Since my last post was at the start of MSG 2008, It's only fitting I bookend it with another. This has probably been my worst cross season as far as results, but the most fun in the five years I've been doing it. I've done 17 races since October 5th and everyone of them has been a blast. Of course all of the mechanicals haven't been a blast, but after about the fifth one in a row, I quit whining and decided I must need a lesson in humility. One benefit to doing that many races in two months is the weight loss. I thought I had gained weight but venturing on to the scale last night I was surprised to find I am 4lbs lighter than two months ago! Still got that inner tube although it is smaller, at 47 I'm thinking it's always going to be there, so I've quit worrying about it.
There have been several highlights to this season thus far:
the USGP in Loiusville, the UCI race in Hendersonville, having a good group of folks to travel with, but the biggest and brightest highlight has been MSG. Especially the last Three races. I must say being a race organizer for this many races is very daunting at times and can wear you down, but halfway through it became very special to me. Especially since this may be my last year organizing the event. The best thing about it is seeing it all come to life on race day. Arriving early in the morning just as the sun is coming up, cold air, hot coffee, the camaraderie, the work, all make it really special. Over the course of a few hours the open fields and wooded hills become decorated with brightly colored course tape and sponsor's banners, all whipping in the wind like the parade ground of a medieval tournament. It's like a sleeping dragon that slowly appears from the ground to lay in wait for the first group of riders to jump on it's back and snake around it lap after lap. People start to trickle in and music starts to echo around the park and all is spontaneity, tension and energy, as the start line is populated with the first group to race. The races start and all to soon are over. Slowly, people trickle away until all is left is the dragon. Slowly coming down, once again the dragon fades into the mist to return another day. Designing courses, and the bringing it into realty has been very rewarding to me, and not to toot my own horn, I think I've enjoyed the MSG courses as good as any others I've raced on.
The final race was a blast and I'm sorry everyone who went to nationals missed it. The course included the infamous run up dubbed this year the "Redline Run up". This was the place to be as rider after rider struggled to gain the summit while being cheered on by the crowd at the top. By the time the Pro 1/2 race rolled through things were getting pretty rowdy as someone thought it would be a good idea(Kris Bedsaul?) to put dollar bills on the run-up. It was amazing to see the acrobatics involved in coming into the run up, trying to carry as much speed as possible, dismount, shoulder the bike, and pick up dollars all while running up a 25% grade! As if that wasn't enough, the challenge went up to see who could ride the run up and Santa of all people was up to the challenge! He Rode it at least four times that I can remember almost from a dead stop. Each time he made it the cheers went up and the bells rang. Other prizes were to be had by the end of the single speed-juniors race. The festivus tree was decorated with MSG socks for those showing great feats of strength to grab when gaining the top of the hill.
After the last race we all gathered in the pavilion for Nave burgers and dawgs, the awarding of prizes and the Uber Raffle. The Uber Raffle included, a certificate for a complete Chris King Wheelset, a Redline Conquest Pro Frame, an Alpha Q Cross fork, along with a bazillion other prizes totaling almost $3000.00 in retail value! This had to be the biggest give away we have ever had in five years of MSG. Thanks of course to our generous Uber Sponsors and to MSG founder Eric Wondergem who did most of the work gaining sponsorship from such quality companies. It's over now, at least for 9 months when hopefully another MSG series will be born and continue the tradition that was started by Eric five years ago. This was our greatest attended series yet with 693 entries! Thanks Eric for bringing the best of all the disciplines of cycling to the Tri Cities, thanks to all of the volunteers, thanks to Bart "Big Neckid" Nave for the excellent photography, and thanks to TCRC for whole heartedly getting behind the craziness! Thanks to everyone who raced and made this the biggest and best year so far! MORE COW BELL!!!