Culture

Film—The Long Traverse

En route to set an FKT on the new Los Padres Traverse, World Champion Christopher Blevins reflects on lessons from the central California landscape

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A film by Stilspoke, filmed and edited by Keenan Desplanques, directed by Desplanques and Christopher Blevins.

The Long Traverse is about learning from, and loving, the landscapes we ride in. Through the story of an iconic 80-mile ride that gains 11,000 feet in elevation, Christopher Blevins and Dillon Osleger consider the history of a landscape and our place within it, grappling with the realities of forest fires and extraction, while letting the bike show us all we can appreciate and learn as people on the land.

The Los Padres National Forest spans the central coast of California, from the Pacific Ocean to the fringes of the Mojave Desert. This land of many uses hosts world-class biodiversity, the endangered California Condor, 350+ miles of trail, and a multitude of Chumash cultural sites. The Los Padres Traverse route is not only an incredible ride, but it highlights the intersection of recreation, conservation and climate. Through the trail stewardship and advocacy work of Osleger’s nonprofit Sage Trail Alliance, Blevins established the fastest known time (FKT) along the route. And throughout this process, Blevins, an Olympian and current XC short track World Champion, learned more about caring for the places he gets to ride and the communities along the way.

Whether you’re trying to complete the traverse in six hours or taking three days to bikepack it with friends, the Los Padres is a place to visit. Likewise, whether you’re a World Cup racer or a Weekend Warrior, we can use the bike to understand our responsibility to take action to better our planet, and we can all dig during trail restoration days. Learn more about the Long Traverse project at www.stilspoke.com, where you can buy magazines and merch to support Osleger’s trail restoration efforts at www.sagetrail.org.

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