Something I've been looking forward to since signing on with Blackburn, is attending the annual Ranger Camp. Every year, Blackburn invites its Rangers, representatives from sponsoring companies, and writers/bloggers from the industry to San Jose, CA. The three day rendezvous provides Rangers with an orientation to the brand, introduces us to our gear, and gives the cycling media an introduction to the program and new products.
Once on the ground in CA, we made our way to a predetermined section of the airport parking lot. There, a box truck full of bikes and gear was waiting. We were greeted by the Blackburn folks, introduced to our new bikes, and started sorting out our gear. Niner bikes graciously provided our two wheeled steeds. I am riding the ACA Pacific Coast route, a mostly paved road touring ride. As such, I'll be sporting the Niner RLT 9. As I am doing it in winter, with all my fly fishing gear, I will be using a full set of front and rear racks and panniers to haul everything. It was a little bit like Christmas showing up to the airport and having a brand new bike and touring setup waiting.
Once everything was packed up, all 20 of us rolled out of the airport and onto bike paths and through neighborhoods of San Jose. It felt good to be on the bikes after a long morning of flying, packing, and anticipation. The first half of the ride was flat, and provided a good warm up for the climb ahead. A solid 3000 ft of climbing brought us to a boy scout camp where a dutch oven dinner, adult beverages, and roaring fire were waiting.
Day two was spent at the camp, consuming large amounts of breakfast meats, and learning all about the Ranger program. The highlight of the day was the hatchet trowing contest.
Day three: More breakfast meats. Back on the bikes for a 60 mile, mixed surface ride on pavement, dirt, and gravel that eventually brought us to the coast and Highway 1. The narrow, winding road that led to Big Basin Redwoods State Park was a blast: fast and curvy through old growth redwoods. Probably the most fun I've had on a drop bar bike!
We stopped for lunch and refreshments at Pie Ranch, an organic, educational farm. Yes, they had pie, and yes it was delicious. Fully satiated. Back on the bikes, for a cruise along the ocean into Santa Cruz. The frivolities didn't stop there. Dinner and drinks were waiting at a local coffee roaster where Blackburn showed its latest bike touring movie.
Thought over too quickly, the three days at Ranger Camp were and absolute blast! Cool people, bikes, food and drinks. Whats not to like?