Saturday, July 30, 2011

Putting the Fun in FUNdo

Jeremy Powers JAM FUNdo is quite possibly the most off the hook group ride/fundraiser/NECX reunion/D2R2 lite/Battenkill-esque fun ride in existence...This is what riding is all about. Rapha has been beating this drum for a couple of years now. And while the JAM FUNdo is more technocolor than black and white the idea is very similar. A soul ride. Go push yourself but have fun. Support each other. Live off the land. Get rad on road bikes. It can happen. That was clearly proven today. Jeremy, Al Donahue and Mukunda deserve HUGE props for this. Not just for their cause/foundation which is set up to support and develop new riders to the sport but for the effort they put into this ride. Last year was awesome. It exceeded all my expectations. I mean if you can't have fun on a dirt road ride in Noho that ends at a pig roast and hosted by some of the nicest people on the planet you just clearly do not know how to have fun...but this year they took it to 11. And I remembered my I could get that extra ten miles I missed out on last year. Although my garmin was acting all jonky and ended up reading 5o I still kinda lost that ten miles in a virtual way...but I digress. The good news is I remembered my shoes!
Ahhh the Trophy even made an appearance! That is some pig...I will say that. Coach Al is the best. I love seeing that man. So this year was sans the crazy rushing to the venue and avoidance of the lost shoes. I was not that guy this year! I drove up with Michele Smith and Steen. It was so nice to go on a road trip with good friends and just enjoy the drive and catching up. We got to the venue wicked early. Got all kitted up and rolled out with 300 of the coolest bikers in the NECX. It really was a reunion. There were a few missing peeps. But everyone was there! Mo handed me a vegan cookie almost the second I rode back after the ride. How cool is that? So back to the ride. We rolled out en masse with a police escort this year! See I told you they took it to 11 this year! Ed Hammel is so nice to offer up his farm as the staging area and party central for the ride. It is one of the most gorgeous spots I have ever been to. 300 riders rolled out and then blam...28-30 mph right out of the gate...ok maybe they didn't get the memo about was a tad how do you say sketchy so Parke and I start moving up to avoid getting crashed out. But we of course up the pace way past what I would call fun. Not red zone but damn two years ago we rolled out from Battenkill at a slower pace.
Parke and I are locked together riding really nicely. We surf up a bit and hook up with Chris McKernan from ECV all decked out in Weiss. I had to get a photo of ECV Weiss and HUP blanco together! It was a fantastic sight to say the least. The three of us rode for most of the 65 miles with my good friend Steen and Todd Prekaski. Other riders would filter in and out. And poor Dana Prey had the flat bug bad...I think she pretty much got the flat KOM with at least three flats and one new tire. Yeah how cool is that. She had a torn up tire and the SRAM neutral support guy just gave her a new tire. That is how this ride is. Top notch...This year was way harder than last. It was partly due to the fact that our "gentlemans" agreement kept getting breached. The first ten or so miles were insanely fast. We cracked pretty hard on the first big climb. I recall us all agreeing to take it easy from that point. I guess take it easy includes pacelining at 25 mphs, attacking for the Ice Cream Truck KOM and crushing all of us for the "win" Yeah Parke I am talking to you buddy? But you know Parke showed me something today. He is what HUP is all about.
Shows up rocking FULL blanco. No HTC split kit. And he looked tight. Almost on par with Yash. The skinny guys always look great in blanco. Then he says all the right things. Oh I just want to have fun. Etc, etc. Music to my ears. HUP is a zero drama squadra. We don't have time for that. Seriously. Parke gets this. But what he showed me today? Damn he can attack senselessly and make it stick. He can descend like a demon on dirt. He is a great "breakaway" partner. Parke, welcome to HUP my friend. I am really stoked you are part of our team...I had to give Chris a couple of the "happy" pills at mile 40 or so. But what happens on the road stays on the road. I had a few moments. I hit something and went all Dukes of Hazard at one point. Left leg clipped out, sliding across the road but I was able to pull it out and keep it upright. Todd didn't seem to follow my wheel as closely after that though...weird
I took this picture for Dana. She rocks. But you all know that. I mean she had some bad luck. And we lost her after "helping" her at the Ice Cream Stop. Help is in quotes as I kinda made a disaster out of trying to fix a softening rear tire for her. Thankfully Kenny was on hand with the SRAM car to make it all right.

So once again an amazing day up in Noho. Is there ever a bad day in Noho? I have never experienced one. Ok that time my cousin invited my to Zoo Mass when I was sixteen...yeah that was not good. But other than that? Noho always just gets me sooo stoked for bikes!

HUGE HUP hugs and shout outs to JPow!!!, Al, Mukunda, Ed Hammel, The pig roasters and all the nice people who made the food and served the food, High and Mighty for the beer, The Ice Cream Ladies, all the NECX for always representing and keeping it real. To my good friend Steen. Safe travels...damn I am gonna miss you my brother. I will think of you every time I go and shred the loop. I might have to get a plaque made and put it out there somewhere as a token of my appreciation for all the great trails you have shown me this last year. Keep it cxey out there in PDX!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can't Stop, Won't Stop on wet grass

Do your tires talk to you? Mine were certainly talking to me this am at a wet Larz Anderson park. It was the sound of 66 tpi screaming for mercy. Not unlike the sound velcro makes when you rip it apart. Some really good yard sales today at Worlds. Yeah wet grass is merciless. It was really good for practice. How far can you push the corners? Do you remember all the stuff Adam and Al have drilled into your thick skull the last three years? Surprisingly the answer to that is yes. I only would have destroyed one section of JDs tape today! That is an improvement!
Ok that man right there. Mike Wissell. Badass with a capital B. That really isn't a shock to anyone. But what may be a shock is he is possibly one of the funniest human beings on the planet. Might be my hypoxic brain but man lately he has been just cracking me up. And giving me lots and lots of good advice for next cross season.
Hahah it was such a gorgeous day this morning. Seriously. Sure the grass was a bit wet and we were sliding out all over the place but it was cool and had a slight hint of Fall in the air. Now I don't want summer to end. Who would. Savage tan lines, weight loss comes easy, so many great rides with friends, bikinis, ice cream, camps, surf, the mountains, swim meets. I mean seriously. There is no better time than summer. But Fall and CX are just the pinnacle.
We had 3 Cambridge, 2 HUP, 1 Newbury Comics and 1 Boloco smashing it today. Practice hole shots. Mike obviously owns the holeshot. Although he gave one to Cambridge cause he was laughing so hard at their attacking...or maybe he was just feeling generous. Probably felt bad cause they had crashed so hard previously. We did 1 recon lap, the 2 "hot" laps, the 3 "hot" laps. About an hour of work. For the record Hope from Cambridge is going over the barriers right now like Luke Keough. She had some bad luck with a flat but man she was flying over the barriers. I am a disaster right now getting over the pvc pipes. My entry/dismount is ok but man its like I can't even drive my knees up to get over them. And then its like 6 steps to get the bike back down on the ground and remount. Sad. But its not even August. But much respect to Hope. Seriously.
MVL rocking that Nu Bleu!!! And with the HUP team issue Lazer helmet. Very nice. Great way to get the morning going. No need for the cofeets when you have Worlds at the crack o dawn. So same bat time, same bat channel from now til December. Deets are: Lars Anderson Park in Brookline, Weds mornings 6:30 am at the top of the hill. We go for about an hour. Its sick but I am seriously considering going back and running the hill about ten times. Maybe next week...Hup! Hup!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fight Club

Rosey's Worlds aka Larz Worlds aka Fight Club almost turned into Cambridge Bicycles Racing Worlds this am...thankfully I didn't hit the snooze button and Stewart rode up on his white horse of the Hupocalypse...But it was pretty cool to see equal numbers of HUP and CB mixing it up at dawn on July 20th...I guess we know what teams in Boston are thinking about cross right now. I had to ask Seth how many kits Cambridge has. He said 3 road, 3 cross...from a team that is pretty kit crazy I say spot on to also dawned on me as I watched the TDF today that I think Sky finally got sick of copying HUP and decided to copy Cambridge. I mean that team car paint job is awfully close to the kit Seth was wearing today.
I wanted to do a photo shoot of all the kits present on hand but some people don't share my enthusiasm for having an iphone shoved in their face at 6:30 in the name of blogging. Oh well another day perhaps...We had a nice mix of riding. We pushed the envelope of what clincher cx tires can do on freshly cut grass. We destroyed the barriers a couple of times. But that is the beauty of Larz. This is where you want to get those skillz back. Turning on grass has to be one of the hardest things to do on a bike. And probably one of the single most important skills for doing well in the NECX. We race on a lot of grass crits errr courses so you better know how to rail it on grass or you are gonna be off the back after a lap.
I couldn't resist taking bike pics. We had a couple of Iglehearts, a HUP Honey built by Seven, Rosey's ti Seven and my Rock Lobster. That is a pretty badass showing of cross bikes! I know a lot of people will mock our getting out on the CX bike before the TDF is over. Frankly if you aren't thinking about cx right now you should be. This week felt so much better than last week. But really its about shaking out the cobwebs, getting used to riding and turning on grass, running with the bike, closing the door, getting knocked off, getting back on. All those skills that are so key to doing well in a cross race. We aren't racing. Trust me. I did almost puke after we did 3 laps fairly hot. Rosey asking me why I was breathing so hard was pretty comical and a good heckle. RMMs secret poop start was less than comical. Maybe he ran over dog shit. Either way it made for a malodorous attempt at the hole shot. The hole shot was never in contention. Mike Wissell owns the HS at Larz. Granted even he is human as he crashed on the 3rd grassy corner....
We had a longer practice this week. Mixed it up. Raeanne from CB looked like she was helping some newer riders with some skills which makes her a rock star in my mind. To me that is what Larz should be all about. Come out. If you need skills let's work on those. If you need to get in some hot laps we do that too. So its on from here on out. While we don't want this getting too big its nice to have a good group. If you think this sounds good to you. Reach out we will get you the details. While we like to call it Fight Club...we don't necessarily stick to the rules of FC....if you ask about it we'll tell you about it...
How Rosey carries that bag of barriers with him on his ride over eludes me! It is a lot heavier than it looks. Huge thanks to Rosey and DJ Roberto for championing this and being so open about it. Not a lot of people love cross more than those two I will say that...oh and so you are all warned DJ is clearly gunning for the Zanconato Single-Speed Cyclo-Cross Trophee series! He was out on his ss today mixing it up with us! What is the ZSSCXTS? Stay tuned lots of exciting details coming soon. But just to be a tease a series with one goal-have fun. OK maybe one more goal-create mayhem on the cross course.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Omloop Stow

Dirty Gloves by Russ if there was any doubt that Russ was one of the best photographers in the NECX. He made my dirty gloves look like art!

All hail the Epic. Not The Epic but that which is epic ie "dude that road trip was epic!" Epic has a slightly different meaning in cycling. I prefer the surfing vernacular myself. More fun to be honest. My good friends at MRC specifically Gary David, Russ Campbell and Scott Sweeney hosted an epic mtn bike ride last saturday. Its hard to say where all the drive to create these non-racing rides is coming from. For me the inspiration has always been the Grasshopper series out in Norcal. But I think its just as simple as we all want to get out and ride together without all the bs. Pinning numbers on is fun but why drive four hours when you can get 20 or so friends together and have just as good a time out your back door?

Gary invited 19 MRC and its friends to his house for a nice mtn bike ride and BBQ. He and his family were fantastic hosts! Huge thanks to them and MRC for being so nice to the 3 interloping Hup riders in the mix. To me there really is no better way to get to know someone than to ride three or four hours with them. After the first mile or so of bushwhacking a persons real personality starts to come out. We rode some amazing trails. What was even more shocking was we had 19 riders of varying abilities riding on pretty challenging trails and no one died. We had zero flats, one tiny mechanical, no injuries, only a couple of crashes and one time where riders got lost.
I could go on and on about the ride itself but I am wayyy too fried for that type of blog post. I will go clif note version. Camelbacks are awesome. I had to ask my good friend Ron Steers how to put it on and use it but man I am glad I did. Stow has some amazing trails. Hope saying that doesn't get me in trouble. They are technical but not kill you technical. Fun swoopy stuff with margin for error. Perfect for me. One of the funniest parts of the ride happened about mid-way through. We were grinding up a hill and I hear Russ yell from the back "Chip this is a strava KOM!" I took off like a shot! Cause I am a strava addict. Gary David took off as well. And I thought I was being smart pacing him up the grinding wall. I felt like we were going pretty good and at the top I threw the bike over the pitch hopeful that I had taken the KOM. Doooh 4 seconds. I lost it to Russ by 4 seconds. Gary was clearly blocking as a good teammate time I will find a better line and get those 4 seconds...
We did lose 3 riders ever so briefly right before we stopped in at Scott's house for a water break. Still not sure how we did it but it was only for a minute or two. And of course the guy we lost was the one guy who had been cracking the whip all day about making sure no one got lost...oopsies. But what a great day. And as much as I love racing this trend is something I can really get behind....Thanks Gary, Russ and MRC for a great day out there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

KOM stravagasm

I hate data. Riding has never been about numbers and following a structured program for me. I just ride. Strava isn't anything totally new to me. I had heard about it before it just never really resonated with me. Tim Johnson talked about it before the Ride on Washington and Rapha talked it up before the East Coast Gentleman's Ride but I just didn't get how easy it was to use and how hooked I would get on it. I have a soft addiction to the interwebs and twitter etc. But strava? Its like crack cocaine. It brings the virtual into the real world in ways I never would have thought would even remotely work for me. The first time I saw its potential was on a ride with Billy Campbell and Nick. Billy took off like a shot after the strava KOM on Strawberry Hill. Then Rosey signed me up. Now every segment of road is a townline sprint or a KOM. You can track how you do against other riders. It brings a focus to the ride that to me is perfect for the non-structured rider. It also keeps track of your mileage etc. My coach is awesome. But I swear he must be like "dude, if you kept track of your rides I could actually like do the job you pay me to do..." Well maybe he is too nice to go there but I wouldn't blame him if he did. With strava its all there. And yeah Tim Johnson gave me a kudo for Larz Worlds the other day. Pretty much made my day. God I am such a dork.
Worlds started this week. Dear god it was brutal. Is it "too early" to be doing cx practice? Laugh all you want we'll see who is laughing in September. But I digress. This wednesday at Larz was really just to shake off the cobwebs and see if we still remembered how to turn on grass. Umm its a lot harder than I remember. Rosey set up the traditional course. Including the nasty runnup and the grass climb of death. We had a small but solid crew. On the first lap I was so out of it I didn't recognize Mike Wissell without his beard. Seriously as I am running next to him my ADD brain is like why are all these Bolo Loco guys so damn tough. And they all just seem to be able to corner as smooth as Mike...he must coach them all up or something. This went on for a full lap until we stopped at the barriers and I woke up from not having any cofeets and being Hypoxic at 6:30 am and realized it was Mike afterall. Morning Mike. I only ended up doing 4 laps. Pretty pathetic. I got one good lap in where I was able to close the door on DJ Roberto when he was getting frisky. Good times. Rubbin is racing and its better to practice with teammates than getting all hot and bothered when some stranger tries to take you into the tape at Sucker Brook.
This last weekend I was also able to go up to Loon for a quick mini-vacation. I brought the road bike with visions of getting up early and riding the Kanc. A bunch of good friends gave me some riding ideas. I ended up going out towards Woodstock and over 118. It was amazing. I really fell in love with Loon. It is a beautiful area and has a lot of history for me personally that I won't bore you with. But suffice it to say it really was a bit of an epiphany ride. Not to rip off Gary Erickson but we all have epiphany rides. I just haven't had one in a long time.
Us flatlanders forget the power of the Mountains. We have hills, and bumps but no mountains. We say the Ocean has a pull and we want to be near it. Sure its pretty and I do love it but the mountains hold something very different. Maybe its because I haven't been around them in a long, long time. But as I was rolling down the Kanc my heart rate spiked. Like really spiked on a flat where it should be like 100-118 it jumped to 160 at the sight of another small group of riders. As I was rolling on the flat heading out to the mountains rearing up all around me I was nervous. Maybe a bit scared. Not scared of could I do it etc. But just awed by its power. This may sound lame but that is what surfing in big waves feels like. You sit on the beach and watch the waves. You feel the pounding of the surf on the beach. You see what the sets are doing and look for the channel.
Then you leap. You run in and dive into the water and commit. No turning back. You have to swim out past all the white water and then get out past the break. Then you sit on your board and wait for the horizon to get blotted out by the huge mountains of water moving towards you. I haven't had that feeling in ten years. It blew me away. As I climbed and climbed and climbed. I had to keep calming myself down. It was amazing to climb for what seemed forever. It was only about 50 minutes and probably 2,600 feet. But it felt like an eternity. When I got to the top I knew I had to turn back as I only had two hours. But the views and the excitement of the sick descent that was waiting for me was so similar to when you paddle in and then drop down the face of a heavy wave. I pushed the bike over the lip of the pass and dropped in. I haven't descended like that in so long. Felt amazing. As I rolled back into Woodstock and headed back towards Loon all I could think is I need more of that. And with friends.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Break...

Is ovah. Its July and the cross alarm clock should be ringing really loud in your head right now. 8 weeks. That doesn't even count Rosey's Worlds, all the August cx races and all other manner of cx radness that is going to be going off any day now. Doesn't mean we aren't going to get jacked up on the TDF, ride dirt bikes in woods with aliens and create general mayhem. But start thinking about it. Is the bike ready or is it still encrusted with beer from Ice Weasels?
Summer to me means riding with friends. Racing is cool. If you are a hardcore racer that is cool by me. I love racing. Just not so much in the summer. Me I like riding with friends. Checking out new trails and loops and talking bikes and beer and such without all the type A bs that goes along with racing....
Billy busted out the new CBracing kit the other day. My plan was to do a solo cx loop in Cutler but I saw Billy and Nick heading back from Wells and couldn't resist riding with them. Was no easy task hanging with them on fat tires at 40 psi but they are good friends and rode piano. Good times to say the least
Brass knuckles! Love all the little details on the new kit. It was a great ride and was pretty hilarious to see the power of the interwebs in action on a ride in the real world. As we approached Strawberry Hill Billy got pretty quite. As we turned onto the climb Nick told him to go get that strava KOM! He took off like a shot man. Not sure what the tale of the tape was but he went up that thing like he had a jet pack on.
Nick has got to be one of the coolest guys in the NECX. Just a chill and totally rad dude. I could ride with him all damn day. Frankly the entire Newbury Comics crew is like that. Super cool, super strong, solid bike riders. I got a chance to ride with Roger twice down the Cape in a forest that is as close as you can get to the Ardennes without the plane ticket. We had a ton of fun on the cx bikes and got to laugh at all the pathletes and groupetos. We are plotting and scheming a Wizard Staff CX training camp. It will be off the charts if we ever pull it off. Even if we don't I am putting a red star over Veterans day weekend. Looks like a Cape cx weekend is in the cards. We'll see if the promoters lock it up but it could be Veterans Day= Eco-cross ; Sat= Plymouth; Sunday= Plymouth. That would be radGet your bikes ready. Set the alarm. Rest up. Rosey's Worlds are coming sooner than later. And we have some other things cooking that will be cxey as hell. I leave you with this. If Dorothy had to follow the Yellow Brick Road you are gonna want to follow the cockroach...'nuff said stay tuned. Hup! Hup!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Tick

Ticks 2 Velocb 0....I am a tick magnet right now. And the ticks they are kicking my ass. I got one embedded in me back in April. Had to have a Dr "remove" it. She gave me a double dose of Doxy and sent me on my way. Its been on my mind as I didn't want Lyme sneaking up on me right before cx season. So I made a follow up appt for when I got back so I could get a blood test. Well the other day while down the Cape I spotted a weird bite on my arm. Then it turned to a bullseye. FML. Great. Nature hates us humans. You can't really blame her. 6 billion people is just too much. She has to fight back anyway she can. And why not use one of your tinyest little servants to take down one of your biggest pests?

I tweeted about it cause that is what we do right? Share. Not ten minutes went by and a good friend reached out and took care of me. The internet rocks. Not even kidding. Dr Feelgood is hired as Team Dr for Hup. His day job may pay better but Hup has its benefits. There are the Hupcakes after all. He is soooo much better than my actual dr its not even funny. And he is not afraid to crack the whip. So the good news? Caught it wicked early. Treating it with antibiotics. Bad news? No beer. Oof. And no sun. No dairy either if you follow the instructions on the meds. And lots of sleep. Wait that whole list is actually a recipe for cx domination. I will become fueled by the power of the Tick this cx season. Sure I am going to have to train like a vampire and stay out of the mid-day sun but I already have a savage tan as it is.

Hmmm the Tick may be the perfect cx superhero. And he does wear a blue skinsuit. Nice.