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 FUNdo...it 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!