Monday, December 16, 2013

A Song of Ice and Fire

I am in a somewhat abusive relationship with The Ice Weasels Cometh. One of my greatest days on a bike was on those frozen grounds a couple of years ago. That was the last time I raced IWC on actual ice. The previous few renditions of IWC could have been renamed The Mud Weasels slideth. Or Tough Mudder Weasel p/b ENGVT. Total mud pits and slog fests. And a blast. I don't do well on ice. True story. One I don't learn from my mistakes. Ie like this years rendition held on the North Shore in Rawley near Ipswich on something that looked like the set from Psycho. We got to the "race" and I took one look at it and said 'WTF, this looks like a Verge race!?" Now one should not be surprised when they show up at a "race" and see racelike features. But for the last 4 (?) years Ice Weasels has been held on a small family farm and resembled Woodstock. Including the Hippies. I almost got back in the van and drove home. Then I saw the heated beer tent, and CX Giraffe, and HUP and then Kevin. And my world was restored to order. Kevin asked if I had brought the kegs. Of course I did. We rolled one into the heated beer tent. I mentioned the heated beer tent right? And the fire pits? Ok I was getting excited to race the bikes. Or shred as it were as half of my friends "racing" were doing so on SS Mtn bikes instead of CX bikes.

We had seen the sneak peek of the course that a certain Canadian 'Fro rider had posted on Thom Parson's webpage. I really don't know what Thom sees in that Canuck. He is kind of a dick with his "awwp zee laugs" bs. I mean WTF. We all can't hop the logs kid. Its science. Just cause I don't smoke medicinal marijuana to get my day started and ride an enduro bike don't make me feel bad about myself. Sheesh. But other than that the guy or Guy is the hell do you speak Canadian? Seriously. He laid down a sick GoPro video that showed that perhaps a CX bike was going to be a bad idea. Like maybe the worst idea. So #NEMTB represented hahhd as they say in New England. And most of us did it sponsor correct. I had to pull some strings to get my Zank SS Mtn bike back even if for a day. But it was so worth it. That bike is like frickin Excalibur. I am not joking. Its just magic.

I bump into Agent Utah and we kit up and go for a course recon. Aka we look for places to get rad. Lots of opportunity for that. Riding the course I thought to my self, "self people are gonna get jacked up on this course if they aren't on top of their shit." But I was very relaxed. I brought a few tricks with me back from Philly. Like the power of flannel...and mountain bikes. Have I mentioned my total and utter hatred of Specialized tires? Umm maybe not. Anyhoo we are riding along and having a blast. Offcambers are rad. On a SS Mtn bike they are easy peasy. Pretty much picking lines is irrelevant. We get to the "runup" and my crew are looking for the t-bar. I mean calling this thing a runup is an insult to running. It is a scar on the hillside. Running or even walking it with neoprene booties is next to impossible. But what ever its Ice Weasels. So we get to the top and then it levels out. There are some chicanes. Oh yeah tape to tape suckahs...and then KABOOM. Oh I guess that stuff that looked like ice really was ice! Hahaha that is so funny. Half of my motivation for racing the mtn bike was for the flat bars. My right wrist was still jacked up from Philly (hahaha, yes the jokes tell themselves!) and I knew there was no way I could ride a drop bar bike. So instead of riding my skinny tired/CXbike/Gravelbike/Roadbike I was on my ultra enduro fat tired bike. And my wrists thanked me for it.

So where was I? Oh yes my ADD and short memory in regards to things that help the bike racing and keep me out of trouble. Keeping me out of trouble on two-wheels is pretty much a full time job. So we get to the top of the runnup and haup back on zee bikes. Turn, turn, Kasplat. I hit the deck hard. Oh good now my other hand and ass are killing me. But nothing is broken. We get back to the start/finish just as the CX Giraffe is backing into the front row. Oh god. Please don't anyone kill the Giraffe. Colin smartly tells the Giraffe to get a headstart. Then 75 dirty SSCXers are unleashed on hell for some Giraffe hunting! Somehow we get through the scrum without anyone killing themselves or all those around them. Ahhh SSCX you are soooo much better than Cat 3 psychopaths. Had a good start. Sort of chop Abel at the off camber. Sorry Abel. Then smash my self on the second log hop but nothing too bad. Did I mention I was racing in a flannel jacket in honor of my new BFF Kelpius Cycling? It was actually perfect. So you probably get the idea that it was cold. If you weren't there you have no idea. It was about 20 degrees. Without the wind. I think it was 17 degrees when we arrived. And it started snowing right as we staged for the SSCX. I had flannel power not going to lie. I am feeling great. Which is weird cause I don't really actually ride bikes much right now. Puppies. Kids. Blah, blah, blah.

Amazing what confidence a SS 29er can give you on a gnarly CX course. Maybe too much confidence. So we get to the top of the runnup from HELL. I am somehow in front of Abel which is weird. But I know he is right behind me so I figure maybe we can have a HUP party in the SSCX scrub zone. Then I get to the same EXACT spot I crashed at in warmups and ride like a jackass and crash again. EVEN HARDER. This time I stay down for a bit. I am sure I have assploded some body part. Then Abel goes by like some kind of lifeline. I reach out to grab it and it just goes by. In #ICEWORLD no one can hear you scream. Or gives Zero Fucks that you messed up. So I pull my big boy panties back on and start pedaling. I am in a shit load of pain. Mostly my other wrist. Oh great. Matching messed up hands. Who needs hands to bike race?

I come through the beer tent/part zone and I see Frances waving what looks like a sausage at my face. She is SCREAMING "Chip, I am counting on YOU!!!!!" Ok Frances. I love you too. And that sausage looks delicious. I hope its spicy. I know a spicy sausage will help me forget this pain. Now imagine the whole world goes to slow mo. And the anti-hero gets that O look on his face and is saying NOOOOOOOOO. That sausage is not a sausage at all. In fact, its a big purple dildo. I think I bit it or kissed it. I don't know. I feel like I let Frances down. But it was so confusing. Did she want me to take her #dildohandup or just stop and applaud her for making #dildohandups a thing? It was probably the highlight or lowlight of my CX season. Now to be upfront. Unlike some other Masters racers out there. I am not uptight. #dildosarenotacrime in my book. So yeah the party zone was off the hook.

I start to come around after Frances' shock and awe treatment. Get my head back in the game. I take a handup at the bottom of the runnup from Nable. Get to the top. Cut the shit out of the course. Fuck Colin and his tape over some Ice Field filled with landmines. I see Ian do some kind of back flip. Holy crap. Then I see HUPcakes. HUPcakes were almost the death of HUP United. True story. I am not missing my chance. I stop and Joel tells me its the last one. Thank god. Then Kurt hands me a beer. Damn you #NECX you just keep pulling me in like the mafia. I think I am out. I am too old for this shit and then you lay this down. Ok so we are at about 2 to go. Who the hell knows. Anyone who is "racing" IWC is doing it wrong. I see NATE. I FREAK OUT!!! Nate I scream. We hit the runnup. And a girl (yes, she is under 18 so is a GIRL) flies past us in a pink tutu!!! I SCREAM ELLEN!!! The future of US CX just raced SSCX in a pink tutu. And is smashing the field without even trying. She gets to the top of the runnup while Nate and I are bitching and moaning and saying we are going to nutpunch Colin when we find him.

I get to the top ahead of Nate. I think he stopped and grabbed a beer or bacon or some shit. I remount and see bodies all over #ICEWORLD and one is wearing a pink tutu. Fuck. If we have broken Ellen I will commit Seppuku in the beer tent. I ask in my best most calmest voice. Are you Ok? She says yes and picks herself up off the deck. ALL the other dudes look at me and say 'I'm not ok" Yeah whatevah dude are you the FUCKING FUTURE? No? I didn't think so. Get over yourself you little special snowflake (I wish I knew the trademark symbol. Special Snowflake is an ENGVT production) I sense some people hunting me. Nate goes by. I try and stay on his wheel. Hahaha that is funny. Nate has so many WATTS its silly. I try to somewhat redeem myself from losing so many places crashing my face off yet racing at IWC is so silly. BUTIREFUSETOGETOWNEDATTHELINE. So I spin that 32 x 19 as hard as I can and heed Adam Craig's sage drunken advice at Philly and stay in the saddle and don't look back. I cross the line and say hi to Christin. Christin rocks. But you all knew that. And that as they say was that for my 2013 SSCX campaign. And then the CX Giraffe wanted to go into the beer tent. And we guided that Giraffe in. This guy is 100% my hero. Frankly, at this point, ALL my heroes wear costumes. But NEVER wear capes. This year was marked by two costumed crusaders of CX: CX Giraffe and Ice Angel. Words can't even begin to convey the respect I have for those two. Most people put a costume on as some kind of outlet or gag. A way to blow off steam. Yeah right. Try wearing (and RIDING) in a 9 foot tall Giraffe outfit. Good luck with that. Or try dressing in an Ice Angel costume. When its 18 degrees out. And smiling. And getting rad the whole entire time. And Vickie podium'd the next day at Beaver CX in the elite race. Mind boggling. #NECX I frickin' love ALL of you. Thank you. Seriously. IWC showed me we know how to have fun. We don't have to be soooo serious and live up to the stereotype that we are all a bunch of jerks. We actually get it. And take care of each other. Okay 'nuff of that emo shit. I am starting to cry. I am lying I only cry at weddings. True story.

Ok let's do this: IWC was the best Weasel Evah. Why?

• Van parties. Wut? Yeah so Uri was FREEZING after his race. So I dragged him to the van put him in the drivers seat turned the car on and blasted the heat. When I came back 10 minutes later there were at least 6 people in the van. I didn't know half of them. This is why CX fucking rules. Total strangers warming up in a strange van. And its not strange. At. All

• Ellen Noble. Hmm where to even start. She is the future. When she was getting SSCX gearing advice from Katie FUCKING Compton the night before IWC I nearly had a heart attack. The future is bright kids.

• CX Giraffe. Love Dave. Seriously. I don't even know how to process what he just pulled off.

• That weird Canadian dude. As much as I want to HATE that freak. He gets me going

• Ice Angel. Proof once again that mountain bikers get it. The fact that in back to back weekends in the snow two mountain bikers got rad, had fun, and just plain got it should be a wake up call to all y'all who take yourselves so DAMN seriously. Life is short people. Have some fun. Lighten up. Its ok. No one will judge you for being rad. I promise.

• Ipswich. Or the North Shore or where ever the hell we were. I have a bit of a Game of Thrones problem. I can trace it back to Band Camp and Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah I am a geek whatever. The North Shore to me are like the Northern tribes. And they really are. They are their own unique deal. They can seem like Barbarians from the outside. But man they are the best. Love each and every one of them

• Thom, Colin, Kevin, Christin and the whole IWC crew. Respect and hugs. And Gerry, thank you for the two kegs of beer for the SSCX race.

• Shit I almost forgot. So yeah the last time I did an Icy IWC I blew out my MCL and STILL BEAT BERT!!!! Suck it Bert! This year at the coldest IWC ever I pretty much destroyed my OTHER knee. Perfect. Nothing broken. Just a big ass needle and drained fluids and some cortisone. I am ready for some serious Winter shenanigans. Who is with me?

• Video number one from is here

• Video number two from Nicky is here 

• Tandems, I almost forgot tandems. Seeing Ed and Michele on a tandem in the SSCX race with ironically placed zip ties was amazing. Love those two

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