Monday, September 5, 2011


"So shaking out the cobwebs means getting the embarrassing crash and mechanicals out of the way, right?:" From's twitter feed. Yes Jeff. Yes it does. We all crashed some of the rust off the old cx bikes this past weekend. Ski Ward home of the Night Weasels Cometh last year has become Boston's version of Valmont Bike Park. Seriously. They have welcomed cyclists with open arms and with the help of MRC have a dedicated cx course/playground set up for crossers looking to get their cxey on. MRC moved their training series from Wrenthem to Ski Ward this year. It uses the far side of the course that we used for Night Weasels. The other half of Ski Ward has a sick tubing slide and some kind of summer ramp of xtremeness going on. 30 or so of us showed up Saturday for what we were calling Bandit CX. It wasn't "bandit" in the traditional sense. It was Bandit in that we showed up and ran a off the cuff CX training race. Ski Ward charges by the hour to use the facility but for the training series they charge $10. Pretty good deal for a sweet course with double barriers and no fear of the police descending upon you to kick you off your new "secret" spot.

In all seriousness Ski Ward has been awesome. MRC is doing a great job with their Weds Training Series and I think the future for cycling being a big part of Ski Ward over the next couple of years is for real. Pete and I were talking in the parking lot afterwards about how cool it would be to have a short track mtn bike series here next summer. But back to Bandit CX. Adam Myserson, The Wilcox, and a bunch of fast guys and girls showed up for an early season training race. We did 2 four lap races. Mass start. In one the fast guys started at the front. In another they staged at the back and worked through traffic. Race 1 was great. Except the wanting to puke each time up the steep hillclimb. It felt sooo good to be on a cross course with the bike in full race mode. I brought out the Rhynos for this. At first I thought it was really really stupid bringing an AK-47 to a knife fight. Each time I said that I remembered the beat down I took at Ski Ward last year in the mud. We have had a bit of weather this last couple of weeks and I knew it would be slick. But it was muddy!!! I am praying to the cross gods every day that this trend continues! More mud for this cx season. The Rhynos make you feel like a cx superstar. I mean seriously. The rear was bottoming out every time I hit a bump. It rolled. It gripped and shredded that mucky muck like a chainsaw.
I did learn or relearn a valuable psi lesson. Better to have really low psi in the front than the rear. With Dugasts you really can go low. My rear had 20 psi in the first race. It was a bit unnerving after a summer on clinchers at 50 or 60. But man does it give you grip! The first race was uneventful other than JB smashing his body into the first barrier section. He was unscathed but I think his ego was bruised a touch. No shame in crashing on the barriers my friend. We have all been there! Race two was an entirely different story. We had such a good crew. So there was a ton of socializing etc. The second start we were all bunched up going into the holeshot which was a hub deep mud pit. Dog stacked it on the inside, JB crashed on top of her and then I jackhammered onto both of them in a mudder dogpile. I though I impaled my face into her rear canti but thankfully I just smacked her rear triangle so didn't have a core sample of my face. My first thought other than my looks and teeth was oh god we just broke Jeff's brand new bike. Thankfully this was not the case as Germans now how to build bombproof carbon. Have I mentioned how much I love the Germans?
Both races I got to ride fairly close to Frances Morrison. She is awesome. Obviously. And one of my coaches Proteges. And a total cross Ninja. She is sooo smooth. And reminded me so much of Al. In a weird way it was getting a clinic from Al himself. In those 8 laps I learned more about cornering and flow than all last season. Seriously. Ski Ward is a ski hill. So you go up and you go down. That is how a ski hill is. But the carry over from Night Weasels is that Colin and those boys know how to make the most of any patch of terra firma. It is nice. Yeah you sort of want to puke every lap. But it switchbacks and you have to really work on momentum. Stay off those brakes!!! And for god sake anytime you have some speed carry it over and up any berm or rise you have to deal with. There was some sick mud. I really enjoyed that aspect as I love the mucky muck. It was funny to see some people go all the way around some mud pit. Me? I would just fly into and get covered! It was like a baptism by mud.
Afterwards we all grabbed lunch at the lodge. How cool is that? Ski Ward has a nice lodge that you can hang out on benches grab a veggie burger and an ice cream. Enjoy the day. No need to rush home etc. It was a perfect day and a great reunion with my cx family. So many cool cats were there. I highly recommend checking out the MRC Training Series or just go out some weekend and shred the gnar to get those skills back!
A couple of other quick notes. I got a sweet care pack from Pete! I love his Chamois creme. When I heard he had a new one called Pure I had to try it. It is hands down my favorite. It is very euro. Reminds me of one of my all time faves Sportsbalm. But way, way better. Goes on real smooth and just stays put. Zero friction. And smells like the Ardennes forest.

Lastly. My good friend Jeff told me about a HUGE sale happening this Friday at Pedros warehouse in Haverhill. I will get more details but basically show up Friday or Saturday. You pay $20 or $30. You get either a mini pit kit or the superpit kit and then fill it with all the stuff your grubby hands can pick up and fit into the bucket. Let;'s call it a bucket sale! The only catch is the stuff is labeled in German, Vulcan and/or Korean. In some ways that could be a selling point. I wonder how you say Bike Lust in Flemish?

Hope all of you are getting the rust off! The first official race in the NECX is this weekend in Maynard. Quad CX is gonna be insane. Trust me you will not want to miss it. Race #1 in the Zanconato Single Speed CX Trophy series. High & Might Beer Barrier Primes courtesy of Newbury Comics. And it has a sketchy downhill. Need I say more? Hup Hup

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