Monday, December 5, 2011

The love of cross

Lucia and I freaking out about cross! Andrea's win was the most exciting bike race finish I have ever seen in my life. Not even kidding. Photo by Natasha

Falling in love with cross is a beautiful thing. I still remember when it happened to me. It was in Seattle at the Nationals about a decade (or two 1994) ago. God I am old. But back to the falling on love with CX. I traveled with the Ritchey team to help with Shari Kain's attempt to win Nats. Tom was one of the first guys to really bring in some serious talent into and from cross. He brought Europeans over and turned them into mountain bike racers and took athletes like Shari and turned them into solid cross racers. We had such a fun time. And it was really so ahead of its time. I mean think about it. This is 1994 or so. Shari had a crew of 4 people with her to help her be ready. We had a mechanic, a media guy (me) and technical guy. It was pretty badass. And we made the mechanic wear a latex French Maid outfit in the pit. Cross was pretty loose back then. It had a lot of that mountain bike attitude going on. Shari won and it was amazing but it was the elite race that hooked me. I didn't really get to watch the women race as I was helping in the pit and trying to figure out time gaps etc.

I had a front row spot for the men's race and it was amazing. It was a battle between Don Myrah and Jan Weijack. It was really intense. Course was nuts. Fans were going nuts. And I had a bunch of friends in the race as well. And I was hooked. I wanted to do what they were doing. That is how this all got started. On the sand dunes of SeaTac park. Segue to this past weekend. I saw the exact same thing happen right in front of my eyes with my friend Lucia. She started cx this season. She has been kicking ass. And really loves it no doubt. But she fell in love with it this weekend. The picture above might be the exact moment when it happened. After the race I went up to Andrea and congratulated her on her win but I also thanked her. Thanked her for getting my friend to fall in love with cross with her racing.
Deep in the pain cave! Photo by Benjamin Stephens

But its not just the racing that you fall in love with. Its the cross bike itself. My other friend Patria who works with Andrea at the Ride Studio Cafe just got a brand new Honey CX bike. She has been loving it. Not as a race bike but for its ability to take you places that no other bike can. A cross bike can be sooo much fun in the woods just riding along. Its different than a mountain bike. I dig riding a mountain bike but a cross bike in the woods is a whole other experience. You slow down a bit. You check stuff out. Maybe its the big wheels or the geometry of the bike but its just so different. And then you pop out on pavement and its like the nicest road bike you ever had. Sure maybe its a touch slower if you have fat tires on it but it still rides sooo nice. So cool to have two friends so stoked on cross. Coming at it a bit different. You have a non-racer (Lucia) getting all stoked about racing and the competition side of it. Then you have Patria who is a really seasoned road racer finding the other side of it. The cool adventure side of it. That is what makes cross so special. It can really transform you in a way that I don't think any other bike can.

NBX was an amazing weekend. Lucia came up to race it from NYC and that part alone made it one of the best weekends of the race season. We had so much fun. She raced great. Both days were so different. I learned the hard truth that yes you can have a Gentleman's slide on a beach run. Day one I must have lost 5-10 spots each time we ran that 150 yards of sand. Day 2 was a bit more to my liking as far as the course goes. And I got a good pro tip to deal with the sand. I came in each time dismounted and left the bike on the ground. I put it in the little groove closest to the tape and ran with it next to me. It was WAY faster. Not sure why. But it was. Day 2 I held my own in the sand. Both days the racing was soooo fast. It was tight group riding which was something really special. I am really beginning to love those 4-6 man groups were you are battling each other lap after lap. It is a pretty cool feeling to be locked in with the same guys the whole race and see if you can outsmart them or out ride them. My form is finally coming back around after the disaster of October. Its sort of funny as we have one or two weekends left of racing. And one of those races is basically a keg party where a bike race breaks out.

Should be a pretty funny two weeks. I am lighting votive candles and praying to the snow gods. Cause frankly if we don't get snow for dahweasel or Fitchburg I may have to take this late season form on the road to Maddison and frankly no one wants to see that!

1 comment:

  1. The scooter bike line did not exist on day one, the PROs set it in. I had to shoulder the bike day 1. Day 2 I was scooter biking the SHIT out of it in both pits. As fast as the people whose wheel I was sucking, and easier at that speed so I got to rest a little.

    Normally at NBX I can attack into sections like that and try to build a gap in them. This year it was so effing fast the only place to pass was the road, which negated the passing to a large degree, so I think that is why we saw so many distinct groups, especially on day 2. No where to pass!