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Leave It On The Road
On June 17th, Michael Tabtabai and Andrew Hudon will head out from Seaside, Oregon, pointed towards the eastern seaboard of the United States. Their 24-day trip will take them along some of the best country roads the Unites States has to offer and land them in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An undertaking, sure, but this is not the first time that they have covered these expansive stretches. In 2010 this team of two rode from Boulder, Colorado along a similar route.
The expanded route comes with its own brand of treacherousness as Michael and Andrew plan to put together something close to 140-mile days, back to back, for 24 days (with two 'rest' days of 60 and 85 miles in between) to reach their goal.
People ride across the US all the time. You will see and hear about it every year as the winter months disappear and the days grow longer. One of your friends mentions that he knows someone who is about to start the trek, or possibly a father-son combination take it upon themselves to traverse this country, or newlyweds attempt it in order to prove they are truly compatible. These two, however, plan to take it on for another reason.
Both Andrew and Michael have seen firsthand the dramatic effects of cancer on their families.
"When my father was diagnosed with cancer in early 2000 there was a great change that happened with him. I was in the middle of my college career and he went through this total perspective change…"
Over coffee, Tabtabai speaks candidly about the disease that took his father from him.
"Before that he had been very focused on our grades and school. Then, after his diagnosis he became this laid back guy that was more concerned with making sure that we were happy and getting what we wanted out of life. Through his fight, he taught me to find the positive in every situation. He was never negative, never down, no matter how hard it got. So if I look at it positively, the cancer brought us closer together in the years we had."
His father would go on to battle three different types of cancer, in his bladder, breast and colon, in a fight that would last the next 11 years.
What makes this ride different than any other ride across the country?
"Well, I think that one thing about it is the different ways that we are telling the story, our story. We have a massive amount of support and that is going to come through in a few different ways."
Tabtabai is a Creative Director for Portland-based Wieden + Kennedy, an agency that is known worldwide for its creative ad campaigns. So this ride, if anything, will be an amalgamation of all types of media.
"My brother-in-law, James Kendi, is a filmmaker and photographer, and he is going to be with us the whole way shooting photos so that we can produce a book at the end of ride. But, really, the stuff along the way will be great. We'll be posting in real time via Instagram and Tumblr and we're working on a live-tracking feature for our website that will allow people to follow along the route. We have some special partnerships that will be announced soon that will help us reach a broader audience for Colon Cancer awareness, which is the main goal of this whole project. It is a completely preventable cancer, and we're hoping to get that awareness out there with a younger group of people. We also hope to stop along the way to visit some hospitals to see if there is any support we can provide in that way."
While fully supported in the sense that these two will have a van out there on the road with them, they also have the support of local Portland bicycle framebuilder Sacha White with his line of Speedvagen road bikes. They have yet to see the actual bikes because they're being custom made, but we imagine that, in keeping with the fantastic design and styling that we have come to expect from Speedvagen they will fit well with the tone and story of the ride. Sponsors Enve Composites and Chris King Precision Components will round out the full custom bikes with their hardware as well.
Skratch Labs Nutrition, the people behind The Feed Zone cookbook as well as some of the most progressive nutrition in cycling have stepped up to provide Tabtabai and Hudon with actual nutritional drinks for the road, but they will also be training their driver (and Andrew's co-Worker) Tim Ebner to cook in close quarters for the three of them.
"Tim is going to be our all-rounder. He drove support for us on our last trip, but we decided to up his duties for this adventure. Essentially he's going to be a our makeshift soigneur."
They will also be fully supported in the kit department by wearing Rapha clothing. We took an interesting approach to what we provided to Andrew and Michael for their trip. The clothing is a mixture of different styles for the simple fact that on their proposed 24-day trip they will be starting in Oregon where, to speak frankly, no one knows what the weather will be like in June. The mornings could end up being a bit brisk with the latter part of the day warming up to keep the riders going late into the day. For just this reason we chose to start them off with the Classics Collection, the slightly thicker materials being a bit better in the cold weather.
Then, as the month progresses and they head into the warmth generated by the middle of the country they will have the Pro-Team kit to rely on before utilizing the Super Lightweight Jersey when heading towards the steamy late-June weather of the East Coast. New England should be a more-than-ample testing ground for these lightweight and cooling fabrics. These two should be able to roll into Plymouth feeling cool and as fresh as a daisy no matter the weather situation.
All of their clothes will sport the embroidered 'Leave It On The Road' patch they custom designed for their ride.
The ride itself is surely a fundraising venture/adventure for Tabtabai and Hudon, in 2010 their "little" cross country venture garnered more than $25,000 in support of The Colon Club. This year, with more miles to ride they upped their own personal ante in the fundraising department to $52,000 to help support the Colon Cancer Alliance and The Colon Club. If they meet their goal, they'll have raised a total of $100,000 over four self-organized rides.
You'll see us checking in again with Mr. Tabtabai and Mr. Hudon as it gets closer to their departure date. We like to see nice bikes and we definitely like to ride with people. They will be rolling through Portland on their way out of town and we will look to accompany them on the first leg of their trip.
If you wish to donate to their cause you may do so here :: Colon Cancer Alliance Donation Page
Follow on Instagram Leave it on the Road
Social media on a whole will be a major part of Michael Tabtabai and Andrew Hudon's cross country bicycle trip this summer. Tabtabai's photos will feature on Bicycling Magazine's Instagram account as a part of their continuing "Instagram Takeover" program. Which has included notable "takeovers" or little short stories focused around a central theme or event such as the Cyclocross World Championships or the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Notable cycling personalities such as Matt Roy (professional mechanic), Meredith Miller (pro cyclocross racer) and our very own Chris DiStefano have contributed.
Tabtabai offer's his tips to becoming an Instagram pro:
Know your audience.
We've been building our Instagram following from zero, so a big part of that is just figuring out what they find interesting. Most of our followers are cyclists or into nature, exploring or causes so we have a lot of story lines. What it's like to train for such a big undertaking, showing the places we are fortunate enough to get to ride, showcasing the support we've received from our sponsors, and telling the story of our personal reasons for riding across the country. When we actually start riding we'll be posting more in real time to give people a sense of the scale and beauty of the journey.
Editing is just as important as getting the shot. Everyone uses Instagram differently but my style draws from my photography training back in college. I shot film like crazy but usually only expected to get one or two good shots per roll of 36. Instagram brings the immediacy of the moment, but I still have that habit of shooting a ton and only posting one. I like to shoot during rides and then wait until I get home to see if I've got anything I'm excited about posting.
Hashtag Abuse Sucks.
Hashtags have their purpose, which is to gather a series of connected photos or topics that would otherwise not be organized. Like a bunch of photos from different people all at the same event. But hashtags get overused in a lot of ways: mostly to try to gain followers, or to for some reason separate out the ingredients in that picture of a salad (who is searching for images of #cilantro??) and that drives me crazy. We will probably use a hashtag on the actual ride though so people can track our live shots.
This app is amazing. iPhone photos have the potential to be really great, they just need a little boost to help with contrast and sharpness. Snapseed is a great free app from Google that will let you do some pretty advanced editing on the iPhone. Then you can upload the tweaked image to Instagram.
- The most recent Rapha Gentlemen’s Race took place in Adelaide with 18 teams lining up for the rolling 160km route. → http://t.co/ZQ3Dzz0NEX
- @andersmagnus Hi Anders, there’s been a delay unfortunately, but thanks for being patient. It will be out as soon as possible.
- We're proud to present one of our favourite films this year, so put some headphones on and enjoy. View the film → http://t.co/B2BXnE3JuY
- Congratulations to yesterday’s Alpe d'Quiz winner Khamarul Rejab who receives a Team Sky bundle. Today's prize draw → http://t.co/h4frOXDYma
- RT @chrishoy: Ok, I'm going to make the call now, and it's a big call, but I reckon @Ed_Clancy will break the World kilo record at the end …
- @Barry8012 @RaphaCycleClub You’re most welcome Simon, thanks for your feedback.
- @antmccrossan Thanks Anthony.
- @brettrothmeyer nice cap drawing by the way!
- @Jack_Sadler @raphacondor We’re honoured to have you riding for us Jack.
- RT @dean0downing: I had 6 great seasons with the @raphacondor team, thanks to all at @rapharacing for the support through out. http://t.co/…