Saturday, November 12, 2011


There were a lot of possibilities for the title of this blog post. "Cross Crushed" as a play off Rapha's Cross Clash. The Grass isn't always greener. Maybe Ow and ow ow ow. You get the picture. Why is there a picture with a lion eating the lion tamer above? Being a lion tamer is a weird job. As long as the lions think you are a lion you are ok. Once the lions know you aren't a lion you have a real problem on your hands. I suspect its an awkward moment for all involved. A lion takes a swipe at the lion tamer and then is like wait what? Why have I been afraid of this hairless lion with the loud tail? You know how the story ends. That is pretty much how I feel sometimes. Do these kids have any idea how old and slow I am? Do they know that I really have zero talent? I guess that its possible that they do but they like me so put up with my total lack talent and pretend I am fast like they are. My Cross Clash with Matt Aumiller of Cambridge pretty much falls into this category. Matt and I have been riding together a fair amount. On more epic style rides. We did the Rapha ride together. We carved out the Ronde 2.5 ride together. Endurance riding can hide a lack of talent. I guess talent isn't the right word. Speed probably is the correct term. Or Power perhaps. Oddly I have speed but no power right now.
Matt in Newbury Comics kit he races for Cambridge obviously but looks damn good with tooth face on.

But back to the Cross Clash. This whole thing got hatched at Night Weasels when I was going pretty ok for an old man with zero talent. I unlike some of my younger old man friends have not found my old man power. Weird. But anyway I was going ok at Night Weasels. So after the race a 3 way Clash was formed between myself, Matt and Robert Hale. How can you say no to Cross Clash? To do so would be pretty weak. So we waited and waited. It never happened for various reasons. Eco-Cross in Falmouth presented itself as the perfect Clash. It was a Friday we all had it off. Looked to be a chill race. Matt got all stoked and said it was on. Ok no problem. I probably should have gotten a bit worried when he said with great enthusiasm that we were going to clash in the 1/2/3 race. Now even more disturbingly on the reg page it said PRO 1/2/3. Alarms were going on in my head as there is nothing Pro about me. But I figured what Pro would show up to some jungle cross race down the Cape when the payout is $250? My god at Night Weasels we were paying out $2,000 and its not like we were overrun by Pro's trying to get paid. So I thought ok it will be fine. For a few days it was really only me and Matt signed up. Then Colin and David signed up. We figured a handful of the usual Cape fast guys would show up.

The funny thing keeping me calm and not freaking out was I remembered eco-cross from when I first moved here. A super chill jungle cross race. I used to be great at jungle cross. In my mind I still am. But you know what? I am really not good at jungle cross anymore. At all actually. The Verge races have ruined me. I finally have speed but do not seemingly have any power. Oh well. Next summer I guess a healthy dose of mtn bike racing will be on the docket. So back to Friday. We lure Gewilli into the mix. Or did he convince me not to wuss out and request a downgrade from Dianne so I could race 4s at noon? I kind of forget. Anyway so we show up and then I find out real actual PROs are actually racing. In fact Luke Keough and his brothers are on hand. As are a lot of really fast guys. Ok no problem. We start joking about how many times we will be lapped. Twice seemed likely. Three times would just be sad. We line up at the back. Obviously. Colin gave me a nod to move up into the space right behind him but I shook it off. No way I wanted any part of that.
Luke Keough doing what he does best...

So basically it was two races. The super fast guys and us 3s partying at the back. Eco-cross seemed to be a bit more sketchy than I recall. Again I think Adam has ruined me. Seriously. I wasn't nervous it was just kind of funny cause I remember Dianne chewing out Colin for stuff way sketchier than this. Let's recap. A downhill barrier section at the end of a fireroad with gravel right before the transition to the planks. What could go wrong there? Then after the double planks a section of rubber ( they felt like metal) mats. They were super sketchy to say the least. Then after the plates of Death another gravel section. I saw a bunch of people almost hit the barn at the apex of the gravel. After that it was just the usual stuff. Course doubling on itself just asking for someone to get Treeboned. Ok let me take a step back. I am not complaining as racing it was way less sketchy than pre-riding. I actually enjoyed the challenge of actually having to stay focused at all time lest something really, really bad happen to you. But it also had a great mtn bikey flow to it.

But back to my actual race. So the 6-10 of us threes let a slight gap open after the "start" and then started our race. GeWilli got a good gap straight away. I stayed in a group of about 5 for most of the race. My Clash was dangling about 15 seconds up. I was in a group with his teammate Ian who had already done one race and was doubling up. He didn't even look tired. With about 3 to go I started to crack a bit. I made a "move" right before the woods on GeWillis teammate to try and do something that resembled racing. I got right in front of him before the woods and just went to warp speed. I got a small gap then down the fireroad to the 180 in the hub deep puddle. Made the 180 and he was on my wheel. My "attack" was short lived to say the least. He powered by me on the uphill riser and then that my friends was that. Luke Keough and the whole field came charging through shortly thereafter. At this point I went from "racing" to let's get lapped like a PRO ie don't crash out someone with an actual future in cyclo-cross. With one to go I saw Luke coming again. I could have sat up and been done with my race as if he came through at the finish my race would be over. But no way I was gonna be 2 laps down. I went hard into the pain cave and got through the barriers right as he came over the top of the vineyard. The hardest earned DFL of my life. Way back before we had kids Father Maurice a really sweet Anglican Priest said something that has stuck with me forever. He was talking about the keys to a successful marriage He said the key was that sometimes you have to put your hard hat on. Its obvious what he meant but for those who maybe don't get it he was saying even with love sometimes you have to work at it. Its not going to be easy. You may not even like your husband or wife. But put your hard hat on, grab you lunch pail and get to work. Friday was a day like that. I suspect I am gonna need to put my hard hat on for a few more weeks. And that is ok


  1. I just want to remind you that YOU initiated that cx clash. Now I just have to beat Robert on Sunday.

  2. I initiated it?! That is crazy talk. That is like saying the Germans initiated WW2 when they bombed Pearl Harbor...oh wait.

  3. Dudes that was the best start to an awesome weekend possible.

    So sweet.