21, October 2008

Greetings -

This pretty much sums it up for me whenever the question, "Cross Fuickng Rules Atmo" is asked,
even though it's not even a question! The Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team had a very great
road trip weekend to the MAC states and competed at two of our very favorite venues, Grenogue and
Ludwig's Corner. It was the first time all season that the entire roster was in one place in one time.
All of us - Jon from the South, Alie from Boulder, and Justin, Willy, Pookums, Issimo, and myself
from the Northeast. To complete the treat, Alicia and young Fox made the trip with Jon and the
weekend felt equal parts family reunion and back to back UCI races rolled into one. I think 'cross
is about fun and making memories, and despite the fact that the RS 'Cross Team always races at
the front and gives good brand, the single best detail that defines us is the good times we have
when we are together, especially on the road. There's an intangible that comes from mixing 'cross
and the road, and then adding a MAC weekend to the stew. We've been going to these two races
for years now, and they keep growing and getting better. Promoters Tom McDaniels and Drew
Guldalian and all of those who work with them should get major league props for what is for many,
the single best race weekend of the 'cross season.

So what's with the image at the top of the page? Ya' see, long after Saturday's race ended and all
of us were back at the NoTelCo Lodge, dinner plans were vaguely being discussed. Contrary to
what I wanted (a group-ish meal) folks seemed to be leaving in ones and twos as if we were
students at some school and off to the cafeteria we'd traipse in pairs etcetera. I was the last to be
ready, and - alas, all were missing. It was a strange and unique feeling being left upstairs and it did
play tricks with my head just a wee bit. No matter. I stored it away and walked across the road to
the restaurant where the riders would be dining. There was a big table and all 8-9 were there
No one had ordered, so I felt okay that I didn't miss anything.

Orders were placed, 22 ounce Sam Adams were thrown back, meals were eaten, and there were
no awkward moments as a result of folks leaving me to be last to leave for the restaurant. Within a
minute or two of possible dessert decision making, a slight shift occurred. To my right, Pookums -
who seemed to be duly uncomfortable in his seat and who had been a tad fidgety that evening -
made a move to stand up as if to relieve a pair of cramping legs. But it wasn't the day's race effort
that was making him jumpy, it was a box that he and all of the team were hiding under the table
since before I arrived. You see, they arranged a gift for me and when Matt reached for the box and
presented it on behalf of all, I realized why the troops were so self-absorbed just 60-90 minutes
earlier as they all rushed to leave for TGIF's. The upshot of all this was I am the lucky recipient of a
fabulous gift courtesy of my very thoughtul, very caring, and most wonderful team. In true Erwin
Vervecken fashion, I now have my very own fan club jacket just like the Varsity 'cross cats in
Belgium do! Just check me out proudly strutting home after dinner:

It was a very special moment for me to receive this gift. I was completely surprised and then very
pleased to share my emotions and thoughts with my mates. We have a very strong bond that is
shared all year, despite only really spending 4 or so months of it together. As I told them, we are
friends, family, team mates, and co-workers all rolled up in one, and I love each and every one of
them more than I can explain.

So what else about the weekend? For starters, we had a unique (very unique?) experience of
having photographer, RS client, and newest best friend, Irfan Khalil, spend the day following
the team and the race through his REALLY BIG and EXPENSIVE camera! The result? Irfan
singlehandedly captured the very essense of the RS 'Cross Team from the moment each of
us pinned on numbers to the day's end when we chilled out in the parking lot. Someday I will
paste all of his images onto my Flickr page, but until then I encourage you to click through
and have a look at what we look like. Scroll to the page bottom and download the zipped file.
For those too timid to try, here is a small sampling that Irfan culled for his own site. Please note
that if you don't see the images in the zipped file you're missing the best pics atmo!

Speaking of pictures, no self respecting Atmo would do a MAC race weekend report without
a few times to the work of the hardest working shooter in Delaware, a.k.a. Dennis Smith. I have
been following Dens' site for years now and always look forward to seeing what he comes up with.
Here's what I found:
Pook and Jon
Pook and Justin
Pook and his own selfmo
Just Dugan It
Pookums (are you paying DS under the table?)
Guess who...
Not Ben Johnson
Mo Atmo
Kenzermatic for the People
Atmo voting for Wallace
Oval Office

Cool stuff, huh! Thanks, Dennis. We love your pictures and we love the MAC road trips atmo.

But wait! There are other GREAT pictures that I loaded onto the Flickr site. Check these out.
This gallery is almost at its limit and it's only just October! I'll have to start a new one in a week or
so, and when I do I'll highlight some other pals/shooters whose work I, er - collect! A special thanks
to all of you - Dave, Geoff, the other Geoff, Matt, Robert - and names I can't even summon up I'm so
typed out right now, but we are grateful for all the team images we have on the Flickr page.

One last thing re pics: don't forget to check out the work of our own shutterbug, one half of the pair
that is known in Nashville as the Pretty Princesses, our own Issimo's Picasa page is also a trove
of mighty fine pixels. And while you're there, take a side trip to The Amy Blog as well! Nothing
says lovin' like driving up the Site Meter hitcounter atmo. Just do it.

One last mention of pics and then I am DONE. Here's a real gem from the Grenogue event.
Okay, enough said!

Well I have been typing for a while and need to post this, despite having race results to paste
in and news of next week's events. If you made it this far, perhaps check back in 2-3 days and
I'll hope to update.

Thanks for reading.


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