Tuesday, March 29, 2016

12 Stations of Cross

In Nomine Patris

This past Friday on Good Friday. Four of us got together for a little improv theater/art camp on two wheels. It is weird how sometimes art and theater just happen almost by accident. New England is weird. We get lots of weird holidays off. No disrespect but it is what it is. So when I saw the kids had Good Friday off from school and I knew a few of my friends likely had work off I sent out an email inviting people on an Unholy CX ride. That was it really. Certainly what unfolded was never discussed. I still don't know how it happened to be honest. What did happen was pure genius. I like to think it was inspired by Thom in a way. He and I have been talking a bit about social media and cycling and how its really a performance. Again, its hard to find the proper term for it. Performing art is really the best descriptive. What we do on twitter and instagram is for entertainment. A type of art. Johnny Utah has been the embodiment of this for as long as I have known him. Its why he is so fun to be around. It takes this whole "cycling is deadly serious" idea and smashes it to pieces. And that attitude in cycling deserves to be smashed to pieces over and over again until all that is left is radness. And fun.

He shoulders His Burden
Good Friday turned out to be an aptly nasty day. 40 degrees and raining. At times pouring rain. The weather gods lied about it warming up as the day went on. A few of us paid dearly for it. The crew ended up being Michele, Ed, Utah and myself. A great crew by any measure. While we were getting the bikes ready to roll the concept of doing the 12 Stations of Cross came up. Michele took the idea and ran with it. She took over my social media for the day and became equal parts art director/photographer for the ride/performance. Ed and Utah were 100% all in. Ed came up with some awesome photo staging. And Utah played the role of Cross Jesus. A roll he has played before. He bounces between Johnny Utah and Cross Jesus pretty fluidly during CX season. It become a running dialogue on our rides and at CX races. It was a big part of what inspired this performance.

He falls for the first time
The ride itself was hilarious. Again pouring rain, cold. Nasty wet roots and rocks. All of us laughing our asses off. No one complaining. Even poor Ed who was underdressed and frankly looked like he was getting hypothermia at times was pure Ed. Strong as hell. Funny. Up for anything. He is one the greatest guys to ride with I know. Or hang out with for that matter. Michele was definitely the genius behind this. She is a great photographer. Each photo was perfect.

He meets His Mother
The ride part was one I have been wanting to share with them for a while. Doing it within the context of the 12 Stations of the Cross made it that much more fun. We would talk about the next Station and I would be like "oh yeah, the cemetery stairs would be perfect!" and we would ride to the spot and set up and shoot and move on. For a ride that involved more photos than miles we moved pretty quickly. We only had one flat. One. Zero crashes. Zero mechanicals. Zero breakdowns. Everyone was in such good moods. I like friends who smile in the face of adversity. It is the only way.

Simon shoulders His Burden
The most challenging photo was probably "He meets the Women of Jerusalem" I knew the perfect spot. The Starbucks in Midfield of course. But Midfield is sort of a nice town. Not like douchey Wellesley or Dover. The people are actually really nice who live there. But its a nice suburb. So when four strangers roll in soaked to the bone with maniacal grins on their faces people sort of move away. We got the shot. And hung out for hot coffee and snacks. We stole some newspapers and stuffed them up our shirts to stave off the hypothermia.

Veronica wipes His Face
Rolling back we were already thinking of the last couple of Stations. He is stripped of his garments was pretty hilarious. Utah was 100% game. It was actually a challenge getting him to keep his clothes ON. Thankfully Michele kept it pro and just shot from the chest up. It is one of the more beautiful photos of the whole set.

He fall for the second time

He falls for the second time was like a flash back to the time Aumiller crashed off a wood bridge in Cutler and called me from the marsh. How I ever found him is beyond me. So glad I took that call. The trolls certainly would have feasted on his bones if we didn't find him and drag him to safety.

He meets the women of Jerusalem 
The whole ride became a meditative one in which we spent the day as friends in the woods and just having a blast. When we finally got home we pretty much ate all the food in the house. My wife and kids were troopers about the whole thing. This isn't their first rodeo as they say. They are used to dirty, bleeding bikers showing up at the house and eating everything in sight like a wolf pack.

He falls for the third time
I feel lucky my kids are exposed to adults like my friends who never stop being rad. They see that life isn't just about the system. Its about living it to the fullest. Art matters. The outdoors matter. Being rad matters.

He is stripped of His Garments

One of the more entertaining aspects of the whole day was all the funny texts and messages we all received during the ride. Most were of the "you are all going to burn in Hell" variety. Most were like "this is the best thing ever!" It fueled us on I won't lie. For me social media is just a conversation. A way to engage your friends in ways you just can't do when everyone is living their lives and busy.

He is nailed to the Cross
HUGE thanks to Michele, Ed and Utah! What a fantastic day. To say we are ready for the Ronde is an understatement. Being out all day in nasty weather and moving like sharks builds character. And is what is required of any rider who loves these types of rides. Live rad my friends.

He dies


  1. shine on you crazy sacrilegious diamond

  2. What Carl said. Shoogs and I were #FOMO-ing so hard after the second tweet, I was half tempted to drive out there and try to find y'all. But Instaspam made it almost like being there, only warmer and drier.

  3. "being rad matters..."

    Chip wins the internet again...

    good on you sir.