I got it.
It’s about friends. Seeing the old ones, learning more about the new ones, and the potential of adding to your collection every weekend.
That’s it. I wouldn’t go to these races just to race. Wouldn’t be worth the time or expense. Once you’ve done a race and see the people, you want to hang out, experience what everyone else is, get familiar. So you train, glue tires, swap parts, join a team… though that hardly matters. You race hard, bump elbows, sit on, attack, and flop on the ground after the line. You have a beer, exchange some swag, bring some cupcakes and steal someone else’s.
Here’s the latest development…
I had the pleasure of driving up to the Putney West Hill Shop race with two first class NECX hombres, Chip B. and David W. From the outside, you’d never think to put those two together. Chip’s a 45+ mini-van driving stay-at-home dad with a couple of kids living in the suburban sprawl of Needham. Dave’searly 30's guy working "in the biz" and living in a house full of friends. Chip’s conversational and extroverted, Dave’s slightly more soft spoken and reserved. Chip sports a puffy, Dave’s all wool. Chip fights it out in the B master’s fields, Dave’s one of the best local elite racers around. Ok… there is some commonality there... Both Chip’s and Dave’s races feature a lot of carbon wheels, but for different reasons.
I’m really just getting to know these guys this year, though it’s been plain to me for a long while that they are both good people. I jumped at the opportunity to carpool to the race because of the stark differences in outward appearances and lifestyles between the three of us.
Getting to learn about Dave’s NJ upbringing and how he made it to Boston was great: an interesting story told by a guy with a heard of pure gold. Chip lived in Cali for years, and some of the stories he had about people he met and the way life was out there were fascinating.
So three guys with tremendously different backgrounds climb into a van… and the conversation came easily. We covered Noho, Putney, Gloucester. Racing in snow, cold, rain. NBX. PDX. PVD. Tom Stevens courses. Steel and aluminum. Tube construction, skinsuits, food, training, east coast vs. west coast, mint Newman O’s. Kids, soccer, reading. Injuries, work, parents. Training. Fitness. Goals and aspirations. Strategies, victims, results. Texting. The van was full of love for riding… and racing… with a common tie of cycling in general.
I’m never less than amazed about how many really good people I have exposure to every weekend. The one person that I encountered this season that I though to be less than friendly walked straight up to me one week later and formally introduced themselves, started asking about my race, shared their thoughts on a particular line that we were watching people try to ride, and was basically over the top nice.
Thanks to all my friends in NECX, even the ones I haven’t met yet.