Would there still be a bike race in Philly this Summer if Bart Bowen won? Probably about the most inconsequential “what if’s” to ponder on inauguration day 2013, still, I’ve got to wonder if had Lance not won a million dollars in 1993 at the National Championships, what would cycling look like today? All the people that came to the sport inspired by Armstrongs triumphs, versus the disillusionment over how deeply tainted it turned out to’ve been, what will be the net effect?
Growing up in the Philly area as a bicycle obsessed kid the now cancelled race has been an annual touchstone for me for as long as I can remember. This is Eric Heiden winning the race in 1985 with a physique that begs the question of whether competitive cycling has ever been absent performance enhancing supplements, the spectator in the bottom right corner of the Photo with an arm raised is my Uncle Pat, my dad’s twin brother. So I guess I was 6 when the event started marking my years. I’d later find the MTB trails in Fairmount Park at the top of the Manayunk Wall and trials hop up the Museum Steps where the course went through the roundabout, my brother lived on the Fall from the Wall for a few years when I was in my early twenties and had the best weekend long parties that I can mostly remember, the City of Brotherly Love always put it’s best face on for the cyclists that descended upon it once a year.
Still haven’t been able to watch this, but things like the cancellation of a long running and all in all successful event like the old CoreStates Classic makes you wonder what the future of this sport is in the fallout of the Lance Armstrong Effect. Can something as quaint as a circuit race really be relevant anymore in the era of adrenaline overloaded sport anyway? The fact that berms and jumps will have to be incorporated into a road racing to turn out the crowds again is one of the many reasons I won’t build bikes that don’t accept fat tires, but still, sad to see the race I grew up with go. With more people riding bikes again in this country for all the right reasons it just doesn’t make sense that racing will just evaporate from the collective conscious of folks that love cycling and sport in equal measure, but it might be a while before corporate sponsors will see things that way. Races will keep happening though, even thinking of putting one on myself, and racers will continue to make HONEST sacrifices to excel at them. Budd Bike Works is a proud sponsor of one such young striver, I’m interested in seeing how Sean Pantellere’s crowd sourced season goes this year, sounds like he is on the right track, just need to talk some sense into him about the carbon fiber road bike he is considering.
I used to swoon over those made-in-China bikes with the fancy paint jobs, carbon, BB30s, and “lateral stiffness.” And then I met Matt Budd; who convinced me that a bike really is a tool, and not a jewel (but can still look damn sexy). Budd is a mad scientist in every sense of the phrase. I may be the owner of a bike dubbed the “Crux-Slayer” but Budd is creator, and the one who put his heart and soul into a bike that I believe is the best I’ve ever ridden.
In July, I gave the scientist a deposit and instructions to “do as you see fit.” I really had no other bits of advice for what I wanted. I just wanted the bike to represent its creator. As the only rider he had in the races, I wanted to best represent the man himself. In August, I laid eyes on the Pepto-pink machine. Much like a wild stallion, I had to corral it rather than force it to turn how I wanted it. This bike wasn’t going to learn me, I was going to learn it’s ways. As a duo, the bike and I fought a bit in the beginning but then during a muddy Gloucester, we came to an understanding; let the bike do as it does, and drive by feel. From then on, it was peaches and cream. to domination in the Cat3 fields of New England cyclocross
As I close out the 2012 cyclocross season, Budd Bike Works closes its doors. I’m honored to have ridden the bike in 33 races, to 3 wins, and my upgrade to a Category 2 racer. I couldn’t of asked for a better bike, better season, and better friend. So, if and when Budd opens his doors for business again, I’ll hopefully be ready to get my road bike.