Putting on a Hup kit is transformative. It gives you Watts. It gives you an edge. When people yell "Hup, Hup Hup" on a run up I still get goose bumps. Maybe its just the kit. That's fine. Job done if that is all its about. But its more than that. Hup United is classy. You don't see us losing our shit over some mechanical during a cross race. We aren't cyber bullying each other or other racers on twitter or the interwebs. We support the sport because we love it. Not because we need to be good for a brand...there is no brand there is only each other.
Ok I am getting way to manifesto-ishy here. Two weeks ago we had a cross kick off party at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington. And it was off the charts. Rob Vandermark the owner of Seven and the RSC and Mike Salvatore master frame builder, all around cool cat and Hup United OG called me out of the blue with two huge news flashes. Number one they wanted to have a Hup United night at the RSC!
I was blown away. At first I thought they meant they wanted to open it up to the public and have a party. I was totally into that but then they let me know no they wanted it to be small and intimate Hup United only. I was speechless. Rob and Mike worked so hard to make it happen. We celebrated Seven years of Hup with Seven skinsuits and all our usually Belgie bling all up on the studios walls. It was amazing seeing the kits all together.
We met at the RSC before the party and did a roll out ride with about half the team. Maybe 20 riders all on cross bikes. The other revelation Rob and Mike dropped on me as we were planning the party was that they were introducing a limited edition Hup Honey cross bike. There had been talk about doing a Seven Hup bike in the past as Hup and Seven share so much history but nothing ever materialized.
Hup United was formed at Seven, Seven years ago by Zac Daab and three other Seven employees including Mike Salvatore, Bernard Georges and Max Kullaway. Hup's ties to Seven still run deep. We have at least four members of Hup at Seven right now. Including Rob Vandermark. But when I saw the build sheet for the Honey it was a game changer. Thirty bikes were being built celebrating Sven Nys's 3o victories during the 2006-7 season. Each bike's "serial number" would be one of those victories. After a quick consultation with Yash I chose Baal as it is Nys hometown. Rob and Mike told me they could have the bike ready for the party. What is the wait for a Vanilla at this point? 5 years? My Honey was done in a week. Seriously. I bow down to Rob, Mike and all of Seven. Thank you so much for making this happen!
Bikes are great and the paint is amazing but having your friends build you a bike that is this unique and do it for the love of it. Priceless. I rode it for the first time on the rollout ride that night. It passed the "ohh shit" test with flying colors. SBZ the patron saint of mtn biking and mayhem led us on a crazy ass "cross" ride through and around Lexington. Most of the trails were footpath multi-use stuff that was fine on a cross bike. But SBZ being SBZ there was gonna be some mayhem. So as we are dropping down this sketchy chute of a trail and I am third wheel behind TheJeffreyBramhall.com and DJ Robert I am about to go into Warp Speed DJ hits a water bar and totally catches air. JB bounces off it next and elevates, thank god I was in the drops or I would not be writing this blog post. I air it out land and just let the bike go. It rails through all the rocks and roots and just soaks it all up. Point and shoot. Beautiful.
We all got back to the Ride Studio in one piece even with some shennanigans between JB, me and DJ. DJ is a tad excitable and kept trying to pass us on the singletrack we being us had to hip check and elbow him into the trees. Its good practice for him as he is racing 3s this year and no one will be letting him get a clean pass trust me. Pretty impressive considering we rode some techy stuff on cross bikes. One flat was the only mechanical. And SBZ brought that on herself. You never deflate a tire at the start line...
Back at the Cafe we swung into full on party mode. I bought 5 cases of Belgian beer. There were maybe 40 of us. It was all gone by 9:30. Impressive. Hannah made us some amazing Hupcakes. It was so great getting to hang out with the team and some close friends without having to stress out about pinning numbers on or rushing around finding wheels etc. Such a fantastic evening with new friends and old friends. Thank you to Rob Vandermarck, Mike Salvatore, Seven, Ride Studio Cafe, Rob and Todd of Double Hop for all the amazing photos you see above (except the washed out one of the kit on the wall) Zac Daab, Hannah Kirshner and everyone who made it to the ride and party! What a great night. Hup! Hup! Hup!