Holy crap, Holy Week. Um. Four years ago, when I told Chip it would be super rad to have a night race on the Wednesday between Gloucester and Providence... I should have clarified: it would be super rad for SOMEONE ELSE to put on a night race between Gloucester and Providence. SOMEONE. ELSE.
Note to future Colin: don't plan on getting anything done in the latter half of September.
I did manage to race my bike, or at least pay money to pin numbers on, in the days leading up to THE NIGHT WEASEL. Let's talk about it.
Midnight Ride of Cyclocross
I am so incredibly glad this race exists, because it means I get to actually participate in one of these night races I think are so rad. Even better, it is as close to the perfect cyclocross course for me as can be obtained. My results here are hilariously misrepresentative of my ability.
Why? The grass is SO SMOOTH and there are SO MANY corners. The entire race is basically nothing but line selection and acceleration, it's freaking Gran Turismo out there, and dude, I have a RICH HISTORY of playing car racing video games. If I wasn't handicapped by the fact that my legs are a Miata I could be pretty good at this sport.
Aside: when it rains some, but not a lot, grass crits turn into WRC racing, and that is also a type of motorsport I enjoy!
So anyway. I snuck into the last spot on the second row and launched into a very decent position when Adam St Germain spun his back tire on the downhill gravel start. Why are we doing a downhill gravel start into darkness? I DON'T KNOW. I sprinted like crazy because I was afraid, and when Alex Grabau flipped his rally car my fears were justified.
Then it was impossible to move up for a lap, because like I said, corners. I got gapped off the lead group by Chandelier Delinks but I was ok with this, because it meant (1) Chandler isn't in shape, HA HA CHANDLER and (2) I was getting dropped by that group no matter who was in front of me.
I rode with Manny Goguen and his Tron Lights for a while and basked in the radness.
Right about the time Manny ran out of Tronwatts, Adam St Germain (in his third race of the night, because he is weird) caught up to us and OH BOY did he want to go hard. Usually Adam goes hard so effectively that I don't see him until the results, but his two previous races and the amazing number of corners kept me in touch. There were only like 3 straightaways on the entire course, and he would attack each one with insane fervor, but I kept chasing back on in the corners because car racing games!
During this period of time I noted that the lead group was not actually gaining on us, and we were definitely catching the chase group behind them, so thanks for that, Adam.
We made contact with the first chase group with three laps to go and were racing for sixth, which is like I said is DRASTICALLY BETTER than I do at any other race. The group contained Todd Bowden, Mike Wissell, and Max Judelson, Adam and me. Obviously I rode at the back, because everyone was pedaling really, really hard on the two straightaways.
I also learned that Max Judelson is not a big Gran Turismo player, but it's ok because his Miata has a lot more mods than mine, so stuff like EXIT SPEED is less of a issue when you can just spray horsepower on things out of every turn.
I did find this riding style somewhat incompatible with my own, however. And I was getting tired of riding over my head. So with two laps to go, I tried to rail a turn SUPA HAAAHD to get back into the group and wouldn't you know, it's almost like fatigue causes mistakes, or something, because next thing I know I hit my pedal on the ground, kicked my cranks backward, and dropped my chain.
More about chain drops later.
But anyway, when that deep over your head, you definitely aren't fixing that kind of mistake, so that was that and I rode rest of the race alone. Charlie and Sean made a spirited bid to catch me/beat each other, but I had enough gap from my earlier shenanigans to hold them off and take the last spot in the money.
Gran Prix of Gloucester, Day 1
I'm not saying that going to bed at 1am after Midnight Ride was why I felt like crap at Gloucester... but then again, what is the point of blogging if not to document excuses? YEAH. I was totally wrecked from Midnight Ride. Everyone was! Please don't look at Adam St Germain's Gloucester results.
I did however make my traditional questionably-legal chainstay cam of the race:
Gran Prix of Gloucester Day 1 Chainstay Cam from colin reuter on >Vimeo.
I spent the whole day being "guy in the group who dudes keep going around because they can tell he's in trouble." Public enemy #1, Cary Fridrich, appeared in the group and he was MOTIVATED. Last year when this happened I was able to fend him off for a perfect Cross Clash record (not that I'd ever talk trash about that 12 months later), but this year is apparently another story. He kept putting the pressure on, along with other guys like Ian Schon and Adam Sullivan, and the pedaling hard was just. not. happening. We got unnecessarily 80-percented with one lap to go, as misapplication of the rules is a UCI trademark. But honestly, he had ten seconds on me at that point and there was nothing I could do about it.
The official in charge of the 80-percenting also tried to pull Jeremy Powers off course about a minute after he pulled me, so that was pretty swell.
Gran Prix of Gloucester, Day 2
So it turns out that just because your bike comes with Di2 on it, and it shifts, that doesn't actually mean your front derailleur is set up AT ALL (thanks, China). My chain drop from Midnight Ride reoccurred less than a minute of racing into lap one of Gloucester, moving me from 50th to 80th (DEAD LAST), because you can't fix a Di2 chain drop without stopping, putting two feet on the ground and using your hands LIKE A DAMN CAVEMAN to fix it. Bah.
This setback flustered me because I am a human and prone to emotions, so I chased frantically until I got sloppy, and then I crashed into a stake which pushed my narcissism-cam (see video above) into my spokes. So I stopped to get it out and then applied FLUSTERWATTS to the situation, which was not especially effective. Then I tried to shift to coming out of the sand pit, and my chain dropped again, and then it took all the willpower I had not to throw my robotic bicycle into the ocean.
I took my bike to Shimano and they were like, here are some things you should change so this doesn't happen. So maybe this is the last time I will talk about throwing my bike this year. JINX.
The Night Weasels Cometh
Of course sixty seconds after dropping out of Gloucester I had already forgotten where I was and was stressing out about THE WEASEL. When the race goes smoothly, it's a ton of work. When it doesn't, it nearly kills me (see: 2011 Bog Weasels). But guess what! This year went smoothly. Also, this was the first year that it didn't rain. Possibly related.
I have been courting/flirting with DJ Jeremy Powers since the first year of the event, since Jeremy actually has real problems turning down DJ gigs, even when they don't make sense. This was the year he finally cracked.
...and that's how we learned that "sound engineering" is actually a thing, and having two guys who aren't experts in that field setting up the sound during the cat 4 race is maybe not ideal. SORRY, DEAF CAT 4's.
But I think we got everything leveled out eventually. Everyone seemed to like Jeremy on the decks, and by everyone I mean "me" and "like one guy I talked to."
"Everyone" notably did not include announcer Ryan Kelly, who found sharing the spotlight with the best cross racer in the country, while he had a machine to play music at a volume higher than Ryan could announce, to be a little trying. Luckily Ryan owes me so I am allowed to cash this in for ignoring his feelings.
But aside from that, we had a full beer garden and a lot of happy people and Meredith Miller wanted to race so badly, I didn't even have to beg. And I wrote a press release, which was kind of fun.
|If this is your cross race at 9pm, things are working. [C McIntosh]|
|Night photography is hard. C McIntosh's gallery is good.|
|Even Sweens was having fun! [C McIntosh]|
Watch this video at the 3:09 mark to see Peter Goguen make riding the stairs look a lot easier than it actually was!