The Cyclist's Menu & Pivot Cycles Adventure to Alamos, Sonora
Named after its plaza's stately cottonwoods, Alamos, Sonora’s tangle of streets wind their way through row after row of registered historical buildings, the red, yellow, and blue facades gently faded by the desert sun. Dry creek beds bisect the bustle, spanned by stone bridges suggestive of the late summer monsoons. A Jesuit cathedral anchors the city center, a gateway to the Sonoran Desert and hundreds of miles of yellow dirt roads.
The combination was enough to bring Heidi and Zander Ault to vet Alamos as a new gravel cycling camp location for their touring company, The Cyclist’s Menu. The two have made a habit of ferreting out places to ride gravel bikes and eat food for close to a decade, and Alamos seemed very likely to fit the bill.
An eight hour drive south of Patagonia, Arizona, Alamos’s placid square wafts with carne asada smoke and rattles with the sounds of trucks and bicycles moving through the city. The cottonwoods’ canopy shades a dozen or so street vendor stalls, and a man breezes by on a retrofitted tricycle equipped with a bakery box, looking for a spot of shade for his pan dulce and myriad of fresh treats.
Arriving in late April for a final scout, it did not take Heidi and Zander long to pop up the 300 vertical feet above the city on its signature cobblestone lookout road - the “Mirador”. Remaining in the shade of the climbs final pitch, the two peer out over the landscape, tracing curiosities with their fingers to explore in the coming week.
From here, atop the Mirador, a few things are immediately clear: that the gorgeous former state capital has avoided the sprawl of many of Mexico’s other “Silver Cities”, and that the mountain to its left is on fire.
For now the fire is remote - high up in the Sierra de Alamos, the adjacent sky island covered in a thick pine forest. From there, Heidi and Zander Ault’s attention turns back to the hundreds of miles of yellow dirt roads unspooled into the desert ranchland.
“It’s raw, but it is beautiful,” says Heidi. As a duo who has made much of their living guiding by bike in southern Arizona, the feeling is familiar - but here the husband and wife agree the terrain might call for a step up in tire size to soak up the chatter. “That’s why we scout,” she laughs.
Having run food-forward gravel cycling camps across the U.S. and Europe for the better part of a decade as The Cyclist’s Menu, they’re here to scout Alamos as a new destination for camps in the winter months. For now, it is “dry” and in the high 90’s for much of the day. Fortunately the lodging for the camp is a small collection of immaculate adobe casitas - that come complete with a saltwater pool and air conditioning. Perhaps better still is the fact that the owner Jen MacKay is a former cycling guide herself, and has volunteered to lead them out on a ride or two, introduce them around town and slow roast a pot of dark red cochinita pibil.
“I’ll go back just for the pibil,” said Zander.
Mackay seems every bit the type for the Ault’s. A conservation and cycling minded veteran of the service industry, she counts the creation of a large protected park filled with single track as one of her most outstanding projects in the 28 years since she moved to Alamos from the States.
Making their way through the spiny woodland the next day, Jennifer leads Heidi and Zander on a route she’s sketched out - a fifty some mile loop during the course of which they will see about 4 motorized vehicles. The group moves smoothly through the hills and dried creek bottoms.
The Sky Island landscape is expansive, varied and rugged - tall etcho cactus, densely wooded creek bottoms and endless miles of thorn scrub are punctuated by steep, strangely shaped hills and a few very large mountains. Small prayer shrines slightly outnumber abandoned concrete basketball courts, hoopless testaments to construction contracts gone by. The pine -hemmed peaks of the Sierra de Alamos - with their granite spired crowns now ominously shrouded in wildfire smoke - loom some 4,000 feet above the dried arroyos of the valley floor. Home to a rich diversity of mammals, reptiles and birds, they serve as majestic landmarks for Heidi’s evolving rolodex of 30-80 mile routes that wind through the surrounding landscape.
That evening, perched on top of Jennifer's second story deck at Hotel Pedregal, the group is joined by MacKay’s daughter Ellie and their small fleet of various sized brown dogs. Margarita’s are passed around as mother and daughter fill the Ault’s in on the dynamics of town, its surrounding conservation projects, and what growing up in the local public school system as a 5’11 blonde was like.
“Oh yeah, my sister and I blended right in,” says Ellie with a wink, quick to turn back to what a welcoming place she found it. “I love it here.” Ellie has moved back to help her mother operate Hotel Pedregal, and is an integral part of the team.
The clientele at Hotel Pedregal is mostly Mexican - Alamos has long been on the map as a domestic destination within Mexico, where its colonial architecture, biological diversity, and mountain biking are well known. Sonora flies a bit under the radar for tourism from the States, though groups like birders, bikers and lizard researchers (to name a few) have certainly already figured it out. The grounds have stone paths that wind through varied mature trees and cacti, past the pool, the guesthouses, the kitchen and restaurant, and over to the adjacent 250 acre park called ‘Parque La Colorada’ in the foothills of the Sierra de Alamos.
Beyond dialing in routes, scout trips make time for Zander - “Chef Z”, when he’s on duty - to find his way around the local food scene. This installment has not been a disappointment. In addition to the street tacos and sweet breads of the Alameda there are vibrant local producers already sourced by the hotel, and local knowledge of colorful sauces is made evident every morning. Rides wind through cattle country, and the somewhat surprisingly close Sea of Cortez lends seafood to the menu as well. Evenings on operation scout tend to bring tacos poolside at the outdoor kitchen, with Heidi manufacturing a sampling of local agave products and citrus (which extensive testing has found to be both delicious and effective). In this part of Mexico there has been a concerted effort to increase the production of Bacanora, Sonora’s regional Mezcal varietal.
In a food system like Alamos, with a limited variety of staples, the change of the seasons is something that you can taste. “The meals were fresh, and tasted like the vegetables and meat sitting on the plate. It’s a reminder that with each season, comes a few different ingredients to be savored. I’m excited to get to know this place better,” said Ault.
The Cyclist’s Menu dates are set for late February/early March, where temps range in the 70’s-80’s during the day. This latest addition to their travel itinerary will no doubt come with challenges, but with “Ride Bikes, Eat Food” as a company mantra the smart money seems to be on success.
I’ve lived with ADD and varying levels of anxiety my entire life. I’m 36 years old, a small business owner, and addicted to endurance cycling, trail running, and all-around fitness. My wife is a former professional athlete and directs cycling camps around the world for our company, The Cyclist’s Menu. Her upbringing was similar. Her life has been a journey with ADHD, anxiety, and navigating a plethora of ‘learning disabilities.’ Our lifestyle is pretty run and gun, always moving. We love it. Our personal challenges with managing ADD and anxiety is a huge aspect of our journey, and we own it.
Together, we’ve learned how to overcome the barriers that have been put in front of us. However, the demons still come knocking at times. Then Onda Wellness paid a visit. Here’s the story.
It’s 9 am in East Tucson. Heidi and I are about to roll out for a ride. The last sip of Presta coffee goes down as I pick up a call from a friend I haven’t heard from in a long time. I’m about to be introduced to a CBD brand that will, in time, play a massive role in changing our personal and professional lives.
“Sarah, hello! How the heck are you?”
“Z, what’s up? I’m great. I’m sure you’re busy but I have something I need to share with you.”
“Sure, we’re heading out for a ride shortly, what is it?”
“A friend of mine just started a CBD company and he’s looking for a small group of people to try it out and provide feedback on his formula.”
It’s 2018, the CBD market is flooded with competitors. Everyone’s vying for the best spot on the shelf. So many brands, what is anyone supposed to do but get lost in the labels and words like ‘full spectrum’ and ‘infusion.’ Is it THC? A blend? What are we buying?
“What’s the name of your friend’s brand?”
“It’s called Onda Wellness. Stephen Smith, the owner, is a longtime photographer and has brought this product to the market with an old friend from Colorado.”
“So they’ve got the media and lifestyle channels figured out. Now they just need some real-time use, put it to the test, eh?”
“Well, let him know that Heidi and I would love to chat with him and we’re happy to be guinea pigs. We recently did a trial run with another company and we aren’t sure how we actually feel about it. Was it a bit of Pavlov's theory, we don’t know? We couldn’t tell if it was doing anything or if we were just doing our normal routine and either feeling great or having a day filled with fatigue.”
“Great! I’ll put you two in touch. Let’s chat soon, ok?”
“Sounds great, Sarah! Be well, I’ll look out for your email, and I’ll keep you posted.”
Full Spectrum CBD Versus Isolate
That conversation happened on a Saturday morning. On Monday, Stephen Smith and I were chatting about his company, what we do at The Cyclist’s Menu and the evolution of the CBD market. I learned two things right away; there’s isolated CBD and full-spectrum CBD. The difference is vast.
CBD that is of a single isolate enters your body and provides relief or change in some way for a certain amount of time. A single isolate product then reaches its peak and, from that point on, doesn’t continue to evolve or respond to how your body is feeling. It only plateaus, no longer developing an understanding of your body's needs, simply falling off the other side of the bell curve into a place we consider as ‘unresponsive’ or ‘no longer working.’
The full spectrum line arrives, separating itself immensely as the bolder, brighter, and more capable CBD product formula. Our bodies have thousands of cannabinoid receptors living inside our cells. When a CBD product or any cannabinoid enters our body, these receptors go into overdrive. Like wildfire ripping through a western prairie, your body begins almost immediately to feel the effects of this plant formula; 20-30 mins. The difference with a full spectrum CBD product is in the rate of efficacy and length of time its working inside your body’s specific system.
A full spectrum product enters and begins to move; it travels far and wide to the outer reaches of your processing network, assisting in managing your body's homeostasis. Instead of peaking and then falling off the curve, a full spectrum CBD product continues on. It searches for what’s next. As Onda puts it, it acts like an adaptogen; finding what your body needs and diving in to save your system from overdrive, fatigue from exercise, stress and anxiety, to name a few of the keywords. At this time, we are only semi sure of the full effects of a full spectrum CBD product like Onda. Its ability to interweave itself into your body's most important systematic database is just the beginning.
Stephen and I continue to talk about Onda, and the conversation quickly moves into a realm that feels as if we’ve known each other for years. This felt good. There was no need for a sales pitch like we’ve had with other CBD companies. This was real, from the heart and I got the same feeling about Onda as I do when I discuss food security and crop rotation cycles with the farmers we buy our food from.
“I’ll get you a package in the mail tomorrow morning, sound good? I’m in California now, and I have to chat with my business partner in Boulder before this goes out.”
“Sounds great! Heidi and I are stoked to help out. Let’s chat soon. Stay in touch in any way you’d like. Cheers.”
In a couple of days a package arrives. There’s a handful of options: a tincture bottle, 10x 25mg capsules and 10x 50mg capsules. At this time we were one week from starting our annual Arizona Gravel Camp season at The Cyclist’s Menu. This event is four weeks in a row of private cycling camps based in Patagonia, Arizona. The average workload and stress during this time of year is typically pretty high. We’ve learned how to manage it over the years, but it’s our most significant season; we put everything we physically and emotionally have into it.
Athletics have always been the key mechanism for maintaining a stable operating system for ourselves. In middle school, Heidi would wake up early before her family and go for runs around the neighborhood. Then, she would take them skiing all day in Summit County. Heidi grew up in Denver, CO, so the outdoor lifestyle was born into her blood. But, the ‘twitch,’ as she calls it, is a real thing and something that many people, many athletes, and active humans can feel a certain association with.
Everyone has an internal meter that reads stress, anxiety, the feeling of being overwhelmed or the pressures of what your life brings forward. Each of our “twitch’s” are stronger or more subtle than others, and that internal angst can be both good and evil. It brings you great success in times of uncertainty. It’s the ability to respond quickly and make decisions. On the other hand, it can build in moments to points of being incapable of operating or running on autopilot.
For me, when my body reaches that overload point, my system begins to slow down, I can’t make quality decisions, and I have to really step back and move slowly through the task in front of me. I have two ways of explaining these moments of anxiety:
I explain both of these out of body anxiety attacks as if I’m recovering from using heroin. I have never used heroin, but I can imagine what it might feel like to quit using that drug and what your entire nervous system might go through to flush it out. Anxiety is a beast of its own and in many ways, a drug you didn’t choose to participate with, it just slips itself into your drink.
Let me take a step back, my apologies for going a little dark there. However, it’s important to note the facts about anxiety, bouts of depression and what working yourself to the bone can do. I felt strongly about sharing with you how it affects me, so you can understand the impact Onda CBD has had.
Why? Because these are the reasons I use Onda CBD. This is why their full spectrum product isn’t a myth. It won’t just work for a period of time and then drop off the side of some curve. Onda CBD has changed my life. I haven’t used any other medication or outside influence such as a service animal or licensed doctor since 2015. The same year my service dog passed away, after we lived together for 12 years. In the words of one of our clients who’s a psychiatrist, “It’s incredibly hard for an individual to go through losing a service animal and not relapse back to meds they’ve taken in the past.”
This was told to Heidi following an episode I had 2 weeks after my dogs death. I have found a path to success with what I was born with. I’ll be dealing with the demons that enter my life at times and I can’t predict when they will arrive. However, shit gets real when they do.
Let’s head back in time again to when Heidi and I first tried Onda CBD. It was 2 weeks after I spoke with founder Stephen Smith and 1 day following our second Arizona Gravel Camp in 2018. It was enough time to thoughtfully try the samples he sent us and understand the different doses they offer. In our line of work, we’re up before the sun, 16 hours days and in bed 5 or 6 hours before we do it all over again. Let me make it clear that we wouldn’t trade our professional career for anything in the world. But, it’s not for everybody and we like that about what we do.
I called Stephen and we caught up for a moment. I shared with him some of the fun aspects of Gravel Camp and the highlights from the first 2 camps that season. Then he asked what we thought of the CBD. Remember, I’ve taken a handful of medications since I was in my elementary years. Meds that were supposed to help me concentrate, stay focused and calm down, feel centered. There were moments when these medications helped with these aspects of how I was feeling, but they weren’t perfect and the side effects were immense. In many ways, I was a completely different person during the school day versus who I was on the field at practice in the afternoon. This meant between 8am and 4pm, the meds I was taking would take effect then wear off and I would join my teammates on the field. Practice was supposed to be my outlet; but more than once the side effects of these meds created a situation I couldn’t control. Super volatile temper, anger that came from somewhere I didn’t know existed, and an inability to explain how I was feeling. Not a great place to be, especially as a 16 year old.
I answered Stephen's question in the only way I knew how. I knew he wanted to hear the real answer, not some sponsored bullshit that implied I liked the product and wanted it for free in exchange for something else.
“Stephen, my experience thus far goes way beyond sports recovery and eliminating lactic acid, following routine or more extreme athletic activities. I am very aware of western medications and their impacts on our bodies operating systems. I grew up under the impression that I needed those meds to function. There’s something different about Onda, it goes directly to the source of where you're experiencing discomfort. Physical or mental discomfort, it doesn’t discriminate, it just gets to work. This CBD does exactly what any western medication does and then it continues to do work on your system, providing necessary relief mechanisms as you move through your life. I’m hooked.”
From here we talked about different dose amounts and how that affected our performance or abilities to function the way we wanted to, in and out of the work environment. Everyone responds differently to plant based medicines like CBD. Because your body has so many receptors for cannabinoids of many kinds, it depends how well the product travels through your blood and attaches itself to the necessary chains within your nervous and endocrine systems. I do really well on 50mg, it’s what my body asks for and it works. Heidi finds that 10-20mg is perfect, depending on what she's doing.
An aspect of Onda that again differentiates itself from the rest of the market, is its ability to travel through your body's system quickly and take effect. When I talk about it, I use the phrase, “Onda has legs.”
I say it in this way because it moves, it finds where it needs to be and hunkers in for the long haul. Some might call this a ‘euphoric state’ which we agree with and enjoy, because Onda lets you physically and mentally be aware of the fact that it's in your body and working. Many brands can’t say their product does this or provides real time feedback to its users that their product is ‘going in to work.’
This has been standard procedure at The Cyclist’s Menu since we started our relationship with Onda Wellness 3 years ago. With so many other companies out there boasting why you should purchase their CBD, we’ve taken it on as part of our role in the endurance and health and wellness industry to help promote the right brands. The ones that work under the toughest of circumstances. If Onda didn’t do what it does for me, I wouldn’t use it, I wouldn’t buy it, I wouldn’t be writing this story about my journey with it. If you ask Heidi, she would have a very similar response.
We started our careers as entrepreneurs with The Cyclist’s Menu in 2015. It’s been a wild ride. We’ve experienced so many different emotions; highs, lows, roller coasters and extremes on either end that leave you feeling waisted and unsure of the choices you’ve made. However, since working with Onda much of the emotional struggle and stress related challenges we’ve encountered and had to endure have been incredibly diminished and or eliminated from our lives. Something that is important to note is we don’t take CBD everyday. We don’t use it at the same time everyday. Because Onda has an adaptogen quality, at times you take a dose of your liking and it works for 24 to 36 hours. It comes in and out during moments when your body needs it. You can feel it take effect, which is why I can share these real time results of its formula with you. We use it a few days before heading into a big work block. Times when we know life gets turned up a notch, and through the duration of these times. We feel it's important to experiment with CBD, you have to find how your body responds and go with it. Plant based medicines are powerful and the euphoric state you will most likely experience when using Onda is a testament to that power.
If you’re curious about trying Onda, head over to their website to learn more about their entire product line. Use our code, ONDARIDES and feel the flow state. Party on, Gravel Heads.
Onda Wellness: www.ondawellness.com
The San Rafael Valley (SRV) is a 90,000 acre expanse to the east of Patagonia, Arizona. It borders Sonora, Mexico and is home to one of North America’s most diverse ecological ecosystems. The region has begun to see a large increase in visitors who have come to explore the areas incredible bounty of gravel cycling.
Since 2015, The Cyclist’s Menu has been hosting Arizona Gravel Camp based out of Patagonia, AZ. 3 miles from Harshaw Creek Road (the entry point to the SRV) Patagonia is the regions launch pad for all day gravel adventure through the Canelo Hills and Patagonia, Santa Rita, and Huachuca Mountains. Over the course of the past 6 years, we’ve covered just about every road, building the framework for what is now a detailed map for our seasonal gravel camp experiences and multi distance course routes for Patagonia’s Spirit World 100.
How many miles in total, we’re not exactly sure. What we do know is every minute spent in the SRV is incredible. You learn something about yourself, those you're riding with and your chosen gear. The tools that allow us to do this type of exploring is incredibly important. It can make or break an experience. However, this very same gear can carry you through what may otherwise be a physically challenging and mentally tough day on your bike, resulting in an emotionally high moment of personal success.
We’d like to highlight the moments that you remember as the best, or the toughest and how our gear choices help bring us there or get us through. We’re calling our platform for review, ‘San Rafael Tested’ & we’re proud to share our first product, ENVE’s G23 wheel set.
Excuse our lack of knowledge with the fine details. Rim width, internal spoke design, and other things like that. We’re a little too ADD to remember all that information. However, there’s more to these wheels than the specs. The G23’s are super lightweight (lightest on the market!), fast rolling and damn sturdy! We can attest to this precisely, after riding them up, over, through and down everything the SRV has to offer. With ease, the G23’s have performed incredibly well across every surface encountered.
Right out of the gate, the width of these rims place more of your tire tread right on the surface you’re riding on. This creates a superior connection between your bike and the earth, allowing you more confidence in descending, handling in tricky terrain and bridging the gap between you and your pals on that last climb of the day. More importantly, trying to hang on to your lady’s wheels as she rips off your legs in the waning light of day.
“My wife waits all day for the final climb, just digging in to crush me. The G23’s are a game changer for female Gravel Heads.” Zander Ault
“I’m so stoked to be riding these wheels in the San Rafael Valley” said Heidi Rentz Ault after her first ride on the Apache Loop, 13 miles from Patagonia, Arizona.
“There isn’t a descent I can’t conquer anymore. These wheels are the sh*t. Having raced professionally on the cross country mountain bike circuit for 7 years, I know what it feels like to have a larger rim, equalling more tire contact on the ground. This combination is incredible for lighter weight women and I’m very happy to be riding the G23’s now, as a professional guide.” Heidi Rentz Ault
If you’ve visited the San Rafael Valley, then you know that many descents here aren’t a smooth breeze. They’re packed with rocks, ruts and washboards that might encourage you to bring a mouth guard along for the day. Haha! Believe us, we’ve joked about it many times.
These are old ranch roads. Each telling a story of the 200 year old ranching history across this landscape. Until more recently, these roads were the only way in and out for ranching families who’ve called the SRV home for generations. It’s honestly some of the toughest riding conditions we’ve found in the US. Exactly why we’ve begun to list certain products now as being ‘San Rafael Tested.’
The Borderlands offer an incredible blend of what can be found across many environments and/or geographical regions. Making this area an incredible place to test what a wheel, bike, or handlebar for instance, is made of.
Here's our list of criteria we discussed for ENVE's G23 Wheel set to be listed: San Rafael Tested
Will Freihofer captured these photos as we tossed ideas around for our first ‘San Rafael Tested’ story during an overnight camping trip near Mowry, Arizona, in the Patagonia Mountains. We departed our gravel HQ, The Gravel House, for a sunset arrival on the rim of the San Rafael Valley. The SRV is most definitely a proving ground, but it’s also a place to escape and truly leave reality behind. As you ride through its massive network of dirt roads, Mexico is in full view the entire time. It’s as if the high desert grasslands go on forever. We look forward to the many stories we have ahead of us, testing the industries best. We promise we’ll send it all back super clean, with just the right amount of SRV dirt to lure you back for more. Cheers, Gravel Heads!
To our bike family, pals, and future guests!
What a journey it's been. WE MISS YOU.
In light of it all, we wanted to make sure we inform you about some big changes we have up our sleeve!
We've been incredibly fortunate to have spent the four of months consulting with a member of our cycling community and epidemiologist in regards to moving forward with The Cyclist's Menu. Together, we've developed some big changes within our general camp layout for the remainder of 2020 & all of 2021.
The best way to keep all of you safe, is to ensure that no one on our trip is sick. We will make every effort to make that happen! Most importantly though, this takes a partnership with you: our guest. In the two weeks leading up to our trip, we intend to self isolate as best we can and would ask all of you to do the same to limit your risk of becoming infected.
During these two weeks that precede our trip, if you develop any COVID symptoms, we will insist that you do not travel. Also, if you have any significant exposure or someone in your household becomes sick, we ask you to please stay home. We will work directly with you to reschedule your travel and any future plans with The Cyclist’s Menu at that time. With this active partnership, we are confident that we can keep everyone safe & healthy during our upcoming trips.
In order to do this appropriately under local regulations in all of our domestic destinations; we’ll be placing new efforts into our operations to ensure your safety, comfort and ease.
Domestic Gravel Camps (2020/2021):
International Gravel and/or Road Camps (2021):
On March 16th, 2020 we made the decision to cancel all of our immediate, upcoming tours and overseas trips. It was the right thing to do and the only decision we had to keep our staff and guests safe. In some ways, that made it easier. However, in others, it was the toughest decision we’ve had to make in our 6 years of business. We had trips in France, Italy and Vermont that we couldn’t wait to share with you. 2021 will be even more special!
We're working closely with our lodging options to make sure we’re collectively making the right decisions about hosting an experience or choosing to cancel specific dates if need be. If you have any questions or concerns about our policies regarding signups, cancelations, refunds or credits, please don’t hesitate to call or email us, anytime.
As many of you know, The Cyclist’s Menu now has a permanent address in Patagonia. It’s been an incredible journey reshaping the main straw bale house, guest house and gardens for your enjoyment in the future. Believe us, we aren’t done yet! But, we’re getting close. Our biggest goal here for the remainder of 2020 & all of 2021 is to host private groups here!
***If you'd like to reserve a private AZ Gravel Camp for you & your pals during one of our already scheduled weeks of camp, please let us know as soon as you can so we can block that week off for y'all!
Finally! We’d like to take this moment to thank you all for your continued support. You are our family. The memories we collectively hold are the life blood of who we are and what we do at The Cyclist’s Menu. It drives the beginning of each new season, and fills us with pride and emotion as we unroll new destinations around the globe. Our relationships will define who we are and what we become from now on. Thank you for giving us this opportunity.
As you consider the next 3 to 18 months of your adventurous journey on this planet, check back once in a while! We’ve got some fun stuff up our sleeves that we want you to know about. At this time, The Spirit World 100 is moving forward with the event festivities hosted by the Town of Patagonia, November 5-8, 2020. We will keep everyone who’s currently signed up and those on the wait list informed with details as they arise. Thank you for your patience!
From Patagonia with all our love, we can’t wait to explore with you all again soon. Be well, stay in touch!
Teeth to the wind,
Heidi & Z
Dear Gravel Family,
We've been going through the ways we could share with you our emotions about Gravel Camp 2019. First we thought it would be appropriate to address ya'll from a rather formal perspective; then we laughed! We aren't very formal, but we do take our work and your experience seriously. In many ways that's why it works so well. We all choose to be here and because of that, we're a community of people who desire the feeling of being connected. That's what Gravel Camp is. A place to reconnect, ride your bike and eat great food. So, instead of sharing with you what we thought you might like to hear, we're going to tell you the honest truth.
You know us. You know why The Cyclist's Menu is operating. We've dedicated who we are to this experience. At times we find ourselves doubting our journey, but it only makes us work harder and search farther for inspiration. Gravel Camp season 2019 is going to be more special then what we've experienced in the past. Between February 19th and March 25th, 2019 (5 separate weeks) you're invited to reconnect with the San Rafael Valley, its food system and your soul. We can't wait to enter the Spirit World with you soon.
Steam Rolling Temporal Canyon!! Toot Toot!
Official Arizona Gravel Camp dates are online at our website. But, we've included them here as well for easier access!
San Rafael Valley, Arizona
The 2019 season brings us farther in our journey to offer an experience unlike any other cycling company in the business. To accomplish our goals, we've pulled together an incredible team to guide you, inspire you and make you laugh during that climb when you're thinking about quitting. After all, those are the special moments. We can't wait for you to meet them. Stay tuned to our social media over the course of the next few months as we roll out their red carpet.
Beyond the incredible riding that the San Rafael Valley offers, we've designed a family style meal house that's going to bring us closer than any table we've dined at before. Tucked away in an alley behind Main Street, we've found a rustic old garage that will be lit by candles and twinkly lights. This old ranch style setting will be our gathering place for breakfast and dinner. Bring your favorite sweater and that old pair jeans, you'll be warm by the fire as we tell stories into the night.
Z dishing up Heidi's famous Fry Salad Bowl
AZ Gravel Camp 2019 is going to be amazing!
Gravel Camp News
Were heading to Iceland and Vermont in 2019!
August 2019 will be an unforgettable experience in Iceland. We have partnered up with Icebike Adventures for what will be a milestone in the history of Gravel Camp. We traveled to Iceland this summer, August 2018, to scout and curate this experience. We couldn't be more proud of how it's come together and the plan we have in store for the 12 riders who will join us. #icelandgravel is a bucket list experience and designed for the seasoned rider. It will be challenging, there will be tough weather, we will eat well and go home satisfied! 7 nights, 8 days of fresh fish & volcanic gravel roads.
July 2019 is another incredibly special moment centered around #ridebikeseatfood. We've partnered up with the amazing people at Rasputitsa Gravel Road Race. Heidi Myers and Anthony Moccia have become dear friends; we couldn't be more excited to share their Vermont secrets with those who join us in the Green Mountain State. Steep rolling hill country meets lush farmland as we make our way through the Northeast Kingdom. An area of Vermont that is incredibly rural, the gravel road riding is world class and we will travel miles and miles of it. We might even have a post ride BBQ on Caspian Lake with Jasper Hill Farm and Hill Farmstead Brewing Company!
We wish you an incredible Fall! Stay in touch with us, we want to know about all the badass adventures you're going on. We can't wait to #ridebikeseatfood with you very soon.
Teeth to the wind,
Heidi and Z
Instagram @thecyclistsmenu is an incredible way to stay current and in touch. Thank you for all your support.
We want to share our thoughts and perspective on a plant based medicine that will improve your life.
Everyone is talking about CBD. Everyone wants to know more and how can or will it help me out?
At The Cyclist's Menu we view active recovery as a blend of message, muscle activation with Roll Recovery units, proper rest, eating well & strength training. Pain killers such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin have never really been a part of our lives unless faced with a pretty severe situation like surgery or some massive injury. With that said, we've considered alternative forms of pain relief in those moments too. CBD has become our go to for many reasons and we excited to share them with you.
"I've tried a few CBD formulas before giving Onda Wellness a go. Each seemed to provide the usual benefits we're all familiar with; muscle recovery, lowering the build up of lactic acid, deep sleep. However, none of them gave me any real notion of it's effects in my body. It seemed more like a guessing game than actual results. Onda let's you know it's working with your body to aid in recovery from your active lifestyle. it's specific combination results in a euphoric state, where your body runs smoothly through your day, your workout or simply time with your feet up off the ground." Chef Zander Ault
Chef Z rocking his sock tan & enjoying a day off the bike during The Cyclist's Menu road camp in Mallorca, Spain.
In the past, we've discussed the thin line between CBD being a product athletes can support and not be viewed as a stoner. It's the grey area right now that has many questioning the validity of these products and whether or not it's just a gimmick. At least it seems this way. Yet, how is anyone supposed to know or have an opinion unless they try it themselves. Seems obvious to us, but this is the same problem with many things, not just a product that bodes the question, "Am I using a sports enhancing drug." Many might think so right now, but if something is able to create a greater awareness of your body when in need of a balanced method of recovery and state of mind, who's to judge? Plus, WADA/USADA removed it from the banned substance list in 2018 after some pretty compelling evidence. Guess we will just keep riding our bicycles and living life the way we please!
Coach HR & Chef Z riding their Ibis Hakka MX gravel bikes (with road slicks on em'!) into the Mallorcan sunset.
To keep things short, Onda Wellness CBD is a game changer. It's a beautiful product that will promote an increase in athletic abilities among many other results, too. From our experience with any CBD product, using it regularly delivers the best outcome. It compounds itself inside your body and begins to take shape in different ways for different people.
"I've noticed it begins to take effect about 30 minutes after consuming a capsule or dose of tincture. However, it responds to how your body is feeling. If your experiencing soreness or fatigue you'll notice a lifting effect of these symptoms over the course of the day, especially as you begin to incorporate it into your life for 10 or more days in a row. Onda CBD reacts to a healthy diet and healthy fats, too. We have noticed an increase in results due to what foods we're eating versus others. Our bodies have hundreds of CBD receptors living inside us already and when you add it into the system, it lights up!" Chef Zander Ault
Chef Z taking a quick break from an enormous road ride on Mallorca!
"I'm a professional guide and I direct endurance cycling camps. It's a tough job, but it's my passion and I wouldn't trade it for anything. My career as a professional mountain biker lead me to realize that I simply have a love for riding into the unknown, for hours on end. That ability to compete with myself and find community amongst those who enjoy it the same way I do, is incredibly fulfilling. Road Camp Season on Mallorca, Spain this year was a biggie. I was lucky to ride 850 miles, 65,000 feet of climbing and 65 hours in the saddle. It's been a while since I had that time and I rode harder than I ever have before. It's hard for me to describe this feeling and it's emotional connection to being my best person each day. But, challenging myself is what I live for, especially when my goals are so far from what I typically choose to achieve. Onda CBD has been a driving force in pushing me to go farther, to dig deeper and push my boundaries as an athlete." Director Heidi Rentz
Coach HR riding as hard as she could up the mountain, to make it back to Campanet (Homebase for The Cyclist's Menu on the Island of Mallorca) before it got dark. She was ecstatic when she rolled in from her ride that evening, "HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS. I feel as strong as I did 6 years ago when I was a full time pro".
At The Cyclist's Menu it's about discovering balance and sharing our style of life with those who choose to travel with us. One aspect of what we do that we love is our guests arrive with unknowns. We don't deliver your typical cycling vacation, where your daily schedule is laid out for you beforehand. We feel this is too normal. Plus, life doesn't operate this way for anybody, so why should we try and mimic something that actually doesn't exist. For these reasons and others, we've enjoyed sharing the beneficial results and stories of why CBD works for us with our guests from around the world. Once you travel with us, you're a part of the family.
"I've struggled with anxiety, depression my entire life. I'm an over achiever in what I love and passionate about. These characteristics help me define myself, help me achieve my goals; but they inhibit me, at times, from being my best self. It's challenging to explain, especially if you have never lived through an anxiety attack or been dealt a card where you had to find your best route through what is a depressed moment. They're tough, especially when you want to succeed above all else. When I first tried Onda CBD, I went into it thinking about the recovery and athletic benefits as a cyclist and runner. What I actually realized is it suppressed my bodies chemical in-balance. Onda CBD has given me the opportunity to succeed when I'm under stress, when my body wants to otherwise explode with internal energy. It's a force to recon with and when I realized CBD had this power, something I had never experienced other than while using western medicine, I knew my athletics and career as a chef would increase ten fold." Chef Zander Ault
Chef Z in his zone as he creates the perfect mid-ride fuel at our favorite beach on the island of Mallorca.
We hope this look into how CBD has been a driving force in our success as athletes and humans will provide a more balanced equation for you to consider researching this plant based medicine. Onda Wellness is a full spectrum product and offers the highest available purity in the industry. We encourage you all to read more about CBD, ask those you know who have tried it and if you want to learn more from us, feel free to reach out anytime. #ridebikeseatfood
We gave Kate’s a run at Gravel Camp
We’ll be 100% honest with all of you; it’s hard to find the right food that works for you as an athlete. It takes years, trials, ups and downs, you name it we’ve tried it! Yet, in an ever-growing market of packaged food, we’ve discovered a few that work, taste great and don’t make your stomach feel like you just ate half a burger or more. Kate’s Real Food Bars started in Kate Shade’s kitchen, as a wholesome, healthy snack to get her through big days skiing in the Teton backcountry of Idaho or tram laps at Jackson Hole Resort. Hence the first bar’s name, “Tram Bar.” What is now a full line of different flavors and ingredients, Kate’s has produced an on the go meal bar that packs a punch, limits flavor fatigue and is nice to eat when your literally “moving fast!” We gave it a go in Gravel Camp country in Southern Arizona and have a lot of great things to share.
At The Cyclist’s Menu we’re all about eating foods that make sense for our bodies and the environment. However you want to think about your footprint on this planet, what you eat has a much larger impact than we all realize. Much of our tendencies stem from simplicity and it’s challenging to break those routines. The schedules we all face are all over the place on a daily basis. When you can count on something that works for your health and wellness stick with it. So, when and if you’re staring at the wall of meal bars at your health food store (which is a daunting task by the way,) remember that Kate’s bars are anywhere from 86-91% organic, full of ingredients you can pronounce and understand, made in small batches and taste freaking great! Also, Kate’s ‘Tiki bar’ is Gluten, Soy and Dairy FREE! Radical!
Kate’s come in 2 different sizes which makes moving with them easy and usable for those who need to keep an eye on how much their consuming on a regular basis during exercise. The full bars range from 260-360 calories over 2 servings. Where as the newly added “Bites” pack a 130 caloric hit ideal for training rides, runs and a boost before putting in a gym session or hot yoga class. The Bites are a favorite at The Cyclist’s Menu for their simplicity and easy access. When out riding or running, you can carry an open package and devour each piece as you go, versus mowing down a bar at threshold, haha! We all know what that feels like, no matter how easy it is to chew or eat some real food while exercising.
Heidi and I recently headed out for a 90-mile ride from our home in Tucson, Arizona. It was a stellar day, 80 degrees, nothing other than riding on the mind. We each brought 1 meal bar and 1 pack of bites. Our ride time was 5 hours and with close to 400 calories in each of our pockets we were set for our adventure. What works well for Kate’s bars is the texture and low glycemic energy burn. Soft and chewy, a bit sweet and savory, Kate’s provided what we needed to keep moving comfortably while feeding our bodies what it needed each hour to feel great on the bike. I’ve been steering away from peanut butter for a little while due to some congestion issues, but I still love the stuff. However, in taking a break from it, I am really enjoying the ‘Handle Bar.’ Dark chocolate, cherries and almonds make this bar super delish! Furthermore, in all of Kate’s bars, the oats literally feel like they just came out of the oven. It’s easy on the palette. 90 miles with Kate’s makes gearing up for your next big adventure seem simple.
We are STOKED on Kate’s and super excited to share this great on the go food with our clients at Gravel Camp in Arizona this winter and around the country, season after season. We hope to see you out there adventuring in 2018. #ridebikeseatfood ya’ll and visit www.katesrealfood.com for more info!
Over the course of the past 3 holiday seasons, we’ve had a lot of fun creating home cooked meals in a handful of different ways. Everyone cooks over the Holidays; it’s tradition, right? Well, it is around our kitchen and this story highlights how we’ve enjoyed cooking these meals more than just what the meal was.
What ever happened to the good old days?
It’s one thing to say you’re from a city or a town, but what if you delivered where you were from with such compassion for that place; those who asked felt it too? We believe that food and the land it’s grown or raised on provides this deeper understanding of place for those who choose to dig a litter deeper. If it nourishes your soul than typically we’re more apt to want to share that emotion with others. Our farmers, ranchers, craft brewers, friends and family feel this way too.
We’ve cooked on smokers, wood fired pizza ovens, even the most simple campfire pit. Christmas 2017 brought on a whole new plan. This season a 500-pound cast iron cauldron landed in the backyard. Made by a company called Cowboy Cauldron, this behemoth of an open fire vessel puts most primitive style ovens we’ve used to shame. By no means do you need a 500-pound cast iron cauldron to make Christmas Eve dinner, but damn was it fun!
This year we did 17 pounds of beef, a mix of rib roast and tenderloin steaks. Side dishes included sautéed wintergreens and Yukon gold potatoes. Everything was cooked on the cauldron and the temps only got colder as the sun went down. 30 people filtered in and out of the warm confines of our small kitchen in Denver, Colorado, catching a moment to see dinner over the fire. We were unsure of how the dropping temps would effect the cooking times for so much food, although we kept a close eye on the coals and reloaded the fire regularly to keep it stoked and as hot as possible. This was what made that night special, the unknowns. It was a neat dance we had going on with vegetables and meat around the cauldron’s cook grate. Coals needed to be managed from one side, while the roast and potatoes stayed put, allowing for that caramelized char that open fire provides so well. When it was all said and done, the entire process took 5-6 hours. The fire is the most important component of this style of cooking and we spent 2 hours just working coals to make it right. Once food was ready to go, it was game on the holiday feast unfolded.
Happy Holidays everyone! We hope you’ve been cooking up a storm with your friends and family too. Try something new this season; we think you’ll amaze yourself! If you come across the opportunity to cook on a Cowboy Cauldron, have a blast, it’s incredibly fun and engaging.
*Our meat, dairy and eggs were sourced from Sky Pilot Farm for this feast. Sky Pilot Farm is located in Longmont, CO. Check them out!
*Our potatoes were sourced from Full Circle Farm in Longmont, CO
* All of our herbs were sourced from Osage Gardens in New Castle, CO
Cycling, Food, Community Development with The Cyclist's Menu
We recently wrapped up our Fall 2017 Ride Bikes Eat Food Tour schedule; which brought us from Bellingham, WA to Tucson, AZ. The gist was this; go for a group ride, eat a great meal, celebrate local culture & raise funds for an organization that supports the development of future trail projects. This personal brand activation strategy for The Cyclist’s Menu provided a unique opportunity to showcase a few select brands over the course of this trip. One of these brands is ‘Floyd's of Leadville.’ Based in Leadville, Colorado, Floyd's is 1 of the Nations leading CBD hemp oil producers. Mind you, this product has no THC, which provides much of the psychoactive properties that marijuana is known for. Floyd's has formulated a recipe that works in favor of the active mind, body and soul using only the CBD hemp oil to aid in recovery and relaxation.
We had an opportunity to chat with Floyd Landis, Founder, before leaving for the Tour and mentioned our workload, amount of riding ahead and line up of events. He quickly asked if we would consider working with his CBD formula and put the product to test under a high stress environment. It was a unanimous “Yes” amongst the office at The Cyclist’s Menu and so we underwent a 2-month trail period.
“We were coming off an incredibly busy summer and fall season, with a lot less cycling activity than normal. So, going into the Ride Bikes Eat Food Tour, we knew we had to take advantage of the small moments we’d have to get out on our bikes or on foot. The first 2 stops were amazing, yet we experienced a lot of rain in Washington and Oregon. Finally, we reached California for 5 days of our own time in Mendocino, CA. 20, 35, 48, 56 miles; the days ramped up and so did our bodies. It was really interesting to see the increased daily load be managed by proper nutrition, sleep and Floyd’s CBD to help round out and maintain muscle recovery over the training block in the Mendocino Woodlands.”
- Director/Endurance Coach, Heidi Rentz
If you read through the research available on CBD and the compounds beneficial properties, they’re all over the chart. We felt this was why we wanted to try Floyd's, because the product left room for choosing when to use it and space to determine how it might be affecting our bodies during different kinds of workload. At The Cyclist’s Menu we offer private chef/catering in many ways to the cycling industry as well as hosting our own gravel and road cycling camps around the world. We spend a lot of time on our feet and on our bikes, so our bodies experience impact in a blend of stressful formats. CBD has unique characteristics that work to flush muscles free of lactic acid; this was very noticeable in our line work over the course of an extended work/training block. Much like an endurance athlete or an individual training for a specific race or event, when the body is placed under continuous stress in the form of exercise, Floyd's CBD tincture and capsules offered a perfect mix of comfort, longevity and confidence to achieve our daily goals.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect, although I’d heard a lot about the affects of CBD in the body and how our nervous systems have many receptors for the organic compound already. It seemed like a win-win for our crew, who spends many hours on our feet in the kitchen, on our bikes and amongst social environments at events. It was exciting to see how CBD would interact with our busy schedules and if it would make an impact on our ability to maintain a healthy, physical being while on the road for 2 months. As a result, we found this to be true and will be using it again and again as athletes and chefs.” – Chef Zander Ault
Needless to say, The Cyclist’s Menu is in full support of Floyd's and highly recommends it to anyone who has interest in trying something new or adding a different product to their arsenal. With the overwhelmingly large growth in research on CBD and it’s benefits to the human body, it’s no wonder why athletes of any sport will begin to use it. We’re stoked to help introduce this product to our friends, family and guests who join us for an unforgettable cycling experience, season in and season out.
“One thing I really enjoy about Floyd's is it’s so dang easy to use. You don’t have to consider it a meal and you don’t have to cook anything. Let’s face it, as an active human, you really need two things: sleep and a good meal. If you choose to try or use Floyd's CBD it will be an active approach to maintaining your bodies ability to dig a little deeper!” - Chef Zander Ault
“Like nutrition, proper recovery is a life long journey. At a moment when I was feeling “out of shape,” Floyds CBD helped aid in a deeper sleep and a full body recovery from longer distance exercise that was noticeable over a week’s time. I will definitely use this product going forward and recommend it to any of my coaching clients and pals looking to feel their best as they dive back into a winter of big base miles."
– Director/Endurance Coach, Heidi Rentz