Monday, December 21, 2009

A holiday reunion.

It started not too long ago, when we were cleaning up Ice Weasels. I spotted an Eggbeater cage sitting on the registration table. It was well after dark, and everyone had gone home. "Gee, that would look good in my pile of Eggbeater parts" I thought. Yoink, into my pocket it went.

Fast-forward a day or two later when, like any obsessive promoter, I was googling "ice weasels" and reading every single comment on the internet. I came across this race report, and this photo:

If you mix that, with this race report and this photo:

Actually, I'm just going to let the internet write the rest of this for me. Read the late edit and comments here.

Then read this, sprinkle in a dash of this:

That should paint a pretty complete picture for you.

Well. not really. I'm leaving something out.

I couldn't help myself. As I was sitting there looking at the pedal cage, and the rebuild kit, I just couldn't control my urges.

Sorry David, the bad news is you're only getting half a rebuild kit. The good news is your left pedal is going to operate so smoothly you're going to pick up at least 10 watts.

Ice Weasels, the race that just keeps on giving. We'll file this one under "not always a douche."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ice Weasels

What's up dudes? We put on a race, let's talk about it...

we trucked that snow in from vermont. and the sun from florida. i think it was worth it.


Obviously, a big round of thanks must be given first and foremost. Putting on a race is about finding people to help you, and coordinating that help more than anything else. From registration to parking, results, beer, to course work, heckling/commentating, to break down, warmup, to food, course materials to PA systems, hand ups to hand outs, sausage to hup cakes; there are way too many people to thank. If I try, I will inevitably leave one out, and that's no way to thank someone. You all know who you are, we couldn't have done it with out you. Seriously. Thank you.

With that out of the way, let's talk about why Ice Weasels is better than every other race on the fucking planet.

1) Constant improvement.

benchcut: half destruction, half construction, full on awesome.

Listen to your customers. Address their concerns. Don't be happy with what you have. We headed out to Wrentham months before the race to fix-up parts of the course. Last years sketchy descent down to the rail bed made way for this years waaaaaay awesome euro-chute. The euro chute was my baby. I had a vision, and that vision had to be argued and defended many times. I gotta say though, in the end, it was exactly how I wanted it, right down to the placement of the hay bales. I had no idea digging out a bench-cut was so much fun, almost as much fun as railing that turn and dropping down to the rail bed at full speed.

there you go little girl, kevin'll treat you right. yes, you're a good little euro-chute.

2) Sprinkle in some awesomeness

No one is going to complain about swooping turns in a flat field. But, swooping turns in a flat field certainly have room for improvement. So we embarked on the labor intensive, and for the most part completely unnecessary chore of building a berm to spice up the flat field. It took damn near forever. Chris (one of the White Barn Farmers) gave us a hand with the tractor, but we still worked well into the dark to get it sculpted just right.

berm! just because.

3) The easy way is the lame way

that's the run-in to the berm, 24 hours before the race. seriously, no joke. (poop!)

We showed up in Wrentham the day before the race, and the course was looking horrible. There were a lot of ideas floated.

"Ditch the berm, it's not going to happen" There were 6 inch deep tractor ruts all around the run in and run out for the berm. Everything was frozen solid. A 4x4 truck could barely make it through, no way was a bike rolling through it. After a few hours of tractoring, smoothing, raking, and repeatedly driving over it with a truck, the berm was a go.

"There's too much snow, cut out the entire front section." The rakes and trucks were again pulled out. We spent hours flattening and smoothing the course, and raking off all the snow we could. It took forever, but come race day, the course was exactly how we wanted it.

"Turn this race down to 9, it's too awesome" Nope. This race was turned to 11, where it stayed. We didn't have to make any compromises.

4) Races are supposed to be fun.

Sure, everyone wants a good result, but that doesn't mean you can't, or shouldn't break up the tension. BEER! Come on cyclocross race, loosen up a bit. Let me get you a drink. There, isn't that better? Let me rub your shoulders.

the cause of, and solution to, all of cyclocross's problems

5) Why can't races be social events?

yes, the kegs were put right next to the trainers to test your willpower.

Who wants to warm up alone, set up behind their car in the parking lot? Maybe you and a teammate spin on trainers next to each other. Why? Everyone's gotta race together, why can't everyone warm up together. We're all cool, and we sure as shit can't carry on a conversation while we're racing.

In summary

I may be a tad bit biased, but I'm going to go right ahead and say it anyway: Best. race. ever.

hot on the trail of the rare new england ice weasel. it's been here, not too long ago. these tracks are fresh.

Late edit: It didn't make the official lost and found. But I got an eggbeater cage sitting on my kitchen counter. Let me know if you're missing one and it's yours, with a rebuild kit. Us eggbeater users gotta stick together, it's a cruel world out there.