Zen and the Art of Cyclocross Racing has not yet been written, but if it had been, Seven’s own Brad Smith and his Drifters team might well be the protagonists. Three friends with a tent and a dream, Brad, Greg Ralich and Tony Fiandaca make an art of showing up, racing hard and having fun. There is a slack grinned style to what they do, an attitude that we think bike racing might just be desperate for. We caught up with the guys for a quick end-of-season update.
Seven: What are the Drifters trying to do? What is your evil plan? What is “drifting?”
Greg: We don’t try to do anything. We just do it. What is it? Tough to say. The indescribable only manifests itself in a singular choice moment. The moment in question is when physics says no, but your body says yes. When you lose your grip, you’re out of control, but you push harder. “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose” …Mariah Carey said that. This is the best way we can describe drifting, and occupying this mindset at every possible opportunity is what makes us The Drifters.
Seven: How is your season going results-wise? Do you care at all about results?
Brad: Results are pretty cool. Scoring points, podiums, upgrades are neat too. Definitely stoked on all of that. We’re more than racing though. The Drifters love a New England gravel grinding session or even just getting out early for a couple good turns. We like to volunteer at races and do cool stuff with our friends. We’re most interested in just getting out there as much as possible and always having a blast on bikes. We’re also super grateful to our few sponsors who believed in supporting a good time.
Greg: Mostly vanity plates, we are just really into good vanity plates.
Seven: Who is the most handsome Drifter?
Tony: Rambo. He’s technically a drifter. The cops call him a drifter a lot in the movie and he absolutely rips that dual sport in the woods. And he’s just like crazy handsome. But, if you’re talking about the most handsome member of the team it’s Me. They call me “Mr. F” (in the first grade classroom where I am a teacher).
Seven: Brad, you ride a Seven. How is it? Fast?
Brad: I’ve got a Seven and Greg rides a bike I built him called a bRad (pronounced: be-RAD) and Tony has at one point in time owned pretty much every bike ever.
This is my 4th season racing cross and just this year I built up the Mudhoney SL and WOW is about all I can say. It makes me feel like a kid. It just feels fast and SO light. My steel bikes are awesome, but they feel a bit more sluggish everyday in comparison. Every time I get on it I just get super excited to rip!
Check out The Drifters here to follow their wacky hi-jinks and see ALL the vanity plates in greater New England.