In the early to mid 1980’s my mom took my brother and me on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. with her new boyfriend, Gary I think it was, who had bought us both full army camo outfits to wear for the trip. At the time being a kid I thought nothing of it, in fact I’m sure I was excited, because what 10 year old boy isn’t stoked about basically dressing up like a member of G.I. Joe.
Thinking back on it now we must have looked like some wild mini militants from the backwoods of Arkansas running around the Washington monument. It was there just by the Washington monument where the highlight of our trip had taken place. There was a stage set up just at the bottom of a small hill where bands were playing, loudly, the crowd was small yet very punk. I knew nothing of it at the time but clearly remember seeing guys with purple mohawks and girls with shaved heads and it left an impression on me. I often fantasize who was playing there that day, in early 80’s in D.C. it could have been any number of amazing bands.
Washington D.C. to most is simply the nation’s capital, to me it was the birthplace of American punk rock. Now before everyone gets all upset and starts yelling about the Ramones and Iggy and the MC5 lets take a breath, after all this a story about cyclocross not the origin of punk rock in America. In August of 1979 a young Ian Mackaye and Jeff Nelson formed the Teen Idles and started Dischord Records so they could distribute and produce music that they and their friends would make with no influences from corporate record labels. The ethics of Dischord Records paved the way for musicians, artist, writers and yes even cyclocross racers to do things their own way.
This weekend DCCX took over the grounds of Armed Forces retirement home for two days of UCI racing attracting a pool of local and national talent. As fate would have it Cameron Dodge managed to win both days in a sponsor-less all black skinsuit.
If you have been following along this year Mr. Dodge has chosen to do things on his own this season and in a sport that has often been referred to as the punk rock of cycling, Cam is kind of like a young Ian Mackaye on two wheels. He has ignored the offers from some of the sports larger sponsors so that he can race where and when he wants. It’s more than admirable, and as proven time and time again this season the kid can ride a bike.
Both days Dodge found himself in a large group containing riders like Timmerman, Berden, Frederick, Chabanov, Cowie, Werner, Lindine and the beard, Robert Marion.
On both days the group would be thinned out by series of attacks with Lindine, Fredrick and Berden being the biggest animators at the front of the race. Dodge put in a last lap effort on the punchy course that looked almost identical to the day’s before to secure the weekend.
The Women’s field also saw repeat victories from Cassie Maximenko who was tested early in both races by Jena Greaser.
As I walked around course over the weekend taking in the races I saw a bunch of kids and I thought maybe one of them had never seen a race before, had never experienced a full grown man in a wookie costume racing his bike through clouds of dust, maybe they were just there by chance. Maybe that same kid would see Alex Ryan juice a full blown table top over the flyover to the elation of the crowd, leaving a mark on his brain he would later look back at with adoration. Cyclocross can be what you want it to be that is the beauty of this sport, take it seriously, just have fun, come to party, come to meet people, whatever you want. For me cyclocross has become my punk band, my reason to drive around the country, to push myself, to meet new people to create and DCCX was a healthy reminder of why I started all of this in the first place.