spooky bikes

History Lesson Part II

Posted in Random by Mickey/SpookyBikes on November 15, 2010

Click on that banner up top to go too the e-closeout bin.  You will regret it if ya don’t

 

Matt and I loaded up the bus and headed out to Highland MTB park up in NH for closing day. Highland is one of those places where you ride a chairlift up and a mountainbike down. They’ve made a big investment there- the lodge was built with timber logged and milled on site. They’ve easily put a million dollars over the years into trail building and maintenance, and Mark, the owner has easily put more than a quadrillion of his own dollars into the mountain over the 4 years it’s been open.

Mark has done the right thing and hired a whole raft of UVM recreation management grads who just happen to be some of the best freestylers and downhillers in the country. They planted the seeds and grew things organically and this was truly a breakout season for them.

Highland has successfully created a venue to use the new breed of 150mm-160mm “trail” bikes to their full potential, and it’s been a huge boost for retailers in the Northeast. They built the park, tailored it around the bikes, and now the whole industry can reap the benefits of it.

The lift line is full of everything from 11 year old girls on 24″ wheeled full-suspension bikes and people with 15 year old v-brake hardtails to pro freestylers that have full-page ads in print magazines and there is terrain that gets the whole gamut stoked.

Matt and I spent the day riding with a really tight group of our friends. There were pro downhillers, pro XC riders, bike shop managers and bike biz media types and gaggle of 15 year old kids who’ve only been riding for two years that follow Matt around like Jesus. We could all ride the same trail, and we could all find ways to challenge ourselves. No one cried, and we never had to wait for more than a few minutes for the stragglers to catch on. Our emergent cabal was sporting everything from $8k World-Cup level downhill bikes to $1200 entry-level slalom hardtails.
So rad.
Even with record turnout Matt and I managed to get in about 18 runs. That’s about the equivalent, energy expenditure and intensity wise, as a CX race or two, but with more bruising. Matt and I had time to coach a few of the kids, and to see their jaws go drop when the dudes they were riding with sent crazy 360 backflips 35 feet in the air or tossed head-height roost shooting berms on the slalom track.

Highland is driving the re-integration of Northeastern mountainbiking and the 456 riders who bought tickets on Saturday are proof of that.

The mountain threw a season ending party in the lodge Saturday night that was fucking wild. That gives me more hope than anything about the future. If we can continue to develop the lifestyle end of the sport, with a more common shared culture and stoke-fueled bacchanalia it will create more opportunities for enterprising riders to start new businesses peddling casual wear and various and sundry other rider-owned microbussiness, ala skateboarding, bmx and snowboarding that use a common interest and a recognizable visual and cultural archetype to riff off of.

I want more parties. Lots of people bought me beer, which was much appreciated.

We crashed in the bus in the parking lot after hosting a bit of an after party inside of it and woke chipper and dehydrated in the morning with the intention of heading to Putney for my favorite CX race of the season.

We sold enough t-shirts on Saturday to cover some of our fuel for the weekend and anabsolutely awesome brunch Sunday morning in a vegan catering place located in an industrial park in Concord.

NH is a hell of a place. It was hard to believe that we were the “hippest” cats all up in that place. Families who appeared dressed for church were chomping on seitan and tofu and talkin’ ’bout Jesus. I scolded Matt severely for eating cupcakes for breakfast.

The West Hill shop race is exactly what CX should be. Only the elites had pit bikes, most of the bikes you saw were a few seasons old, and there is a bit of single track on the course. The officials didn’t have fancy cameras and there was an official calling out laps at the top of the (infamous) run up, who, I believe was deliberately trying to crush souls.

When the Quinns sold the shop a few years ago and the new owners expanded the shop to include things like heat and floors that weren’t made of dirt the shop tangibly lost it’s soul. I use Soul sparingly. It’s more played out than Epic, atmo.

The race is the same it’s always been, the core of the Putney club has been running the race since before I stopped wetting the bed (age 11) and that’s where the West Hill Shop lives on.

Those distinctive red and orange jerseys and the people who wore them built modern bike racing in America- from VeloNews to NORBA and the voice of god, Peter Graves, Putney is where the mythology of the world I grew up in, live in and love in germinated. It will always be smack-dab in the middle of my psyche as a holy place, like Dischord house in DC or The Minutemen’s San Pedro. It’s the Ghisallo of modern American bike racing, I don’t give a fuck what any one else says.

West Hill is a direct counterpoint to the evils unleashed by the 7-11 mafia and the sinister cabal that continues to lord over Colorado Springs and the American bike media like a tragi-comic and bumbling Wall-Street fueled Machiavelli.
They have a fucking sweet CX race to boot! Out of the 13 racers in the Elite men’s race more than half of them own at least one Spooky of some sort, according to my calculations. I cried. Putney is hallowed ground for me, and as such I go fucking nuts spectating there.

Y’all know I love my roots, and I’m proud of where I came from and no matter where you come from, if you are reading this right now, your roots are in Putney.

Exhort! Heckle! Most importantly, Love.

(and in about 3 weeks put your name on a waiting list for new road bikes)

_m

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4 Responses

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  1. J. Timm said, on November 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Darn straight! Two corrections, Colin and I are 16, and we’ve been riding for 5 years a piece. Anyways, It was sick to shred with you guys, and that end of day slalom sesh made my season! I got my cornering dialed better than any other time this season. I may be out in Western MA later this month with my XC and FR bikes, and a shovel…so if you have any spots that need fixin’ and ridin’ I’m more than ready to help out. Finally, Matt IS god! How dare you speak such heresy!

  2. Leroy said, on November 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    MINUTEMEN FOREVER. One of the reasons I actually got into riding bikes back in 1988. Living in the middle of nowhere, they were great examples of not caving into a scene, even punk rock. Met Mike Watt a few times. There is no more down-to-earth guy that will talk to nobodies like me for hours just to shoot the shit. Now I live in Brooklyn, but your Minutemen love has really pushed me over the top into getting a Spooky cx bike! Keep up the good work.

  3. Mickey/SpookyBikes said, on November 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Leeeroy.
    If ya want a cx bike, support the scene and pick one up right now. We’ve only have a few left until late next summer.
    I’m in the same boat as you… Punckrock saved my life, but it was ’93, not ’88.

    -m

  4. Leroy said, on November 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I’m old! I think my teammate, Norm, is working on something with you. Fingers crossed


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