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Christopher Blevins and Stilspoke to host the Hidden Valley Experience

The weekend event will include guided rides, local food and beverages, and guest speakers, with a focus on connecting to the local landscape and community.

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We know that Christopher Blevins is a force to be reckoned with on the bike, but the short track world champ is firing off the bike, as well.

Stilspoke, Blevins’ creative collective of athletes and storytellers, is announcing its second project, a mountain bike/gravel event called the Hidden Valley Experience.

The event, which will be held on May 21-22, will allow people to step into the story of Stilspoke’s recent film ‘The Long Traverse.” The short film chronicles Blevins’ fastest known time (FKT) ride on The Long Traverse, an 80-mile, 11,000-foot route on the edge of the San Rafael Wilderness, outside of Santa Barbara. However, it’s also a deep dive into the realities of forest fires, extraction, and sustainable development.

Blevins told VeloNews that his The Long Traverse FKT ended up being secondary to what he learned from the communities he interacted with along the route. That experience influenced the decision to host an event in those places, and the Hidden Valley Experience is his attempt to give cyclists a reason beyond riding to visit a place.

“There’s more than the bike can bring than ‘go for a ride and drink beer after,'” he said. “I went in with it being more about the ride and it ended up being more about the community and the conversations. Events like this can deepen the experience.”

The Hidden Valley Experience will host group rides with pros — including Blevins himself — wine tastings, locally crafted meals, special guest speakers, and more.

The event takes place in the Cuyama Valley, coined “the hidden valley of enchantment”, in a town called New Cuyama, with a population of around 600 and located near the intersection of three counties, Santa Barabara, San Luis Obispo, and Kern. To one side of New Cuyama is the Carrizo Plains National Monument, while the Sierra Madre Mountains of the Los Padres National Forest stretch to the west.

blevins stilspoke
(Photo: Stilspoke)

Blevins said that he was blown away by the resilience of the people in the area, who’ve struggled with the effects of resource extraction and climate change for decades.

“I have been so amazed by that community,” he said. “It’s kind of a case study of rural America facing climate change. They’re so fired up about increasing tourism and outdoor recreation. They’ve had so many struggles, but  they also have an incredible amount of new economic development.”

To learn more and reserve a spot, visit www.stilspoke.com.