Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Bud Scud

It's been a few weeks since we laid our good friend Scott Scudamore to rest.

This is a very hard thing to write about. It has been hard for all of us who loved Scud.

I met Scud when I moved back to MD from California in 1998. I had started to get involved in some mtn bike advocacy in NorCal and wanted to continue doing that here. I hit the AOL search engine and found MORE. Back then, it was basically a list-serve-based organization. Everything was email. I set up my first email address: onespeeder@yahoo.com. I was riding singlespeed back then, obviously...

My first MORE ride was a early fall Schaeffer event. This was before the boardwalk in the farm loop, before the bridge that lead out to the farm loop, before the rollers off the white loop and before the re-route down to the water crossing. It was a long time ago.

I introduced myself to the ride leader and asked him if I would be ok on a singlespeed out there, having never ridden at Schaeffer. He wasn't sure. He had never seen anybody on a singlespeed before. He asked where I had been riding. I said California. He said I would be fine. I remember Roel coming up to talk to me about riding single as he was planning to build one. I raced a bunch with Roel over the years after that conversation.

So the ride starts and we all duck into the woods, hanging a left out of the parking lot and onto the white loop. I end up riding off the front with Roel right behind me. I put a bit of distance on him after the driveway crossing, through the pines and up to the three-log spot. I stopped. Roel rolled up and we high-fived. The trails were rolling nice. Two minutes later, a rider rolls up to us and starts shouting obscenities at us. He was unhappy that we went off the front on a group ride. Apparently, staying together meant slowing down, not hammering and waiting. During the tirade, the ride leader rolls up, silences the shouting and takes me aside.

"Listen", he says. "That guy is an asshole. Don't pay any attention to that guy. Don't judge the club because of this one guy. I'll talk to him but you should stick around and ride with us. Don't worry about him. He won't bother you again."

Of course, the ride leader was Scud. Years later I was about 200 yards from that exact spot the SECOND time he broke his collarbone at Schaeffer. I was late for a MORE ride and was riding to catch the group that had already left and what do I see walking up the white trail just out of the treeline? Scud, holding his arm, with someone walking his bike.

A few months after that first MORE ride, I got a job at the League of American Bicyclists. During my time there, Scud was MORE president. We worked closely on a bunch of projects. The League started the National Bike Summit. Despite IMBA not representing mountain biking at the event back then, Scud sure as Hell showed up. I was in charge of training all of the on-road marshals for BikeDC for a few years. Scud volunteered to be a marshal to help out. My wife worked for WABA at the time and Scud wanted to help WABA (even considering running for the Board). He helped them get a printer for their office through some workplace giving plan they had at HP. MORE needed insurance for their rides. MORE joined the League of American Bicyclists as a club before IMBA had a club program in order to get ride insurance. Scud and I signed MORE up. I volunteered to be the first MORE trail liaison at Patapsco because of Scud. I reached out to MAMBO (Eric Crawford and Jeff Dalik) and got those guys to support MORE and we all worked to expand MORE into MD because of Scud. There were almost no members in Maryland and nobody really know anything about MORE with the notable exception of Phil VW. Scud also deserves quote a bit of credit for pointing our attention toward Mr Chris Scott and all of the stuff going on in Harrisonburg, VA. He talked up the VA Mtn Bike Fest, SM100, Douthat and Stokesville. Elizabeth and Catherine Furnace... Scud wanted everyone to support these great events and experience all of the amazing rides so close to the DC area.

When I left the League of American Bicyclists, I worked for City Bikes and opened up their Chevy Chase store. We were the only shop in DC to really support mountain biking at the time and we supported MORE quite a bit. Because of Scud, we supported the SM100 with some cash and a few hundred water bottles for a few years. We were also the first bike shop to provide a bike for the MORE Winter Party. It's hard to believe but the early years of the Winter Party had almost zero product. Now, it's an embarrassment of riches!

Before I got married, my wife and I did some trail work at Schaeffer Farms with Scud and MORE. We cut every single board for the boardwalk at the back of the farm loop. It's still there. I knew Scud before I knew my wife. The only father-type pre-marriage conversation I had with anyone was a long lunch with Scud out in Germantown after a trail work day.

When DCMTB started DCCX a few years back, one of the first calls Matty made was to see if Scud would make Scudfries for the event. It was a crucial part of the community that we knew had to be a part of a great 'cross race.

Over the years, there have been excited phone calls from the slopes of Colorado and beltway traffic. I loved hearing his GPS talking in the background as he shouted to the speakerphone. And you can't forget always seeing Scud at Jim Harmon's races. I can't remember an EX2 bike race without Scud there.

Because of Scud, I signed up for my first SM100 back in 2004. I finished my 10th last year. The last person I saw at checkpoint 6 was a smiling Scud. I was tired, happy and looking forward to finishing. Out of nowhere I hear 'Hey Mikey!' and a Dixie cup full of ScudFries was in my face. Behind the cup, a smiling Scud apologizes that he can only give me a cup with the full explanation a blinding blur of why's and who's and where's and 'What else do you need?' Coke. I need Coke. 'Hold on bud!' Scud grabbed me two cups of Coke to get me on my way. I down them with the carbonation exploding when it hits the salt from the fries on my tongue.

'How am I doing Scud?'

'You're doing great, Mikey! You'll be just over 11 hours'.

'F that! I'll see you later buddy! Thanks for the fries!'

'Go get 'em, Mikey!'

'Yup!'

Thanks for the fries, Scud. I'll see you later.

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