by the middle of 1999, i had somehow convinced my friend dan, who worked for schwinn, that i could be an asset to the homegrown team. so he started sending me stuff. some jerseys. a frame. some shorts. more jerseys, more frames, more shorts, hats, socks, stickers, iron on's...until i looked like a schwinn store. things worked out and i was actually on the roster for 2000 and 2001. those were some good years for me. i did a bit of traveling and won some AMBC races, which were a pretty big deal in those days. i still got my but kicked by real bike racers but i could usually do pretty well against real amateurs. i only raced with the skinsuit shown one time, because, let's face it...why the hell would you use a skin suit while mtn bike racing? but, it looked freakin' cool and it was like a girdle...it held in the fat belly and made me look oh so skinny and fast.
i really lamented the loss of the homegrown team. not for the free stuff, but because it really seemed to garner a lot of respect at the races. it had a long history of producing great riders.