Tuesday, March 28

Triple Dip '23: Beyond Blunderdome

I'm usually five minutes away from my house when I start remembering the things I meant to bring with me but didn't.  I know I have my shoes, helmet, gloves, and socks because I've looked at them and touched them at least six times since the night before.  It's the little things like a hand towel to wipe the anticipated mud off my legs, a rear blinkie to keep me safe on the roads in the morning haze, a Super 8 strap for my top tube that I removed back during Shart Tarck "season..."

Semi-important things, but not enough so that I'm gonna turn the Honda Fit of Rage around, even though I'm gonna be there an hour early.

Normally, the rolling dad joke booze parade known as the Triple Dip rolls out exactly on time, but 9:30 AM comes and goes, and just as the rain starts a few minutes later, we roll out.  Meh.  Scattered rain doesn't feel so scattered when it's right over you.

We ride about seven miles to the first stage.  I'd sorta seen a preview on one of the party pace test rides a month or two ago.  Short gravel climb to flat gravel to bombing down a rutted out section... something in the woods that I didn't see and then right back up the steep, rutted-out portion to where we started.  I wasn't even sure if it would be climbable with a 32X18.  

Line up at the front and there's an e-bike piloted by a guy who can ride it (Keith) to my left and a kid on a Haibike e-bike with a kickstand on my right.  This should be good.

The e-biker to my left gets a jump by going on 2 of a 3 count (rules are a loose concept at the Triple Dip), and I make after him.  I hold my place until we get to the flat section, and then another e-bike (not the kid) and a few geared riders get past me as well.  Flying down the gravel, avoiding ruts, and keeping my elbows out to dissuade anyone from making a risky pass in the shit.  Get to the bottom, ninety degree right turn... I guess we're going to do some single track?


It's essentially a double track roundabout and then we're heading back up the gravel headlong into the traffic of the back of the field.  Time to put the holes in the donuts.


I pour it all out and get back all of the geared riders that has passed me earlier with only the two e-bikes staying too far outta my reach.

Roll about six miles to the next stage, and we're at the Rock Hill Velodrome, home of the Winter Shart Tarck Series.  I listen closely to the directions, because while they're using Sharpied paper plate arrows this year, there's plenty of things that can go wrong at the Triple Dip (as history has shown).  The start is on a flat gravel road, and more than one e-bike and a few geared guys get away.  We come to a construction barrel with an ↑ paper plate taped to it... and the front of the field dives to the right'ish.  Huh?

I'm pretty sure I heard the directions correctly, but the only one out of all the riders that were bunching up and scratching their heads that would go with me was former Faster Mustache teammate Jason.  He gets around me and when we see it, we see it.  There's a → paper plate on the post ahead, and we know we're going the right way.  Just us.  The rest of the entire field was going to miss about a third of the stage.

I get around Jason on a climb, and while we looked like we were last as we rode up through the spectator pit, we were first'esque.  I inform the glorious "promoters" of how things shook our, but since the playing cards had been distributed already, Jason and I were awarded Joker cards (they use a slightly perverted version the now infamous playing card scoring system, Ace = eleven points, face cards down to 10 = ten points, and all other cards their exact value, and yeth, 2nd - 5th all get the same ten points).  I wrongly assume the Joker must be better than an Ace, but will find out later at the final tally it's just one point.  


Someone took a nasty spill right at the start, so we stay in place long enough to drink a beer, fix a flat, and wait until he gets Ubered off to the hospital. 

The extended break means that we might have to have a stage nixed.  That's okay with me.

It's an eight mile haul to the next stage, interrupted by hot dog and beer (and tequila) lunch.

Oh yeah, the sun came out.

Dammit.  I was hoping this stage we're rolling in to (which I've done twice in opposite directions in the past two years) would be the one to get cut.  It's pancake flat with a wide open section for passing, so geared riders usually crush me.  I end up in a decent place on lap one, and in an attempt to foul up the riders behind me, I mebbe did that trick where I hop over the logs that the spectators have placed across the trail, get my back tire on top of them, and drag them forward a foot or two hoping to screw anyone close behind me (member, "rules"). 

I don't lose any places on the second lap, and I'm pretty sure I was second place in the analog bike class.

It's only a couple miles to the final shirts-off stage.  We line up three'ish wide on a tight trail.  The fastest e-bike in the east to my left, someone to my right, and then Ryan with his beer vest full of mostly empties backs it in front of us.  I get the jump this time as soon as I hear the hard "t" in "two," and take an early lead.  Behind me, I hear the e-biker yell, "DICKY, SOMEONE TURNED MY BIKE OFF."


As soon as he could get his bike rebooted (no, he did not want to update to Windows 11), he comes around hard like a hippo jumping out of a lake.  I get to an extremely hard left up some roots with the shortcut blocked by a log and a course marshal standing there.  I forget that the only rule is that rules are dumb, and the geared guy behind me makes the smart play riding over the log bypassing the hairpin while I'm off the bike and running.  Dammit.  He's got a good twenty yards on me before I can get back on, and being that it's only one lap of whatever distance, I give up what little hope I had.

Come into the finish line, "hear one more to go," stop to make sure they're not fucking with me, and dammit, of course they're not.  On this, the longest, most technical, dare I say "mountain bike intense" course, we're doubling up.  It's an honest to gob 25+ minute stage?  I mighta had a chance to bring it back.  Poop.  Finish, I guess, third overall and second analog.

It's a chaotic "party pace" back to the finish.  The points are tallied when we get back to Hobo's, and as cards have been randomly handed out out for various trickery, lack of clothing, bravery, and whatever else seemed worth rewarding, the results are more chaotic than the entire day.

I end up being awarded with the high honor of the "Fastest Man"...

and a handmade trophy I get to keep this time.  For those that are curious, the e-bike rider award went to whoever had the highest battery % at the finish... and no, nobody knew about that ahead of time.

Thankfully, Ryan won the giant trophy that I didn't wanna take back home, I'm assuming because he wore his beer vest on every race stage?

I'm happy for him because I didn't spend all that time making the trophy pretty for myself.

I hope he can add to the "legacy."

Functional replacement DUB cap and a functional Oi bell under the alligator man.

Functional bottle opener courtesy of a former angry single speeder.

Functional chain ring above the hopping peen.

Gawdamm, I love me some Triple Dip.  They've already announced the dates for next year, so on March 29th of next year, why pay good money to go to that "other event" in the Carolinas when you can get bad results and a poorly marked course for free... and hot dogs too? 

The remnants of the group that sat through the entire awards show and all the shitty speeches.

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