A Spooky Good Time

All Hallows eve arrived this year and brought some perfect weather with it. Perfect weather for a cross race and the conculuding day of the Philadelphia Bike Expo. I spent a bit of time at the Expo in the morning hanging out at the Liberty Sports both talking to the morning patrons of the Expo. The Sunday morning crew was different than the Saturday morning crew. I would like to see some sort of analytics on that.

When 11 o’clock struck, some of the Spooky Crossers entered the building looking for other participants, victems, suckers, or racers that would like to join the ride out to Mulicha Hill in the Cobbs Creek section of town.

The assembliage of riders had a good number of fast boys included in the mix with a few others who were just along for the ride. There was also a smattering of outfits, costumes, and other unmentionables that were in use to great the onlookers and gawkers.

The growing pack rode and talked over the 4 miles deep into parts of the city that you often don’t venture to alone. There is no good reason to be in some of these hoods, unless you are from there, and we certainly were not from there.

Our arrival at the race site/cemetary was met with some warnings and directions before we ventured off on a neutral lap that took us around the course and afforded us the lay of the land.

With the cemetary map embedded in my brain, and the prerequisite directions laid out, we were starting to get into race mode. Our first insturuction from the race leader was to place our bikes across the street and come back for more instructions. With the LeMans style set up in place, we were told to lay down at a tombstone one by one. While practicing for the demise of those of us that are mortal, we were asked to think some positive vibes and give a moment of silence for the folks memorialized all around us. And then we were off.

My plan was to follow some of the fast folks that helped design the course. I really did not have the map in my mind, and if I did, it was gone as soon as they said go. I know thinking in those situations is what separates the real athletes from the rest of us, but I know where I stand, and chasing someone down who knows where they are going is going to serve me much better.

The direction that we picked had one quick stop to pick up some candies and then onto the dead end stop. The dead end, no matter how apropos for the cemetary was truly a dead end. The people that I was trailing took the wrong dead end and we ended up going through the woods with thorns everywhere trying to find the next stop on the course. Once this happened, the race was blown wide open. I was not planning on winning, but I wanted to stick with the group and now I was on my own looking for some of the goodies that were out in the cemetery.

I joined onto some  other groups to try to find the goodies hidden so well out there in the grass. Eventually my new group found everything and started to head back to the main grave. Along the way, a wandering ghoul needed some help to find her final few goodies, so sacrificing my middle of the pack finish, I escorted her to the hidden prizes and to her second place woman finish.

Once the race was over and we got all of the riders back from the clutches of the cemetery, the group decided that the day was too nice, and the racing too short to head back to town without a proper cyclocross miss and out race.

The course had some great turns, a bit of grassy area and an oppertunity to go up and over the hobbled together jump/ramp and a great straightaway out of a 90 degree turn that served to be the undoing of some racers.

This was the fastest racing of the day with the heavy hitters of the day off the front after the first few laps. I, in agreement with the “emo viking” decided to race off the back and make sure we went out on the same lap. I am not to be trusted and ended up sprinting him out to stay in. Never make a deal with a man in a leather cat mask.

Thanks to the organizers of this race, and we will be looking forward to it next year.


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