On occasion, when communicating with someone who is buying one of my frames, I’ll think I should ask them where they heard about Black Mountain Cycles. More times than not, they say they read about it on “Guitar Ted.”
Guitar Ted, aka Mark Stevenson, and I go back a fair bit. Years ago, when I was working on the design of the Haro Mary 29″ wheel bike, I asked Mark to write the catalog copy for the Mary. At the time, 29″ers were new to the industry and held a position as the product of niche brands. Even though Gary Fisher was selling the big wheel bikes, there weren’t really any other large brands selling them. I knew of Mark through the website/blog he was involved with – twentynineinches.com. My thought was to enlist Mark to write the Mary copy for the Haro catalog. Maybe he’d blog about it and all the 29″ wheel crowd would see it and think “ok, this Haro Mary is legit.” Seemed to work because the Mary was a surprise hit for Haro – I knew it would be, but others weren’t so sure. The Mary is not in the Haro line-up today, but Guitar Ted is still writing for twentynineinches.com and maintaining Riding Gravel.
Mark also puts on an event called Trans Iowa. Trans Iowa is essentially a 350 mile circuit on B-roads with the start and end in Grinnell, IA. In April. In Iowa. On dirt roads. I’ve known a few folks who have tackled this event. Some have finished. Some have not. One I know has won. It starts at 4:00 a.m. on a Saturday and usually finds folks finishing in the afternoon on Sunday. And there are no aid station. You’re on your own, rain, shine, snow… You get the idea.
Getting to the point, last year, I was thinking I should sponsor this event since Mark has really done right by me regarding the Monster Cross frame he bought from me years ago and continues to highlight on his blog. People read that and are influenced by him to buy my frames. And for that, I wanted to make sure I gave back this year. I talked to Mark about sponsoring Trans Iowa with one of my frames. But how do you figure out who wins a frame? Mark and I came up with the idea that the rider who has the Grittiest Ride will win the frame.
How do you figure who has the Grittiest Ride? Between Mark and volunteers that are out on course, they will see the riders pass through various check-points and will take note of those who may be struggling, but are pressing forward. So, if you’re doing Trans Iowa and you get to a point where the challenge seems insurmountable and you think “I’m out,” wait a moment. Step back, reassess, and if you can do it, get on with it because you may be the one who wins the frame.
What frame will the winner get? Any frame I make. Road frame, Monster Cross, or one of the new disc brake MCD or Road+ frames. Your choice. If I don’t have it in stock, you can choose something else or wait for the next run of frames. Your choice.
There you go. Thanks again for all the support, Guitar Ted, and I’m really happy to help support this year’s Trans Iowa.
(What’s playing: Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up)