New Team Mates - Meet mechBgon
The 2nd of our Ambassador team mates, meaning that this rider will fly the flag of another team for road racing, but will mountain bike race (mostly) for Team Two Wheel, is Two Wheel Transit employee Tom McFadden. You can be a customer of Two Wheel Transit for years and not necessarily know for sure that "Tom" exists, because he is referred to in the shop with great regularity, but he is in the basement working away on bikes from morning to nigh, with only a rare daylight appearance to grab a part upstairs to prove that he really exists. But trust me, Tom does exist. I know because I have not only entered the underground lair, but I have been on rides with Tom; most memorably, a daylight tour of the Midnight Century Course duly memorialized here: Midnight-Century-Daylight-Version.
So, as promised, I asked Tom the same questions I asked everyone on the team. Here are his answers.
Personal Biographical Information - I grew up in Alaska, came to Spokane as a kid, attended high school at Gonzaga Prep with an affinity for sciences, then went on to WSU to study Chemical Engineering and worked at Al's Schwinn in the summers. In 2001 I made a 5-year career change to being an all-purpose Information Technology guy, earned three Microsoft MVP awards for my efforts in helping others in the online community at a large computer forum, then went back to being a bike mechanic. So far I've worked at Al's Schwinn (out of biz), Two Wheel Transit (fired on my first trip through), Garland Cycle (out of biz), Columbia Cycle (out of biz, am I the kiss of death or what?), Wheelsport South, and now back to Two Wheel Transit. Oh, and I'm a 41-year-old hermit antisocial type :)
Cats --x----------------------------- Dogs
Road --------------------x---------- XC mountain
Dowhhill --------------------------x XC
Beer -------------------------------x Chocolate milk
Mac --------------------------------x Windows
TV ----------------------------------x Internet
Car ---------------------------------x Car-free
Wal-mart -------------------------x Fred Meyer
Cycling bio: I liked to ride as a kid, and commuted to grade school and usually to high school by bike. Since G-Prep was across the city from us, I also got very accustomed to riding in traffic on arterials, and dealing with issues like visibility. When I was at WSU, I sometimes would ride home for the weekend, then ride back Sunday night, and got very comfortable riding on the highway with big trucks. By this point I was already an irreversible fan of helmet mirrors too (Editor's note - Rumor is that he won a State Road Race Championship with a helmet mirror affixed).
In the '90s I began to ride mountain bikes, mostly on the South Hill bluff, and entered my first bike race at 49° North as a Beginner-class racer on a full-rigid bike. I was intimidated by the nicer bikes the other guys had, but easily got the holeshot at the first bottleneck and went on to win by nearly 7 minutes. Encouraged by that, I raced Sport class at a NORBA National at Mt. Spokane, but a confused course marshal mistakenly told me I'd gone off-course (I hadn't), so I ended up 3rd of the riders who'd actually gone the right way, instead of the Beginner-class route. I did a few more XC races but then had a hiatus of many years.
In 2009, I did some of the Twilight Series road races, which were my first road races. I moved to the B pack after the first race, then the A's after a few more. Tactically I had no savvy at all, and never felt that competitive in the A's... this is what I like about XC mountain-bike racing, there's no need for savvy, it's just one big VO2-max test :) Anyway, I was talked into racing in the 2009 Masters state RR championship by my SRV comrades, and we fielded five riders just in my pack, so when Royce and I joined Paul (aka Rider Two) for this epic 3-man 25-mile breakaway, we had three teammates to block for us, and you know how that all went down, but here's my writeup:
Also in 2009, I did four of the Wednesday-night XC races in Riverside, which was super-fun. I was pretty upset when it sounded like they weren't going to do them for 2010, but they did, and I went to all six including two back-to-back days in the mud. I raced the non-Masters age group to make it more challenging, and only took one 1st place on a day when Kevin Bradford-Parish, Mike Gaertner and Eric Anderson all didn't show up, but ended up winning the series just by high places every week.
Oh, and in 2009 I did the Midnight Century and it was a huge adrenaline rush. I trained for it in 2010 and was gunning for low 5-hour range, but as you know, I ended up piloting a group of three and had to hold the pace down a bit in the "middle 50" of the route.
For 2011, I'm looking forward to the Wednesday-night series again, where I plan to fly the Two Wheel Transit colors. I'm also going to do the Midnight Century again, as the unofficial Distributor Of The Smiley-Faces, and will be going solo this time, although anyone's welcome to as much draft as they want :)
Favorite Rides, etc. - In terms of a ride I could do routinely, I like the Hangman Loop (road) and the 24-hour course (off-road). For more "epic-rated" rides I'd say round-trip to the top of Mt. Spokane (road) and the Midnight Century route (mixed).
Other favorites - Doing the 24-hour race with the North Division Bike Shop team, who three-peated in the 10-person corporate division last year.
-I like night mountain riding as much as daytime.
-I tentatively plan to instigate a weekly XC ride oriented towards training
And lastly, on nicknames, here is the word from TM - As for a name/alias, I've used the online nickname mechBgon for nearly everything, so that should suffice for this too. No one calls me that in real life, although we do sometimes critique visibility equipment (lights, reflectors) in terms of whether they're "mechBgon-approved".
We will have to find out another time just what mechBgon means, because it sounds suspiciously like a Transformers name to me, which would explain a few things about Tom. In any case, we are glad to have him aboard the team and look forward to seeing him at the start and finish lines of a few mountain bike races (no, I'm not close enough to see him anywhere else).