July 1st my Cross alarm clock starts ringing. LOUD. Really Loudly. I DO NOT HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON. I know this drives the roadies and mtn bikers nuts. Yeah, yeah its July. TdF time. Peak Mtn bike racing season. But CX will be here in 70 days. It takes preparation. Maybe not for people who are fast etc. Or are naturals. But I suck. If I were to divulge how long I have been at the CX game people would laugh their asses off. Hey its easy being good at something. It takes real work to be mediocre. This season my CX alarm clock threw a curve ball at me. I won't lie. I have been evolving lately to be more mtn biker than crosser. Not by any means the type of east coast mtn biker that most of my friends are. I still have night sweats thinking of axe head rocks ripping away chunks of my flesh. And hucking is not and never will be in my vernacular.
But I love it. I love the woods. I love how you step into another world. SS Mtn biking was a gateway drug for me. The Honey 29er with XX1 was a revelation. And I have been starting to feel really good about myself. When Matt Myette describes you as "sneaky fast in the woods" it can swell one's head. I had a good run. And maybe in my old age I had forgotten one of my favorite Simon Burney quotes about cross. Who is Simon Burney? That is like asking who is Herodotus. But I digress. I had this tradition in Norcal. One I attributed to many factors. But Burney's quote sums it up. To paraphrase "you will need a gentle reminder of the things you can do on a mtn bike that you cannot do on a 'cross bike." In my case these "gentle reminders" were never very "gentle." Rooter (Resultsboy/Colin) once described a Cross bike as being like a pencil and a Mtn Bike being an eraser. I think that is spot on. I love going on "mtn bike" rides on my cx bike. Its almost the perfect combo. You can cover ground fast. Road sectors aren't like wet concrete. In the woods the CX bike can shine. But you have to use skill not just rely on 100 mm of travel and 2.3 inches of rubber to erase your crappy line selection.
Have I mentioned I had been running file treads for about 3 weeks? Clement LAS. 33mm of CXy hot goodness. But as I have learned on more than one occasion file treads giveth and file treads taketh away. And file treads are like some drunk Irish Uncle from Rozzie. One second you are laughing on his knee on Thanksgiving thinking this is the best Thanksgiving ever and the next second you are on the floor and bottles are being thrown around the room, cops are rushing up the stairs and all you want to do is go back to signing "Danny Boy." I rode the hell out of the LAS's. Raid on Rockingham, HUP Camp. Rode some serious gnar. Wet and slick. Hub deep mud pits. NBD. LAS have fat casings. They are super plush. But file treads don't have a real working edge. A Mud2 will give you some feedback when its about ready to go. A file tread when it goes it goes. Like the rug being pulled out from under you. So I am riding The Loop. Its part of the Ronde. I was done. 20 minutes from home. I am descending a fireroad I have ridden a million times. But am going fast. Alarms are going off in my head. I think the last thing I remember is Rob Warner calling the Fort Williams downhill. Then I am flying through the air and land on my ribs on a rock pile.
Heaviest crash I have had in a long time. As I am lying there pretty sure I just broke ribs or worse a 15 year old girl with two pugs runs over to me on the ground. "Sir, are you ok?" "I ride bikes and that looked really bad!" The pugs are licking my face. I think they were laughing at me. But frankly no oxygen was going to my brain. "Do you want me to call 911?" I got up. Assured her I was ok. I was sure I wasn't. Got on the bike. Rolled down to the road and headed home. Long story short Newton-Welleslely ER for x-rays. "Dr" Brian didn't do jack. Headed home. Body was so messed up. Concussion and major bruising. Mojo somewhat smashed. Got a CX wake up call and a Hubris check. Its been about two weeks. Still have lingering concussion symptoms. Not as bad as some of my friends. And its sort of a running joke with my wife and daughters. But it does make one pause. You start looking back at the wrecks and the injuries and the little voice starts talking in your head. Luckily, one of the major side effects of this concussion is euphoria. Feeling happy is good right? Now if I could only get my sense of direction back. Crazy when you forget little basic stuff about where the car is or which turn you take to get home.
Head injuries are weird. Your only option really is to shut it down. So I took a few weeks off. Cape Vacation didn't include any riding. Except that one time I rode to JTs with Zoe to get a soft serve. And she crushed me. And she got super pissed at me when I rode down a boardwalk to the beach. Odd that my family doesn't find my shenanigans amusing. My usual secret training camp was crushed. I resorted to jumping off a jetty and eating lobster rolls. Then I started noticing the carnage popping up on twitter and facebook. There is something about July. Its like a perfect storm for bikecatastrophes. So many friends down. So you just embrace the HTFU motto. Heal, rest, try and get your mojo back. I have eased back into it. In some ways getting hurt has been the best thing for me. Mud2s are back on the bike. Focus is on CX. And D2R2. And the Dirty 40. Maybe JAM Fundo. Oddly the CX crash is still in my head. Need to get back on the mtn bike. Gnar Weasels is in a week. Not sure what to think. #dronkreg'd for the SS men. All the cool kids are going. My team is all excited about it. Hopefully I remember how to flow like water on the Gnar. That or I will be getting some Tough Mudder style running in. Maybe I will just wear a red speedo and a cape. Give these kids a little Bob Seals history lesson.
70 days. The Zank SSCX series is coming. Beer sponsors need to be secured. Need to rally the troops. Zip ties will be a way of life. ENGVT is on board. And will save SSCX on the east coast. Did I mention IronCross? Oh man. So much work to do. Time to get out the hard hat and lunch pail. Once more unto the breach my friends. See you next Saturday. Wonder if Colin and Thom realize they scheduled the race that will be the wrecker of souls on the 13th? Probably not.