The Backstory

The Backstory

2018: It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

NOTE: This post is the backstory aka "life" and what's led to 2019 and "My Gravel Year aka Will Gravel for CX". Real life isn't social media. Real life is, well, real life.

A Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


The Best of Times

2018 was a great year for Grimpeur Bros. I worked multiple national cycling events including SXSW, Sea Otter Classic, Dirty Kanza, Ruts N Guts, and CXNATS. It was SO GOOD to see so many old friends and make so many new ones!

I rode in Northern California for the first time. Grimpeur Bros. partnered with our friends at the Wide Angle Podium with great success for both of us. We did great work with our SRAM friends. I went back to Louisville for a muddy AF CXNATS! It was glorious!

Our coffee stayed at an incredibly high quality for a tiny coffee company like us. When I rode my bike, it was mainly off road or on gravel for the first time ever. Grimpeur Bros. sales grew at a healthy rate in 2018. Thank you for your SUPPORT!

And Grimpeur Bros. got to help a lot of racers near and far including Helen Wyman, Amanda Nauman, Team Wolfpack Racing (2 USA National Champions yo!), Team Hammersaw CX, Weaver Technologies, The AmyD Foundation, and Tilt Racing.

On the family front, my teenagers we're challenging but great. I'm so proud of them today and the promise of their future selves. They are good people.

The Worst of Times

2018 was a difficult year personally. I lost a great gig in NY. My Mamá’s health faltered and she passed away on Dec. 1 - my sister's birthday. UGH. I didn't get to ride as much as I wanted and NEEDED. Cycling is therapy. The more cycling the better. Finances got tight. As I rode bikes less and less I STRESS ATE. There was more stress.

When fall started, I began caring for Mamá Monday through Friday and visited her at least once during the weekends. It is incredibly tough losing a parent to Parkinson's and Dementia. Her occasional good days became occasional good moments. Mamá slipped into a comatose state the Monday before Thanksgiving. We sat vigil with her for 12 days before she passed. Then everyone in our family got sick with the stomach flu on Boxing Day. And we had subsequent rounds of viruses/colds in January. FUN.

Family and Health Always Take Priority
I'm allergic to almost every environmental allergen in Central Texas where I live. Whoopsies! Allergens in Central Texas affect me year around and have led to bouts of severe bronchitis, nasal surgery, random asthma attacks, and year-round weekly allergy shots. FUN.

Fall allergies make racing cyclocross challenging at best and I really enjoy racing cross.

Back in the day, I raced CRCA in Central Park and Prospect Park in NY. But in reality, I "participated." When a race got serious, I'd kite tail off the back, claw back to the end of the peloton, and then be unceremoniously spit out the back for good. But while I was in it, I loved it.

Then I jumped into cyclocross and found true love. I was a fanboy from watching crap pirate Euro streams. Then when I raced cross. There was competition EVERYWHERE. There are races inside of races no matter where you were in the field. The weekend long, grassroots scene was so much fun. And there were hand ups!

But illness and family took precedence over training and racing these past few years.

In November, I decided things had to change it up for 2019. I needed to ride more and race more...gravel and cyclocross.

First up, I decided to do the Whole 30 body cleanse starting on Dec. 1 (I hate New Year's resolutions). The best way to get faster on the bike is to lose weight. On Dec. 1 I tipped the scale at 194 lbs. Yikes! By Jan. 1, I was at 180. My goals are to get to 175 next and then 170 by CX season.

But how to get fit for the 2019 CX season in January?

Gravel. Ride gravel. Race gravel! Yes! So I'm calling 2019 "My Gravel Year aka Will Gravel for CX." Read what I've got planned for my gravel season.

Send any questions, thoughts, post suggestions or feedback to dan at grimpeur bros dot com. Ride your bike. Drink great coffee. And always support your local coffee shop and local bike shop.


Dan Manco is the founder of Grimpeur Bros. Specialty Coffee ( Founded in 2012, Grimpeur Bros. is a cycling-centric specialty coffee company that sells some of the best fresh, roast-to-order specialty coffee in America. Dan loves all things cycling-related and is dedicated to supporting the companies, media outlets, bike shops, bike racers, mechanics, and people that support growing cycling as a sport, healthy lifestyle, and transportation method. Follow Grimpeur Bros. on Instagram and Twitter

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