Monday, September 19

2011 New Belgium Urban Assault Race

Up at 6:00, eat a couple of Honey Stinger Waffles washed down with coffee, out the door at 7:00 to pick up Josh the Wonderboy, and headed back out the door again to the race around 8:00. On the ride over to the venue, The Wonderboy reminded me that he hasn't "raced" since the summer of 2006 (Trans Rockies and Shenandoah). He also hasn't ridden much for fun since then either, so we were going into the race with mild expectations, to say the least. Being that I didn't have much of a chance to research routes because I was too busy using my spare time at Interbike answering bonus time quiz questions and doing word finds, I felt we were not only hampered by a lack of fitness, but a lack of proper planning as well.

We started in the first wave, thanks to an 80% score on the once again ridiculously hard quiz. With our bikes strategically placed and a decent run off the line, we were one of the first few teams on our bikes. As we headed to the first mystery location, it was obvious the top teams were going there first as well.

Upon our arrival, we were handed a couple sticks of beef jerky, and I checked the board for the clue to the second mystery location. It was just a closeup of some teeth on a mosaic skull, something I recognized from uptown Charlotte. Not a problem for someone who knew what the hell it was, but I felt bad for the out-of-towners who were going to have to figure that one out.

Next we headed to the Common Market, where we had to assemble a CLIF bar logo brick puzzle, put in on a saucer sled, and lift it above our heads. The Wonderboy had his shit together, and he worked out the puzzle almost on his own. Once lifted and a nod of success came our way, I told Josh I wanted to head back to the first mystery checkpoint to make sure that there was no bead being handed out and that we only needed the beef jerky. I didn't want to have another PMBAR wooden nickle experience.

Of course I was wrong, and we only needed the meat stick, so it was a waste of valuable time. We then headed out to the Smelly Cat for some time on the Big Wheels. After clearing that obstacle we made the long journey over to Ray's Splash Planet. Due to the cold weather, we didn't have to go down a water slide, but instead I had to hold onto a wheel while Josh the Wonderboy pushed me around like a wheelbarrow. It hurt like hell, but we made short order of it, only slowed down on the course by less apt wheelbarrow crews.

The skull was uptown, and we had to ride through NFL football traffic to get there. I've always noticed that NFL fan/pedestrians never seem to be aware that when they are walking across the road (or just plain IN the road) that they need to watch for moving vehicles. There was some bobbing and weaving going on, but we got to the skull, traded our meat stick for a bead, and moved on to Bike Source. Once there, it was an easy ride on the handlebars of a BMX bike grabbing flags, and the next thing you know, we were rolling to the Mint Museum. At our final stop, The Wonderboy had to use a KEEN boot/innertube slingshot to fire children's sandals at me while I caught them in a bag from a stationary position. The Wonderboy lived up to his name, and he went two for two into the bag.

We headed for the finish line.

Smelling the sweet hint of if not victory, than at least a finish line, in the air, The Wonderboy told me to pick up the pace.

"Might as well make it hurt."

I lifted the pace, I looked back, and The Wonderboy had dropped back. I slowed down, and was told that wasn't what he wanted.

"I meant hurt, like stinging hurt. Not like pain hurt."

We came into Independence Park from the wrong direction, found the finish line, jumped up and down and over and through the final obstacles, and came across the line in fifth place overall... outta 300 (or was it 600?) teams. Not too shabby.

From that point, beer was drank...

photo cred: Cathie Docherty

Shenanigans were had...

photo cred: Lunchbox

More beer drinking...

Impromptu dance parties attended.

photo cred: Lunchbox

And from there, bars were hopped, food was drank, and more beer was disposed of in a proper manner.

The New Belgium Urban Assault was once again a well oiled blitzkrieg of planned fun and unplanned mayhem. Props to those guys pulling this thing off from city to city to city.

Am I in for next year?

I can answer that question better when this headache goes away.

BTW: My second Dirt Rag/Interbike post is up for your pleasure:

Dicky Does Vegas: Part Two

If you missed it...

Dicky Does Vegas: Part one

1 comment:

uglyyeti said...

Winning time was 64 minutes. Hats off to them, but how did they do it? My route was pretty clean and it was roughly 20 miles. Plus 5 checkpoint challenges, in traffic? A 15 minute gap between 1st and 2nd?

I placed top ten in the beer line again - that's all I was really worried about.