We are going to be talking about the Rhonde for years. Well until next year anyway when we do it all over again! So many legends were born on Sunday. So many epic stories. They will all start trickling out through all the usual channels. Lots of story being talked already. But what really is the defining piece of the whole day for me is all the people that flocked to this event. Sooo many New England Hupsters came out for this. It was so good to see Hupsters I haven't seen since cross season, or even Battenkill or some even from a cross season ago. Its such a small world even some our new Hup riders already new older Hup riders. Six degrees of separation? More like two as Jenn said so well yesterday. One Hup Finds Another has never been more true. All the pictures here were shot by Natasha. They capture so much about the day. The dirt, the grittyness, the wood bridges! Yikes the wood bridges! There were a few "incidents" on the woods bridges. The biggest shocker is that it wasn't me who ejected off of one as I have a real bad history with wood bridges. The fact no one t-boned each other as they passed back and forth on the same bridges as they did the out and back on the first woods section of the course is one of the most PRO parts of the whole day.
Natasha once again was everywhere. Go to her gallery and check out what she shot over the course of the day. What you won't see is HOW she got the shots. See the wood bridge shots. How do you think she got those? She rode the course like the rest of us with a backpack filled with camera equipment. Then she positioned herself on the edge of the bridge over 4 feet of e-coli and god knows what filled bracken water and shot picture after picture with no fear. Then she'd pack it all up and ride to the next spot and shoot again. I don't even know how many hours and miles she put in that day. But I tip my hat to her once again. Mark my words she will crack the big time in no time. I hope she still remembers all us little people when she is a rock star photographer!
It was so good to see Stephen Link rocking it. He is too cool. Justin Cox and Mike came down as Team Hangover. All the OG's were there. Mike Salvatore, Jimbo, Stephen J. There were lots of new faces and of course a handful of our squadra were sorely missed. But if this day proved anything its we need to do MORE of this. Anyone can pin a number on and race. But how many people can get out of their comfort zone and be with your friends and teammates and just laugh when the shit hits the fan? Oh and it did. Hup seemed to come out of it pretty unscathed. We had a few hiccups and a couple of mechanicals but nothing earth shattering.
The other thing that really hit me looking at all the photos and stories that have trickled out as people blog, tweet and fb is that look at how everyone is smiling. Amazing. For how much we suffered and how much people got lost and dealt with adversity no one, and I mean no one, lost it and got mad or pissed or had some melt down. People worked as a team. Wether it was to share food and water, help a teammate with a flat tire, tow a teammate miles to civilization or just bring the stoke for their team for the whole ride. Teamwork was everywhere.
I am sure all the bikes and bikers are trashed right now. I know I ate my way through the house last night. I won't ever admit to this but I might have eaten a whole tray of truffle brownies at about 11:30 pm. It was a blur of chocolate crumbs and ice cold milk. If pressed to confess I'll blame it on my 5 and 9 year old. They love brownies. I hit the wall hard today at about 2 o'clock. I was cruising along feeling fine and then boom. Total exhaustion. But it is such a good exhaustion. And coach says it a rest week, the weather gods have brought typical Belgian weather to the NE as is usual for spring so I shall rest. Thanks to all y'all that made this such a great day. Huge Hup hugs to all the OG and new Skool Hupsters that came out of the woodwork for this! Thanks to all the riders and friends. When do we get to do this again?