Aging Hipsters Instagram

He's ok if he's not the fastest on the block, but that doesn't lead him to treat cycling like an adult kickball league as so many do. Cycling is important. It's ok to train for it. It's ok to want to be faster, because that's actually more fun than sucking completely. At the same time, being fast doesn't make you better than anyone else, and he knows that, too.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

WORST GRAFFITI TAG EVER

Dear Readers,

I took the long way to work today. Passed through a small town that had their Burger King recently close down. The abandoned restaurant fell victim to vandalism as the world's worst graffiti  artist, with the worst "tagger" name had struck. I'll admit while not a graffiti fan, I can appreciate a clever tag name, or a beautiful piece of work. The "artist" tagging the abandoned Burger King in Oxford, PA doesn't appear to be very clever:

I am going to go with one of two theories:

1. Tom Hudson is in for a lifetime of bad choices and serious hurt.
2. One of Tom Hudson's friends is playing an awfully mean trick on him.

I'll guess the Oxford Police were at Mr. Hudson't place this morning trying to sort out  just which it was...

And then of course I felt so bad for Jack Bauer..


The POC helmets really are pretty bad.

anyway, thanks for reading.

respect
vanderbacon

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Dear Readers,

Saturday was the Mountain Bike National Championships and I was pretty realistic about my chances but I punched my ticket, I was going to the big dance. Opportunities to race in a national championship race are few and far between. And when they are less than 2 hours from your house, you gotta take that shot.   As Hunter S. Thompson says, "buy the ticket, take the ride"

Coming in I had no delusions of grandeur, and instead set a finishing time goal of 2:03. The race started fast, and I felt good. I felt like I was climbing well, but the field was flying. I was having a tough time staying with my group. Perhaps because of this I was extra aggressive on the downhill and technical rocky stretches that Bear Creek is known for... It was working . I was passing guys, moving up and on track to meet my goal. (39 minute first lap)

The second time up the climb was tough, but again, I stayed steady and rode cleanly to the top. I stayed within myself.  Oh, I was suffering, and not climbing particularly well, but I was moving, and I was riding the technical very well. All the while, I kept saying, " make up time when it gets technical... "

Top out of the climb and I get aggressive again. It was rad, I felt great, I pulled back 2 dudes that passed me on the top of the climb. I'm thinking to myself how much I love this course, this style of racing... Quick time check, and I am still on track to make my goal. I cross the bridge that dumps out on to a rooty, gnarly mess, and I drive to the outside to pass another rider. On the edge, the trail undulates, and I stuff my wheel into one of these divots. I'm launched over my bars and do a Hulk Hogan Leg Drop/hip drop on a pile of rocks.

Reality sets in. I might really be hurt. Throwing yourself on rocks sucks. I can't seem to put my legs together, or stand up I seriously thought I broke my hip for a few minutes. (I didn't).

A couple of guys passed and asked if I needed a medic. I said maybe. I was trying to do a mental check list to see what was wrong, I still couldn't get up... Big thanks to both Mike Stevens and Hal Batdorf who both stopped to check on me. Class Acts.

I got up, and got going again. My hip and my ass were killing me. Strava tells me I was on the ground for almost 3 minutes. My mojo was pretty much gone at this point. My bell rung.  I crawled my way to the heckle pit and I punched it through the heckle pit one more time, because heckle pit:
video

Heckle Pit was awesome. Thanks Heckle Pit. Will remember coming through there forever...

I then limped my way back to the start finish. My ass/hip were throbbing and I was pretty defeated. I didn't feel like I could get any power down and so I just drug my ass through the start finish, and sat up at the feedzone, calling it a day...

Disappointing for sure. I was on track to meet my goal, I was suffering, I was having fun. I'm still very tender in an uncomfortable place. Diane and I  hung out for a bit and cheered on friends, drank a beer and had a hot dog. And Advil, I took a lot of Advil.  Getting away from the crash, I'm guessing that I gave myself an Atomic Charlie Horse in the gluteus maximus. I'm still struggling to sit, get comfortable, and get going...

Nationals was an amazing experience, and while it was my third time riding Bear Creek and my first time racing Bear Creek, it will not be my last. That was awesome.
Photo Norm Z..
So I'm  battered, and bruised and sitting on a pillow as I type this, but man what an experience... That was rad. I would be bummed if I hadn't seized that opportunity. Not happy with the DNF, but it was the right move. I'll lick my wounds, and get back to it soon.

Thanks to the Monkey:

We had a really fun weekend, atomic charlie horse to the gluteus maximus aside. The Cat room (that's a story for another day), that we stayed in was very nice, even though Monk and I are clearly not a  bed and breakfast couple. We had an amazing dinner at the Bethlehem Social Club, and had a nice visit to the Velodrome. Saturday it was amazing to see so many racing friends, that was amazing...

I didn't however, catch up with Scotty too Hotty. Dude owes me some hugs.

Thanks for everyone's support, and kind words.

thanks for reading.

respect
vanderbacon

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stoudt's Summerfest

Dear Readers,

Stoudts Sumerfest has quickly become one of my favorite events on the calendar. Why you ask? A 4 hour relay/solo race racing around the Stoudts Brewery in Adamstown, PA. The course is short: 8-10 minute laps and the entire event has  an outstanding atmosphere and vibe. Dave Borden and his team pretty much personally greet everyone, and their attention to details like T-shirts, pint glasses and quick attention to the course anytime, anything might go south during the day totally exceeds expectations. There are three classes (solo, duo and four person) all very competitive, but at the same time the course and event is challenging and fun enough that it keeps your attention even if you aren't racing for the box. I get this style of racing is a little different than your typical  xc event, different is good my friends.  If you have missed Stoudts Summerfest these past two seasons, I'd strongly encourage you to mark your calendar and make it out next year... Thanks to the JB Bikes/Stoudts team for hosting a wonderful, challenging and fun event.
before and after shots. All smiles. A lot stinkier on the right!
Did I mention that the race is at the Stoudts Brewery? After the race they have amazing beer and outstanding bratwurst. The racers gather in the beer garden for awards, and more importantly a nice drink and food, and shares stories of the battles fought during the day. It is awesome. While I had an awful case of race gut and didn't get a chance to sample my favorite beer in the world (Stoudts Triple) I did have an awesome Stoudts bratwurst with sauerkraut, or at least half a serving before my stomach warned me that it allowed me to enjoy some, but not to get carried away. Diane said on the way home that the beer garden was one of her favorite things, and that she missed the social side of this game, and sharing the stories from the race. She was on cloud nine. I couldn't have been happier for her...
Gorka won the day. (photo from D.Lowe)
GORKA RACED IN A SPEEDO. That was kinda awesome. I caught up to him on one lap, and jokingly said to him "out of the way speedo!"  He looked over at me and started to laugh, commenting about this might not being the best idea. I hope he has a comfy chair at the office or home.

Our teammates, Consorto and Jenn Sears, were racing on another duo team, and seemed to have the worst luck with sidewalls on their tires today. First Consorto shredded one, and then Jenn came in with one destroyed. I was too out of it to help out, but Andy Di Michele, another of the great ambassadors/hosts for the Stoudts/JB Bike team came over and saved the day changing the flat, and booting the tire. It was awesome.  Thanks Andy... Let me add, Barry  came over and asked them where they cut their tires, and headed over to the spot with a crew to make sure the course was holding up, and fix the point of bother. Like I said, these guys are really good. Thanks Barry!
Dennis Bike making sure our compound is coming together well..
We had a pretty outstanding compound going, we had Dennisbike.com (BikeLine), Chappy(BikeLine), Schindler (BikeLine), Erik Mitchell (Spintek), Travis Harnish (BikeLine), Consorto (C3), Jenn Sears (C3), Heather H (WoodenWheels), Scotty too Hotty (BikeLine),Nick (TBR),  Blake (C3) , Diane and I, bordered by the TBR kids, who I am a big fan of.. It was a good group of folks to be around on a tough day... Wish I had gotten a group shot but I blew it...
photo by Robert May
Our race went about as good as it could get. Thanks to Monkey's over preparation, we kinda had everything we needed and some. She's good at this planning stuff.  We had made a plan early on, and followed it. I did the worst 50 yard dash ever, and screwed up the Lemans Style start, then charged past maybe 10 riders as hard as I could off the start.
photo Bill White
By the top of the switchback: "Goat Hill" I had clawed my way up to third. Nick Sears (Trestle Bridge Racing) was gone,
Dude Looks good in that kit...
and  Justin Sotdorus had enough of a gap that I wasn't bringing him back. Andrew Dunlap (Rare Disease Cycling), who would win the solo class would come around me as we passed the team tents. That was pretty good company and I accomplished my goal of giving Monk clear track from traffic for her first lap. We settled into our plan. (yes, we had a spread sheet).  As we got to the half way point it was clear Monkey was hurting a bit, so we had to adjust our strategy. We went from a 3/2 lap rotation to a 4/2 lap rotation. Monk wasn't recovering as quickly as we had hoped.
video

 I had 100% more cramps doing 4 laps per rotation than 3.  We were starting to slide into survival mode. As we got to the final hour, I allowed myself to look at the standings for the first time. We were in the top 10 and battling with Johan/Gary from Evolution and Werner (Easy Riders) for 8-10th place. Werner's teammate had broken his bike early in the race, and Werner kept plowing forward as a solo. With 15 minutes to go I  tagged Diane as she headed out for her last lap. I started to ask her "do you want 8th or 10th?" but refrained. Diane is not in shape. She's been riding for just 3 months now after a year off. She dug so deep today, I was so proud of her and how hard she worked. Her knee held up well today, and I know she was stoked, so where-ever we ended up, it was going to be a win. How do you ask someone who has clearly laid it all out there for more?
Photo Robert May
Diane finished her lap and sent me out to wrap it up with three minutes until the cut off. For those readers who like the final result, we finished 8th- totally exceeding either of our expectations. We may have been the happiest 8th place 4 hour duo relay finishers EVER today- totally far exceeding either of our pre-race expectations.
Our final transition... photo by Bill White!
One final note on how awesome this race is... During my last lap I came through the heckle/beer/party zone, and the crowd, which stayed energized all day long kept on screaming. I felt someone pat me on the back and calmly say , "you rode well all day today Marc, good job!" I'm not gonna lie, that was one of the many exclamation marks on this day...

thanks for reading.

respect
Vanderbacon