Markie Mark Day 2-Russ Campbell
Not in the Boy Scout sense. F the Boy Scouts. They have nothing on cross racers. Nothing. And a weekend like we had last weekend at Gloucester pushes you way past the limit. Matt Roy who coined the 6 Ps- Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance is the master of this. This past weekend I got a bit of a wake up call in this department. Not in the racing. As much I am a shitshow 90% of the time running around crazy with my life when it comes to the racing I get a bit of tunnel vision. My ADD slows down and I focus. And I to my wife's dismay I do show up prepared. Bike is ready. Kit is packed etc. Its why I love racing. But we have had a really mild fall. I had been sharing the video from 2005's Blizzard cross with my teammates. Just to impart the true epicness that Gloucester can be. It didn't even dawn on me that conditions could get like that. At all. So I did my usual throw EVERYTHING in the van routine. Get to tent row early cause Meg emailed me to warn me it was first come first served. I got there before the sun rose. And got a BALLER spot. Thanks Meg!
It was drizzling but it didn't really register. Got the whole Death Star set up and went out for a pre-ride. It was incredible. Technical course. Perfect. Knew I was going to get hammered on the paved start finish as I always do but the rest of the course was perfect. So much mud. I did an extra lap just because it was so much fun to ride. Some people hate this type of course. I love it. I love having to figure out the lines and make sense of the off cambers. Go low or go high? All that stuff gets me going. So I come back in and then realize I am cold and wet. Oopsies. Everyone is in technical wear. I have jeans. And shorts. And no hat or anything remotely warm or waterproof. Proof once again I am an indoor cat. It reminds me of when we were kids and I would be going up the ski lift frozen like a dungaree popsicle and some WASPy kid would be in some day glo yellow ski suit. There was enough to worry about in the tent to keep me from worrying about my potential hypothermia. We were dialing in the 3/4 women's bikes and helping the 3 men get ready. We had so many Hup racing. And so many friends of Hup coming by. They don't call this race New England Worlds for nothing. Fatmarc and his MAC crew were two doors down. Brad Evans, my new favorite secret Hup rider, was up for the race. It was also the first time I got to ride the FMB Supermuds and damn. All I could think about was how incredible they were. So much nicer than a Rhyno. And that is saying something as a Rhyno is the mud tire for cross.
I went and found Andy in the parking lot and he hooked me up with some fangs for my Dragons. My old sidis were thrashed. So for G-star I went with some new shoes but I didn't have any spikes. The power of twitter saved me. Because if there was ever a day for spikes this was it. I owe him big time. I never would have made it up the greasy run up without some spikes. I got staged up about 8th row. Maybe further back. Gloucester is HUGE. The fields are massive. I am pretty sure the Cat 3 and 45+ both sold out by noon when they put up registration. Gloucester is not so much about thinking you are going to do well or win unless you are the 1% that are actually fast. Like really fast. The rest of us our World's is beating our nemesis and getting heckled by the legions of fans. Being back in the 45+ was pretty cool. Way more chill. After Midnight Ride I sort of missed those crazy killer bees but it was nice to see some old friends I hadn't had a chance to race with all season. We went up the paved straight and it was on. I felt oddly really, really good. Wasn't a special day or anything but I have only missed one Gloucester since 2005 so even though the course was unlike any I had done it was like CX Valhalla. You had to really think and stay on top of it. Great race. If you are a cross racer you have to do this. Put it on the cx bucket list.
The rest of the day was spent hanging out, eating chowder, having a beer, watching all the racing and just getting so stoked to be at NE Worlds. Have I mentioned how awesome my team is? Damn. I have never seen anything like this. So special. And I am so proud of them. I could go on and on about each one and how they strive and are always smiling and helping each other. And not to embarrass them but Ed and Michele are my heroes. I have kids. And an awesome wife. And I know how hard it is. But they bring both kids to the races. And race. And are smiling ALL the time. None of the usual drama that parents face in these situations. Michele goes from caring for her 3-4-month old (not sure of the exact age) baby right to the line of the toughest race in the US. And does fantastic. Ed was chasing there older son all around with his friend Brad and both of them are just cracking up. And then they go race. Amazing. They are an inspiration. I mean people lose their shit before a race if there favorite socks went missing cause it will screw up their race. Hup gets it. Its like one big family. And I love that.
The boys day 2. Abel, Mark B, Deitch
The other part of this crazy season that is just really blowing my mind is how great the NECX has come together. We have hit our stride. All the teams, the photogs, the mechanics, Pedros is BACK!, All the MAC crew, love, love, love seeing Fatmarc and Diane and all of them, 3 races down 3 to go in Holy Week. How you holding up? Night Weasels is going to be awesome. And Providence is well PVD. It is Hallowed Ground. That course is a great one. Thanks to ALL of you for all you do. So many thoughts and things that happened but its near impossible to put it all down in any way that makes any sense at all. Guess that is my failing. But last thought. One of the highlights of the whole day was walking back from heckling the Elite men with the Newbury crew I see Mo out of the corner of my eye. She was talking with someone so I didn't go over and interrupt her. But it put a smile on my face seeing her. I love Mo and Matt and they just warm my heart. So I am all feeling warm and fuzzy when blammmm! Mo puts a full on leg sweep on me and then grabs me in a huge hug. Well as huge a hug as a 90 pound woman can. It was awesome. And that is Mo in a nutshell. Fierce warrior and a warm heart. NECX you rock.