Friday, May 27, 2016

I am a Dirt Bag

I am a Dirt Bag. It has been a life goal. Or a mantra. Not sure at this point. You probably wouldn't think I was a Dirt Bag if you met me. You would think I look pretty "normal" Rugged good looking perhaps but not a Dirt Bag. Kidding about the good looking part obviously. I shudder when I see photos of myself. But I digress. Why do I consider myself a Dirt Bag? My parents were reluctant hippies. My dad was about as WASPY as they come. Grew up in Chestnut Hill. My Grandfather was an Army surgeon. Harvard educated. I went to the Chestnut Hill Country Club in a little man suit every Sunday. So how in the hell could I turn into a Dirt Bag and not a Lawyer or some other suitable gentlemanly pursuit?

The 60s happened. My parents like I said were wannabe hippies. They could never be true hippies as like I said dad was deeply trust funded and that would never go down. My mom was from a broken Irish home and worked her ass off to get through Nursing school to make a better life for herself and her family. But the ideals of hippies mattered to them. The music which I hated. The views which I took on by osmosis. We did lots of hippie type stuff. I grew up fairly non-traditional in a traditional setting which has it upsides and downsides. Around high school things sort of headed off track and fully to the Dirt Bag lifestyle. I quit hockey for karate. I went deep into the rabbit hole of eastern thought. I went to Art School. I windsurfed and dreamed of actually surfing. 

I took my High School graduation money and booked a trip to Maui from the back of a windsurf magazine. It was like I woke up from a bad dream when I landed in Maui and found my true self. But I hadn't accepted the Dirt Bag lifestyle yet. I didn't get it. I didn't get that you could just drop the fuck out and surf. My ties to my family and obligations to them would never allow that anyway but a boy can dream. The ocean and dojo became my salvation. When I returned from Hawaii things would never be the same. I probably should have dropped out of Art School and figured shit out. But as a true Dirt Bag I went all in and while registered as an "Illustration Major" I basically was a painter. I studied painting and figure drawing non-stop. But I was a crappy art student. My heart and soul was on the ocean. Every chance I could get I would take off and go windsurfing. Its not a cheap sport. I drove a beatdown Subaru that was barely worth what one sail would cost. I don't really remember eating or partying. Those things really weren't important. When I wasn't windsurfing I was hightailing it up to Boston to study Kung Fu now in South Station. I am not sure what my parents were thinking. But the roots of my life as a Dirt Bag were forming.

I somehow graduated. No idea how. I waited for my girlfriend to graduate UMASS while working in a Hospital. I would go to work with two black eyes, cracked ribs, split lips. No one asked too many questions about it. It was Boston after all. Once Pam graduated we packed my jeep with our possessions and headed West to SF. We had debated between Laguna Beach and SF for a while. Pam has two brothers. One lived in Laguna and one in SF. It was sort of like how Charlie Sheen's character was pulled in two directions in Apocalypse Now. We settled on SF because Laguna just felt too nice. And too focused on money. SF had soul. But Laguna is damn pretty. We made the right choice. Thank god we moved to SF.

The reality of moving to SF with a Jeep, 2k in cash and a microwave and zero prospects for work was some lifestyle shifts had to occur. The windsurfer was sold. Kind of crushing but rent had to be paid. Martial Arts was too expensive so that went out the window. I worked three or four jobs. Bartender at night, brunch place in the am, intern at a magazine in the design department when I could get the hours. Luckily, I had some actual design experience from when I was in High School. Art School gave me zero skills for the actual work force. What a shocker. The magazine I worked for was called California Bicyclist. It was a free regional rag that's strength was events. This was pre-internet. Finding races and events wasn't easy. We had a pretty huge circulation for a regional magazine.

My Dirt Bag lifestyle was about to go on steroids. The sport of mountain biking was created by Dirt Bags. Literally. They lived like surf bums or ski bums but on bikes. They lived hard. Meeting and riding with the founders of mountain biking was an eye opener. I was hooked. It was the closest thing to surfing I had a ever done. My first bike was a Bridgestone Mb-3. I coveted the Mb-0 but didn't have the funds to pull that off.

So what is all the point of this? The point is the outdoors sports media seems to be romanticising and monetizing the Dirt Bag lifestyle. I went on a bit of an internet tirade about a certain video that was posted that literally made my head want to explode. I am not trying to be one of those old dudes who are like you have no idea how it was in the day! My point is the Dirt Bag lifestyle exists right now. But it does not require one to be an Instagram celebrity. The Dirt Bag lifestyle can be freeing. Being shackled to a super phone and curating an instagram feed is not freedom. Nor is it aspirational or inspirational. It is a mockery of why Dirt Bags "invented" mountain biking. A legion of surf bums, ski bums, climbers, fly fisherman have led this lifestyle for decades. It is not without its dark side. But if you choose the Dirt Bag lifestyle the rewards are endless. The greatest one to me is just freedom. End of rant

Monday, May 23, 2016

SSCX is Coming

In the good old days when CX was a niche sport we didn't even think about CX until say around Sept 1st. Maybe August 1st if you were "serious" Newsflash. No one was serious. It was sort of an oddball offseason thing to do. My first exposure to early season training races was the DFL Cross Dressing Series. It was as the name would imply the opposite of serious. But CX is serious business now. The Zank SSCX series was created as a safe haven/counter point to all the crazy stressed out races a CX racer does in a CX season in the NECX. 

This season will be our sixth season running the series. That is an incredible feat. The fact this started out as a drunken idea at Thom Parson's family farm and morphed into what it is today is an exclamation point that people still do in fact like fun!

Fatmarc gave me my CX wake up call. Virtually of course. He posted a 2016 CX schedule. It is a bit early for me. I almost hit the snooze button. But when Fatmarc speaks I listen. So without further ado here is the 2016 Zank SSCX series presented by Mad Alchemy! It is preliminary. Meaning things could change. I found most of my info on the NEBRA webpage. We have 11 races this year. Some notable changes. We may want to add one or two more. If you are a promoter and are curious email me. If you are a racer and have feedback leave it in the comments section or email me. Thanks

The 2016 Zank SSCX series p/b Mad Alchemy:

9/11-Quad CX
9/11-Hartford CX
9/17-CX at White Park
9/18-Sucker Brook
9/28-Midnight Ride of CX
10/9-MRC CX
10/22-Hanover CX
10/29-Cheshire CX
11/5-Paradise CX
11/6-West Hill CX
12/10-Ice Weasels-The Macdaddy of all SSCX series finale

As in year's past all are welcome on a singlespeed bicycle. How you make that pedal bike single speed or one gear is your business. We defer to each promoter on all rules, staging and time slotting of each respective event. We usually bring our little bag of tricks and offer our own podium prizes. We encourage equal "payouts/prize money" to both men and women. We encourage beginners and those new to SSCX. We welcome all racers to try SSCX. The series points are tallied in the old Verge series point system. At the season finale we have a HUGE raffle. The grand prize each year is a custom built Zanconato steel or alloy frame. Racers accrue raffle tickets for each race they attend. 

We look forward to another rad season of SSCX! Get those bikes ready people. I know its full on MTB and gravel season but start looking through the parts bin. At least wash the mud off the SSCX bike from last year's Ice Weasels! We will have more announcements soon. We have lots of rad ideas cooking right now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I like singlespeeds. Not as a political statement or as some kind of secret handshake but just because I like them. I have been racing single speed mountain bikes for as long as I can remember. I have a love/hate relationship with it. But Singlespeed-A-Palooza is ALL love. 100%. Singlespeed mountain bike racing is brutal. Going from couch to SSAP is probably not a smart life choice. But sometimes you are dealt the hand you are dealt and you make the best of it. SSAP was the 5th ride on my recently converted SS Zank 29er. The beauty of my Zank is it is super easy to go back and forth between SS and geared. But you of course have to actually swap it over and not be a lazy couch surfing slacker like I have been all winter. SSAP is one of those events you plan for and get stoked for months in advance. The race itself sells out in hours once reg goes live on Super Bowl Sunday. Most people are excited to see Tom Brady chest bump Gronk. I am posed over my computer with an itchy trigger finger waiting to get into my favorite race of all time. I am excitable. Lots of things are my "favorite of all time" But when I say SSAP is my favorite race of all time it is. No other race even comes close. 

Photo by Rosey

What makes it so rad? First and foremost the people. The Mayor and Dark Horse cycles put the race on. The staff and volunteers are amazing. Honestly the best mtn bike race in the known Universe. How did the results go at your last race? Race results are instantaneous. And for a party race never are screwed up. Podiums happen within minutes after the DFL rider finishes. And that rider is celebrated. Actually every rider is. I have never seen so many supportive volunteers and staff in my life. So much cheering and cowbell. Upon finishing the race there is a BBQ and tapped kegs right next to the finish. And ice cream. ICE CREAM? Do you know how many ice creams 20 Pound Skull had last year? Like 5. I wasn't there last year to see it but its impressive. Nice payouts. Sick trophies. Primes to all fields. Everyone races the same course and distance. EVERYONE is on singlespeeds. There is nothing worse than racing on a SS and having to carve through geared riders. You really can not spin on a SS. So when the whole field is cracked people still have to use torque and momentum. Or walk. You have three speeds on a SS. Sitting. Standing. And Walking. 

The other single most awesome thing about SSAP is the people. Hands down. Its like a reunion for me. Some people I see all year round and it is a great excuse for a Zankcation. But its all the other people you only see once a year or at these types of events. And Shoogs in top of that list. I LOVE Shoogs. Randy is one of those friends who just brings everyone together and is always so positive it is infectious. He and about seven other riders rode from Hartford, CT to the race. Sure a nice 100 mile road ride on SS Mtb is the best openers possible for a 28 mile mountain bike race! But the whole point of SSAP and the #singlespeedlifestyle is to live LARGE. To grab life and not let go and live it to the fullest. Anyone worrying about openers or being too tired to race probably is at the wrong race. Guess how many trainers I saw in the parking lot? ZERO. Next year at the Zank SSCX series I am handing out code of conduct fines for people warming up on trainers at a single speed race. 

Photo by 20 Pound Skull

So back to Shoogs and his posse! Shoogs indeed has a posse and his friends made some amazing stickers to commemorate the ride and celebrate Shoogs in general. I got so many hugs and so many stickers it was beyond belief. It became a pretty fun tagging game all weekend. I tagged the airport dinner bathroom. I laughed when I saw Todd's montage above with my handiwork. Each year we have done SSAP we have rolled with a great crew of HUP/Zank and other folks from New England. And as my good friend Liz pointed out NY is NOT the NECX. I sometimes forget that. And its funny how so many of my good friends are from NY and I just assume they are part of the NECX. They are in my mind but I get it. I have always been pretty drifty with my attention to detail and silly things like geography! 

There was much back and forth about who was going, where they were staying etc. We settled into a nice Zank crew. Rosey, Todd P, Myette and me. We packed four Zank 29er SS into the van and headed south. Newburgh, NY is how do you say this nicely? Ummm sort of sketchy I guess. Sort of a mix of Kentucky and just biker gang chic with a touch of urban decay for good measure. It is always fine. The actual race venue is fantastic. And the area around Stewart Forest is nice and safe. But the hotels we have stayed in the past are way too murdery for me at my age. I like being this age so I can say " I am too old for this shit" So we flexed some Gold Member Marriot Elite points and got a baller suite. It was by far the nicest place I have stayed down there. We always joke about the strip club called Paradise Island that is right across from the Airport Dinner where we always eat before the race. No sane person would step foot into that strip club is all I am saying. 

We got down to Stewart Forest in time for a pre-ride. Dark clouds were on the horizon. Literally. We had been stalking our weather apps the whole drive down and it was going to be tight. The ride window looked good. But the possibility of flying monkeys coming out of the sky were high. We met Will Crissman and Liz Lukowski in the parking lot and the six of us rolled out. Most times when you pre-ride a race course you scout for the hole shot or maybe the finish. You do stuff to ensure your success. SSAP is a race make no mistake. But the course is meant to be enjoyed. The trails are perfect on a SS. They are a great mix of roller coaster tech and flowy single track. So we got a bit excited and just shredded. We definitely rode for too long and went way too hard. Chasing Will Crissman is never a good idea. But it is a ton of fun. So YOLO why not. The course was so tacky from the recent rain. There were definitely some deep mud puddles and some standing water. Some cheater lines were going to be necessary to survive. We found out back in the parking lot that Liz's fork had blown the damper. She basically was running a '90s era Mag 21 with about 20 mm of non-functional travel. 

That night we went to the Newburgh Brewery which was a HUGE upgrade over the old restaurant we used to go to called the Cauldron. The Cauldron was like something out of Blue Velvet and it always felt like we were seconds away from getting into a bar fight or shot. The Newburgh Brewery was fantastic. Such a great space. Beer was fantastic. Food was great. And again the company was top notch. So many hugs from Shoogs and his posse. So many people bought or gave me beers I stopped counting. But as I was driving I would hand them to Todd and Liz. I swear it wasn't part of my race strategy. Ok maybe a little. Todd P or 20 Pound Skull is one of my long time friends here in the NECX. I have known him, ridden with him, raced with him and gone on so many adventures with him. We have a bit of a "rivalry" going. Not really as we are so closely matched but maybe that is what makes it fun. It is almost scary how closely matched we are. There have been a few times, namely in cross, when he has gotten way faster than me. But for the most part we stay pretty even. I love riding and racing with him.

At the brewery the Farm to SSAP crew rolled in. They had been riding for 12 hours. Twelve. Through a pouring rain. But they were all smiles. These people get it. More beers. More hugs. Cross Jesus was so jacked. His plan on Sunday was to not race but to ride around and cheer people on and be a great cheerleader. It is a tough race. He is a CHAMPION for doing that. Its one of those races were people actually cheer each other on during the race. Its too hard to just go into race mode and get your game face on. So we all line up on Sunday. I am sort of nervous but not really as Shoogs is trying to get me to drink whiskey out of a flask. Have I mentioned its 9 am? I am slightly hungover but not too bad. My legs are feeling like concrete blocks. And 3 miles of gravel road at 140 rpm are not really making them loosen up. Each bump up in the road gives sweet relief from the hamster wheel. I settle into a group as as we hit the first single track. SSAP is a great mix of awesome single track and gravel road. The gravel roads are actually nice as a way to eat and drink and get a quick recovery.

I am doing my usual SSAP jam. Shred the single track. Keep repeating the "No Brakes" mantra. On a SS, well any mtb really, you have to use momentum. Momentum is your friend. Its why I like SS. You learn so many great habits. And unlearn some really bad ones. Gears make you lazy. You can settle into stuff with gears. Not with one gear. So I am feeling pretty good. In a good group. Then I get to one of my favorite trails in Stewart called White Cloud. Its a nice single track that pops up for a bit then roller coasters down. It is "technical" in a sense but not really. It was blazed with three down arrows which to me means look out there is a cliff ahead. I guess I am conditioned to some of the stuff around my house that literally feels like it is trying to kill you. Just as I am heading in I hear Aumiller. He yells out "CHIP WAIT DUDE I AM COMING LETS SHREDDED!!!!" Then I hear his bike bell. And his saying "excuse me" "pardon me" "Coming through" and "I am not racing I just want to shred with my friend"

I can only imagine what the train of dudes thought as he went through them like butter. I was laughing so hard I literally almost fell off my bike. He gets up to me right as we get over the top of the climb. He is not even remotely breathing hard. He is like "dude, you are riding so much better than those dudes." "your skills are way better than those guys" I was so stoked to see Utah. We FLY down White Cloud. At total warp speed. His hoots and hollers just kept me pushing the limits. I almost got a bit too rad a few times but the bike stayed upright. We caught up to Thea and formed a little group of radness. We chit chatted for a bit and then popped into another awesome trail. I saw a rock wall up ahead and decided to air it out. I am not really a rad rider. My skills are better but I usually stay with both wheels on the ground at all times. So I hit the rock wall and try and do my best Thom Parsons rad skills session. Well I clearly must have hit the wrong rock or maybe pulled to much on the left grip because I am now pretty high in the air but my bike has done a tail whip and the entire bicycle is now sideways. Before I realize my error I hit the ground like I am sliding into first base head first. Luckily I somehow eject off the bike use it as a steel shield and roll into the grass without a mark on my body.

We all laugh our asses off. And continue to shred the great trails. Utah peels off to go find more friends and hand out beers he has packed into his bag. I pin it and try and catch up to 20 Pound skull. At the midway point beer stop I see Todd! Finally! He looks at me like he as seen a ghost! And takes off. Oh buddy, I thought we were going to hang out? I think he had been there for a while. I grab a beer. Say hi to some people. High five people coming through. Then get back on it. Things are starting to come a part. Couch to SSAP coupled with yesterdays hammer fest and some poor planning is starting to take its toll. Ok maybe my tail whip to body slam is affecting me. My legs are starting to complain. Basically saying "fuck you Chip and your bad life choices!!!" And I forgot my endurolytes. That was a huge mistake. I take on gu shots and try and hydrate but its becoming apparent my legs are not happy. So I go into CX survival mode. I get off and run/walk stuff that maybe I could have torqued up. But I start getting some leg cramps that are just a hair below rigamortis. I have had bad leg cramps before but these are weird. Its like an electric charge is going through my it bands. I am like well if I die at least I die at SSAP.

Then a Dark Angel/Valkryie appears in the form of none other than Anne Rock! Anne Rock is a LEGEND. And one of the most awesome people on the planet. We ride the last five miles together. I almost ride over her at one point because I am so out of my mind and took a high side over a rock wall and dropped in almost on her head. Thank god for XT brakes. Is it possible you can bend time when you are bonking on a SS mtb? I think you can. I felt a bit like I was riding a 29er in the Matrix. People kept telling me "you are almost there!" "Great job!!" Yeah this isn't my first rodeo people. No one was giving me any actual numerics. No one said distance or time. Or what was up ahead. As you can tell I obsessed over the course and had it loaded in my garmin...hahhaha that is funny. 

So when I pop out onto a gravel road and realize it is the finishing straight I get a second wind and kick it into the finish. 2:40:34. The EXACT same time as Todd. How is that even possible? Some kind of SSAP time warp I think.

What an amazing weekend. High fives to everyone. Next year we are bringing an even bigger posse. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This and That

I am usually pretty good about keeping this blog up to date. But I have been pretty bad lately about posting. So today's post is going to be a "throw it at the wall and see if it sticks approach" Last time I posted was around Good Friday. Did Jesus punish me for my sacrilege? Probably. The whole Jesus just loves us and is the Happy Jesus is probably inaccurate I mean just look at the world right? Shit Joan of Arc heard God's call and saved France. How did that work out for her? This totally random analogy will make sense later. I promise. So let's get this party started. I am damn lucky. I have said that on many an occasion. I have some of the best friends a person could have. The Zank crew are special. Never really had a crew like this before. Which is saying something considering all the cool friends I have had in my rich life. We don't get to see each other enough. #dadlife, work, etc gets in the way. But Zank had a get out of jail free card and we weren't going to waste it!

We assembled the Justice League and headed to Sutton. The trails out there are some of my favorites. Technical but with a great flow to it. Makes you a better rider. Michele (adopted Zank team rider for the day), Utah, MRR (celebrity guest), Rosey, Myette and Zank met up at a secret Zank location and headed into the woods. Sadly Suzie could not join us. Its not easy being a trail dog. Sometimes you end up on the IR. The assembled Zank mtn bikes would have made a damn fine handbuilt show I will say that. Two SS, one 27.5 and one 29er.

Myette led the way and set a sick route. It was probably the hardest 15 mile ride of my life. But so perfect. Afterwards we sat down and ate pancakes. Exchanged hugs and said our goodbyes. Friends like this are what make life amazing. I honestly don't know any other "hobby" that brings people together like this. We are damn lucky to live the biker life.

On to our next hashtag.  #dadcation was just a concept at first. Myette asked me if I wanted to take a road trip on the kids school vacation. Like all things #CBL I was all "hell yeah" But like most things in the #CBL unless fire alarms are going off or kids are puking it is sometimes hard to pin me down to commit to something. We exchanged a bunch of emails and texts. DC. Portland, ME. All kinds of ideas. After about the 10th email Myette took the bull by the horns and found a sick Air BNB in Quebec. When he sent me the link I was like no way is this place for real. I have seen a lot of Chevy Chase movies. I have seen both European Vacation and EuroTrip. I did not want to end up in the Vandersexxx Erotic Club with the wrong safe word.

But reading the AIR BNB page it looked legit. Yes, alarm bells were going off in my head but how bad could it be. The beauty of a #dadcation is you have two dads. Shit goes bad dads can figure it out. Oh, what is a #dadcation? It is possible a few of my readers are unfamiliar with this term. Its when two dads ( I guess there could be more than two) take their kids on vacation without the wives. This is probably terrifying to most dads. Dads nowadays are way more involved with the kids and day to day kid care. A generation ago kids would die, go missing, dads would be arrested or all of the above if two dads attempted to take their kids on vacation without the wives. How would the kids eat? Who would clean? How would I get "me time?"

All these options were still on the table of course. But I have known Myette for a long time. His kids are awesome. My two kids have spent a fair amount of time with them. But they haven't spent 4 days in another country together. Or 14 hours in a van together. I honestly wasn't worried. Which probably is just my nature. We packed the #manvan up to the gils and headed to Quebec. Have I mentioned I have never been to Canada? Luckily Myette and Zoe both speak good French. I was an exchange student in Paris when I was 16 so I was pretty confident I could dust off the old Francais and be able to communicate.

The first thing I asked Myette as we left. Ok second. First was do you (and I) have the passports. Second was do we need notes from our wives to take our kids out of the country? I was actually not kidding. I think he thought I was joking. We basically stopped at every Dunkins on the drive through NH. I think the kids were worried about withdrawal. We stopped in Newport, VT for our last breathe of American air before leaping into the Abyss. Could two dads handle 4 kids in another country for 4 days without losing the kids? The checkpoint was super easy. The second I hit the boarder I started channeling Super Endurance Guy. Super. Became get the idea. Having never been in Canada and being an ugly American I assumed that once we popped into Canada it would just be an extension of VT. Mountains, green etc. No. Not all all you ugly american pig dog. Imagine the Badlands. Or Watsonville, CA. Throw in Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome. It was hilarious. The first truck stop we stopped at was bizarre. It looked like a 7-11 was taken over by some type of Texas Chainsaw Massacre family. Full on taxidermy everywhere. Wolf pelts. Bears. The kids went crazy. And bought so many Kinder Surprise eggs I was sure they would be puking within 5 miles from the station.

What is a Kinder Surprise egg? You can't handle Kinder Surprise eggs! Ok imagine a cadbury creme egg without the creme. In the hollow creme area is a plastic container that houses a toy. Yes, I get it. Oh my god the children. They will all swallow the toy and DIE!!! No one. And I mean no one could swallow this yellow toy holder. America is stupid. We deserve Kinder Surprise eggs. Actually never mind. In light of the current political climate it is a good thing Kinder Surprise eggs aren't in American cause so many kids would die.

But I digress. Quebec was incredible. My new favorite city in the world. I want to move there and open a Cat Cafe. The beer is amazing. The history and euro flavor are incredible. It is WALKABLE! We parked the car for four days and never used it. We walked 10-14 miles a day. Ok the first climb up the murder stairs almost killed Syd. Pretty ironic considering she is the "athlete" in the family. The kids loved it. Such good food. They got to shoot guns. Ok AirSoft guns but guns. It was probably the most surreal moment of the trip. Four kids ages 15, 14 and two 11 year olds who have never touched a gun in their life. The each get a gun. Air propelled plastic bb but legit replicas. None of them need any instruction. Safeties off, full auto shooters stance. Pop, pop, pop. America is safe from the Zombie Apocalypse my friends. Thank you first person shooter games.

Ok on to the next topic. #RailTrail or save the trails or what have you. Trails, woods, Rail Trails are all dear to my grinchy heart. I haven't been on an actual road ride in about 4 years. Other than the annual VT trip with Pam to the Equinox in which we ride road bikes I always take the CX bike and do park to park rides. I am lucky in that there are so many good parks, woods and paths near my house. I can do a 40 mile loop on a CX bike that is about 80% trail. Needham just began a rail trail project that will open things up even more for me. A small section is done and it is fantastic. Cuts out two busy roads for me. Since it has been finished there are so many people on it. Not swarms but way more people are on bikes and in the woods than before. The concept was to take the trail from Newton Lower Falls to Medfield. It would be incredible. Dover is sandwiched in between Needham and Midfield and have always been against this idea. But I started seeing Rail Trail signs pop all over Dover. And at first the signs were only Vote Yes! I was blown away. 

I paid close attention to it. The Vote No signs started popping up. But were definitely in the minority. On May 2 the town voted and it passed! So psyched. Dover deserves a high five! Please, please thank the Town of Dover and its residents for approving this. Be nice. Be good ambassadors. This is one step in what will be a really great thing for the area. It will get so many people out on bikes and outside. 

 On the topic of trails. Cutler as you know is being impacted by a major highway project. Basically the highway is being widened and a highway exchange is being added to Kendrick Street in Needham. I am all for progress. And it helps Needham to have corporations moving to town. But It has worried me. It makes me nervous as far as how cyclists egress and ingress to Needham and Dover on the road will be impacted and it makes me nervous how the trails will be impacted. Some of the trails have already been graded over. It is a bummer. But there are some really great people working to ensure Cutler is preserved and improved. I spoke with the Chairman of the Needham Town Council last week. He had some really great news and is pro-Cutler. It was so great to hear his thoughts and bounce ideas off of him. In the coming months and year we will be working with DCR, Needham, NEMBA and local people and organizations to make Cutler even better than before.

We took a quick recon ride last Saturday and talked about ways we could improve it and make it better. If you have any ideas or want to help please reach out.

Singlespeed-a-Palooza is coming fast. Fairly frightened. I am in about the worst shape of my life right now. Bizarre winter and bronchitis have just set me back. I am just accepting it and trying to ride and at least be healthy and fresh for it. The Zank is back in SS stealth mode. My first ride on it after about a year on a SS Mtb was with Thom P. It was hilarious. Much hijinx. It is a blast. But DAMN ITS HARD! SSCX is one thing. But a Mtb? On technical east coast trails? Holy shit I forgot how hard it is. Sooooo much torque! Second ride was with Utah who was on his new 27.5+ bike packing rig. We were a motley crew I will say that. I could tell he wished he was on his Zank....Ok we are pretty much caught up. A ton cooking. I will try and be better about posting. Keep the plastic side up and the rubber side down til next time...