Marc Vettori loves cyclocross. Known to some as Fat Marc thanks to his blog, he’s been racing cross for well over a decade, promotes one of the mid-Atlantic’s longest running cross races, helps run the Delaware Cyclocross Coalition of Delaware (which has in turn helped foster rising cross stars such as Jeff Bahnson and Sam O’Keefe), and more. It’s probably no surprise then that we talked cyclocross, and more specifically the “punk rock” days of cross, the impact of popularity and money, and where the sport’s going in the future.
Last summer, professional mountain biker Matt Hunter took a small backpack with camping and fishing gear, an HD video camera, his mountain bike, and little else; loaded into a float plane; and set off by himself for a two-day, point-to-point trail ride through the Canadian wilderness. The short video he produced shows off an adventure most of us only dream of: spectacular trail riding across stunning landscapes, dinner caught in an alpine lake and cooked over an open fire, a close (but not too close) encounter with grizzlies in a mountain meadow.
Mont Ventoux is one of cycling’s great monuments. The highest peak in Provence, it’s been featured 18 times in the history of the Tour de France and the source of high drama and tragedy. Every year, the mountain draws huge numbers of recreational cyclists wanting to test themselves on the climb and connect with a tangible piece of cycling history. This year, Paul Rozelle joined those ranks and tackled the mountain as well.
Rozelle is an American randonneur. He traveled to France this summer to ride Paris-Brest-Paris and decided to take a side trip to Mont Ventoux three days before the start of PBP. Rather than simply ride it once, Rozelle rode each of the three roads and the unpaved fire road that lead to the summit in order to earn a medal that the Club des Cinglés du Mont Ventoux awards for doing so. Adding to the extraordinary difficulty, Rozelle rode the whole thing on the only bike he’d brought for PBP, his fixed gear. Three days after completing the Mont Ventoux challenge, Rozelle went on to ride PBP in 80:01!
Rozelle wrote a great ride report on a randonneuring Google Groups listserv about his experience on Ventoux. He graciously gave me permission to republish the story here along with some photos he took that day. The report is long, so I’ve added links below to the start of each “chapter” to help you navigate and/or pick up where you left off if you don’t read it all in one sitting. Enjoy!
Since then, it has chugged along, sometimes with very consistent content and others, not so much at all. But hey, it’s impressive a one year old can write anything at all, let alone do so without ever pooping its pants, right?
The Bicycle Story is still very much a side project for me and will still take a back seat to the full-time job when it needs to. That said, I will still be bringing you interviews with cycling’s most interesting adventurers, advocates, industry folks, racers, dirt bags, and more. I also have some ideas for some good projects that could branch The Bicycle Story off in some relevant, but new and exciting directions. Hopefully those make the transition from ideas-I-had-while-laying-in-bed-unable-to-sleep to fruition before too long.
Cheers to all the readers, commenters, interviewees, and friends that helped make The Bicycle Story’s first year on earth so great. Here’s to many more!