INTRO & LITTLE BACKSTORY
Hello kind humans!
My name is Filip Lopandic, I am 23 years old (still prime time to go pro) and my life long dream has always been and still is to compete in mountain bike racing and hopefully one day be able to travel, ride and compete as a paid "job".
Been riding bikes since I was a little kiddo, I also vividly remember riding being the only thing that would always, no matter what, bring a smile back onto my face - still to this day.
Back in 2013 I discovered UCI's downhill world championships, I was instantly hooked. I bought my first brand new hardtail bike shortly after with the great help of my mom, that unfortunately got stolen too soon. Fast forward to today, purchased another bike, have been improving and advancing my skills by riding almost every day since, no matter if wet or cold or snow. Ranging from dirt jumping, pump tracks and XC to semi downhill courses and yes, all on my trusty 2006 HARDTAIL that I got after I lost two of my bikes to theft.
Anyone with some basic knowledge of competing in sports knows the
road leading to world level competing across all the professional mountain biking classes is a long, wild
and hard road with a bunch of ups and downs. Especially if starting from
the bottom like I am, but that doesn't bother me. I have the will,
motivation and dedication to achieve my life long dream by all means
necessary. I find mountain biking and bike racing in general to be the
only thing I am actually really good at in this existence we call life. I am ready to pursue
it until the day I die trying. The only thing that really bothers me,
or should I say the only thing that is slowing me down on this road is
lack of proper funding and a poor financial status, oh and also not having a full suspension. Not to mention the crazy prices today's bikes and components go for.
Parts on a mountain bike, like on most other things, wear off, need servicing and replacing if broken and we all know there is lots of stuff breaking when crashing is a constant possibility. Crashing hasn't really taken a toll on my current trusty Norco yet but the mileage has, it was made in 2006, it's been ridden and poorly serviced by the previous owner and since I bought it, the bike has seen places people who made it have probably never even imagined it will see. The components are giving out tough and wear has taken such a big toll on it I am currently unable to ride it anymore until I manage to get it fixed somehow. And of course it decided to "break" on me just before the start of racing season.
- STOLEN BIKES & CURRENT BIKE AND ITS PROBLEMS
I have had two new hardtail bikes stolen from our residential building in the time span of about two years after 2013, the lesson was learned the extra hard way and now I keep my new bike (not really new) inside our flat. My first "okay" second hand full suspension bike's frame was dented a bit and eventually cracked and snapped on the headtube ripping out the fork, almost broke my collar bone that day, but I gained the experience and fell in love with full suspension. Shortly after that, while looking for a new downhill machine (second hand, don't get me wrong - it was new for me) a friend of mine offered me his "aggressive hardtail" for a really low price I couldn't resist. An old 2006 Norco Sasquatch hardtail with a nice Marzocchi 160mm drop off fork that I still have to this day, although its days are numbered because I simply do not have any more funds to invest into repair. It weighs just below 18kg with 6061 aluminum frame and old heavy wheels & parts which make it practically impossible to compete with everyone running carbon/new light aluminum frames, but I said to myself that I will sign up for a first race I see after I manage to fix it anyway. I've done some upgrades to it such as new disc brakes and wearable drivetrain components over the years but that doesn't really help with the weigh.
List of things that don't function and/or are in need of desperate replacement:
- BIGGEST ISSUE: left crankarm wiggling to the point of falling off but somehow manages to still hold on (loosing a lot of power) due to crankarm bolt being stuck since the previous owner overtorqued it and stripped the HEX bolt head, I suspect the threads are stripped and jammed inside the bottom bracket. So probably going to need a new crankarm along with a new bottom bracket if it's damaged too. I've been to two different shops and they both couldn't get the bolts to loosen up, my friend and I later decided to try and hammer a torx into the bolts to unscrew them but it didn't work either. Remaining options are drilling them out or welding something onto them to try and unscrew them that way (last resort), but I'm hoping someone from a new bike shop will be able to do it without drilling or welding.
- rear brake leaking oil, right crankarm bolt cracked, keeps loosening up during riding
- both hubs in really bad shape (cheapo Shimano hubs, rear hub literally moves left/right)
- old really rigid rims that weigh a ton and constantly loose spokes (missing 2 atm on rear)
- a bunch of smaller components such as seat, seatpost and qr clamp
WHAT I PLAN TO DO WITH THE MONEY depending on the amount raised, either:
- buy a brand new 21st century full suspension bike (best option)
- buy a lighter full suspension frame with shock and fork to replace current
- buy new drivetrain and other smaller components to fix up current bike
- buy some cheap new riding gear if I do not manage to get enough money
I am also accepting any and all donations in non money form, for example riding gear or new/second hand bike components, really doesn't matter. Chances are it's going to be better and newer from what I already have to work with. Just shoot me a direct message and we can arrange literally anything. I also plan on signing up for local XC/Enduro races as soon as I am able to get some funds to either fix up the current bike or get a new one. A new one would save me soooo much needed servicing on the current one.
LENGTHIER & MORE DEPRESSING BACKSTORY
If you read so far, thank you. I'll try to keep the rest as short and simple as possible. Back in 2007 I lost my father(45) to lung cancer, I was 11. Alcoholic grandfather kicked me and my mom out of the house forcing us to find a new place to live, mom had to take out a big loan that took years to pay off just to get a place to live, fell into deep depression that still lasts to this day although not as extreme, mom had to retire early because of health issues (bad case of arthritis). Basically screwed up highschool and had to find a job. Now, after 12 years I managed to get a GED and am now contemplating on even maybe trying to get into UNI just not sure what course yet. Things are better now but our financial status is getting really low since my mom retired two years before the full-paid retirement age and I just cannot bare to work hard labor jobs anymore because they are taking a really hard toll on my already genetically weak joints, knees and back - and I am fully dead serious. I never thought I'd say that and feel this bad (mostly physically) at the age of 23, also people often tell me: "well just get more fit, be more active and you can work no problem!", the amount of exercise and bike riding I've done for years hasn't helped not one bit, such jobs even made my knees worse than what they were beforehand. Also how does working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week help with pursuing what I really love, riding. Unfortunately by the looks of it, I have to get some sort of a job tough really soon to help cover living costs, also maybe slowly start collecting money on the side for a new racing bike. I know nothing is free in life and you gotta work hard for everything and I am not trying to sound ungrateful or like an average teenager hating on work because it's "hard", but I am simply hoping there's some kind hearted people out there who can help me out by pitching in some minimal funding for such a "small" thing for someone, but such an enormous thing for me. It would literally mean the world to me and would most likely kickstart the start of the only thing I see myself doing in life, my dream career as a professional rider.
Thank you for reading and godspeed!
SOME MORE INFO
Video of second theft, sadly cameras weren't installed yet by the time of first one. Also I just recently finally got a cheap action camera as a gift so expect some epic riding footage soon, also hopefully racing footage too one day.
STILL IN PROCESS OF EDITING.
I will shortly add pictures of current bike and its problems, the bikes that got stolen along with surveillance video of the thief taking one of them and my miserable riding gear (my riding pants literally have over 10 patches on the insides that cover holes just cause' I cannot afford new ones, l'm literally ashamed to even go out riding in these).