Monday, November 7, 2011

No Sleep til Noho

MVL chased me all over the course shouting and screaming.

Noho to me is like a home away from home. Sooo much of my biker 2.0 life revolves around Noho. My coach lives in Noho. The Nohocx mafia does sooo much for the sport. Their influence goes way beyond the town limits of Noho. Just look what they have done with the JAM foundation. Amazing how they have been cultivating talent and building the culture. So many of my good friends live there. It has dawned on me many times why I don't live there. I could do it and love it but my family love where we live. I think I like it largely because it reminds me in so many ways of Northern California. If you put it next to an ocean it could be Santa Cruz. I have been going to CSI aka Cycle-Smart International for about 5 years now. It may even be 7. It has always been one of my favorite courses. But only three years ago all it had going for it was the race. I mean you couldn't even get a cup of coffee at the venue. Which was kind of a bummer as other than that you really didn't want to leave Look Park as it is such a great venue.
Noho has one badass runup.

But over the last couple of years Adam, Al, JD et all have taken it to a whole other level. This year as part of the NEPCX it was as good if not better than any cross nationals I have been to. Big fields, amazing flow to the course. I feel bad for crossers who don't have course designers like we have back here in the NECX. And I really feel bad for those who never get to race on grass. Both days courses were amazing. Such a great flow. But CSI is not a grass crit. Yes it is super fast on the lower deck but up top in the woods will chew you up and spit you out if you are not on top of your game. HUP goes all in with this race. Rosey and Yash started the tradition with the HUP Vip Suite. And we have kept that tradition alive. Noho got pounded by a crazy early winter storm. They didn't have electricity for 5 days. But you know what they are tough New Englanders. The staff at the hotel was incredible. We barely had power but they took great care of us. Huge Hup hugs to all of Noho for rallying and making the weekend happen.

There is a whole lot of Mad Alchemy love in that box!

Friday night was pretty chill. We got up late set up had a nice team dinner and went to bed. The 4s, MVL and Stewart headed out early and set up shop at pit row. Pit Row to me has changed the whole dynamic of racing in NE. It has built such a great sense of community. Five years ago after the race everyone would bail and go home. Now everyone wants to hang out watch the other races and just enjoy a great day of cx. My race aka the old sort of fast guys was great. After Canton it was nice to get a race in that was fast and clean. Nothing to rave about but a good solid race. Legs felt like they were finally coming around. That night we all went out to the Dirty Truth. Another great Noho tradition. The Dirty Truth is a really cool beer bar in Noho. They must have 40 beers on tap. I went over with Dr Jay, Todd P and MVL. We caught up with pretty much the entire NECX. Some were raring to get their beer light on full effect others were hedging their bets. MVL was smelling a podium and I was stoked for him. I tried to keep him from doing a full on Anthony Freak Out but it was pretty hard. He was amped! It is always so cool seeing someone so jacked up on cx.

The Dirty Truth! Such a fun night out with the boys! I had a couple for my hommie Steen...

We got home early and crashed out. I promised him I would drive to the venue with him early and help him get set up. I only pretended to not want to go early. Deep down I love the 4s. To me they and the 3/4 women are the life blood of cx. People complain about 4s and 3s getting "sponsored" or "hooked" up but to me it makes perfect sense. I would rather see a totally PRO cat 4 or 3/4 team than a masters "team". Cat 4s appreciate everything they get. I could tell Mark was stoked I was there to help support him. And seeing Stewart and the 3/4 women roll up and be all so stoked to race got me so psyched it wasn't even funny. To me that is what the NECX is all about. Its what being on a team like HUP is all about. You support each other, you like each other, you are a family or a wolfpack. Well mission accomplished! Mark has been working hard for this one and he got up on that podium. Even brought Samantha up there with him. So stoked. Such a great way to end a kick ass weekend of cx.
MVL up on the podium for the 4 race

HUP had 6 3/4 women racing! Which was incredible. Each one of those women inspire me and just get me so stoked. My race was really, really great. I felt fast. Raced smart. Still bouncing back. But considering I hadn't ridden or raced in a month? Wow. The highlight to me was with 3 to go I kept hearing Richard saying "Jan Wiejack is in the mix" blah, blah blah. All the other stuff pretty much was white noise aka Richard being Richard. But when I kept hearing him repeat the name my hypoxic brain clicked. No way I thought. It can't be THE Jan Wiejack. The Jan Wiejack that was so responsible for my love of cx. Jan was a legend. One of the first Euros to come over here. I saw him race nationals in Seatac in 1994. I had traveled with the Ritchey team as a sort of embedded journalist. Ritchey was trying to get a new racer Shari Kain on the podium. Deep down we all knew she could win it. She did. And it was amazing to be a part of. But what really hooked me was the elite race. You had all these bad ass americans lined up. Then the usual pack fill. Not like today but say 100 guys. Jan was relegated to the back row as he didn't have any points. The course was like nothing we have today. If we did it today there wouldn't be enough ambulances to carry away the injured riders. It was like some GVA race in Europe. I so wish we had courses like it.

Anyway he just destroys the field and makes his way to the front and then just punishes the Americans. It was like nothing I had seen before. And after that I knew cx was for me. Even if I suck at it. Which I pretty much do it is the most beautiful cycle sport on the planet. But back to Jan. He catches us and kind of muscles into our little four person group. Now that I know it is him I am like screw the rest of these guys what ever Jan does I am doing. I wasn't trying to beat him. I was trying to learn from a master. And I really did pick up some things. I can die a happy man I will say that. What an amazing weekend. So much to talk about. Jeremy Durrin's sausage fest has been well documented so I won't elaborate but it was hilarious. High & Mighty's beer tent. All my good friends working so hard. Pete giving me the best nickname evah! My wife jokingly has called me that for about a year. But I have never shared it with anyone as you can't make up your own nickname. When I saw Pete write it on my box of Mad Alchemy love it cracked me up. Pete get's me. And I love him for it. Brought home a Blue kids bike that has transformed my 7 year old into a total speed freak on the bike. Literally she went from not being able to ride to absolutely burning up the pavement in our 'hood. The best part was seeing all the people I missed seeing the whole month of October. It is so good to be back.
Along those lines. As I was in the beer tent talking with Christopher Walken, my good friend Katherine Snell handed me this cool trading card! It is for VeloCX the next stop on the Zanconato Singlespeed World Tour. Make sure you put this one on your calendar! My HUP Honey is being blinged out right now so I can race this! If you have never been there it will be such a rad course to do on a singlespeed. Super fun. A bmx pump track. We will enter Gnarnia my friends. And I have a HUGE box of swag for prizes and High & Mighty beer. See you all on the 19th!

No comments:

Post a Comment