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Our Hypothesis was this:

When Autumn, a difficult challenge, the Analog Scene and Vermont are all present and fully intersecting, MSO would find the spirit of ATB somewhere between The Purchase and Tinmouth.

MSO CREW:

  • Hahn Rossman is from Seattle, Washington. Hahn is an expert on Type(s) 2 and 3 Fun. Hahn would have a PHD in Randonneuring if having a PHD in Randonneuring was even something that was possible; he’s completed PBP twice (including in 2019), is a consultant for Compass Tires and Bicycle Quarterly, has a 9-year old wool, blue Seattle Randonneuring jersey, and his handbuilt PBP whip which he literally handbuilt  got 3rd in this year’s Concourse De Machine which is a big deal for Rando Nerds.
  • Taylor Kruse is one-man Audio Visual Club. He’s completed the Continental Divide on a single speed and is also a Rando Nerd.
  • Daniel Wakefield Pasley—the author of this report—is a Cultural Anthropologist from the university of Yonder Journal and very capable with a Ricoh Grii in shitty light especially with the flash popped-out. Also, I’m really good friends with the race promoter, Old Mark, and the Analog Bicycle Shop proprietors James and Candice, and the course makers Hardy and Catrin.

The kind of performance Journalism and Cultural Anthropology necessary to properly conduct this experiment required Going Inside The Outside. In this case (the SKOV ATB race) that expression is a double entendre because GITO meant both;

  1. Assuming the customs, habits and various other cultural trappings of a very specific, very localized, very esoteric user group—a group that is very much Other or “Outsider” in nature. For now we will call that group Tanglefoot.
  2. And it required flying to Vermont to study Tanglefooters in their natural habitat and environment—an All Terrain Bicycle race deep inside the woods of the Green Mountains.
  1. What is a Tanglefoot bicycle?
  2. What makes a Tanglefoot unique or distinct?
  3. Is the Tanglefoot bicycle THE one true form of ATB or just A one true form of ATB?
  4. Do Tanglefoot bicycles ride good?
  5. What makes a Tanglefooter a Tanglefooter?
  6. Is Tanglefooting required to engage in ATB?

Wednesday, September 4th.

2:00PM Taylor landed in Burlington Vermont.
7:30PM Hahn landed in Burlington, Vermont.
8:00PM Taylor and Hahn got to Oktoberfest at the Tap Room.
11:30PM Daniel landed in Burlington, Vermont.
12:15PM Daniel’s baggage made it onto the baggage carousel in Burlington Vermont.
12:45PM Daniel makes it to the Days Inn Colchester “Peepers Welcome”

Thursday, September 5th

9:30AM Mark picks-up Taylor, Hahn and Daniel in a clapped-out POS subaru that smells like cigarettes and rotting socks and we drive to the Analog Compound in the heart of the Southwest Kingdown of Vermont.
11:30AM The MSO crew is issued Tanglefoot bicycles. Taylor is given a Crust. Hahn is given a Surly. Daniel is given a Salsa. All three bikes are built using Tanglefoot Tech the most visually striking element of which is the Donkey Dick™ handlebar set-up.
12:PM Candice and Catrin lead the MSO crew on a recon of the course.
8:00PM It’s Wing Night at Taps in downtown Poultney. Wing total for our group was north of 70.

Friday, September 6th.

Rain, lots of rain. It’s cold too.
10:30AM Sissy’s Kitchen is a SKOV must. I recommend getting the smoked salmon, spinach, egg and caper-cream cheese sandwich without the sandwich and/or the house scrapple I mean corned beef hash.
12:30PM Course Recon of the Purchase and Tinmouth with two dudes from Baltimore and a couple from NYC. LOVED OUR CREW. WAS GREAT DAY OUT.
12:30PM – 7:30PM Taylor hates his Tanglefoot.

Saturday, September 7th.

Race Day.
4:00AM Oatmeal but NOT ENOUGH oatmeal.
5:00AM Pre-race meeting at Analog.

It was dark. One of the Apocalypse Messengers, the one with shit glued to the front of his bike, a raft strapped to the back of his bike and wearing a knife and some tactical camo military raid boots, was smoking a cigarette.

 

 

Race Results

  1. Hardy Avery – 11:50
  2. Matt Mancini – 11:50
  3. Owen Packard – 14:10
  4. Taylor Kruse – 14:10
  5. Candice Passehl- 14:30
  6. Catrin Maloney – 14:30
  7. Susan Lynch – DNF
  8. Daniel Wakefield Pasley – DNF
  9. Hahn Rossman – DNF
  10. Erick Setterlund – DNF
  11. James Smith – DNF

Course Notes

Short road, then a single track climb in the dark. Was super fun with lots of quality switchbacks—NOT A GIVEN in this part of the world. Cool overlook. Insane bunch of single track to get back off the mountain. Cross the road. More single track. Lots of flow. Then some GNAR single track to get back up another mountain. V difficult, very fun. You’re at like 10 miles at this point. Single track down through a forest and field. A couple miles of pavement. A big DIALED and smooth single track climb that goes and goes, then a gnar descent that’s fun but will fuck you up. Easy class IV road climb to a series of hard packed clay roads that take you outta one valley, over a ridge and then down into another valley. The Purchase starts with a mix of paved and cly fire roads. BUTTER! But uphill butter for sure. So much climbing. The interior of the Purchase was one of the gnarliest spots. LEGIT OVERLANDING. For sure the limit of what you can do on a bike. For miles. Lot’s of rolling across a ridge with lots of short STEEP AF climbs. First hike-n-bike up to a checkpoint and a lookout. Amazing powder run through the trees to get off The Purchase. To this day I’m unclear if there was a trail there or was it just a powder run through 2 feet of fresh #peeper leaves and marked with orange tape tied to every 5th tree. Climb down a ravine. Cross a river. Hike up. Send it to the town of middle-something. You’re at about 50 miles here. Natural spring is cool if you’re into that kinda thing. BIG CLIMB on a chill road that turns into a less chill road which turns into a grass field which turns into a Class IV road which turns, eventually, after about 5 miles, into a hike-n-bike which is at least 3 miles long. It’s basically one long climb wherein the surface and quality of the road is slowly but surely diminished the farther in you get and the higher you go. Gnar descent, almost a walk at first. Then class IV roads rolling but steady uphill for a few miles to a rideable but insane overgrown road that goes straight up for a few miles. Then a ridge. Then the longest and scariest snowmobile bridge. Then a descent. Then three more climbs and 15 more miles THE END.

Experiment Notes

 

The Donkey Dick™ handlebar technology was discussed ad nauseum over the course of our four days in the SKOV. It’s basically all we talked about. Taylor hates the loss of leverage, control and handling associated with handlebars in the sky, and claims an XC MTB with a flat bar would be unequivocally better than a Tanglefoot. Hahn is undecided. I love the handlebar position because it allows you to spend the whole day in the drops except for when hard chilling in which case it’s fun to cruise “full beg” with your hands in the hoods. I just wish my bike had front suspension because class IV roads are no joke and Di2 because while the flare on the bar is hella legit it does mean shifting with analog cable actuated paddles a lite bummer.

Findings

  1. A tanglefoot is for now “just” a build. The truest form of which includes mid fat tires, a monster cross frame, a Donkey Dick™ stem, drop bars, flat pedals, metal wheels, and gradient paint job.
  2. More than anything the silhouette makes a Tanglefoot distinct.
  3. No, the Tanglefoot bicycle is not the one true form of ATB. It’s too clumsy on truly technical descents and too dopey on the road. But they’re LEGIT for sure. TBH they’re not made for the SKOV ATB, they’re made for the Gorey Hollows Scramble—an event that happened in Tandem with the SKOV ATB. That event was very well attended and everyone had a great time. To say it was more chill is the understatement of the year.
  4. I think Tanglefoot Bicycles ride good as shit but my ATB will be different. I like some carbon shit. I miss electronic shifting. I need suspension and I think 2.5” and up tires are way too big for the road, and ultimately you don’t need them if you got some sus. Ask Taylor about Cush Core which he claims is not an esoteric form of Japense porn despite what it sounds like.
  5. Tanglefoots really all come down to the Donkey Dick™.
  6. One of the dudes that won the SKOV ATB race was on a full-suspension MTB.
  7. The course was maybe too hard. Especially with only 13 hours of daylight.
  8. Everyone had a great time.
  9. ATB is really just Underbiking mixed with the Spirit of MTB circa 1991.
  10. Yes the Spirit of ATB lives in the Purchase under a dilapidated Snowmobile Bridge.
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