spooky bikes

Who’s old now?

Posted in Uncategorized by Mickey/SpookyBikes on November 14, 2007

I was but a tender 17 year old who was supposedly responsible enough to be a counselor at a Jr. Mountain Bike Camp at Snowshoe, WV in 1997. The only other people who were there getting paid besides me were Gunnar Shogren (see above) and Floyd Landis. Gunnar was fresh from filming his EPIC part (like totally the best MTB video part ever… heli-cam footage, Mullets, Joe Parkin!) in Chainsmoke.

Gunnar was, at the time, surfing the wave of wonderful confusion, hype and anxiety of the’90’s mtb racing world. It was a lot like middle school looking back at it, and not just because I was in middle school… Being a pro on the DBR at the time was totally legit. When your teammates are winning olympic medals and world cups, and you are winning every local race, you are legitimately a baller. The balling life was close to finished for nearly everyone in the bike game, and the realities of six figure race team salaries for companies with six figure sales numbers hit the wall. My definition of the “balling life“; Making almost as much as a manager at McDonald’s…

I think it was through Gunnar’s Dirtrag column that I first really got a taste what the life of a competent bike racer was like. Wear 2 sweaters in the winter to stay warm because you can’t afford the heating bill and shivering helps to stave off the pounds, drink coffee more than reasonable, and whenever you can get to Northampton Ma and bask in the glory of ladies with short hair and cyclocross. Living where I lived, I knew no pro bike racers, and I knew that not everyone was rolling around in money like Tomac or Juli Furtado. Before I knew my local yeoman pro’s like Eric Lemaire, Caloi’s finest, i felt like i knew Gunnar through his Dirtrag column, and I began to get a feeling for what being a bike racer is really like. Shabby glamour, scrounging and settling with discomfort in all spheres to enable living life to the fullest on the bike.

I never did become a shabby-chic pro, but i live like one. Thanks Gunnar

Gunnar writes like a fucking stallion, rides like he means it, and still has a sweet haircut. Somehow, through some miraculous process that seemed to involve a skid contest in a cafeteria at the aforementioned Snowshoe Camp, I ended up with my head shaved into a sweet male pattern baldness job… He’s called me “Gramps” ever since. Not even sure if he knows my real name any more, but now he knows I care…

On Floyd;

1. Will Geoghan was not present…

2. He did pass Chris Brown, Gunnar and I on the first lap on the longest climb doing a wheelie.

2.5 He once passed Gunnar and Fergie, pulled out a harmonica, and played competent delta blues while riding away.

3. He did have the most laid back disposition of anyone at the camp, including the bears out by the dumpsters

It was becoming obvious to people who remember late-90’s Floyd that he had started to slip a little on the sanity front leading up to the 2007 tour. Jamie and I definitely had a conversation sometime in June of that year that interviews we had been reading with Floyd started sounding like a man who would do anything and everything to win the Tour. It was disconcerting, to say the least and we both decided that he had given into the “ways of evil” that were no doubt inculcated in him by the structure of his former team…

He was still Floyd though, and how can you not be a Floyd Landis fan? Until July 19 2006 I had shunned the tour ever since the other jerk from Texas ruined it with his Ugly American mentality. When Floyd was first in yellow, i was non-plussed. It is probably all the French in me, but I always like 2nd place, the underdog, those who struggle and suffer, the little guy. Floyd rolled into the race like a cowboy, and then had a wonderful fizzle. I watched attentively on the web the morning of July 19 and a frantic joy grew inside of me. My phone rang constantly, and eventually I ran out to watch the end of the stage. A lot has been said about the “balls” in the interim, by pundits both clueless and not, about Androgel, ‘roid rage and all sorts of other craziness. But;
Let me break it down for you –

We watch and follow sport because it emotes things deep inside of us. We do sport for much the same reason. Ultimately we humans view sport because it represents the struggle of existence in a way that is safer and easier to analyze, embrace and discuss than Somali Pirates, “freedom fighters” and hunger. It can be marketed, packaged and sold in a way that fits with the aims of the mass culture industry.

Sheer and Utter Balls-Out Transcendence is a very rare thing and Floyd’s ride that day is to me, and a few hundred thousand other people around the world, THE sporting moment, the most fundamentally earth shattering thing that we will ever be even tangentially aware of. I can’t even begin to think of an allegory I can draw between the sporting significance of that ride and it’s equivalent in art, politics or general human existence. As an atheist I may not ever be able to.

It doesn’t matter to me that Floyd got busted for T, that a little slimy Spaniard just got a yellow jersey, or that there is less sponsorship money now in cycling because of this whole mess.

I think anyone with a brain understands how elite-level bike racing works. No Omerta necessary. I don’t like it as much as the next guy, but the pressure to succeed is just too damn strong, and the mind of the racer is far too often polluted with ketones to even function on a rational level. It is a filthy, but level playing field, just like the real life plane of existence we all operate in every day.

Thanks Floyd!

I posted the above video to remind you kids… Reflectors aren’t just a good idea, they are the law.Also, go check out some frame info on the LOOT page. Maybe you want to buy some?_Mickey

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One Response

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  1. mtbdee said, on November 15, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    The simple fact that Floyd could kick so much ass on that Manipoo SX Ti proves he never cheated. That thing was like a rigid fork with a bailout option. We used to play Chainsmoke non stop in the shop I was working at back in the day. People would actually watch XC riding on video 10 years ago.

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