Wednesday, October 22, 2008



I’ve been involved in cycling events for as long as I can remember. There are two memories that stand out for me when I look back and I guess if I really dig deep into the mental nooks and crannies I can say that they’ve shaped how I’ve come to look at events in general. The first one that jumps out at me was a what-was-then-called NORBA event in Traverse City, Michigan. I remember that the race was so much more than that – it was an event. The energy was unbelievable and you were left with no doubt that if you were a mountain biker, that Traverse City, on that weekend, was the center of the universe.

My weekend was highlighted by two notable experiences, both of which left indelible impressions on a short, pale and naïve kid from Wisconsin. First, there was a fit and tan women walking around all weekend with a shirt made of what I could only describe as the sort of fish netting that you might sea in the South Pacific. She was also bra-less. Possibly European. To this day I couldn’t tell you what her face looked like. Couldn’t pick her out of a crowd of two if I had to. What can I say? I was about 22 years old and still flailing about in the uncertain seas of huge testosterone surges. I was also sort of a drooling moron at the time (you could make a case that I still am, although it’s possible that I’ve been upgraded to ‘juvenile’.)

The other part of that weekend that sticks out for me was the fact that the night prior to the XC event I got caught up in the excitement of the weekend and the camaraderie of sharing one crappy hotel room with 15 other farting, belching and generally stinky recent post-adolescents. There was beer. There were drinking games. Being a Wisconsinite, there was credibility on the line. So I got hammered. Drunk as a chicken. I was so hung-over during my Sunday race that I’m pretty sure I got passed by a 12 year-old wearing clogs. I may have hallucinated that, but unfortunately for my ego I’m pretty sure that hippy freak middle-schooler owned me. My race experience was summed up at the finish line (yes, I finished) with the following words: “I’ve never wanted anything to end so badly in my life.” Then I was laughed at. By people claiming to be my friends. For years.

What these two memories underscore for me is that events at their best are experiential. When the stars align they give a participant much more than just an on-course experience. I don’t want to get all John Tesh-y here, but something that requires an over-the-top amount of commitment and sacrifice tends to get its mitts into your life in a systemic way. By living through the experience you generate memories. Of pain. Of triumph. Of good food. Or the lack of it. Of a particularly smelly fart. Of intense suffering and of rich reward. Of a woman with nice boobs, a staggering lack of modesty and no visible tan lines.

What started way back in over 20 years ago as a ‘sweeper’ for a local century ride turned into a full-immersion experience that’s defined my life and career. Over the past decade-and-a-half one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is living vicariously through the exploits of others, especially where it concerns bike racing. I like reading about other people’s experiences in the saddle and my guess is, so do you. So without further preamble, I give you “The Breck Epic Blogger’s Grant Program”. Or in other words, “Why use 10 words when 10,000 will do?”

So to bring a long and probably pointless intro to a merciful close; be funny. Be smart. Be informative or entertaining. Be all of those things. Or be none. We don’t care what you have to say…as long as it’s interesting. If that sounds like you, then sharpen your pencils and click on the “Blogger’s Grant Application” link to the right.

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