On The Road Again
By Devon Balet
With every April comes the official kick off of the bike racing season, Sea Otter. Sea Otter is one of the biggest events of the year where racers of every discipline from road to mountain can duke it out. Industry brands are also on sight to show off their newest products. With Sea Otter begins the summer long travels for me. Here’s to living out of my Osprey luggage for the next 6 months!
As I look over the pile of camera bags, I try and think of what I may be forgetting. Spare batteries, chargers, and tripods galore. I can’t forget the flashes or bike lights. Should probably bring my Mom’s famous granola and plenty of Honey Stinger products to fuel the journey. With El Tigre Del Norte filled with my gear and bikes there was only one thing left to pick up, Mr. Team Ride for Reading, Dejay Birtch.
With every road trip there are always options. What is the best part about having options? The fact that you have options! Which route to take, where to stop for a ride, wondering should we push on further or find a spot to sleep? With the open road there is usually plenty of gas station gut bombs of preservatives and spicy chips. The fuzzy synapse firing fogged by extra caffeine and sunflower seeds... Oh the joys of the open road!
The true beauty when road tripping in a vehicle such as El Tigre is that your bed is always with you. Getting tired and wanting to call it a day? Pull over and sleep! A small pull off for a ranch was the host hotel for the night.
After a quick 8 hours of sleep we were ready to get back at. As I groggily brushed my teeth a rather large ranch truck pulled up in a hurried fashion. The man behind the wheel looked as though he spent his days outside. Skin toughened to leather and hands thick of calluses. The look this man shot me as he pulled up left a less than ideal feeling in my stomach as a finished the grill scrubbing.
“What is going on here? You can’t sleep here.” Was the man’s only words as he rolled down the window. I informed him that we had in fact slept here for the night, but were on our way. He gave me a nod more commonly seen these days in a western movie and as he pulled away and reminded me that we can’t litter here either. Thank you sir was my only response.
This journey found us reaching our destination of my brothers hidden paradise in Santa Cruz, California. For the past 12 years I have been coming to this place, my personal Shangri-La. The scratch of chickens, the sounds of avocados falling, strawberries glowing red of natural beauty and flavor, along with endless rows of vegetables and fruit trees make up the orchard.
As we pulled El Tigre into the orchard where it would be home for the few days all I could think about was going to ride my bike in the deep forests of Santa Cruz. Now, just to figure out which trail to go get lost on.
About Devon- A Colorado based photographer who’s passion for capturing amazing moments in time through light is battled only with his love for two wheeled human powered machines. Growing up under the wing of an outdoor/wildlife photographer, his idea of daycare was joining his dad on photo shoots. Devon lives a life of the open road, ripping single track with long nights and early mornings. He lives for epic singletrack trails and amazing sunrises. Nothing beats ripping a trail with good friends under golden hour light. Words that Devon lives by, “No amount of money can make a job you hate worth while” and “My bike takes me places school never could”. You can follow Devon on FB, Instagram and Twitter.