|Because nothing says you've got "STREET CRED" quite as much as writing it on your bike.|
I remember, upon seeing this carcass that Bike Snob had mentioned this very bike back in 2009. Back then, the bike was still in its youth, frolicking with the other fixies and proudly displaying its long bullhorn bars to potential mates. Yes, in those glorious days, all it took was a paypal account to obtain "STREET CRED."
|A fine specimen|
But whereas in Philly, the measure of a man is STREET CRED, in Colorado, they use a different metric - Colorado Rad Units (CRUs). CRUs are determined by a person's ability to live in ColoRADo, their cycling palmarès (not to be confused with palmares), and their general ability to get RAD.
On this scale, Ned Overend rates 10 CRUs, because he once lived in Colorado and has an amazing list of wins on mountain, road, and cyclocross bikes. And he's RAD.
|Photo from retrobike.co.uk|
|Photo from bikerumor|
Not just because she's RAD and had a ton of wins, and is insane on the downhill, but also, because she was arrested in New York with 400 pounds of marijuana and nine cellphones in her car. This is worth 2 CRUs, all by itself.
Me, I have 0 CRUs. I don't live in Colorado, I don't have any racing palmolives, and I have a hard time with being RAD.
So, like a good nerd does when faced with any problem, I bought a book. Not just any book, but this book:
When I learned that one of the book's authors, Lee McCormac, was giving a skills clinic in Illinois, I jumped at the chance.
|Here, Lee and his twin brother demonstrate mountain bike triple-suspension tandeming. Picture from Lee Likes Bikes.|
So, I figured I could learn something from him.
I talked my buddy Peter into driving.
The great thing is that Peter has a minivan, so both our bikes fit in the back without the need for a rack. Honestly, I think his minivan is the main reason we're still friends.
|We went to a Mexican restaurant whose name translated into "the party ranch" or "the ranch party." It was neither.|
Anyhow, we joined a group of five people at the Farmdale Reservoir trails near Peoria Illinois. There are arround 15 miles of trails here. There's a little dirt jump park, sweet single track, and some little "fun dips" - gravity dips as the trail winds back and forth across a ravine. It even has a (Midwestern) downhill run. In short, it was the perfect place to do some skills training.
|Lee drops science|
|Paul (left) watches as Lee (foreground) demonstrates the proper way to fold a fitted sheet.|
Anyways, Lee spent an entire day with us. We learned how to "pump and screw," among other techniques. We even rode this little jump.
So, what did Lee teach me? Well, for one thing, that I suck, although I'm pretty sure I already knew that. And, honestly, he couldn't have been nicer about my general lack of awesomeness - he didn't mention it at all. For how much energy Lee has, he's surprisingly laid back. It was a great deal of fun to hang out and ride with him. But still, riding next to him and watching his skills, compared to my abilities, it was like shining a flashlight at noon.
What I really took away though was some fundamentals that I read from his book that I wasn't executing properly. In the last couple weeks I have been practicing, and I can already see improvements in my cornering speed, my ability to clear obstacles, and my overall speed. And I learned that I need to work on core strength and balance.
Not surprising, looking at the spare tire I'm carrying in this picture.
So did I pick up any CRUs? No. I still suck. But, thanks to Lee, I suck a little less.