"If you don't have snot bubbles coming out of your ears then you aren't going hard enough"-Larry Longo.
That is Larry pictured behind Elite winner Merredith Miller and Leah Pappas-Barnes. So many things about that quote and picture sum up the Night Weasels Cometh. This was NOT a hipster tractor pull. It was wicked fun in a way only New England can serve up cross but make no mistake about it, it was more a MMA title card fist fight than a cross race. It was brutal. I had the best first lap of my life courtesy of Ron Steers in the 3 race. You want to get to the front of a cross race? Follow that man. He found lines that didn't even exist and passed EVERYBODY. He would pass like 20 guys in one 90 degree turn by going wayyyy outside. But I don't belong at the front of a race. And certainly not a 3 race with a bunch of young dudes hopped up on NOS soda, gummy bears and a chance to race cross at night for the first time in their lives. You think people were amped up? Yeah that would be an understatement!So back to my very brief attempt at racing da Weasel. I came through the start finish line way up. Like top 15 and kind of still in contact with Ron. But I quickly lost his wheel and started riding like I do and not like Ronnie does and that is when the bad things started to happen. It is also when I started hearing Colin's voice in my head. And not good old Rooter style heckling like "put out more watts" or one of my faves "Stop Sucking!" More like work stuff as in "is the prize list for the 4s done?" Ummmm not exactly. I think that is when I crashed into a stake got entangled in tape, dropped my chain and slid down a hill in the mud. That is also when the grim reaper in the form of Seth Davis arrived. I did two more crash filled laps as I was really going for the "best crash of the night award" and then pulled the eject button. I haven't stepped under the tape of a cross course and quit in the last 5 years. But it had to be done. I had work to do. But those three laps? They were amazing! That course was sooo much fun in a punch you in the face then let you ride a mud filled luge track on your cx bike kind of way. Lesson #1 of cross racing. It is really hard to work on a race and then race the race. For an old man I think its impossible.
The fact that Linnea Koons worked 10 times as hard as I did and was able to be fresh and rip the course apart in the Elite women and do so well racing and promoting the race proves what a cross god she is. Granted she is from New Zealand about twenty years younger than me etc, etc but make no mistake Linnea may be one of the toughest (and funniest) people I have ever met. But back to the Night Weasels. What a night! So many people put so much hard work into creating one of the most insane evenings of cross I have ever been a part of. Ski Ward was so great in getting the venue ready for the race and just opening up their venue to us to let us just have at it. So a huge thank you to them!
Meredith Miller and a bunch of other Elite racers were so supportive and such sports about the race! They came out in good numbers and they put on such a great show for everyone! Could it have been that they all got a glimpse of the custom trophies that Leah made and wanted to win one so bad it hurt? I think so. Leah's trophies were a perfect example of why Night Weasels rocked. Everyone got so into it and put their own creative stamp on it. Leah brought back the long standing tradition of Boston Cross's trophy parties. Linnea built her Stairway to Heaven. Steen and the MRC/John Harvard's crew printed up a special cross label for their New Belgian Strong Ale. And they brought a ton of beer out for us all to share!
There were a ton of examples of this type of support from our friends. The Pedros guys rolled up and handled the bike wash like it was a UCI 1 race. Forget the fact that they just did Gloucester and were going to do Providence that weekend and were likely exhausted. The fact that you had the GM/President (Matt Simpson) and the VP (Matty Bracken) washing bikes and racing with the elites and kicking butt speaks volumes not only about them as a company but the commitment they have to supporting the grassroots and their friends. They are great partners and great friends! Thank you Matt and Matt and the Pedros crew. You are all doing such amazing things its not even funny. They have brought grassroots racing up a whole other level this year!
So many of our friends just stepped up and got sooo involved. The main point of this ridiculously late blog post is to say thank you to everyone who made this night so special A huge thank you to Colin and Linnea for taking me on this wild ride of race promoting in New England. When Colin first asked me to help I jumped at the chance. When I asked him what he wanted me to do he just said "do what you do." That is both hilarious and awesome at the same time. I think I made him a little nervous initially with my unchecked ADD but what are you gonna do? He did ask me a pointed question as we were scouting out the course the week before the race. He kind of softballed me with "so have you ever worked on an event before?" I calmed him down letting him in on my former life as a hack for the Sea Otter Classic and Napa Worlds. But those two events have nothing on Night Weasels. Nothing.
Thank you to my Hup teamates for racing and volunteering! Thank you to the Crossresults.com team for all your hardwork. Thank you to all our friends and sponsors: JRA cycles and Brian McInnis, Derek Griggs, Pete Smith of Mad Alchemy, Indy Fab and Leah, BikeJD for stepping up as our presenting sponsor, Zanconato custom cycles for some insane FMB tires, Newbury Comics, All Hail the Black Market for bringing the darkness, James and Linnea of the Embrocation Journal cycling team, Pedros for their constant support and encouragement, Wheelworks, Steen and John Harvard's and all of you Cross FANatics who make this sport and this region so insane!
The last/first biggest surprise of the whole night? Yash came to our race! Our good friend and Hup teamate Stephen Link somehow kept this a surprise. When Yash walked in it blew me away. I instantly stopped freaking out and settled in and knew it was gonna be a good day and I wasn't even gonna need my Ak....last bit and I am sure you have all seen it by now but this video by David Deitch rocks so hard I just can't stop watching it....http://www.vimeo.com/15689862