Despite not having any UCI races on the schedule for myself this weekend it turned out to be a busy week for me. I spent a whole bunch of time this week recovering from being getting sick the week before and then recovering some more from racing while still probably too sick to race. The moral of this story being that while you might feel better compared to how sick you were a few days ago that doesn’t mean you're no longer sick. Probably shouldn’t have raced last weekend is my point.
But, there was so much excitement this week in the NYC cross community. Our weekly Wednesday night cross practice was getting a visit from Jeremy Powers. Which is pretty amazing. Eight years ago when I first started going to cross practice on Randall's Island it would be considered a resounding success if more then five people showed up and we didn’t get kicked off the grass by the cops. To have seen it grow to the point of 30 person nights being routine is amazing and then on top of that the national champ decides to show up. The only concern now was how to actually not make it too big since we don’t have permits to ride. But the night went off with out a hitch and most importantly we didn’t get the national champ arrested.
After that I probably spent another day or two feeling meh. Getting over being sick takes forever. Then again this kind of comes with the territory. After all I’ve spent the last two and a half months doing nothing but training, driving to races, and racing. As a racer I do my best to take care of myself but at a certain point there is only so much you can do. Dealing with set backs is part of being a good bike racer.
I actually ended up doing a small local race out by Philly called Kutztown on Saturday. I exchanged a few texts with Cam Dodge over the week so I knew he would be there kicking my teeth in with his skinny legs. I’m not sure if I actually like the Kutztown corse but it’s one of those weird grassroots cross event’s that certainly keeps cross weird. The race runs through a farm field in the middle of a small town right next to some kind of weird flea market that sells everything from guns to civil war artifacts to more guns. The outcome of the race was extremely predictable. Cameron charged away from everyone. I didn’t feel terrible but didn’t have any particular magic in the legs ether and cruised in for 3rd.
This season it seems like there has been a ton of attention focused on Cameron. He’s landed on the podium in a whole bunch of big races and has managed to lead the ProCX series for a few weeks as well. All while wearing a totally blank black skin suit. The announcers have taken to calling him the man in black as they speculate about when someone is going to sign him or why doesn’t anyone sign him. It’s all stuff that at this point I’m sure Cam is tired of hearing.
I’ve known this dude for a while now and at first I wondered the same thing about why he wasn’t riding for a big team. But at this point my theory is that Cam is just happy doing his thing. Maybe that’s overly simple and maybe there are people out there who would be angered by this. Watching a person with such immense natural talent ignore the conventional path through cycling. As bike racers we are all told what the bench marks for success are and in what order we should be doing them. Most people rarely get to achieve any of them. So maybe watching someone who can and decides not to is frustrating. This is all just my personal speculation really. But I think it’s great seeing guys like Cam do things on their own terms. It reminds me a lot of Dan Timmerman. Guys like that bring an extremely balanced passion for cycling to the world of racing that’s predominantly dominated by racers with a singled minded obsession to “make it”.
That was kind of a long tangent on Cam. Hopefully he doesn’t read this and goes “wow that’s all completely wrong”.
Sunday, I didn’t race and went for a ride instead. Riding around Philly by myself is fun because everything is all new to me but it’s not great training. What happens is I usually get sidetracked by some weird trail or some abandoned structure that beckons me to explore it. Which is more or less fine it just means I don’t actually cover that much ground and I guess carrying my bike through some abandoned building or dam structure is good “cross training”.
I should add that at the end of the season (like literally the weekend following cross nationals) I’ll be moving to Philly. After nine years in New York it’s finally time to go.