Monday, March 11

Tour duh Charlotte

There are many stories from this weekend's Tour duh Charlotte.  This is just mine.

Friday night, my plan was to get my shit together for the race, clean the house a little so when The Pie returned on Saturday, it would look less like I hadn't done anything all week, and then relax with a beverage or two.  I wanted to be in bed at 10:00PM, as I knew Saturday would be a long day.

But then the texts started coming.

Nick "Dip and Spray" Barlow needed help marking one of the courses... one of our more clandestine venues.  He didn't want to start until 9:00PM though.  So begrudgingly, I changed out of my pajamas and headed out the door to meet up with Nick and Bill the Thrill Cleveland in the deep, dark woods.

Beer was drank and spilled and course tape half-assedly tied to bramble and twigs.  The ghetto bird did a fly over.  Zac arrived when we're almost done, and by 11:45PM I bounced.  Zac headed home to sort out the scoring system, and Bill and Nick went for more beers.

I was up at 6:00AM Saturday morning.  Breakfast in my face, I rolled over to the Gentle Ginger's, and anxiously waited to see if nobody showed up or a hundred people.  8:45AM and I had to go to the post office (the one I passed on the ride over to the Gentle Ginger's house) to pick up some Backcountry Research prizes that had been Express mailed to me BUT NOT LEFT at my house because I wasn't there... meh.
And back to The Gentle Ginger's to calm down.  A two beer second breakfast did the job.  People started to show up.  Eventually, so did our waivers.  Business started going down.

Over a hundred people, registered party pacers and enthusiastic racers, were on the scene.

The important announcements were made from up on high.

The riders assembled in the street.

photo cred: Nathan Dorante

Lee called for everybody to start, and then the cannon went off.

"We have a cannon?"


Someone's tire blew off.  I ran over, grabbed one of the tubes MAXXIS had supplied us as an awesome sponsor of the event, and with the help of Kangalangamangus, we got him rolling.

And then everyone left, except Joey and I.  We were headed to the second stage to mark our course.  Since it was on a more popular trail that would be seeing heavier traffic on a nice Saturday, we had to wait until the last minute to prep it with course tape.  There were plenty of turns to mark, so I had a certain amount of anxiety.  We got it all done, and with the addition of a couple volunteers to marshal the course, we were well prepared before the arrival of the peleton.

photo cred: Pete Dixon
I got to see the start of the race, and then I had to leave for the next race section.  I had to mark this one myself, but it was a much easier task.  A little bit of nervous running around the woods, and everybody showed up right on time (which was ahead of time).  I got to play the role of cat herder and loud mouth promoter on this one.  Out of my zone, but whatever.

photo cred: Amy Louise Lang
I finally got to watch a stage.  I also realized that people were having a great time and that things were going way smooth.  The Faster Mustache crew was actually getting the job done and everybody was all smiles... well until a guy went over the bars and face first into a nasty creek on the way out of the woods.

And then more smiling.

We were now on the way to the beer/Fuel Pizza at the Spoke Easy.  I was able to help Zac, Gwyn, and Brian with the sagging of the slower riders.  We had two riders way off the back... as in, "We didn't really know what we were getting into, and she's only been riding for a couple of weeks."

Calls were made and a shuttle back to the Gentle Ginger's house was arranged from the beer/Fuel Pizza.  We were looking good rolling to the Spoke Easy.

photo cred: Aaron Chamberlain
But then we found someone I've known for years on the side of the road with a flat and a wee bit of a bonk.  Zac took our flagging riders forward while the rest of us stayed back.  MAXXIS tube, some Genuine Innovations to avoid an even more prolonged pumping, and we were off... albeit a bit slowly.

We were the last ones in at the beer/Fuel Pizza.  Since I was a wee bit peckish, I went straight for the beer and then pizza.  Sadly, the pizza had been wolfed down save for one pie that was going to the next stop to feed the volunteers that had to skip lunch to prepare stage 4.  I begged for a slice and was rewarded.  One more beer and it was time to start herding the cats again.

photo cred: Pete Dixon
 The cats weren't too anxious to get rolling.

photo cred: Amy Loise Lang
Everybody headed out, save for Joey and I.  We did a quick pedal swap so he could finish the day on the pink lemonade cargo machine.  Somehow he and I managed to beat the peleton to the cemetery where the road criterium would go down.  Kurt had it all ready to go, and fifteen minutes and two laps later, the racing was over.

We still had some miles to cover between there and home, and one more rider started to fall off the back.  Brian and I took turns pushing and shoving him up the climbs and before we knew it, we were back in the hood.

Just a few blocks away from the finish, I saw Merrill pushing her bike on the side of the road with a lone companion.  She had flatted, and I told her we could fix it super quick and get her rolling again.  Three people and some CO2 can do wonders, and we were rolling sweet back to the finish until...

The spent CO2 flew outta her pocket.  She looked back, duder looked back, I did some strange cyclocross dismount/ground scoop and before I could get back on my bike and look forward, I heard it.  Duder was still looking back and Merrill had come to a complete stop.  He ran into the back of her and they were both rolling around on the pavement when I finally looked up.  They were both OK, aside from some scrapes and bumps, so we finished out the last two blocks of the ride event free.

From there, it was New Belgium beer, awards, food, cornhole, Terrapin beer, fire, prizes, and so much positive feedback from everybody it was humbling yet heart warming.  The Faster Mustache crew pulled it off, and everything was just incredible... (probably almost everything).
Huge props to Brian Conroy and my Double D partner Jana Morris for taking top spots on the podium and getting custom hardware (trophies by Zac).

photo cred: Lee Flythe
Months of planning paid off.  I won't go into the details, but as much as this was a huge team effort, I was always worried.  I have so much more respect for promoters now.  Being concerned for people's safety and happiness is an all-day gray cloud hanging over your head, and you're just waiting for the skies to open up and dump or to clear away and provide some sun to bask in.

We basked.  I am so proud of this team of individuals... seriously.

A huge thanks to everybody that made it happen, Mustaches and friends of Stache.  A bigger thanks to everybody that came out to play with us.  Well over a hundred people took to the streets having only a small clue as to what they were in for.  We appreciate that you took a chance and made this FIRST YEAR event a huge, overwhelming, glorious, awesome success.

I woke up Sunday morning hungover, dehydrated, and starving... and with this surprise:


Since the Tour de Burg has already taken the "Viva le Tour" chant, I will only say this:

"Vive le Duh!!"


Jon Danger said...

If I don't remember drunkenly putting a triathlete sticker on your bike then does it still count?

dicky said...


Blair said...


WV: 295 rybeaum

Jon Danger said...

That Gentle Ginger bastard made me do it.