Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Hogsback in Town

The dream began two years ago when I ran into Jesse Bell at the Iceman finish area. I knew him as an ice climber, so was a bit surprised to see that he had just blown my doors off in our 30-34 age group, placing second. As I wheeled my blown-out but loved bike to my van, I saw him again, getting ready to head back North. But wait, what was that gorgeous blue thing on his car? I stopped him to ask. Michigan made? Marquette? Sisu means what? Hmmm.

I had been admiring sexy custom bikes for years while living in mountain towns full of boutique rides. I'm a Dirt Rag fiend and love following the Handmade Bicicycle show reports; of course, I've always drooled over the Bell's team frames at the races. There's just something so right about riding a bike built by a guy whose sooty hand you can shake (did I just say that?), a guy you'd just love to hand a barley pop. After a look at Jesse's classy rig, I knew a Sisu was in my future. I checked out (great photos, by the way), started checking out this blog to see what the team was up to, and eventually started the process that led to the hot rod pictured.

Thinking about the races I like to do, I knew a hardtail would be enough. Barry-Roubaix, Yankee, Custer, Lumberjack, Iceman: all 29er courses, in my mind, but whether the White Bros. rigid will work for the NUE races I hope to add this year, is the question. I hope I can hammer epic rides on the carbon, as digging into forks, even adjusting forks, is not my idea of a good time.

NUE. Lumberjack is all I've done in the way of endurance racing, and it's really the highlight of my year. You wake up knowing you will spend all day on your bike, flying through the woods with hundreds of men and women who love it just as much as you. I've also been lucky to have my wife and dog as a killer pit crew. My eye is on Mohican and the Wilderness in Pennsylvania, but summers tend to get full of family, gardening, and other adventures. We shall see.

I was proud to sport the Sisu kit at Iceman this year and felt really good, my best race ever. Thanks to Jesse for the wheels and to Matt for getting them to me. I'm looking forward to meeting more of the Sisu crew this year and wish everyone many great rides.