Thursday, October 6, 2011

You want Mud you've got it

Kristina Donehew rocking the blanco at dahweasel. By Russ Campbell

Yeah I referenced an AC/DC song...what are you gonna do. Holy week featured something pretty unique. Don't know if its happened before or not but either way it was something special. Back to back weds night cx races. That is pretty badass. And the two events could not possibly have been more different. Gary, Russ and MRC did an amazing job on MidnightCX. It was such a great venue, so well organized, the course was fantastic. Top notch. They had world caliber racers. Especially the Brits which needs it own post but what a great night it was. Too fast and furious cross racing. Grass, tight turns etc. Night Weasels was like the MidnightCX's Satanic drunk cousin....that just got out of jail and was itching to do some crimes. While MidnightCX had a mostly flat, high speed grassy course Night Weasels had the heaviest course I have ever ridden in my life. Ski Ward is a heavy course on a good day. It is a ski hill. So yeah you will be climbing. So it will be hard. But we had torrential rain leading up to the race. So much so that the Ski Ward crew had to do some serious engineering just to make it rideable. Huge hats off to them. They do so much work getting the race course ready that people never see. They really deserve so much credit.
But this is dahweasel. It is supposed to be hahhd as Ultraendurance guy would say. What you get at Night Weasels is part party, part heavy weight MMA throwdown on cross bikes. It is supposed to be tough. But this year was a lot tougher. We say dahweasel requires two things for survival. Blood and Metal. She got a little taste of blood on Wednesday. Thankfully not too much. But her thirst for metal was unprecedented. So many rear deraillers just snapped off peoples bikes. I saw it happen at least once right before my very eyes. Snap. Crackle. Pop. I basically rode a single speed cx race last night. And no it wasn't a gearing option. I had no options cause I could not shift. Thankfully I was in the 39 X26. Any other gear and I would have been doing a lot more running I will say that. My race was sooo much fun. Like I said this is the muddiest course I have ever raced. You had to be smart. Ride way outside. Tape to tape and just hope there was some actual grass left to give you traction. There really wasn't much as everyones bikes went from 17 pounds at the start to about 70 pounds by the end of lap one. So much grass was packed up everywhere it made braking and shifting basically impossible. I had soo much mud and grass on my cogs the chain couldn't grip the teeth. Good times.
This year was a redemption for me if you will. I wasn't planning on racing as I was helping Colin promote the race and didn't want to leave him hanging. Last year I did one hot lap then started hearing Colin's voice in my head. Started yardsaling and packed it in before even finishing a second lap. That did not sit well with me. I do not drop out of races. But my good friend Michele Smith took over my prize czar role and let me race without worrying about Cat 4s sitting around waiting til I finished to get their Prince of Darkness Trophy. Yes we had sick Prince and Princess of Darkness trophies made by a man named Skunk. Skunk is a legend at Seven Cycles. So I was able to actually race. The great thing about this was that even though I ran from the Newbury Comics booth to my car with ten minutes to staging to throw on my skinsuit it just didn't matter. My warm up was a heavy slathering of Tim Johnson Mad Alchemy embro, a gu shot, some flexall on my lower back and a quick Belgian handshake on my tires. PRO as hell. A warm up was about as helpful as file treads on a night like tonight.
This photo may be the greatest cross photo of all time and says so much about the NECX Photo by Bob Jenney of 545 Velo

Really my only goal was to not die. Part of me really wanted to do well. Not gonna lie about that. Its well documented that I love mud. The crazier the better. But this took crazy and just sent it to defcon 11...Even though it was so muddy Colin and his crew created a great course. Yeah parts of it were a slip and slide but like Lyne said in one of the Cyclingdirt videos you shouldn't be afraid to run. If it bogged down just run. And actually running was better than riding in so many places. It also gave you a chance to do triage on your bike. I pulled so many of those little wire flags out of my cassette, rear derailler, front brake. It was insane. Its like the course was spitting metal at me..see there is that metal again. I rode with and against some of my best friends in the NECX. Frankly it was awesome. One of the more insane parts was at the top of the first climb. You basically climbed the hill then had to run about 100 yards through a ankle deep bog. Then you remount and go on Mr Toads wild ride down the hill. Well as I remount a guy is right on my inside. It is dark. You are moving wicked slow. So I don't even think about it till we both jump on our bikes at the exact same time. Then our bars lock. All I have time to say is Oh no...locked. And I eject out over the front of my bike and do a superman yardsale down the hill. I run back up and the other rider has been kind enough to untangle our bikes. We don't even say a word. Just remount and keep grinding.

What an amazing night. Huge, Huge HUP Hugs to my partner in grime Colin Reuter. Wow. What can you even say. He worked so hard to make this happen. I really don't know how he did it. Its hard to tell which he used more his talent or sheer will power. Thank you to Newbury Comics, Roger, Nick, Billy and Thom for supporting us in a huge way. I love those guys. They are what the NECX is all about. Pete from Mad Alchemy. He is pictured above. Twice. Man I love that guy. Again another guy who just backs cross. Lives it. Breathes it. And just ups everyones game. It was so great seeing Tim Johnson and Lyne and the whole team out being a big part of grassroots racing. I can't even put into words their support. Tim put up $150 of his own cash for primes. And pushed riders to keep them from falling over. Gave beer handups. Talked to everyone. That is PRO. Supporting a bunch of cross crazed lunatics on a night when you should be resting for a C1 race on saturday. Much respect. Thanks to Chris Smith from Lazer Helmets. Not only are Lazer helmets the coolest helmets on the planet they are Belgian. I can't think of a more appropriate prize for the Night Weasels than a Lion of Flanders Genesis helmet.We had so many other great supporters: All Hail the Black Market, EMS, Thomson and the Ride Studio Cafe. And we couldn't have done it without the volunteers help. The team stepped up big. Sure there were some issues with bells or balls or something out on the dark side of the course but you know the saying what happens on the darkside stays on the darkside. Unless it gets captured on video....but I digress. Meg and Michele and Mark from HUP handled registration and prizes. What an amazing event. Thank you to all of the racers and fans and again huge thanks to Ski Ward. Show them some love this winter. They really have grown to love bikers. We should love them back.

1 comment:

  1. I still refuse to use the phrase "next year" for another week.

    But yeah. Wow.