Last week,before my trip to Lake Powell , I took a shot at this year’s installment of the Squealer. Now I know that 90% of the people reading this site are not from Arizona and some are even on the clear other side of the world. But let it be known the if you are ever near central Arizona on Easter weekend, you have something to do. This annual gathering of the tribe puts man against mountain and it is an incredible amount of fun. To me, it is everything that mountain biking is supposed to be. Grass roots, register at a bar, the timing is done by hand, and no governing body to kill the vibe. Your “number plate” is only a little sticker you put on your fork leg. It simply states your starting position and your start time. Don’t be late.
Being of the slower variety, my start time was pretty damn early. It felt especially early this day as I pushed up the hike-a-bike to the start at 5:30 in the morning. As buddy MP put it “I think I got bit by a tequila monster last night”. I think the same guy bit me too. That could explain the amazing headache and nausea I had that morning. Not racing really wasn’t an option. So the only course of action was to have another beer in the parking lot and get on with it.
It was a perfectly warm morning and I couldn’t wait to get started. Armed with my #occupybikeseat t-shirt and a single speed, I set out on my race run at 6:07am. Damn, I was having some fun. The first few miles flew by and I felt like a million bucks riding up those hills. Cutting diagonal across a paved road I sat up for a brief moment to take a big pull off of my water bottle and catch my breath. I knew the fun section of trail that was coming up and I wanted to enjoy it at full speed.
As I rolled into the first little chunky technical section my front tire decided to “burp” off of the rim. I don’t know if you have ever experienced this before, but I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. In the blink of an eye, your tubeless tire comes unseated from the rim. You have a split second to think “well now that was a funny sound, I wonder what that was”. Then tire sealant squirts everywhere, the front end washes out, and then you probably hit the ground. Well, at least thats what happened to me.
Last year I had the pleasure of telling the story of Gnome’s victory at this race. This year, I can say I was the one that brought home the trophy. That little flat tire incident, regardless of my finishing time, won me the “Bloodiest Rider” trophy.
I really didn’t think it was all that bad. But come to find out, not too many other people crashed and nobody else seems to bleeding. Since competition was so slim, I got the trophy and a bottle of champagne. To the victor goes the spoils.
DC brought home the hardware again this year. I can’t wait for next year.by