Most of me is so ready for the 'cross season (or racing season in general) to be over. I've got 19 races under my belt already with one more coming this weekend. I am tired. It's time to start thinking about winter activities - skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing... Anything but racing my bike ;-).
But there's an almost equally big part of me that is not ready for the season to be over, and that was cemented last weekend at the NBX races - the finals in the New England Verge Series. I have written in previous posts about the fact that I race not just because I like racing my bike (that's almost the least of it), but because I like to hang out with cool people. With the end of the season, I won't see many of those people for several months, and that truly makes me sad.
You see, 'cross, and even road and MTB racers, are a community. As competitive as we are on the bikes, we have that in common, and we look out for each other. Mike and I have been very fortunate this season to get to know so many people so much better. We have cemented friendships with our nemesis' and others - too many to single out here. We have seen each other every weekend all season, sharing in triumph, wallowing in defeat, cheering madly and rehashing the entire experience over beers or as we watch the final race.
Sure, we have cyberspace to keep in touch over the winter, but it's not the same as seeing Gewilli's big orange suit, letting Matt/Mike know where the other is in a race, watching Mark or Jonny or Kevin win again, congratulating Nate on a win and retaking the series lead, heckling Colin (or being heckled BY Colin), lining up and chatting with National and World champions, capturing images of Paul W who is usually on the other side of the camera, or reconnecting with friends from college (university actually ;-)). Heck, the New England women even have thier own official "fan-boy"! There are so many others I haven't mentioned here who also made the season so memorable. As many racers as line up for a 'cross race, we really are a tight-knit community.
Yup - I'm definitely going to miss my extended 'cross family over the winter. It's going to make the start of the race season next year something special to look forward to! In the meantime, this tired body is headed for the couch... ;-)