In what’s become an annual tradition, each January we travel to some warm and sunny location in search of gravel roads and a respite from the snow of Ogden, Utah, for Gravel Camp. Last year it was Scottsdale, Arizona, which delivered an endless array of roads of the unpaved variety and gravel bike-friendly singletrack. This year, Calabasas, California, was the chosen destination due to the network of dirt roads in the Santa Monica Mountains, and what’s typically dry and temperate weather.
Calabasas came with a couple of other perks such as Pedalers Fork restaurant and DZ Nuthouse. Pedalers Fork is part restaurant, part coffee shop, and part bike shop. It’s about the coolest spot there is to start and finish a ride since whatever type of route or discipline you have planned can be had from their location. The bike shop is responsible for getting a large number of Moots outfitted with ENVE on the roads and trails of the area.
DZ Nuthouse is the brainchild of Dave Zabriskie and Ryan Steers to offer gravel camps where attendees get personal tours through the Santa Monica Mountains. Since we had seven cycling journalists joining us to get some time on the G23 and G27 wheels, DZ Nuthouse was essential in making sure we had the best routes possible. The dry wit that only Zabriskie can pull off was simply a bonus.
All the planning to make sure the details were in place couldn’t have anticipated that our schedule would perfectly align with what the locals were calling a “50-year storm”, so there went our warm and sunny riding. Instead of four-hour days, we cut back the distance and still managed spectacular rides where we got to fully test the seals and durability of the new ENVE aluminum hubs. With most of the trails and dirt roads composed of sand and rocks, the majority our riding was just wet, not necessarily wet and muddy.
It was a productive week riding gravel bikes even if the weather didn’t cooperate, although, for next year’s Gravel Camp, we’ll hold out hope for dry gravel roads and more sun.