Words and Photos by Sean
Back in February I asked my buddies John Watson & Cari Carmean to shoot the new Team Dream Spring kit range. Luckily for us they said yes, but John had one stipulation...He wanted to shoot in the Sierra Nevada Mountains off Highway 395. This would mean packing up the all The Cub House Boyz/Girlz for a 3-4 hour caravan trip up north. I was hesitant at first because well, everything you hear/read/see about cycling in Los Angeles is true. It really is "that good". The city is a double edged sword of sorts. It is so good in fact that I often find myself making excuses not to leave LA for local cycling trips outside of the city because well, I already really love the countless ride options from my doorstep. Why mess with a good thing? Something just feels right about leaving on a ride from home. Maybe its also partial paranoia from years of forgetting helmets/shoes/bottles/food etc anytime my stuff gets packed into a car? Reminiscing about showing up to a bike ride or race with no shoes still brings back some painful memories. I know these feeble excuses make me sound a bit like a hermit or even a diva...and I except both of those handles. Regardless of the reason(s) why, I was not as excited as I should have been when the time came in April for us to pack up. Secretly I really love it every time we leave LA, I just need to get packed up and in the car. Thats why we started this series called GTFO. It stands for Get The Fuck Outside & was meant to be a constant motivator for us/you to go ride new things.
David climbing Onion Valley
Its called fashion Becky...
My futures so bright...I gotta wear shades!
All The Dudes! Photo: Cari Carmean
By late March enough snow had melted for us to make the trip. With heaps of exotic bikes, fancy cameras, laptops, sample kits & pampered high net worth male models camping was quickly out of the question, so we booked an airbnb in the town of Independence. Hotels can be cool but with a large group it really is much more fun to share a house. This way you can share meals, hear Adam snore and smell each others farts. Also Team Dream is quite frugal (sort of like your grand parents) and when we party, we party on a budget.
There are endless killer climbs in the area but we spent 3 days riding & shooting primarily in Onion Valley, Horseshoe Mead and Whitney Portal area. It had been years since my last visit to these mountains and it was actually my first time seeing them in a "non race" environment. I have to say the views are much more enjoyable when you aren't punch drunk. One of the coolest offerings in the local mountains has to be Horseshoe Meadow. We saw only one single car outside of Alabama Hills the day we rode up and at the base of the climb there is a closure to autos which means cyclists/hikers get the endless switchbacks all to ourselves. This is easily one of the best climbs Southern California has to offer...maybe even the world (but don't take my word for it...remember, I'm a hermit).
Manzanar off Highway 395
Group shot on Horseshoe Meadow. The snow ended our climb about 1k later...
Overall I would say that this is by far one of the best bang for your buck options if you are looking for a great weekend of riding with friends just outside of Los Angeles. My only suggestion would be to pack an ice chest and bring lots of your own food if you are picky or a foody. Searching out good eats in the area can be tough but randomly we arrived (almost) just in time for the Owens Valley Food Co-Op dinner. The food looked and smelled great but we missed dinner by 5 minutes. If you are going to be in the area make sure to check out the space for any potential events. We ate most meals in the rental house but we did have lunch at Alabama Hills Cafe in Lone Pine. The greasy spoon was actually pretty good, but not nearly as good as the looks on the local faces when 6 stinky guys in bright colored spandex rolled through the doors with dried boogers on our faces. We were definitely different than anything they had seen before, but not in a bad way. More like different in a 2 Chainz sorta way :)
Double Down Danny aka Dantastic aka Dan-Gerous
Adam Karate Masters
John takes photos on the ground...and pees
John & Cari
The weekend was actually really great in large part because of John pushing us to get out and do something different. I will never forget the terror I felt watching him sway to and fro from the roof of his SUV at 45mph taking photos (if you zoom way into the back you can see the fear on my face HERE). Big chubby bobcat thanks to him, Cari, Carla, Adam, Danny & David for for all the help. It was a great weekend with the perfect mix of "sort of working" and "sort of relaxing".
Book our Airbnb HERE
See our ride up Horseshoe Meadow climb HERE
See more about this trip from The Radavist HERE
If you have an awesome ride you think we should do and want to share it for a GTFO story then email email@example.com