I had the pleasure of hanging/talking to Erik Tonkin for a bit at the post race party in Bend. I’d never had the opportunity to say more than hi before. He’s a very interesting guy.
I’ve been watching him race for a long time now. I think the first time I noticed him was back at Cross Nationals in Providence. The snowy one. He was raging that day. Every since then I’ve kept my eye on him whenever I could.
I’ve always thought of Erik as a blue collar cyclo-x racer. I still think so. That is a compliment. He just goes about his business and rides fast when the pedaling get hard.
Like I posted yesterday, he raced in Portland at the USGP on Sunday, worked all week at his shop, Sellwood Cycle Repair, in Portland, washed his bike on Saturday and raced Elite Cross Nationals on Sunday. He rode up to 16th place from the smoking section. There is no doubt in my mind he would have finished somewhere between 6th and 10th with just a descent starting slot.
Anyway, we talked abunch about some diverse subjects. He didn’t seem like a West coast type guy. Turns out he is from Minneapolis. That explained a lot. He said Kansas was related to two of his favorite things- The Jawhawks. Not the KU basketball team, but the band. And Thomas Frank, the author.
He spend a few weeks in Belgium doing the Euro Cross Camp thing a few times. He owes his own shop and races bikes crazy fast. And the sport is in his blood. I’m not sure if that is a curse or blessing in his case, but that is his case. If you’re not a Erik Tonkin fan, you should be. I am.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to running into Erik soon. Meeting up with guys like him is one the reasons that I’m still in addicted to this sport.