It is no secret that 2013 was a tough year here at RKP. From the post-percussions of Padraig’s crash to the somewhat dramatic Entrance of the Deuce, it was a year in which we never quite got on top of the gear.
Personally, I close the year off the bike, nursing a hand injury that doesn’t seem to want to heal under the stress of regular riding. They say time heals all wounds, but HOW MUCH time? How much?
Here on RKP, we both struggled to stay on top of things as family and outside projects vied for our attention. The Lance-amageddon took the wind out of the top level of our sport, and slumping bike sales led to a troubling conservatism among potential RKP advertisers. To work so hard and still face such uncertainty leaves you wondering about your life choices, except that there are no other choices to make.
We do our work as best we can, and we see where it takes us. Put another way, there will be chaos, keep pedaling.
All of this is not to say there weren’t bright spots. After the Deuce’s exit from hospital, he turned out to be a smiley, happy baby with a charming disposition. Padraig’s handsome mug healed, and, through the Beer Fund, you, our readers showed us what kind of community we belong to, both out on the road and here on the internet.
It wasn’t a bad year. It was just a tough one, a personal Roubaix if you will, hard in ways we never might have imagined, but ultimately glorious and rewarding for the effort.
This week’s Group Ride, the last of the year, the last of the second hundred, looks back on 2013. How was yours? What were the highs? What were the lows? How did the bike feature in your story? And what are you looking forward to in 2014?
Image: Matt O’Keefe
So back in April I ran a Kickstarter campaign that, I’m very pleased to say, was successful. Success on Kickstarter is easily measured: Either you hit your funding goal or you don’t. It’s not terribly different from stick-and-ball sports where either you won or lost. Put another way, it’s nothing like bike racing.
The campaign had a two-fold purpose. First, I’ve wanted to collect a number of my posts into a single, collectible, volume for some time. What gave the project its urgency was my need to generate as many greenbacks as possible to make a down payment on the Deuce. Kaiser Permanente recently came up with a number (fundamentally, I believe all medical bills are forged in fiction and then inflicted upon us as fact), a number that is larger than what I paid for my last car. So there’s that.
What occasions this post is that we’ve begun fulfilling some of the pledges associated with the project. The T-shirt design above is yet another meisterwerk by our designer Joe Yule of StageOne Sports. As the graphic designer behind not only our logo and the Roubaix and Suffer T-shirts, but also the entire look of the Garmin-Sharp team, he’s a hard man to schedule time with, but always worth the wait. These shirts are with the printer now and will begin shipping this week. Kickstarter peeps get theirs first, then on to the new orders. You can order the shirt here.
Regarding sizing: If you own another RKP shirt, we’re using the same NextLevel shirts we’ve been using, so the sizing remains consistent. If this is your first time ordering a shirt, the sizing is roughly: Small: 38″ chest; Medium: 40″ chest; Large: 42″ chest; XL: 44″ chest; and XXL: 46″ chest.
The Kickstarter campaign also included a broadside. So what is a broadside you ask? Well, it’s a kind of text poster. They were first used as a means of advertising upcoming events. Think big poster pasted to the side of a building. Gradually their use and purpose evolved. Today they are a way for letterpress printers to celebrate a new volume by a writer. They are almost always the province of poems these days. And rather than being printed on crappy paper and pasted to a wall, they are now executed on high-quality paper and framed. (Unless you’re a broke graduate student and you resort to thumbtacks … no names mentioned.)
I should mention here that both the broadside and the T-shirt are based on my post “There Will Be Chaos.”
As a way to celebrate the publication of my book “Why We Ride” I worked with Norman Clayton of Classic Letterpress to do a run of 200 broadsides. I’ve adapted “There Will Be Chaos,” sculpting it a bit for this usage, and I’ve given it a new title which points to the kind of importance that quote has taken in my life. You might say, it’s not just about the bike.
I’ve already begun shipping the broadsides out to those who pledged for them in the Kickstarter campaign. You, too, can order one of the remaining broadsides here; there’s even an option if you want it signed.