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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Totally Unofficial Mid Atlantic Cross Dates #crossiscoming

Dear Readers,

In a former promoter life, one of the roles I had in the local cross scene was trying to coordinate the schedules between the various series, and try to limit conflicts between races. The goal was to try and build the best comprehensive Mid Atlantic Cross Schedule. Most of the time, it was a pleasure working with the race directors, and although some folks weren't happy with having to shift dates, in the end most promoters love cross and worked for what was best for scene. I had enjoyed that part of my role in the past. Thankfully, we are spoiled here in the Mid Atlantic as there is good racing almost every weekend all fall.

I am also grateful that this is a role that I no longer hold.  But, I remain in the habit of putting together the schedule as it becomes more public. 

Where in the past I would email the local series leaders for their dates, (MAC, SUPER8, SPORTIF, PACX and NJCUP), these days I stalk association calendars, watch the social medias and try to pull it together. It's a little more fun that way, I have to admit.

Up front I'll admit:


Also note I tried to point out some not regional UCI stuff, the New England UCI races, and some other fun stuff that has been on our fall calendar in recent years...

If something looks wrong, please let me know and I'll update.  

With that, I hope you geek out like I do: ENJOY! 

If I was still in my previous role I would love to see Kutztown and Slyfox work something out on 11/13- especially since 10/1 is an open date (as far as I know) in PA... But heck, I'm just a Mid Pack Masters Rider geeking out on an early calendar dates, and I know sometimes conflicts are unavoidable due to venue restrictions, volunteers... etc (observation, not a judgement)

thanks for reading

best to you.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Monkey Hill Time Trial (Wilmington Grand Prix)

Dear Reader,

I know what your thinking. Vanderbacon isn't really going to write a blog about a race that took less than 8 minutes to complete, is he?

You're damn right I am!

So let me start by saying this: A few years ago, I did a number of time trials.I enjoy them, they are really fun in a hurtful, look in your soul and question your existence kinda way. The downside was that it quickly became clear that to be competitive, you really need to have TT equipment. Let me say, I would need TT equipment to be competitive and frankly I didn't have the budget for that expense. So my TT career was kinda short lived.
photo credit Velocipedesalon

I signed up for the Monkey Hill TT this week kind of on a lark. I loved racing cross at Monkey Hill, and I figured I didn't want to pass on the chance to race up Monkey Hill again. I'll comment the cobbled classic hill is never smooth, but it is a lot smoother on a 33mm cross tire with 20lbs of pressure than tire on a road bike.

To my surprise the course was super technical, lots of corners, lots of cobbles, lots of place where you had to drive the bike. Most folks were on road bikes, although there were plenty of aero bars and tt bikes, but aero was not required:  it was an awesome course. For someone with out many watts but lots of deception and guile (err hmm your humble blogger) It was super fun.

Got the venue early, and got to do a number of pre-laps.(Kinda like in cross!)
I rode two laps with Denise, who has been slapping me around on the local club rides and Shark Tank rides this spring. She had an earlier start time and rolled off to get ready.

Then I caught up with D-Lowe. We started geeking out on corners, and talking lines going up and coming off of Monkey Hill. We totally talked about tire pressure too. (Kinda like in cross!)
I love D-Lowe.

Finally, Mimi (the most awesome official and who I got to hug earlier in the evening) staged us to go.

photo credit Emily EO

Stream of conscious race report starts now:

Almost over cooked the first hill coming off Monkey Hill,.. Same thing I did chasing Dennis Smith last time I raced cross here... somethings never change...  get on the brakes and don't die... Okay we are at the bottom... hard corner into cobbles,... let the bike go ... no brakes... no brakes...power across the cobbles...  across the bridge and up the false flat.. , get in the drops... stand up... race like a cross race, stand out of corners, don't think TT... Just over the top... A little more... Settle in, shift into the 11 as the course rolls back down towards the river... In the S turn sweeper a little too  hot, scrub a little speed... not on the line I pre-rode...stay smooth... look down and see 30mph... sweet... two more corners... use the entire road... stand out of the corners, stand out of the corners.... Almost back to the base of monkey hill.. take a deep breath... Garvey just said something to me...
Photo Credit BK....
I'm on the hill... this is hard... I can see the finish... it's a wall of sound.. there's BK and Paul- I crack a smile... fucking Paul.  half way up... switch from the right to the left side... there is no smooth... 50 feet to go... Place is going nuts... This is hard... this is awesome... stand up.. can't stand up ... the line is right there... humpf it over... EAHHH....And it's over......

LVG is standing just across the line!  "Great Job Marc! " Did you have fun!"
"yeah, that was great.... so fun... I think" I spun off to try and spin my way off the vomit comet.

Afterwards, it was great catching up with friends and sharing war stories- you know from our 8 minutes of racing...

As Blair said, "so many stories in an 8 minute run!"

Turns out, D-Lowe and I were just a few seconds apart in the finish (just like cross)

and we finished in the money! HEY NOW - That was unexpected!

I had to run back to the center of the universe for a hot dinner date with my awesome wife,
Said Awesome Wife...
and couldn't stick around for prizes, so I asked LVG to donate my vast winnings to the animal shelter she works with AWESOM - which is of course where our lovely Logan came from...

To say I was stoked, would be understatement. 364 days until my next TT....

thanks for reading

and yeah I'm aware it probably took longer to write this than it did for the entire race.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

absense makes the heart grow fonder?

Dear Friends,

My apologies for being an absentee blogger lately.
I'll try to do better...

Monk and I ran off to the Islands for a quick get-away, and caught up with Craig/Beth and family for a few days. The Bahamas are truly a beautiful paradise. I was pretty cracked, and suffering some gastro-intestinal illness so some down time to recover was very well appreciated.
Beautiful Beaches... good to relax..
and yeah I'm the kook under the towel. I hate sunburn! 
The flight out of Philly was delayed. We made our connector with just minutes to spare. Diane and I ran across the airport and right into the gate. The young gate official smiled at us and said, "oh, our couple from Philadelphia! We were looking for you! Welcome!" Her warm smile and friendliness turned to disdain as I said, "We pulled an OJ - and barely made the gate" The young woman glared at me, as clearly we had a generational gap as I was referencing the Juice's Hertz commercial (we try harder) not killing people across the airport. Gruffly she said to us dismissing us, "enjoy your flight. you sick bastards"  Okay- I may have imagined her saying that last part, but based on the change in her disposition I'm sure she was thinking it.

the pools weren't too bad either...
Saturday, after two weeks off the bike, I ventured back into the water. The rain seemed to break for just a couple of hours, and Buddy the Leg Breaker and I headed out on our cross bikes. Yes, Buddy has a cross bike, but don't tell him- it's a swiss army bike or an adventure bike (it's a cross bike!). I was on my Single Speed Cyclocross. The fire roads were delicious. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder, as we had a blast on these too familiar fire roads. Slowly our ride became a good old fashioned Fatmarc and Buddy the Leg Breaker Kung Fu fight. Nothing overt. No displays of aggression, just two old friends refusing to give the other one an inch. The pace crept up.  It was beautiful and as we crested the final rise into the fairgrounds, we were both destroyed. Well played Mr. Leg Breaker, well played.

Sunday a wonderful group came out to the house for a little ride around Cecil County. We did the Mr. Belvedere hates you loop, which is one of my favorites. I was lucky to have such and amazing group of folks to ride with...

photo by Monk (superselfie!) Jimmy  Vanderme, Gus, Kita, Jen, Anne, BK, Sanford,
 Sharon, Monk, Big Time, and Rebecca- not pictured:
Nick and Buddy who rode to the ride and put in monster miles today...
JHIII is not pictured because he was taking off his Super Suit!

Buddy and She-Buddy! 

thanks for reading.

and hey-  don't you forget about me...


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Scratching the itch...

Dear Readers,

Managed to squeeze in a quick trip around the skatepark this morning when it was clear our ride was gonna be washed out. So excited to have learned no complies again... they are such a weird little thing, but so much fun, I could do them all day... 

I also left a little skin at the park for the first time. I find that when I start off with "I need to carry more speed" things go badly for me... Merely a flesh would. Looking forward to getting back on the bike again tomorrow, the skateboarding itch scratched for another few weeks... Those new wheels are so fast...

thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Dear Readers,

This is Peter Sagan.
photo credit: Cor Vos
Last fall most of the world watched in awe, as Peter Sagan attacked the end of the race, using a Super Tuck to elude the pack and finish as the world champion.
Super Tuck displayed
It was amazing to watch. It was awesome. Peter Sagan, arguably the world's best bike handler, uses the Super Tuck to win the worlds. I've probably watched that finish 10 times.

I have to admit, I know the tactic worked, and as the world's best bike handler Sagan was never in jeopardy of crashing. BUT... Super Tuck doesn't look cool. It just doesn't. No way, no how.

But you know Sagan is really cool.

I mean a make Grease musical video with your girlfriend cool kinda cool.

Never mind-  Sagan made super tuck look cool.

Dear readers, I hate to break this to you:

You are not that cool. You are not Peter Sagan.

Since Sagan's incredible run at worlds, I  have witnessed 100% more Super Tuck. Super Tuck on the local club rides. Super Tuck at the Hell of Hunterdon, Super Tuck at Lu Lacka Wyco, Super Tuck on Mountain Bike Rides, Super Tuck riding to the packie store- Super Tuck everywhere...

Up to this point, I kinda just thought it was dangerous, and a little silly, maybe a little funny.

Last weekend I watched a guy go into Super Tuck, hit a bump in the road and go down at about 30 miles per hour. In the process, he almost took out Monk, as his Super Tuck quickly evolved into Super Thunderball. I count myself more lucky than skilled as I was 5 ft off his back wheel when he started tumbling.  I narrowly avoided being taken down myself.

Thankfully, our super tucker never lost consciousness, and it didn't appear that other then hitting the ground at 30 miles per hour and getting banged up from that, he was going to be okay. We stopped briefly and he seemed to be okay, and well attended to.

While Mr. Super Tuck was actually pretty lucky, he might not agree with me on this, but it could have been much worse. he could have landed on his head, he could have taken down 10+ people really easily.

So friends, the next time you find yourself charging down a hill, and you think that you should throw down a mean Super Tuck please think of me, and think of these words:

You are not Peter Sagan. You are not arguably the best bike handler in the world. You are not racing to win the Richmond Road World Championships

 Don't do the Super Tuck.

Super Tuck - Just Don't Do It.

This Public Service Announcement brought you by Tom Boonen's scarf.

and remember knowing is half the battle.

thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lu Lacka Wyco

Dear Readers,

It's Sunday evening. We did the half Lu Lacka Wyco, which was a beautiful ride. It's impossible to not see the love and personal stamp on the event that Pat puts into every detail. Thank you to you and your team Pat! Cheers!
The Master of Ceremonies Pat! 
Claire ran a tight ship at the rest stop!  Outstanding team! 

The course itself was brutal. I'm happy that we only got 57 miles today.

This was by far the gnarliest of the gravel fondo/roubaix rides we have done.

It was amazing. I am destroyed.

Thanks to wonderful group of folks I had the privileged to ride with today: Mark Weaver, Anne, Gus , and Monkey. I am exhausted, but smiling ear to ear as I type this....
our group for the day: Mark, Anne, Gus Monkey and Fatme! 
First section of off-road...

Photo Blog Stars Now:

Shane, my friend always looking for another adventure involving suffering- he did the 100!

Sharon, BK and Sam sit in with me while we listen to the pre-ride announcements...

Just a few folks out for the ride...

Sam, Shane- and Birner who totally pinched my butttoday.
I'm not complaining, just sharing the story.

I put the geek in Domestique!

 Here I protect team leader Gus through a tricky section of pave! 

Weaver!!! sad trombone as sadly Mark's day was cut short..

All In! 

Monk and Anne lead the group up the fire road hill
 I would call the FUDGIE THE WHALE!

Our destiny lays before us....

this was long and a steep pitch...

An over the shoulder shot of Anne and Gus...

the Mail box was a good reminder for me
to eat some blocks in our final push...

Gus sometimes likes to be call el pistoero! 

We watched the sun rise from the road this morning! 
Thanks for reading.

best to you.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Leap of Faith

Dear Readers:

Following the Hell of Hunterdon, I headed out to one of the local skateparks for a little recovery carve. Glasgow skatepark is an amazing place, but not my normal go to park. Glasgow has two concrete circles, which basically allow me to figure out some curb style tricks. Heck I did some no complies which fall into the category of super-fun-tricks-I figured-I'd-never-learn again.


Not smooth.. But they feel so fun... I was stoked.

After my hour or so was up, I was ready to wrap up the session with one last big carve around the entire park. I ran and jumped on my board and will a full head of steam headed into the park. As I flew towards the stair/bank ramp feature, I had a horrible thought-

I can't remember where the ramp is and where the stairs are. I am going full speed towards them. I'm going to die.

Just as I made the top edge, I did the reasonable thing, I bailed at full speed.

I leaped into the air, let out a horrifying scream, and just started flailing in the air.

Thankfully, although not gracefully, I landed on my feet and was able to run it out with out dying.

I pat myself down, making sure I'm totally intact, that I'm not hurt,and in fact I'm fine. "did that just happen?" I ask myself.

Diane, who was along for the trip calmly asks me, "what was the first rule of you skateboarding again?"

I respond, "don't get hurt."

Diane more tersely continues, "what the hell was that?"

"I forgot where the stairs were." I responded sheepishly.

I know cats have nine lives. If I was a cat, I might have just spent a couple of them.

I collected my skateboard, and walked out of the park putting my arm around my lovely wife, "so, you want to get a cup of coffee?"

thanks for reading.