17, September, 2009
Deb and I are settling supremely nicely (sic) thank you very much into our new life as residents of Franklin County, Massachusetts
atmo. The move north has thrown a wrench or five into what was a routine, and I do expect that to continue on through the Fall months.
In the shadow of all that has changed since this past winter, one thing that remains stronger than ever is the sentiment carried by the
Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team that 'Cross Fukcing Rules Atmo. Been there, done that, so get the t shirt - XXX .
Well anyway, we start racing this weekend. Before these emails become full time reports about long weekends, podium places, and
dinners at Outback, this last one before the storm will be dedicated to writings of some of our closest pals. The first text in will be from
Matt Pookums Kraus (with one S...) while the second and third will be from two of the RS 'Cross Team's silent partners. I call these
cats silent partners because, like so many of the commercial sponsors who remain front and center in the news and on the kits, we
also have a small army (more than two, but not enough to get a minyan at the local shul) who also help raise support bar around here
and add to the team's war chest atmo. Public Broadcastings has "Viewers Like You" and we have the, er- "Silent Partners". Their
contributions to our collective efforts are every bit as appreciated and important as our title sponsors and biggest industry suppliers.
Thanks in advance to all of these behind the scenes folks.
Before I get to the texts, a word or three about Pookums. I first met Matt in 2004. At that time, he was former National Champion in
the B category (think Napa, California - the same year Jon Page aced the Elite division for us) who had already risen to the top of
the Elites and was a force to be reckoned with at any venue. Matt and I tried to work together for several years, and the opportunity
finally presented itself in 2007. By that time, Pook was almost an age-graded cat racing against full-timers, some of whom were
15 years his junior. Matt always raced at the front. I remember before we "inked" our deals, he reminded me that, despite his age,
he could confidently race and rub elbows with the big dogs (his term). For the past two seasons, Matt did just that. He got regular
call-ups at the UCI events by dint of his consistant finishes, and capped off last season by getting a second place in the Masters
35-39 age group National Championship. Now in his third year on a red bike, I look forward to seeing Pookums race each weekend
starting this Saturday. His words, as well as those of two from our support system, follow.
From Matt Pookums Kraus (with one S...)
This is my third season with the bestest most cool racing team (club) and my 9th season racing the only sport that REALLY counts.
I'm excited to see the new energy and talent en la famiglia. I had a racing light summer, getting married to Tali in June follwed by an
amazing two week honeybreak in Israel. Since the end of June, I've managed to train well and get in about 6 races. Not as much as
in prior years but fitting considering all that went down.
Between 03 and 08 I have been racing elites, and trying my a** off to get better, faster and improve year to year. I was amazed how
well my body responded to healthy safe training and nabbed some spongeworthy results along the way. However, sometime last season
I began to recognize that I no longer had that extra spark (motivation, will, heart, desire) needed to continue to improve on the top level.
Being able to name the 30 guys in the country who are better than you is an honor in itself. But you can imagine the work it takes to
improve more than them. Much training effort only lets you "keep up with the Joneses." For many seasons this was very motivating, but
at the end of last season, after what I considered a string of frustrating results, I realized that my time as a full time elite was coming to
a close. I was no longer able to close that gap.
Deciding to race in the AARP leagues initially felt like a tough choice for me even though I knew it was the right thing to do. After pouring
myself into the elites for 6 seasons, moving on to Masters racing initially felt like a letdown...like letting go of a dream and getting demoted
to the minors. I began to think about reality, took stock of what I accomplished as an elite and slowly thawed to the idea. But then I remembered
all the fun I used to have throwing punches at the front of the race. I thought about the inner dialogue all athletes face when things are not matching
up with self-expectations. I recognized this step was the right thing to do, and important for me to continue enjoying the sport I love the mostest.
So where does that leave me now? On the best fckuing team ever, racing in the Masters 35+, extremely happy in my life and motivated to nail
down as many podiums as I can. I am looking forward to making my mark on a new field and getting to watch the elites do battle. To me, that
feels like the right place to be and I am looking forward to this season with a wisecracking hungry smile and two eager 37 year old legs.
Oh, did I mention how much fun it will be to be albe to throw punches to the front group again?
From Grant M. (in The Great White North)
Having been a fan and follower of his work for many years, like a lot of you, I've seen the magazine covers, heard the industry accolades,
and encountered the reputation as a passionate individual (...not to mention style icon), so it's truly amazing to me that I now proudly call
Richard Sachs my friend.
Richard's passion for cyclocross is incredible. It's intense. It's illegal is several states I'm quite sure. Let's not kid around here, 'cross is
serious stuff - it feels like life and death kind of stuff. It's the stuff that gives otherwise plain little lives purpose. it helps defines us.It's also
infectious, like some kind of crazy virus that lives in the dirt and grabs hold of you and won't wash off.
For Richard to have this outlet to share his passion with others is a gift for many. The spirit of the team he has built, with it's fun and it's
hard work, the joy and the suffering is a also a gift. To share with the team just a little in that love, and be, in a very small way, part of this
nutty collaboration is a gift from Richard to me. So thanks to you, atmo, and all the team!
From Tom E. (in The Big Apple)
Why do I contribute? It makes no sense, really. I know absolutely nothing about Cyclocross, I hate being cold and wet, and it drives me
nuts when there's even a hint of dirt on any of the 6 road bikes I own. So frankly, I just don't GET it. After all, I'm a New York City boy, born
and raised. I take my life in my hands by riding through traffic, put my collarbones in peril by dodging skateboarders, runners, and bladers in
Central Park (IPODS jammed into their ears) and if I can find the time, I'll ride all the way up to Bear Mountain and back. I've even joined a
racing team! So it's not that the idea of suffering on the bicycle does not resonate with me. I wear my road rash scars as badges of honor
and will happily regale anyone who asks about the surgeries I have endured to repair the damage of slippery roads, unseen potholes, and
that nasty twig that I hit on a rapid descent into Piermont, New York one lovely August afternoon a year or so ago. But that's a different kind
of suffering, and while I dutifully embrace it, I certainly don't SEEK it. So..why do I contribute? I guess it's because I DON'T get it and because
maybe, just maybe, I would LIKE to. I guess it's because I envy those who can find such joy in plowing through muddy fields with complete
abandon and total passion. I guess it's because it's been such a long time since I played in the mud...
Hey Richard - why don't we make one of those three frames I have on order with you a Cyclocross bike? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Thanks to Matt, Grant, Tom, and all who give so much to, and follow, the RS 'Cross Team. Let the racing begin atmo.
Thanks for reading,
Richard Sachs Cycles
No.73, Hastings Pond Road
Warwick, MA 01378 USA
17, September, 2009