Yes, I feel slightly dirty quoting Drowning Pool for my blog post title. I suspect Drowning Pool is the "metal" equivalent of Nickleback to lots of metal fans. I am a dinosaur so metal to me is Zeppelin. Or Sabbath. Not a lot of modern metal I actually like. But this song is catchy. And certainly embodies a big part of racing. Crashes are inevitable. The worst ones are those at the start. Especially in CX. CX is an oddball cyclesport. The sprint for the most part happens at the start. Most other cycle pedal events the sprint is contested after two hours of slugging it out. CX sometimes comes down to a sprint finish but the start is EVERYTHING in a 40-60 minute race. That is part of the appeal. You sit at the start grid waiting for the chaos. The official starts the countdown. Two minutes. You bring your pedal stroke leg up to 3 o'clock. For most its their right leg. Some are lefties. It always freaks me out seeing someone with their left leg locked and loaded. Some racers put their butt in the saddle. Others on the top tube. Everyone is wound up and poise to explode off the line. One minute.
At 30 seconds everything goes dead silent, waiting for the gun to go off. In New England we have the "secret start" you never know. The official could blow a whistle, hit an air horn or say go. Or everyone just goes when one racer twitches. I won't lie. I am not really religious. I am spiritual. I say a prayer at each start for all the racers to have a safe race. Its a ritual. I bow my head, say the Lord's Prayer, say a CX specific prayer..." please let these racers ride safe, with strength and good sportsmanship" Then I cross myself. I may not be a practicing Catholic but its a birthright in Boston. The start at MRC/Midnight is always hectic. Start on a gravel road, go warp speed and then take a hard right again on gravel. Get to the grass and you are good. Up until then really bad things can and do happen. Oddly on Sunday I wasn't that stressed out about it. I was in a great spot. Second row right behind Spencer. Spencer was in his new Cats jersey. It was very calming. I was surrounded by riders I trusted. NBD.
Hahaha. You silly CX racer. Its like a bad horror movie. Its always when things have finally calmed down and everyone is happy that the dude in the hockey mask comes through a window and chainsaws everyone to death. So the whistle goes OFF! We accelerate. I am locked in on Spencer's wheel thinking about the upcoming right turn. Then bikes and bodies start flying through the air. We are literally 50 yards off the line. My teammate blew out of his pedal and took a stem to the nuts. He was front row and is a very large dude. People hit him at about 18 mph and hit the deck hard. Hitting him would be akin to hitting a parked car. I can't even imagine what the women cued up to start next must have thought as they peeled the bodies and bikes off the gravel. I somehow missed the crash and got away with Spencer. At the sandpit we were locked into an awesome train of Spencer, Eric, Me and Gewilli. You can imagine how this went down.
Gewilli is one of my favorite friends to race with. One he is a beast. Dude has watts on top of watts and is a phenomenal bike handler. As we hit the sandpit I hear G in his big boy voice in race heckling. "I have the three of you JUST WHERE I WANT YOU!!!" Haha G can be like a Visigoth rampaging through a CX course. We got hung up by a dad and his kid as we started into the chicanes. Gewilli started some in race coaching to try and get the Cannondale speed bumps to get the F out of the way. I believe " PEDAL THROUGH THE CORNERS!!!" What is wrong with you people. I literally was laughing so hard I thought I was going to crash into Eric. Eric had already been crashed out once during the day in the 3/4 race. I certainly wasn't going to add insult to injury.
G barrels around the green speed bumps and takes off with Spencer leaving Eric and I to deal with these two. The MRC course is the PERFECT SSCX course. Legit. So much fun. I loved the flow and the cool weird stuff MRC threw at us. A 4 pack of logs! And a single barrier right before a grassy uphill to a chicane turn. Super thought out. 42 x 18 is too big a gear for me. There I said it. Its a great gear on the flats but really limits the ability to pedal corners. I made up some great time on the flats. And could accelerate out of the corners. But the actual corners and two climbs were taking their toll. Syd the kids cheering and the cider donuts were the only thing keeping me going.
It was such a great race. I got to heckle the crap out of my teammate DJ Robert who was blatantly CHEATING!!! Ok he wasn't actually cheating but I was heckling him MERCILESSLY for his ghost shifting. He had zip tied his brand new bike and I could hear his damn SRAM shifters pop, pop, popping through the gears. I kept yelling at him to not shift. He yelled back across the tape that he had too many watts! I have been there. It sucks. I crashed last year at PVD with a zip tied bike and ended up in a 34 x 25. Yeah that is not good. I told him to pit. I had high hopes I could catch him. The bastard fixed his bike and went on and had a great race! What a fun day. Love, love, love this group of racers. So much fun. Thank you to all who have supported the series!