Rules of the Road Rant Part 1

I hate most automobiles and, coincidentally, I hate most cyclists on the road.  “But Drew, this logic makes no sense.”  To the skeptic/critic/questionable-thinker, this logic and apathy is directed specifically to all those who don’t follow the rules of the road.  I must admit, I have rolled through a few stop signs in my day, both on the bike and in a vehicle.  However, I think that if we are all being honest with each other, everyone has rolled through a stop sign at some point.

I’m talking about the people who think they are doing you a favor by giving up their right of way.  Imagine a car making a lefthand turn on a busy road and onto School Street. Simultaneously, a car (or cyclist) is looking to make a lefthand turn out of School Street and onto said busy road.  The moron in the vehicle on the busy road decides to do you a favor and wave the School Street vehicle onto the busy road, therefore relinquishing their right of way. The School St. car (Or bike) is confused. “Should I go? Should I stay? What if a car comes around the right of the moron car?” We’ve all faced this situation and it is invariably frustrating. To the drivers on the busy road, please, don’t do anyone any favors. Follow the rules and life will be much easier for all of us. Stay tuned for part 2 of my rules of the road rant in which I will solve all traffic problems.


Half the year gone already??? Oops.

***I started this post a few weeks ago, but I think this illustrates my initial point**


Today marks the half-way point of 2015.  Unfortunately, the last piece was the in 2014 so I must admit that I am behind in my writing.  However, I have two jobs, two kids, and recently directed a bike race so you can ___(Insert clever expletive phrase here)  .  Let’s recap some racing highlights, talk about some race directing stuff, and then we will see where the writing takes us.

So some stuff has happened.  A lot of great racing since the start of the year.  I was fortunate enough to get pulled into the Capital Area Race Series this year which has featured some great running.  I think the women’s field has seen a particularly great rivalry emerge between Christin Doneski and Heather Mahoney.  A couple of striking results have come from some youngsters.  Addison and Aidan Cox are 12 and 9 years old respectively.  Their dad, Tim Cox, is a phenomenal runner who also coaches the Coe-Brown XC team.  At the SEA 5k back in April (A race I announced), Aidan ran his 5k in 18:03, unofficially setting a national record for his age.  His sister ran her 5k in 18:58.  These two kids are a pair to look for in the coming years as potential national caliber runners.

Per the trend of the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to have worked some event for Loco Running and Loco Cycling.  Their events are always a homerun because the organizational crew comes from a racing background and knows what other racers want.  The Loco gang has directed the “Will run for Beer” series the past few years and this year it ended with a very wet, but well attended, final 5k at the Smuttynose Brewing facility in Hampton, NH.  It is a great facility, just don’t go in a downpour.  I managed to do most of my announcing from underneath a large grain silo, however; others were less fortunate.  I’ve got to plug the Raid Lamoille bike ride as it is one of my favorite events of the year.  The ride starts and finishes in Stowe, VT which is a great town that also provides some challenging riding.  There’s a great after-party as well and if you’re in for 2016, you can join me at the after-after-party at Stowe Cider.  I dropped some dollars at Stowe Cider.  It did not suck.

I worked a cool race in Portland, ME, “Peaks to Portland,” which was a 2.4 mile swim from Peaks Island to Portland.  The following day, I got to work my annual Yarmouth Clamfest gig with Mr. Dick Ring.  It is always a pleasure working with Dick and he is so humble about announcing.  For Dick, announcing is not about him.  His appreciation of the racers and their stories outshines any personal ambition, which I really appreciate.


Let’s talk race directing.  First, I apologize to every race director I never personally thanked after racing.  That was poor form.  The job is taxing at best and can create rifts between family members (not a joke).  My wife is still scornful any time a piece of “Exeter Criterium” mail gets delivered.  Here’s the long and short of it:  The former director of the Exeter Criterium said he couldn’t do it.  One thing lead to another and I found myself taking the race on, with nothing in place, less than two months from race day.  I did it!!!!!  It happened.  We had a great women’s race and there was a story about it on NPR. Maybe I’ll do it again.  Here are a couple of pro-tips:


(1)  Don’t say you will volunteer for a race and then ask for a comped entry.  It defeats the purpose of volunteering.

(2)  If a director says: “Hey, thanks for coming.”  Your response should include a “thank you” or “Its great that the race is happening.”  A poor response might include the following: “Well, I wasn’t planning on coming, but those guys over there basically forced me to show up.”

(3)  Make sure that you involve Ryan Kelly in your operation in some way, shape, or form.  Thanks for the help Ryan!


Finally………..Cross is coming.  Get ready!


2015???? Just as ___(Insert descriptor here)____ as 2014!

Let’s begin by wrapping up my final race of the year.  The Freeport Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis changed venues and race directors this year.  Matt Raffio and the Northeast Delta Dental folks did a great job with the organization of this year’s edition of the race.  They were a well oiled machine!  What I loved about their race, and here is a tip for your other race directors, was that registration was only open for 1 hour.  Perfect!!!!!  Registration time does not limit the number of runners you will get at a race.  This race had about 500 runners which is a great turnout for December 7th of any year.  I know that runners in general are very fickle.  I can remember when I first got into running I would show up to a race 2 hours early so I could go through my pre-race routine.  However, it makes little sense to ask volunteers to start manning registration 2.5 hours early when the majority of registrants show up in that last hour.  Internet registration makes life wonderful so RDs should certainly think about taking advantage.  The person of the race had to have been the janitor of the school.  Her name was Deb and she was amazing.  She helped out with race set-up, she got me access to the inside of the school so I could use the available power.  Super nice and a super lady.


Some thoughts from 2014.  I’ve been reading different synopses from around the country about top athletes and performers, best race, best director, etc.  I probably should do that but I will come up with some different categories.  I do have to mention that if I was going to pick “Racer of the Year,” I would probably make a case for Adam Myerson.  Adam had a great season on the road seeing the front of just about every big NRC criterium.  4th at Somerville, 2nd at Chris Thater (Day 2), a win at the Exeter Classic……..  When I interviewed him at Exeter his reason for his success…!!  He was having fun training and racing again.  Some other potential cases for racer of the year:  Ben Wolfe, Curtis White, Chad Young, and probably 500 more noteworthy racers.


“Feel good moment of the year”  has to go to the New England Cycling community for raising a dump-truck full of cash/money for Ryan Kelly and his family.  That certainly had to be one of the proudest moments for New England to see people from all walks of life rally around a family in need of support.


“Most overplayed song of the year:”  The Smiths “How Soon is Now.”  Once again with Ryan Kelly involvement, this song was played multiple times for call-ups during The Rapha Super Cross in Gloucester.


“Biggest Scandal of the year:”  Hands down, this award goes to Sam Anderson with the help of Colin Reuter.  This tale, set in the mountains of New Hampshire, helped prove to young kids that math, statistics, and data can still serve a purpose.  Read Colin’s analysis here: REUTER REPORTS.


“Single Day Performance of the Year:”  There are a lot of contenders here, but I really enjoyed watching Arley Kemmerer take on the women’s field at Gloucester only to be bested by a broken-wristed Caroline Mani on the last lap.


“Best potential for a joke:”  Ryan Kelly and Richard Fries talking about wrist-strengthening exercises at Gloucester.


Others???????  Probably.


So 2015, is coming up quick.  Lots of races are already booked and the year is pretty much starting in March.  There are a lot of Fat Bike events happening in January and February so check out for some details.  Registration fees are minimal for the Krempels King of the Road Challenge (  I believe it is currently $30 so take advantage of that deal now if you know you are around on October 17th.  New Year’s Day ride out of Exeter Cycles starts at 9 am.  Be on time or John Gromek will destroy you!

Have a great rest of the Holiday Season and I’ll see you sometime soon.  You’ll recognize me as the guy who looks completely shattered talking into the microphone because I’ll have two kids instead of just one.

The Grateful Dead

This year I have announced over 20 events with a handful remaining in the season.  My last event of the year will be the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis in Freeport, ME on December 7th.  I’m not going to lie, it can be very difficult to summon the motivation to work an 10-hour day for a cyclocross race or a half-marathon.  However, I have no difficulty waking at 5 am every third week of October and working the Krempels King of the Road Challenge in Stratham, NH.

First, it is a wonderfully run event.  Arlon Chaffee of Loco Cycling and Loco Sports has worked for the last four years with Ted King to create a memorable occasion for all participants.  Of course, having the opportunity to ride with professional cyclist Ted King is a thrill especially for the local folks.  Not only do participants get to hang with Ted, but they also get to pal around with the likes of Tim Johnson (CX National Champ), Timmy Duggan (Road National Champ), Lyne Bessette (Paralympic Gold Medalist and one of the best female racers of all-time), Crystal Anthony (CX Worlds Team Member), and Jarrod Shoemaker (2009 ITU Duathlon World Champ).  Even though riders are accompanied by all of the superstars, the event is very intimate with a few hundred people enjoying each others company post-ride.  Fine brews provided by Smuttynose Brewing and food from La Festa Brick and Brew, Dos Amigos, and the Old Salt are a plus as well.

I will continue to advocate for this ride as long as they continue the tradition of the Doc King Adaptive Tour.  For the uninitiated, the Krempels Center (The title beneficiary of the ride) is a non-profit organization that helps people living with brain injury.  With the combined efforts of Northeast Passage, the KKOTRC gives these folks an opportunity to ride/race around an enclosed circuit.  I have had the privilege of announcing this event since its inception in 2011.  As this is going to be a lengthy post, I can sum up this event in one anecdote.  I was announcing the Doc King Adaptive Challenge when the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” came on the playlist.  As the song states, “I will get by.”  One of the adaptive racers, who was watching others race started dancing to the tune and called me over and said, “This is it!  I will get by.”  This gentleman is someone living with a traumatic brain injury and he embodied the attitude of the event.  Positivity and community!  I would encourage all to make room for next year’s event.  It is usually the 3rd week of October, so approximately Oct. 17th of 2015.  Make it happen.

The remainder of October and November was quite busy.  I put a lot of miles on my high performance vehicle.  A new 5k took me out to Keene, NH, the Udder Madness 5k presented by the Keene Sentinel.  This was a small race, but it gave me the opportunity to check out Keene.  The location of the race was at this farm where they had Alpacas roaming around freely.  Alpacas!

Of course, the following day was Orchard Cross in Hampton Falls, NH.  Another record breaking year for Brian Croteau and his team.  That event is looking to rival some of the longstanding races in New England.

I made it up to Castle in the Clouds for a chilly half-marathon.  Race director Robin Allen-Burke got it right and produced a really great event.  Though the weather was cold, there were plenty of whoopie pies for all who finished.

After a short break, I most recently ventured to Cape Elizabeth, Maine for the Maine Track Club Turkey Trot 5k.  This race has been run for 46 years!  An incredible testament to the MTC and the organizing committee.  Last year, this race was by far the coldest race of the year, never reaching a temp above 20 degrees.  Fortunately, winter held off a bit this year and we were basking in 40 degree November weather.  Some things that I really liked about this race.  (1)  It is a 100% non-profit race with all proceeds going to the Wayside Food Program.  The day of the local 5k has begun to wane and we see a lot of races that are for profit.  This is one of those classic 5ks like the ones I remember as a youngster.  No frills, just a great group of people, water, bananas and a race.  (2)  The registration fees are minimal.  20 cakes to get into this race.  Most races are now at least $35, so it is great to see some reasonable fees.  (3)  Turkeys dancing!  Yes.  This is not a typo.  There is a woman who works at this race every year and dresses up in a turkey costume.  I want to be her friend because she is the best turkey costume dancer ever.  Every song, she would dance and make it look good!  If I were to ever go to a costume wedding, I would go as a turkey.  You can intentionally dance like a chicken and it looks great.

This race has a runner limit of 1000.  Next year, I would love to see them reach that limit so if you are hanging out the weekend before Thanksgiving, take the short drive to Cape Elizabeth and participate in this race.  It is a great group and it is for a great cause.

Until next time………

Here are some links associated with the post:

Krempels King of the Road Challenge

Udder Madness 5k

Maine Track Club

Minuteman Road Club CX and an Infinite Playlist

Let’s start by catching up, in detail, on the past few weeks of cyclocross.  After the Midnight Ride of CX on Sept. 24th, I tried desperately to sell my house.  I managed a quick trip to Gloucester for the last two hours of racing and was able to catch up with my good friend and college teammate Arley Kemmerer.  My colleague and personal advice counselor, Ryan Kelly, performed suberbly as co-announcer with Richard Fries.  The following weekend (aka Providence), I was celebrating my grandparents 60th anniversary.  Fast-forward to Oct. 12th.

The Minuteman Road Club (MRC) CX race was held on the Lancaster Fairgrounds, the exact same location as the Midnight Ride.  Though the day began with a temperature of 36 degrees, my spirits and overall being were lifted by the arrival of 1k2GO Coffee Trailer.  What a terrific business model!  Let’s drive around to races and sell coffee-type drinks.  How could they make it any better?  Why don’t we have the most handsome man in New England serve as barista?  I could have sworn there were at least 100 teenage girls following Bobby Bailey into the fairground area.  It was only the presence of the rest of New England CX that dissuaded them from the event and I think they must have turned home with broken hearts.

There was a great deal of strong racing throughout the morning, but the ride of the day certainly had to go to Kate Northcott.  She rode away from the women’s field from the start line, taking the hole-shot and never once looking back.  Coupled with her performance at Midnight Ride, where she really gave Helen Wyman a run for her money, Kate is riding very well.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to race at Gloucester or Providence this year so it is hard to tell where she falls amongst the elite women of the country.  Last season, she finished 41st at Cross Nationals, but I would look to her to put at least a top 25 ride if her form continues this trajectory.  A close second in ride of the day came from Matt Sousa, who raced back to back in the P123 race and the Single-speed race.  He finished just out of the top ten in the P123 and nearly took down Mike Rowell in the SS race.  Sousa threw in a couple of serious attacks against Rowell and animated what is often times a fairly mundane event.

The men’s race was a showdown between Jerome Townsend and Dylan Mcnicholas, with Jerome taking the win in a final sprint to the finish.  Peter Goguen hung with Townsend and Mcnicholas for the first half of the race but didn’t quite have the juice to hang.  Behind, we saw a great use of tactics as Frankie Mccormack brought Brendan Mccormack from about 15th position on Lap 1 to 5th position by lap 3.  Doing all of the work, Frank chased onto the group of Nick Keough and Adam Myerson in a matter of 2 laps.  Upon the catch, Brendan, who had done “zero” work up to that point, launched by Myerson and Keough.  Textbook!!!!!!!   Myerson gave Keough a chance to respond, but seeing that he could not, Myerson fought back on the the wheel of the younger Mccormack and outpaced him for 4th.  The entire day, I was telling everyone that the first rider into the final corner was going to take the sprint.  It was like I should have been hired by the Italian National team to take over for Paolo Bettini.  I was on the last comments of the pro 123 race after correctly predicting sprints between Mcnicholas and Townsend along with Myerson and Mccormack.  Mike Wissell lead Colin Reuter into the finishing circuit and I made sure to let every know that should Wissell be leading at the final turn he would take the sprint over Reuter.  Wissell lead the way into the final turn and Colin took the sprint.  Friggin great Colin!  That call was my bread and butter of the day and Colin Reuter added cumin to my bread and butter.  You have a long-lasting after taste that you just can’t shake.

Now to the infinite playlist…………………There is a place in my mind where a cyclocross playlist exists that flows seamlessly, doesn’t need tending, and appeals to a wide variety of tastes.  This playlist has 16 hours of music.  Enough for two events so that you won’t repeat a song at any given time over the course of those two events.  All of the spectators will leave with a multitude of favorite songs and more importantly they have no songs that they truly dislike.

My playlist is 10.5 hours and it sucks.  If I am being honest with myself, I am a cliche person in a sport so unique it almost seems cliche to not be cliche.  I’ve always been a big retro 80’s fan, throw in some mid to late 90s Metallica and a few songs from the Rocky Soundtrack and I’m good to go.  However, Vince Dicola, The Black Album and A-Ha will only get you so far into a 16 hour playlist.  So now I’m way out of my element and I’ve added songs by Fugazi, Pixies, Husker DU, the list goes on.  The stuff is ok, some of it I like very much, but it certainly isn’t my music (which is fine) but every night when I work on the Infinite Playlist I have a moral dilemma in which I need to cut personal favorites.  Apparently no one likes Foreigner.  My best friend and life-coach, Ryan Kelly, has told me this for many years.  But after a few disparaging tweets (Thank you Paul Boudreau) and some reflection time, I really do think that I may be the only human left on Earth who likes Foreigner.  Either way, its out.  No more Urgent, no more Double Vision.  Do you need a hero?  Well its not gonna be a Juke Box Hero.

Simply put, I need help.  Without Foreigner I’m down to 10 hours 15 minutes and that playlist includes a lot of Ryan’s crappy dance/techno music.  Next on the chopping block are classics like Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus.”  Simply put: I need help.  Will people appreciate Rancid?  Is Pennywise a little bit too much punk?  Ryan and I have tried to solicit playlist ideas from people but have received little response save the guys at Minuteman Road Club.  I’m give the public free reign on determining the playlist for the next CX race.  What are your givens?  What songs must go?  Is “Danger Zone” too cheesy?

The next steps are yours.  Orchard Cross is less than 2 weeks away.  Give me some good feedback and I’ll gladly say your name over the loudspeaker system on Oct. 26th.  Hope to see you there!

Lots of women, a white park and Paul Revere

The past few weeks have been extraordinarily busy with the start of the new school year, working races, trying to sell a house and preparing for a new baby.  It was also my birthday on Sept. 4th.  Don’t worry if you didn’t get anything for me as I am still accepting Paypal donations.

For the third consecutive year I have had the good fortune of being part of the “All Women and One Lucky Guy Half-Marathon” in Newburyport.  It is a unique concept from the masterminds and Loco Races ( in which men enter a raffle to be a part of field comprised entirely of women (and the one man).  The race was held on a glorious September morning, unfortunately, I always have to set up right next to a 10 ft. rock wall that blocks the sun throughout the day.  Everyone else gets sun, while I shiver.  But, the ladies always bring a great energy to the race and are very entertaining at the finish line providing a variety of finishing salutes and dances.  The next big Loco race is coming up this weekend at the Rockfest Half-marathon in Hampton, NH.

The following weekend Ryan Kelly and I joined forces at White Park for a great Cyclocross race coordinated by NHCC and Nick Czerula.  The day started with temps in the 30s and ended in the 70s.  Coffee was a premium and Ryan and I polished off a box-o-joe by noon.  We had reference Sonic the Hedgehog so many times I think Chip Baker was going to lose his mind if we referenced the Green Hill Zone any further.  There were too many incorrect number placements and far too many numbers pinned upside down.  Cat 3 race winner, Case Butler had his number upside down and blamed “some girl” who pinned it for him.  Guess what Case?  You need to get yourself a new girlfriend or mom or sister or whatever because that’s just plain wrong.  Pull it together! Highlights of the day included Mike Rowell’s dominant win the singlespeed contest, some great playlist requests from Mo Bruno Roy while she lead the women’s race, an extraordinary comeback ride from Kip Roberts in the category 3 race and super efforts from both Adam St. Germain (ENGVT) and men’s race winner Mike Wissell (Cuppow).

Finally, I wrapped up a furious few weeks of announcing at the Midnight Ride of CX in Lancaster, MA.  I was located next to Bobby Bailey and the 1k2go coffee trailer.  Let’s rewind:  I’ve been on decaf for the past few months in order to stay relatively healthy for my growing family.  I want to keep my blood pressure in check.  However, I succumbed to the allure of the espresso and the overall handsomeness of Mr. Bailey and bought about 5 coffee drinks.  I felt great until my ride home and then when I mentally crashed I nearly crashed my car on 495.  There was only a few poorly positioned numbers at the race.  Not as many Sonic references though I did break out the NBA Jam, Mario Bros. and Sonic soundboard to add to the announcing experience.  So if you are racing and hear “Razzle Dazzle,” you know we’ve got the soundboard on lockdown.  Ride of the night had to go to Kate Northcott.  She gave Helen Wyman a run for her money in he women’s race and was impressive behind the graceful british swan that is Helen Wyman.  Seriously, Wyman is a powerful lady comparable to a swan.  Her riding style is ridiculously smooth and efficient yet she exudes power.  Its always a treat to watch Helen Wyman race.  Peter Goguen took the win in a crazy P123 men’s race.  All signs pointed to a final sprint between Jerome Townsend and Adam Myerson, but some mishaps on the last lap created an unpredictable final with Goguen taking the win follwed by Todd Bowden.  The biggest news was the growth of the race.  Race director Gary David told me that pre-reg numbers were 100 more than 2013 so kudos to all you cyclocross racers for continuing to help our sport grow.  It was a great kick-off to Holy Week.

I will be back at Lancaster for the Minuteman Cyclocross Race on Oct. 12th.  At the very least, I will be at the Kremples King of the Road Challenge on Oct. 18th.  Hopefully Ryan Kelly will be joining me for the festivities.  Oct. 26th is the annual Orchard Cross at Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls and Ryan and I will be calling the race.

Ryan Kelly is a cheater!!!!!!!

I am sad to inform all of my loyal readers that Ryan Thomas Kelly, my best friend, is a cheater.  You are probably asking yourself, “How” or “Why?”  “I’ve heard other recent accusations of cheating being brandished like a gun at a strip club (I’m not sure if this actually occurs but it seems logical).”  I will tell you……….Ryan Kelly lent me his mountain bike so I could participate in a mountain bike race.  He was, and is, fully aware that I have no business riding on a trail with any object larger than a pebble and yet he was ever so gracious to lend me his steed.  Here is the story with specific details outlining the event:

I pulled into the Stratham Hill parking lot for the Stratham Hill Bike Series filled with anticipation and excitement.  My first mountain bike race!  If you click on the link above you will notice a picture of Ted King and Brian Wilichoski.  Both men are exceptional bike racers, Ted King is as close as you can get to being my best friend without actually being my best friend (I have his phone number), and even though I don’t know Brian at all, I’m going to grant him his wish of becoming my new best friend (Brian I need your phone number).  Anyways, the allure of being able to line up with riders of all abilities is pretty great.  I’m recovering from a prolonged injury so I thought it would be nice to hang with guys and gals that are fast but allow myself to settle into a very leisurely pace as I travel along the road to recovery.

Registration was $20.  A steal if there ever was one!  I asked the promoter about the course being nervous about technical sections.  He said that this course was the favorite ride of his kids who are both under the age of 12.  Excellent!!!!!!

It was pretty much all downhill from there (No mountain bike or enduro pun intended).  I got out on the course to pre-ride and immediately got lost.  I found my way back onto the course and had to ride over roots and rocks and snakes.  I hate snakes.  If I were to move anywhere, I would move to Ireland because there are no snakes.  I digress.  There were these sections of planks that you had to navigate your bike on, maintain balance and ride over little drop-offs.  For the uninitiated picture this:  you have a perfectly smooth trail free of debris of any sort.  Then some moron decided to create an “obstacle” for people to ride over.  Check out exhibit A:  5f7e372e6dbe84eaa5539807c5d28450

I did find this image on the interweb, but I think you get the idea.  After I traversed/walked over the first of these I knew my day was done.

Ryan said he just got these great new tires that don’t flat.  About 3/4 of the way around the course I flatted.  It started raining as I ran the massive bike over the same roots, rocks and more snakes.  I ran for a good 2 miles, washed the bike off and headed home.

Fortunately my good friends at Exeter Cycles only charged me $2.50 for a “tire recharge.”  Still don’t really know what that is nor do I care.  In total I lost $22.50 because Ryan played me for a fool.  I was cheated!  If he was really my best friend he would have talked some sense into me.  “Drew, you suck as a bike handler.  You are worse than me.  You have a child and you will probably die.”  This is what he should have done.  However, in the long run Ryan saved me $1977.50 as I will not be purchasing a mountain bike any time soon.  Therefore, our friendship status will remain the same.  The next time I have any notion of riding in any race deemed “Off-road” I’ll either call Ted King or Brian Wilichoski, my new best friend, and get their advice.

Yarmouth, Jake Hollenbach and Beverly Hills Cop

After a long hiatus, during which time I tried to sell my house, went on a family vacation and destroyed my bike, I finally got a chance to write this most recent update of New England racing…………….


Driving on 95 through Maine is the worst. I would quantify it as being the 2nd worst drive associated with a cycling event with the exception of any race in Pennsylvania. Having not jumped aboard the “EZ pass train,” I had to drop 10 cash/money dollars to and from Yarmouth, ME for the Yarmouth Clamfest. Don’t get me wrong; the event is totally worth the money. But what do those Mainers do with all of that extra income from the York toll? It’s a three-dollar toll! State Parks? Yeah, they’ve got a few, but I dare any reader of this to get off anywhere on 95 and travel 3 miles north. You will likely find roads similar to the surface of the moon. I guess that’s why David Brink, of Cyclemania, chooses to run his race in the picturesque town of Yarmouth rather than nearby Hebron (My first year racing, I dropped out of Auburn Road Race and wandered into Hebron. Do yourself a favor and don’t go!).

In its 34th year, I made my third consecutive trip to the “Clammer.” I love this race for many reasons. The first being that the men and women race simultaneously which gives the circuit race a criterium type of feel. Furthermore, this one of a kind event relies heavily on audience-sponsored primes and the race organization usually pays out money on every lap. Stephanie Wetzel, of the Colavita Women’s team, was the victor in the ladies’ event and won every single sprint. She left the race with a pocket full of money. Stephanie is probably 5’4” but she would have been 7’ tall had she sat on her wallet post-race. It was an unbelievable performance.

Having not seen him for 9.9 laps of the race, Jake Hollenbach put in a late attack to claim victory for the gentlemen. My pick for the win, Sam Rosenholtz, was second and Dick Ring’s pick for the win wasn’t even close. Back to Jake: In the past few years I have seen Jake win a handful of races and you’d be hard pressed to find an individual who is more genuinely excited about racing and winning. He is a super teammate and is always quick to thank his fellow racers, Josh Lehman in particular at Yarmouth.

More importantly, Jake has great taste in music. He’s always good for a few playlist suggestions and he did not disappoint when I spoke with him a few weeks ago. Picture, if you will, a young Eddie Murphy in a smog-filled Detroit. It is the opening scene of Beverly Hills Cop and “Axel Foley” is about to get involved in a high-speed chase with a truck full of cigarettes. The song that is playing in the background…………”The Heat is on” by Eagles band member Glenn Frey. A great racing tune due in large part to the use of the saxophone. Other great racing songs that rely heavily on saxophone usage: “Urgent” by Foreigner, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, and “I want a new drug” by Huey Lewis and The News. Per the suggestion, “The Heat is On” has been added to the playlist just in time for Cyclocross season. Thanks Jake!


Of course, the highlight of Yarmouth is working with Mr. Dick Ring. It is always a pleasure sharing the microphone with Dick. Often times, announcers can find themselves searching for words but Dick always comes up with something new and sensational. I will say I’m glad that I am not paid by the word at Yarmouth or else the trip may not be worth my while.

With just a few more weeks until Cross season is underway, look to the events calendar if you or anyone you know may be interested in procuring the services of the Drew and Ryan Announcing Experience. We are getting pretty well booked for September and October. I’ll be at some running events in September. Help us kick-off holy-week at the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross in Lancaster, MA on Sept. 24th.  Get in touch with us somehow and we will gladly hook you up with a bro-deal on our services.

Raid Lamoille and The Stowe 8 Miler

I managed to coerce the family to Stowe, VT for a weekend full of work.  The plan for the past three months was to drive up Route 89 and make a stop at Hunger Mountain Food Co-op.  Upon arrival, my anticipatory joy turned to dread as we came upon a line of about 100 people.  Little did we know that Fridays are Heady Topper delivery days at Hunger Mtn.  Phew!  We were safe to get some food.  My only previous visit to Hunger Mtn. was in 2004 during my UNH cycling days.  We had wrapped up a race weekend at UVM and we were all pretty much destroyed after racing against Kevin Bouchard-Hall, Mike Barton, and the infamous Mt. Philo road race.  Long story short, food tastes much better after you force yourself to ride up a hill at 25% gradient.  Plus we had a grumpy baby so that didn’t help.  Szeliga family: 0, Bad weekend: 1.

We were treated to a lovely afternoon in downtown Stowe, found a great library book sale, ate some delicious pizza at Pie-casso, and spent a leisurely evening at our B & B.  Szeliga Family: 1, Bad weekend: 1.

Saturday’s work-day didn’t begin until 11 am so we had another opportunity to enjoy what Stowe has to offer.  We stumbled across the Black Cap Cafe.  I’ve always wanted to do a 200 mile bike ride, walk into a bakery and say, “I’ll have one of everything.”  When that day comes, I hope my finish line is the Black Cap Cafe.  Family: 1, Drew: 1, Bad weekend: 1.

Raid Lamoille is the brain-child of Arlon Chaffee.  At its simplest, it is a 60 mile bike ride, with 6000 ft of climbing and has a host of gravel sections.  I met up with Arlon, co-founder of Loco Sports and founder of Loco Cycling, at The Rusty Nail in Stowe.  I got to play some tunes, DJ a bit, give away free gear from Cannondale and Vittoria and sample some cider from the Stowe Cider.  My cycling race partner, Ryan Kelly, and I have had in depth conversations about the future of cycling and bicycle racing in particular.  Having worked at both Raid Rockingham and Raid Lamoille, as well as announcing and working the sponsorship game for the Exeter Criterium, the direction of cycling is very clear.  Both “Raid” rides provided a fun and festive post-ride atmosphere along with a laid back community vibe.  In comparison, the Exeter Criterium, which is my own race, might get a point for bringing a community vibe to cycling.  Following the “Raid,” participants were super friendly and exuded a sense of accomplishment.  Following the crit, participants were grumpy and top finishers demanded their prize money so they could go home.  Cyclocross does well because it combines both the competitive aspects on the road along with the fun and community feel to a ride like Raid Lamoille.  Be prepared to see more rides like Raid Lamoille.

For dinner that night, we went to Ben and Jerry’s.   Everything’s coming up “Szeliga!”

The Stowe 8 Miler is another event organized by Loco Sports.  As an announcer, the thing I love about every Loco race is that there are a minimal number of core sponsors.  They do a great event and the sponsors stay on each year, so I only have to know 5 or 6 different names/companies/etc.  The highlight of the race:  The finish area was barren.  No spectators or participants, just myself, some of the Loco guys, and Dave Camire and Jess Costa of Yankee Timing.  We were nearly at 2 hours past the start, most folks had finished an hour earlier.  An older gentlemen made his way to the finish and I did my usual announcing as he hits the finale.  He immediately finished and came over to me with complementary remarks about the event:  A tribute to the folks at Loco Running.  I asked him: “Was it a tough course.”  His reply, “Every year I get older and a little slower but I always have a great time.”  Family: 2, Szeliga: 2, Bad weekend: 1.