Monday, September 23

Southern Single Speed Championships 2013: Part One

Zac and I left pretty early Saturday morning.  I can't remember why.  I'm not even sure how I talked myself into the car.  I had already decided that if it looked like it was going to rain, I was going to stay home.  Still, Thursday night, there I was loading my shit into a bag regardless of the ominous predictions on  It was going to rain.. a lot.  Still, we left early... too early.

Payne's Creek Campground.  Somehow the geniuses at Faster Mustache Atlanta got access to the park AFTER the campground was closed for the season.  We had the entire place to ourselves.  Unreal situation.  An entire park, ours.

Zac and I rushed to get out hammocks and tarps up before the rain.  We got together a skeleton crew of Kurt, Timmy, Nick, Bill the Thrill, and myself for a pre-lap of the XC and night time trial course.  After a few minutes of riding, it seemed as if the trail system was very conducive to brakeless fixed gear riding, so I stopped using my solitary XTR stopper.  It was ideal.  The brake was coming off as soon as we got back...

At least that was how I felt until my chain flew off on a particularly bumpy descent, and I needed the  brake to keep from flying off into the woods out of control.  I forgot that could even happen.  Brake stays on.

Our short ride over, we waited for the short track race at 3:00PM, the first of three events in the omnium.   That was when the rain came down.  Softly at first, then slightly more monsoon like.  We huddled under an EZ-up.  We killed time occasionally draining the bellowing pockets of rain that collected over our heads.  Someone grabbed a tarp, and we added some real estate to our derelict structure.  Beer was drank and discussions of postponement or perhaps cancellation of the short track race ensued.  That was when head FM ATL cat-herder grabbed his megaphone and essentially told us to sack up.  We were racing, rain or shine.


The heats would all be one lap.  The course went all over the campground, through sand and campsites, over steel obstacles, around fire pits, down stairs... you name it.  Rather gnarly and made gnarlier still by not being able to coast.  This could be très difficile.

Since the women's and fixed gear classes were small, our heats were combined in a manner I didn't quite understand.  Mine was not to reason why but to do or die, so when my number was called, I toed the line.  The only other fixed gear in my first heat was Chris Daily on a brakeless Steamroller with bullhorns.  The experience was surreal.  Rain, mud, sand, obstacles, cheering and jeering crowds... I was leading until we hit a long road section, and then Chris made his move.  It woulda been brilliant as getting around him on the more technical second half of the course would prove difficult.  Fortunately for me, Chris mistimed a steel beam, and went over the bars, allowing me to come by for the win.  We both advanced.

In our second heat, it was Chris and I against two women again.  Knowing how to be a little more strategical this time around, I went off the front and stayed there.  Chris came in second and we advanced to the finals.

Still raining, Chris and I were up against the two riders that came out of their two heats, Nick "Dip and Spray" Barlow on a brakeless Specialized Carve and last year's champion, Mike Gerke on a bike with at least seven bar ends.

Once again, I bolted off the front.  At the first campsite steel barricade, I dismounted and jumped it at speed instead of trying to slow down and bumble fuck over it.  Nick called me a fucker.  From there, I opened up a gap and stuck it out to the line.  First place.  Rain.  Near death experiences.  All in less than ten minutes of racing.  A ride not to be forgotten.

The action over, it was time to soak in the lake, down gear a little and wait until the night time trial... or so I thought.  I grabbed a couple beers and headed over to the boat dock to watch folks jump off the makeshift ramp into the lake on a Pugsley.

"We finally figured out what fat bikes are good for." ~ Kurt Rampton

Sometime thereafter, I was informed that the night time trial was canceled.  I was more upset that I was still wearing my wet chamois and shoes and had only carried two beers down to the dock than I was that we wouldn't be racing after a hard rain and tearing up the trails. A night of drinking was to commence, so nothing ventured and nothing to be gained.

And finally, the skies cleared and the night began.

photo cred: Rage Hruszkewycz
Beers, beers, eat random meat out of a pan with a dirty stick, beers, wander back to the hammock, see the light on in the RV, wander in, finish my beer watching the end of Lincoln Lawyer, figure I'll sleep on the floor, end up in a bed, wake up next to Timmy cotton-mouthed and starving.

Cross country race on the menu today.


Anonymous said...

the nest!!! on on!

Anonymous said...

The Loosenuts Cycles crew represented Atlanta well with the whole pugsley into the lake thing!