Belgie Hupcakes from G-star tailgater photo by Lodrina
How did half the season just go by in a blink of an eye? That's how cross season goes--one second you are scouting out secret training spots and the next thing you know you are breaking down the bike for winter storage. And that is why we spend so much time sweating the details all year for this small glorious window of cross season.
I am taking a little unplanned break this weekend thanks to a nasty chest cold that took me down Tuesday after PVD. I felt great racing saturday, sunday I wasn't even tired, went on a nice Columbus day road ride with my wife and the kablaam full on chest cold. Not a shocker considering how sick my kids have been all fall..held out as long I could...
But as bummed as I am about missing what is lining up to be an epic (dare I say it? in this case its applicable) weekend of cross racing in New England its also given me a moment to reflect. We have at last count 6 cross races this weekend within a 2 hr drive of Boston. Some say this is not a good thing, maybe, but it gives us CHOICES. Imagine that. And the diversity of these races and courses couldn't be greater. Pick your poison. The weather is going to play a serious factor at some of these venues. Take a technical course like Mansfield Hollow and throw a ton of rain at it or maybe snow and look out man it is going to be a course that will surprise some people...better be prepared for a mudder...this will not be a grass crit that I guarantee...it kills me that I won't be there to suffer in the trenches with the rest of the mudders. I love it when it gets nasty.
This has been such a very different season for me. Last year was so much fun. It was my first year on Hup and it was great. But this year has been so much better. We are so tight as a group right now. Big changes for me...the 45+ A's have been a big jump up and I am digging it. Being on Hup has brought my game way up. Sort of funny that an old guy like me is learning sooo much from all these young guys. Mountain biking has played a huge part in getting me ready for cross season this year. And really I only tapped 1 % of its potential. But Weds Night Time Trial Club and Rosey's impromptu assaults on Cutler gave me a solid base to help me not feel totally over my head in the A's. I hired a coach. That is shocking. I have been unabashed in admitting I am uncoachable. But Al and Adam have been the anti-coach coaches. It doesn't always have to be about power meters, heart rate monitors and strict adherence to plans etc...Al has a plan man but its more special ops than rigid military style basic training and he is almost telepathic in his ability to say the right thing at the right time...scary as I have only been working with Al for 8 weeks.
The "new" cross bike has made a real difference this year. I got my Rock Lobster 3 weeks before the season ended last year and never really got a chance to maximize its potential. I loved it straight away but never had time to dial it in. This year. Oh my god. The bike is incredible. It is light, its stiff and it just rails the cross course. I have been loving my Ksyriums and the FMB/Fangos. 25 psi never felt so sweet. The great thing about it is its not stoopid light the parts are picked for one reason they work. Not because they are the sexiest or lightest but that they have proven to work season in and season out. And yes its all campy except for the cranks which are shimano d/a with a d/a 46 t big ring...campyphiles will cringe but the bearings on the Ultra-torque cranks are not durable enough for cross racing. D/A are buttery smooth and you install em and forget em.
David Wilcox sporting the Yo Eddy inspired Geekhouse kit
One of the cooler aspects of this season has been the proliferation of new kit and teams like Geekhouse and Svelte. Those Geekhouse kits! Yikes. As a friend said recently "its like a unicorn puked up a rainbow." I like the kit but I can see the point. But man that is a cool team. Three of my favorite people are on that team, Jeff, Lo and Dave. Such cool cats, so strong and just nice to be around...
The Svelte guys are just animals and look so PRO its ridiculous. I didn't even know they'd recruited Peter Sullivan into their squadra! Good pick up as he is so friggin strong and just getting stronger. If he could just stop hurting himself! We've talked ad nauseum on forums etc about the new Verge categories. Its effect on the New England race scene is still to be determined but the guys who manned up and upgraded to 2 and are racing with TJ and Jon Page et all get huge respect from me. Seriously if you cross paths with David Wilcox, Cort Cramer, Colin Reuter, Kevin Sweeney, PVB and a bunch of the other guys who I don't know as well you better shake their hand and say job well done. Because those guys are heros. We all bitch and moan about staging and callups etc but try racing with Tim fricking Johnson bearing down on you like the Borg mothership about to absorb you into the hive. Those 2's are badasses.
Getting way to sentimental here for just a quick recap of the season so far. It must be the dayquil...the directions said every 4 hrs...maybe I have been doubling up a bit. I swear if this cold isn't gone by Sunday I am going to be on more drugs than Elvis...last bit. The next 9 weeks are going to be incredible. Certainly if the weather continues in this vein we are going to see a real cross season unfold....Hup Hup good luck to everybody racing this weekend