I did a review of the Blackburn Design Ranger Camp for the Niner Newsletter; to save some time, I'm paraphrasing from that newsletter. You can also head to theRadavist for another perspective with lots more hot pics.
Now in its second year, Blackburn's Out There program has recruited riders from all over the country to join their team of Rangers to test, support and promote the spirit of adventure. With products specifically designed for those who ride the road less traveled, this year's recently selected Rangers hopped on Niner's newest adventure ride, the RLT Steel, for their induction into the Blackburn tribe at Ranger Camp.
The six new Rangers joined the crew from Blackburn and Niner in Monterey this past April, riding everything from paved suburb-ish bike paths to Big Basin's mountain trails. We caught up with Philly-based Ranger, Amanda DelCore, to get an insider's take on the camp.
Can you give us a rundown of the festivities?
Doing a gear shakedown in the airport parking lot and rolling away without sitting in a car was legit.
After the infamous Black Road climb (about 2,400 ft of elevation gain in 8 miles), we camped at a site that was nothing short of enchanting - old growth forest, quite secluded (think Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom). We disturbed our own peace with a friendly game of BB gun biathlon (cyclocross + BB guns).
I might be biased, but there's no better feeling than packing all your belongings on a bike and rolling into the day's adventure. The second full day of ranger camp brought us from the mountains to the Pacific. Personally, it was my favorite day and full of meaningful surprises. Right after we climbed out of camp, I spotted a Red Bull helmet. On the plane ride over to CA, I had finished "Rusch to Glory." There's no way, I thought. But yeah, those pigtails belonged to none other than Rebecca Rusch. I got the chance to talk to her on the ride, and she helped me break down a lot of the fear that I had built up for some of the more trying sections of the GDMBR (Great Divide Mountain Bike Route) ride; notably, the waterless Wyoming Basin.
The ride through Big Basin was unreal... I was happy to get off the pavement and into the woods. To exit Big Basin, we hit the Gazos Creek descent. It felt great to shred down a pretty gnarly, rocky descent with all my gear intact.
It began with an early morning surf session in the Santa Cruz area... Most of us didn't know what we were doing, but had fun anyway. The day's ride took us from the relaxed beach and brunch scene through a lot of farming land around Route 1 to Monterrey. We got washed up at a hotel and attended the screening of "Comes with Baggage", "Black Canyon Trail" and a cool, no-frills, just-go-ride-your-bike-in-the-woods bikepacking presentation by Limberlost.
So how's the Ranger life treating you so far?
Life as a ranger so far has been liberating and empowering. I took a leave of absence from my environmental consulting job to ride the GDMBR and be a Blackburn Ranger. I'm getting thigh-deep in bike gear and route planning, which I love. I'm also putting on a Women's Bikepacking Series in Philadelphia as a way to share what I've learned and empower women to gain the gear and skills needed to do their own bikepacking trips.