Monday, June 4, 2012
My Posse is on Broadway
Rolling with a good crew can not be overstated. Its been the key to my cycling revival. My good friend Dr Jay asked me how long I have been mtn biking the other day when we were riding in LPR. I lied and told him two years. I have been "mtn biking" for two decades. 90% of it out west. West coast mtn biking and east coast mtn biking aren't even the same sport. I hated mtn biking in New England when we moved here 7 years ago. I think this is a common thing. What we have here in the NEMTB is woods biking. Or axe head rock biking. Or ride that 2 x 6 plank of death riding. I sucked at it. Well I still do. But I have a good posse. People, and the list is looooonnnnggg, have taken the time to teach me how to do it. Training isn't worth a rats ass when you are coming up on some greasy drop off with axe head rocks waiting to tear chunks of flesh off your body. Skills are what matter. And a proper bike. Mike Zanconato is one of my best friends. No lie. He sort of peer pressured me into trying a 29er and trying single speeding. When I see him next I may just kiss him on the lips. Ok that was too much wasn't it? Ok a huge Hup hug then. Cause we are men after all. Point being. The 29er and ss have changed everything for me on the mtn bike
The other part of this trip to the Darkside would be that man pictured in the middle of that picture above. Let's call him Sensei Aumiller shall we? He has been nudging me more and more over to the Darkside each week. We did SSpalooza. We have been shredding the Enduro course at Cutler. He said two things to me leading up to Domnarski that stuck with me. Last time we were at Cutler he said "if you rode the hills like you rode the Island you would be fast" so true. Any good singlespeeder attacks hills. You have to. I don't. Its a carryover from my geared dependency on a granny gear. You can't spin up technical stuff. Even with gears. You have to attack it. The other thing he said was "be like water" Well he quoted Deejay Birch and the actual quote eludes me. So I envision Bruce Lee's infamous youtube clip. And there was plenty of water at Domnarski! I rolled up with the Broadway Bicycle Studio crew. Such great guys. Seth, Bill and Aumiller made the ride go by so fast. And per usual I was freaking out. I had horrible sensations. Felt like the old man I am. But these dudes chilled me out. They are so solid. We rolled up to the fahhm and I felt good. Then we pre-rode about 200 yards of the course and I started freaking out again. It was bananas!
Greasy wet rocks. We were gonna be getting some early season cx remount practice that is for sure. Lots of runnups. Lots of trudging through swamps. Carl Ring rode the whole lap as a "warm up" and his recon report was the most horrible thing I had ever heard. So I blanked it out. My plan was literally to just ride. Not worry about anything. We lined up in the ss sport category. All 9 of us! But a fast crew. I haven't met a slow single speeder yet. Whistle blew and I tried to stay in contact with the fast guys for as long as I could. Going into the first bit of nasty 6th wheel I saw Matt putting out some sick watts up at the front. Then we all were off running up some horrible pitch. When I came up for air we were on a nice bit of single track. So I chased the guy in front of me. Some good twisty stuff and we started seeing carnage. Flats everywhere. People walking back down the course. We weren't even 2 miles in. Then I saw Matt. Fuck. His race was done. I felt so bad. Then I saw the next fast single speeder. Then the 3rd. Holy shit.
At this point I was in 3rd. Ok that woke me up. I got to work as they say. For some reason this horrible nasty course suited me. There were hub deep "puddles" everywhere. I went into one and hit a rock and submerged. I came up with one thought. Flesh. Eating. Bacteria.....the supposed bridges were all under water. The swamps were deep. But I liked it. I liked how insane it was. There was a ton of scrambling over wet rocks etc. I kept looking at my garmin to see how much we had to go. I caught the single speeder who was in 2nd on the power lines. We rode together from that point on. Not really racing as much as sizing each other up. He got ahead of me on a technical section and a geared rider crashed right in front of me on the top of some sick chute. I asked him to please get out of the way so I could pick a good line. He said in shock "where?" Who knows dude I am flowing like water. I dropped in slid down the thing bounced off a tree and laughed my ass off it was so much fun.
We caught a ton of geared riders at this point and started the racing portion of our day. We would try and stay together and then get mixed in with some geared riders. Right at the end I popped ahead of him. We came to another nasty swamp/bogg. I saw a "b" line off to the right through some trees and didn't hesitate. It was a loamy track through some trees. He took the swamp line and a geared rider took him out. I thought maybe I went off course as I didn't see him. But we popped out on the last descent into the start finish and I just dropped in and prayed I had enough of a gap. 2nd place. First time in my life I was paid to ride my bike! Twenty five bucks may not seem much but it will pay for beer for Pats Peak! 60% of the placing goes to attrition. The other 40% goes to the bike. The Zank is sick. It handles better than any bike I have ever owned. And the people who set it up for me: Zank, Kenny and Scot Novick deserve huge props. The bike is dialed. Stans Tubeless and 29 inch wheels turn riding gnar from a white knuckle affair to a Mr Toads Wild ride.