Woody Allen once said "80% of success is showing up" This applies so much to CX. And certainly was the mantra for MRC CX. There were lots of excuses I could have used to NOT go to MRC. Frankly I was so close to not going. I worked Night Weasels and had promoter legs. I had woken up at 5 am on Saturday to take Syd the kid to hockey. I was out late the night before at Roger Williams Park at the Pumpkin Festival. It was pouring rain and the bed was so cozy. On and on. Actually the rain is what got me out of bed. I would have been so mad if I missed this one. Luckily giving zero fucks about how I perform at a race makes it much easier to get out of bed and go race. I get it. If you care about your placing and feel work and life will limit your placing in the bicycle-pedal contest perhaps you will hate yourself if you don't place in the top ten. Or beat your rival and leave their cross results page one big flaming couch. But honestly I gave up worrying about beating people at races years ago. #Dadlife really is freeing. I only care about the actual racing part. How I do is meaningless.
But I definitely pushed it. I slept in. Had coffee with my wife. Left way late. Luckily the bike was already dialed and everything was in the van. Still it was probably the least prepared I was to race in a while. This happens with races that are close to home. So I went full couch to SSCX. I had switched my gearing to 42 x 19 from 42 x 18. Not a big difference but frankly I am so happy I did. Despite how I may appear I am not a masher of gears. I spin. And like to flow a bit. Having to get on top of a big gear doesn't really work for me. And the cog is green so it was a slam dunk of a decision. I was very #hyped to race in the pouring rain and mud. I didn't get to pre-ride so I had no idea just how incredible it was going to be. Frankly after a month of racing in a dust bowl these conditions were like a 50 year storm of CX. You had to be there. It is like when Mavericks goes off for surfers. CX racers love mud. And nastiness. It is why we got into this oddball sport in the first place. No sane person would choose to ride a glorified road bike on grass and run up hills with said bike on shoulder all while being elbowed, punched and chopped by 50 over hyped racers unless there was a real payoff. Playing in the mud is that payoff.
|Todd driving by Katie Busick|
How often do you get to get that dirty and basically engage in an adult slip and slide on two wheels? There was a great crew of SSCX racers at MRC. Even Gewilli was there! It was so good to see him back out on the SSCX bike! Gewilli is built for these days. All power and bike handling skills. He smashed it and came in top ten. So happy for him. Lancaster is a really cool place to race bikes. It is always funny having two such different races at the same venue in the span of two weeks. Midnight and MRC couldn't be more different. Its weird. I love both. And both have a tendency to shred me to pieces. Luckily the mud and nastiness slowed things down a touch and made it a bit more manageable especially with my current state of fitness.
|Pete in the pain cave by Katie Busick|
I can't remember the last time I raced in actual rain. Maybe SuperCup out in PDX years ago. Maybe Downeast one year. But it was not only raining it was pouring rain. The start was the usual insanity. I didn't honestly notice any difference between the 18 and 19 tooth cog. I like how the start at MRC works. Straight away into a nice turn onto "grass" then back out on the pavement. In this case the "grass" was a mud bog. I came in way too close to the trees and actually took a branch to the head. Which is saying something as I am so short. How I didn't get knocked off the bike is beyond me. I try and chase and hold on to the fast people. We hit another heavy section with a climb and I am doing ok all things considered. Griggs comes flying by. We get to the top and start flying down a nice greasy section.
|HUP there it is by Katie Busick|
We get through the first trip into the barn without incident. I come through the weird turn heading to the Go Cart track and see Eric on the side of the course. Flat. Myette was out right at the start. Such bummer to see fast friends out of the race so early. I could tell it was going to be one of those days. Attrition is always a factor in any CX race but on days like this the toll gets high on bikes and riders. I was riding well which was weird. Maybe it was all the cider donuts I had eaten on the way up. There were some really fun features on the course. A sick horse jump was definitely one of the highlights. On the backside I came through the coral and not having ridden the course before had no idea how deep the "puddle" was. Now calling this body of water a "puddle" is an understatement. I went too far outside and found out just how deep it was. It also smelled bad. Like really bad. After that first lap I did all I could to hug the inside as much as possible.
With a couple to go my good friend 20 Pound Skull caught me. Right after the nasty puddle. As he came by he said "BATTLE OF THE GREEN BIKES" We both ride super nice green bikes. I tried my best to take a page out of Resultsboys CX race tactic book and just sit on Todd's wheel. I think for this to work you have to actually stay on the riders wheel. Todd out drove me why lie. He and I are so well matched as riders. I love racing with him. I tried to hang and came close to reconnecting a few times but it was over. At that point I did my best to just hold off anyone catching and passing me and tried to keep riding as smoothly as possible. Really though it was just one of those courses were racing was secondary and ripping around the course became what it was all about. I had some weird flashbacks to racing at the Watsonville Fairgrounds in NorCal.
|Women's podium by Lesli|
Watsonville was one of my favorite places to race. NorCal when I first started CX was in a rainy cycle. There were so many mud fests when I first started racing CX. Sunday was such a reminder of why I fell in love with CX. After the race finished up we all hung out and ate frites under the Landrys tent and drank 3Cross beer. This is why I love the Zank SSCX series. It was freezing. Racers were shivering and cold. But we all huddled together and shared fries and drank beer. People had huge grins on their faces. Mike Wissell our Middle Earth Spirit Animal smashed it again. Leslie Lupien came back and took the top step in the women's field. Such a great day.
|Captain Morgan Podium by Lesli|
Next stop on the Zank World Tour is Hanover CX. This course is a classic and not to be missed. After that we have Cheshire. Cheshire is literally one of my favorite races of the season and happens to be on Halloween weekend. You know what that means. Special secret prizes to the best costumes at Cheshire. Thanks once again to all the SSCX racers who are coming out and making this season so special. See you all at the next race!