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Thursday, February 19, 2015

10 Reasons I love my team and our year end party-awards.

Dear Readers,

Last Sunday Diane and traveled down to Baltimore to the epicenter of  C3: Twenty 20 Cycling, for our team's annual celebration and awards event. It was great to catch up with my teammates old and new and reminisce about battles in the past, and future goals.

Team Riders Cover The Walls at Twenty 20 Cycling Compamy...
I love my team. I love riding for Auer and C3. Every so often I get asked why I don't ride for a team more local to Newark. It's a great question, but frankly all the reasons C3 was attractive to me 8 years ago when Diane and I came on board still ring true:
Diane and Bad Kat Catch Up
Top 10 Reasons why I love riding for C3- Twenty 20 Cycling Company:

#10 Black Kit-  Kit is black. Black like my soul. Every time I zip up the jersey I hear AC/DC's back in black playing. How cool is that?
Andrew and Shawn, Kathleen in the background...
#9 Halloween Kit- they are all so bad ass. I get so stoked for these every year. I like having two skinsuits for double weekends, and a little variety is always cool too. Admit it,you wish your team had a bad ass Halloween kit.  Anne Rock's rule #27 - ALWAYS GET THE HALLOWEEN KIT.
Top Left to Lower right-:Karate Kid, Snow Camo, Stormtrooper, Evil Carebear, La Vie Claire. Love and Hate
#8 Eight, eight I forget what eight was for...  (20 aging hipster points if you get the reference)

#7 SWEET JOHNNY MAY- no explanation needed.

Frances, Steevo and BadKat adorne the walls of the shop...
#6 Women and juniors. Moving women's cycling forward has always been mission critical for the team. Amazing women in our ranks, equal pay out, history of elite women's riders, koppenberg cross... really proud to be a part of this...
Auer, Bad Andy and Bad Kat
#5.  It's not about your entitled ass. -  This Team is not your general "elite masters" team or what's in it for me kind of organization. The team has always and continues to work to move the sport forward. Our riders are encouraged to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I'm proud my team gives back and  pays it forward.  How many races/series have the C3 team promoted and run over the years. Without a doubt cross in Maryland/Mid Atlantic would not be what it is today without the efforts of C3 team members. I'll add the only folks I have seen struggle in our program are folks looking more for a handout then contributing with a hand up.

#4 We race as a team.-   Our team works together in races, we get the real benefits of being on a team. We share information, we support each other.  We work in the pit for each other after our races. We cheer for each other. We want to be successful as a team. I am proud of how Auer, Sweet J, Sven Nystron, Joe Lillibridge, Jay Lazar, Big Time GT, Brett R, Jan, JHIII- and others have raced as a team over the years...

#3 Counter Culture/Aging Hipster/DYI ethic-  The team attracts folks who tend to march to their own drummer. I like that. But it's not a FSU (fuck shit up)  attitude, it's a "were gonna do this our way, and we expect the game to be played a certain way" ethic...  We have a diversity of personalities and I have enjoyed learning from being around some awesome people...Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...
Kyle and Tommy
Barnbaby and Shana
#2  It's all about Cross - At a time when cross was an after thought for most teams, this team focused on it. Perhaps the Mid Atlantic's first cross focused team. It's what we think about, talk about all season, even in the offseason (road/mtb season). Eight years later, it's still the true focus of this team.
Auer flanked by Bad Andy and Shawn...
#1 Kris Auer-  I'm proud to represent him, and what he stands for. As a team director he makes a mid pack masters racer like myself believe I can be a world beater. He has coaxed some of my best performances out of me. He also gets that it's stupid masters bike racing. I am grateful that he's willing to put up with my madness over the years. He has a point of view, and believes a team's purpose is greater than being a vehicle for sponsorship. He believes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. He expects the team to make each other better. I have witnessed it, I have experienced it. I believe that  teams take the shape of their leaders, and  C3 is certainly a reflection of Auer. Okay, okay he's not always the greatest communicator, but I trust him. One of my long term teammates once said of Auer, "he's like you little brother who makes you crazy sometimes, and you don't always understand, but at the end of the day you know he's coming from a good place and you love him." yeah, that. Thank you for having me sir. Thank you for having us.


Sunday night was our team party and awards ceremony. While I'll admit I love the idea of  riding for a smaller team- I know C3 is an ARMADA NOW!  I can't say that there is anyone on the team I am not proud to associate with  and that I haven't had a great experience with. Shawn, Jay, and Tommy or as I like to think of them Doc, Julie, Issac and Gofer did a great job pulling the event and awards off.They have done a great job all year helping make the team feel like, well home.  I was honored to have two awards named after me. That was a surprise and something I took as a great honor. John Hosteller won the Fatmarc Breakout Award, as after years of being right on door step John grabbed a few wins and earned his cat 2 upgrade this fall.

Joshua Templeton won the Fatmarc Positive Attitude Award (which Bad Andy gave me a funny look over as he's seen me not always have the best attitude). Joshua is a super positive person and I have really enjoyed the times I spent with him. He is well deserving and has been one of the nicest folks I have been proud to call teammate this year!

It was a really fun night.  I'm so proud and honored to wear the black and blue of C3 (or whatever color our Halloween kit is).

Auer's opening remarks:

Some of those honored included:

Most Prolific Racers: Greg Wittwer (20), Sam O (19), Kris Mac (18)      
Most Wins: Fred Wittwer, Greg Wittwer (7 wins each)
Going the Distance: Jay Van Rennselear (builder of the stairs, C3 team photographer)            
Longest Standing Team Members: Bad Andy,Chris Nystrom,Diane Grim, JH III and JHII
Newest Team Member: Kelly Walker
Best Crash –  Michael Webber video at SSCXworlds and Jay Lazar going swimming at Ed Sanders
Webber Looking Damn Good in that Sweater
Best Way to Lose a Sprint – Shawn Downing
Shawn explaining how he botched his spring at Schooley Mill..
Knocking on the door award: Johnny May (9 top 5 finishes)
Most Improved Male: Jeremy Burkhardt (cat 4 to cat 2) and a damn nice guy! 

Most Improved Female: Ginny Jeppi
Series Jersey Holders
Joe L (held the Sportif jersey, finished 2nd in the 35+)
            Melissa Ekey (Sportif womens 45+)
Fred Witttwer (MABRA 55+)
Bad Kat (PA Elite Women)
Fatmarc Breakout Award : John Hostetter - III
Hardest Working Man in Show Business: Kris Mac
Fatmarc Attitude Award: Josh Templeton
Best Left Coaster: Pat Miller, runner up Matt Hennessey
Most gratuitous trips to Europe and eating more airline peanuts than humanly possible: Sam O'Keefe

Awful picture of Kris and Jeremy. 

C3 director and one of his lieutenants Jay Lazar!  
Thanks for reading.


Monday, February 16, 2015

My First Time...

Dear Readers,

Like I'm guessing most folks, my first time was in the first semester of my freshman year in college. In the fall of 1989, I was feeling a new sense of freedom of living outside of my parents place for the first time. I was excited to get out in the "real world" and experience all that I could. Along with those freedoms came lots of choices, opportunities and bad decisions to make.

So I was at a party over on Wilbur Street. I was drunk.

For some strange reason, we'll call it fate, I was drinking beer out of a cycling water bottle that night. A dude I went to school with noticed my water-bottle and came over and asked me if I rode bikes.

"No." I commented, "I just picked up this bottle from the shop."

He continued, "there's a mountain-bike race at Ironhill tomorrow, it will be really fun." he explained, "there's a beginner class, they call it citizen/cat 5, starts at 9am...I think you'd dig it"

"Huh" I thought. I had never ridden a mountain-bike before. I had never raced a bike before, but at this moment, when I was really drunk, it sounded like a brilliant idea. I was totally intrigued.  I didn't have a bike but my younger brother Craig had a huffy ATB he didn't use. That would be fine.  I made my way over to the keg, and topped off my water-bottle and started my trek across Newark back to my dorm. I had a bike race to enter, I'd better get some rest.

7:00 am. My alarm went off.  I was up early, and a little hungover, but heading out to do my first mountain bike race. I got my roommate to drive me to my parents house and drop me off. My parents were surprised to see me that early in the morning. They were really surprised to see me standing in their kitchen in my cut off shorts, Fishbone t-shirt, low top vans and my pro-tec skateboard helmet declaring, "I'm doing a bike race over at Ironhill this morning!" "Can you give me a ride over there?"

So I was off to Ironhill, where I was blown away by the number of people I saw riding around and getting ready to race. It was awesome. The bikes, The jerseys, the bright colors. The pinned on numbers.  I was pretty damn hooked. I got registered, and immediately went to stage because I was so late. Still, I had never ridden the trails at Ironhill.(or anywhere for that matter)

As we staged, I saw a dude who I knew was a cyclist who lived down stairs from me in the dorms. His name was Brett: Brett looked at me strangely. "I didn't know you rode mountain-bikes?" he said.

"I don't", I replied, "this is my first time, I heard about this race at the Wilbur Street party last night!"

 Brett smiled, "your first time!? first ride, first race? "

I nodded confirming.

"that's cool! have fun! " Brett said.

All the citizen racers were corralled into starting position. We got our race instructions which I couldn't hear, because I was so far back, and we were off. We bound up the fireroad at Ironhill- this was awesome. I was battling with riders, I was suffering I was breathing so hard. It was the most amazing thing. We rolled through the bmx section, and in the quarry had a mandatory dismount and run. I was so hooked.

The citizen/cat 5 race was 3 laps that day. The huffy made it a lap and a half. At that point the rear chain stay became detached from the rear drop out. The bike stopped suddenly and dumped me on the ground. It was clear my day was over. Picking myself up and my brother's now broken bike, I was tired, I was bummed, I was totally excited. Bike racing in the woods was amazing. This was awesome.

The next morning at 10:00am, I walked into Wooden Wheels having cleaned out my bank account that I had saved up over the summer "extra school expenses" (beer money), and plopped all $335 down on the counter. I told Tom Harvey, "I need a bike!". He walked me around the shop and showed me my options.

I bought my first mountain-bike, a Muddy Fox:
Not actually my Muddy Fox, but this model exactly.. loved that bike...
I would actually start riding with my friend from school, and would race the final 3 races in the Ironhill series that year. Each time, a little hung over. Each time in my cutoff shorts, Fishbone T-shirt, low top vans, and my pro-tec skateboard helmet. Each week I got a little better, finishing my last race of the year in the top 20. I was so happy.

thanks for reading.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Two Outta Three Ain't Bad...

Dear Readers,

The summer before I turned seventeen my brother Tim got this killer boom box with two tape decks. It was the era of the mix tape and that killer boom box had a high speed record so that you could make magical mix tapes in half the time. Right about that same time my father became obsessed with Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell  album, and specifically the song: “ two out three ain’t bad”.  I remember the pride on my brother’s face when he made the tape for my father. Side one, the entire Bat Out of Hell  Album. Side two-all “ Two outta three ain’t bad” for the entire side of the 90 minute tape. Tim’s pride would soon become his beast of burden.

Within a day, it was clear that Dad was more interested in the “two outta three ain’t bad” side of the tape. I vividly remember every time that we walked through the garage, or up the drive way, or turned off the lawn mower  hearing good old Meatloaf sing, “I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you…” My father, much like all of his sons, was never shy about singing along with the radio, and much like his sons, his ability to hold a tune was never a concern.  Driving around town was probably the worst, as at least in the yard you could walk away from it, but in the car, you were trapped by Meatloaf. That summer it was all meatloaf all the time.

Now I’ll be honest, these memories are well over 20 years old, and frankly a little fuzzy on details…  I think I remember late one afternoon, my brothers Craig, Tim and I were running some errands for my parents in the car.  We flipped on the radio, ejecting Dad’s Meatloaf tape and tossing it on the dashboard. Tim threw in a Ramones tape. He always gravitated to the Ramones. We went around the corner and watched Dad’s tape slide all the way across the dashboard as inertia pulled the tape across the dash. Craig, Tim and I all looked at each other suddenly knowing, but not saying a word. Now the rest of this memory is really hazy for me, and I’ll be honest I don’t remember exactly what happened, but on the next tight corner we might have gone around a little hot, and once again the tape slid across the dashboard and launched right out the window… I clearly remember each of us reaching for the tape as it slipped through our hands. ”NOOOO!!!” we yelled. 

The three of us looked at each other in disbelief. Maybe it was Craig, who asked, “should we go back and get it?” “ it’s probably been smashed into a million pieces by now for sure.” I can hear Tim saying as each of looked at each other nodding in agreement and slightly smiling, but not overtly celebrating.

Today in the office, the guy across the hall had his music up a little louder than usual.  I immediately recognized Meatloaf’s bellowing voice as he belted out “I want you, I need you, but …” I felt a twitch in my eye, and a creak in my neck. I started to break out into a sweat. I think I had a small seizure. Then I found myself smiling and laughing…

I called my parents. Told them what song I was hearing. My immediate memories.
We all laughed.

In closing I'll say that I don’t have mix tape of all one song, but I am pretty famous for playing songs to  death, I’ll attribute that directly to my awesome father…

thanks for reading.