Thursday, March 31, 2011

this is not a love story.

In general, I know I am incredibly lucky to have a wife who enjoys the same passion for cycling and bike racing that I do. I love that when we are doing intervals we can chase each other around. I love going to the local parks and bombing around the single track with her. I’ll be honest, one of my most difficult seasons occurred when Diane was injured. My training wasn’t as pure, and frankly, I felt bad telling her about cross practice or riding or bombing around, because she couldn’t ride a bike. It just made bike racing not as much fun for me.
There are so many times when we ride together, and it’s just awesome. We have a great time. For me it's those moments that are some of  purest joyful moments. Some of the best days of my life have been on a bike with my wife.

This is not one of those stories.

I’ll admit, I was kinda grumpy coming home from work. Diane was really grumpy, tired of riding in the gray and cold that has been this March.  Honestly, if she had said,  let’s bag riding and go get some nachos, I would have bailed altogether…

As we rolled over to Fairhill, she was grumping on me about the weather. “If the weather doesn’t improve, I’m gonna hang up my bike until it gets nice. Did you see the 10 day forecast?”

My wife has an issue with the weather. Despite the fact that the weather forecast is only  right 50% of the time, she can’t stop looking at it on her phone.  It doesn’t help her mental outlook. And then she calls me to tell me how much the weather sucks. I can count on getting a “weather bomb” phone call or email 2-3x a day. This day, I couldn’t handle it.

So she says, “I’m gonna quit biking, this weather sucks. I can’t believe it. Where the hell is spring?”

Normally, I’d say something nice or encouraging, but tonight I drop the “ Well, that’s a great positive mental outlook. I mean a year ago you couldn’t even ride a bike at all, and now you won’t ride because it’s too cold. Suck it up.”  I continue, “ seriously, I have to deal with weather too, and Jesus if you weather bomb me again I’m gonna scream,  you make me not want to ride either. How about a little support here? We’re supposed to be supporting each other.”

Perhaps she expected my normal response.  She was quiet for a second and gave me a “ AW, go to hell!” as we dove into the trails at Fairhill.

For the next 30 minutes, we wandered our way around the  park. Diane laid out a very nice loop, that was really fun. We smiled and joked about how the trails were superhero good.  They were more solid then they had been in a weeks, and we marveled at how the bikes rolled and it was fun to feel fast for a little while.

Then she dropped, “ but it’s gonna rain tomorrow and all this will be shit again. We’ll be lucky to ride trails over here this weekend.

I paused for a second, “ WTF babe? Was that a stealth weather bomb? Seriously, didn’t we just talk about this?”

At this point in the ride, I decided I wanted to choose some trails, and pick the route back to the house.  So I announce, “okay you picked the route for the first 30 minutes, I get to pick the second 30 minutes.  Head up three little Bears, and we’ll cut across the section back to the fairgrounds” I smile smugly to myself with my proclamation.

“ I hate Three little bears” She says.

In a douche voice I respond, “So, you get to pick the entire route? I never get a say in what we ride? Oh, that’s cool.”

She shoots me a dirty look and starts up three little bears.  Then I notice that she has shifted into has absolute smallest gear.  She spins slowly and deliberately as we work our way back up the side of the hill and towards the park.

“there are two trails I hate to ride in this park, three little bears and skip a trail- YOU KNOW THIS! ” she mutters.

“suck it up.” I jab, “I ride whatever you want all the time, you can’t ride this today? WTF ?”

I watch as her cadence slows, and the MPH on my GPS indicates that we might be riding backwards.

After what seems forever we finally make it to the top and I look over at her “seriously, were you trying to see how slow you could go up that? You were barely pedaling, What gives?” I quip.

Monkey smirks at me with that devious shit eating grin, that frankly I fall in love every time she flashes at me. “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. It’ just a hard hill.”

We both burst into laughter.

“this weather is really bringing me down. Like super bad seasonal stuff or something man. April is this weekend. I’m gonna crack…” Diane volunteers.

“I know the weather is tough, the gray and cold just sucks… You know I gotta be honest, I would have bagged riding tonight if you weren’t going. Seriously, if you would have said, let’s get Nachos I would have jumped on it.”

“Nachos? Really? I figured it’s take more than nachos… .”

We rode home talking about my nephew and his assignment to name 5 things that you’d find on a farm.

The ride home was decidedly more pleasant.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

it's not ironic, I'm a dork.

So went into Starbucks the other day.
The barista there is nice. She’s young and urban and hip. As urban and hip as you can get in West Grove, Pa, but still very cute, and nice, and hell she makes a
Good dessert coffee. She’s making conversation with the older creepy guy, wearing a spiderman, ben grim, wolverine T-shirt. (that’s me)

“ I really like your T-shirt!” she says.

Before I can stop it, it flies out of my mouth, “Well, not only is this shirt ironic, I also really read comic books, so it’s cool, in an uncool kind of way.”

The poor barista looked at me like I was speaking another language, because, I’m really just the creepy old guy ordering dessert coffee and  wearing a spiderman shirt.

“awesome” in a totally unawesome way, she says as she hands me my coffee.

Next time I go there, she’s gonna give my drink the extra special secret flavor: spit.

It is a good thing that Monkey loves me, because I am seriously woman repellent.  Walking and talking woman repellent.

Anyway… hoping to get out on the bike today... let's see if mother nature cooperates...


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dirty Bottles and the Flow...

Sure sign of a good weekend, a sink full of dirty bottles:

I found it this weekend. Maybe for just a few miles, but it was there. I've been looking for it for a long time. Mother Nature has rallied against me. I've been patient and resilient in my search, and this weekend, it was their. FLOW.  It was wonderful.

I was fortunate to have some amazing folks searching for FLOW with me this weekend : Monkey, Harlow, Shawn Downing, Garvey, Curtis, Fort James....

Just that little bit of FLOW, those magic miles make it all worth while. The hard days are worth those few miles of goodness. I am left wanting more. The quest continues...

Diane's spunky new green goblin glasses...
 MASS relay is next weekend. One of  my favorite events all year. You should do it...
Potter just can't seem to relax yet.
fatmarc vanderbacon

Friday, March 25, 2011

smelly breezes

Dear Reader,

I got home from work late last night.
Didn't have enough time to get outside,  lights weren't charged, trails were wet- I had to ride the trainer.

I'm not fan of riding the trainer. But when there seems to be a future riding outside, the trainer does seems much more bearable.

Layla thought it was pretty awesome to look out the window and fart into the fan while I rode.

Let's just say, I didn't think it was nearly as awesome.

looking forward to some colder, but outside miles this weekend.

rock on.

fatmarc vanderbacon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cutting Class

Dear Reader,

Monkey and I both had intervals on tap for Tuesday evening. I will admit a sleepless night Monday, and Monkey constantly giving me weather updates of total suckness for the rest of the week, we decided to skip class and jump in on one of the local trail spinner rides.

the ride was very fun. good people, fun loops around fairhill.

The guy that leads the ride is a good guy. He does a lot for the community and I really respect him.
Although I am proud to have been a part of the Wooden Wheels Racing Family, I have not been on that team for 10 years now. I'd guess that I haven't worn a Wooden Wheels Jersey in probably 8 years now. That being said every time I see the kind gentleman he asks, " so how is wooden wheels treating you? you still riding for them?" To which I point to my jersey and say, "no, I'm on C3 Athletes Serving Athletes. I have been for almost 5 years now."

The kind gentlemen says, " I hear Dog Fish Head is sponsoring you guys this year."

Confused I retort, "no, sir, I think they are sponsoring Wooden Wheels, but I ride for C3, you know out of Baltimore... Charm City Cyclocross ?"

He smiles and winks at me, "you guys gotta bring some extra beer to the races this year okay?"

Exasperated, because we have had similar conversations like this for the 10 years that I have not been on Wooden Wheels team, I point at my jersey and mutter somewhat under my breath " C3- 3x MAC Champs, 2x Mabra champs... Bad Andy... Kris Auer...Laura Van Gilder...Wes Schempf" I continue to mutter as he leads the group on up the trail.... "C3 not Wooden Wheels..."

Aw fuck it, next time I do one of his rides, I'm wearing one of  my old Wooden Wheels Jerseys...

Thanks for a great ride, and a great time. Monkey and I rode home all smiles.... We'll leave our stinky old intervals for the basement tonight...

you know this would be a great picture if not for Monk wearing the most God Awful Pajamas ever.


Monday, March 21, 2011

My father was Zorro.

Dear Readers,
True story.
"hey, hon in our twenty years together there are a couple of words I have noticed that you have developed your own slower Delaware-weirdo-family pronunciation " I said playfully to Monkey as we drove toward Twenty 20 Cycling Company Saturday afternoon.

"What do mean?" Monkey responded coyly...

"Well," I explained, "say bull."

Monkey obliged, "Bull"

I continued, "now say shit."

Monkey says, "shit"

"Now, say them together " I direct her.

"booshet" she says.

We both start laughing. "What exactly is "booshet" ?" I ask.

In protest Monkey says, "that's not right."

"I have another." offering up my next pearl of wisdom. "say jack"

She says, "jack"

"now please say ass." I request.

"ass" Monkey utters, almost starting to laugh.

"And put them together:" I say leading the witness

"jeckace" She says.

"Really, jeckace huh?" "what exactly is that?" we both start laughing as we speed down the I 95.

"Dude, you are not right, that is some serious booshet, you jeckace!" she jabs at me, as we both burst into laughter.

Dear readers, seriously, get my wife to say "jackass" or "bullshit" and hear for yourself. I am not making this up.

Potter and Layla are getting comfortable together...

 Diane climbing up to the look out at Elk Neck Friday.

I took this picture when I cracked at Fairhill Saturday. I thought it would be a cool shot. I was wrong.

Fort James, who now rides for the Secret Henry's Team, and I did a nice loop of the Granogue course this morning, prior to our Granogue Work Party. We did a couple loops around the Weymouth's section. There is a rock garden that I haven't cleaned in maybe 5 years. I mean Spot was still a Canadian Company. Peaches only had one kid, Todd was still really fast up hill, and well Fort James rode for Fort. I have to say it took 4 runs at it, and made it twice.  I was stoked.

Heather, Jimmy and Anne Rock headed out after working the course, to take the fruits of their labor.

had a great group of folks out working on the Granogue Course. We have a couple of nice new twists for this year. I won't list who all is here, because well, when I make lists I get myself in trouble. Lot of work done today, lots to do still.  You should go here and register. It's gonna be an awesome racing this year for sure. Thanks to everyone that came out to help pull the course together.

Get read for a seriously cute picture of Potter.
fatmarc vanderbacon

Friday, March 18, 2011

the history of the blue cup ride

Well, I had hoped that Todd would provide us with the history of the Thursday night blue cup ride.

Todd commented, "write your own damn blog!"

On last night's blue cup ride, he did mention he liked the picture of my nephew from his shopping trip and something about the movie mannequin being his favorite movie ever.

I thought that was a little weird, but he proceeded to throw the smackdown around the trails of fairhill, so I wasn't going to argue with him.

Monk and I are going to cut out of work early and head down to elk neck this afternoon.
Gonna be a great weekend...

fatmarc vanderbacon

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The World's Oldest Tuesday Night MTB Ride:

By Mr. Forrest

The Longest continuously held Tuesday Night Ride in the World, maybe the USA, ok maybe the East Coast, probably just around here.

The ride that started back when there were pay phones, the ride before Marc got Fat, before Buddy broke any legs, back before Ted 2000, back before Fuzzy went gray, back when "Bobby" was a boy, back before BIG wheels ruined it for everyone and back before I was old. I am talking wayyyy, back when Justin T, a kid named Joey and some really fast girl, were all regulars for some big FUn on Tuesdays.

Back before Robert was "Rotten" sure he smelled a bit but, back before Matt T was a fruit. Back before I was burgled 3 times, no make that 4 times. Way back to 1996.

This season, the FUnnest season of all, marks the 16th season for the TNT ride, the ride that started the 5 minute rule, the ride that made beer drinking in parking lots cool again.

That's right folks the TNT ride is back for an other season of ball busting, beer drinking FUn.
Looks like the trails are dry, the weather will be fine and we are all ready to get ready.

Just in case you forgot the ride starts at 5:30 from the Zingo's lot.........on TUESDAY NIGHT

Man it's good to be back.


And now for something completely different:

Nephew and Niece doing some bike racing...
This is how it all starts:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Busy Little Bee

Dear Reader,

It was one of those wonderful weekends. One that makes me realize just how lucky I am. I realize it's really just great to be alive. I have an amazing life. It all started Friday when my sister in law sent us this:

My nephew is a boy after my own heart.

Saturday was a hard ride with some friends. I never felt good. Never found my legs, or rhythm. I did feel like I kept getting kicked in the teeth. But I never got dropped, I never quit, I just kept telling myself one more hill, one more section... Stay on the wheel... At the end of the day, well I made it to then end of the ride. It was a good day.

Sunday, Diane and I headed down to Elk Neck.Conditions were outstanding. Elk Neck is great fun, one of my favorite places to ride. There's not a ton of trail there, but it's like Jedi training for my favorite kind of riding. Tight, twisty, rooty, oddly placed rocks and logs and difficult technical climbs. Diane was riding very well, I was proud. I mentioned to her that Elk Neck was like Dagobah system. It's Jedi training. She says to me with a smile and a wink, "I've wish I could get Yoda off my back!"  We both laughed out loud.

And then there was hanging with Layla and Potter.

hard to have a bad weekend with these guys.
(warning gratuitous cute puppy photo next)

weather looks good in the next ten days. Hoping to do Sugar Hill next weekend and a little tour of Fairhill if we can... Daylight savings time should get us some good riding this week too. Just in time, I was starting to feel a bit like a vampire. Let's have some fun...

thanks for reading.

fatmarc vanderbacon

Friday, March 11, 2011

Blame Mackay.

This is Brilliant.

thanks Tom.

fatmarc Vanderbacon

Monday, March 7, 2011



Ghosts rattle around in my head.

I HATE, I mean HATE changing my positions on my bike.  When my fat ass broke my previous seat, I knew I was in trouble.

No amount of measuring, No amount of lining up seats. No, not even the use of tape, can make this process easy for me. Someone asked me why I used the same seat for over 15 years now. Simple: it's always the same. the measurements work. But now, here I am with a new seat. Uncharted territory. And the Ghosts, the Phantoms, the doppelgangers are full on in my mind.

Changing the seat is like looking in the mirror and saying Candyman three times.

The demon has entered my head.

I get  the seat set up, in what measured to be the exact position on the old one.

Riding around, the ghosts taunt me. “ Hmmm, it feels a little lower than before” Disregarding my measurements, my time trusted rules about messing with position, I raised my seat. “that feels better”

45 minutes later, the Demon whispers in my ear. I think I feel something in my knee.
 “Hmm, maybe I raised it just a bit too high. Maybe my knee didn’t really feel anything, But something isn’t right.”

The Phantom taps me on my left shoulder, and I fully commit looking left, he slips by me on the right.

I lower my new white seat a few millimeters, I pull out the measuring tape. “hmm, close this should be right….”

I wake up in the middle of the night. I think my legs are sore. Hmm, I am just tired, or something off with my position…

I walk down to the garage and pull out the measuring tape again.

The devil rips through the room, laughing at me all the while.

I HATE changing out my seat.

fatmarc vanderbacon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Steve and Kevin.


Dear Reader,

It's March and people are getting the itch to get racing again. Bike racers can only sustain themselves on rides and trainer intervals so much. Sure enough it was 50 degrees and raining, so of course I was signed up to do a couple of training crits. Rain, and Road Racing in a meaningless crit, what could possibly go wrong?

Super fun day.
35+/45+ race
Maybe 25 starters. A couple of moves early that split the field. Maybe 9 of us got clear. God I'm stupid, it would have been so much smarter to realize there was a split and not be in it.  As there was 9 of us, there was a lot dynamics, people going, chasing, all that good stuff. With about one and a half to go, we all kinda sat up and looked around at each other. It was the first time in the 45 minute race, that it let up for a few seconds. Seriously felt like I was bleeding out my eyes.  Someone commented, "you know we could just ride in the last part of the race like this..." Wade announced before I could get it out of my mouth, "that would be really awesome" And then the attacking started. Dude from Pro Pedals got clear. I sat up with 200m to go.
1234 race
combined the 3/4 field and 123 field. 3 dudes took off in the first 50 feet and were totally gone. The rest of the race was much more mellow/manageable than the old man race. Not a ton of folks working together, and no real chase. Big groupetto riding together. With maybe 5 to go Warren from Alliance looked over at this kid from Cadence and said, "dude are you going to pull through or what?" Warren and the kid from cadence were both  totally working all day. I chirped up, "you know I've been sitting on both your wheels, and you've been working really hard, while I have been hiding out. Perhaps we should yell at the guys behind us?" Everyone laughed.

Chuck took a couple of nice flyers today.
Dude from cadence attacked with one to go and stayed clear to finish ahead of the field sprint. Good on him, he was working really hard. I sat up for the sprint again, not that I would have been a factor or anything. Fun day. Rainy, Nasty day. I was destroyed.

Best Part of the entire day was this dude who I think must have hand washed his shorts last night and not rinsed them too well. With all the rain and total epicness, his shorts were foaming over with suds, all over his seat, his shorts, down his bike. It was awesome. At one point I was on his wheel and the headwind blew a sud over my shoulder. Totally rad.

Thanks to Chuck and Sophie for riding over with me, it was great to have company.

thanks to Sophie for the photos too.

thanks for reading.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"I don't sleep. I wait."

Dear Reader,

So I went to a local Deli for lunch today.

The guy in front of me steps up the counter.
The Deli-kid asks, “What can I get your sir?”
The gentleman in front of me answers, “I’ll have a Charlie Sheen.”
The Deli-kid, looking puzzled, “Pardon me sir?”
The gentleman if front of me continues, “ A Charlie Sheen. You know, a tuna meltdown!”
The Deli-kid, cracks up, “one Charlie Sheen coming up!”

Only in America. Charlie Sheen Mania is sweeping the nation.

My new seat:

My new seat at the Newark Reservoir:

My new seat  at a soccer game:

 My new seat at the University Library:

My new seat at the Newark Bike Path:

So yeah, I got a new seat. I was breaking it in today...
Have a great one.

fatmarc vanderbacon