Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Riding Dirty

The title of this post is dedicated to Nick. And Gewilli. And this video. The raddest CX video ever made. This is one of those events in life that just go beyond words. I could spend a week blogging about all that transpired at Dah Weasel. I just may. To break it down and to just relate all that happened goes wayyy beyond one blog entry. Or a Facebook post. Or twitter. What happened was not unlike Woodstock. Or Mavericks. But with Flabongos. If Hunter S Thomson was alive today he would fucking LOVE cross. Granted he would not love the CX that his home state likes to shove down our throats. Ahhh but see. I almost got off track and became a Little Black Cloud. Not today my friends. And not when we are talking about Dah Weasel. We just won. Big time. We just proved to the haters that yes fun matters. The MUSIC matters. I applaud Thom, Kevin and Colin's decision to part ways with USUCK and go unsanctioned. It was bold. And guess what? They put on a safer and better cx than 99% of the USUCK cross races that I did this year. And no one was tackled by a naked man while racing. Okay I lied. There were naked men. And tackling. And groping. And kissing. And we all liked it. But no one was hurt. Dear god after this season's carnage imagine that. We were all #dronk. Wicked at the Gahhhdan pounding beers and boilermakers #dronk. And it was sketchy as hell. Legit mud. Stone walls. Woods sections. Lots of opportunity to fuck one self up. Didn't happen. No one hurt themselves. Everyone had a blast.

Enough ranting. I will get to that in another post. Let's talk about the magic that happened Saturday. I was nervous going into this. I am old. What do you expect. I hate to think of myself as some cross dad to these kids but shit balls I am old. Of course I will think like a dad. So I thought crap we are all going to die or get arrested or all of the above. But man. What a day. Literally the best day of my life on a bike. I have had days like this while surfing. Where your eyes just get soooo big. And you see the waves stacking up on the horizon. But this was the perfect way to cap off the season. So many people were there. We had a chili cook off. Had my ECV hommies. Lazer. Cait. Mo. Leah....more on that. So yeah everyone. And White Barn Farm. Its become a sort of cx mecca. You know its going to be rad. But Thom, Colin and Kevin pulled out the stops. They put up the Stonehenge of flyovers. Ice Weasels is probably the only race in New England where a flyover actually makes sense. Its a tiny venue. So you need it. And they put up a monster. They also added a woods section! Oh god. It was sick. Full Alice in Wonderland trip to the darkside woods section. With a dip? I don't know what you would call it. I guess a pump section. Then a downed tree to hop. And boom you were back out

I had sort of told myself okay dude no booze. Take cupcakes etc but no actual alcohol. Yeah that went out the window when I saw Matt Lolli on the other side of the chicken coop in nothing but white bib shorts smiling and offering a PBR. Yeah I stopped. And chatted. And told Matt he was sexy. And shotgunned the PBR. For the record. The only beer acceptable for handups is PBR*(unless 'Gansett sponsors us next year!) it is sooo smooth. So I was going well in the Killer Bs but my god we have been fighting so hard for the "Hand Ups Are Not A Crime" movement. Am I really going to refuse a hand up and race? Who would do that? Not me. Not HST. So I got going. I was somehow going okay after 4 weeks off the bike with a "cracked" tibia. I felt fresh! And I am good in the mud. Let's face it I am built for it. So I come around to the Hup Death Star and want a Dale's. I stop. HELLO???? Can I HAZ a DALE's PLZZZ? Wow. So I took a Dale's and put it in my jersey pocket. I ride around the mucky muck and get to the top of the flyover. I stop. Take the Dale's out and soak it all in. I survey the landscape of all this radness. Then I see DJ Robert coming up! I make him stop and drink the Dale's with me. Then we drop down the flyover and go shred some gnar. Roberto is sort of our Hup Killer B Alpha Wolf. He is fast as hell. Has great handling skills and is mentally in it more than anyone I have ever met. But its a heavy day. And he got the hole shot and crashed hard. And my party at the back attitude is pretty much infectious.

We ride together the last couple of laps. We stop for flabongos. We take dollar bill handups. Its amazing. Then we come in to the line together and just laugh our asses off. So much mud. As we are getting a crazy ass group photo the ladies are staging up for there race. Leah yells at me that her bike sucks. Or her tires. Or something. Leah and I are literally the exact same size. I think we were separated at birth. Or are the Wonder Twins incarnate. So I ask her if she wants my bike. She says hell yes. I tell her we will do the bike change at the double barriers. What you say that isn't the pit? Whatevah. Its Ice Weasels. So I go wash the bike. Slap some lube on the chain and grab my allen keys in case we need to drop the saddle or something. Of course we don't. The bike is perfect. She has a great time on the bike. How could you not? Rock Lobster with SRAM red, TRP NEOX brakes and FMB Supermuds? The perfect bike. Okay not the perfect bike. It is (was) in need of a You Got This frame decal but thanks to the awesome Lodrina that has been added to it. Its like the AK-47 or A-10 of cross bikes. Its all business. And will not fail you when the shit hits the fan. I could not believe that I could actually shift in this type of cx conditions. Shifted. Every time. Flawless. I love SRAM Red.

Leah has an awesome race. She is wearing Soft Like Kitten kit which is sooo perfect its not even funny. After she gets back in we all just hang out and talk story. We watch the Jedi men go by. Many mancrushes happen. Not me. I am too old for that. But its awesome seeing how stoked everyone is to see everyone race. Not to be a jerk but how many people stick around to watch the elite men race at a UCI race? No one. Sad but true. People bail. When you create a happening..oops see I am just a dirty hippy at heart. People stick around. And have fun. And enjoy heckling and cheering for their friends. So some peer pressure starts happening. "Are you racing sscx?" Fuck that. "What are you talking about?" Screw it I am dry, sober and warm. "ITSICEFUCKINGWEASELSMANUP!!" Yeah that never works. But Leah looks at me and ask if I am doing the SSCX race. Without thinking I say " I would do a relay with you" She gets stoked. Oh god I was joking. Ok I am in. The Rock Lobster is fucked. Like unrideable. But I brought the Zank 29er mtb sort of as a joke. I look at it. She looks at it. Yep. Let's race the Zank. So she kits up. I follow her to staging. I tell her ok we do the bike exchange at the barriers. I run back to the Hup Death Star. I kit up as fast as I can. I pin on a number. Not sure why but I do. Then I wait. The crowd is nuts. It is the SSCX race so all bets are off. Yeah a few dudes come flying through but 99% of the racers are looking for handups. At the start of the SSCX I took a hand up? (hand down?) from the leader of the series. It was a 12 year old scotch he had in his jersey pocket. Nicky flashed me a Jager bottle. I told him to put that down. Not the CXboner in his rain pants the Jager. I am like DYUDE you need to drive back to NH that shit will F you up...So yeah I was fairly primed for my lap.

Leah comes flying into the barriers. Ear to ear grin. Have I mentioned how much I love Leah? She is like a sister to me. Its odd how friends work. We were both wrecked at Ice Weasels two years ago. I blew my MCL to pieces on the ice. She got carried off the course with some nasty hip injury. This to me was payback for getting hurt back then. We were having so much fun it was ridiculous. She is one of those teammates that just calms me down and helps me focus. If you haven't noticed I get a bit ADDHD. I am like a squirrel on crack. Colin (who I love) said to me when we were taping up the course on Friday " Chipper, Dude could you just turn your ADD off for a sec so we can tape this up?" For you? Of course. It actually worked. Leah has that same effect on me. I just focus in. So she hands me the Zank and I go ballistic. I have been dreaming of hopping barriers all season long. But I have been dinged up. Ribs. Wrist. Blah, blah, blah. But on the Zank. Holy shit. So I get to the mini barriers and hop them. Legit. No rear wheel tap. I rail all the corners. I am a man on fire. Passing people at will. Then I hit the heavy section after the flover and STOP. Hmm I guess 2.25 tires do not carve the mud like 32 mm FMBs. So I run. I get into the woods and go crazy. Hop the log. Ride everything. I get back and give Leah the bike. So rad

I am pretty sure we are the SSCX Relay champions of the UNIVERSE. And I think we just created a new race within the race. Relay Cross. Say it out loud. It would be nuts. Granted you would need to find a same sized teammate. Good luck with that ; ) So much Hup love. I can't even begin to put into words what this team means to me. We have been through sooo much in 2012. So much. And its built us up into something special. The whole NECX is like that. I have never seen anything like this. I hate to even say how long I have been at this cross game. Way too long. But what happened at Ice Weasels on Saturday? That is something. Changes everything in my mind. I have met so many rad people this season. Its not just Hup its the whole NECX.

Thank you to all of you for keeping cross weird. I love this sport and I love you all. 2013 is going to be insane. Surf this wave with us okay? I promise it will be better than anything you could imagine. Get your SSCX bike ready. Its going to be so rad. HUGE Hup hugs to everyone who supported the Zank SSCX series. Huge thanks to all the promoters, teams, racers, sponsors. Hup! Hup! Photo of Leah by Matt O'Keefe. More of Matt's great photos from Ice Weasels can be found here