The Cleanest Line

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    Dan Malloy’s Slow Is Fast – The Book and DVD

    By Craig Holloway

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    Thumbing through my recently purchased copy of Dan Malloy’s Slow Is Fast paperback, I felt the same elation I had as a teenager buying new vinyl. Listening to Yes’s double album, Tales From Topographic Oceans, I would carefully examine Roger Dean’s ethereal cover art as Jon Anderson and Steve Howe’s highly energized rock transported this Jersey kid to another place. And that’s what creative types do. They grab a hold of you and take you with them. It’s what Dan Malloy does with Slow Is Fast. He creates a beautifully made visual tribute to his native California.

    Back in the fall of 2012, Dan and his good friends, Kellen Keene and Kanoa Zimmerman rode touring bikes along 700 coastal miles, documenting their trip with plenty of photographs and interviews. Some pictures are humorous, like the road kill one, where a beanie doll is added to the mix to soften death’s morbidity. Details are everywhere. The book’s front cover has a tiny, red bike-trailer icon and there are pages torn from a calendar scribbled with notes that say four shakas, zero middle fingers and two angry honks – a record of the day’s interaction with motorists.

    [“In the last month I have learned more about the people and places along the California coast than I had in 34 years and a thousand car trips.” -Dan Malloy. Photo: Kanoa Zimmerman]

    Continue reading "Dan Malloy’s Slow Is Fast – The Book and DVD" »

    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia St. Paul’s Kevin Alldredge

    Editor's note: Craig Holloway's interview series continues with some questions for Patagonia St. Paul store employee and ultrarunner, Kevin Alldredge, whose recent story about running 50 kilometers in a skirt generated a lot of smiles. Craig talked to Kevin about his job, family, passion for writing, and advice on how to run straight through Minnesota’s brutal winters.

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    Craig – Are you originally from the Midwest?

    Kevin – I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, but have lived in St. Paul since 1989. Without editorializing, the two cities are pretty much opposites.

    Craig – Have you been working at the Patagonia St. Paul store since it opened its doors?

    Kevin – Yes, I’ve been at the store since we opened in the summer of 2005 and it’s been a great ride. It’s tremendously gratifying to see the local community embracing Patagonia’s ethics.

    [Above: One short bus ride, one long train ride, and a friendly smile got Kevin to the starting line of the Le Grizz 50 Mile Run. Montana. Photo: Kevin Alldredge Collection]

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia St. Paul’s Kevin Alldredge" »

    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Chip “Chipper Bro” Bell

    Editor’s note: Craig Holloway continues his excellent interview series today with some questions for Patagonia’s receptionist and gatekeeper, Chip Bell. He is the first person you’re likely to meet when visiting the Patagonia campus in Ventura, California. Chip’s warm hospitality and easy smile make you feel right at home. Craig chose to interview Chip for his integrity, company knowledge and devotion to family and friends.

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    Craig – Are you a Southern California native?

    Chip – Yes, I was born in Hollywood and raised in Santa Barbara.

    Craig – How did you come to work at Patagonia?

    Chip – I had just finished a ten-year tour with the Pro Frisbee® Freestyle circuit and was looking for a job. I heard that Patagonia was hiring, so I applied and they hired me. I was super stoked to find out that the company provided benefits because I was newly married with a baby on the way.

    [Above, pictured from left to right – Bud Light Pro Frisbee® Disc team members, Crazy John Brooks, Chipper Bro Bell and Danny Sullivan (with leg warmers), acknowledge the crowd before the start of the 1987 U.S. Open Championship. La Mirada, California. Photo: Scott Starr Collection]

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Chip “Chipper Bro” Bell" »

    Time On His Feet – A Former Runner Looks Back

    By Craig Holloway

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    I ran my last ultra on a warm, spring day in Wisconsin five years ago.  The course was surprisingly tough – small roller coaster hills come at you like black flies. Crossing the finish line I didn’t feel the exhilaration that I normally do after a race. I chalked it up to burnout and decided to take the rest of the year off. I didn’t run the following year either and eventually packed all my running gear in a box and put it in the garage.

    [The serene one, Craig Holloway, trots the Timberline Trail toward Mount Hood, Oregon. From his 2005 field report "Lost on Adrenaline." Photo: Scott Jurek]

    Two years went by and I still hadn’t laced up my running shoes. I knew it wasn’t going to happen and decided to stop running – after twenty-six years. It felt like the right thing to do. Now I crew for friends and it’s satisfying to be a part of their race day experience. But I do miss pacing and the responsibilities that come with that role. I’d like to share a few stories about the experiences I had with runners on their 100-mile journeys.

    Continue reading "Time On His Feet – A Former Runner Looks Back" »

    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Retail District Manager Brooks Scott

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    Editor's note: Craig Holloway continues his excellent interview series today with some questions for Patagonia Retail District Manager, Brooks Scott. Craig chose to interview Brooks for his insightful knowledge and passion for retail. Brooks lives in Chicago with his family and oversees the Patagonia Chicago, St. Paul, Washington DC and Atlanta stores.

    Craig – How did you come to work at Patagonia?

    Brooks – I grew up wearing Patagonia clothes and love the company. After college I worked as a chef, but when my wife and I decided to start a family I had to change my lifestyle. I love to fly fish and got a job with Trout & Grouse, a Patagonia dealer. While working there I developed good relationships with some folks at Patagonia. When they opened their first store in the Midwest (Chicago) they hired me as manager.

    Craig – Were you born and raised in the Midwest?

    Brooks – I’m a native Chicagoan and it’s an amazing city. What I really appreciate is the sense of community I feel in the different neighborhoods. There are so many of them, some as small as a few square blocks. My family and I lived in the suburbs, but we missed the city, so we moved back. While we were unpacking our next-door neighbors stopped by with a pie to welcome us to the neighborhood.

    [Brooks shoulders the load during an internship with Conservación Patagónica. Valle Chacabuco, Chile. Photo: Brooks Scott Collection]

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Retail District Manager Brooks Scott" »

    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s T-Shirt Line Manager Cheryl Endo

    T-shirts Cleanest Line contributor Craig Holloway is back with another installment of his employee interview series. Today, Craig speaks with Cheryl Endo, Patagonia's T-Shirt Line Director, about her job inside Patagonia and her interests outside the company.

    Craig – What made you decide to come work at Patagonia?

    Cheryl – In 1988 I decided to take a break from college and go live in Mammoth and be a ski bum. I was poor and had very little warm gear to withstand a cold winter in the Sierra. A schoolmate said that if you worked at the Patagonia Distribution Center (the old warehouse in Ventura) they’d give you free clothes from the “dog box”. The free clothes were well-worn returns from customers, and I wanted to work at Patagonia so that I could get free gear. I got a job there and hung out with a bunch of folks who loved to spend time in the outdoors.  We’d leave work early Friday afternoons, drive up to Mammoth and ski the entire weekend. We stayed at a Motel 6, eight of us stuffed into one room. Those were really great times and half of those folks still work here.

    Craig – What do you value most about the people you work with at Patagonia?

    Cheryl – My co-workers have incredible passion for their work. They have a wild-horse spirit, which allows them to work more creatively on design and business projects.

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s T-Shirt Line Manager Cheryl Endo" »

    Ventura River Clean Up

    By Craig Holloway

    201003190066JJ On a chilly Friday afternoon I took the short walk from Patagonia’s campus to the parking lot for the Ventura River, where employees of Patagonia, Deckers and Horny Toad had gathered for our first Backyard Collective clean up. This stewardship event had been created by ConservationNEXT, part of The Conservation Alliance, in partnership with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, and the three companies. I checked in with a friendly volunteer, who reminded me to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants for protection against poison oak. I hurried back to my desk to retrieve a long-sleeved shirt, but had no pants. At least my arms will be protected, I thought. [Photo: Jeff Johnson]

    Arriving back at the parking lot, I caught Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan’s welcoming remarks. A few city employees got up in front of the crowd to talk about safety, letting us know what we would see in the dense brush by the river. They spoke about the hundreds of homeless people who reside in makeshift camps, and that we were not to disturb their belongings. The Ventura Police were there to make sure everyone felt safe.

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    Breakin’ Mama’s China

    By Craig Holloway

    DSC_0397 The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains starts and finishes in the mountain town of Silverton, and has a total elevation gain of 33,000 feet. I’d met my friend Roch Horton at Grouse Gulch, the 42-mile mark, intending to pace him as far as Ouray. He’d already run the hardest stretch to the highest point (14,048 feet). I filled his water bottle and asked him how he felt.

    “No hail, rain or fog at the top of Handies this year,” he said, “but man it was warm up there. Ready to run, Craig?”

    “Let’s get to work.”

    We hiked up Engineer Pass at a quick pace and at times broke out into a run. At the top, at 12,910 feet, the view to the west of Mount Sneffels and Mendota Peak was a nice reward. When I asked Roch the names of the peaks to the east he didn’t answer – he was already gone. I ran over to the trail’s edge to watch him bombing straight down a long, scary descent into a wide-open valley. I took off with eyes glued to the ground, trying to follow the overgrown trail. Catching a glimpse of a trail marker, then another, I managed to stay on course, and the trail eventually bottomed out. I shifted gears and fell in behind Roch’s long stride. When I caught up, Roch said “Doesn’t that beat any downhill running in Southern California?” Yes, it did.

    [Roch Horton running down into American Basin after a long descent off Handies Peak at the Hardrock 100. San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Photo: Luis Escobar (AllWeDoIsRun.com).]

    Continue reading "Breakin’ Mama’s China" »

    The Retail Life

    By Craig Holloway

    Jas0115craig Before I came to work at Patagonia, I was employed for many years with an outdoor retailer in Evanston, Illinois. It’s the customers I remember best.

    There were Gary and Sally, who would drop by to talk about their yearly rafting trip to Montana. Alan liked to hand me pictures of his beloved red ’72 Corvette to look over while he tried on clothes; I remember a red Guide Parka in particular that his girlfriend said looked good on him. The McMahon family always stopped by to shop; Michael and Patrick were two years apart in age, and I’d ask them how school was going and what colleges they planned to attend. Another customer, James, grew up on Chicago’s South Side and was a foreman for a large printing press company in the city. We’d chat about the recent vacation he took with his family to New Mexico, and his desire to return there.

    [Craig Holloway checks the day’s sales, while the great Gina Shelton takes a customer’s call. All photos: Craig Holloway Collection]

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    The Voodoo Bike

    By Craig Holloway

    P1020464 Sometime in the late '80s, my bike mechanic friend John finally agreed to sell me his 1972 British-made Raleigh bicycle. I handed him $150 dollars in cash and a cold, six-pack of beer. He cracked open two brews, handed one back to me, and we both took long swigs, saluting the voodoo bike. I asked John where the bike’s name came from and he had no idea. He did request that I bring the voodoo in for maintenance every now and then. We shook hands, and then I wheeled the faded red single-speed out the bike shop’s door toward Chicago’s lakefront.

    Editor's note: Today's story comes from yoga instructor, daily bike commuter and Patagonia editor, Craig Holloway.

    The voodoo is one of the last production bicycles made by Raleigh before it was sold to an Asian manufacturer. The bicycle’s most elegant feature is the headlamp post, with its engraved phoenix situated in front of the handlebars. Children notice the phoenix right away and like to rub its metal beak. The voodoo also features old-fashioned, cable-rod lever brakes, brazed-on pump pegs, and a nifty foldout basket attached to the rear fender. The frame’s geometry makes for an aristocratic upright ride, and eccentric viewing for drivers and passers-by.

    [The voodoo rests against a tree at the Patagonia campus. Ventura, California. All photos: Craig Holloway]

    Continue reading "The Voodoo Bike" »

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