The Dirty Truth at Noho is that sometimes living wrong is living right. What I mean by that is that its easy (well sort of) to try and live right all the time. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy not drink blah, blah, blah. But as the Red Hot Chili Peppers say life is not a read through. We get one ride on this crazy ass rollercoaster and you have to live it. Noho/Eastho has become my adopted home away from home. Any chance I get I try and get out there. Some of my favorite people live out there, the vibe is unreal and whenever I am up there it just feels like "home." And it feels like that because all my friends up there make me feel so welcome.
So before we get too far gone into the Gonzo side of this post a huge thanks to Meg, JD, Al, Adam, Mukunda and the whole Noho crew for making us feel so welcome any time we head up the Pike to Noho. I love you all. Seriously. Ok back to the living wrong. Last year at Noho we packed like 8-10 dirt bag bikers into a hotel suite. That was wrong in so many ways. I vowed this year to do it a bit more "civilized." Ended up just me and Mark Bernard, Steen and Dave Chiu for the weekend. All proper and gentleman like. Ahhh yeah. Friday night was chill. We had a few beers talked zombie shows then hit the rack. We rolled up to the venue set up the Hup tailgater at club row right in between Fatmarc and the MAC crew and the Indy Fab cats. JD set us up perfect! Joy brought the most insane Hupcakes of all time. Basically Gourmet Hostess cupcakes. They were gone in a second. Thankfully Joy saved one for Adam before they were all gone. The course saturday was super hard. We got to see Fatmarc in his blanco Stormtrooper skinsuit! That was totally bananas. Those MAC crossers do not mess about. Next year I am making a pilgrimage to the MAC as I have to witness this firsthand.
But so no one gets the false impressions that every race Hup NE does is all Hupcakes and smiles let me set the record straight. The buzz saw that Noho was to be started to take its toll early. DJ Robert came back to the tent after a pre-ride before the Killer Bs and said he'd crashed up top on the rooty section. Ok no big deal. It was sketchy as hell up there. I sucked so bad up there it wasn't even funny on day one. But Robert is just chatting me up not really seeming injured or in distress. Then he mentions it again. Ok I will bite. What hurts I ask DJ. He says its his shin. I suggest we take a looksee as his race is staging in like ten minutes. He pulls down his leg warmer and "HELLO" Holy shit! Dude took a major core-sample out of his leg. I get all calm and just say ummm yeah lets go talk with the emts. They start working on it and he almost faints as they are digging around in there. He sits down and they clean it up and wrap it all up. We ask the townie emts if they think it will need a stitch. No it should be fine. So the big glob of fat you pushed back in is ok? Oh yeah no worries.
Alright! So DJ staged up with his massive wound and had at it. That kid is tough that is all I am saying. I would have been drinking beers in the lounge chairs and heckling. He smartly hit the er on the way home and got 3 stitches. The rest of the day went fairly without incident. We had a great day hanging out. Watched the races all day and then headed home. But back to the Dirty Truth. So the Dirty Truth is a beer bar in downtown Noho. I have always wanted to go during CSI weekend as it is the biker hangout but I have always wanted to go to bed early for racing etc. So lame. This year I got kind of lulled into it. The MRC boys Steen, Todd, and Mark said the Dirty Truth had great burgers and oh it would be a chill night no biggie. I am pretty much a two beer dude. After that its just not pretty. We walked to the bar from our hotel found a great spot with Gewilli and Jerry and had a beer with those boys before they retired for the evening. Well once G and Jerry left the MRC boys just got the wild eyes. Dave Chiu showed up and it just went all Motley Crew Behind the Music. I had to finally push the eject button when dirty George Michael circa Wham showed up and was looking for the "sex party." Once Mark started high fiving and suggesting we do shots of jager Todd and I ran for the door. But the damage had been done.
As Todd and I are walking home I ask Todd how many beers we had. He answers back two. Two I think. Holy shit we had two at the hotel. I texted SBZ from the bar asking her how many beers were too many and like Todd she said two. Ooopsies. I am f'd. I lost count but I think we had 3-4 pints of beer at the pub. So anyhoo. We walk home. Hit the rack and I am having bed spins. I haven't had bed spins since the early '90s. I pretty much resign myself to not racing as it seemed like it would be a total shitshow. I felt sort of stupid about it but frankly I had such a great night out with the boys and had already had such a great weekend of cross that it seemed a small price to pay. Call it a price of admission for living life. But I wanted to get to the venue to do some laps with Joy as we had just set her up with the most Baller set of cross tubular tires on the planet. Pictured above is one of a pair of Special Edition Molly Cameron FMBs. They are insane. Robin egg blue casings Racing Ralph tread pattern. Sick. I show up feeling totally hungover but its cold enough that it actually starts to wake me up. Ahh the healing properties of Fall in New England. I kit up and Joy and I head out for some laps on the course
We do a bunch of laps and just dial in the lines. I am loving the course and my legs actually feel better than the day before. How is that even possible? I am still resigned to not racing but haven't really told anyone. After our laps Joy heads to staging. She gets a good start and I head back to our tent. I am sitting there just watching the race go by and planning my escape when Clint from If mosies over and starts chatting me up a bit. He has one of the smoothest conversation styles of anyone I have ever met. He is such a nice guy. Very similar to Adam and Al. Very zen like and easy to get along with. He kind of softballs me with why aren't you getting ready to race? Aren't you next? I let the cat out of the bag. I tell him I am bailing. He looks at me and talks me down off the ledge. I would tell you our conversation but he's my lifecoach you go find your own. But in all seriousness his words meant a lot. This is why I keep getting deeper and deeper into cross. The people just are amazing. You think you have the best crew in the world and then the circle keeps getting wider and wider.
So Clint gets me all stoked to race in about 5 minutes. I grab my Honey ride to reg, get my number, pin up and rush to staging. I line up next to Dave Reed a visiting Hup from Seattle who happens to hail from Amherst. What a turn around. I go from bailing on the race to being stoked and able to finally have a teammate in the start chute right next to me. Oh its on now. We got a great start, the dogs of war were unleashed and chaos was all over the place. Long story short I had one of the best races of my life. The result may not show it but I felt strong and rode with Dave for a solid two laps where we were actually able to go tactical on other riders. I have never experienced that in all my years of racing. Being able to work with a teammate is incredible. He pushed me way harder than I could have. We ended up 38 & 39. It was a great day.
When I got back to the tent after racing I saw Joy's bike on the ground. It looked kind of funny. You know how you can sense something is wrong but just don't know what it is? I looked closer and saw her rear tubie was flat. Oh shit. I felt like puking. It was like taking $120 and just lighting it on fire but mostly I felt so bad that Joy's race got screwed up by equipment I got for her. Then I looked at the tire. Holy shit it looked like a shark attacked it. Again I thought did I screw up her brakes or something. No it literally had two huge gashes and a slice all across the sidewall like someone threw a Ninja star at her from the bushes.
I finally see Joy and she tells me the whole crazy story. I won't go into the details. Its part of cross racing. I nearly decapitated Tom Stevens in the sand pit with a late lap crash. He had to pit and it probably cost him some spots. So everyone has been guilty of messing someone elses bike up in a crash etc. But its what happened next that just blew my mind and made me so proud of Hup and of Joy. The team we have right now gets it. Joy told me she didn't want to get all mad about what happened because that is not how Hup rolls. And she is right we keep it classy and keep our heads even when the shit hits the fan. She picked the now FUBAR bike and runs up the runnup. She has like a half mile run through the woods to get to the pit. Along the way she bumps into Alec Donahue who encourages her to keep running to the pit. God I love that man. She runs the WHOLE way to the pit gets a neutral wheel and finishes the race! Like I said I am so proud to be on Hup. So many people would have just lost it chucked the bike over the tape sulked off and been so pissed. Probably started a facebook or twitter flame war. Nope. That is not how you do cross right. Bad things will happen. You just have to keep fighting the good fight.
Hup got a bit roughed up at Noho but its all good. That is how we become better cross racers. Cross is not for the weak. Not for the weak of heart or spirit. CSI lived up to its 20th anniversary. Everyone had such a great weekend. The courses both days were amazing. So many great memories and stories. We get to pack so much into these road trip weekends. Next weekend is Putney! A New England cross classic if there ever was one. We are going to lick our wounds, get some fresh tubies glued up and get back to racing the cyclocross. I am already counting the days until Sunday.