Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Welcome to the Terrordome

Photo by Russ Campbell

This past weekend was on of my favorite double CX race weekends of the CX season. CX at White Park and Sucker Brook. Two TOTALLY different courses. Both a little over an hour from Boston. This is what makes CX in New England so incredible. Nick Czerula does an amazing job with a small park in Concord, NH. He really gets every bit of shredtastic CXyness out of this little park. This year he reversed the course and promised to up the gnar factor. When I say this course was the toughest course I have ever raced I am not being my usual over enthusiastic self. This is the most "euro" course I have ever raced. Nick put in two legit run ups. And one legit euro chute. Everyone always watches the european races and complains that our races don't have cool features like they do. Well here you go. CX at White Park did not disappoint.

Photo by Russ Campbell

What I loved about it was the mix of brutal sections and fast open grass. It really was the perfect course. I am a horrible runner so in a sense should have hated the course. But I love hard CX courses and the run ups and features had such great flow to it and the pay off for those run ups were so worth it I actually enjoyed the run ups. This was stop number two on the Zank SSCX World Tour p/b Mad Alchemy. Once again we had a big field of SSCX racers. As I was talking to Becca at staging she asked me "All these people are here for the SSCX race?" Yep. It is kind of a thing now. It really has grown this year. I think it is because Pete is back. He's brought so much awesomeness with him. It was also the comeback for Agent Utah. Matt Aumiller broke his leg back this past summer. He's been itching to get back to racing the bike. He finally made his debut at White Park. He brought a whole crew of his BC High kids to do the Junior/HS race. During the SSCX race they planted themselves at the top of the steepest run up and created Heckle Hill. Part of the motivation was Nick had put up a $40 prime for the first man and woman in the SSCX who could ride the run up.

Photo by Russ Campbell

I have no idea how anyone could ride that run up to be honest. It was made of moon dust and had a ton of hidden roots and rocks. Aumiller brought a gun to a knife fight though and was not leaving without that prime. He rode it every lap. Dude is a beast. From broken leg to smashing run ups and getting paid. He's my hero for many reasons. Smashing is one for sure. But what he has done with his BC High junior team is right up there. Those kids were awesome. I think Utah caught me on the second lap. In the picture above he is just flying up that run up as I bury myself to try and get up that steep pitch without stroking out.

Photo by Russ Campbell

The other side of this brutal course were some legit descents and technical bits. Nick carved a brand new off camber euro chute on the far side of the course. I loved this section. This type of riding is really what I am built for. Again in this euro theme you had to really think about this section. You entered into it off a grass off camber climb. You had to get off and run a chopped up dirt entrance into the woods. Then you had to remount while in the drops and then just go full rodeo down the chute. The chute was super steep and all rutted out. There was a drop off to the right and then trees all over the place. The potential for mayhem was high. It was so much fun. There were a few moments each time where I thought "oh god this is not going to end well" But each time I was able to clip in and get waaaayyy off the saddle and just let the bike do its job. Drop bars are better than dropper posts there I said it.

We have been in the clutches of a drought. It was really hot and dusty and I pretty much couldn't breathe the first two laps. Jerry caught me at about lap two. He made a sick inside pass right before the first run up on the pavement. We rode together for about a lap or two. When we came through after what felt like four laps and saw four to go we both kind of cracked. I think I said "no way I can do 4 more Jerry" as we were running up a run up. He just shook his head and remounted. I thought to myself fuck it just look at this as CX practice. Or a chance to ride a baller course. Stop thinking about the pain. It pretty much became a race of attrition at that point. Eric flatted. Grant flatted. So many people had problems. Bob Stine lapped me right before the second run up and I won't lie I breathed a sigh of relief for not having to do another lap. I have never been so happy to be lapped in my life. I came through and collapsed in the tent. It was the best CX race ever.

We had a great hang out in the tent after. The Vest had changed hands and was won by Cathy Rowell. Its been such an exciting battle for the vest on the women's side of the Zank Series. Bob Stine is riding like a man on fire and looks like a man who is not ever relinquishing that leaders vest. Which is beyond awesome. Who knows it is a long series but Bob and all the women who have worn the vest have been doing such a great job of bringing such a great competitive spirit and energy to the series. We had a dog on the podium. Literally. Bradford Smith was out racing the elite race so a dog was his proxy on the podium. Podium 3Cross growlers were handed out. The vest ceremony took place. So much radness.

The series is just heating up. Look for a post Wednesday about Sucker Brook. Sucker Brook was amazing as well. Very different type of course. But again a big crew of SSCX racers. In 8 days we have Midnight Ride of CX. It is the beginning of #UnHolyweek. And we have some pretty special things in store for you for that night race. Thank you to Nick, Russ and all the volunteers who made White Park so awesome. Good luck to our Vest wearers. And thank you to all of you for Making Singlespeeding Great Again!

1 comment:

  1. Sweet write-up. That course sounds awesome. I so wanted to do the double this weekend but ended up helping out some friends down here at their events. I gotta learn to say no. I'll see you out there soon enough though.