The Elite men launch into action © Mark Colton

Adam McGrath is somewhere in that furious mass of Elites racing in the L.A. heat © Mark Colton

Adam McGrath’s back with more tales from the American ’cross roads. And now’s your chance to get his unique perspective on cyclocross, life, apple picking or whatever else you feel the need to ask. Just email your questions to: [email protected] and he’ll answer the best ones in this very column. Didya miss Adam’s musings on awkward Spando moments? Well, you need to rectify that and go back and read it already.

by Adam McGrath

According to the automobile insurance companies, I’m a 22 year-old spawn of the devil only capable of speeding, thinking about sex, dimwitted decision making and driving recklessly. I must admit their wrap is pretty harsh, my pops is a pretty cool guy and I think it’s a little far to claim me as the anti-Christ. But, you know, they’re entitled to their opinion, I guess. One thing they did tend to get right is “dimwitted decision making,” or plain and simple here folks, doing dumb sh@#. The beauty of dumb is that somehow you can always convince a buddy to do something dumb too. It’s vastly more fun, and if two of you are doing it, it’s quickly catapulted itself from stupid to brilliant.

This past weekend was a great reminder that it’s not about the dumb idea, but the buddy you bring along for the ride. In a late day decision in the all-important or completely irrelevant quest to get UCI points, Sean “Boobs” Babcock and I hatched a plan in Wisconsin to fly to LA for Kross-toberfest. This may not sound so stupid; we’re thinking, “Sweet a UCI race that won’t be dominated by the Cyclocrossworld boys.” Well we blatantly forgot that LA is in the desert where it’s about eleventy million degrees and there are some squillion people. Oh, and did I forget to mention LA leaves me feeling like my soul is being sucked through my nose and then trampled by charging rhinos?

So in blatant disregard to how much I don’t like LA, or racing in the heat, or traveling on too many airplanes, a plan was coming together. My bikes were being hauled from Wisco to the race in the Focus van (thanks a bunch, by the way), and we had late Friday flights with early Monday returns to get Boobs back to class. An in and out mission, with much respect to the In-N-Out burger of the land. But we still needed transport. Funding was low, so no big rental car was in the budget. The solution: small car, lots of rope and a few small prayers. Host housing was set up, across town from the airport to make sure we got all there was to offer. Our crazy idea was starting to look like a good one by this point.

But then there is always the racing part. In the almighty quest for call-up supremacy we came away with not a loud bang, but rather a big thud as we both sorta flopped. I walked away with two whole points and Sean with eight – not exactly the glory one hopes for. So, in licking our wounds and realizing our scheme was not so good after all (more than a few other fast guys showed up to the race and road around faster than us. Doh!) we got some salt in the eyes when we had to tie my bike bag on the roof to get it back to the host housing, then follow that up with a 3:30 wake up call to get Sean back for some nursing school.

Alas, what may have been a dumb idea was capped off with moments of brilliance that you only get when you can share them with a friend. Sean and I witnessed a car do a nose wheely, we got in a Nerf gun war with our host family’s kids each taking a few rounds of foam to the dome, and we got to pig out on Vietnamese food. But by far the moment of the trip was getting gas for the rental car at 4:30 am. Boobs had a hankerin’ for a doughnut, so he slammed the petrol station’s finest and dropped me off curbside. After he returned to check himself in, he uttered the finest of poetry: “After that doughnut I feel like I need a shower.”

With parting words like that, our trip was not so stupid after all.

Word Bird,


Adam’s racing and time for these columns is thanks to:

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