Sunday, November 17, 2013
"A rhino is merely a unicorn in disguise."
That may be one of my favorite quotes of all time. And Cheshire CX is now firmly planted into the top tier of cross racers in New England in my mind. I have to say grassroots races across New England are upping their game big time. We started the Zank SSCX series three years ago for some very simple reasons. Our first goal was to grow SSCX and show people just how much fun SSCX racing can be. Almost more importantly in my mind was to help support all the really cool grassroots races in this region. I won't lie, I worry that the UCI races will destroy some of the smaller grassroots races that we love. It doesn't seem to be happening thankfully. But its still a concern. What has happened in my mind is we have been able to show off some really fun races to people who might not otherwise travel to some of these great venues. I have heard lots of great things about Cheshire but have never been able to make it. We rolled down with a great crew. A ton of HUP and a bunch of SSCXers. I was super stoked to be able to meet up with some of my favorite CT friends. Matt Lolli and Doug Jenne are badasses. But also two of the nicest guys you will ever meet. And live and breathe SSCX. They are true soul riders in my mind. They both get it.
Going into Cheshire we had a bit of a psy ops mission we wanted to accomplish. We are trying to rally the entire #NECX to go down to Philly and occupy SSCX Worlds. It will be the first time SSCX Worlds will be on the east coast. Philly is going to be a blast. Yeah we want to go to Philly and get rad and see all our Philly friends, but we also want to bring SSCX Worlds back to Boston for 2014. We are going to need everyone to make this happen. Dave Pryor, the promoter of Philly Worlds, gave me some swag to hand out at our next SSCX race. I thought why not kick it up a notch. I took one of the coozies and tagged it with Velocb. At the start of the race Hunter announced one lucky racer would be handed up a Golden Ticket to Philly. Matt's friend Anthony sat on the steepest runnup on the course looking for the perfect victim. And when I found out who won I was blown away. Anthony picked the perfect person to handup that lucky coozie to. I mean look at the photo above? Damn. The CX Rhino may be our "delegate" in Philly. It is between him and Cross Jesus. This was CX Rhino's first SSCX race. I think he even said it was his first CX race. And he liked it so much he did the 1/2/3 race later that day.
Ok so why did I love Cheshire so much? I love "Jungle CX" I HATE grass crits. Hate them. With a passion. Cheshire had it all. Some really smartly designed grass off cambers and turns, a nice sandpit, some sick gravel fire roads and then LEGIT singletrack. Like singletrack that has alarms going off in your head saying to eject before you hit a tree at 25 mph. It reminded me of a lot of the stuff in Cutler that we all love. But buffed. Hunter and his crew clearly went up and raked the swoopy downhills of leaves and debris. The upper euro chute section was a blast. To get to it you had to run a pretty steep and loose runup similar to the one at Noho. Then on the other side of the ridge you had one the longest runups I have ever seen in a cross race. Abel and a couple of riders were able to ride up it. I am just not strong enough on a SSCX bike to ride things like that. It was basically like a hike a bike in a mtn bike race for me. Calling what I did on that section each lap as running would be an insult to runners throughout the world.
I somehow felt pretty ok considering how little riding I have been able to do lately. Its probably the power of the new Camelstache kit. I put that on and it gives me super powers. It was great racing with so many friends and dicing it up on such a crazy course. The Cheshire crew were so cool. There was a great heckling/cheering section on the super long run up. In my hypoxic state I think I saw a Spartan with some type of drum or pot and pan making sooo much noise. I would never say I "like" a runup but there was something about how they were laid out that made them really perfect. You would run up that nastiness and be gassed. Then remount and be rewarded by a roller coaster ride down the side of the ridge. Then hit the grass and get some great turns in. Awesome. Awesome course. And even the registration ladies were excited to see all the SSCXers. I don't think I have ever heard a heckle at the reg tent but it was pure gold.
Huge props to Hunter and his crew. Its a great part of the Zank SSCX series. Two more races in the series. New England Regionals in Fitchburg, and Ice Weasels. Thank you to everyone who has come out and supported the series. Its been a blast to see so many people getting rad on singlespeeeds and having such a good time. Hopefully see a ton of you down in Philly.