Thursday, October 31

The Back Yard Experience

The Back Yard Experience happened.  It would not have, but for the massive behind the scenes efforts of many upstanding Faster Mustaches.  More than I want to bother naming one by one, but I am personally not of those worthy to be named.  Leading up to the race, I had many commitments and familial obligations that kept me from meatings and important duties.  I was a slacker.  I did what I could day of, no more.  Through their combined powers, they managed to put on a first time ever on the Back Yard Trails event that has set a certain standard for any event that may follow.

How it went down in my eyes (through Nik Fedele's lens)

I called The Gentle Ginger on my way home from the Wilkes 100k.

"What time do I need to be at Bike Source?"


"Are you shitting me?"

"Well, 7:30 would be fine.  7:00 would be better."

So I got home around 7:00PM, showered, down geared, got my shit together for the next day, and woke back up at 6:00AM.  Out of the house and into the darkness with 18 PBR's on my back... when I rolled into the Bike Source parking lot, it was empty.

Was I being fucked with?

Behind Bike Source?  Yes, there they were.

Set up, breakfast, cut up some Enduro™ stickers, shiver, racers arrive, greetings, meatings, and a rather prompt roll out to the BYT at 10:00AM'ish.  On the way through the Marion Diehl side of the trail system, Paul Cunningham (eventual winner) dropped his not-so-Awesomely Strapped load.  I stopped and taught the young man all about the skill of reefing and then we short cutted to where we thought Stage One would start in order to keep up with everyone else.  We also picked up a straggler and a duder with a broken chain.  It all worked out for the best.

Here's where things got interesting.  Each of the five stages had a designated coordinator.  There was a certain matter of trust that all would just work out smoothly without one lead dictator/promoter.  Dip n Spray and I were not needed at the first stage, so we headed over towards the finish to be closer to the start of Stages Two and Three.  I was in charge of Stage Three, and since I wasn't there to mark it the day before, I was a bit nervous.


BYT is an extensive, ever-changing system of trails that have been around longer than I have lived in Charlotte (1996).  A spider web of intersecting trails, old and new... a challenge to mark as a race course.

The shouting came from the woods...

The riders were off course.  How did it happen?  Where were they going?  How many of them? 


Fortunately, it was only the lead pack that went off course.  We found them, got them back on course, and to the finish... but not until after all the other riders had crossed the line.  We decided to nix the Stage One results.

Stage Two got under way, almost smooth.  The lead riders took a left turn where no one would have ever thought someone mighta turned... cost them a few seconds, but mighta stirred some more ill feelings.

Stage Three.  The stage I ended up in charge of, and I was worried.  I was pretty familiar with the course, I didn't have time to inspect it all, Dip n Spray agreed to ride out and check on my concerns, Rocky agreed to handle the scoring, I headed down to the start to give the riders all the instructions I could think of that might make them feel warm and cozy.

Up the very long dirt road, the riders came hauling much asses.

Two laps on my favorite piece of trail in the woods.  The riders were flying.  The waffles were flying. Chris and his Drunk Cyclist crew were lobbing waffles like suppression fire into the peleton.  It was a sight to see.

Two laps, no one got lost, I ended up screwing up the incredibly hard to screw up scoring system slightly, unscrewed my screw up, and then a rider meating.  We were ahead of schedule, Stage One would be repeated after Stage Five.  No one complained.  More people started cracking cold ones, and a certain esprit de corps started to gel.

Stage Four and Five went off without a hitch.  It was awesome to watch.  Somewhere in that time frame, Kurt and I went to Lee's house and raided his fridge of ALL the beer and brought it back to keep things lubricated.  Then it was time for Stage One V.2.

All that were left after a full day of racing.  Attrition brought us down from forty plus riders to these brave few:

photo cred: Mudman
They went of into the woods.  We would be showing up back at Bike Source/Sir Ed's ahead of schedule.  Provisions (beer) had to be acquired.  Dip n Spray,  Kevin, and I loaded up and met the racers as they came back from their looooooooong day in the BYT.

Terrapin beer, Sir Ed's chili... awards by Zac.

And that was the day from my (and Nik's) POV.

All I can offer.  We hope to do it again next year.  Plenty of smiling faces, loads of abraded skin, but my favorite moment captured by Nik?

It was a beautiful day hanging out with friends in the woods.  You shoulda been there... you should be there...

next year.

One more thing.  I'm very proud of my fellow Mustaches and even more proud to be among their numbers.  Two first time events in one year, each unique in scope and awesomeness, and both a huge success.


Eric Gadlage said...

So, a riders meating. Is that similar to a circle jerk?

DRB said...

Nothing says romantic like a shit plant. Eric is quite the ladies' man.

Paul Cunningham said...

Thanks for the reefer 101