Monday, January 31, 2011

Shout at Il Diavolo!

I think we just found Chandler and Todd's next kickstarter project...get Marco Aurelio Fontana to New England for CX Superweek next fall. Can you even imagine this man at Night Weasels? Any man who flashes the Devil Horns at CX World's as he finishes 7th is my hero. Not since Joe Namath wore a fur coat at the superbowl has this type of style been thrown around on the World's stage. I am creating my shrine to Marco in my mancave as we speak.
I will leave this to the professionals but we need to create a fund to get him here for the Gloucester-Night Weasels-Providence week of cross. Back to back C1 weekends, Night Weasels and Marco? Dear god. Do you think we could get him to a skinsuit party? As if he would even say no to that..we may have to sell all our souls to him to make this happen but it will be worth it...Oh and he is a Cannondale team couldn't even make this good a cx story up if you tried. Cross season clearly "Can't Stop, Won't Stop." 2011 is gonna be a good year I can feel it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Worlds & Waffles @ RSC

Ride. Rest. Repeat. Yes that is a good mantra. This weekend was one big celebration of the NECX, CX Worlds and Waffles with MMRacing at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington! Matt and Mo and Rob Vandermark and everyone at the Ride Studio Cafe deserve HUGE Hup hugs, thanks and shout outs for a fantastic weekend! My babymomma has been my wingman (wingperson?) the last couple of weekends and it has been such a good thing. We share one brain. It is hilarious hearing her perspective on the NECX, the characters etc. The NECX should get used to it cause she is gonna be around a lot! I am going to even bring her out for some riding once the weather gets a bit better. She loves the big ring! But in all seriousness thank you for all being so nice to her. Just one more reason I love you all you made her feel welcome and a part of the community in a second. No awkwardness, no trying to figure it out. Bam she is a part of the hive mind. I appreciate it a ton. And she won swag! She was soo stoked to win the great prizes MMracing and the RSC were giving out!
The whole weekend was like a reunion. Some folks I hadn't seen since Ice Weasels some it was even a lot longer. It was so great catching up and hanging out with the NECX. Just from all the conversations we had 2011 is going to be sick. I have no idea how we can top last year but we doubt in my mind about that. I won't lie though one of the highlights for me was Matt's slideshow it once again blew my mind. He does such a great job with them. I think Pam even got goose bumps... too bad there isn't a masters category for the ladies she could do some damage in cx...I can feel it.
She did heckle me at one point for taking more pictures of Dave Chiu's new Ride Studio Cafe team paint job than I do of the kids. Well that isn't totally true but I was in full on bike geek mode. Seven has been turning out some sick paint jobs lately but this one may be my favorite of all time. Pearl white and blue always looks so classy and how they knocked out the ti so it showed through was fantastic.
So from these photos of Dave's sexy newly painted whip you can tell there will be a Ride Studio Cafe race team in 2011! I can't wait to learn more about it but believe me when I say it is going to be something special. They will be bringing the spirit of the NECX to the road scene in a big way!
I kind of questioned my sanity getting up at 5 am Sunday to drive to the Ride Studio for a Cross Worlds viewing party but it was sooo worth it. Waffles and cross and again so many friends from the NECX. I got to actually get in a ride with the Newbury Comics boys and my good friend and Heavy Metal God Mike Salvatore. We only rode for about an hour but it was so nice rolling with good friends on a cold January morning. Roger, Thom and Nick are great guys. I love how a team can just become its own sentient being in a way. The Newbury Comics team to me is like that. I just love hanging around those guys. Doesn't hurt that their kits are badass...and so are they.
The "highlight" of the ride was when we got into a bit of a situation on the road and then it just defied all current bike/car conflict stereotypes. We were rolling pretty much single file near Hanscom AFB in Concord. There is a bit of a negative shoulder right now with all the snow. Drivers for the most part get it. You need to slow down and be safe as sight lines are obscured etc. Well I hear a pick up coming up behind us. I was about third wheel. It was a full size F-150. He must have been a biker or just was cool about bikers as he gave a toot toot and crossed the yellow line and eased passed us. No gunning it like a jackass just moving past us. Well up the road on the other side I see a Prius flying towards him/us. We have all seen this played out a million times on different rural roads. And we know what is going to happen next. The car/truck is coming back into our "lane" wether he can fit or not. Hmmm wonder who loses here? Rights or no rights it ain't gonna end well. But you know what he didn't do it. He held his line. He didn't budge. He slowed down then stopped. The Prius couldn't get past him. The Prius stopped. The F-150 rolled down his window and starting yelling at the other driver. And I quote "what you want me to run over these bikers? What the F is wrong with you! Slow the f down."

Now I thought after that exchange we would get some serious shit. The usual. Gunning the engine, flying by us, screaming out the window, right hook us and break check. You know what? Didn't happen. Not. At. All. All drivers are not dick heads. He eased passed waved gave us a toot and went on his way. I heart truckers...Its Prius drivers I hate with a furry vengeance...

Great, great weekend. Its almost February. Lots of talk about ss mountain bikes, The Ronde de Rosey (April 10th! Get your teams ready now!!!), dirt roads and good friends. I am not in so much of a rush for Spring to get here. Not with weekends like this one..

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MMRacing @ the Ride Studio Cafe

I have the best friends in the world. They are strong, tough, fierce, soulful, compassionate, loving, artful, creative, smart, loyal and make me such a better person its not even funny. I have said this so many times people are probably sick of hearing it by now. Its not me being fake and putting on airs of humility. This is how I truly feel. Without my friends I would be half the man I am today. They inspire me, they push me, they help me stay young and they help me grow. The place that my friends are more and more calling home is the Ride Studio Cafe.

I consider Rob Vandermark a true friend. Rob is the founder and CEO of Seven cycles. He is also the man behind the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington. He has been so gracious in letting the whole bicycle community use the RSC as a hub. For the last year its been a hub for our parties, our rides and our gatherings. It really has brought us together. The Ride Studio is equal part bike studio, gallery, and cafe. And all parts are represented in such an artful manner you wonder why no one else ever opened a space like this before. That is just one reason why Rob is an outlier. He has vision and no matter how challenging it might be he has made it work. I am proud to be a really small part of this community. It is really something special.
But back to my friends. One of the coolest couples in cross, Matt and Mo Bruno Roy are having their annual MMRacing party next Saturday to celebrate this last cross season. On Saturday January 29th from 6:30-10:00 Matt and Mo and the Ride Studio will be throwing a cross party! If you have never gone to a party at the RSC you owe it to yourself to make it to this one. It will be something special. Matt and Mo are amazing. It may seem weird talking about your friends like that but its true. They are so unique. They support each other so much. And they support the NECX sooo much. I mean Matt and Mo are at the highest level of the sport but they will help out anyone. And I mean anyone. It is part of who they are. They love cross, they love the community and it shows through everything they do.
I was having an email conversation with a friend the other day about sponsorship and women's cycling. And I was outlining my thoughts on what a person could do to secure a sponsor and to make it all work. And what hit me after about three lengthy emails was Matt and Mo get it. They give back to their sponsors, they are evangelists for the sport, they literally love the sport, Mo is the nicest person you will ever meet. You don't meet PRO athletes that are this nice. Well you do but its rare. And I could be biased but most of them are from New England. But I digress. Mo will talk to anyone and she is so cool. But she is also sooo tough as nails. This years Nationals is testament to that. But her ride in Zolder is also another example. The video of that race is nuts. The worlds best are having trouble with the ice and snow and Mo is just floating over stuff. She can drive a bike like no other. Ok maybe one or two others and their names are KFC and Marianne Vos. It is impressive.

But what is amazing to me about Matt and Mo is how thoughtful they are. They could be some selfish athlete couple and just worry about themselves and the bottom line but they don't they truly think about others. And they enjoy life and live it in the moment. This last Friday night Matt hit me with a little care package from their trip to Belgium for the World Cup. It blew my mind. I love those two. Seriously. For them to bring me back anything is so nice. But they get me. They brought me back the full on cx superfan care pack. Fidea fan cards and posters. Sven Nys Mutt...I am still beyond words. I do think the Ride Studio has played a big part in how close the NECX is right now. I wouldn't even know Matt and Mo on this level if it wasn't for Rob and the RSC. He created this hub so we could all meet and share our love of bikes and cross and be part of a greater community. This is no small feat in this age of internet addiction. The irony is that while all of America is isolated by their crackberry addiction and the internet the Ride Studio has brought us together and made us a community in the flesh.
The Ride Studio on its own would be a great space. You throw the passion and creativity of the NECX and sexy bikes into the mix and you have something so special you can't even really describe it in words. Next Saturday come out to the Ride Studio and show Matt and Mo the love. I will be there with bells on....cowbells of course. And I hear we are meeting up Sunday am at 5 am to watch Worlds while eating waffles and riding cross bikes...but that may just be a rumor ; )

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Break

So many cyclists dread Winter. Its too cold. The roads are sketchy. Its dangerous. Taking a shower is dangerous. Driving your car to work is dangerous. Riding your bike in the Winter is a gift. Yeah living in New England is hard. Looking at pictures of people riding in Norcal or warmer climates gets you jacked. But you know what seasons are good. It brings a flow back to our modern lives that we are usually sooo out of touch with. We all have ADD at this point. Thanks internet for that. Really. But when Boston gets pounded by 12-18 inches of snow its mothernatures bitch slap reminding us we are creatures. We may be civilized but we aren't that different than animals. We have the same basic instincts. Sure the internet isn't responsible for us losing touch with Nature but its quickly becoming the last straw. Kids don't even know how to play anymore why should we be shocked that adults don't either
But me? I love weather. I love the seasons. I love going out in the woods after a blizzard. Did you know snow has a smell? It does. Right before a storm and for days after that white fluff has covered everything the world smells clean and crisp. Snow is the anti-internet. It will draw even the most jaded, tv and video game addicted tweener outside to play like a kid again. And that is how I feel about Winter. Its play time. I don't ski. I don't snowboard. I hike. I snowshoe. I play. I ride my bike. I am not a hardman. Stories of people doing 4 hour trainer rides in their garage boggle my mind. I can barely last an hour on my trainer. But back to riding in winter. It is different. Everything is slower. I guess you could do intervals. But really why would you? It should be ok to slow down once in a while. I laugh out loud when I am out and its 20 degrees and my legs are frozen solid. We have been getting some good riding in. We just got dumped on. Some are riding. Some are waiting til the shoulder gets a little wider. Well let's be honest its a negative shoulder right now on most roads.
But this Winter I have already had a ton of fun. The Blizzard before this one we got a good group together and rode Battle Road. It was amazing. Sheer ice in some parts, but also some great packed snow. It was like a roller coaster ride. The Ride Studio continues to be the Hub of our riding on that side of the River. I wish I was closer to my friends in Somerville/Arlington/Cambridge. Its funny how the River does create this Berlin Wall in a way. The egress and ingress is challenging. Its easy to get together for rides with my friends from DOT, JP and Brighton not so much on the other side of the Pike. But the RSC has been that magnet that has drawn us all together and I am very thankful for that.
This winter I am making a pact with myself to get out more. Wether its on the bike, snowshoeing with Rosey in Cutler or just rambling around with the kids in the woods. What is funny about the woods in the Winter is in a way they are more easy to navigate. You don't realize this until you go in with a kid. All the bracken and roots are covered by the snow and the lines just blur between what is a trail and what is an opportunity. Sydney and I just scrambled all over the creek beds in Caryl Park the other day and it was brilliant. We even found a mousicle. We almost brought it home for Sheba but thought twice about it.
Lastly I leave you with these Punk Rock cupcakes...I guess cupcakes are still cool...who knew?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Ode to Beer

Tonights post on this dark and not so stormy night was going to be titled "Fear of a Belgian Planet"

The post has been percolating for a while. That title is not a PE song. It is a twist of the PE song "Fear of a Black Planet" of course and was penned by a certain cycling persona named The Jerk...back in the folds of my brain synapses are firing off my qwerty rebuttal to his essay. Its roughed out. American Flyer is in there, Cutters, Maynard Hershon...RDV, Ramstein, Sparta, Valhalla, Stjin Devolder, Riccardo Ricco, Cocaine, 16 year old socialites, cross, beer, Bart Wellens and a whole treasure trove of useless information will form together and be a fantastic homage to all that is Belgie and why we revere it so...but for now I leave you with this. The essay while a thinly veiled jab at Rapha is way off the mark. Rapha is British with an almost German sense of design. The rides they espouse to are ripped right out of the pages of The Rider and are decidedly French in nature and are epic and not in an ironic sense...he is barking up the wrong tree in my mind. Because the things we revere most about Belgium are their chocolate, beer, cross and hardmen of the Spring Classics.
Doublehop and Steen produced a beer just for the Night Weasels! A Belgian of course

So for tonight I leave you with beer. Its not Belgian, well some of it is but most is homegrown by those who love cycling as much as we do. Let's face it cross without beer would be like Nutellla without Fluff. First and foremost this is a thank you to two of the NECX's biggest beer supporters-Steen and his John Harvard's special growlers brews and of course Harpoon. There isn't a beer company on the planet who backs the sport more than Harpoon. Much love to both of you...
Four kegs of Harpoon were barely enough for the 3rd edition of the Ice Weasels

Yeah we like Belgian beer just a bit on Hup United

Ahhh the Blood of the Slain...blood soup never tasted so good...

Again I cannot say enough great things about Harpoon and Steen/John Harvard's. Anytime we needed beer they backed us. I think they love cross as much as we do....

The Harpoon snow fencing made for a great "feed" zone for the Ice Weasels. It really left people no option but to take the beer feeds. Well other than the Cat 4s. They were "racing"

This Thorne Go-No-Go tool never measured a tubular tire but it did come in damn handy as a beer opener

Our contribution to the Rapha can you hate on Rapha? I mean seriously. What are they too arty for you? Epic riding, beer, fine clothing...sounds pretty solid to me...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Year of Blanco

In no particular order a quick look back at some of my favorite photos from last year....

Mo's Seven-last year was all about Skulls and Bones....

Leah at Loon! This is probably my favorite picture I took all year!

Hup at the JPow Fundu....Jabs expressing himself...

Hup Honey....2010 was the year of Blanco and I didn't even realize it til right now

Andy Huff. Gentleman bike rider. Best Mustache in the business. Waffle Cross. One cool cat.

Rosey! That pose to me says everything about Rosey. That man steers the Hup Pirate ship through some choppy waters each and every year. Love that man like a brother.

Zank kit makes everyone look stylish-even me which is asking a lot of lycra

The Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington-Its becoming the Hub of riding in Boston. Thanks for supporting us all year!

Big Ring Rumpus was a blast! Michele sporting some bling! Michele had a great season and more importantly brought so much experience and fun to the team this year!

Fatmarc sporting the Stormtrooper kit! This might be the kit design of the year!