I have been Living Wrong for at least three weeks. Bike racers are supposed to Live Right. Stress free, healthy living blah, blah, blah but that ain't living. And unless you are a PRO--like really PRO ie., getting paid why are you sacrificing your life for a hobby? Even if I wanted to go all monk-like it wasn't going to happen this month. But a funny thing happened when I got sick mid-season. I got fresh. And I started getting more out of less.
The day before Lowell I was literally driving all over the greater Boston area picking up raffle items, PA systems, going to the dump etc instead of doing my openers. Openers? That's a good joke. Openers are for people with free time. I got a lot of time but none of it is free right now. So I got to Lowell at dawn and set up shop. I literally ran from the Hup Booth to the start line after my friend James yelled at me that the 35+/45+ race was staging. Thank god the official gave us 2 minutes so I could at least rub some embro on my legs and check my tire pressure. But you know what? I had a great race. Great race. Seriously. Would I have placed any better if I did my usual openers Friday, got to the race early and went through the whole OCD ritual most of us are so tied down to? Doubt it. Maybe a place or two. But you know what I wouldn't have had as much fun and that my friends is the point right?
Dj Roberto one of the newest members of the swarm of Hup killer 3s- Photo by Lodrina
We established earlier this season and I think all agree that the racing itself will never be fun. Its just too damn painful. Yes in its pain and suffering comes some sweet moments of self realization and inner heroics. But its not fun unless you are a masochist. But everything else surrounding cross is damn fun. The training is fun. The geeking out on bike setup is fun. The racers are the coolest on the planet and are therefore really fun to hangout with. This is honestly the first season I have ever hung around at a race after my own race is over. And I am loving that part of cross this season. Hup has had at least 3 solid tailgaters. And at Sterling we had one of our best! Mark and Gina hooked us up with some incredible burgers and home fries. At least one pro stopped by to eat home fries before his race. He really wanted a burger but was pro enough to realize he would puke if he ate it. And sorry to the vegetarians in the pro women's and men's fields. Seriously. Our weber was blowing some serious smoke right onto the course. For the meat eaters it had to be torture ( in a good way) and for the non-meat eaters it was probably kinda revolting. Sorry bout that.
Big Tomeke rocking the playoff beard! -photo by Lodrina
Day 1 at Sterling was the usual suffer fest. The racing was brutal but again the tailgater and hanging out with friends was fantastic. I think I spent 9 hours at the venue eating burgers, hupcakes and freezing my butt off. Totally living wrong. I got home late and basically left all my crap in the van. In my head I'd checked out. I was pre-reg'd for Day 2 but already had decided I was out. I haven't had much luck doing double race weekends this year. Its tough with a family to be gone all weekend racing. But in the back of my mind I was itching to see what Tom Stevens cooked up for Day 2.
Trying to get my stubby legs over the horse jump!-Photo by Soups
Day 2s course looked real promising with lots of interesting additions and a rumor of going into the woods! Sunday morning was probably the most wrong moment of this three week time span. I got up checked my email, twitter etc...had about ten cups of coffee, 2 eggo waffles with Nutella and then went in the hot tub. It was 8 am. My race was to go off at 10. I was thinking about hanging out with my wife and girls and what a nice day it would be.
After 3 years trying to ride this hill I finally made it every time!-photo by Soups
I got out of the hottub and checked my email. One email from Eli caught my eye. All it said was "bring the grippy tires" Holy crap. That was it. I kissed my wife goodbye and raced out to the van. I drove at warp speed down rt 2 heading to Sterling. I got there literally 5 minutes before they shut down registration for my race. G-willi looked at me like I was an insane person. How can anyone show up 5 minutes before a race pin a number on and be ready to race. Its just not right. Friends that's how. Mark put my spare wheels in the pit. Eli pinned me up. I borrowed Marks Mad Alchemy coffee embro--which I am now totally hooked on. And went to staging. I got a call up and was slotted next to Ed Hammel in the 4th row. I asked him how the course looked. He asked if I prerode it. I said no. He looked at me like I had two heads.
That said I had a great race. I was loose. When the bodies hit the floor in the first 180 I just flowed around it without freaking out. I felt faster day 2 than Day 1. Never faded. Actually got faster as the race went on. First lap was a warm up and then I just dialed in the course. I even took the time to low five Eli each time I saw him around the race course. I had so much fun on the new course it was ridiculous. That my friends is what Living Wrong is all about. There are two weeks left. Join me in Living Wrong. It will be scary at first. Maybe start with leaving the trainer at home. Do you really want to be sitting on that habittrail outside when you could be hanging out with all the cool cats before your race? Didn't think so. Come join the rest of us Fun Loving Bastards at the Hup tent...Hup Hup
Nailed to the cross! Man that runnup was brutal early on Brian providing the moto to keep me out of the wind for a lap. Thanks Brian!-photo by Soups