The Cyclocross Scene – A Column by Adam McGrath
Adam McGrath has been penning online columns all season long for CXM, and he checked in with his latest right before the big domestic finale – Elite National Championships in Bend, Oregon. Adam was right in the thick of the action for the first half of the race, holding a top-15 place before things started to go awry. He’d go on to finish a respectable 26th, with fast guys all around him. Have an important question only Adam could possibly answer? Just email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll answer the best ones in this very column. Didya miss Adam’s last report about Dancing in the Pain Cave and the Proper Warm-Up? Go back and check it out!
by Adam McGrath
Like it or not, ’cross is a scene. It’s wild, weird and sometimes downright messed up, but man is it beautiful. There’s some thing about doing dumb things in skin tight clothes that makes a group of people meld together into an unrelenting force. Mud, sweat, beer, tubulars and racing breeds a family of wackos that I could not be happier to be a part of.
With all the training behind me and only what I’m rolling on to bring to Nationals, I always find the lead up to the big one a time when my mind wanders through the glory of the season. I’ve often reflected upon my results, good courses, bad days, lack of proper training, but this year has been different – I’ve been in awe at how good the scene is.
I’ll be honest: the reason I moved to Oregon in the first place was the scene. I came to Portland a few times as a Junior and just loved how many people came out to races. Plus the mud didn’t hurt. Then this guy Tonkin let me live with him, that was sweet, and the main reason why was because I raced bikes that are terrible at doing anything but ’cross.
I’m a permanent resident of Oregon now, and that same scene that suckered me in AND took care of me is still going strong. One of the races that took my time after Fort Collins was the Oregon State Championships. It was a great race and an awesome course. I had one of those days where everything meshes and took the W, but that was nowhere near the best part of the day – the heckling. I’ve been working on a dirty mustache lately, and this one lady just yelled “damn that’s one fast mustache ride.” Only in ’cross do you hear such fine sideline commentary.
I’ve also been privileged this year to the world’s best host housing. Names won’t be named, because I don’t want the host to get inundated with too many requests, but we’ll just say the DCCoD [Delaware Cyclocross Coalition of Delaware] is clutch. I’m in awe with host housing, it’s by far one of the coolest elements of cyclocross. People so into it that they want to have you dirty up their garage, eat their food and drive you to races. This season the DCCoD crew took such fine care of me, that I had my best races of the season under their watchful eyes. Plus hosts are often so keen, they’re down to host more than one bike nerd. This can often lead to new and unexpected friendships.
My main “buddy” for this season has been Steve Fisher [ed. Fisher won the thrilling Div 2 Collegiate national title race]. Steve is a wicked funny kid to hang out with. Plus he and I make up the smallest part of the pro race – put together we might well take on Barry or Ryan. But in all honesty, having a buddy on the road makes the season really fun. Training goes smoother, happiness runs higher, and you’ve got someone to share all those wild things you only see when your cruising to bike races, like giant lumberjack statues or hoards of porkers racing into Wal-Mart.
I guess what impresses me most is that somehow we all put on our super hero outfits, go out there to ride in circles until we almost puke, and finish thinking “that was awesome, let’s do it again next week.” This drug has us all, hook, line and sinker, and it has built one hell of a community. With only a few days left until the big race, I can’t wait til Sunday afternoon and all that proper heckling I’ve come to love. If I look like I’m sucking, please feel free to let me know how you think I should be doing.
Adam’s racing and time for these columns is thanks to:
Feedback Sports, Van Dessel, Reynolds, Cat Eye, Fizik, Verge, Giro, Crank Brothers, Lezyne, FSA, TRP, Pearl Izumi Shoes, Stanley, Wheels MFG, Bumble Bar and the DCCOD
Follow Adam’s antics at: newtroncross.wordpress.com
Have you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with our killer print and digital magazine for less than 8 cents a day!