of in the dirt with randall jacobs Hey Randall, how you doing? 

[00:02:43] Randall Jacobs: I am well, Craig happy holidays

[00:02:46] Craig Dalton: Yeah, same to you. It's good to see you. It's hard to believe. This is our last episode of the 

[00:02:51] Randall Jacobs: last episode of the year, indeed. So we have a lot of fun topics for today. How would you like to dive in?

[00:02:57] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think first off, I'd just like to put out a little public apology. I feel like we've had some audio issues on the podcast recently. Both on the editing side and more recently just voice levels. So I just want to shout out one, I acknowledge that those things have happened. and two, just to note of appreciation to the listeners who reached out with a lot of kindness to just say, Hey, Do you need any help?

[00:03:24] Do you have any, can I offer any suggestions? Cause it's, it's well received and noted. And in fact, we're trying a different platform today, which comes super well-regarded. I know it's used by NPR and a bunch of other broadcast podcasts. Um, so hopefully the audio turns out great. And it's definitely a goal of mine in 2022 to just make sure that the audio levels don't distract from the conversation.

[00:03:47] Obviously to the listener. I never do any fancy editing. I don't do a lot of stuff around that, given our, my personal capabilities, but we do want the conversation to be enjoyable, to listen to. And just for you to be able to get to know the guests or hear the conversation without anything getting in the way

[00:04:06] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, and I certainly want to own my part in being a little bit overzealous with the editing capabilities of the last software platform we were using. We were using, there's a certain perfectionist tendency that I've been working through in public as a consequence of being a, you know, a part of this podcast.

[00:04:24] Uh, so the other feedback that we received and the ridership was super helpful and. I will be, well, this platform doesn't allow so much, but then also just recognizing that it doesn't have to be perfect to be really good. 

[00:04:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think, I think, you know, part of the feedback and I had gotten this early on and it was intentional on my part to just people speak the way they speak. Right. And it's not up to me or us to edit out too much of the conversation, obviously. dog barking or fire alarm. I want to address that. But if someone says like, or as are needs of a couple of minutes or repeats a word, I don't want to feel overly compelled to edit that out because at the end of the day, the gravel ride podcast is just talking about connecting with humans and talking about the subject to gravel cycling.

[00:05:10] So I think there's just some good notes for, us to take for 2020. 

[00:05:15] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, well, you know, um, like, uh, I guess that's okay. Sounds good to me.

[00:05:22] Craig Dalton: um, maybe. 

[00:05:25] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, 

[00:05:27] Craig Dalton: But otherwise, you 

[00:05:27] Randall Jacobs: keep that in there. 

[00:05:28] Craig Dalton: it's been a fun year. I mean, I'm, I'm personally proud that we've published episodes every single week of the year. It was a lot of effort to get to that point. I think certainly a lot of listeners have acknowledged that And I, I would be remiss in not thanking those who have become members of buy me a or supported the podcast in any other ways, because it, it has taken a lot of effort to achieve this goal.

[00:05:54] A couple of years back, I was just doing two episodes a month. So this seems like a pretty big momentous year that we should celebrate 

[00:06:02] Randall Jacobs: yeah. And just looking every so often, I'll go and buy me a coffee and read the comments. Uh, just when I need to pick me up and just the, the, you know, the appreciation there really makes the effort worth it. So thank you for that as well.

[00:06:13] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, obviously like this isn't a money-making venture, so it's really the kind of kudos and kindness that, uh, you know, really propelled me forward. 

[00:06:22] Randall Jacobs: You're not the Joe Rogan of the gravel cycling world.

[00:06:26] Craig Dalton: Yeah. You know, I don't think Spotify is going to be coming, knocking on the door to purchase the gravel ride, but, uh, I'm proud of the community we have and what we do every week. 

[00:06:34] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:06:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah. A couple of ones I just wanted, you know, we've had so many great episodes this year and fun ones for me. Like this has always been a journey of discovery and just these conversations I'm following my personal interests and, And hope.

[00:06:50] That aligns with what the listeners are looking for. But a couple of my favorites I really did enjoy having Patrick carry on doing gravel bike skills, 1 0 1, I think that was a super useful episode. And he did a great job. Just sort of breaking down some fundamentals that newer riders may not be aware of or need to work on.

[00:07:10] So that was a lot of fun. And then a couple product ones really enjoyed John Freeman from Rafa talking about shooting. Just getting into kind of the ins and outs of the construction of the shoe was an area that as, as you know, a hardware guy hadn't really explored that much. So it was pretty fascinating.

[00:07:26] And then have to give a shout out to my buddy Whitman for cab helmets, just doing 3d printed helmets, I think is really interesting. And I do think is one of those trends that it's going to continue to be present in cycling gear, going for.

[00:07:42] Randall Jacobs: And I particularly like the, kind of the more foundational episodes that we've done. Uh, another example, being the conversation I also had with Patrick on bike fit 1 0 1. Uh, it's great to be able to point people to a resource that was very carefully structured. But, uh, it's also digestible, uh, to help people understand an important topic that affects how we ride.

[00:08:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. I wanna, I wanna, um, kind of partition those off because I do think over the course of the last three years, there's been a handful of just critical episodes that I think if you're only going to listen to five episodes of the gravel ride podcast, you should be hitting bike fit 1 0 1.

[00:08:22] You should revisit our gravel bike 1 0 1 episodes. If you're thinking about purchasing a bike, the gravel bike skills episode, and there'll be a few more that I'll kind of package in there and I'll find a way in 20, 22 to point people to that to say, Hey, if you're looking to have a starting point, grab these episodes first and then.

[00:08:40] get into the flow and go through the, you know, over a hundred episodes in the backcountry. 

[00:08:46] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And you know, that brings us into kind of the next phase and being part of this experience, which is community. Um, another episode I want to call out is the one I recently did with Ryan. Uh, Russ Roca over at pathless pedals. Uh, his content is very much about, uh, you know, the non-competitive aspects of cycling and makes the sport much more accessible.

[00:09:09] Uh, and that's a value that you and I hold very dear and is a big value of the ridership. And, uh, you know, was the primary motivation for getting the ridership off the ground, you know, uh, uh, community of riders helping.

[00:09:22] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that's been a theme that we've brought up in the end of dirt episodes And constantly encouraging and reminding people to join the ridership. it's something that, you know, we've depended a little bit of energy, but not as much as we would want, would have wanted to in 2021.

[00:09:38] I think some of our desires were hamstrung by the ongoing pan down. The idea of getting people together and using the ridership to facilitate, you know, regional ride events and things like that. But the kernel is there and the interactions of, you know, continue to be positive and improve.

[00:09:56] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And it's at a point where. It has a certain degree of validation that allows us to access resources that might not be, uh, accessible early on in terms of partnerships with technology partners or adding new functionality and things like this. And these are conversations that we have been deeply involved in behind the scenes and hope to start seeing, uh, implementation in 2022.

[00:10:19] It'll be a significant focus for me, uh, now that, uh, you know, I'm in a very good shape, uh, with, with my primary business.

[00:10:27] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think community is such an interesting topic and it's so, you know, I've always, in retrospect, always looked back at communities I've joined and discovered how much more value you get when you put in. And I think that's sort of the core of the ridership, right? The expectation it's not. Uh, Randall and correct conversation by any means.

[00:10:47] In fact, there's weeks at a time that I'm just lurking and watching conversations happen. And, you know, I just encourage people to get in there. And whether it's the ridership or other communities in your life, it's just important to put yourself out there. Because you get so much more in return when you find out that, I mean, maybe it's selfish and you get a question answered that you need answered.

[00:11:09] But if you can answer a question for someone else or point them in the right direction, I don't know about you, but I just get such extreme satisfaction out of that. That are really just fills me up.

[00:11:19] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, it think if we're doing this right. Um, increasingly people don't know who we are when they sign up and it's, it's, it's its own thing and the ownership and the governance is decentralized and so on, and that's kind of the vision going forward, but we can learn about that a little bit later.

[00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think you sign up and you bring your friends in and it becomes, it becomes something that you can use to connect with your local riders, your friends that you ride with every week. But then, you know, the goal has always been to just have this, this forum where people can communicate.

[00:11:52] Any question they have. So obviously bike related questions, tire related questions. These can all happen at a super high level, but these regional questions and those group rides you're arranging every month will happen at an interpersonal.

[00:12:05] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, who do I ride with? Also, another thing that's been really heartening to see is, uh, we have a channel in there that's just for, you know, buy, sell, gift, seek whatever. Um, and yeah, people just putting stuff up saying, I have these things that I'm not using. If anyone wants them come pick them up or pay for shipping.

[00:12:22] And that like really just speaks to the ethos. Um, and, and is, is, is something that, um, I wouldn't say I'm proud of. It's something I feel grateful to be a part of and that's happening. 

[00:12:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

[00:12:33] a hundred percent, a hundred percent. And it's only gonna get better as it grows. I think this community has self-selected towards kindness and generosity, which is really, really great to see and something that I know it's important for both of us, that, that those values continue to get fostered going forward. 

[00:12:51] Randall Jacobs: Hmm. Yes, yes. Yes. 

[00:12:53] So bikes of the.

[00:12:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, seeing that we're at the end of the year, I just thought it, it would be cool to kind of, um, talk about bikes that caught our eye, just the bike each to kind of set the stage for maybe what we hope to see the.

[00:13:09] industry doing next year. 

[00:13:11] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, and I know we have very different perspectives on this, so why don't you go ahead with yours for.

[00:13:16] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, I still have my vision for what the perfect bike is and I don't think anything out there necessarily matches that just yet. I think there are a lot of trends. By companies are capitalizing on and they may grab one trend, I think is on point, but not another. So I'm still holding my breath for.

[00:13:34] that.

[00:13:35] Perfect Nash. Next gen model that'll come out. But one that I did want to highlight is the BMC ERs, L T um, I think it's unrestricted, something or other I'm kind of forgetting what the acronym was, but it was a 

[00:13:51] Randall Jacobs: something that looks about right.

[00:13:52] Craig Dalton: yeah, exactly. I had the S right. So it's, uh, the BMC ERs has been around for actually a couple of years and, and, uh, Tom boss over at, uh, Marine county bike coalition has one, and he's always raved about it as did, um, a contact of mine over at SRAM and RockShox, and it's a bike that has built in some suppleness into the rear.

[00:14:17] I have experience with BMCs on the mountain bike side, as I was riding a 29 or hard tail for quite some time, and all is found that did a really great job of matching suppleness with performance. So it was quite interesting when this year they came out with the LT model, the LT is actually adding a micro suspension fork on the front end.

[00:14:41] It's from a company called high ride over in Europe. It's only 20 millimeters of track. But I think they've matched that delicately with the amount of travel on the rear end. The suspension is right in the steer column, so it's not telescoping. So my imagination suggests that it's a fairly rigid front end, and I know they do have a lockout on it as well, but more and more, and it could be a sign of my age.

[00:15:05] I'm just appreciating. Anything or any bike that can add a little suppleness to the ride. As You know, from riding out here in Marin, I'm riding the rough stuff all the time. So as we've talked about on previous episodes, there's sort of a bunch of different ways, including your body that creates suspension parts.

[00:15:27] You can add the frame and it's just been interesting to me to look at the. This manifestation of those ideas in the BMC ERs LT. Uh, and I think it would be a really great bike to ride around. One thing I don't like about it, which we rant about on the show all the time is it's got a proprietary seat, post shape.

[00:15:47] They did have the force forethought of this DC D shaped seed posts to add a, a shim mechanism. So you can easily go to a standard 27 2, but if you're a bike manufacturer out there and listening to me, just give me around 27 to that's fine. I need to put a dropper post in it. I don't need a fancy arrow shape and my seat posts.

[00:16:09] Thank you very much. 

[00:16:11] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And the arrow shape doesn't really do anything though. D just, um, the D shaped seat post is not about arrow. It's generally about compliance. So you get a little bit more flex in the, after the post, but if you're running a 27 2 posts, that is, you know, with a decent carbon layup, that's designed for some compliance, you can achieve the same thing.

[00:16:30] Uh, so it's kind of separate fluid. Um, but at least they had the forethought yeah. To, to do the, the adapter. Uh, so I don't have a huge problem with that being, being a, an avid, uh, advocate for round posts.

[00:16:43] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I remember talking to you, gosh, you know, a year And a half, two years ago, just about your experience working for a bigger manufacturer. And there's so many constraints along the way that, um, get, get hoisted into the conversation. It's it's often not necessarily about is this the thing that ultimate thing that I can make. Is this thing hitting the right product life cycle, the component availability, blah, blah, blah, that that often kind of shaped the design.

[00:17:12] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And there's also, can we tell a story around this? And I've seen a number of examples. Um, one is a candy called certs. That was, there was a technology that I think rhymed with that, that ultimately was just a bolt on Alaska. Um, literally was compromising the structure of the bike and adding weight in order to give a cosmetic thing that told an untrue story about compliance.

[00:17:38] Uh, so, you know, you see these things less and less, uh, fortunately, but there's still some of them D shape posts. I definitely include in there.

[00:17:46] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. How about you? I know you struggle. Whenever I ask you to tell me about your favorite bikes out on the market, other than thesis, obviously, you know, what do you think, what was short of your bike of the year? 

[00:18:00] Randall Jacobs: Honestly, so my bike of the year. So, so my philosophy is I want a one bike. I don't want suspension. Um, that is compromising the road experience. Uh, I want a bicycle that can do all the things really well. And the bike, you know, I looked at the allied echo and I thought that there were some really cool things happening there.

[00:18:20] It's got flipped chips, front and rear. You can get a true performance road geo with a 73 head angle on the larger sizes. Um, but the first off, I don't think it's necessary to have a flip chip in the rear go with four 20 mils. Jane stays that'll work fine for an endurance road G. And if I was to do a flip chip, but just do it in the fork and have it be one that uses two different rotor sizes.

[00:18:43] So you get more braking and off-road in the more upright position and I'm a smaller one 60 rotor for on-road with a more aggressive position. Um, my bike of the year is actually a bike that's been around for a long time and is still in my opinion, um, though it's expensive, uh, the category leader and that's, that's the open up, uh, 

[00:19:03] Craig Dalton: And would you, would you call out the up or the, uh, or the, um, the one with the dual drops stay stays. 

[00:19:10] Randall Jacobs: Um, not the upper, because I think the upper is a great bike for people who want a dedicated dirt only. And who are okay with a, you know, a less spirited on-road experience, but the, the head angle is pretty slack. You don't have enough weight over the front axle with that amount of, you know, with the head angle.

[00:19:27] That's that slack, um, it's not built around the, the road wheel size. Really? You, you run 700 by 35. 

[00:19:34] Uh, 

[00:19:35] the open 

[00:19:35] Craig Dalton: that's actually the wide, sorry, sorry to throw you off. That was The wide, that 

[00:19:39] Randall Jacobs: Oh, correct? Correct. Yeah. the 

[00:19:40] wide, right? Yeah.

[00:19:41] Craig Dalton: lighter weight 

[00:19:42] Randall Jacobs: the lighter weight one. Yeah. Yeah. Lighter paints, maybe nominally lighter layup. 

[00:19:48] Um, I, yeah, I like that bike because of the geometry.

[00:19:51] It's a proper endurance road, geometry generous tire clearance. I think it's 2.1 at least. Uh, I think the tire volume on wide rims run tubeless is the best way to do suspension if you want. Um, I have a design for like a, a handlebar with a little bit of suspension built into it. I like suspension stems, if you want even more.

[00:20:11] And then you don't compromise the on-road experience and add all that weights and slop. Uh, so yeah, an external cable. That's easier to set up, easier to service, easier to adjust. If you need to ship your bike or pack it up for a flight, uh, it's going to be much less of a hassle. I find internal routing the way that it's done by most companies to be.

[00:20:35] A very expensive weight, adding complexity, adding experience, ruining technology to make it look, um, look a certain way. And to be able to tell a story about saving half a watt or a watt of power, I find it quite silly, uh, the way it's done. So, yeah, that's my, that's my bike of the year, uh, is the open up. I do a few things differently and I will do a few things differently in a, in a future generation, but that's a great starting point.

[00:21:01] It really. Uh, drug room and did it right initially.

[00:21:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah. it's so funny. I mean, that was my, my second gravel bike. The one that I decided I was going to sell my road. It was going to go all in on gravel, sold the original Niner that I had, that just kind of wasn't fitting, fitting the bill for me and people ask me why I sold that. Like, you know, I loved it. I think it's great.

[00:21:25] I think it ticks all those boxes that you, that you've described. You know, I, I didn't, and I've told this, I probably said this publicly and I've certainly said it privately. I didn't find, I found going to the thesis was very similar to writing.

[00:21:39] Randall Jacobs: exactly.

[00:21:40] Craig Dalton: You're not paying me to say this, but it's my personal opinion. 

[00:21:44] Randall Jacobs: Yep.

[00:21:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

[00:21:45] I mean, it sort of slightly different intention on the bike from a design perspective, not maybe as lightweight as the, the open was or is, but very comparable in kind of performance. And, and for me, what was critically important was the fit. I am concerned about some of the trends around geometry and two blunts that.

[00:22:05] Becoming popularized in the gravel bike market right now. And I'm concerned. And I had the same concern when this happened on mountain bikes. That it's actually not favoring me like where we are today from a certainly too blunt that I'm talking about the trend towards going longer, top tube slacker, head tube, short stem, and longer top tubes just never, never worked for me.

[00:22:29] I've sort of in. You know, on my thesis, on the open, I would tend to ride a little bit shorter stem.

[00:22:34] than maybe was customary. Um, given my height, just cause of my torso and now not to get into this trend too much. Cause I'm sure we'll cover it in 2022, but I'm a little bit concerned about getting my fit right on some of these newer. 

[00:22:48] Randall Jacobs: Mm. Yeah. And where is this significant? There, there are benefits on the mountain side and really no downside, assuming you can fit to the bike properly because a mountain bike is generally. You know, the range of applications that you use a given mountain bike for is generally narrower than say, you know what I'm describing as a one bike where you'd have, you know, performance road experience all the way to a borderline cross country mountain bike experience, to a bike packing experience.

[00:23:13] Um, I find that the, you know, the argument for going with a longer top tube, shorter stem is so you can fit bigger 700 C type. Um, I find it kind of silly because you could go higher volume six 50 B. You could still fit big enough, 700 C for certain applications and not compromise the on-road experience with a front end that doesn't have enough weight kids to leave it over, over the front axle for control and cornering and descending and so on.

[00:23:40] I think it has as much to do with trying to differentiate. Gravel bikes enough from road bikes to justify people owning both. Uh, I think it has as much to do with that as it does to do with any sort of ostensible benefits, um, to a very, you know, increasingly narrow set of applications that such a bike is useful for.

[00:24:01] Craig Dalton: yeah. I mean, you would think for me being like an entirely off-road rider for.

[00:24:04] the most. This new trend would be helpful. And I am curious, try kind of these bikes. I've, I've got a couple in the garage of the haven't been a good fit. Um, I am looking to get one with a better fit just to sort of see if it, if it fits the bill for me, but I think you're right.

[00:24:19] I think it is creating a greater amount of separation between the road and the gravel bikes. And to me, I don't necessarily strive for that since I don't have a road bike in the garage. Right. 

[00:24:31] Randall Jacobs: Difference without distinction. It's I see it as all down. Um, that, that that's obviously I have, I have a horse in this, in this race, but, uh, that's, that's my perspective in anything I do in the future will not use that geometry philosophy. 

[00:24:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Okay. Well, that's interesting to hear Rondo, you got an a on that, on that front. I was gifted for my wife, a bike fit this this year, and it was something that I obviously put on my Christmas list. Um, I'm increasingly concerned and, you know, should I go down the route of getting a custom bike or should I have a demo bike be offered to me in 2022?

[00:25:06] I just sort of want to understand my personal parameters a little bit more and with a little bit more confidence. I know. And I appreciate you being a friend and ally on my journey. Trying to explore fit and understanding of frame geometries. Um, I'm much better equipped today at the end of 2021 than I was earlier in the year.

[00:25:26] And I do think going through this fit exercise is just going to be another step forward in my understanding of, of my personal body and how it's changing over time with the. 

[00:25:36] Randall Jacobs: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Well, um, I refer you to the bike fit episode and, uh, you know, my phone number.

[00:25:43] Craig Dalton: yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. So I've got it. I'll go through it locally and you know, I've listened to that episode again, just to get some more thoughts in my mind. And, uh, yeah, I know you're always there when I need to riff on bike stuff.

[00:25:56] Randall Jacobs: So when we got coming up next,

[00:25:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, I think it'd be cool to just highlight maybe your favorite ride of the year. 

[00:26:03] Randall Jacobs: Sure. Uh, so this is a ride that my, my dear friend Marcus Gosling invited me on. It was a group of us, I think, uh, uh, three men, two women, uh, rode from top of skyline in the Santa Cruz mountains above San Mateo, south of San Francisco. Um, where I was actually living with Marcus for a few months during the pandemic, amongst the redwoods, uh, up on the Ridge there, it was a great place to be.

[00:26:29] When it wasn't, you know, when, when everyone was staying in and we went through, let's see, we went down to the coast and to Aptos, and then up through 19 marks, uh, along summit coming back north, uh, was near Mount Nominum. And so on 130 kilometers, a lot of climbing, some fun stops along the way, really wonderful conversation, uh, with people that, uh, Uh, a couple of people I hadn't met before, and then one woman I had met, but not really, uh, connected with in that sort of way.

[00:27:02] And when you have that many miles, you can really get into it. And, uh, that's one of my favorite things about the ride experience. The train was fantastic too, and very varied. Uh, but it's, it was the people that really made that. So that was my ride of the year. 

[00:27:14] It was called, it was called the business meeting by the way.

[00:27:17] Cause, cause I think it was a weekday, I think I took the day off. So, uh, yeah, when you work in the industry that that can, that can qualify. 

[00:27:24] Craig Dalton: A hundred percent. Yeah,

[00:27:25] I might have to coerce you into sharing that link with me, or maybe even putting it in our ride with GPS club for the ridership. Cause that sounds like a neat loop. 

[00:27:34] Randall Jacobs: sure. Yeah. Happy to.

[00:27:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I have to say like, um, I guess it's a factor of me being limited for time, but I typically don't ever get in my car to drive and there's so much interesting stuff that I've seen in the ridership, um, in that neck of the woods and out in Pacifica that I really.

[00:27:51] Get down there because it doesn't, you know, they don't have to get on an airplane to go do something interesting. 

[00:27:57] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So how about yourself? What was your ride of the year?

[00:28:00] Craig Dalton: Well, speaking of airplanes, it was the one solitary time I got on an airplane with my bike this year?

[00:28:07] Do you remember in the June July timeframe when it felt like we were getting a hold of the pandemic, we were on top of things, boosters or, you know, shots were getting rolled out vaccination shots and it felt like things might be getting back to that. 

[00:28:21] Randall Jacobs: um, it felt like things were normal for a period. I always expected it to just be a low so, but yes, I do remember that time.

[00:28:29] Craig Dalton: so I was leaning into that moment in time and our friends at envy composites out in Utah, we're putting. Uh, together an event called the , which was a ride combined with their builders, Roundup, which they bring, I forget how many, like 20 different frame builders out to Ogden, Utah, and kind of display their bicycles throughout Envy's facility.

[00:28:54] So it was, I, it was too much to her exist, um, going on. 

[00:28:59] Randall Jacobs: um, with NABS not happening this year.

[00:29:01] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Which was so fun when we went to NABS a few years ago, just to, I mean, to stand next to someone with their creation, their hard work is just something special. Like if you, as a listener, if you ever get a chance to go to a bike show, do it, like, it's just, I mean, for the eye candy alone, it's worth walking the Isles 

[00:29:20] Randall Jacobs: well I'm for reference north American hand-built bicycle show is what NABS is. And a lot of what you see from the big brands, a lot of ideas and concepts, uh, emerge from small builders, doing cool things in basements and garages, uh, which is one of the great aspects of those shows.

[00:29:38] Craig Dalton: yeah, exactly. When you get a, a fabricator with a torch and some tubes, they can, they can just try different things. And it's really, what does help propel the industry for? 

[00:29:48] Randall Jacobs: Very much, so very 

[00:29:49] Craig Dalton: so.

[00:29:49] I saw some great bikes out there. It's, you know, as far as the builder Roundup goes and I've published a bunch of episodes and, and, uh, and a summary episode that kind of has some quick hits from a number of the people I talked to, but that ride, since we're talking about favorite rides of the year, Every year, I tend to sign up for an event that probably pushes my personal fitness capabilities.

[00:30:10] And I love to do that just to kind of keep me honest and keep me getting out there and finding the time to ride the bikes. And I definitely wasn't feeling prepared for a 92 mile ride and 8 8300 feet of climb. At some elevation above sea level already out there in Ogden, Utah. But I set out on the course, pretty small event, maybe 200 people, um, got to the first aid station and there was talk amongst some of the builders of flipping it around right there.

[00:30:38] But when I got there, I learned that I was just going to be a straight out and back if I did that and I just couldn't resist it. If you haven't written in Utah, it's beautiful in the Wasatch mountains out there. Uh, so I kept going and like every great gravel event that I've ever participated in. You end up linking up with riders, um, out there on the course that you just share the pace with.

[00:31:02] And I met a guy from contender cycles out in Utah, which was actually where I bought my open from originally. So that was cool. We chatted for many, many miles. Yeah. Very late in the day, I managed to connect with Dave from gravel stoke. And I can't remember whether he caught him. He caught me or I caught him, but we ended up together and we'd separate on the climbs.

[00:31:23] And we both look at each other miserably tired at times, but we, we crusted the final climb and hit the aid station together And um, rode maybe the last. 20 miles or so together, we were staying in the same hotel room. So it was like, it was just like a great experience to have, to, you know, to connect with a friend and be able to ride.

[00:31:45] And it just happened serendipitously because I don't think, you know, when you're signing up for a 90 mile ride or a hundred mile ride, it's foolish to think that you're going to ride with your friend the entire time. Like you just need to take care of your own needs. And that, for me, it's all about. I've got a ride, the climbs, my own pace.

[00:32:03] I want to descend at my own pace. So it's really got to happen naturally. And when it does to me, man, it's just magic.

[00:32:10] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And Dave, uh, for anyone in Soquel, uh, gravel. Puts on some of the best rides I've been a part of as well, a really great routes, really good people. Um, you know, a lot of, a lot of social interaction and so on and just a really great ethos. Uh, so if you're in the SoCal area, check out the gravel stoke and by the way, this is, um, you know, gravel.

[00:32:30] Those, a lot of those folks are in the ridership too. So if you want to connect with Dave or others, that's a great place to do it.

[00:32:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So hopefully more of this for 2022, speaking of which, what are you, what are your hopes for 2022? I mean, I don't think we need to go into a laundry list, but what are a couple of things that are, you know, 

[00:32:49] Randall Jacobs: So with regards to what we do here. Uh, so I moved to new England and living outside of Boston with, uh, with family. And I want to build out this region. I, we hosted a couple of group rides, uh, before the, the season changed to ski season. Uh, and as. The spring approaches. I want to build out this region and I want to facilitate more in-person connection and an experience like this, what the ridership is about and have that be, um, you know, something that, uh, extends to other regions as well, where there's a critical mass where people can actually meet people in person and have real in the flesh experiences and maybe.

[00:33:28] Craig Dalton: I'm really excited for you to do that. I know when I spent my sort of formative years as a mountain biker in the mid Atlantic, I always looked to new England and it was a place that I would go up and race every once in a while when I can make a trip. And it. At that time, there were so many great new England bike builders.

[00:33:47] And I know like Boston has just an incredible cycling community and history behind it. And that whole region up through Vermont, like I'm super excited to hopefully get out there at some point this year and ride. 

[00:34:00] Randall Jacobs: You can have come, come by. You can have my apartment. 

[00:34:04] Craig Dalton: I can, I can see a couch behind you where I could be sleeping. Right. 

[00:34:07] Randall Jacobs: Now I'll set you up properly and I'll, I'll stay. I'll stay in a different part of the place.

[00:34:14] Craig Dalton: Nice. Speaking of travel. I mean, for me, like I've been longing to ride my bike internationally. I've been fortunate that I've, I've raised my mountain bike overseas. I've also done some road touring over in France on a couple occasions and a little bit in Italy, but I really got my eye on riding gravel and specifically out in general.

[00:34:35] I've been talking about a trip in March, uh, that I'm going to certainly extend to the ridership community to join me on. So if I can work out the details on that in January and obviously pandemic willing, um, I'd love to pull that off because there's just something about putting your bike on international territory that, that makes any riding fields. 

[00:34:57] Randall Jacobs: yeah, Jarana keeps coming up in my conversations with these bay area folks who are of a certain means and, um, certain level of obsession with writing. Uh, you know, I have friends who've, uh, we're looking to move there and things like that. Uh, so definitely on the agenda for me as well, keeping in the loop.

[00:35:15] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

[00:35:15] I feel like if it's a, if you're a cyclist, it's just one of those destinations in your life that you need to get to, to find out why the pros are living there. And I did do an episode with our friends at Trek, travel about their trip to Jarana, which is the one I'm kind of eyeing. And you, you, you hear about all the great road riding there, but then to talk to the team over there.

[00:35:36] How much dirt there is available and how special it can be. I'm just super stoked and excited to explore that possibility. 

[00:35:44] Randall Jacobs: Very cool. Very 

[00:35:45] cool. Yeah. And it's I want to do, I think that speaks to a theme generally of more, more group rides with the community in, in a general sense, wherever 

[00:35:54] Craig Dalton: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like you, I mean, in 2021, early in the year, I like, I definitely had high hopes. Getting our bay area, ridership community together more and getting some routine and having it, frankly not involve me as much. Like I'm happy to facilitate rides, but I also want others to feel compelled, to raise their hand and say, Hey, just, you know, meet me in Fairfax, California.

[00:36:16] And we're going to do this route or meet me in mill valley, whatever it is. 

[00:36:20] Randall Jacobs: Wait, which brings us to our shared goals for the year.

[00:36:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Like as we talked about earlier, I think we've got a lot of big goals for the ride. 

[00:36:31] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, I think, uh, building a critical mass in the region so that you can have those in-person interactions, um, you know, talking about having other people, being able to facilitate group rides and so on. Well, there's, we, we need certain features. We need, uh, we need to update our technology stack, potentially migrate away from slack to something more powerful.

[00:36:51] Uh, we have a technology partner that we're talking about. Some tools that if realized, could be very helpful in coordinating rides and having, you know, being able to verify vaccination status or have a waiver or, you know, other things that are essential to, uh, making this a good tool, not just for impromptu.

[00:37:10] Group rides amongst people, but also like your shop ride and things like this. They need certain tools for these, these events as well. Uh, amongst other features.

[00:37:18] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

[00:37:18] Yeah. exactly. I mean, it's, it's tough to even consider leaving the platform around on today just because. Everybody's comfortable there, but I do think the only reason we would leave is to add more features And add more things that I think can be beneficial to the rider community. Cause it's going to be a bit of a pain in the ass.

[00:37:38] Let's call it like it is. If we ask people to move and there's going to be a little bit of effort and undoubtedly, we're going to lose a few people, but I am optimistic that if, and when we make that decision, that the types of things we're able to offer. Are going to be so next level, whether it's, you know, group conversations or tea times we can have with people or different sort of more high tech features that you were just discussing.

[00:38:02] I think that can be a meaningful step forward and really something that we can lean into.

[00:38:07] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And marketplace features having a wallet that facilitates exchange between people, um, and having a different way of establishing trust on the. Like being able to look not at, not just somebody's, you know, score on eBay, how many stars they have, but look like how does this person contribute to the community?

[00:38:27] Um, how have I seen them engage? Uh, and having that be part of what provides safety and say like, you know, buying a bike and having it shipped across the country, 

[00:38:37] you 

[00:38:37] know, this sort of thing. 

[00:38:38] Craig Dalton: I think there's a lot of interesting things there. And then on the podcast, you know, I think, you know, I just want to continue the journey I'm on. I would, I would stop if I didn't feel like as a, as an individual, I was not learning every time I have these conversations. And, um, I'm looking forward to talking with more event organizers, because I think as hopefully 20, 22 kicks up and we can have more and more events again, I can highlight them because I think events are a way of highlighting regions.

[00:39:07] And their events happened in a moment in time, but the, the legacy of the course creation carries on and people can go out there and commune and ride together on those type of things. So I think there's a lot there. Obviously we're going to continue to see new products come to market, and I also want to continue talking to interesting athletes alone. 

[00:39:29] Randall Jacobs: Yeah.

[00:39:30] And for me, I think my, you know, my next few episodes, uh, I'm quite excited about, I won't say share who they are yet. Uh, but one is a woman who started a community that I admire. Uh, both her story and her ethos and what she's doing and the scale that she's achieved with it. Uh, and then another, who's one of the key innovators in our industry, like in the early days of carbon fiber and has, has, uh, uh, created a lot of things that have seen diffuse use throughout the year.

[00:39:57] And then diving more into kind of the psycho-spiritual aspects of cycling, um, with, with guests who can speak to that more deeply, I've done, uh, you know, you and I have had a couple of conversations that have delved into that a bit. And I did one episode with, uh, Ted klong, a sports psychologist early on.

[00:40:14] So exploring those seems a lot more, uh, things that I'm quite excited about in 2022.

[00:40:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, well, it's going to be an exciting year. It's a lot of work doing what we do. We wouldn't do it. If we didn't get great feedback and support from the listener community. So as always keep that feedback coming, keep out there, riding and. I appreciate the time as always Randall and look forward to doing more of these in the dirt episodes and 2022.

[00:40:39] Randall Jacobs: appreciate you much, my friend, and to everyone listening. Thank you for being a part of this with us. 

[00:40:44] Craig Dalton: Jaris.

[00:40:46] So that's going to do it. My friends for this week's edition of in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. It's our final edition of the year, 2021. I very much appreciate you joining us each week for this journey. As we explore gravel cycling and how it fits into our lives. Big, thanks to competitive cyclist. 

[00:41:06] For supporting the podcast. I remember competitive gravel ride and promo code. The gravel ride. We'll get you 15% off your order. If you're looking for information about our global cycling community called the ridership, simply visit And if you're interested in able to support the podcast financially, please visit buy me a gravel ride. I love seeing the comments and your support for the podcast over the years. 

[00:41:39] Is greatly appreciated. Until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels