Monday, June 15, 2015

Big Bear Lake 2x12 Race Report

There are many stories to be shared from the point we entered the park with "you here for that stupid MTB race?" to the local convenience store lady, who stated "you bikers are a pain in my ass" as she walked with a limp, absolutely hilarious! - Peter La Fleur

This year's Big Bear Lake 2x12 (hands down one of our favorite events of the year) will be remembered for the weather. Rained all night — some of it quite heavy and thunderous — and continued on through the first two laps of the race. Even in the woods the alternating bands of heavy rain would penetrate the canopy to tickle your brain with fantasies of home and a warm bath. The danger on the ground was navigating slick rock and root gardens when the going was slow and struggling to see at speed as the standing water and mud on the trail was sheeting straight up into the racers' faces. Often you would find yourself blinking furiously on a downhill vainly attempting to clear eyes in time to notice whatever nasty negotiation was next in the trail before it was too late.

Risk Manager after his final lap

Then the real tragedy struck: the rain !@#$ stopped. The sun came out, the birds started chirping, the masses of blooming mountain laurel blazed in all their glory, the natives stashed their rush-the-nature-gods pitch forks they had been sharpening...and the course turned into a living hell. And by living hell I mean 13 miles of epic peanut butter mud oozing up from the bowels of the 9th Circle to wreak punishment onto the land of mountain bikers.

Sergeant at Arms so muddy he's blurry

The peanut butter scourge was so endowed with major suckage I saw a rider pedaling and going backwards. When you did manage to move forward, it was like riding a Slip 'N Slide. The only time your bike was lined up with the direction you were attempting to go was the transition between one fishtail angle to the other. The trick was to not fight the constant fishtailing but to use the sides of the trail to bring your bike back around. Hit an off camber patch out of line and there was nothing to it but to get up close and personal with a mountain laurel.

That one laurel section on the low side, towards the end, I just walked because my tires just packed up too much. - El Presidente

120 fork setup

For those of you who know this course, you've been waiting for this...the famously uber sketch downhill where those of us with missing brain matter can't wait to scare the living shit out of that roadie who just passed us on the uphill. It's an easy formula: point and shoot the gnarliest line while yelling "ON YOUR LEFT!!!" like a crazed lunatic. The terror they are trying to contain picking their way down this boulder-strewn-nasty-rutted-steep-no-ending-decent blooms magnificently as you thunder past in a rattling freight train of gleeful revenge. 

Rigid 29+ setup

Payback for past shenanigans is a bitch. Staying upright and alive was the only thing on my mind as I uncontrollably slalomed and slid my way to the bottom on the verge of being broken and beaten. Sliding six feet off the high side into the rock garden rut at one point was a very close call.

LOL, by the time I got to this section on my first lap, my glasses were covered in mud and useless. I just took them off and aimed for blurry brown stuff instead of the blurry grey stuff (rocks). - El Presidente

Never have I been so glad to get off my mountain bike. The grins of surviving remained pasted on our faces long into the evening of great music, great local brews, and repeated war stories. Team XXL managed to finish two teams this year and our Scotch Tape Dispenser Class (short story: Clydesdale) boys managed to pull off 3rd place and class-sized-appropriate winners' mugs.

If you don't get the gist of this race from the write up, it f$cking hurt. - Risk Manager

Awesome mugs!

Thanks to our sponsors our mud caked bikes were money. East coast riding means we set things up pretty burly to begin with. Burly with great equipment means equipment failure is rarely an issue. A nice feeling of confidence miles away in the backcountry plowing through mud. #Vassago, #IntenseCycles, #Hayes, #Answer, #CrankBrothers, #ESIgrips, #GAMUT, #theBikeLane, #Thomson

Lastly, the Mayor award — a very special and much coveted Team XXL award — was won for the second year in a row by OTB. What is notable about this win is OTB didn't even stay for the race or the party afterwards — and still won hands down. Per usual, such worthy Mayor-dumb feats are only recounted over beers after a ride. You know where to find us....

I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! - Elderly Twelve Year Old

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