Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shake it! Before you bake it!

Today at Sucker Brook I got schooled by Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr in the fine art of the Shake N Bake. Playing the part of Ricky Bobby was my good friend Brian McInnnis and Cal Naughton Jr was played by a flying Richard Perrotti Jr. Now I say this with much respect. They put on a clinic in how to race cross with a teammate. To work together. I have been trying to explain this to a few of my more excitable Hupmates. But it just hasn't really registered. Their response is usually "but I am going so hard I can't even think straight." That is actually a very good point and a nice segue to my race today. Sucker Brook is one of my favorite races in the NECX. It used to be the season opener before CX season began in August. Sucker Brook is a fun mix of fast grass with a ton of turns that you really have to bring your A game with you or you are ending up in the tape, flying off a wood bridge or going into the steps head first. It had rained the last couple of days leading up to the race making the track nice and tacky. Some spots were a bit slick but nothing heavy. It was very fast. Add in a nice fireroad and a little bit of woods and a killer sand pit and you have a New England classic. I was very impressed with the course.
I lined up second row next to a couple of friends I hadn't seen since last Fall. Boom off we go. Straight away pavement into a gravel left hander. I was bunched up on the right and made the turn but it all pinched in. I think everyone got through ok but at one point my ergo shifter was right on another riders right hip. Kept it upright (barely) and just kicked it into warp drive. Came through the pit in 6th spot. This was disorienting. Granted the field was a bit thin as Burlington had taken the wind out of a lot of peoples sails but looking around the fast guys were there. I locked onto Brian McInnis to just see if I could surf this wave at the front for a while. I was feeling fine which again was making me nervous. I am never this far at the front of a 45+ race. Like ever. Lap two things started getting a bit more frisky but the group was staying together. At some point I got taken into a tree in the woods but it was really no big deal. I just bobbled grabbed my bike ran for about 10 seconds remounted and took off.

About half way through Brian didn't seem so fresh. He pulled through and said hop on my wheel. I was like ok. We are buds its all good. We came through the chicanes and out to the field. He asked me not to drop him. That seemed odd. I just assumed maybe he wasn't feeling it or something. Later he told me he got crashed in the sand pit so that makes sense. So I ease up a bit. But as I peer behind me I see a flying JRA rider locked in on us like a sidewinder missile. Oh shit I think. I take off come in way too hot into a corner and go through the tape. Actually a section was missing. I went through it and am able to duck under the other side and am back on track. But the damage is done. Sling shot has now been engaged. So its me against two highly motivated JRA rides. The heckling is fairly relentless. The Gentleman cyclist is saying some very ungentlemanly things to me. Or maybe it was Bramhall. I try and cling to the hope that I seem to be doing ok in this JRA sandwich. Then they turn the screws and drop me right before the stairs. I bury myself to make it up come in too hot again and yardsale in the corner. Game over.
I am now in damage control mode. Negacoach comes through and is actually pretty nice. I think he says something like bummer dude as I am tangled up in my bike trying to get my chain back on. I do my best to move up or chase down someone. But now its really just keep from losing more spots. But don't get me wrong. This is in no way me complaining. That course was sick. I love turny swoopy cross goodness and this course dialed it way up. I spent the next two laps just trying to rail the course. So many good heckles and cheering sections out there today. I rolled in at 15th. A good day for me. And I am stoked that I had such a good start. I still don't know how I got so far up there. I am going to need to go back and review tape later and see if I can recreate that next weekend. So hats off to my JRA friends. One of the things I love about cx is it is a battle. You need to ride smart.

But the race is just one part of the whole day. It was so great hanging out with the Newbury Comics crew and the whole NECX. That cold beer you see above? That was waiting for me in an ice cold cooler when I got home. High & Mighty Beer of the Gods may be my new favorite beer. So good. Speaking of High & Mighty. This weds night MidnightCx is on! It will be Zank SSCX Trophy series stop #2. Lots on the line for this one. The whole podium is getting pimped out with Beer of the Gods! I have two cases in my garage just for the race! Top 3 men and women get a six pack. That leaves 2 other to give away at our discretion. Hmmm barrier prime? DFL?

I haven't set the prize list yet but am going to dig through my mancave and see what I can come up with. I have some good swag I will say that! Hell week starts now! Tighten up those chin straps, make sure you put your spikes in your sidis. Hup! Hup! Oh and if anyone knows a 45+ master racer who is really, really fast and looking to be a part of one of the coolest cx teams in the NECX I need a teammate. Pronto. Time for some team tactics Belgie style...

1 comment:

  1. i thought we were going to get rid of these age categories and race by ability this season. you have plenty of teammates at your ability (in the 3 field), you're just the only fast, old man on the team. you'll see on Wednesday.