Interview: Sam Ames | Rock Cobbler

 The Rock Cobbler has become a staple in the growing Gravel scene, especially in Southern California. With the sixth addition approaching this week who better to talk to about the sold-out crazy event than the man himself, Sam Ames.



This year the Rock Cobbler sold out prior to the event date, how are you feeling about everything Sam?
I’m feeling incredibly good about selling out with our numbers and we were able to hit the mark prior to the event date as opposed to the day of which we’ve done in the past so I’m really happy to see the growth of the event with everyone’s support!



 With this being your sixth year, how have you seen the growth of this gravel category?

Well, in addition to the sheer numbers where we started at only 50 and now, we’re at 325 participants it’s oblivious there’s growth and popularity within the segment as we have always moved forward. Another way to explain the growth is the rider disposition and enthusiasm of what people are enjoying on their bikes these days. Within this new style of events from the Belgian Waffle Ride, Crusher in the Tushar SPNDX Stampede and the Cobbler you start to kind of see the demographics of the people who want to go and enjoy this style of riding. So the growth for me is more their attitude with the sheer number of people who are looking for this type of event and who are excited about it!



 How does the Rock Cobbler compare, or should we say differ from other events such as the Belgian Waffle Ride or Dirty Kanza?

Well to start off with we are absolutely nuts! (laughs) Honestly, though we went to I believe the second Belgian Waffle Ride they had and those guys especially Michael Marckx were an inspiration to us. At that time they were just starting out and were smaller than they are today but we came back home having a great time and had tons of good memories which made us think that we had done something similar but how do we turn it up a notch?
How do we really make it our own and figure out how to string a bridge across the river, have a kiddy pool for everyone to get into, ride through houses and throw chocolate covered bananas at riders. Oh, and let’s not forget our favorite hike a bike. We just love doing crazy things and honestly don’t believe we’re much similar to a true Gravel event. Every year we just try to set the bar higher where people will get a good laugh out of it, but we keep our core ingredients intact which is that it’s a great event and people come to have fun. 
On top of all of that, we always have a special gift that we give away every year to someone special which we can’t talk about now, but everyone will see it once we do.



 So last year you guys had a bit of a viral moment as you had riders ride through someone’s house, where did that come from and how did that happen?

Yes! So that came from the same place that most of these crazy ideas came from and it's myself and my friends sitting around the fire drinking beers. I was with a buddy of mine that I ride with and we were at his house and this light bulb went off in our heads where we noticed that his backyard has a fence that goes right by the course of the Cobbler! He had the crazy idea of, “hey why don’t we have the course and riders come through my house!” and the rest is history.




 So speaking on that, do you have any crazy ideas for this year?
Oh, we do we have several surprises this year and every Cobbler when I think we can’t raise the bar we do but unfortunately, I can’t divulge any information until we show it to everyone on Saturday.
Alright, Sam let’s run through the course and conditions for this weekend.
So, weather wise we are looking at cold and clear with some possible rain, but in terms of what we are providing, we have a nice breakfast for everyone and then a neutral roll out for about 13 miles until we get out of town. From there its game on with about 6,000 ft of climbing and 85 miles, so ya it’s going to be really solid.



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