I want to post some sort of report about our weekend, but so much happened that I don't even know where to begin. Chronological order seems like the best plan, but I make no promises about accuracy.
AngryMark and the Hermes crew rolled in to Rhode Island back in September or so, staying at Craig's relatives' beachhouse and preriding the course 6 times a day for 3 months. CaptainChaz, FarmerAndy, HardTailJay, and SmilinKyle drove up with me and Ted (damnit, Ted, you need an adjective). We all met up at the race course, where we picked up our numbers and assembled the Rutgers division of the ECCC Noise Brigade.
While UNH patrolled the start/finish, Rutgers went to the Clif Bar runup, where we made as much noise as physically possible. We warmed up during the U23 race, then proceeded to go a little crazy during the Elite race.
Once the U23s were done, we had a few minutes to catch our breath before the Elite men started rolling around. And by "rolling around", I mean tearing each others' legs off. Watching Ryan Trebon solo away from a chase group, Tim Johnson and Todd Wells work back to the chase group after bad starts, fantastic races by Coach Adam, Vegan Molly, and so on, it was pretty easy to lose our voices.
Saturday night was an adventure for most of us. While Chaz, Mark, Andy, and I feasted on homemade pasta and veggies (thanks, Mark!), Ted, Jay, and Kyle were at an Outback, losing Ted's keys. Chaz and Mark, being old and boring, spent the night at the beach house. Ted, Jay, and Kyle braved the dangers of our scary motel, the Bel-Air Motor Inn. Andy and I joined the men of Hermes for a party at the Hub, where we rubbed elbows with such characters as Trebon, Wells, and Wicks.
After a night spent wondering if we would be murdered in our sleep or just contract some unknown disease from our dirty bedsheets, we rolled over towards the park (via a minor 45 minute detour towards Connecticut). If there's one thing Nats has, it's perks. While warming up on the complimentary fluid trainers, Jay and I established that the Men's B-35+ race had about $1,000,000 worth of bicycle in use. Which is a lot.
Our race was fun, and everyone loved the course. Mark put in a fantastic ride to finish on the lead lap (no small feat, lining up with such names as Troy Wells and Jamey Driscoll). Everyone has their own story to tell, which will be posted later. Kate Scheider, ECCC Cyclocross Championship innovator and racer extraordinaire, took a bunch of pictures, which follow at the end.
Overall, this was an enormously positive experience. We bonded over shared adversity like terrible Rhode Island signage, creepy motels, long drives, and of course a stupid-fast race. We heckled our favorite racers, we made unholy amounts of noise, and we finished off our 'cross season with a race in which we were cheered by fans who hadn't known about our team before the season started.
This leaves only one question: is it October yet?
Quotes of the Weekend:
Andy: "how do you think today's gonna go?"
Charlie: "CHARLIE SMASH! THEN CHARLIE GET SMASHED!!!"
Jay (to Lynne Bessette): "you're my favorite girl racer. i like you
way better than Lynne Bessette"
HermesJenks (to Barry Wicks): "do you mountain bike? you should quit and race road"
sign at Bel-Air Motor Inn: "No Refunds After 5 Minutes"
Mark: "I didn't really do much [for the team], I just sent out some emails"