I haven't been this nervous before a race...ever. I was really feeling the pressure of 007's promise to make me his hood ornament. I do want to say for the record: I have huge respect for the secret agent, and from now until the end of time, you will never waterboard another negative statement out of me about him or any of his Willkillya kin. Nuff said.
The race was a well oiled machine thanks to Red Butcher, Frog legs, and a host of volunteers. The Black shirts were out in force and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't honored and over joyed to be counted among the Bike Chain Gang brethren. The race was proof that we are not just a bunch of dudes in matching Lycra.
Instead of the normal race re cap I'd like to say a few things about my friends/teammates/assassins:
Big Jim Slade:
No one who has ever ridden a bike, says worse things about themselves than B.J.S. He can't turn, he can't brake, he is slow. I am am stating once and for all, that we will not tolerate any more of that type of talk. Jim is stronger than most of the crew, and has learned how to f*^#)_+ race bicycles. He doesn't get the typical aggressive pre-race hate symptoms. He is a contender in any race in his class. You want a sport trophy? You gotta pass him. Plus it's no small thing to say he is the nicest, most generous guy ever. He would give you the expensive, only available in Europe, for team issue, shirt right off his back.
He handles better than me. He corners better than me. He is funnier than everyone, but that's not the coolest thing about the Mackerel. He is the happiest racer ever. He will talk to you like you are sitting in your living room, during a race. He laughs when he is on climbs. If you get passed him, he will talk to you (and make you laugh) as you go by. He can ride once a week and still ride well. He can put in a few training weeks and take your lunch money. In any form, in shape, outta shape, he is always happy and funny. He will always be a better bike handler than me, no matter how much I ride.
The dude has a life and job (which we can't divulge due to National Security laws) that would make a good book. He is strong as a couple Wakulla pit bulls, only way more determined and meaner. I really don't know him that well, but from the first time I met him at a Bump and Grind race, I knew he was a bad ass. I would like to hoist a few beers with him some time, and maybe ride with him in a non race scenario. He hunted me down like a dog during the race. He says (in his blog) that I was on a "Sunday stroll" but I was running like a sorority girl in a slasher flick. If he had his own bike, and a few more pre race laps, it would have been different. I am not being conciliatory, it's just a fact. Bury the hatchet bro, I would like to have some bladder control the next time I see you.
What can I say about the big man (that will not send Juancho into a homoerotic, grand mal seizure)? Well lets keep it narrowed to race knowledge. If you want to know where the lines are for anything, road or MTB, follow Worm. A smarter cyclist does not exist. For the whole first lap, knowing how nervous and worked up I was, he coached me through all the lines, climbs, and single track. Once he got me through the stuff I was worried about, he let me by. Red Bug beats the crap out of his unhappy ankle, and I don't think his heart was ever in this race. He has kicked my ass for ten years straight on that trail. The only explanation for him not kicking sand in my face, was that he just didn't have his heart in it. He had a tough day and finally flatted. Had the laps gone clockwise? It would have been a whole different bottle of chain lube.
I would like to say a few words about Red Butcher and Frog Legs; Man, when you guys put on your race director hats, you really bring it. Fielding questions while doing twenty things at once? I would have melted down ten minutes after 7A.M.. There would be no B.C. Crew, no uniforms, no anything, if it was not for the diligence and patience you guys show for the cause. I could go on and on (and probably already have) but its a great thing you do for all of us. I know I will look back on this period of my life, sitting in a rocking chair, and I will laugh remembering all the stuff we have done and places we have ridden. I know I have post race euphoria, and I am caught up in the moment, but I would like to thank all the B.C. Crew for letting me be a part of the coolest Crew in town. I am proud to be associated with each and every one of you.
One final note to Mingo: It has been a dream come true watching Lil W.B. and Lil Mingo ride together this past few months. Lil Mingo is a lion and he has the spirit of ten kids. He is a testament to what a great Dad and rider you are. I can never thank you or him enough, for the feeling I get watching our sons ride and race together. Zak and Ice Berg have been great to those kids as well, they look up to you guys as hero's and a better example could not exist.
Congrats to all the people that raced this weekend. I would like to (and could) write pages about everyone in The Black Shirt's, but I narrowed it to my competitors. No disrespect intended.