Rapha Continental – Canyon de Chelly Ride

a reservation dog happily runs parallel to us

Chinle Arizona, 11:30 pm Sunday night we roll into the parking lot of the Thunderbird motel, and the unmistakable noise of the Rapha van and seven guys unloading gear brings our host, Dave Wyman out of a sound sleep to say hello.

After brief introductions Dave heads back to bed, Daniel, Cole, Hahn, Kansas and Pierre get into their jammies and Dave Christenson and I depart for the nearby Holiday Inn and a place to sleep.

The next morning we meet for breakfast at the Thunderbird cafeteria wherein Kansas frightens us all with the amount of food on his tray. Amidst the chewing Dave outlines the day's loop over Navajo land to the Canyon de Chelly and Buffalo Pass AND back some 100 miles total across a searing hot high desert landscape.

I'll leave the storytelling to Daniel on the Continental site but here's some of the imagery I captured on a spectacular ride that had dust storms, numerous flats, delicious Navajo tacos and plenty of reservation dogs like the little guy who raced us along a little bluff overlooking the road.

When I'm back next week I'll post a more complete gallery. Large format prints are available of any image.

wild horses still roam the landscape A Navajo gentleman named Norman shares stories with us at a gas station stop Dave takes a breather after the first climb of the day Pierre on his way to take the KOM on Buffalo Pass Kansas take up a lonely chase Domenic descends wearing Rapha with a little Panache Posing for a photo Chasing Sprint to nowhere in particular Looking Back

12 Responses to Rapha Continental – Canyon de Chelly Ride

  1. Alastair says:

    Nice shots. Very shallow depth of field on some of these. What lens / aperture did you use?

  2. I normally try to shoot “wide open” light permitting, but in Chinle the problem was too much light. The wide angle shots were probably at the 20mm end of my 20-35mm f2.8… and the aperture in the range of 2.8-4.0.

    Portraits were shot with 50mm and 200mm lenses. All lenses were sporting some kind of ND filter or Polarizer to deal with the strong direct light, particularly at mid day.


  3. Kurt says:

    I noticed the quality of the photos on the Rapha site, saw your name.

    Happy to see you are getting some miles in the saddle. It must be like 100 deg in AZ. That is some toasty conditions for 100+ miles.

    • no riding I’m afraid Kurt, just lots of focusing and button pushing. It’s definitely hot here. We just pulled into Starbucks in Colorado Springs; the location of the next ride tomorrow.


  4. dmw says:

    As always, a superb series of creative photographs. They portray the essence of the place as well as the ride.

  5. Tim says:

    Beautiful stuff, Michael, you lucky bugger.

  6. Jean Ray says:

    You captured some stunning images, Michael. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest later.

  7. Bruce says:

    I love riding out there! Thanks for the great photos too. I’m a big fan of your site. Cheers! Bruce in Tucson, AZ

  8. Dustin says:

    When you do ride, what type of camera do you take along? Amazing pictures! Before your response to Kurt I was trying to figure out what type of point&shoot takes such wonderful pictures.

    • I normally carry a Canon G9 P&P with me on rides. It’s capable of extremely good images, but it’s a little bulky. For me the quality is worth it.


  9. Thanks so much for posting this. Canyon de Chelly is one of my most favorite places to visit. Tons of special memories.