Monday, December 15, 2008

I Got a Fever...and The Only Prescription is Less Cow Bell (Until Next Year...Maybe)

The alternate title for this post was "Losfer Words", because I am at a loss for words over the positive reviews our silly, little Ice Weasels race is getting. I was amazed at the attendance and support, amazed that it went well, hell, I was amazed we pulled it off at all. So I'm going to do this one photo-caption style and see what happens.

There Will Be Mud...or will there be? I thought so after the two days of rain and crazy weather. On Friday there was standing water throughout parts of the course, my car was sinking deep into the back field. Incredibly everything froze solid but not before the pools of water drained off, leaving the course firm but not icy. By the end of the day Saturday there was just one small muddy area.

What I thought was going to be a huge pile of mud run up a la Igorre after the single barrier near the street turned into a gnarled mess the consistency of asphalt. I apologize to Cathy Rowell's bruised feet.

Friday Linnea and Colin came out to do final course set up, I was blown away by how it came together. It was starting to look like we had a Cross race on our hands.

Being the anxious mess that I was leading up to the race I dragged Miriam out of bed at 5AM to head down to Wrentham for the final prep. I found out that it isn't light out at that time of "day".

The registration shed was quiet at that point, but it wouldn't be for long. Racers would start showing up before 7:30AM.

The sun came up like a light switch was thrown and the temperature continued to rise well past the predicted 26° high.

Todd Downs from Mavic was one of the first on the scene. The fact that he was lending neutral support to this race was ridiculous, but I appreciated the hell out of it, and man that car looked good sitting out in the field.

Jon Lewis from Saris/Cyclops showed up as well to set up a trainer warm up station in the barn adding even more undue legitimacy to this event. Big thanks to Jon, I think folks really liked this feature.

One element of the event which I was most freaked out about was parking. Due to the limited space we were dealing we had no other option than to park folks on the other side of 1A just a couple miles from the Wrentham Outlets. This is a fast stretch of a fast road where people speed habitually. What I didn't count on was one of the most loathsome aspects of human behaviour working in our favor - The Curiosity Factor. People slowed down to see why there were a ton of cars parked in a normally open field. This allowed for safe crossing to the venue.

I heard early grumblings about there being "So many turns" and "is that maze part of the course a joke?" I waited to hear more reviews as the bulk of the pre-riders went out. The reviews became more positive.

For the riders that wanted a course with a really big frickin' tree in the middle of it there was no need to travel all the way to Kansas City. Their tree was bigger but so was their venue.

We did have a trombone player and nobody got punched in the head. Can't say the latter about Nats.

Todd had one of the colder spots on the course, on the wrong side of the tree-stand wind-break. He didn't seem to mind. During the race I went to check on him, he had just done a wheel change on a single speed. I'm willing to bet he didn't have to do that at The Tour De France.

My brother in law, Tom Sneed and his partner Tim dalton were there representing their Kettle Popcorn company T.T. Buds. Their unofficial slogan is "It's The Crack". This statement has been uttered independently by many giddy customers including myself.

Kerry Combs was dishing up Mimosas and Waffles for Hup United adding more awesomeness and atmosphere to the event. The Waffle Feeds were over the top.

My cousin Christy and her partner Christian run an organic farm on the property, she was nice enough to let people ride their bikes all over the place, wrecking her stuff. She also served up some wicked good food.

Alex built a magnificent tower of cupcakes.

The Cambridge Bike contingent was in full effect, handing out beer feeds and making tons of ruckus up on the hill. Their rider Dave Wilcox put on a good show, leading the race for many laps in his silver shark suit.

Some of the early course surveyors. They seemed skeptical.

Dave Foley, yes it wasn't 26°, but it was hardly over 30°, he was wearing shorts. Awesomeness generates it's own heat source.

And that's a fine looking gear.

My sister Julie and cousin Hannah. Neither of them had ever done a bike race before. They figured the middle of winter was a good time to start.

My only real action shot. This is Jeremy Dunn (I think) on the run up at the back of the field. See the photo links below for real photos.

Figuring that the race wasn't dangerous and exciting enough we decided to unleash a really big dog to chase the riders. Only one guy was partially eaten, his missing bits should grow back, he just needs to eat a lot of protein.

THANKS! So many people to thank for making this thing happen. The family and friends: Colin and Linnea for coming up with the idea itself, doing course construction, timing, results, and all sorts of other stuff that I have no clue about. My Grandmother, Mary Alice Raymond who provided the venue, this could not have happened without her. Christy, Christian, Ann N., Ann R., Bill, Will, Hannah, Pickles, Eliot, Elizabeth, David, Miriam, Auntie Neil, My Mom, My Dad, Dan Meyer, My Sister, Noah, Lyla.

Special thanks to Todd Downs from Mavic and Jon Lewis from Saris/Cycleops for their crazy support and JD Bilodeau for supplying a make believe Cross Race with real course supplies.

Thanks to our officials Christian Constantino, Marka Wise, and John Laupheimer (who waived his fee).

The IBC Team: Hannah, John L., George, Julie, John F., Marvin, C Todd, Giulia, oh and Colin and Linnea again for good measure.

Thanks to the guys from the shop who helped this thing happen as well. Bryan for helping with barrier construction, Jason for coming out on two occasions to help with course building (once in the cold rain), Chris A. for the photo work, Gregg and Craig and IBC for providing the event with funding and prizes.

And thanks to all the people who came out and made this thing rock. I drove my self half-batty getting things together and ended up sick as a dog during and afterward, but seeing how stoked people were on the race made it all worth it. Who knows, we may have to do it again next year.


My photos are really just establishing shots, if you want to see some great photos of the event, got to these places:

Some super-cool shots:

Huge gallery:

These are from NEMBA President Philip Keyes, good stuff:

These from a first time Cross racer:


solobreak said...

Thom, the entire thing was incredible and the best end of season cross party ever. Thanks for making it happen for us to enjoy.

Adrian said...

Who let that horse on the course?

todddowns said...

Great work, Thom! You and Colin and everyone else involved did a hell of a job putting it all together... People will be talking about this one for a long time to come.

jasonwg said...

Glad to hear things went well! Wish I could have been there.

Cathy said...

Well, my foot still hurts, but I won't hold it against you! that was an AWESOME race. Many props to you and colin (and all of your helpers) for one of the most fun races of the season.

Andy said...

Hey CONGRATS. Looks like some hard work and lots of organizing paid off.

The Ghost of Jerry Reed said...

What a grand read! Thanks!

Wheels said...

Glad to hear you threw a proper CX race party. Wish I could have been there. Merry KwanzChristMakaYear to ya!