I just realized a few things. The first is that I’ve been writing about cyclocross for fifteen weeks straight now. I hope this has been enjoyable for you. Second, I only have five more cyclocross races left this season. That seems insane mostly because my final race is still over a month away. Remember when Nationals was in December? Yeah, me too. That was nice. I feel like I complain about this every year right about now so I’ll just leave it at that. Mostly because I’m excited for Nationals this year because for once I’m feeling a lot of motivation heading into all the training in in the month ahead.
This past weekend the team reconvened about an hour north of New York City at the Super Cross Cup. As I pulled up to Richie’s miniature van Deb greeted me with “Hello, my name is Deb and this is Richard. You must be Dan?” It’s only been a few weekends apart but it felt like eternity since the last time we were all together. Jeez that was in October. Anyway, Deb’s hilarious.
The race has a long history behind it. I saw pictures of the old course out on Long Island from 2007 when they hosted the current cyclocross world champion Erwin Vervecken. I wonder how he felt racing in front of a 2007 American cyclocross crowd in the very ass end of Long Island? In the past few years it’s survived a venue change as well as losing and then regaining it’s UCI status, and then switching venues again. A lot for one race to handle for sure but it’s bounced back with one of the most technically challenging courses in the North East, which in the past three years has drawn a fairly top heavy UCI field for both men and women.
Historically, I have ridden poorly here. Regardless of the venue. Honestly, I’m starting to think it might just be the time of year. Late November is a hard time to be in peak shape when you generally plan to be really good in late October (and then again in January). So a planned lull in my fitness combined with an unplanned sickness the last few weeks resulted in mediocre legs this weekend.
When you start going backwards in a race it can be easy to lose focus. You start making mistakes on top of not pedaling very fast. Thus starts a vicious cycle of going backwards, losing focus, making mistakes, which results in going further backwards. You get the idea. At one point on Saturday I somehow rode right off the muddy track and into some kind of thorn shrub.
While I was standing around untangling myself from a muddy bush Sam was flying the RSCX flag high. The Kid was locked in a battle for 7th place with Todd Wells which he ended up winning. I think it’s pretty huge that Sam beat the former national champ. When I talked to him after the race he told me how much it actually meant to him. He used to watch The Road to Athens which is a mountain bike documentary that Todd Wells is featured in. He watched it on the trainer almost every day for a winter. It’s hard to be bummed about my own race when my teammate is going head to head with his childhood hero and winning. It was also Sam’s best UCI result of the season. Although talking to Sam about this, you would hardly be able to tell he was excited. He’s pretty modest.
Saturday night team dinner was extra lively since it’s been a few weeks between team dining experiences. Everyone crammed into a hotel room and we ordered take out from a local pasta joint. We talked politics and made a solemn pact to vote for Bernie as a team. After dinner, adult refreshments were had and some how everyone took turns recounting their personal recreational drug use. The only thing I can tell you about that is that Brittlee has never tried so much as smoking a cigarette.
Oh yeah, more bike racing happened Sunday but that seemed almost incidental to all of us getting to spend time together again.
It should go without saying that I’m nothing but thankful for this team but since it’s that time of year and I could literally never thank Richie or Deb enough. I’ll say it again. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the last five years.
Ed. Note: We are guessing Vervecken felt pretty good because we gave him $100 on one of the days after we put up a prize to the first person over the barriers on the first lap. Those were the Cambridge Bicycle days and we were down for anything at that point. (See photo at the end of the post).
photo by Craig Roth