De Ronde PDX


[sliderpro id="12"] Written by Matthew Barney Photographed by Christopher San Agustin

Well, the 9th year of the De Ronde is in the books and it was a really impressive showing for us! TEAM VELO CULT! I apologize for not recalling all who where in attendance, but I believe we had close to 10 folks in all. Maybe a dozen?

ANYWHO! For me, always a highlight is seeing the mass of cyclists head down HWY 30, both lanes tightly packed just about as far as the eye can see before the left turn onto Saltzman. And, once we all hit Saltzman it's up, up, up up filled with spirit and camaraderie that I feel can only be had in PDX. Another highlight, amongst the suffering is seeing all the AMAZING homes tucked away in the hills. WHO LIVES IN THESE HOMES?! Seriously, each home looks like it's straight out of Home and garden or Dwell or Sunset Magazine. What about College Rd. OY!!!! Let's just say there is no shame in walking and leave it at that. Perhaps one of the funner highlights is the whiskey, beer and nacho rest stop. You know the booze is NOT a smart choice, but I'll be damned if ya take it anyway! OK, Ok...let's be real, it does quell the hurt for a bit. Finally and last but not least, is the feeling of accomplishment! There is no grand finish, no awards ceremony, no medal, no certificate for you refrigerator, no finishers t-shirt or podium to be stood on. Just the over whelming sensation of "thank goodness we are DONE" (insert your own four lettered colorful language) mixed in with high fives and hand shakes!

Make this ride a priority next year. Chase those lions, it's a must do and one that you won't tuck away under the "it was OK" file. See ya on the road and happy pedaling!


Santa Cruz Stigmata Flat Bar Review


Theres been a lot of detailed and thought provoking reviews on the rebirth of the Stigmata. With that said I'll be focusing this review on my decision to convert the Stigmata into a flat bar trail ripping machine. So here we go. This is my Santa Cruz Stigmata Flat Bar Review. I've owned my Stigmata for about nine months now. For the longest time I rode basically a stock Rival build with a custom Hope / Belgium wheel set. It's been my go to bike for those early morning trail rips. Over time my priorities in cycling have changed. I much rather jib around in the woods for a few hours than laying down watts on lonesome gravel roads.

A transformation just made sense. I needed a bike that I could pedal to the trail head and get to it fast. The Stigmata is perfect for that but ripping down descents with drop bars is just not fun. First off the position on the bike prohibits any kind of playfulness and braking is just straight up awful. I am not saying you can’t have fun or shred on a cyclocross bike; we’ve all seen Yoann’s videos! It’s just not for me.

So one evening I committed to the project. Off came the drops, the awful Rival hydraulic brakes/ shifters, derailleurs and chainrings. Everything went on Ebay as I started to source parts for the new build.


Up front I went with Santa Cruz's carbon flat bars which feature the a 35mm clamp diameter. The only problem I've run into with the this new standard is that not many companies are making 35 stems yet. After spending way too much money testing out stem lengths I went with a 90mm Race Face Aeffect 35 Stem . Still I am hoping someone comes out with a 100 - 110mm because it would definitely improve my fit.

One of the biggest reason I wanted to go flat bar was so I could run MTB specific disc brakes. After using SRAM Rival Hyrdo road brakes for over six months I've come to the conclusion that they suck. Honestly road disc brakes are the worst! I went with the same brakes that I use on my new 2016 Santa Cruz 5010; Sram's Guide RCS.


The set up was relatively painless. I used the same rotors and mounts that came on the bike originally. I had to trim both cable hoses and bleed the brakes but that could be expected for any disc brakes that are internally routed.


I converted the stock Rival 22 crankset to a 1x via 34t Wolf Tooth Components. I kept the front end small because in Portland we're never not climbing. I have the same set up on my All City and never felt I needed a larger gear up front.


A rear derailleur with a clutch is a must for any efficient 1x set up. Normally I would have gone with a MTB derailleur but I decided to give SRAM Rival 1 a shot. So far so good. Shifting is great though it's been hard to keep it dialed in this winter. To be fair it's hard to keep any bike dialed in winter.

I've been running the WTB Nanos for over a year now but I really wanted something with more bite. Up front we have a Bruce Gordon Rock n Road and in the rear a Soma Cazadero. The set up was inspired by John Watson's write up on the Radavist. It's still winter here in Portland and so far I've been impressed with the Rock n Road. The Cazadero has been struggling with the wintery conditions but will hopefully come through when it's dryer. Regardless the tan walls look fucking amazing.

Ok you made it this far. So how does the bike ride? Honestly? It has surpassed all my expectations. All the trails I once had to walk down because they were to steep or technical are now possible. The wide bars and amazing SRAM RCS brakes provides everything I needed to make the most out of these short trail rides in the city. The worst part about this build is that I have to remind myself that I am on a Cyclocross bike. I am constantly taking this thing over jumps and I am quickly reminded that the Stigmata’s geometry isn’t built for it. Honestly it feels pretty awkward in the air but thats something I can live with. I own a 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 after all. Honestly Santa Cruz should offer the Stigmata with a flat bar option. The stock all the parts and I think a lot of people would enjoy it.

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Build Specs

Santa Cruz Stigmata frame and fork Race Face Aeffect 35 Stem 90mm Santa Cruz Carbon Bars SRAM Guide RCS brakes Chromag Grips Zipp Service Course SL Seatpost Specialized saddle SRAM BB30 Rival Crankset with 34t Wolf Tooth Components Shimano XTR Race PedalSram Rival CX1 Medium cage derailleur SRAM PG1130 Hope Pro 4 Hubs on HED Belgium Series C2 Rim Rock n Road tire up front and a Soma in the back

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A Broken Guide to Cyclocross Part One : Myself and the Bike

Welcome to the Broken Guide of Cyclocross. It is here that I will share my journey through my first season of racing in Portland Oregon. canby_15-147

Photo : Yung Pine Photography / I grew up riding BMX and continued with it all the way into my mid twenties. Racing, trails, street, ramps, the whole deal. When I moved to New York City I picked up my first Road Bike. I used it as a way to get into shape but it quickly became more than that. Fast forward to present day. I am 30 years old living and working in Portland Oregon. Riding single track is hands down my favorite. I guess I’d consider myself a trail rider? Since Portland doesn’t have local single track I spend my mornings before work in Mt Tabor exploring the roads and trails on my Cyclocross bikes. I am on the bike seven days a week and I’ve been like this since I was six years old.


Photo : Stephan Hawk

So now you know a little about me and next up I want to talk about the bike I will be racing on. A racing bike is a workhorse, something that can be thrashed around and crashed on. So that is why I will be racing my All City Macho Man. Arguably one of the best affordable bikes or frame sets on the market. I purchased the frame on Ebay and has since been built up in many different ways. From group rides to the Oregon Outback the Macho Man has proved itself to be one hell of a bike.

In preparation for cross I’ve made a few changes thanks to the suggestions of Ten Speed Hero / Leave it on the Road Cat 1 racer Jake Szymanski. If your not already following this guy on Instagram you definitely should. Back to the bike! I ditched the heavy steel fork for carbon which has lightened the bike up significantly. To cut some more weight and reduce the chance of mechanicals I’ve converted the drive train to a 1x10. To bring it all together and keep it rubber side down I’ve gone with 33c Maxis Mudslinger tires. They’re a little narrow for my taste but the aggressive tread pattern really digs into the dirt. I’ve already taken this set up on a backpacking trip to Rainer Oregon and never needed the big ring once. So while this rig will be for racing it will still function for any bikepacking trips I’ll be taking! The bike feels really nimble and is built to take a hit.


Moving over to the vanity side of cycling I am a bit particular in the sort of kit I wear. Traditionally cyclists wear skin suits in cyclocross but that kind of attire is generally reserved for people that are on teams. My personal kit I’ve chosen to use this season is the following:

- Search and State S1A jersey in the now retired Green color way. I’ve had this jersey for a couple years now and cherish every rip and missing thread that it has. Made in the USA, Search and State is a brand I’ve been behind since day one. - Team Dream Compressor bibs made in Los Angeles, California. - The Athletic socks. One sock is blue and the other is pink. I wear the pink one on my right foot because my right leg is a hammer. - Defeet base layer. - Giro Code shoes. The Vibram soles are super grippy. - Giro Atmos helmet. I am from the Bay Area so I got to represent.

Check back soon for Part Two of this long over due guide to Cyclocross.

Mountain Biking and Bushwhacking Gales Creek


Winter is just around the corner and the Pacific Northwest has been getting hammered with rain. Many of our weekends have been spent on the road bikes, looking at the weather and praying for a day to hit the trails. Just when it starts to get you down a window opens and your sitting in the back seat on your way to the trails. I am staring out the window. My eyes fixate on the clouds above. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve been on the Mountain bike. The separation is sobering. I know next to nothing about where we are headed. It’s better that way.

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We’re in the Tillamook Forest at the Gale Creek trail head. It’s really cold out and we’re all trying to figure out how much gear to wear. The creek is a river and the it rose during the storm is incredible. From here things just kept getting more interesting.

We make our way to the trail head. The dirt is good and I am tripping out on how fucking beautiful the forest is. Trees are down on the trail. One after another; yet we push forward. There are some runners off in the distance. We’re not alone. As they pull into focus we learn that they ran into a avalanche up ahead and turned around. The trail is gone and theres no way around it. Still, we pedal forward determined to see this wash out ourselves.

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The creek is a river and we need to cross it. It’s cold out and no one wants to get there feet wet. I am indifferent and accept my wet fate. Michael on the other hand…. was determined to keep his feet dry. Soon after we find ourselves confronted with the washed out trail. Theres only one way around it and that way is up. This is the part of the ride where mountain biking turns into bushwhacking. Every mountain bike ride should be this awesome!

The bushwhack worked and we’re back on the trail. The rest of the ride was made up of incredible single track with dozens of water crossings. Too many to count. Jeff led the effort in clearing the trail with a packable saw and together we took care most of the down trees. I learned an important lesson on being a good trail steward and definitely have plans to start carrying a hand saw on future rides.

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You can download information and the trail map to Gales Creek here :

Velo Cult Team Ride : Rocky Point Road


[sliderpro id="10"] Let’s face it. It’s been that kind of winter. The weather has been pretty rough. Even for the most hearty of cyclists who chant death before trainers…….. But what can usually coax anyone into the cold and onto the wet roads of the west hills? A great group of people who actually relish in the exact elements that will drive most folks to a spin class or a trainer (myself included). Thanks to Andy who was the organizer of Sunday’s ride and his choice was Rocky Pt. Road. Logistically we decided it best to car shuttle out of town as opposed to schlepping the sloppy dirty 30. Since it was a day where no amount of gear, no more how high tech or water proof, you were going to be soaked through.

This was a great choice, but it did mean we were in the ride the moment we shoved off and up the average 8% gradient for the first 5 or so miles, eventually reaching the gravel accompanied by steady rain with huge drops making visibility an issue. Everyone had their own pace and seemed to get out of the ride what they wanted. AS per usual with this group, there was no man or woman left behind. This is why I truly enjoy this group and everyone who rides for Velo Cult. It’s about being out there! Being on two wheels and just riding!

Finally at the top of our climbing, we stared down the barrel of a big descent. And once we did descend down the backside of Rocky Pont Rd, streaking by small piles of snow hanging for dear life, the rain cleared up and warmed up a bit making for a super-fast drop to the bottom…where we realized we had to now turnaround and climb up what we just bombed down. Well, some us didn’t realize it was an out and back. OOPS! So, with the same cheer and bravado we had at the start, we made the U-y and headed up.

At this point, I do think a bit of a “ok I’m super soaked and cold. Let’s get back to the cars” mentality set in. So the climb back up and over seemed to be at a quicker pace and we all found a pace that made the turn around feel a bit shorter in length. Maybe it was the cold and wet. Maybe it was a bit of suffering. Perhaps I was woozy from my own effort, but the return trip was a bit fuzzy….unmemorable even. And just like that another great ride was in the books. The hot shower lasted a bit longer than usual, my gigantic robe was oh so welcoming and the soup was steaming hot! SO! Thank you Andy, Adam, Jeremiah, Craig, Chris, Lee and (Bethany?). I cannot wait for the next ride!

Words : Matthew Barney Photos : Christopher San Agustin