JP in the House
Wisdom should reckon with the unforeseen.
Q: What was the first singlespeed mountain bike you ever owned and how did that come to be?
A: My Steve Potts pink, drop bar Phoenix was retro’d with a little thing in teh back to hold chain tension. Steve (Gravy) Gravenitis did it for me…. And owing to this bike’s age (16 years) I ‘won’ the old bike contest at SS@C 08. Prise: a Mike DSLavo bike! He said he can make me one to my spec…wow.
Q: When did you first really ride a singlespeed on trails
A: At SSWC 05 in Pennsylvania, the one put on by the great Eric Roman, who is now studying fine art fotography. I borrowed a Rock lobster. My friend Paul Sadoff needed to get a bike out to the amazing MOMBAT (no shit, a museum with the acronym Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology) so he shipped it East for me to use, then we took it to Statesville NC where Jeff Archer’s “First Flight” bike shop /museum is located.
Q: What was your first race in Durango? Where was it and how did you do?
A: Some where on the ledges in private (to be developed by the Evil Empire I was telling you about..It might have been called Edgemont Ranch, but don’t recall). It was about 1986 and of ourse I won by a mile. We were (thank god) still all mass-starting)
Q: What was the last race you did in Durango? How did you do and why was it the last?
A: Mtn Bike WOrld Champioinships 90. I had to come at the last second to be able to succeed in the race, so I missed all the little festivities, (big parade in stadium, a pseudo-Olympic pomp thing that ws mostly for the benefit of the corporates at Coca Cola, etc…) This means that the big fat kit that all the national team members got (embroidered Patagonia goodies) that was my ‘pile’ was …lifted by someone since I wasn’t there. And I’m not inthe national team pic. which is a pity but everyone is in uniform (see pic at the Outdoorsman, John can show you) so I would have stuck out in polka dots. Or mr promoter would have prevented me from being in the pic. He forced me (under threat of denying my bronze medal) to put on that nat/ team jersey over my white dress.. must scan the picture! Any way, I will come to Durango ANY TIME I”M INVITED> Oops. I just remembered. I have been to Durango to teach a wombat camp in 2000 or so. But um, that wan’t a race.
Q: What place did you finish at last years event in Napa? Did you like the course?
A: Someone kept track of finish order, didn’t they? I came in so far back they stopped counting! Me and Jon Meredith crossed the line together, hand in hand. It was one of my coolest finishes ever.
Q: What do you think about during a race now as compared to 25 years ago when you were the fastest chick on fat tires?
A: Fastest woman? When I was winining everything, I often noticed that “this hurts, but I can survive that”. ALL THE TIME there were guys that were bumming that I could out-ride them, so I’d have these micro-competitions within the race, like: Stay behind this guy, he’s getting erratic, riding over his head, even though I disguised my breathing he knows it’s me coming. A fraction of the men racing were so flipping sexist that when they were beaten by me they deciided that was when it was time to hang up their racing number. And my dear friend CK is one of those people. He’s a dear friend, and he had to quit racing because a ‘chick’ beat him. But back to the scenario: guy riding beyond his ability…gonna crash, and I want to get around (we are assuming single track here)…he crashes, I’m far enough back not to get entangled, and zip around him with a quick “SORRY!” (–that I affected your judgement, sir). There were times when I would play a game like “change my helmet cover” from red spandex to the plain white styrofoam…just to fool whomever I was catching up to…sometimes they will think I fell back cause the person they see now is in a white helmet, not red. Since they’re usually hypoxic, they don’t notice the drop bars, braids, etc… just that absence of a blob of color. Thus: I can sneak past before they spurt ahead…evil, but effective. Now it’s just a game, and I am always thrilled to pass someone> At Napa, I was duking it out with someone I was vaguely familiar with, just pushing him relentlessly, like the major jerk that I can be.
Q: Do Wombats ride singlespeeds? Besides you?
A: Most wombats aren’t racers, we are slow, lard-ass, nervous types that just want to survive our first year on fat tires! Well, there are a few of us who have raced, and do race… but mostly the club is aimed very very low…
Q: If we could put one section of track on the sswc09 course specifically designed for you, what would that section look and feel like?
A: Don’t ask me that unless u plan to implement it! (OK I will imagine you do implement it. ) Here goes. It would be a contouring section of trail with wildflowers, rocks, roots and every meter along this stretch there would be people singing Warren Zevon’s Splendid Isolation while waving half-empty tea cups. Some of them would offer me pieces of shortbread cookie (the kind made strictly according to the Scottish recipe, i.e. with butter, not crisco or something else..