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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Scratching the itch...

Dear Readers,

Managed to squeeze in a quick trip around the skatepark this morning when it was clear our ride was gonna be washed out. So excited to have learned no complies again... they are such a weird little thing, but so much fun, I could do them all day... 

I also left a little skin at the park for the first time. I find that when I start off with "I need to carry more speed" things go badly for me... Merely a flesh would. Looking forward to getting back on the bike again tomorrow, the skateboarding itch scratched for another few weeks... Those new wheels are so fast...

thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Dear Readers,

This is Peter Sagan.
photo credit: Cor Vos
Last fall most of the world watched in awe, as Peter Sagan attacked the end of the race, using a Super Tuck to elude the pack and finish as the world champion.
Super Tuck displayed
It was amazing to watch. It was awesome. Peter Sagan, arguably the world's best bike handler, uses the Super Tuck to win the worlds. I've probably watched that finish 10 times.

I have to admit, I know the tactic worked, and as the world's best bike handler Sagan was never in jeopardy of crashing. BUT... Super Tuck doesn't look cool. It just doesn't. No way, no how.

But you know Sagan is really cool.

I mean a make Grease musical video with your girlfriend cool kinda cool.

Never mind-  Sagan made super tuck look cool.

Dear readers, I hate to break this to you:

You are not that cool. You are not Peter Sagan.

Since Sagan's incredible run at worlds, I  have witnessed 100% more Super Tuck. Super Tuck on the local club rides. Super Tuck at the Hell of Hunterdon, Super Tuck at Lu Lacka Wyco, Super Tuck on Mountain Bike Rides, Super Tuck riding to the packie store- Super Tuck everywhere...

Up to this point, I kinda just thought it was dangerous, and a little silly, maybe a little funny.

Last weekend I watched a guy go into Super Tuck, hit a bump in the road and go down at about 30 miles per hour. In the process, he almost took out Monk, as his Super Tuck quickly evolved into Super Thunderball. I count myself more lucky than skilled as I was 5 ft off his back wheel when he started tumbling.  I narrowly avoided being taken down myself.

Thankfully, our super tucker never lost consciousness, and it didn't appear that other then hitting the ground at 30 miles per hour and getting banged up from that, he was going to be okay. We stopped briefly and he seemed to be okay, and well attended to.

While Mr. Super Tuck was actually pretty lucky, he might not agree with me on this, but it could have been much worse. he could have landed on his head, he could have taken down 10+ people really easily.

So friends, the next time you find yourself charging down a hill, and you think that you should throw down a mean Super Tuck please think of me, and think of these words:

You are not Peter Sagan. You are not arguably the best bike handler in the world. You are not racing to win the Richmond Road World Championships

 Don't do the Super Tuck.

Super Tuck - Just Don't Do It.

This Public Service Announcement brought you by Tom Boonen's scarf.

and remember knowing is half the battle.

thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lu Lacka Wyco

Dear Readers,

It's Sunday evening. We did the half Lu Lacka Wyco, which was a beautiful ride. It's impossible to not see the love and personal stamp on the event that Pat puts into every detail. Thank you to you and your team Pat! Cheers!
The Master of Ceremonies Pat! 
Claire ran a tight ship at the rest stop!  Outstanding team! 

The course itself was brutal. I'm happy that we only got 57 miles today.

This was by far the gnarliest of the gravel fondo/roubaix rides we have done.

It was amazing. I am destroyed.

Thanks to wonderful group of folks I had the privileged to ride with today: Mark Weaver, Anne, Gus , and Monkey. I am exhausted, but smiling ear to ear as I type this....
our group for the day: Mark, Anne, Gus Monkey and Fatme! 
First section of off-road...

Photo Blog Stars Now:

Shane, my friend always looking for another adventure involving suffering- he did the 100!

Sharon, BK and Sam sit in with me while we listen to the pre-ride announcements...

Just a few folks out for the ride...

Sam, Shane- and Birner who totally pinched my butttoday.
I'm not complaining, just sharing the story.

I put the geek in Domestique!

 Here I protect team leader Gus through a tricky section of pave! 

Weaver!!! sad trombone as sadly Mark's day was cut short..

All In! 

Monk and Anne lead the group up the fire road hill
 I would call the FUDGIE THE WHALE!

Our destiny lays before us....

this was long and a steep pitch...

An over the shoulder shot of Anne and Gus...

the Mail box was a good reminder for me
to eat some blocks in our final push...

Gus sometimes likes to be call el pistoero! 

We watched the sun rise from the road this morning! 
Thanks for reading.

best to you.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Leap of Faith

Dear Readers:

Following the Hell of Hunterdon, I headed out to one of the local skateparks for a little recovery carve. Glasgow skatepark is an amazing place, but not my normal go to park. Glasgow has two concrete circles, which basically allow me to figure out some curb style tricks. Heck I did some no complies which fall into the category of super-fun-tricks-I figured-I'd-never-learn again.


Not smooth.. But they feel so fun... I was stoked.

After my hour or so was up, I was ready to wrap up the session with one last big carve around the entire park. I ran and jumped on my board and will a full head of steam headed into the park. As I flew towards the stair/bank ramp feature, I had a horrible thought-

I can't remember where the ramp is and where the stairs are. I am going full speed towards them. I'm going to die.

Just as I made the top edge, I did the reasonable thing, I bailed at full speed.

I leaped into the air, let out a horrifying scream, and just started flailing in the air.

Thankfully, although not gracefully, I landed on my feet and was able to run it out with out dying.

I pat myself down, making sure I'm totally intact, that I'm not hurt,and in fact I'm fine. "did that just happen?" I ask myself.

Diane, who was along for the trip calmly asks me, "what was the first rule of you skateboarding again?"

I respond, "don't get hurt."

Diane more tersely continues, "what the hell was that?"

"I forgot where the stairs were." I responded sheepishly.

I know cats have nine lives. If I was a cat, I might have just spent a couple of them.

I collected my skateboard, and walked out of the park putting my arm around my lovely wife, "so, you want to get a cup of coffee?"

thanks for reading.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hell of Hunterdon 2016

Dear Readers,

The Hell of Hunterdon is a beautiful ride.
Scrumming in the first wave! 
I am told that the roads of the Hell of Hunterdon  twist around very scenic and beautiful central New Jersey showcasing  the best that NJ has to offer. As we crested a long dirt road hill Buddy the Leg Breaker, looked over to me and said, "It's a shame we don't get to really see how beautiful this area is, you know because we are bleeding out our eyes..."

I grunted, wiped the drool off my chin and nodded in agreement, as we continued to tap out tempo up the climb.

So while I am convinced that aesthetically the Hell of Hunterdon is a beautiful ride, that's not really what I mean.
another Fatmarc and Buddy the leg breaker adventure! 
The ride was beyond expectations for me. Fun. Challenging- the gravel roads had some hairy spots and  benefited my brand of deception and guile (bike handling).  Mileage was longer than anything I normally do and with enough elevation that it is a true test of fitness and endurance. This was not a ride for the uninitiated.


I'll admit I tend to get bored on long rides, but the parcours this weekend offered up 17 sections, over 14 miles of gravel and dirt roads. The promoters do an amazing job of having the ride supported, two wonderful stops, major intersections all manned- and motos buzzing around checking in on riders. AMAZING.  I can't say enough about the after ride food and beer accommodations. Already planning on 2017.  As I type this, I still have a smile on my face.

It's not a race, it's not a race: Okay maybe it's kind of a race.

I've done a number of Grand Fondo Style rides. I like the challenge, the semi-competitive nature of those rides. Despite the announcer reminding everyone that this isn't race, it felt an awful lot like a race. Scrumming for a starting position... Monkey and Anne Rock taking a hole shot... It felt like a race. But it wasn't...
Photo Credit : Greg Kaplan- How many 'Crossers can you count? 

Look - it wasn't the douche-canoe "I'm gonna win the Charity Ride" vibe, but the "there's a ton of really strong, good riders here, who all understand this is going to be hard, and lets shake things up a bit." vibe.  It was cool, like being a part of something special...

Perhaps it was lots of folks getting prepped for the spring season. Maybe it's Battenkill in the minds of many.  Perhaps it was the pro grand-fondo riders. Perhaps it was 'crossers who haven't raced in three months that needed to scratch an itch. I really don't know, but it was beautiful.

I had set a goal of sub 5 hours, and while our rolling time was 5:03,  with two flats and rest stops- our riding time  was 4:39. So yeah, I was stoked.

Monkey Miles:

wish my camera captured this better! 
Monk and Rock had planned on doing a modified loop. Monk had never done a ride longer the 50 miles. Rock was her Jedi. I'm not gonna lie, I had started calling Monk Stress-Monkey during the week. She was obsessive in her preparation. I've been riding with her, she's been riding really well, and I was confident she'd do great, even if she was still figuring it out.

Laura C joined Monk and Anne as they worked together across the course. In typical Monkey and Anne fashion, they took the hole shot and lead out the entire first wave until the start of the first climb. Diane and Anne killed it. They ticked off 63 miles, taking one small short cut. This was the longest and most climbing Monk had ever done. As she sat next to me at our table following the ride, she was smiling ear to ear. I was super stoked and proud of her. I was also grateful for Anne Rock her partner in crime and adventures. We are lucky to have Rock in our life!
Life lesson: if you catch your wife on the road, and she had a flat, your group
better stop to help. Buddy thankfully booted her tire up!

If you can Dodge a wrench: 

The ride took off fast. Joey, John, Buddy and I kinda got separated. John and I were probably going too hard too fast, and nosed our way further up in the group. Cruising along at 30 mph, I figured I was going to have to pay the piper soon. Up the first steep pitch, mile 11 or so... the I started to drift back a bit. I felt like this was a long ride, and I was working way too hard too soon. I came off the front group. Luxy came back for me.
Monkey, Shane and I head to staging. This would actually be the last time
I'd ride in front of Shane! 
Sure enough, just as I was good and gapped the route turned right and flattened out. John went to the front and drilled it trying to get us up back to that front group. I took a big long pull, and noticed we were dragging a train behind us. I rolled back aside Luxy and said, "dude, we can't drag these guys up by ourselves...
We are not drilling it in this photo. 

Just then, a skinny dude in all black pulled through. The pace bumped up a few miles per hour. I looked over to John and whispered like a fan boy, "DUDE, THAT'S CAM DODGE - THIS MIGHT HAPPEN!" Just then Jay, Cam's father pulled along side me, "morning Marc!"

We entered sector 2 of gravel and were flying. Cam was ripping. Luxy and I were following closely. It was one of those moments on a bike that is just perfect karma. I admit I was being a little aggressive but it felt good to push the edge just a little. Then I hit something.  I said to myself "don't flat, don't flat, don't flat..."

Fuck. I flatted.

Luxy says, "you're flat man"
"motherfu... "  I said under my breath. I encouraged John, "keep going don't let that wheel go! "

Luxy replied, "not gonna happen, we are in this together.."  We were quickly joined by Mr. Joe and Buddy. Buddy helped me fix my flat, because I ... I was flailing... I'll point out here that Buddy helped both Vanderbacons fix their flats today... (thanks man)

Four on the Floor:
My big fat belly busts out of my vest and ruins an
otherwise cool picture.
After my flat, we were all together as a group of four. And we rode the rest of the ride as a pretty cohesive unit. Not surprising, Luxy is a great road captain. Along the way we had a couple of folks work in an out of our group: Conair, Dennis, and Otto.  Shane danged off the front of us, and I'll let him know we were coming to get him on all the climbs. It was rad to ride with the core of the four of us. Each of us working, each of us hitting a spot of bother, and all of us taking care of each other. I was stoked. I'm a team guy, and that just added another level of awesome to the day for me...

A seat at the table: 

As the post ride activities commenced, Buddy the Leg Breaker, and 5/6 of the Deluxx Bikes Cyclocross team (Luxy, Monk, Rock, Mr. Joe, and Fatme) sat around a table in the Elks lodge with too many miles in our legs, too much food on our plates, and huge smiles on our faces. Luxy began to wax poetically, "you know in the weeks before this ride, I know we all wonder why we would do a ride like this... some thing as tough as this...."

I interrupted him.

"Eff you John Lux!" I said, "I didn't wonder why I did this, you told me all cross season- "fatmarc you need to do the hell of hunterdon!" I'd say, "I don't ride 80 miles- ever," You'd say "you're gonna do it this year, you'll love it ..."    So I know exactly why I did this ride- because you told me to! "

Everyone laughed.  Buddy pointed at me and added, "You made me do it!"

More laughter. We truly enable our friends.

Don't tell John, but I did love it. It was beautiful.

Truly a great day. Looking forward to getting everyone back together next week at the Brandywine Roubaix. Should be another great event by the folks that bring you the West Chester Cross Classic!

looking forward to that ride ! Looking forward to getting the band together again next week.

thanks to the kind folks at Kermesse Sport for a great event.

thanks for reading.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Proper Preparation the Day Before Hell of Hunterdon: (no kids at the skatepark at 7:00am)

Dear Readers,

Got to get out to the skatepark this morning.
As usual, it was really fun and really good for me mentally.
I've got a few things I'm working on, and am so stoked to be riding. 

100% outstanding preparation for tomorrow's Hell of Hunterdon.

Stoked for many reasons.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Reuben Sandwiches, Strawberries and Logan

Dear Readers,

A couple weeks ago, Diane and I were out at one of our favorite restaurants. and I quickly glanced at the specials and saw they were offering a Reuben Sandwich. Without looking too closely at the details, I ordered the Reuben. I love Reuben sandwiches. Dare I say they are my favorite sandwich ever.

The restaurant is also very well know for their vegetarian fare, which I often enjoy. I would recommend the place for my meat and non-meat eating friends. (homegrown cafe, Newark, DE)

Much to my surprise, this evening the Reuben sandwich was in fact a vegetarian Reuben.  The sandwich was built around Seitan, not corned beef as I expected.

Don't get me wrong, while I'm not a vegetarian, I do like Seitan. But my friends, Seitan is not corned beef. And a Reuben without corned beef, is another sandwich altogether.  Since that night, I have been craving a proper corned beef Reuben.

Today, I finally scratched that itch. The local corner cafe had a Reuben special today. It was good, not great, but good, and like I said- it scratched the itch.

And for the record, any sandwich that calls it self a Reuben must contain Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and french dressing. That sandwich with turkey and coleslaw that some will try to pawn off on you as a "California Reuben" isn't a Reuben at all. It's blasphemy.

In completely unrelated news,

Our puppy, Logan, likes to roll in stuff. This afternoon, behind our backs, cute little Logie-bear grabbed a couple strawberries, smashed them into our carpet, and began to roll around in them.

While we didn't notice him rolling, we did freak out a bit as he proudly trotted into the kitchen looking like he had just survived one of the Friday the 13th movies. 

Like I'm sure any good parent, we were relived to find our baby covered in strawberries and not blood.

thanks for reading.