Sunday, February 26, 2012


I have always been a HUGE comic book fan. Granted a big part of it was in my early teens and youth. But it really was much more than a passing phase. I went to art school motivated mainly by my ability to draw super heroes. Its odd that I got a bit off track at art school and never really pursued it. I guess that is what can happen in your twenties. Stuff gets a bit foggy. But anyway a lot of the mythology in comic books resonated with me and it seems to resonate with what we do as bike racers.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Hup. In some ways I always thought of Hup as sort of like the Wu Tang Clan. You have your OG/Founders that built this amazing team and then you have all these side projects and other artists (teams) that spun off from the core. In New England we have evolved so much since I first joined up with Hup. Hup is a special team. No other way to say it. I have always said when you put on Hup kit you are no longer anindividual you are part of something greater. And it changes you. To bring it back to comics it gives you powers.
For those unfamiliar with Hup United it was started at Seven about seven years ago. Zac Daab, The Godfather, started Hup United with a small tight nit crew at Seven. Seven and Zac and Hup are still tied so close together. Hup has grown to be a "national" team. Unlike any other national team that I can think of. We have some amazing teammates in Norcal, the MAC, Georgia, the South, The Midwest, Oregon and Seattle. The motto that seems to drive us has always been "one Hup finds another." This helps us avoid some of the dramedies that lots of other teams fall victim to. We are all friends. We support each other. We don't have sponsors so no one is in this to "get stuff" We owe Zac and the OG so much. Zac continues to be such a great support even from 3,000 miles away. Zac moved out to Seattle a while back to start up his own business Cascade Bicycle Studio. He is also a race promoter. He wears a lot of hats and does it well.
OG Hup Zac Daab, Max Kullaway, Bernard Georges

That is a very brief and incomplete version of what Hup "is" but its a good intro to this post. But back to the present. I have been thinking about all the new riders and faces that have joined us on Hup NE the last year. We have some amazing new riders. They have really kicked this whole thing up to 11. Abel is one of this Next Gen Hup. He just has sooo much swagger. And is so positive. He is also indestructible. I mean clearly. So it was no shock when I saw him yesterday as 5 of us were meeting up to search for Satan's Kingdom on our mtn bikes that he announced his new spirit animal. Spirit animals are funny. You can "pick" one. Or a close friend can "pick" one for you. But a true spirit animal finds you. Abel has had some close class this winter. Well close calls isn't really the right word for it. He has been t-boned on his bike by a driver who ran a stop sign and self arrested on some rocks in the Fells using his face. Now for most riders that would be that as they say. Body cast. Jaw wired shut. But not Abel.

So when he said to me his power animal was Wolverine I knew exactly what he was talking about. And totally agreed with him. He clearly is made of adamamtium. And luckily for the NECX he does not seem to have Logan's berskerker rage. He is way too nice for that. All kidding aside thank god Abel is ok. And it points to just what this new crew of Hup are made of. They are all badasses. They have impressed me so much. On and off the bike. 2012 is going to be amazing I really can feel it.
The biggest changes to the team as I have said before is that we have added a big group of women! Over the coming months I will do my best to introduce the new riders. But just to name names we have: Kristina Donehew, Ana Sirianni, Elaine Debitetto, Erika Madeiros, Susan Rogers, Abel, and Mark Van Liere. I am sooo stoked to see what the team does this next season. For me its not about winning. Never has been. As Fatmarc once said what we do is "beer league softball." Its a hobby at best. But what we do is build communities. Grow the sport. Put on and help with amazing events. Push each other. Ride and race hard but do it with class and panache. No bike throwing. No tantrums. Support our partners and those who we believe in. Lofty ideas but all for real with Hup. We don't fake anything just cause it seems cool or what not.

But back to our ride. February and we are mtn biking on a Sunday afternoon! That is an insane statement! For those unfamiliar with New England we should have about 70 inches of snow right now. Even if say it was April the trails should be closed from them being so wet from the snow melt. No snow no snow melt. No snow melt=superhero trail conditions! I met Abel, Rosey, MVL, and Matt Aumiller of Broadway. Matt made an equipment choice to be on ss rigid mtn bike. Well it wasn't really a choice as its his only mtn bike. And I think it gave him a performance advantage to be honest. I mean WTF? How can an old heavy ss rigid 29er go faster than my blinged out Seven Sola with 500 gears? Oh right he is stronger than me. As Rosey said "you have to go fast on a singlespeed" No wonder why singlespeeders are so damn strong. We are all spinning up these nasty gravel climbs and Aumiller is just crushing it!

We set out from Caryl after saying hi to the Park Ranger. Very nice young man. At Caryl you get a little zip tie badge and fill out a waiver. Funny all the walkers and equestrians didn't have to sign a waver. Do you think they think we are mutants and need to be tracked? Probably. Anyway I am not going to complain. We "technically" shouldn't be allowed in the woods right now anyway. And the fact that the ranger was flexible enough to bend the "rules" and let us ride was nice. When I say closed most land in Mass is closed from say Jan-April. Reason being if it is all wet from snow melt and still has perma frost tearing up the trails is not cool. Granted they do let horse tear em up but I guess that is "natural" or something. Sorry I can't help myself.

We all ride in. I am feeling really weird. I haven't been on a mtn bike since last August. Frankly it feels like a clown bike. Why are these wheels so damn small? And why is this bike so slow. I lead as I know the way but its less than optimal. As that last sentence probably alludes to I suck on a mtn bike. To be good at something you have to actually practice right? Much ruckus occurs when I get off halfway across a wood bridge cause it looks "sketchy"

We roll up some fun trails. Lots and lots of "Walkers" I have been watching the Walking Dead lately and am starting to get nervous. Why don't they smile? They must be undead...we pedal faster. We realize real quick that mtn bike fitness is wayyy different than winter road mile fitness. Holy crap it feels like my heart is going to rip out of my chest after the first climb. We find some fun rocks to hop over or trash over depending on our skill set. We have only gone about 4 miles and I have crashed about ten times. But its all fun. Although our singlespeeder is getting cranky. I think its because he has to ride behind me. And I keep dismounting for every stick and pedal on the trail.

In the hunt for Satan's Kingdom we are also doing some serious bushwacking. I think that may be what is making him grumpy. That and we hike up a 500 foot sheer rock face so we can ride some roller coasters. I FINALLY get my act together and ride a drop that I was too afraid of to ride the last time I faced it. Granted that was last winter with some serious baller mtn bikers but still. I see Rosey do it and he doesn't die so I give it a go. Easy breezy. The key for me is to follow riders who actually know what they are doing. Rosey is a great rider to follow. Obviously his skill set is wayyy beyond mine but he is reasonable about it. He knows I suck so its NBD if I get off or what not.

After some super fun rollers and listening to Matt chanelling his inner Ultraendurodude we shred some sick gravel all the way back to the parking lot. Whether we found Satan's Kingdom is questionable. What we did find was some super fun with a damn good crew. I am so pumped for this year. We have a lot of stuff cooking. Next up is the Ronde and some early season mtn biking. Stay tuned. Same Bat channel, same Bat time. Hup! Hup!


  1. The ultimate wolverine comic panel

  2. Dennis I love that! I forgot that about Logan. He loved beer! One more reason he is the best superhero ever!