As I’m off to Fernie this weekend to race in the TR3 and currently busy with packing, bike tweaking, and home renos, etc…, this week I just wanted to post up something, well, easy. One of the hardest things I always find about bloging, is deciding on the topic. This week, as usual I had a few post ideas rolling around in my head, so to save myself the anxiety-ridden trouble of decision making, I’ve decided to just write a little on all three. In this post, I’ve got Matt Hoffman, BMX big-air guru, the average age of the Transrockies, and the curtain call of my cycling hero and cancer fighter extraordinaire, Lance.
Flipping channels the other day, I came across a show on TSN, featuring BMX vert, and big-air pioneer Matt Hoffman. I’d seen him compete at the X-Games and knew he was good, but I really didn’t know his back story at all. Essentially, Hoffman was to BMX, what Tony Hawk was to skatebording. There was an entire decade, beginning in the late 1980s, where Hoffman reigned supreme. He was the full package, offering not just the riding skill and flare to pull off the wildest tricks of the day, but also the guts to simply do it bigger, and higher than anyone else. Hoffman is credited with the creation of over 100 unique tricks, including the 900, being the first to ever do one in competition. Never mind all that, what blew me away about this guy was his obsession to go big! Hoffman went as far as building his own stronger bikes, and own bigger ramps, and attaching them to what looked to me like a 3-4 story building so he could get enough speed to launch up the other side of the half pipe. Going further still though, he eventually built himself a 20 footer, and invented the tow-in, which is essentially being pulled in by a motorcycle. I’ve attached the famous shot of him, launching himself more than 20 feet above the ramp coping! Later on, he went even further, building a 24 foot ramp and hit an official world record at 26.6 feet of air, for a total of over 50 feet above the ground below. Can you say, insane? I think this guy is amazing! Here is some video of those world record attempts:
The Average Age of the TR
Reading an article about Gretchen Reeves, it mentioned that the average at the TR is 40! I wasn’t sure if I was surprised by that stat, necessarily, but it took me a minute to think about. First thing that went through my mind was, ‘Great! I’ve got 5 more years before I’m 40… I’m still a spring chicken compared to the majority of my fellow racers out there this coming week.’ I found some reassurance in that thought. Some momentary comfort. But then I reminded myself that most enduro racers are quite a bit older than me, and lots, if not most of them leave me in their dust, haha… It seems that the metal needed for successful enduro racing really comes around for most of us when we get a little older. Ken calls it ‘old man strength’.
When I mentioned the average age of the TR to my wife though, the first thing she said was, ‘Well yeah, those are the only people who can afford it.’ and I had to admit, she’s probably right. I mean, though a regular enduro race like the ABA Trans Stoney, the Givr 8r, or the Bow 80 don’t really cost much, the TR takes a bigger bite out of the ol’ pocket book. Fully supported, world-class racing in remote parts of the Canadian Rockies just doesn’t come cheap, and yes, although in my experience most enduro racers are middle-aged, they are admittedly very likely the only ones who can afford an epic race like this. It will be interesting to see what the TR3 field does to the average though. Most of these racers that I know are actually all younger than me, including Ken. So, in this case, woe is me. I’ll be hoping for some of the so-called ‘old man strength’…
Lance and the Final Curtain?
We’ve known this was going to be Lance’s last TDF for a long time now. He said it before it even started. But, now that the race is run, I think his fans are still struggling with the realization that, yes, that was his last Tour. Looking back now, I think it was his last one not just because he’d decided it would be, but also because he knows he just isn’t quite the Lance he used to be. Sure, there is debate over what might have happened if he’d had better luck out there. Really, he had some terrible luck. Personally, I’d like to believe if he’d had no mechanicals or crashes, he could have won, but Stage 16 and Lance’s bid for the stage win might have said it all. In the interview, I felt like I could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. It was sad to watch, but a champion like Lance owes nothing to his fans in my opinion. It’s going to be interesting though, to see if he does actually hang the Tour shoes up. I mean, he’s clearly still capable of racing with the elite of the elite, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t still have several good years on the bike yet. I’ll be really interested to hear him speak with he comes to Edmonton.
Now, back to packing, or painting/hanging blinds…