Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Lilly Pond- Ed Sanders Memorial
This race holds a special place in my heart. For me it was this race 2 years ago that I fell in love with cross again. Let me explain, from 1997-2000, I started my love affair with cross racing first at the Snow Valley Psyco-Cross series, and then later bridging out to other races, including the earliest MAC cup races. 1999 and 2000 were great years for me and my team, as we brought home a couple of mac cups, I took a couple medals in the states, and even won the districts, although that is a chip that is still on my shoulder. The intensity of 1999 and 2000 were very tough on me, our cross town rival FSVS battled with us for that last cup, and really I got to the point that I didn’t enjoy the competition. At the same time the Deputy/Morrison Super Series was kicking off, I just turned expert and my focus slipped back to mountain bike. I walked away from cross, although Tom (papa smurf) made sure that I still had a hand in helping promote the Granogue race. The next couple of years I would do one or two cross races, always on my single speed mtb, just to be annoying.
Fast Forward to 2004. I am coming off of my first year riding for Spot Brand and have had a really nice mtb year, but I’m still feeling good. I figure I’ll do a couple of cross races for fun. Lilly Pond was the first one. I raced the B’s on a converted Schwinn. I lovingly called it the “not a spot”. That day I got the whole shot on a single speed, and led most of the first lap, until this tanned gentlemen came flying by me: Wes. Nipping on my heels that entire day was this dude with the best hulk Hogan mustache ever saw : Mayhew. I finished the race, I suffered my ass off. I finished on the podium. One of my rare cross podiums ever. But the vibe of that race was great, I had forgotten the fun social nature, the people cheering along side your race, the fun of digging deep into places that you didn’t know you had to finish up the race. I admit I was hooked again. That one day, I was back in. As Luxy says, “I was a ‘crosser” . At the finish line Wes, and Mayhew and I talked for a while, I couldn’t believe how nice and cool they were, and well how great everyone was. I raced 6 more cross races that year, all single speed, that’s what I had. 2 years later, I’ve raced at nationals, I have 2 sweet bikes, am a card carry member of the Delaware Cyclocross Coalition of Delaware, and I’m on a pretty damn snazzy team.
When I take the time to reflect back, it was that fall day 2 years ago at Lilly Pond that brought me back into the fold. Looking at this weekend’s race, I know I’m probably not going to be a factor, I’m the oldest, fattest, hairiest in our group. And I don’t really work that hard. That’s okay, I’ll go down with a smile on my face, and always know what a special race this is for me. It’s the place that I fell in love with cross again.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Tom (papa smurf), Diane (chunky monkey), and I stopped of at the red fire house brewery in white marsh on the way home from Baltimore today. I had a delicious monte cristo sandwich probably the greatest sandwich I ever had in my life. Hot ham, and melted cheese served on Texas toast, which I am convinced is really French toast, but this must have been a “red” restaurant, and they didn’t want to use the term French. Tom enjoyed a fine Cuban sandwich, which is a pork, ham and cheese delight usually smothered with a spicy mustard. Diane went with a cup of Maryland crab soup, figuring when in Rome right? She also had a buffalo chicken wrap, but only ate half, I ate the other.
Did this thing today at Druid Hill Park, a bunch of people in lycra rode around the fields for like 45 minutes or something trying to see how hard we could beat each other up. My class had 90 people or so in it, and I was able to make 84 of them suffer more than me. The other 5 were 2 fast dudes, 1 fast chick, and 2 kids who are 20 years younger than my old ass. Hey folks, don’t you know senior abuse is a crime. Props to all. Georgia t-boned Ohara who had stacked in the first corner, I ran over her back wheel kinda by mistake, she passed me quiet fluidly on the second lap as a pay back.
Monkey had a pretty good day too. She was a little bummed that she passed more dudes than chicks, but she gutted it out and I was super proud of her. Cross is so hard. There was a little snafu with the scoring but Susie and Auer were totally awesome about the whole thing, totally class acts. Thanks guys.
Met a bunch of my new teammates on Fort Frames: Jeff, Zach, Greg, and Steven briefly, of course it was great to see Fergie, Wes, and the Yozells too. The Delaware Cyclocross coalition of Delaware was in full effect too. E-town did a lot of hard work for me, which I really appreciated. I also appreciated all the cheers. Fort James and Spot Paul did a dominate job in the pit for us, and making sure everyone was taken care of. Thanks to everyone who helped out in the pits. I didn’t get all the results yet, but it was a super good day for us. Results to follow. Sorry about the crappy pictures, we’re not being artsy just not too sure what the camera was doing.
Friday, September 22, 2006
I have a new team, sweet new bikes and of course my brothers and sisters on the Delaware Cyclocross coalition of Delaware who have supported me. And then there's monkey. The best wife in the world, none of this would be possible with out her. I won't let them down, regardless of result, they can all count on getting my best.
Warm up is over, Elvis sings in my ear, "A little less conversation a little more action..." I click through my gears and wind up a bit. Ever cyclist has little fitness tests. Small time trials, or loops, or efforts they do to measure themselves against themselves, to see where their fitness is, or how well they have recovered. For me one my Friday morning roller ride before the race is one of my tests. During a steady state effort, I like to see how deep I can get into my cassette, and how big of a gear I can turn comfortably. I am excited for Sunday, excited for cross to get started, excited to see old friends, and make new ones. Welcome to the disco folks, dance all night, drink your asses off. Anyone want guess how deep I got into my rear cassette this morning?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Fort James got me involved in this event a number of years ago, and very frankly it is one of the events I look forward to most every year. In a world full of local joe primadonna or mountain bike moe who has never promoted a race destroying a group that has put on more races than the same paper asshole has done, I find this event to tower above the rest.
Very frankly, the athletes are all awesome; they make the event for me. Aged from 14 to 45; they compete in their individual events, and as you cheer for them, you can see them light up with joy. You can see the energy and excitement about racing, about riding their bikes. At the finish line all the racers cheer for each other wildly. Hugging is encouraged, and although everyone is driven for the top spot, the greater goal is sportsmanship, and pushing the boundaries of their personal limits. There is no biggest dick contest, there is no politicking, or attitudes, or anything, just folks who love to ride their bikes, and love to race their bike for the joy of racing. For me that reminds me why I love to race. It drives home what is really important for me. And it's not chasing points, or making cowardly shots from behind the computer screen. It's the camaraderie, the competition, enjoying my friends, my rivals. Whether it was Elizabeth who would smile ear to ear as you cheered for her, or Donald who would cheer back to Diane and I as he past each lap. Or Danny, who yells to his pacer mark the shark, "don't make me come up there ..." This was outstanding day.
In chorus with this event, FSVS put on a dualathalon and donated all proceeds to Special Olympics Delaware. Classy. An outstanding organization, our community, our region would be worse off if not for their efforts, and based on today, and other past successes, they get a couple get out of jail cards from me. My tolerance for email cowardice and disrespect is very small.
Jay Z, president of FSVS had the crack up quote of the day for me when he said, "well, it rained so my trained moto officials couldn't make it. I ended up with, well some gangster motos. I gave them directions, they said they got it. The first runner jumped on his bike; the gangster motos took off and proceeded to turn the wrong direction, leading the leader with them. Yeah, I'm gonna hear about that one later."
Following the Special Olympic Event, the DCCofD had a little event too , we rolled through the outer trail of Lums and over to the soccer fields where we chased each other around for a little while. It was pretty fun. I think I threw up in my mouth just a little bit.
In other news Dan the man has 2 matching VanDessel cross frames with carbon forks for sale in a size 58cm.c-t 56.5 TT. Used one season and will sell for cheap. Includes full carbon fork, headset and seat post. Best offer. Contact me if you have any interest, I'll get you in touch with Dan. He will sell frames separately.
To close out a great day, Diane and I hit the half moon in, she had a crab cake, I had Chilean sea bass. Tasty treats across the board. Now we are going to canoodle and watch some TV.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Huge group over 20 easily. A few little efforts, a bunch of folks in lycra riding around a soccer field and talking shit. It was just a really good time. Legs felt pretty good tonight, I think I’m starting to come around. I really can’t complain. I have a lot of work to do, but damn tonight, tonight it was good, and very fun.
Few quick thoughts:
E-town will be unstoppable if he can stay away from the bad frites and mayo; Dan the man is flying and hungry, that’s a pretty damn good combination; I also hear he is buying stock in Whamo! makers of slip and slide. Wes the conqueror has submitted an application for the Delaware Cyclocross Coalition of Delaware. He did pass the cartwheel through the barriers test. Slick Rick is like Butter. Green Trek John is Freakishly Strong, cold kicking it live on a mountain bike. Why not just beat me with my own arm ? Amazin’ Andrew is learning this sport very quickly. He’s probably out right now practicing run ups. Who knew Jan loved orange? Monkey needs to raise her seat a little; FortJames is the ultimate team player; thanks for taking care of me dude. CZ said I was ugly and that was a compliment, thanks man. Leo (dez fargin’ guys) rolled a tubie; Dennisbike was flying through the barriers; Kurtee was back from the dead, chillin’ at the beach down at club med. He was a good wheel to hide on tonight. And damn that run up is hard.
Following the ride it was the weekly ½ priced Nacho trip to Deer Park in town. A mild group of 12 enjoyed 3 trays of nachos, and fixed ourselves 3 trays of damned quesadillas. Also on the menu tonight was a fine plate of fish tacos. FFA and I split a plate. Damn Tasty. Probably the best way to describe the entire night. Damn tasty. Yes, I am a Nacho Ho. I’m nach you ho, but I am a nacho ho.
Working the Special Olympics Cycling event Saturday. Notice I said working, not competing. I always enjoy that, helps to keep everything in perspective, and frankly the level of sportsmanship and hugs is very high. I should get some more time on the cross bike following that event. I believe last night’s practice may have set the bar for which all others this year will be compared. We can do better as notably absent last night were Tom Mc, the Canadian, k-man, and Single Speed Dan.
I heart cross.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Finally that hairy fatass got up. I think he’s in the garage riding that stupid bike again. I swear all he does is chase her and ride that damn bike. I got a creek in my back trying to sleep last night. I mean really how is a dog supposed to spread out when he’s in the bed.
Seriously, what does this guy think he owns the bed. But, anyway, finally he’s out of bed, and I can stretch out. Why would he want to ride the bike when he could rub my belly. Oh, yeah, that’s it, she’s got the idea, rub my belly. What’s this a bone, in bed, oh this is too good to be true, this is my costanza. My sex, tv and hot pastrami, it’s me spread out in the bed, getting my belly rubbed, chewing on my bone. Ah, life is good my friends, life is good.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Did the PWC today, but instead of the normal loop, we did a ride called the Red Toad. I'd like to tell you that the Red Toad has some super cool meaning, or that the name comes from someone who bonked so hard they had they started licking frogs to get home, but that would be a total fabrication. The name frankly comes from the road where the bulk of the hills, and the most dynamic stretch of riding occurs: Red Toad Road.
I love the Red Toad loop. Lots of climbing, very fast, fun ride. I parked my ass in the pain cave today and made smores. It was really nice to do something different down at the ole PWC. The group was really strong as Dan the man lead the way, Postal Dave, Leo, Spot Paul, Tommy MC, Ying, Wolf, Christian, Lisa Lisa, and a couple for dudes I didn't know made up the group. Early on I was going hard in the hills, Dan pulled me aside with a "there's lots of climbing to go, save something." Boy I was glad he did. We hit the Red Toad where the two toughest hills were, over the first I was in a nice little break with Dan the Man, and then Postal. I was hanging on their wheels for dear life. After the first summit, Dan looked at me, said, "good job" and then threw down a little attack over the second. Dan the man instantly gapped us. I tried to cover Dave but cracked badly. I just spun over the top as Ying and Tom passed me, luckily we had a small regroup and I was able to get back, I was in serious trouble. Postal rolled up to me and said, "dude you're all business on the bike, no joking today." I replied, "you can't be a smart ass if you can't breathe." I clearly rode over my head today. The rest of the ride was really what the PWC is all about for me, flat out rotating paceline through rollers; me totally on the edge, just telling myself, one more pull, one more pull, another minute in the pain cave, another minute in the pain cave...
At the end of the ride we ate some donuts, I drank some water. I got home to find chunky monkey, FFamy, Roger, Kathleen, and Les heading out for a mountain bike ride at fairhill. Being somewhat retarded at that point, I retreated to the couch for a nap. Once they finished we rolled into town and got burritos from the Mexican Picnic. I had a blacked chicken burrito, it tasted awesome, easily the best burrito in town. It was so big, only one word could describe it: gut bomb.
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Yeah. Been kinda stressed with work and family. Haven’t slept well. Time to cut loose. FFAmy’s 30th birthday, together with many good friends. Drinks flowing like a river. I was swimming like a fish. Didn’t realize I needed that so badly. Got flashed, Got naked, got hit, crashed a bike, played Gordon’s fisherman, peed on the seat, got warned by monkey to not start the I love you man’s, did the I love you man’s anyway (sorry rick), got a mariachi band, gave the shirt off my back, drank frozen margaritas, drank beer, drank champagne, introduced Kathleen to Pugsly. Got sprayed with beer. I heart living in a college town. Kissed my wife, and finally got a good nights sleep, although I believe they call that passing out.
6:30 am came all too early, and my splitting headache and rumbling tummy were trying their damnest to get me to stay in bed, but cross season is such a short time of the year, and it is really fun. Chunky Monkey, FortJames, Tommy Mc (super den mother), and I loaded up and went to the Philly cross clinic. Kelly and Rolf spent loving care helping folks polish and in some cases learn the finer points of cross. We did lots of cool cornering drills around the baseball diamonds. Harland who I met at the SS rally, was there he’s gonna ride some cross this year. He was super nice, and we chatted for a bit. Monkey was stylin’ and profiling on her new cross bike, nicknamed the “little green monster”.
11:00am came and practice broke up, finally my hang over burned off, and I was really hungry. In the toaster FortJames, Diane and I talked about how much fun we had. We were all smiles. I’m going home to go back to bed. I am not a rock star. Happy Birthday FFA, even if you did ditch us for cross this morning.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
I’ve been bitch slapped more in the last 24hrs than I have been in the last 24 months. First my asshole brother crucified me for a positive comment. No good dead is left unpunished I guess.
Then at cross practice I got slapped around by basically everyone; which isn’t totally new to me. Technique was good. Had fun, just didn’t ride great. Bike feels great, getting comfortable on the FORT very quickly. Shifter broke. Hell, after Dan the man’s slapped me, his total recall stomach stepped out and threw me beat down.
It’s all good though, cross is good, and I never have been a practice room wrestler if you
know what I mean. Very big group tonight that was fun, the new run up is freakin’ fatmarc abuse. I love cross, there are few things in this world that I enjoy more, and yet there are few things that I suck worse at.
Finished off a day of ass beatings with half priced nachos at the old Deer Park. A hearty crew showed up for some levity, beers, and $4.00 nachos and quesadillas. There are few things in the world I love more than $4.00 nachos, and yet there are few things that I can eat more of.
Lets hope tomorrow consists of far less bitch slaps for me. The next time I hear someone say, “I keep my pimp hand strong.” I’m running for cover.
this guy kept dropping me on the run up.
Monday, September 4, 2006
Slick Rick, FortJames, Chunky Monkey and I noodled around the county park today doing some cross drills. No real intensity, lord knows I don't have the stomach for that kinda thing, and after getting drug around on the PWC sunday edition, I could barely stand up at all. But I digress, this was my first time riding the new bike. It was delightful, my barrier technique was poor, not a whole lot of cyclocross barriers in mountainbike racing, but it will come. We had a good time, and I think I got some cross rust off. 3 weeks until charm city. Damn, I'm in big trouble.
Slick Rick's Orbea was super sexy. I mean it's no Fort or anything, but sexy as hell just the same. (go ahead and say it, fatmarc you are such a whore, yeah I know)
While at the park we saw some interesting stuff. First, proof that kids love to ride bikes as this cute little miss sunshine, came right over to us and started riding in our pack. She just wanted to be a part of the group I guess. Little bitch kept dropping me in the barriers. I guess there are barriers in Ken and Barbie bike land. Nice Streamers. She didn't even have a pink helmet. Was that mean? Okay, Okay, she wasn't really a bitch, even if she did drop me in the barriers.
Later, we saw this:
yup a large pack of mother's with strollers racing around the mile walking trail. They laughed at me tripping through the barriers, I laughed at them racing around the trail. Look out, you better cover that breakaway!
In other news it seems some of the boys from Rutgers are trying to get to the great divide race next year, and are selling t-shirts to try and fund it. The only guy I really know from Rutgers is Mark V, and damn that guy races single speeds, has killer sideburns, races cross, and has a great name, you know aside from spelling Marc wrong, if these guys are half as cool as Mark V, then they are good with me. Check out the link on the side.
Finally, props to FFAmy, Jaime (world's foremost expert on rip currents), John (b-line's Todd), Andrew C , the beans boys, TwinSix teammate Jason and all the crazies that were racing at 7 springs this weekend. I heard the conditions were totally wretched. Also major props to Buddy the leg breaker, Elk, Kerry and Les (international man of mystery) who were racing down at the SM 100. Way too tough for me. I played in a field and ate donughts. Much easier on my constitution .MMMM Dunkin' donughts make me happy. Wait I hear an icecream truck I better go chase it down...
Saturday, September 2, 2006
circa 1993. I get on to the Wooden Wheels team. This is where I would spend the majority of my racing career. Wooden Wheels was a very dominate road team at that time, I think they won D20 2 or 3 years in a row. I got on as a beginner mountain biker, because I won the cat5 Thursday night crit in Wilmington. Nope, it didn't makes sense to me either, but I wasn't gonna let a chance to ride for Wooden Wheels slip through my fingers. The road team had guys that are still my heros: dennis smith, wietzell, and Billy V. Bob Reuther lead the way in the dirt. He was pro and was always super cool to me,Diane and my brother even though we were just some kids wearing the same jersey.
Around 1995 or so the road team split and became team Delaware. I don't know what really happened there. Andrew Mein and I ran the mtb team. We came up with our own jersey to separate ourselves from the old team. We felt like we had our own approach and frankly wanted to win our own championships. This is where Andrew drilled home the "be an ambassador for the sport" thing into my head. The team was mostly a close nit group, Nick Riddle provided guidance for us. Greg Burbidge and my brother Craig were the most talented riders we had, aside from Nick who was just a super freak on the bike. That machado kid was tough too. Dennis Smith was always good to us, he called our new team "the kids"
This jersey was designed by Joe Brevoort. He was Mike's older brother and is a hell of an artist. It was in this jersey that our team began to evolve into a sport/expert unit. It was also in this jersey that we won our first team championship: the MAC cup. We won it with basically 5 of us, Katie (on her single speed and often hung over), Diane, Jeanie, Ted and I . With 3 women we cleaned up team points, and Ted and I were fighting to score in the B's. Ted used to do 2 races to take one for the team. We trailed Bike Doctor by 10 going into the final race at fairhill, and we pulled every wooden wheels rider we had that day. Justin Thompson, who was one of the best cross riders in the country rode for us that day too, he was a product of our program and wanted to help us secure the championship. Justin rode in his devo kit. I am personally responsible for the MAC rule that says in order to score team points for a team you must be wearing that team's jersey. At our season ending party, after Justin's mom polished the cup, we drank beer out of it and danced around their house in celebration.
It was in this version of the jersey that our team garnered the nick name "evil empire". We bolstered our ranks as finally Jay Jay joined us, as did Tom Mc, Kurtee, k-man, fortjames, Keith G Bobby's boy, Greg came back, Johnny G, and hell even Matty Doyle was doing some mtb races for us. A kid name Johnny Royal came on the scene. Todd, who I chased for years to race for us finally came over. Lead by Katie and Justin's 14 year old brother named Joey we won another MAC CUP. It was awesome watching Joey going from a kid showing up on the rides, or riding cross on his mtb, to him kicking all our asses. It was also in this jersey that the MASS started, we finished the first year 2nd to Guys, and dominated the second year winning 8 out of 10 races taking the team title. At the awards ceremony, Ted played the Empire's theme from star wars on his boom box as we crowed on the podium. We drank and were merry. I think everyone hated us, but we didn't care our mission was accomplished. To this day we are still the only program to win both a MASS championship, and a MAC championship. yeah I take some pride in leading those teams.
After the stress of chasing down a MASS championship, I needed something new. I stepped down as leader of Wooden Wheels and started a season on the road. Johnny Royal, Bryant and I we had a pretty kick ass cat4 team and we put some one on the podium in pretty much every race we were in winning a bunch. Each of us had a role, and we worked so well together. Bryant would tt off the front and see if anyone would chase, if they did I usually disrupted the hell out of it. Jon was the climber who if the race was hilly we'd work for. Aside from being a jam car, I was the sprinter. I was 3 points away from my 3 up grade, when I got sick, spent a week in the hospital and effectively ended my road career, as when I was recouping Buddy and L-Web were like, "dude road sucks, come race mtb with us again" They conned me into a 24hr race at 7 springs, I agreed as long as I could ride my single speed Karate Monkey, and I began riding ss exclusively at this time. We won the race with Matty T, and James completing our team.
The Mighty Spot Brand Jersey. My current mountain bike team. I hope my last mountain bike team. After my 7 springs experience and a couple of other nice fall mtb results, I sent out a couple of resumes. I got a three offers back, which was amazing as I didn't really expect anything at all. I talked to Jessica andMichael at Spot for a while, they were super cool. Thus started my relationship with Spot that has seen me grow as a rider, and grow the team to include the folks we have now. Jessica and Michael sold spot this summer, but I continue to represent the company and them. The new owners are super nice, and I look forward to working with them more and more. My only regret here is that when there was the Trek Classic series, had Lauri not gone to IF and I not gone to Spot, Wooden Wheels would have won that Championship. Sorry Howard, I did have to point that out. The Mighty Spot Team had a great year this year, and I look forward to more greatness next year. Oh and yup that is a penny in the picture. Must have dropped that one. You see how I roll.
The Secret Henry's Team. It's like the fight club, rule one don't talk about the Secret Henry's Team. Rule two: don't talk about the secret henry's team. I might get a demerit for these next lines, but let me go a little. No you can't have race reimbursement, and no not anyone can ride for them. Basically it's a group of folks who love to race their bikes, in many cases have associations with other teams, there is no bullshit, there is no money, there is no meetings, there are no politics. Just guys/gals who ride their bikes. Riders from some of the best programs around, all under the banner on the Secret Henry's team. The SHT remember, there is no I in team. One of my proudest associations for sure.
Twin Six came on board as a clothing sponsor for the Mighty Spot Brand Team this summer. Their stuff is super comfy, super cool looking and I am really proud to be associated with these guys. They are a great compliment to what we are doing as the Spot team, and these guys really get it.
Fort Frames. Stacked line up here, I'm really looking forward to a great season. And after getting my first bike all built up. I can't wait to get my kit, I might just wear it everwhere for a couple of weeks. I'll sleep in it, where it under my clothes too work, ride in it. I'll just shower in it so it doesn't get too stinky.
anyway, thanks for following along and taking this jersey journey with me this morning.