Providence Cross Festival: Tales from an Achtervolger

Lined up with Chet Geschickter at Boston's
Lowenbrau criterium back in 1981.  Sunday we
found ourselves in exactly the same position.
Statement of the obvious:  Starting a cyclocross race seeded in the 9th row is like being on the end of a whip.   Based on my number, I started about 90th Sat. and 87th Sunday - last row baby.   And after 45 minutes in the pain cave, I only ended up 75th and 65th on the day respectively.  Not very good really, didn't have the extra gear.  What's the point in racing?  Well, it's a heckuva lot of fun.   More accurately it was haardtrainen, because from my global positioning,  you wouldn't call it 'racing' exactly.    In fact, you would have needed a GPS to locate me relative to the leaders before the first half lap was over.  

After one spanking, back on the grid Sunday, I was contemplating how I was going to weave my way though a forest of tall, lean willowy 45-55 year old greying guys - most of whom I swear look like they ought to be cast in a Cialis commercial - when I realized guy next to me calling my name was my old friend, Chet Geschickter.

I hadn't seen Chet since 1983 or so.   He was one of the best road racers in New England back in my day, now lives outside Boston, has a family, and is racing again.

The uphill grind after the stairs was a killer.  
We were juniors together and shared too many stories to bore you with here.   Whereas I was a petit coureur, Chet was a real gros moteur, good enough to ride in France for awhile with US-Creteil.   Chet could go into the pain cave and stay there till you called him home for supper.  

Now he was on my left on the grid, staddling a just-purchased Specialized cross rig.   We just shrugged and laughed off our back of the pack placement, "just pass as many guys as you can... that's our race"

Halfway though a stop-and-go lap one, Chet came flying by me on a grass section, missing a squirrel by about 2 cm in the process.   Trying to hold his wheel was as hard as it was in 1979, I had to let him go...    He did a great ride, though.  Class.

Richie Fries and his gang of collaborators organized a fantastic weekend, on days of record heat here - about 85 degrees F.   I was very excited to see that my old CCB teammate has become the English announcing voice of preference at UCI races:  Yes, that was Richie's unmistakable voice you heard trumpeting Cav up onto the podium in Copenhagen a few weeks ago.

The circle turns.   As I was on the grid Sunday, I got a warm greeting from Richie's predecessor as the 'voice of cycling' - Dick Ring.   Dick looks as ageless as Dick Clark to me - I swear he hasn't aged one iota in 25 years.  He was there cheering on many, and man-o-man, he knows many!  His public announcing voice may be retired, but his enthusiasm and love of the sport and all those who love it will never retire.  As I a gasped round with the backmarkers, I could hear his voice hollering at us everytime I came by the pits.  It was a few second burst of feel-good nostalgia, a once-a-lap adrenaline bolus that would help dilute a cloud of pain and suffering.
Luke and Jesse Keough going fast around some Tom Stevens whoop-d-doos.
Dick always had an ironclad memory for names and faces, and a soft spot for the local New England riders.  Thanks for the encouragement Dick!  I needed it.


  1. Hi Eddy, nice meeting you in the beer tent. Does this explain your performance? ;-) Please contact me regarding my Spring Classic Series, etc. touriste.routier @ gmail

  2. Eddy,
    Just as my old buddy Billy M. once said "it takes a lot of balls to line up at the start".
    Good for you.
    The "envious" Russian.
    P.S. Those without balls spent time doing this:


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