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Friday, October 19, 2007

Speedvagen Part 1. The Backstory

Everyone who reads this blog, everyone who knows me, hell even a lot of people I'll never meet know I've got a Speedvagen. I've raved about it's potential, it's aesthetic, it's father, but now it's time to fess up. Does it live up to all the hype, expectations, exaltations? Bear with dear readers for 1st a little background.

I've been riding/racing a long time. Not as long as some, not as much as others, but I feel I've put in my time. I wrenched professionallyfor 12 years including some race support, messengered w/idiotic abandon, commuted diligently, raced poorly, blahblahblah and so on and so forth long enough to have given me the opportunity to ride/own lots of different bikes in varied situations. It's also taught me that while not everything new is better not everything new is evil either. Clipless is better, threadless headsets are better, disc brakes on cross bikes....um, er?. Carbon has a place (thought I'm not sure just where yet). I feel so extremely comfortable on a bike that it is an inseparable extension of me and who I am. For 30 years, my parents have asked me when am I going to stop racing. I'm 44 w/ two small children so I know what they're thinking. They still ask me. I finally told them "Never". *SIGH*. They are of a different generation. Anyway, for reasons which I've explained in the past, I LOVE cyclocross. I'm not great at it. I was always better at crits and track where a bit of smarts and luck can make up for a decided lack of genetics. I like it though because it's hard. Start to finish hard. I like it because it requires a perverse level of mental focus. I LOVE it because, well its cross. Part Circus Maximus (TM Monica), part self-mortification, part kid-friendly lollapalooza. Ahem,where was I? Oh yes, the Speedvagen, background...right. So my first cross bike was an Alan bought back in '91. I don't recall how I acquired it, but I had somehow gotten it in my head that driving 4 hours (each way!) to Chicago each weekend to race cross in the dead of winter would make for good cross training. Chicago cross is a blog unto itself but in a nutshell, that Alan was fine. Fast forward to 1999. I'm living in the bay area and haven't done a cross race since 1992. I find there are races right in my backyard, so I dust off the rig, toeclips and all, and proceed to scare the crap outta myself. The race has some crazy fast long bumpy descents and the forks on the ole aluminum death machine were no longer up to the task. Long story short, I find my way to Brent Steelman and treat myself to a real cross bike. It's been 7 years now and I'm on my 3rd Steelman. Brent is great and the bikes are a reflection. No nonsense, tough steel bikes, yet still light, responsive and clean. The man can torch. Brent, you will be missed. The latest incarnation is a Reynolds/Dedacciai mix w/ a nicely swagged downtube, thin-walled OS toptube and an alpha Q fork. I've been racing it for 5 year. I Love it. ............................It's now my pit bike.


Dave said...

Let's me see some pix, buddy.

tjh said...

many pics here...http://www.flickr.com/photos/68717261@N00/sets/72157602337759752/