I have never been to Crosstobeerfest. There I said it. I know. This is very off brand for me. If there was ever a race that screams me it is Crosstobeerfest. As we were putting the schedule together for the 2018 Zank SSCX Series Crosstobeerfest came up. I was very interested in adding it. I emailed Mike and he was so into it and so accommodating. He asked me what time spot we would prefer. Darkness of course....Crosstobeerfest is a mid-week night time CX race about 30 minutes from Boston. Well thirty minutes when there isn't traffic which is never and 30 minutes if you are smart and leave before 2:30. Can we talk for a second about Boston traffic? How and why does rush hour start at 2:30 now. Who gets out of work at 2? Seriously. So yeah mistakes were made. I didn't leave the house until 3:30. My race start was 6. I thought worse case scenario I roll up, kit up an just get my number and get to the line. Or join late if the race already started. I don't race SSCX with expectations. I do it to hang out and sling mud around with my best friends on two wheels. This is our time together. So I don't like to miss it.
I rolled in with actually an hour to spare. Nice. And Myette pulls up just as I am getting out of the van. Even better. We roll to reg and get our numbers. I want to stop and talk to people and all he says is "Chipstick get your shit together we don't have time for this..." And he of course is correct. As a co-promoter of a night race I can say without hesitation that Mike and his crew put on one Hell of a race. I may go out on a limb and say it is one of the best races in New England. I mean the production level is off the hook. Timing chips, tents, signage everywhere. It is like a well run machine. As we are heading back to the cars we look off into the distance. It looks like Ragnarok is coming. Literally. Off over the horizon is a nasty storm system. Gewilli had tweeted out something early in the day about securing those team tents. Damn I guess that is what he was taking about. I mean it is the closest to a storm front that looks like it could spring a tornado that I have ever seen. And I love storms. I won't say I was nervous but it caught my eye.
We do the usual pre-race dance of ride around with friends in circles warming up. Hit the port-o-potties. Play who hung my bike in a tree.....Then we hear the SSCX racers to staging. Have I mentioned that there were 64 SSCXers racing? On a Weds night! That is the biggest field of SSCX racers outside of Ice Weasels that I can remember. I guess people like this SSCX thing! My only goal for this race was to not get beat by the BC High kids. I love the influx of juniors into CX. It has been amazing. BC High is one of the most inspirational teams around. Coached by two of my really good friends. But come on. Getting beat by a Legion of 16 year olds?
So as we are cueing up for staging a micro-burst hits us full on. The temperature drops about 20 degrees, the wind kicks up 20-40 mph hour and it feels like it is hailing. Full down pour. We huddle together like penguins and then the course gets ripped apart. Like literally blown away. Somehow Mike and his crew get the tape and course back together in what seems like a blink of an eye. This crew is unflappable.
Post Crossnado I line up. I am nervous. Lots of people I don't know. They don't have their right feet clipped in or in a position that would dictate they are in any way ready with 30 seconds to the gun. The siren goes off. I try to not get crashed out and try to get past these dudes that clearly were not ready for full gas. It is sub-optimal but night racing!!! Have I mentioned I didn't pre-ride? Pre-riding is for people with expectations. I like surprises!
What I wasn't prepared for was how much mud there was. And how tight some of the turns were. And that with my crappy night vision I wouldn't be able to see parts of the course. This actually becomes the biggest charm of the race as it unfolds. You have to really go off of faith. Faith in your bike and handling and faith in your fellow racer. I follow lots of racers into crazy lines. The mud is so deep at the far end of the course that when you dismount you are ankle deep. Luckily it really was only for about 20 seconds and then you could remount and pedal. So many cool features. Loved, Loved, Loved the course. Also loved the stealth handups. And riding past the beer garden while a live band was playing. Have I mentioned this is my new favorite race of all time? Damn I can't believe I missed this the last 4 years.
So somehow I am finishing on the lead lap. Not sure how that is possible but I am happy. And only one BC High kid has beat me. #winning. But the best part is as I am coming into the final sand pit before the finish I see the Zip Tie Fairy! She is in a group of three. Clearly she is battling to keep the two from passing. So I slip by one and then another and then get behind Lesli. We come out on the grass together and then hit the barriers together at the beer garden. It is the best moment ever. What a way to end such a crazy evening of racing. Finish up. High fives all around. Hit the beer garden and watch the women race. Head home before 9. Man I could get used to this. You can keep your weekend racing. Mid-week Crosstobeerfest is for me. The photo above is of the Zip Tie Fairy herself and by ABWphoto