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Getting Techy in Palo Duro Canyon, TX [photo story]

As Spring comes to a close, I reflect back on a media production roadtrip we took with our team of mountain bikers at the beginning of the season. Eager to find hot weather to frame and shoot the Fayettechill Spring | Summer line within, we landed in the Grand Canyon of Texas: Palo Duro Canyon.

After a six hour night drive, and quick tent camp on some government-land, our media team connected with FC team mountain bikers at sunrise. Each peacefully taking in the canyon for the first time, our riders began talk of crushing the unknown terrain.

We had two full days and a lot to accomplish. Our aim was to shoot the SS16's collection of technical layers. Made for fluctuating weather and protection from the sun we figured outfitting our athletes in these was a no-brainer. 

As the sun rose into full desert-blazing force it gave our athletes a chance to explore and to get familiar with the new terrain and array of trails. Unable to get our photographer to the more techy parts of the park we caught some pick up shots as our riders road in between routes via the canyon road.  

By evening we found a riverside oasis to shoot with the falling light. As desert worlds trend, temperatures dropped quickly taking our riders from tanks to tees. Just before the sun's final appearance, the most gutsy of the crew made a fearless trek off-trail where he flew down a ridge line of a very steep grade...

After a night spent in the facility's family-style camp ground, day two was made extra special by a route recommendation from a park regular. Rising before the sun for ideal lighting, the air was still chilly. We armed our riders in the new long sleeve tech gear and hit the trails.

Our hooded tech pieces outfitted both our male & female riders, as they come in a tri-button down women's cut & front pouch men's cut. From early morning chilliness and simpler single-trek riding into the midday of steep climbs, our bamboo viscose long sleeves helped protect our riders from the sun and provided an extremely versatile option for all day riding. 

The four hour ride was extremely special. Apart from a flat tire right out of the paint, the trail was full of goodness-- gorgeous reds and earth tones pancaked in time, secret chances for downhill route carving, and sweeping overlooks.

For anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway, whether hardcore mountain biker or casual hiker, Palo Duro Canyon is the place. We were all shocked that we'd never been there especially due to it's proximity to Arkansas. The Lighthouse Trail was especially magnificent, full of spires, gorgeous panoramas, and perfect for all levels of hikers. The hike closed with a ride to the "Lighthouse" itself, and offered unparalleled vistas and challenge.

At the final destination, as shown above right and below, there is a fantastic platform that connects the two spires. We couldn't have asked for a better place for our team bikers to play...

Made from bamboo viscose, our tech apparel allows us to produce more sustainably -- utilizing a plant that grows quickly, pesticide free, with less water than cotton. It found perfect form in Palo Duro Canyon, a place we'd highly recommend for a quick weekend drop in or full vacation stay 

all shots by Sam J Matthews | @samjmatthews | samjmatthewsphoto.com