Several of us have come to the understanding that we are not out every weekend expecting a podium spot, we are just happy not to get lapped or beat by the junior girls (more about junior girls later). If nothing else our goal is to keep the spirt of ‘cross that drew us to being racing, especially in the worst of conditions. The idea of being competitive has gone the way of the solid rubber tire. It was the party like atmosphere; the beer, the cowbells, people shouting, and the beer hand-up. 30-50 minutes of hell and then hours of drinking beer and yelling at your friends while they race, what could be better than that?
Boulevard Cup is the annual beer filled race of the season, free kegs straight from the brewery. If you don’t leave with at least a buzz you aren’t trying and should sell your bike quit ‘cross. Drink enough and the pain in your legs disappear.
But wouldn’t you know it, there are people out there trying to quash our good time, beer hand-ups for one. They seemed to go out of their way to discourage hand-ups during race roll call, I don’t ever recall hearing the warning before, truth be told I don’t really listen when they are going over the rules, just like I don’t listen to the flight attendants when they are giving the safety lecture before a flight. And I know hand-ups violate both USA Cycling and UCI rules. I understand why they are not allowed, but if you believe for a second that a beer hand-up somehow gives you a competitive advantage I’ve got a bridge to sell you. In fact it’s quite a hindrance, especially a thick full-flavored brew in a cheap paper cup. You end up wearing more of it than you actually get to drink. Cans and bottles work best, they spill less than a cup and store nicely in your jersey pockets. However I feel proper edict is to pull over and enjoy the gift just given to you. If your the type who is willing to take a beer your probably not battling for a podium spot, so who cares.
I was scolded buy someone during my race. I pretended to reach over the tape and grab at a beer my friend was holding while yelling “Where’s my beer?” A few seconds later I hear the following, “There are no hand-ups in ‘cross!” I was flabbergasted, who died and made this guy a race official. I hear all sorts of things yelled at people during a ‘cross race, but I’ve never heard anyone yelling rules.
Quite honestly I don’t really care if I get in trouble or get dq’ed for either taking or giving a beer hand-up. In truth I’d wear it like a badge of honor. “Oh no, please don’t take away my next to last place finish.”
In other beer related news, Spanish scientists have found beer is a better recover drink than water. They believe the carbon dioxide in beer helps quench the thirst more quickly, while beer’s carbohydrates replace calories lost during physical exertion. Bless these people and the excellent work they are doing.
Speaking of getting lectured my teammate Brian got called out too, during the same race no less. He was scolded by a junior girl, who doesn’t look older than 12 or 13. While enthusiastically waving towards a photographer our young racer proclaimed, “If you have time to wave at a camera you aren’t racing hard enough. Try harder!” Ouch! Not only was it a biting comment and true, she said it while passing him, double ouch! Great, trash talking tweens. I’m not above talking trash, I yell all sorts of things during races, however I’m usually too out of breath to be heard or they have blown by me far enough that they couldn’t possibly hear me.
What we lack in athletic we make up for in spirit. We feel it is our sworn duty to keep cyclocross from becoming as dry and dull as road can be. ‘Cross has always been a bit different than most other cycling disciplines, and that is what draws a good many people to it. I know that’s why I was drawn to it, I was hooked after attending my first race. I had a bike and was racing a few weeks after watching that first race. I wasn’t very good, I’ve gotten a bit better and I’m still having fun. Now who has a beer for me?
PS, I hope the cats in Charlotte are kicking some ass. We’ll try and get an update about them posted soon. Good luck guys!!