Nice week so far. Only got in a couple rides since I was laid out with a hella cold between Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon. One of the rides was a solid cross practice on Wednesday night, and although I'm not very fit, I'm not totally unfit. Now if the frog would just leave the back of my throat so I could stop coughing up bits of something unidentifiable, life would be perfect.
The lack of perfection won't hinder my fun at Charm City, however. The lower tiers of the race are pretty much sold out (though it pays to show up and waitlist yourself) and it should be an awesome event both days. Even if you aren't racing, come on out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Have some fun, it's time.
Speaking of races - things are really coming together for the Tacchino. I did about three hours of race coordination work today. We're going to have good food, good band, good beer (Duvel/Ommegang), and we're getting some good sponsors lined up so that we have good swag for good racers. And the Suitcase of Sausage... according to a source who did not want to be quoted, the Suitcase will be joining us with meaty mid-pack primes as soon as it is released from the custody of an Official Representative of the United States Government.
Official Spokesluggage for the Suitcase of Sausage
Official Spokesluggage for the Suitcase of Sausage
Now the big news... I'm going to load up the Truckster and hit Ommegang Cross again this year. Time has once again come for a pilgrimage to the Little Bit O' Belgium in Leatherstocking Territory. I'd been entertaining a couple enticements to head on up to race, but when I mentioned it to Wife of Rouleur - a big NY Yankees fan and a lover of the Baseball HOF - the idea of a weekend family trip suddenly became reality for us. Crazy race, awesome venue, good hard competition, and very much worth the trip. So, like Natty Bumpo, I'm going to strap on the crazy pants, and ride my steed in the hills south of Lake Otsego. Bonus - they even have a Singlespeed class. Sweeeeeet. I'm up against the Elite Women, which means I'm going to get an unholy ass kicking from the front half of that field, at least. But I do not care. Except for a few high profile exceptions, racing a single means you are going to get your ass kicked by everybody else. And that you are a dangerous social deviant. But I'm kinda getting a thing for my single again this year, particularly now that I have an actual racing single (Kona Major One) rather than the 27 pound pig of a Surly Crosscheck. Oh yeah, and a single speed conversion kit means I'll be able to rock the cog on my tubulars, which will make for a sick light bike, the likes of which a man my size and power does not often get to ride without voiding warranties and breaking parts.
Ah. But what the hell. You're here for the music. Let's have some stuff to kick off our cross season.
Take it away, Warren:
You guys got that? Enjoy every sandwich. That's what we're going to do this year friends. Enjoy every last sandwich.
Yep. I want to see you in the morning. Nice song you mighta heard in the recent Mustang commercial; I thought it was Jack White or Black Keys at first. Anyhow, I want to see you in the morning at 9:00, 10:00, or 11:00. That's the M4, M 3/4 (or 2/3/4) 35+, and the M 3/4. Let's scrum a little, and mind the elbows when we hit that first turn bottleneck.
Consider this a shoutout to the packed classes whose entry fees underwrite the scene. The competition is hammer and tongs from first, back to about 110th or so, and the last 15 guys are giving it all they got even if they've lost the thread. The Elite classes and the sparsely attended (but thankfully growing) women's races are awesome, but I love seeing a swarm of 125 people going at it like it was their day job. Anybody unfamiliar with the sport would never guess that (1) you are mostly racing for the honor of winning; there's little if any money; and, (2) damn near all of you pay cash money and train hard to do this unforgiving, no-payback sport. You magnificent bastards!
Hail Hail, You Won, You're One! This is for all my friends rockin' a single speed on the mountain, on the street, and in the cross races. Seibold moved on to Elite 35+, but there's still a core of guys rocking just one in the support classes, and promoters in MABRA are taking action to encourage the growth of this challenging, different way of racing. I'm going single a bit this year, not sure how much but some, and we worked to find a way to do a singlespeed prize list within the M 3/4 race - if you're a Cat 4 or 3 and race single, it's like a class within the class. I'm committed to this because it's a serious athletic endeavor, not a sideshow (despite the SSCXWC nuttiness) and, as I told Seibold after practice last night, "I rode a single my first or second year of cross and didn't know what I was doing. Now that I know what I'm doing... holy ****in' sh1t, this is bloody hard." It's true; turning hot laps with the group on the single, now that I know how to move along okay, is a whole other universe of pain, a new depth of suffering. So for those of you who persevere, for whom One is Enough, I raise my glass.
That's for the Women of Cross. I grouse about trying to build women's fields, not getting enough pre-regs, and so forth. But I *love* the fact that women are coming out in greater numbers, getting their noses stuck in, and racing hard. I am incredibly appreciative that we have a growing women's contingent, and I respect that fact that girls are doin' it for themselves. It's easy to know why guys race: testosterone. We will race, fight, argue with, or just generally compete with anybody. It is not clear to me why women choose to do so since most women do not have this particular insane sort of male drive. Women do it for some other reason, I think - Tammy Thomas excepted - and I am immensely grateful for those who do. My only real beef is that we don't have to have an enormous fight within MABRA about what to do with two 125 rider women's fields and our limited schedule space. A boy can dream, right?
It goes without saying that this song goes out in particular to my friends in the M 3/4 35+ class - the Army of Ancients.
And that one, finally, is for my friends in the 1-2-3's. Methods of Mayhem, Crash. You suckers are going too fast for sure, and when I watch you guys ride, it looks to me like the stunts that dude is pulling while barefoot skiing. You is some sick, sick puppies. I like what you do, but I do not understand how you do it.
And that little Richard Cheese remix of a great Disturbed song is for pretty much everybody on the scene. Yeah, CX is a sickness. I didn't realize this fully until I was reading Greg Keller a few weeks ago talking about his first hard cross riding efforts this year. He was going on about how it had been since January that he had tasted his own blood in his throat and it was a good feeling. And I don't think he was joking or exaggerating. So let's all get down with the sickness. Don't worry about not fitting in, friends. It's cool... you're among the diseased here.
Now if you stuck around this far I have to make a confession. I got nothin' this year. The fitness is okay, but I'm not burning with a fire to train, to hammer. The only thing driving me is a drive to wring as much fun out of cross as I can, to balance it out as well as I can with my life. Ride lots, watch the diet, race hard, and pack as much fun in as I can. Oh, I'm going to go as hard as possible on race day. But I ain't sweatin' in this year. The back explosion I had last winter put the fear of God in me and I realized I have to value every single day I can get on the bike, with my friends, doing what makes us happy. So that's the plan for this year. We're all going to enjoy every sandwich, right?
Seeya at Charm City.