April 15, 2015. Only Blick could have pulled this together. The Oakley Legends Ride.

Ned Overend, Thomas “Frischi” Frischknecht, Todd Wells, Brian Lopes, and newcomer Jenny Rissveds. There were two common points that brought all of these athletes together on April 15 in Montery, CA. The first being that they’re Oakley sponsored athletes. Oakley put this ride together. The second is that they love to ride their bikes. Oakley was launching it’s new model called the “Jawbreaker” The Jawbreaker is one part revamped Eyeshade, one part oversized Jawbone - err - Racing Jacket.

We met up at Peet’s coffee. Blick loves Peets. Ned showed up first, followed by Frischi and Jenny and then Lopes and Wells. Lopes and Wells used to be friends and teammates at GT, so they got to catch up.

Overend, Frischi, and Lopes are multiple world champions. Todd Wells has won Leadville twice. It would be a pointless exercise for me to list their palmares. These guys have all been dominant in mountain bike racing since it was a thing. Overend and Frischi used to battle it out in the 90's. The crazy thing about many of these guys is that they were legends in the 90's but that they still compete today. Ned just won the first ever US Fat Bike Championship this year. Frischi stopped competing 10 years ago, but is very active with the Scott Odlo team grooming the next generation of champions. Jenny is a perfect example of that. She came along and pushed the pace. We got to see her win the Short Track race on Friday and finish 3rd in the XC race on Saturday. Frischi’s son Andri is a Swiss U23 champ and could be dominant as well. Lopes was crushing in the Dual Slalom at Sea Otter this year (He finished 10th in the end) and has a nice feature in Scott Secco's new film, “Builder”


The route was to be 17-mile Drive in Monterey. It’s a nice, scenic winding road that skirts the ocean before climbing into the trees. I expected the pace to be social, which it was, but of course a bunch of still-competitive old dudes are going to give what they’ve got and Jenny was training, so of course the throttle just kept twisting further - almost imperceptibly. At some point Blick attacked on a climb, but didn’t make it stick. Hill kept going, Blick faded back. All in good fun.

The thing that struck me, and that I see looking back at their faces in the photos. (I was doing my best to keep the pace while not get killed by an oncoming car and not crashing out a group of world champs.) The thing that struck me with this bunch of guys – and one girl - was just the sheer joy of riding their bikes. This was just a sunny day with a bunch of like-minded folks who may or may not have battled it out 25 years ago. We rolled back into Monterey as a group, Wells called up a buddy to find the ‘good’ coffee in town. Nothing against Peets, Blick! I took portraits of everyone and then we just sat in the courtyard of East Village Coffee and chatted. Really no different from your neighborhood group ride on a nice sunny day, catching up with a bunch of world champs that happened to be in town for the day. OK. It was special. Very special, but somehow completely normal because we were all just doing what we do. For me it was an honor just to spend the morning with this crew and to document the proceedings. Thank you all champs, and thank you Steve and AG for pulling this together! #LiveYours

Benedicto Holiday Gift Guide part 2

Kind of Blue

1. Osprey Manta 28 - $150

Osprey makes every variation of pack to satisfy your every possible desire in terms of how you like to organize your gear. The Manta 28 is not their lightest pack, (it comes in at 2lbs. 5 oz. while the Tempest 22 and Escapist 20 come in at 1 lb. 10 oz.) but what you gain is features and improved compartmentalization. It also has the magnetic holder for your bite valve, a more functional zippered hip belt pocket, and a mesh back panel that keeps the pack off your back, allowing for airflow between you and the pack.

2. Heart coffee - Colombia La Primavera - $19 for 12 oz.

Apparently the Colombian coffee is what you should be drinking right now, that is if you care about “fresh” coffee. Heart goes to great lengths to work closely with growers and source high quality beans. La Primavera comes highly recommended.

3. OSMO Nutrition Acute Recovery - $35

From the OSMO site: “When you exercise, you stress your body. During recovery you adapt to those stresses, getting stronger and more efficient. Osmo Acute Recovery is the result of over ten years of Dr. Stacy Sims' lab and field research with elite athletes to: Speed Recovery, Optimize Training Adaptions, Rapidly Restore Glycogen. Osmo uses only the highest quality natural ingredients like organic vanilla because putting the best in your body is the only way to get the best out of it.” I can only tell you that I've been using their recovery for a couple of years now and it works!

4. OSMO Active Hydration - $20

“Olympic medalists, Tour de France riders, and pro triathletes know hydration is critical to top performance. That's why they've replaced their sponsors' drinks with Dr. Stacy Sims’ hydration formulas for years. Osmo Active brings the benefits of Stacy's hydration science to everyone. Increase Power Output, Improve Endurance, Reduce Cramping. Osmo Active has been developed to maximize the rate of fluid absorption into the body and uses only the highest quality natural ingredients - like organic fruit.” Again, I can't explain the science…I'll leave that to Stacy, she actually did the research. I'll just keep using it, because it works!

5. Bogg's Trail Butter - $5 for 4.5 oz. pouch

“Trail Butter is a delicious, all-natural nut-butter, designed to provide lasting energy and nutrition to outdoor enthusiasts and home consumers alike, through the use of supplemental whole- food ingredients. Using a triple nut blend of almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts as the foundation, dried fruits, seeds, nectar and honey and oils are added to create a tasty mixture fortified only with nature’s most energy packed foods.” Made in Portland, Oregon and now available in a portable 4.5 oz. pouch. Trail butter is real food for your next adventure! Oh, and it really adds wonderful flavor to my morning oatmeal as well. I'm hooked.

6. Bogg's Trail Butter - $5 for 8 oz. jar

While not as convenient as the pouch, the 8 oz. jar is the best deal going.

7. Snow Peak Trek 700 Titanium - $45

Snowpeak makes high quality titanium cookware. I've gravitated to this size since its large enough to boil the water I need for breakfast and dinner, and small enough that it won't get damaged in a seat bag. This is my go-to pot. Also the 450 cup and a Trangia stove fit perfectly inside. Highly recommended.

8. Snow Peak Ti-Single 450 cup - $30

Some will debate single wall vs. double wall on these 450 cups. For weight savings, I'm voting for the single wall. If you don't care about carrying extra weight get the double wall. For an extra $6 you can get green, pink, or blue anodized. I'm backing the classic Ti, but that's just me.

9. The Athletic - La Vie Athlétique Noir - COMBO PACK - $60

Unless you've been hiding under a rock and ignoring all social media, you've heard of The Athletic. Jeremy and Julie have turned their Instagram success into a wildly successful business. It all started with the PDX airport carpet design sock, and now their dedicated site has at least 13 different sock designs in every possible color to match your kit. They just opened a brick and mortar storefront in NW Portland. Go pay them a visit. For winter it's all about the wool socks and black and white scheme, so I'm loving the Julie K collection which comes with 2 bidons (bottles) a casquette (cap), a pair of socks, and 3 sketchbooks. For runners they have a full line of shirts and shorts too. Those are flying off the racks. Get over there quick!



Benedicto 2014 holiday gift guide



1. Orange Seal Tubeless Sealant - $13 for 8 oz. bottle

Switching from standard sealant to Orange Seal Sealant lets us focus on the trail, scenery and navigation rather than worrying about flats. The secret ingredient is what Orange Seal calls “nanites” and should plug holes up to 1/4". Next level stuff.

2. Feedback Summit Digital Scale - $50

Digital scales serve multiple functions. First, weigh your kit and decide how much weight you're willing/able to carry. Second, make your own food. Coffee snob? You better measure out that 18 grams for your aeropress. The Feedback is reliable and easy to use.

3. Heart Coffee - Colombia Buesaco - $20 for 12 oz.

Heart cares about quality beans. It costs a bit more, but you get what you pay for, and Heart is making the trips to Colombia to establish the relationships with the growers. They're buying relatively small batches and roasting them for freshness. Added bonus: you can buy directly from their website. Keep an eye on new varieties, since they change weekly, even daily.

4. Spot Gen 3 - $150

Spot's GPS messengers are peace of mind, for both the rider heading out into the backcountry as well as your loved ones at home. If you haven't followed a race, like the AZTR or the Tour Divide. The reason you're able to follow the blue dot online is the Spot tracker. The rider is able to send “all OK” messages and your people at home can track your progress online. Super cool! And if everything goes wrong and you can't get yourself out, help is a button push away. The hardware cost is only the first investment, service is the real cost, but the Spot is essential, so just get one already.

5. Oakley Frogskins - $110

Metallic Black with Ruby Iridium. I'm pretty sure Frogskins were the first pair of shades that I just HAD to have. They were clear with metallic blue lenses. They were so rad. Still are. We're going to give Frogskins the nod for bikepacking as well, since they're lightweight, durable and give you that all important “normal person” look when you stop back in civilization and you're less likely to be called “Lance Armstrong” by the locals. I counted about 30 different frame and lens combinations on the Oakley site, so the odds are good that you can find your unique flavor.

6. Montbell U.L. Down Jacket - $155

The U.L. stands for - you guessed it - ultralight. 7.6 oz. to be exact. It's not even their lightest down jacket, but this one struck the best balance of price and features for me. For example, their Plasma 1000 comes in at 4.8 oz. but it's $269 and for that price you don't get pockets. Packability is the other benefit. Come winter, there's no reason to leave home without one of these in your pack.

7. Vinyl - Donald Byrd “Kofi” - $30

One of my favorite albums. Upbeat, cosmic, grooving, inspired. I'm not even a huge jazz fan, but this is one of those that transcends genre, and one worth buying on vinyl. Luckily for you it was reissued in 2013. More importantly, go buy the people you love some vinyl. It's still sounds the best and if you love an album enough, owning it on vinyl is the ultimate - you get to enjoy the cover art at full scale and it just feels right. The more I listen to itunes or Spotify, the more I want to enjoy music the way it was intended, with soul, and a bit of imperfection. Besides a gift guide with just gear is a bit boring.

8. Rapha Rain Jacket - $285

I've been using the Rapha Rain Jacket for the last four years, maybe longer. It has kept me surprisingly dry on everything from soaking training rides to drizzly bikepacking in Alaska. Rapha has upgraded it this year with sealed seams and a hot blaze orange colorway that will keep you seen by both cars and hunters. Hi viz is not a fashion statement, it's survival. The cut is trim for cycling, but you should have no problem layering it over a base layer and wool jersey.