Chosen Confluence (Video)
As featured in the fifth issue of The Bikepacking Journal, Chosen Confluence is a short video that follows a group of four new friends on a bikepacking and climbing trip through a lesser-known region of Colorado. Watch it here, plus an interview with director Evan Green…
Last summer, Jalen Bazile invited friends Evan Green, Rachel Olzer, and Adam Pawlikiewicz to join him for a trip that combined bikepacking and climbing in the region around the small town of Florissant, Colorado, a place he’d once called home. We published Chosen Family—Jalen’s powerful story of what it meant to return to Florissant with a group of other BIPOC cyclists and how they harnessed that experience to slow down and process the incredibly tumultuous year—in the fifth issue of The Bikepacking Journal. Today, we’re excited to share Chosen Confluence, a companion video from Evan Green that shows the journey through his lens, mixing footage from the trip and interviews with Jalen and Rachel to provide broader context for their time spent riding together. Watch it below, followed by an interview with Evan and a selection of Adam’s images.
Introduce yourself briefly: what’s your cycling background and what do you do professionally?
I’m Evan Green, a cyclist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve been seriously into riding for the past seven years. I mainly ride mountain bikes but really just enjoy exploring on two wheels. I work as a freelance photographer and filmmaker with a focus on the outdoor industry.
Tell us a little about how this trip came together and how you got involved with the group.
This was a route that Jalen put together and helped facilitate. He had lived in the area and wanted to showcase the fun riding and unique geologic features found in this part of Colorado. I met Jalen through the local climbing gym in Denver, so this bikepacking and climbing trip was a dream come true.
Where does the video’s title, Chosen Confluence, come from?
The title Chosen Confluence has multiple angles to it. For starters, it acts as a companion to the beautiful writing and photography Jalen and Adam contributed to their story “Chosen Family” in the fifth issue of The Bikepacking Journal. We choose to come together for this trip much the way small streams join at a confluence to form a stronger river. The theme of water was especially significant as we rode along the banks of the South Platte River for a portion of the route.
Can you talk a bit about the experience of accompanying Jalen in the South Platte region as part of a group of all Black and brown riders?
As a group of BIPOC riders in a rural area we definitely stuck out from the ordinary but it was a great experience overall. The film touches on the numerous Trump flags we passed and a few stares from the ranchers. However, in our direct interaction with the community, everyone was helpful and welcoming. But the bigger experience was successfully planning and executing this trip together. Spending time riding, trading stories of our life experiences, and just plain having fun was the vibe.
As an avid cyclist and filmmaker, how have bikes helped you connect with people?
Bikes have helped me connect with so many people and they’ve been the source of many of my friendships over the years. There’s something about the shared love of two wheels that creates a great foundation for connection. The adventure of cycling, whether fun downhills or solving challenging mechanical problems, naturally lets people take their guard down to create a deeper bond.
Looking back, what’s one highlight of the trip that has stuck with you?
A highlight of the trip that didn’t end up making it into the film was stopping by a general store toward the end of day two of the trip. After eating mostly bars and dehydrated meals, it was great to stop for some ice cream and tasty treats. This gave us the perfect boost of energy for the final climb out of the canyon to finish the loop.
I have to ask—did you get up on that wall?!
Haha, yes! I was mainly doing some sketchy scrambling trying to get a variety of camera angles. But I’m also an avid rock climber so it was great to check out some of the routes in Eleven Mile Canyon.
What do you hope viewers will take away from this video?
I hope that viewers take away a few things from this video. First, I hope we got some people stoked to try a bikepacking and climbing trip as it was a blast to combine cycling, camping, and climbing. Second, I hope people realize the importance of representation in the outdoors. And finally, I hope people genuinely enjoy and appreciate an authentic story created and told by an entirely BIPOC team.
Lastly, what projects are you working on now, and what’s coming up?
At the moment I’m working on editing some photos from ski photoshoots this winter and creating some videos for the State of New Mexico to highlight their Outdoor Equity Fund programs. Personally, I hope racing returns this summer to participate in a few XC mountain bike events!
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