April 9, 2010

the relay at the farm

The Farm.

I love that in Central Pee-Aay, amongst the mtb crowd, all you need to say for folks to know where you were and what you were riding is "The Farm." It's also one of those tells--code for "I'm in the know." Because if you know The Farm then you know something about the mid-Atlantic mountain biking racing scene. If you don't know The Farm, you need to get to know it.

For this rider, racing the team relay at The Farm--the official race name: 2010 PAValleys.com International Intergalactic Global Open Mountain Bike Team Relay Championship of the Universe Including the Anti-Matter One. (There, That Should About Cover It.)--means the unofficial start of race season (though this year I've already thrown down on the road a couple of times). A chance to test the legs, renew friendships with all your race buddies, break in new gear...you know, all that. And it's the official start to the MASS season, so there's that too.


...at The Farm...


...mountain bike racing.

The ambiance...

...brings out the characters.


For those that don't know, the relay works like this (sort of): You register a team of four. Each person rides one lap, tags the next in line, that person rides a lap, and so on. Teams ride as many laps in four hours as possible.

There are catagories, but everyone races together. Your team gets points for each lap completed, but you start off with extra points based on the demography of your team. Beginners are slotted extra points to start, women, young 'uns, old dudes, whatever... Create a handicap or bribe the promoters and you get more points.

Mountainside Racing registered two teams this year: "Mountainside A" with Craig Thompson, Chuck B., and Sally & Dave McClain. "Mountainside B 'Cause A sucks" with Mike Laub, Andy Hoover, Mike Funk, and The Good Doctor Goatsauce (if I'm going to write about it, I get to make up my own nicknames).

The B-teamers put in 16 laps and, without taking into account handicaps (because who knows how all that really works anyway), finished ninth on the day out of some 70+ teams. The A-teamers finished 14 laps...and I have no idea what place that put them in (but if you're so inclined, feel free to sort through the unordered results here). The team fastman for the day was Andy. In his third lap he posted a time of 13:49. (Frankly, I'm awe-struck by this. I don't know how you ride that fast without passing directly through tree trunks. MTBers with mad skillz dumbfound me.)

The scene before the start. There was a rumored Jonas Brother sighting. We all held our breath.

Mountainside riders prep, stew in juices, ponder the big questions (Do these socks match my helmet?)...

...and discuss race strategy (I'm going to hold my bottle up like this, squeeze, and totally spray dish soap in the eyes of anybody riding my wheel...no one's going to pass this bad mutha today).

The race begins with a LeMans style (run-to-your-bike) start. This assures that no one will enjoy the first three minutes of the race.

After the race, there was this:

And this:
And this:
Awesome. (The cheese was especially awesome. I mean, cheese is always awesome, but this cheese was special. Really.)

Thanks to Kuhn......and his family for making it all happen. And this year, with strong support from Hebe and Zack Adams. Thanks, all.

(And a special thanks to Don for the photos. They're all his. I ripped every one of them right off his website. Shamelessly.)

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