11/27/2006

I love my own name...

Here is a SSWC05 report from B.A.B.E. This guys are from the Pittsburgh area so that makes them A-ok in my book. I think the best part of the report is when is when I am mentioned, but I am partial to that. Its a good report and I posted it real tiny because Frank is a bit wordy and a way better writer than I am. I ain't gonna let him upstage me on my own page :) Read the report, go to their page, you know the drill. Thanks for the content Mr Frank.

BABE Report, 2005 Single Speed World Championships.
State College, PA
August 20-22, 2005
BABES:
Coach (Scott)
Me (Frank)
Jesus (Keith)
104 cubic feet isn't enough space. 104 cubic feet is not enough space for 3 grown men and their toys for two days. Therefore, a large piece of luggage, 8 cubic feet perhaps, had to be hoisted onto the roof. Many bags of various materials, shapes and sizes, 4 coolers and a cooler buddy, 4 bikes and three tents, Pillows, Jesus, the Coach, and me. We’re ready for anything.
We head West, away from the sunrise, at 11:30AM. An hour after the first beer was cracked. Top open, windows down, music blaring.
Here is the
BABE Report:
So I'm going nowhere without pepperoni and fontinella cheese. And the only place I know to get what I want is the Green Garden Giant Eagle. That's why we head West on a 3 hour East bound trip. Upon arrival, I make a B line for the deli counter where I know they keep the good stuff... Margherita pepperoni. I'm standing there patiently waiting my turn, when the nice young lady ahead of me gets her olive loaf and steps away from the counter, most likely to the Bean isle. I happily step up to the meat display to place my order. The man behind the counter and I lock eyes... for like, 20 seconds. He refused to say a word. Finally I break the silence and say "Are you ready for me?", and he responds "I'm looking at you ain't I?". Well, this isn’t going unchallenged. I jaw a little bit with him, and being a top-notch customer oriented service man, he gives me the attitude. After a few minutes of word jousting, I have my pepperoni, my cheese and a few various other items which will go uneaten, and we’re on our way. At the checkout counter we read the sad tale of a poor death row kitten. We spend $1 for the Weekly World News and head back to the ‘hoe.
From here, it’s pretty much 3 hours of relaxation, music and anticipation for the weekend ahead.
Pee break. Time to stretch the legs and find some lunch. We’re not quite sure how far it is to State College at this point, but we feel it’s pretty close. We walk main street and see nothing. Dart into the Uni-Mart for a quick check of the facilities. Sorry, restrooms for employees only. This forces our lunch decision. It’s gonna have to be close, cause we gotta go. The next place we come upon is a small Italian pizza and pasta shop. Aaahhh out of the heat. Oh correct that, staying in the heat. We knew it was bad when the entire staff was huddling around one oscillating floor fan. Whew! At least they have cold beer and bathrooms, so we’re eating here. A few calzones, a few beers and of course a philly sub(?!?) and we’re out the door. Nice town but it’s time to get on to the show.
We head north, past the brew pub and onto route... what... there was a brew pub in town?!?... where’s the hells our "beer-dar" fellas? Sum-bitch, we plum missed driving right past that. Oh well, we’ll get’er next time.
About 45 minutes later we’re pulling into Mt. Nittany Wheelworks for registration. Although not until after we see about 5 Jaguars, 4 BMW’s and 3 Saab’s... all dented... and rusted. Mmmmm, let’s ride this town on bikes boys.
Anyway, I get out of the vehicle with a beer in hand and of course I’m greeted by a parking lot full of... um... well, let me quote the coach... "frightfully fit people". Isn’t this the single speed worlds? Ain’t I supposed to be seeing beers... and beer guts? Well, this is certainly interesting, but never mind, we stroll up to the registration tent. We quickly sign up, get our SSWC05 beer mugs and socks and head into the shop. Nice shop. The people here are top notch. Friendly and smiling faces. We get some advice on where to camp and head back into the ‘hoe for a trip up the hill.
We follow the directions and, without a single error or turn-around, 5 miles later we’re into the Rothrock State Forest. Uh oh. Those are some damn big rocks. And this is a mighty long hill. We’re in for some fun.
We head up the road, kicking gravel and dust up in our wake, looking for someplace to camp.
After a few miles we follow the Seven van up an off shoot road. This leads to a radio tower... or make that 3 radio towers and a cell phone tower. We look around for a minute and I’m pretty much having none of this place so we head back to the car only to be confronted with two of the creepiest men I’ve ever seen, and with the largest foreheads imaginable on a human body (insert inbred Deliverance music here). We quickly high tail it back to the Tahoe and head deeper into the forest. Another two miles go by and things are starting to look up. Less cars around, some nice vistas and... uh, oh, more frightfully fit people. Not a beer in hand among ‘em. They’re pre-riding the course for tomorrow’s race. Oh brother!
We continue into the forest.
At the bottom of the next valley, Jesus points left up the hill and off we go. Another few miles in and we top out. This is starting to look promising. I had a vision of being on top. Not much farther up the road and we see an opening on the left, so we pull in. Out of the car and we quickly see other tents up by the road. We head to the back and see a trail. Ba-da bingo! We found a camp site. A beautiful camp site. A camp site I might dream about. This is home. We’re 6 miles into the forest.
Camp goes up quickly. Beers are consumed and leaves are raked. Man this feels good.
Camp
Plan: Go back into town for a few hours of socializing and be back to camp by 9:30PM. Cook up some pasta to "carbo-load" for the race, sit around the camp site and have a few brews. Perfect.
We leave for town around 7:30PM. Not being one to pull up right to the bar, we park just outside of downtown. As we’re unloading the bikes, I look over and see a girl. A girl with a fixed gear bicycle. She’s just sort of standing there. I say something about a "fixie" and she’s heading our way. "I just drank a shot" was the first thing we heard. She was in a scavenger bike race and the last stop she had to do a shot. "How YOU doing?" Her name is Laura and she’s moving to Pittsburgh the next day. I’m thinking I’d like to give her a taste of Pittsburgh tonight, but we have some riding to do. Small world. She tells us how to get to Zeno’s and where to find the fixed gear scavenger hunt after-party in town. Nice girl.
We ride a few short blocks to the bar. It’s down the steps into quiet, beer drinkers heaven. Nice pub. Great beers. Victory Hop Devil on hand pump cask and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA’s to boot. Sweet. We’ve not yet put our butts on a seat and the girl in the corner cry’s out "Singlespeeders right?". Uuuh... why yes!
A few hours go by. Peter, a fine Mt. Nittany Wheelworks employee stops by our table and gives us the run down on tomorrows course. The description sounds like it’s being delivered by a cross between John Madden and Emeril, with all the "POW", "BANG" and flailing hand motions.
The band starts setting up and it’s time to get back on the bikes. We head out into a soft gentle rain. Quick ride one block over and we’re at Tony’s Big Easy, the martini bar where the SSWC05 late registration is taking place. We stroll in, see some friendly familiar faces and commence to socializing. It’s a nice place. A big place and filled up pretty good with singlespeeders. Frightfully fit singlespeeders. After a while we find the quieter bar in the back through the hallway. We’ decide this is our speed. After a few quite moments, a full strutting blonde woman comes walking into the bar. Someone asks her if she’s in for the bike ride tomorrow, and with all the indignation she can muster, she squawks "Hell no... I’m a figure skater!!!" Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus, did she just say what I think she said? My neck audibly cracks from turning so quickly. Well, she decides she wants to talk to some singlespeeders and she saddles up beside us. I’m not 60 seconds into a conversation with her and she mutters "I don’t know why men don’t ever ask me out on a second date.". At this point, I’m kind of wondering why any man has ever asked her out on a first date. In 40+ years of living, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apparently fresh young woman expire so quickly. In the words of the coach, "I think she startin’ to turrrrrrn".
Jesus walks beside me.
Enough is enough at Tony’s, we decide we need to find out where the fixed gear scavenger hunt after party is. Jesus, who was walking beside me, is pretty sure he remembers Laura’s directions. Jeff Worthy, who’s pretty sure he knows his way around town, decides to come along. We start working our way through town when we come upon Maurice, Thanita and Michael Browne from Dirt Rag. We stop to chat a few minutes. It’s a little fuzzy what happens next as I see a group of people skipping/running down the alleyway sending sparks from their shoes. It’s Sov from Surly and a bunch of other wing nuts. They continue on their way. When I turn around I see Jeff lip locked with Thanita. That doesn’t look quite right, but it ends after 30 seconds or so and the Dirt Rag crew continues weaving down the alleyway. No harm done here.
Suddenly, Jeff points up the road and we start off again. We get lost. Pretty damn quick too, I might add. Eventually, we do find the party spot, the old party spot. A few fixies on the lawn, but, this place is done. It’s 12:30AM. The night, at this point, is every so slightly off schedule. It then proceeds to get lot of schedule.
We decide it’s time for Zeno’s again. We head back into town. Only this time, Zeon’s is packed, there’s a loud band (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and they’re charging a cover. Coach slaps down a twenty and we’re in. Jesus, who was walking beside me, looks at me with the "what the hell are we doing here?" look. I feel the same. I squeeze and rub through a few people and we’re in the pool table/foosball room (this is a college town). Within seconds I’m being asked if I’m really "Vernon" and if I really work for East Providence Township. I mutter something about laying asphalt and Jesus and I decide it’s time to go. Just as we make about a half a step, here comes the coach with three beers around his grimy claws. With his middle finger 2 knuckles deep into the center beer. It turns out, unfortunately, that one was mine. I get at downing it. A few minutes later, a nice young lady walks by, stops in front of the coach and says "so who got the finger beer?". Coach points to me and says "he did". She shakes her head and walks off. Kinda made me wonder if she knew something I don’t know. It’s time to go.
We climb out of the dungeon and back on the streets. The gentle rain is done. We ride uneventfully back to the ‘hoe.
We go three blocks and it’s time for food. Into Perkins for food. Lots of food. A "Terrific Twelve", or something. 5 pancakes. 3 eggs, home fries, bacon or sausage, toast and coffee. Absolutely terrific.
We leave and head back to camp. It’s 2:15 in the morning.
At 3:00AM I craw into the tent.
At 6:00AM I craw out of the tent.
Coach quickly sets about whipping up a blueberry-pancake-like substance and Folgers instant. Perfect. We eat. We chug a few waters, take a few shovel-in-hand trips into the weeds and it’s 9:15AM and we’re piling in to the car for race time.
Pre-ride inspiration from Coach.
We scream down the 6 miles of forest road, with Slim Cessena’s Auto Club blasting, back to the beginning of the forest. Park at the base of the ski slopes. There’s lots of cars... and lots of... frightfully fit people. And race Nazis. Why are they yelling at us? A racer’s meeting?
"What’s a racer’s meeting coach?" .
"Nothing, just keep drinking your Pabst".
"Yes sir".
Eventually, we saddle up and head for the racer’s meeting.
There is no racer’s meeting. We hang out for a few minutes, I drink a Red Bull, coach drinks a beers. Lots of people. Lots of big biking people. Gary Fisher nestles in beside us. Hey, there’s Jeff Jones. Marla Streb, of course. Those evilcycling.com guys. Dirt Rag crew in force. The Surly nut-jobs, Carl "Snarl" Schlemowitz. Nice.
Then, we told to drop our bikes and walk to the next field. A Le Mans style start obviously.
Well, not quite. A few incoherent babblings by the race organizers and we’re told to start running. Not running back to our bikes, but running up a hill, running across a road, running down some rock gardens, running across a bridge, running through a parking lot, and running back to our bikes. Got to be ¼ mile. Well, anyone that knows me, knows... I ain’t running. So it’s simply a nice morning stroll. We laugh along the way.
Pre-Ride Pack and me.
We survive the spreading of the pack and I grab Moe (my bike). "Shot time" guys, I yell out! So Jesus, coach and I share a swig of the good stuff. I slip the flask back in my flask holster, take a slug of Pabst. Another slug of Pabst. Pee again. Take another slug of Pabst, straddle my bike and... whoa... where’s Jesus. Jesus left without me. Only a single set of footprints in the sand today, and Jesus is not carrying me.
I proceed down the road, to the base of a very large mountain. I come across the first race steward. He looks at me kind of funny.
"Are you racing?".
"Uh, yeah, I have a number here.".
"Well get moving, you’re behind the sweepers!".
DFL out of the gate.
I quickly pass the sweepers. I feeling pretty good considering the lack of sleep, the many beers and whiskey already in my system. Did I mention I’m at the base of a very large mountain?
I start to climb. I climb. Climb a little more, then aahhhh... sweet single track... and rocks. I’m glad I hung back because I know earlier this had to be a mess. I know how riders are in technical terrain. Way too much walking for me. I’m here to ride, so the slow start is a blessing.
I plow through the first rock garden. Something doesn’t fee right. Mmmm... tires aren’t flat. Oh well, I keep riding.
I’m behind a man in a skort. He rides pretty good. A little slower than I’d like, but not too bad. Through the next rock garden... across three bridges and... something not right. I keep riding. A little further and the guy in front of me stops. I stop. I look at my front wheel. It’s touching my fork. I have a problem. The nice man in front of me turns and looks at me. As I’m wiggling my front tire from one side of the fork to the other, he says "you’re a little loosey". Maurice Tierney is such a smart ass.
So he takes off and I’m left trying to figure out what happened to my bike. The sweepers catch up and just watch me as I’m still DFL at this point. I reset the wheel and take off again. I’m riding smooth now. Feeling good. Rocks and more rocks. Climbing. I’m all about this stuff. I can’t wipe the smile from my face. I continue on and start to catch up with some other riders. I’m passing people pretty quickly now. Most of them just have a blank look of confusion like they’ve never seen rocks like this before. I have, although never so many and for so long. I’m having a blast.
All of a sudden I come around a bend and find a rather large fellow riding a full suspension Kona singlespeed. All dolled up in black spandex. A full beard and a pleasant smile. It’s this guy... Rose...
He and I talk for a while as we work our way through the rocks and it turns out he’s from Pittsburgh but he lives in Minneapolis now. He asks if I’ve ever ridden a place called Brady’s Run. Turns out Brady’s Run was the second place he ever mountain biked. Small world.
We have a good 10 minutes together, but he rides a little too slow for me, so I wish him a safe ride and step on it a bit.
Just a little further along and I catch up with a rather large group of riders stopped and just plain hanging out. It’s the Dirt Rag/Dirty Harry’s/Surly/Evil Cycling crew. Has to be 20 of them just sitting around smoking cigarettes and fondling their flasks. Of course I have to stop and join in. After a few minutes, a bright I’d young lad pulls up looking like he just walked into a candy store. He smiles innocently and the witness the following conversation:
Young Lad: "Sure is a rough trail."
Maurice Tierney: "Sure is."
Young Lad: "I heard this is the worst section of the trail."
Maurice Tierney (leaning into to get close to his face): "Whoever told you that lied".
With that, the whole crew starts heading back to their bikes.
I let them all go as I’m not interested in having that crowd behind me. I grab a Gu. A few minutes later, Rose comes up behind me. We chat a few more minutes and start off again.
The trail starts up again and it gets kind of smooth and really soft and loamy. Soft, momentum killing section of the trail. Feels good, but I want the rocks back. In a few minutes I start passing the Evil Cycling crew again. Then the bike starts acting up. You see, my brakes have been making an awful squealing noise all morning and now I’m getting a vibration from the back end. Something’s not right. I stop and check out my chain, my hub and everything looks in order. I get back on and ride on. The bike riding and tracking okay, but something’s not right. I stop again. And again. I don’t know what the hell is wrong but decide at this point I’m riding the bike into the ground if I must. I just want to ride. I continue on. Despite the squealing brakes and shimmying back end, I’m still riding well and haven’t even come close to crashing or coming off my bike. I live for this stuff and I’m going to continue living as long for as long as possible.
As I reach the crest of the hill I can’t believe the vista. I behold an absolutely crystal clear and gorgeous view across the valley. If this was West Virginia, I fell like it was heaven. But I know we’re still in Pennsylvania, so it’s merely beautiful. I keep riding.
I keep coming across a lot of unhappy looking people. I think they didn’t know what they were in for. I keep riding and smiling.
Suddenly, I come across a man alone. He has a flat. He looks a little confused and lost so I stop. I ask him if he has everything he needs and he looks up at me and quite seriously asks in a British accent "Would you happen to have beer?". I get off my bike and start helping him out. His name is Andy. I pump his tube and we chat a bit. He continues to work and I tell him my woes with my rear wheel. I hit the rear brake and show him how wobbly the rear wheel is. He shakes his head.
After a few minutes he says I don’t have to hang out with him and I realize he’s right. I need to start riding again. I offer him a hit on the Surly flask, but he declines. "Maybe a little later then" he says and so I swig alone and ride off.
Not too much further and I decide it’s time to eat the bagel I brought. I’m sitting there chowing down on my food and I look at my bike. Then it hits me. Did I ever tighten the brake calipers after putting on the new rear tire? I can’t seem to remember. I walk over, grab the caliper and pull. Sure as hell didn’t. That’s what was making all the racket. It was the squealing loose rear end. Damn stupid of me. Lesson learned. I tighten the bolts and start feeling a whole lot better. Things are looking up. As I take my last bite of bagel, Andy comes pulling up. "May I borrow your pump?". "But of course", and I hand him my tool. After he’s done, we head back out along the beautiful mountain top ridge. I’m feeling great. My belly’s full, my bikes finally tuned up and my legs are strong. About 200 yards later I begin to hear talking and I know I’m getting close to the first check point. There’s a little sketchy drop off and then I’m into a gas line field with a pretty good crowd of people. It’s Checkpoint #1.
As the Evil Cycling crew are here sitting in the shade smoking, a race volunteer comes over and asks me how the ride was. I say I love it. I tell him these are the best trails I have ever ridden. He thanks me and tells me I’m going to love the down hill that’s right behind me. I say "but the arrows are pointing that other way". He politely tells me the race is over for me. For all of us it seems. For if you don’t get to checkpoint #1 within two hours, you have to exit the trails. Before I have a chance to get bitter, Rose sites down on the hill side, lights up a cigarette and in the most disappointing voice he can muster says...
"I’ve spent the last 30 years carbo-loading for this event... and I failed".
Sov (sparky from the alleyway the previous night) looks up at him and says "Hey, we’re all winners today man". My lower lip begins to tremble and I hold back the tears. I’m not bitter. I’m just happy to be here at all.
We all hang out here for about 20 minutes, just soaking up the beauty of the mountain. This gives me time to finish the bourbon in my flask. And there’s more bourbon in there than I thought. After polishing off the last swig, we start the descent back to the start. I’m feeling good. Real good.
Checkpoint #1, AKA The End.
The trail is lovely. In fact, it’s smooth as glass compared to what we just came off of. I tease one of the race coordinators that they kept the best trails to themselves. He winks.
We ride for quite a while and it is nice. Before long we’re at the finish line.
I hang out and watch a few of the riders coming down to finish the race. Amazing. They’re finishing the entire 25.5 miles in the same time it took me to finish 10. I wouldn’t trade my day for theirs for anything. Life is good... but now it’s time for beers.
I start back to the go-kart track.
Moe.
Beers and conversations flow freely. The sun is high and the air is warm but crisp. I meet new people and see some old. Andy from the mountain top hangs out with coach and I, and we drink beers. I talk to Shiva Steve, the Marylander who comes up to the Punk Bike Enduro rides in Pittsburgh. He rode this race on a fixed gear. Nut. A nice nut, but a nut just the same. I see Drevil. Coach introduces me to Ryan, a rather pleasant tall fellow with Elvis sideburns, whose first words to me are that I’ll have to meet his wife as she loves men with loves salt and pepper hair. I need to remember this.
Jesus rolls in a few hours later. Hats off and kudos to the only BABE to finish this years Single Speed World Championship. JESUS! It is good. Soon Jesus drinks beside us and we await the go-kart races. The races come. Round and round they go. The roar of the motors seem strangely out of place at a bike race. But it’s fun watching. We quickly become loud and derogatory.
Butch – 2005 Mens SS Champion.
At some point, while I had my back turned, our neck of the woods turned into a Marla Streb cheering section. As desperate cry’s of "show us your tits" went unheeded, coach and I finally obliged the crowd and show off our mams. Marla sees us and laughs as she comes in for the final lap. She wins.
Showing support for Marla, with man-boobs.
The race is over and here comes Marla our way. She stops by and I mention my left nipple is sore from working it into a frenzy on those last few laps. Good man Andy sees the photo opportunity and quickly makes it happen. Our nipples are soothed by the 2005 SSWC winner.
The Marla Nipple Incident
As we begin to leave we run into Ryan and his salt-and-pepper-hair-loving wife "Kat". We invite them to the camp ground for meat. They accept the invite and we head back to camp.
Ryan and Kat in their Roadmaster
At camp coach fires up the grill and the meat is on. We eat burgers, dogs and cheese and pepperoni. Kat mentions she really likes meat. Beers are consumed. It is good.
After dinner, Kat decides she needs a smoke but can’t seem to find anything to make it happen. She head back to the Roadmaster station wagon to see if she can find anything. After a few minutes, I decide to make sure things are alright. As I make it to the car I see her hanging deep inside the rear door. I ask:
"Have any luck?".
"No. All I could find was this machete and this empty can of Red Bull". Machete?
Seems it wasn’t cigarettes she was interested in after all.
Back at camp, with the machete and Red Bull, we make things work out. After about an hour, Ryan and Kat leave for their hotel. We’re all quite relaxed. We clean up and get ready to drive back into town.
Back in town and it’s straight to Tony’s Big Easy for post-race festivities. Free beer is flowing and it is good. Jesus is hitting the beers for all they’re worth. Coach and I are sipping martinis. All the familiar faces from earlier are here. Andy, Ryan, Kat, Sov, Rose, Browne, Fisher. Marla – 2005 Womans SS Champion
Then it happens. Derby. In the street behind the bar. Skids, flaming Brittney Spears, deep fryer grease, roman candles. A spectacle to behold, but I stay in the bar. Just me and the bartender.
And it is good. About 20 minutes later people starting running back in pretty quickly. The cops have finally arrived.
The BABE crew stay on until about 1:30AM and then it’s time to eat again. We go back to Perkins for another round of the Terrific Twelve. We eat hardy.
2:30AM and we’re in our tents snoozing to the sounds of night.
6:30AM and we’re out of our tents. Time to start breaking down camp. It goes quickly. Soon we’re on the road heading back into town. Coach suggests we stop by the Motel 8 and see if we can find Andy for lunch.
We pull around the back and spot his bike. Back to the front and coach jumps out to see if the front desk can ring his room. But before he can get to the front desk, who comes walking off the elevator?.... Andy. We all leave together and go straight to Mad Mex for grub. A few margaritas and beers and burritos and it’s time to say goodbye to State College and the 2005 Single Speed World Championships. It was good.

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