Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trail Daze

Sandy hit Boston like the swipe of a dragon's tail. Not the devastating blow that trampled NJ & NY but the high winds and torrential rains wreaked havoc in the woods of Boston. The weekend after Sandy Sensei Aumiller and I went in to see how the loop in Cutler was looking. It looked like the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. Not to get all Richard Fries here and most of my hipster friends are way to young to even know what The Bulge was but that is the first thing that hit me. The Germans surprised the Allies with a push through the Ardennes forest. The Allies were fucked. Way under gunned they resorted to blowing up trees to act as hedgerows to try and slow down the Tiger tanks so they could slow them down enough to try and get a decent shot at them. It barely worked. In the end it came down to fuel. Or lack of on the Germans part. 

The trails that once acted as our Thursday hot laps had massive trees all across them. Back in August when Aumiller busted his collarbone on one of the loose boards on the boardwalk I had reached out to NEMBA to see about getting the boardwalk fixed. In a bizarre twist that is so the story of my life the next thing I knew I was the SE MA NEMBA VP of Cutler. What do all those abbreviations mean? I have no idea? I am kidding of course. It just means I will be the SE NEMBA rep for Cutler. I am really stoked about it. We already have a great community around Cutler. But now we get to really grow that community out and make it even stronger. It also means I am putting my money where my mouth is. Or sweat equity as it is. Its simple to write a check. Not so easy to show up and do work. In this case though the work and organizing was actually really fun. 

During our recon mission after the storm we bumped into Gregg from IBC in Newton. Super cool guy and he was on a belt drive singlespeed which lofted him to a whole other level in our eyes. Cutler is pretty much a singlespeed paradise with its swoopy trails and euro chutes. Gregg was really into the idea of a trail day. We rounded up the usual suspects. Had a great crew of about 20. With Niko the dog leading point all day. I went out to the Island with Geoff, Bryan and Jason from IBC. It was hilarious walking Cutler. What takes you 5 minutes by bike took about 20 minutes. I might have been breathing hard as well. God cycling is so much nicer. We headed up to the top of the Euro chutes and started hacking and chopping at a pretty big tree that had fallen across the trail. My t-rex arms were on fire about 5 minutes in. But I won't lie it was pretty awesome scrambling around in the woods throwing tree limbs around and clearing trail. We raked up a ton of deadfall and headed out to the boardwalk

There was a pretty thick deadfall lying across the entrance to the boardwalk. Definitely beyond UCI barrier height and not really hopable. Like at all. So we got to work again. After a ton of segmenting. Jumping on it like angry Gorillas and general mayhem it cracked in half and we were able to move it aside. Once we finished that we met up with the other two crews that had been working north to south. We went out to the Island and got it all dialed in. People were so stoked. It was a gorgeous day out. And of course we talked a lot about riding. Night riding. Pump tracks. Crashes. Will Crissman said he was going to put gears on his bike! WHAT THE WHAT? When Bigbikesmedia hears this it may get ugly. But I hear you man. Its no joke spinning like a hamster out to Cutlah...I too have been lured by Satan's calling to put a 1 x 10 on my ss. He whispers in my ear like some Sucubus. Just put a few gears on. Think of how nice it will be to not have to rip your knees off. Imagine not having to spin out in intersections. Satan you had me at 1 x 10...

The crew did a phenomenal job. We sent a few test pilots out and they came back with ear to ear grins. I finally got to ride it yesterday and its in the best shape its ever been. Granted I did get taken down by the Cutler Curse. What is the Cutler Curse? Oh its when perfectly easy trails render you broken and bleeding. My interest in doing work at Cutler began as I said earlier when I got a 911 call from my friend Matt who had gone flying off the boardwalk and broken his collarbone. We still don't know how that happened. The boardwalk is in rough shape but where he crashed no boards were missing. At. All. My theory then was an angry troll jumped up from below the boardwalk and grabbed his front wheel. Or hit it with a hammer. Matt didn't find that amusing at the time. So as I was just loving the work everyone had done and was shredding the fast loop around the Island I went down hard. I still don't know what happened. I was coming through a corner pretty hot. Probably should have had a foot down in an outrigger. Went over some wet leaves with greasy mud under them and BLAM. Went flying off the bike. Either hit my leg on a tree or the bike hit my leg like a baseball bat. Or it just confirmed my angry troll theory

Either way I was on the ground on all fours writing in pain. Worst pain I have felt in a bike crash. Reminded me of a hockey injury. And I was sure my leg was broken. Cross season is over flashed in my brain. Then reality came back. How to get home. I had one good leg left. So I hobbled back on the bike and did the longest one legged pedal drill in the history of the bike game. Ok that is a lie. One guy back in the day rode out of Skeggs with a fractured leg. That is like 2,000 feet of elevation. And he met his future wife in the er. But back to me. So I am one legging it home realizing I don't have time for the er and playing the its only a stinger game. So I hobbled through my day. Kids off the bus. Kids need foam core for homework. Dinner. Town Council meeting. Went to bed woke up and hello! So off to dr feelgood today. Then we will see if its just two weeks off like he prescribed last week when I saw him about my ribs or its time for a hot pink cast. That could be kind of sexy right? Be awesome to get the whole NECX to sign it. But we will cross that bridge when we get there

But back to NEMBA and Cutler. We are so lucky here in Boston. NEMBA does a ton to keep our trails open and to keep them safe and rideable. I know we are all busy with life and racing etc. But do the right thing join NEMBA. Its like 30 bucks. Keep your ears to the ground. We have lots of great ideas for Cutler. We want to fix the boardwalks, we want to get some night rides going, we want to get a ride for girls, and a ride for kids. If you have ideas don't be shy like everything in the NECX its all about the community. I am so proud to be a small cog in this amazing machine. Thanks to everyone who came out and worked so hard.


  1. Nice work guys! Wish I could have made that.

  2. Hang in there Chipper. Hoping this is short lived. We need the waffle Jedi at Lowell and if you can't be there, heck why bother?

  3. Hope yer ok dude! Great work up there in Cutler!