Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lights, Action (no camera)...

Wednesday nights are usually reserved for you know what, but this week the choice was made to do some night racing at the Riverfront permaCXcourse
Pirate cXc races are always a blast, and there are usually some kind of shenanigans to partake in. Dirty Crits #4, Series Championships was a little bit on the tame side of norm (for Pirate races anyway); however, it was far from you're ordinary old Cyclocross event, but rather a night race with flavor.
Results in the making...
The Pirate crew had been getting things tuned-up and ready for this event for weeks. We'd been working with Ethos Racing and Shawnee Parks to design and build the areas only year-round, open to the public Cyclocross course. Last nights race was the first big event held on the newest and hopefully 'keeper' loop, consisting of grassy turns, barriers, run-ups in deep sand, heart-stopping descents, sand pits and good times.  Pirate cXc brought a few additions for this one-night-only event, including but not limited to; a Teeter-totter short-cut, Ladder Bridge Short-Cut, Bonus Time for stopping to grab a mystery puzzle piece out of an illuminated jack-o-lantern or shooting down a cup of Goldfish Crackers. It doesn't always pay to be fast, but if you use a solid strategy mixing speed with time bonus' and short-cuts, you might take home the bacon. Most of these options require A+ bike handling skills to get on the podium...and walk away unscathed.
Time Clock and Goldfish Shots
Hords of folks started pulling into the gravel parking area with Cyclocross and Mountain bikes alike, ready to rumble. Racers checked-in, received a sweet 'Dirty Crits' Spoke card, and prepped for racing. There was an 'A' race of about 12 miles and a 'B' race of about 9.5. It was getting cold and pitch-black dark. It's time to race.
The A group takes off from under the Start/Finish banner. Flash gets the hole-shot into the first series of turns when The Manimal breaks tradition and hits the Teeter-totter short-cut, gaining a solid 8-10 seconds on the lead group as everybody let out an audible 'OOOOOOHHHHH!!!'. We knew from the crowd reaction that someone just got schooled. Onto the Second short-cut, the Ladder Bridge and yet again The Manimal conquers and gains another few seconds on the lead group. After this everyone disappeared into the new section of 'wide singletrack' into the woods and on around the South end of the loop.
After a series of steep descents and climb-outs, the leaders were nearing an area were Pirate cXc had set-up a mini table-top jump and a kicker, to which Handleballs serviced Dukes of Hazard style, catching more air than Michael Jordan. Captain Cuntwat also took flight: we never knew those 4.5" tires could even leave the ground.
Beyond the kicker, riders would encounter the off camber sand pit, the Spiral of Doom and then a half mile of grassy turn-n-burn terrain. It was a sight to behold, all of the lights flowing across the fields at night like giant firefly's. Soon the lead group was nearing the finish of lap 1, and the barriers which were dispatched with ease by everyone in varied bunny-hop or running styles. First through the start/finish was T-Donn with a sub-ten-minute lap time.
The next three/four laps were similar, with cheering and heckling coming out of my every breath. There were some solid riders getting on it, rolling fast through the gate with that eye-of-the-tiger look; blazing. 
I think it was the third lap when Farmer and The Manimal, who'd been fighting the entire race for 3rd and 4th position, came upon the barriers like Chuck Norris' fist to an enemy. How they'd been sending this obstacle at top speed blew my mind, and on this lap blew Farmer to pieces. He ate major shit over the second barrier and lay in a crumpled pile on the ground next to his bike; rear wheel detached. I knew he was hurt pretty good when I saw him try to stand-up, only to return to the cold earth for more rest. I thought it was going to be really bad. 
Captain Cuntwat, who DNF'd due to lack of PSI in his fatties, returned to the grandstand and we helped Farmer to his feet, handed him his bike as a crutch and sent him home for some beauty sleep. Hope you're O.K. bro, that was a harsh crash to witness.
Time whizzed by and folks are flying in on their last lap. I did my best to get finish times written down for those who seemed to care; there was a trophy and prizes to be had, and kick-ass ones at that. A few of the ultimate Strava queens poofed from the finish into oblivion, only to have their awards kept by yours truly. Thanks!
Everyone made it into the finish within about 15 minutes of each other. It was getting cold, I was cold, everyone was cold; time for awards!
T-Donn, The Silent Killer and Handleballs - Top Dogs of the night/series
We regrouped in the parking lot. Some poor math was done, times and places calculated with accuracy not to be outdone by a half dozen elementary school kids. Beer was flowing, the stars were out and the top dogs took a little something home; be it a sixer of Guinness, a Taddihogg Cycling Hat, a BikeSource gift card or the coveted Unicorn & Fairy Series Championship Trophy. New friends were made, enemy's too and a grand night of racing was had by all. 
If you missed out, you truly missed out. There might be a next time, but for now... I am going to ride my bike in the woods for a long while. 

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