This post was and is intended as a tribute to my good friend and HUP teammate Abel. Abel as some of you may or may not know moved back home to Seattle. To say I am bummed to see him and his family go is an understatement. He has been my partner in so many shenanigans this past couple of years. He was always up for any raddness we cooked up. So many highlights over the last couple of years. I am super stoked for him though. I totally get the need to move home when you have a family. I left what I thought was paradise on earth (San Francisco and the Bay Area) to move back to this Hell Hole called Boston. Hahah, I joke, I joke. I am as they say a kidder. Boston is a lovely town. And its environs have proven to be a Mecca for my cycling addiction. Contrary to what you see on the intertubes all of Boston (and Dover) are not trying to murder cyclists on a daily basis. Bostonians hate everyone and everything. Till they get to know you. Then you are family.
But I digress. The move to Boston and home worked out for me way beyond my expectations. I actually love it here now. Abel and his family are going to love moving home to Seattle. He in a way is moving "home" to the home of HUP United as well. While HUP started in Boston a decade ago. Zac Daab our founder and Godfather moved to Seattle about 5 years ago. A couple of the OG HUP moved back to the PacNW as well. I know Zac will be stoked to have Abel racing CX and bringing it locally. Abel is one of a kind. Such a great person and bike rider. Pure class all the way.
So as much as this post is a tribute to Abel and dedicated to him and the times we have spent together on the dirt and off its also a tribute to HUP United and what it is all about. Abel embodies ALL that is HUP. Pure class on the bike, Panache, stand up dude, tough as nails and always smiling. Abel would do anything for you. And always made everyone around him better. HUP if you aren't familiar with the Squadra is basically an "anti-team" HUP was founded about a decade ago by Zac Daab and a bunch of like minded CX racers. Their original idea was simple: no sponsors, roll with a good crew, pure class, style and grit. HUP was and is a CX racing team. We have always lived for the bad weather and tough CX courses. Over the years people have come and gone but the principles have always remained. One of our core ideas "One HUP Finds Another" is really the key to how we have lasted a decade and remained good friends and have grown to be a large part of the community.
By eliminating sponsors (and don't get me wrong I LOVE sponsors) you eliminate the black hole that is most bike racing teams. We are our sponsor. We sponsor each other if you will. Racers who want free stuff or a deal often times bring baggage and expectations. This creates tension on a team. HUP has and always will be more a family or Wolf Pack than a "team". We welcome everyone under the HUP tent. Literally. The HUP Death Star has become a fixture at races as a place for everyone to hang out. We share our beer, water, etc with anyone. As long as they are cool we are cool with them. It doesn't mean everyone can be on HUP. Its really not for everyone. And that is ok. We are a pretty tight bunch and we have a certain code of how we expect each other to act. So your average Type A bike racer probably isn't a good fit. We like a good bike toss as much as the next team but it really isn't our style. And we like our bikes too much to toss them.
Over the years HUP has grown. Its amazing really. I have been on a lot of teams. But nothing like this. And as much as you think "yeah, HUP is perfect" Along comes someone like Abel and it just goes up to 11. Again, this isn't just about Abel. I could name every single rider on HUP and say the same thing. I try as much as I can to thank every single rider and supporter of HUP United as much as I can. I feel so lucky to be a part of this crew. They have made me who I am. A bunch of HUP have moved on this year. Joel moved back to Berkeley. Nate moved to NY. MVL moved to VT. Jay also moved. They are all still HUP. Anyone who has ever worn the HUP Bleu is always HUP in my mind. I know we will ride with all of those dudes again. I am already plotting and scheming a trip to Seattle. Last time I was in Seattle was for Nationals when it was at SeaTac. Crazy.
The power of the Mustache will live on here in Boston for sure. We will miss Abel and all that style he brought to every CX season. Our battles last year in SSCX and that last Pats Peak together are going to be forever locked in my memory bank. Abel taught me so much about how to be a cyclist. I will never be as good of a SSCX racer as he was but he taught me some stuff. And he brought us Kevin. Just like Deitch brought us Abel and Joel. That is what the whole concept of One Hup Finds Another is all about. If solid members of a team bring in people who they would rode trip with. Who they would feel comfortable doing some insane Ronde with 100% confidence that that rider would have their back and wouldn't break down and go all negative mid-ride. That is the recipe for building a team like HUP so it is so positive. PMA 24/7. No whining. No backstabbing or infighting. Always having each others backs.
The other thing that drew me to HUP and what HUP has become here in New England is community. HUP is a huge part of the #NECX. We grew up with the #NECX. The Ronde de Rosey has been so instrumental in pushing the whole concept of riding everywhere on CX bikes. Sure people have always done it. But the Ronde helped blow it up and helped pave the way for trail ninjas all throughout the Boston area. Its mind boggling how many trails there are in and around Boston. HUP has always given back. Its part of why we don't have sponsors. With sponsors a team tends to take. The "give me X mentality" On HUP you look to what you can give. Volunteer at races, donate parts to community groups. Donate time.
It makes me proud to be a part of HUP. I can't wait to see what this CX season holds. I know I am going to race this season with the Power of the Mustache. Well, no one wants to see me in a mustache. That much I know. But I will have that power with me for sure. Abel, my friend, we are gonna miss you! Godspeed out there in Seattle. Don't be surprised if I show up at your doorstep with Kevin this Fall. Hup! Hup!