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HOME AND BACK AGAIN

Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Joshua Berry returns to his roots to rediscover what he truly loves about riding

What does a home and back route look like for you? What is your goal? What is the challenge? Is there a place where you think you can almost ride to? Why not try?

man riding a bike

Before this year, I thought I raced bikes just because I like to ride. But when the world went into lockdown, I was forced to reexamine my values. I stood there frozen. I had some idea of what lay ahead, including the fact that I would not be racing this year.

man on a bike

I decided to leave Tucson, Arizona, where I live and train, and return to my hometown of Ketchum, Idaho. With my calendar cleared of events and my usual motivations gone, I started to think that maybe the only reason I ride bikes is to compete.

I’m thankful that I ended up back in the place where my career started. Close to the trails I grew up on and the people that propelled me forward to make my dreams a reality. Losing direction allowed me to look back at past accomplishments with a different perspective.

man riding a bike

The races I’ve done in the past have changed my ideas about what’s possible. I’ve made it a big focus in recent years to fly to Kansas and race 200 miles on the worst gravel roads. Lots of us have. With that in mind, what if you just leave from your own house and ride 200 miles? What might you discover out there?

I challenged myself to seek out all the amazing views in my home state within a roughly 200-mile limit. After all, many of us have travelled much farther than that to race a single event. I wanted to see classic American farms and the cinder cone volcanoes that created this beautiful, treacherous black rock landscape. I also wanted to find even bigger mountains than the ones close to my house.

man riding a bike

I seem to find dirt roads quite often. For example, the mountain pass that is closed due to snow nine months out of the year. There is a gas station on the way, and a place named Pickles. Perfect, better stop there. There’s singletrack and sweeping turns on fresh pavement too. The views are best during the golden hours of dawn and dusk—and coming home to city lights is always a relief. Sunrise and sunset should not to be missed.

The visual journey I had in mind for this trip came second to the physical challenge. We have proven what our bodies and bikes are capable of these days. I knew I would fall apart on this journey, but what counts is just getting out there and riding unleashed.

My choice for this type of journey is my new TCR Advanced SL Disc. My favorite part about riding bikes is still going fast. For this, no other bike can match the road bike. Added aero features, lighter weight, and the way these CADEX wheels devour roads at speed make my TCR a rocketship for going long distances. More clearance for wider tires is nice. I am running 28mm wide tires with hookless carbon rims, so I can drop my tire pressure down to 50 psi on the new CADEX Classics tires.

With this setup I am able to pedal with efficiency and also tackle some very rough situations that most people would not think of doing on a road bike. There are a limited number of smooth roads here in Idaho, but in the past my single-minded focus on being a pro road racer left me pushing the limits of road bikes. I think those skills probably helped me win the infamous Belgian Waffle Ride on an aero road bike.

man riding a bike

I’d say this TCR is better than any other road bike I’ve used when it comes to pushing the limits of what road riding can be. You can use it to go for the win in a criterium one weekend, then lower the tire pressure to explore unknown roads the next.

How far can you ride from home? What will you discover?

There’s only one way to find out.