Archive for July, 2010

2010 MTB Nationals and Stuff

Posted in Race/Ride reports on July 25, 2010 by bencycles

Whew natz was hard!
2010 natz

And oh so sweet. I honestly didn’t do as well as I might have hoped, 10th in the 35-39 cat 1, but I absolutely put everything I could into it, turned myself inside out for that tenth spot. In my mind, that’s important and very satisfying. I’d like to blame the 9000′ altitude for my result, and I think that was a factor, but there were some fast dudes out there, too.  Props for sure.

I really really like these big events. The venue at Sol Vista was great, the scenery was amazing, the vibe was awesome and people were amped. It was Nationals after all.

I hadn’t been planning to go. It was in the middle of what I’d scheduled as recovery and build up for the now imminent Breck Epic. But it was happening near my grandparents who I also wanted to visit and then when my team, Celo Pacific, offered to reimburse some of my travel expenses (thanks!), I had to go out and experience the awe of Nationals. It was a great experience.

Packed and ready to fly.

Some interesting finds in Sky Mall:

One of the best parts of the trip was getting to ride with my 90-year-old Grandpa.

Man, that guy has seen some stuff in his day. I’m in awe. My Grandpa was kind of my father figure when I was a teenager and I used him as a model when I was trying to get my shit back together in my early twenties.  I’m glad he’s still around so that we can do things together as two “grownups” now. Just hanging out on the patio with a beer and watching the clouds over Pikes Peak and chatting. I find the dynamic of having an adult relationship with my Grandpa to be extra special.

Oh, and I went to go revisit where I grew up in CO.

We lived in a shack in the woods outside of Colorado Springs. It was an old hunting cabin and someone had put a makeshift shower on the back porch when we bought it. We had running water in the place, but no indoor toilet and no fancy central heat. Just a small wood stove in the living room where my parents slept. Over the course of a few years, my step dad and I built a full house around that tiny little shack from materials he would buy at auctions.

From something like this:

To this:

You can still see the shape of the original cabin. It’s the right side of the house, obstructed slightly by a tree. But even after we put in a septic system and indoor toilets, we kept the outhouse just for all those good memories of number two in the dead of winter when it was -30 F.

We had 3 of these small cabins on our lot and left one mostly unmodified. My Mom was a sign painter; a hand letterer which is a bit rare now that most signs are cut from vinyl. She used the small cabin as her work area, a giant easel in the main room for banners,  kerosene heaters to keep it above freezing in the winter. Thinking about it now, it’s hard for me to imagine what my mom went through to keep our family going. Thanks Mom!

Oh yeah, and my old pig pen:

Damn, did I just put that on the internet? Well, I used to raise pigs for 4-H. Guess I was kinda poor white trash. This area did used to be where all the poor people lived, after all. One neighbor raised goats and tied a 50 gallon drum into a tree for a water heater. Another neighbor buried an old car to make a septic tank. Of course now it’s all subdivisions and shopping centers.

I can’t wait to burden the Sprout with all my merry stories of walking to school in the snow… : )

Anyway, now that mtb natz is over and done with, I’ve been spending this week trying to bulk up for Breck Epic with a healthy diet of pizza, ice cream, and beer. I’ll start training again next week…

In the meantime, I’ll leave with this: A few years ago, our town commissioned a statue it hopped would epitomize the “essence” of the SoCal surfer. Instead, what it got was a goofy statue, lovingly named the “Cardiff Kook”. Well, poor Kook gets decorated with something new and fun almost every month. And really, for that reason alone, I sort of love the Cardiff Kook. This is by far the best one yet: