What a weekend. NH double in the Zanconato SSCX series. Two of my favorite races of the season. CX @ White Park on Saturday and Sucker Brook on Sunday. Both right over the border in NH at great little venues. Classic NECX grassroots CX at its finest. We are doing this out of sequence as I am still so jacked from yesterday's events. HUP United for those new to this here blog is a New England-based cyclocross team. Our founder Zac Daab is now in Seattle and we have some great chapters around the country. Mostly in the Pac NW. HUP NECX grew out of Zac's original concept and has become what it is today via a lot of hardwork and lots of people growing it in a certain direction. At its core it was and always will be about building and supporting the community and growing CX. We were early adopters to SSCX. The SSCX series was founded by a core group of the NECX. HUP was a big part of it. And HUP has supported the series since day one. HUP has always been a fun team. Fun is in our bylaws. If its not fun why would do it? But we are a race team. What happened Sunday at Sucker Brook may have been one of the greatest moments in HUP NECX history. It was a Blanco swarm of the SSCX race.
This "Fall" has been very un-Fall like. This past weekend was really hot. Both races were dust bowls. One of HUPs limited edition kits is termed Blanco. It is not for the shy or weak of heart. It has been known to blind people. But it is a life saver when its hot. Black kit in the scorching sun is brutal. White gives you sick watts. And is like the stillsuit of bike kit. While everyone else is dying from heat exhaustion in their all black kit you are chilling like a villain and spraying watts all over the CX course. Back to my early point. HUP and Zank have always been a huge part of the SSCX scene. Myette of Zank is a legit contender for the podium every time he pins a number on. But the rest of us are pretty much there for the party. Yes, we turn ourselves inside out and have some great battles. But we are not really cracking the top 10 on a regular basis. What started as a fun series has become legit. Sounds crazy to call SSCX racing legit but that is what we intended when we launched this series. Yes, the finals is a party. But all the other races are races. And this year its gotten even faster. We have had great turnouts and lots of new faces. Its been awesome.
But when I rolled up at Sucker Brook and the team started streaming into the tent. I just had to pause. 90% of the team was in blanco. Kevin and his girlfriend Thea have become legit contenders in all the SSCX races. Mike Golay showed up on a sick Raleigh SSCX. AnonCX would have been proud. Coach Aumiller was running around chasing his BC High kids and giving out sage SSCX advice. Tyler from Laughing Dog was near collapse in the booth after getting a top ten in the 3s on his SSCX! Kevin and Eric the Chainline Pain Train were right next door. It was just beyond rad. Then Myette showed up with an exploded Zank skinsuit. Not that he wouldn't have looked hot racing with a blown out skinsuit we did what HUP does. Conscripted him for the day. I loaned him my HUP kit and Voila we had even more HUP in the SSCX race! Carrie and Rob showed up as well. It was really just a HUP party. What a great way to get this season going.
I did a quick pre-ride with Kevin and Eric and almost took them through a chicane at warp speed! Oopsies. The combo of bad eyesight, dark sunglasses, yellow tape and too much caffeine almost ended spectacularly. I let Kevin and Eric lead after that. The course was great. Same Sucker Brook I remember with so many crazy chicanes and turns. Sucker Brook throws a lot at you. You really had to work at driving. The loose corners and dry dusty course didn't help either. You had to be on top of it. After doing a pre-ride we watched the 1/2/3s race. Doing our pre-staging warm up as a team clad in blanco was amazing. Somehow I ended up on the second row. Not really where I belong but I will take it. Whistle went off and we took off like a shot. One of the trickiest parts of Sucker Brook is the holeshot. The start is a slight uphill on a paved road. The left hand turn is onto gravel. You are about 4-6 across before you hit the gravel. Bad things can and do happen. One of the reasons I LOVE SSCX is that 90% of those racing know what they are doing. There is way less stupid shit that happens compared to the 3s or masters. We get through the holeshot and we are flying. We get past the tricky off camber and I hear what I can only describe as the Road Runner behind me. "Beep Beep" I look and its Myette. He started front row, missed a pedal and watched everyone explode off the grid without him. Going from DFL to mid-pack in a 1/4 lap is impressive to say the least.
Things are basically controlled chaos with so many people packed together and sooo many turns. Again, kudos to all these riders. They know how to race CX. So few people getting douchey in the corners. It was just fast, hard CX. After the first lap, I was locked in on the Chainline Cycles Pain Train. Right where I wanted to be. Kevin and Eric are awesome. Not only are they cool dudes but they are great riders. It was honestly one of the most fun races ever. We rode together for the rest of the race. Well "together" Ie., Kevin about a turn or two ahead. And me and Eric locked and loaded. Eric put in a solid dig with about 1 to go and I lost contact with him. I killed myself trying to get back on but it was too big of a gap. But what a great course. So many rad twists and turns. Hats off to Jack Chapman for all he does for this race and the CX community!
And the icing on the HUP cake was a double HUP podium. Kevin and Thea in full beast mode! Those two are so awesome. Two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Kevin has done so much for HUP and so much for the SSCX series the last two years. Love that dude.
Thank you to everyone who has come out and supported the SSCX series. Its been a great kickoff to the season. We are just getting this party started. See you all at Midnight!