Yesterday was the NYC Jungle Cross race in Forest Park, right on the border of Queens and Brooklyn. The park is pretty big and has a bunch of main arteries running through it, as well as a bunch of hiking trails.
Now that I think about it, I didn’t even check if bicycles were allowed on the trails we were racing. There were a handful of dog walkers and bird watchers out that added an additional element. I mean, it’s called bandit cross for a reason. Anyway, when I showed up around one o’clock we were still taping off the course. With how short the days have become we all knew this would quickly become a race against the sunset. Huge shouts to Shawn from King Kog man, Andrew was leading a group of us out on a viewing lap and I ended up getting dropped by circumstance. (Shouts to young James Macay for doing that branch grooming one time.) When Shawn completed the viewing lap he asked a couple of us to help him mark the course since Andrew was helping people find the starting line/spectating/chillin area.
This was a great chance to take it super slow and try to identify as many of those little variables called rocks! I’m telling you, with all the leafs on the ground it was beautifully deceiving. I’m out here racing on clinchers so I have to be extra cautious to avoid pinch flats.
The course is marked and we’re about to hit our lil 20′ le mans. By this time, the sun is seemingly on it’s decent and I remember thinking, wish I had a dope head light right now. Pero it’s whatever, we’re about to get it poppin.
Oh snap, I forgot to mention everyone went on a practice lap together except for John Shack & “Mario” aka Mtb dude. So we’re out, I grab my bike and dip wide to get a clean line on the immediate climb coming up. Everything goes great, I pretty much got the hole shot, with John, again who’s never rode the course, and I let him have it since the first turn of the race becomes a single track decent and it was on his side of our path. But I knew that was a bad idea, after my experience in the viewing lap all I could think was, “we’re going to make a wrong turn.”
Well that shit didn’t take long! Almost as soon as we start getting to business I just hear a ton of yelling behind me, “Wrong way!!!”
I look back and everyone is taking a left where I just followed John right. No matter how competitive you are, you can’t help but laugh at yourself when something like this happens. If you look at my strava you can see how ridiculous the route I took to get back on course was. I basically rode through a bunch of bushes. Shit was clean though, and no flats, so we good money.
I just went from second place to like tenth or something. Such a gnarly mistake! It’s chill though, I just knew I’d have to put in that work. One of the folks I passed was Young James, I hit him with the, “On your left!” Not realizing he had headphones in, he definitely went left. I lucked out and simply rode through some more bushes, haha. Yo shouts to fellow C6 racer Gio Ramirez and James for racing fixed! Ya beasted fosho.
Maybe halfway through the first lap I was back up in the third position behind Mario the Mtb dude and Shawn was leading us through the course. The starting and finish lines were both on road and that’s obviously were all the spectators were. So as we finished our first lap I pulled a sick hand off and got rid of my wind breaker. CLUTCH. So we made our way up that starting hill again and end up back in the same configuration, Shawn, Mario, and then myself. I knew I was going to pick someone off. I wasn’t sure when or how, but I def knew it would happen. There was a tight section where the course went out on to a road for about 15′ and then hit a pretty steep climb. That climb was the end of Mr Mtb dude. He started to slow and let Shawn create space, that’s going to be a hard, “No” from me fam. I didn’t do all this work to watch somebody skate with the dub unchallenged. So I chase and catch Shawn thinking this is it. Just us two, and he knows the course way better. So I tried to stay as close as possible in hopes that he might be the one to make a mistake. Yeah, right, that shit didn’t happen. My last chance to sneak a win was to jump a log, coming out of the ugly climb, right before the final sprint.
So I went for it, I almost went down as a result of Shawn and I aiming for the same slim exit. There it was, we were both now on the street and had maybe 100m left to put it on the line. A full on sprint ensued. I pushed that 40×18 to it’s fucking limit fam. All I could hear were his gears shifting and kept thinking fuck, Fuck, FUCK!
Like that it was over, so I look up from the sprint with Shawn on my left only to realize there’s a couple walking their dogs on the street right in front of us. I moved to my right as fast as I could but when I turned around all I seen was Shawn’s front wheel wash out and him sliding on his side. No dogs or dog walkers were harmed in the entire process. Turns out he caught a pinch flat somewhere, and as soon as he started braking the front tire lost traction on the asphalt. Sheesh, he was a soldier though. Shawn and I ended up calling it a tie, while the Mtb dude pulled 3rd. Big ups to Young James for first fixed, shredding the gnar.
After the race, the C6 crew headed over to Bowlero to record the newest episode of @cat6Chismes. If you haven’t already peeped Young Pablo’s podcast, got get that here. We recorded this episode last night with him after he just raced his first CX race, NYC Jungle Cross, good times.
ps. Part 2 of my PNW trip is up on my personal website if you haven’t read enough about my life after that recap.