Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Heroes and Obsessions

Many people who know me are aware of my obsession with the 1993 Bridgestone X0-1, but many are not aware where it comes from.  They assume that I am just one of those aging hipsters who has bought into Grant Petersen’s outlook, and that I want an artifact from days gone by, a  proto-Rivendell, of sorts.

But, my love for the orange all-rounder actually dates from when it was a new bike, available from the dealer (although, unfortunately, out of my price range, at the time).  I guess I could have come up with the cash, but I was too busy buying suspension forks and indexed shifters.  I wasn't into the bike as an alternative mountain bike, necessarily.

I wanted the bike for two reasons: 

1.  Style. It was orange, and it had mustache bars on it.  Back then, the mustache bar was a radical departure from the norm, brought back to life by Nitto and Petersen for the XO series of bikes.  For a while there, if you wanted the bar, you had to buy the bike.

2.  John Stamstad.  Stamstad was a hero of mine, due to his status (at the time) as the premier long-distance mountain biker on the scene.  Stamstad was famous for living on doughnuts and sugary drinks, while belting out huge rides and winning races, such as the Iditarod, while living in the back of his pickup truck.

One day, he realized that there was no World Record for consecutive miles mountain-biked during a 24-hour period.  So, true to his form, JS decided to set such a record, just so there would be a benchmark.  What bike did he choose for the 24-hour ride?

Yep, the Bridgestone XO-1, weird handlebar and all.  He rode the XO-1 352 miles, that day, off-road.

I met John at the inaugural Leadville 100 bike race, and tried to be cool about it.  But, I imagine that I came across as a weird fan-boy, anyway.  Oh, well...

Anyway, I couldn’t afford an XO-1 then, so I figured that I would get one later, after the depreciation set in and made them affordable.  Alas, that was not to be.  Nice examples, today, sell for 1.5 to 2 times the price of the bike when it was new.

So, I bought a Handsome XOXO frame, recently, and built it up.  I have outlined the build, elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here.  But, I will say that I built it up to resemble an XO-1 which had been bought new, then upgraded, gradually, through the years, a piece here...a piece there.

The Handsome is an homage to the Bridgestone, and my particular bike is an homage to my favorite Bridgestone rider.

Now, to wear it out like Stamstad would!  (Good luck!)


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