Cole Maness


What’s your name, nickname, age, birthplace, hometown?
Cole Maness | Cole | 31 | Memphis, TN | Residing in LA

Favorite phenomenon?
Spontaneous human combustion, and the fact that no one knows if it truly happens or not. Also tunnel vision-it’s happened to me a few times on the bike followed by a rush of adrenaline, super weird feeling. Oh yeah, also the fact that hens don’t need a rooster to produce an edible egg-it’s just a tasty product of their menstrual cycle.

How do you like to tell stories?
Whilst I’ve had a few to drink or if I’m around a group of newly met people, I can tell ’em for days. Problem is most of my stories are somewhat un-believable, so you may think i‘m full of shit when in all actuality I probably have some photos at home that can prove it all.

Pivotal moments in life?
A friend introduced me to The West in highschool. He took me skiing in Durango, CO which was my first time to the mountains. After that I was hooked, every year I consecutively drove across the country to ski, hike, explore, even work. I’ve now been to all of the lower 48 states. I’ve skied so many different areas, and I’ve befriended some of the most amazing likeminded travelers that I can still call up anytime I’m near them and have a place to rest my head. This all led me to being comfortable with picking up and moving without much thought behind it. If I want to explore some new territory, I’ll drive there set up shop, find a job, and all is well.

Why/how did you start riding?
I ran an outdoor shop in Memphis, TN called Outdoors Inc., we sold everything from canoes, to backpacks, to skis and bikes. I got into commuting at first, then I’d go out for the Sunday Shelby Forest training ride which led me to racing. Every year we’d throw a Cyclocross race right on Greenbelt Park overlooking the mighty Mississippi. I think it’s on its 21st year now. This is what got my blood boiling for cross, that and also the underground Cyclo-Crunk series my friends would put on.

Family life, or home life; kids, wife, girlfriend, pets?
My family is pretty much all back in Memphis. I have a rad older brother that lives in Bloomington, IN. I currently have no kids unless you count my two geriatric beagles Jonnie Angel and Handsome Pete as fruits from my loins. My girlfriends name is Aimee, and she is amazing. She works for New Belgium Brewery so when the opportunity presents itself, I get to travel with her and lend a helping hand.

What’s your special talent/gift to the world?
I think I bring an essence of positivity to the room, I try to help others realize the pros and throw all of the cons on the ground and stomp the shit out of them. If your left knee is hurting, I’ll ask how your right knee feels. Chances are you’ll either fall into my guise, or drop back a couple of bike lengths to get away from me.

What’s the continental project mean to you?
The continental is simple. It’s a true chance to showcase what the spirit of cycling should be. This is the way I ride, not for the medals, not for the glory…well a little bit for the glory, but for the one on one relationship between you and your body. When I say your body, I do not only mean the physical feeling of pushing your muscles and bones to the limits, but also receiving the beauty you encounter on the road via all other senses. Traveling at such a pace really slows the world down a bit. You feel more in tune with your surroundings…the sights, the smells, the sounds…

Why are you interested in documenting rides?
I feel as though I bring that sense of exploratory nature out in some of my friends that ride with me. They typically would have never stopped to climb up on this rock, but now by seeing how I see, they enjoy cycling and all of the quirky off shoots so much more, and they realize, much like me that by documenting these rides, more and more of our types will dare to step outside of their box, be more inquisitive and say,…go jump in a river.

What do you want a riding guidebook to feature (what’s missing from what currently exists out there), and how will you contribute to that end goal?
I love riding with someone that knows the history of the region we are riding in, like “See that big concrete structure over there? That used to be a launch site for torpedoes back in the 50’s. They would test the trajectory of the newly built shells,” Ben Lieberson told that story last time we were out riding together. I had been riding past this structure for years and now I have a bit of info to pass onto my next riding partner. That’s what’s definitely missing with guidebooks these days. Another example was when we were in Jasper, AR, DWP and I stopped in a malt shop for a milkshake and found ourselves having a conversation with a local, that just so happened to be one of the main MTB trail builders in that area. “See that church across the street? Yep, Willie Nelson was married there. It’s also the birthplace of Merle Haggard…”(some details could be off there, but you get the point). He also told us the Jasper Disaster route that we did was called “Jasper Disaster Spaghetti Western Style” because we did it backwards heading West and once your’re done your legs feel like spaghetti. Our host didn’t even know it was called that. So Rad!

What’s style mean to you?
The epitome of Style for me is a look and essence of timelessness. If you can create something whether it be clothing, music, or any other form of artistic expression that foregoes all time and space, you’ve successfully conquered all that is Style. Led Zepplin will be great forever, my eggplant colored Rapha L/S jersey will be worn when I’m 80…see…STYLE!

Who’s your favorite local rider and why?
Jason Lowetz from Team Bearclaw. This guy is down for a full moon Baldy ride at the drop of a hat. “Hey, do you wanna ride 300 miles to Monterey on New Years Eve? Yeah? Sweet let’s do this” He’s an accomplished racer on the road and in cross, but he also carries the spirit of exploration and fun at all times. He’s introduced me to some amazing routes here in LA, and he, like Chet Bearclaw the owner of Team Bearclaw, will go down in history as being one of my favorite people to ride with.

Where in the world would you like to ride next and why or what group ride if you could do any would you do?
I would love to ride over in China, Siberia, or Southeast Asia. Just the though of being attacked by a wild tiger seems cool to me.

You need anyone reading this to know…?
I had my look way before that movie “Bronson” came out.

Why cycling and not, running or shot put or speed skating?
Cycling’s cool, it’s something that almost everyone learns at a young age. It was truly the first step for me to escape the confines of my street, my neighborhood, my city. It’s what initally leads children into the realm of exploration. It allows them to travel further and faster than by foot or by shotput.

Your favorite ride/moment ever, just the details?
There have been so many, and I’m sure Hahn was there for most of them. I love riding with him. He’s the equilibrium that can keep everyone in a group grounded. The North Cascades route was the absolute best just based on shear beauty, group dynamics and anytime camping is paired with a cycling trip, please count me in!

What’s your job all about, why does it fit you?
It’s called funemployment, which is great until you run out of money.

What’s your program, like who and what and where is your world?
Livin-L-I-V-I-N. After all of the traveling I’ve done, especially with the Continental, seeing the places I’ve seen and met the people I’ve met, I realized that this is what life’s about. To enjoy life, I need to be free to roam and travel and take advantage of the global network of acquaintances I’ve met along the way.

Where you live and why it suits you?
Los Angeles-Altadena to be exact, it’s right at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The weather here is amazing, I can ride outdoors 365 days a year and not have to worry too much about the rain, snow, or wind. We do get a little of all of that, but not enough top keep me in a basement sitting atop a trainer watching The Goonies for the 30th time.

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