Feature: Photos and more from the 2019 Gravel Camp, Calabasas, California

If you haven’t heard of Gravel Camp you can be excused, because Gravel Camp is a low-key, media-only event (sorry trendsetters). Held annually at an uber cool location for gravel cycling, the event isn’t about spreadsheets, product presentations or other claptrap. Rather, it’s a chance for media and a small number of manufacturers to ride, eat good food, engage in conversation and exchange ideas.

2019 gravel camp pedalers fork
It isn’t all traffic in LA. Photo by Tony Brandotti.

This year, Gravel Camp was hosted out of the Pedalers Fork in Calabasas, California, which is located a little northwest of Los Angeles, right between Thousand Oaks. You may be thinking, huh? Isn’t Los Angeles all traffic and the riding is guaranteed to suck royally? Not so trendsetters, there is some amazing riding out of this area and nearby, which completely blew this guy away. In fact, DZ Nuthouse, run by Dave Zabriskie and Ryan Steers, lead the gravel camp rides and hosts several amazing gravel camps from Calabasas during the year.

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Serious conversations here. Photo by Ian Matteson.

Coming a little later, I’ll be posting a ride video out of Pedalers Fork which will demonstrate how good the riding is, in addition to interviews with lads such as Burke Swindlehurst (founder of Crusher in the Tushar), Chris Lyman (co-founder of Gravel Camp / founder of Lyman Agency), Jake Pantone of ENVE Composites and more.

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The Shop at Pedalers Fork – Photo by Ian Matteson

Be sure to check out our interviews of Dave Zabriskie of DZ Nuthouse and Neil Shirley of ENVE Composites. Both lads are former professional cyclists and offer a unique and insightful viewpoint of gravel cycling, where it is headed and more.

Photos from 2019 Gravel Camp – Day 1

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Neil Shirley preps wheels for the Day 1 ride. Photo by Ian Matteson.
Congregating. At right is Sarah Max, the only lady at Gravel Camp.

Both days of 2019 Gravel Camp were wet and muddy. Southern California doesn’t see a lot of rain, but from January 15 to 17, rain fell non-stop on the ordinarily sunny state.

It didn’t take long before we got muddy.
Transitioning from mud to pavement. Photo by Ian Matteson.

Important note: Nobody at Gravel Camp rode on trails. We stuck to fire roads that were open to traffic during the wettest of our rides.

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Jake Pantone on a muddy fire road.
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JOM doing a hike-a-bike on steep, slick mud.
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Misty and muddy.
Everyone had a good time, amply demonstrated by Ryan Steers.
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Views like this, right near Los Angeles!
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Spence of VeloNews pulls a wheelie. Photo by Ian Matteson.
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Nick Legan, author of Gravel Cycling.
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Ryan Steers, one half of DZ Nuthouse and route planner extraordinaire.
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Spence of VeloNews climbs out of the mist.
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Photo by Ian Matteson.
2019 gravel camp pedalers fork
This could compromise bearings just a bit…
Photos from 2019 Gravel Camp Day 1
Whee!
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JOM following Dave Zabriskie.
2019 gravel camp pedalers fork
Dave Zabriskie leads the way.
Chris Lyman, co-founder of Gravel Camp.

2019 gravel camp pedalers fork

Photos from 2019 Gravel Camp – Day 2 & Friday Morning

Photos from 2019 Gravel Camp Day 1
Ready for Friday’s ride. Photo by Tony Brandotti.
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Photo by Tony Brandotti.
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absoluteBLACK chainrings are popular among Gravel Cyclists.
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Dave Zabriskie is a partner with Floyd’s of Leadville.
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The Lauf True Grit was used by two camp attendees.
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Final tweaks before rolling out. Photo by Tony Brandotti.
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In the middle, Dave of GravelStoke.com
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3T Exploro is the exclusive bike of DZ Nuthouse.
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Some nice ENVE handlebar and stem product. Watch this space for something else from ENVE…
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3T Exploro fitted with absoluteBLACK 1x chainring.
2019 gravel camp pedalers fork
Drone Cam, Day 2, in between rainstorms.
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A short respite from the rain, time to fly.
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Day 2 featured a stop at Topanga Creek Outpost.
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The rough weather couldn’t keep Sarah down!
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Custom bags are a speciality at Topanga Creek Outpost.
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Poking around inside Topanga Creek Outpost.
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All smiles, all day.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more from 2019 Gravel Camp!

15 comments on “Feature: Photos and more from the 2019 Gravel Camp, Calabasas, California

    1. To add come clarification: I think we need to know the answer to this question. If the vendors cover any of the cost for the media types, that should be disclosed — both in this article, and in any subsequent reviews of their products.

      1. To answer to this comment, the Vendors did not pay for my trip. As for reviews, Gravel Cyclist has NEVER been paid for a review. There are plenty of other publications for that sort of thing. Check out the time I put into these reviews and running the site. My life is a juggling act with my regular job and the website. Thankfully, a lot of people realize this and appreciate my hard work. Thank you all for chiming in!

        1. JOM, thanks for the response. But just for clarity: you (and the other journalists) paid for your own lodging, meals, etc, as well as the actual travel?

          I’m not trying to seem belligerent — I appreciate this site and all of the product reviews and other info. I just think that we need clarity (everywhere, not just here) about the review process.

          1. In my case, the marketing company who organized the camp covered my flight and two nights of hotel. This trip was more than just the camp for me, thus I required a rental car and several more nights accommodation, all of which was paid for by myself.

            I cannot speak for every media outlet out there, but from what I know, it is common for companies / marketing entities responsible for product launches, etc, to cover the cost of media outlets to attend them. This is standard practice as there is no way most media outlets could afford to travel to all of the product launches and events throughout the year. With that said, I haven’t attended a single product launch representing Gravel Cyclist where my expenses were covered. In the case of products / bikes at Sea Otter – Interbike – Media at the Tour Down Under – Dirty Kanza Expo and the race itself – to name just a few events – I paid for every one of those trips. When you see me showcasing new bikes at trade shows / expos, it is all about my hard work in my spare time, doing what I love.

            Back to the camp. This camp was not about presentations or product launches. It was about riding bikes with like-minded people. The marketing company behind the camp appreciate my enthusiasm and genuine interest in gravel cycling, and invited me to attend. Suffice to say, I was very flattered. I have an interview with the camp’s founder coming soon.

            Finally, VeloNews and Road Bike Action were in attendance at the camp. You will spot those lads in this article and my pending ride video.

    1. “Pettiness”? I’d just like to know if reviewers have received financial favors from the producers (and marketers) of the items they are reviewing. If you don’t care, then I think you’re a fool — but that’s your business.

      And the answer here seems to be that yes, the author of this piece did receive valuable consideration for attending this event, which makes those reviews suspect, to me.

      1. Some of the ENVE guys attended this camp. I have reviewed their wheels, the G23 and G27, long before this camp was ever announced. You’re entitled to your opinion, but if you’re insinuating I was “paid” for the ENVE reviews, or any other for that matter, you have it all wrong. I’ve been very open with my replies to you, whereas I could have just deleted your messages. Perhaps you should meet me in person some time, and see how much time I put into this website and related reviews. I’m a regular guy with a full-time job in addition to what I do here, providing unbiased and unpaid reviews of product, among all of the other content I produce. I’m guilty of busting my arse, because I enjoy what I do. I’m thankful to the people who visit my website and appreciate my efforts, but your response about my reviews being “suspect”, is insulting.

        Moving on, I’ll keep doing what I do and loving it. In the meantime, perhaps you should contact every other cycling media outlet with whatever questions you have. There is no further need to reply here, you have said enough.

        1. JOM, I am not insinuating that you have been paid for reviews. And for the record, I do appreciate your website as a source of information and news. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding here. ‘Conflict of interest’ does not equate to bias or bribery…Rather, it is a situation in which a person could be perceived as having conflicting interests. And if a marketing company (which represents product manufacturers) has covered your trip expenses, and you have (or will potentially be) writing about any of their products, then that creates a conflict of interest.

          Some of these conflicts might be unavoidable — no one expects you to go broke in the process of providing information and reviews through your website. But then, the way to deal with it is to make full disclosure, up front, when anyone has provided you with anything of value – including a really cool trip to Gravel Camp.

      1. JOM,
        I, like most readers of your website, wish we were in your position, where manufacturers sent us bikes, wheelsets, tyres etc etc to review, and to be honest, most of us are pretty envious of that. However, I have NEVER detected any manufacturer influenced biases of any of the products you’ve reviewed, in fact, I’m sure there have been many times where your brutal honesty has encouraged the manufacturers to improve their products. As for being helped financially to attend events etc….Dude, go for it! Life is hard enough as it is, take any freebie you can get. Finally, if anyone suspects you’re hiding “dirty secrets” in all of this, they should consider all the time spent and hard work you put into this website. I, for one, greatly appreciate it.

        P.S.
        I’ll PM you my private address so you know where to send my “special gift” for such a gushingly supportive letter….a titanium bike would be nice!

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