A Drunkcyclist frequent and ambassador of the lifestyle, goes by Bigworm, made us all damn proud at the Whiskey Off-Road this year. He won the inaugural Blackburn Bikepacker Off-Road Series Category with style and swag. We asked Bigworm to write up his recollection of the day he made us all, and everyone he saw out on course, a little bit drunker and a lot a bit happier. Check it out:
The 2013 racing season started off like all other racing seasons for me – zero races on my radar. I’m not big on the whole competitive thing, aside from all the fools I smoke on Strava. I am a strong upper top 50 on most of the trails down here in the Old Pueblo. I am, however, a social butterfly and do love the parties that tend to pop up around most bike races—the Prescott Whiskey Off-Road being one of the best for that. The only problem was there was some horrible rumor going around that normally “the” party to be at, at the top of Skull Valley, was being shut down. It’s an amazing place where gorillas and celebrities go to cheer on racers. The rumor was something about people not holding their liquor and letting their dogs drive their trucks, or something along those lines. This left me with somewhat of a hole in my heart and no desire to even show up to that dusty cowboy town a mile in the air.
As fate would have it, though (just months before the race as I sit eating free food at the grand opening of the new Epic Rides headquarters), I am approached by Todd “the man dime” Sadow; Epic, along with Blackburn, is hatching an idea for a new racing category – one that I can use to bring joy to the racing world and fill a hole left open at the top of a climb in the middle of the high desert. One that used to be occupied by Drunkcyclist. The Blackburn Bikepacking Off-Road Series Category had been formed and I knew it was for me. The rules were simple: pack in an extra 20lbs of consumables to be given away at the top of Skull Valley Road, spend 30 minutes handing them out, pack out what is left. Now all I had to do was wait for race day.
Whiskey Off-Road weekend started out simple enough. Whore myself out to Todd “the man dime” on Friday to cover my travel expenses, spend a few nights sharing a room with a hot blonde and a feisty Mexican (but not my wife), and prep the bike. The contents of my bikepacking set-up were to be simple—there was a need I knew had to be filled at the top, and I was gonna fill it. The Whiskey Off-Road had to have whiskey at the top of the last climb of the day. It really should be mandatory, and if it’s not up there then they should call it the Agua Off-Road, or something as equally boring as the water they were trying to push on us.The set-up included 4lbs of Red Vines, 5lbs of Julie Bars, 50 bottles of whiskey, 1 bottle of Fireball, and for 30 really lucky riders, a mix CD with rap music on it. Everything a rolling DC aide station could possibly need, minus a gorilla suit, though getting in the gorilla suit was temping (I saw the way Sonya Looney responded to it at the crit and it could have been my one chance at true love), but I didn’t feel like dying on the side of the road. Plus, I heard Dirty only likes the scent of a few select men’s sweat, and I ain’t on that short list yet.
After loading up the all the goods on the actual bike for the first time, it started to set in that 20lbs was gonna be quite the task. Along with the added 20lbs, I saw who my rivals in the Blackburn Bikepacking Off-Road Series Category were gonna be and I knew I could actually have a chance to win it. I mean, if I can’t beat a 60yr old lady carrying rolls of nickels then I probably should sell my bikes and buy a Goldwing. The pressure of it all began to mount. Not only did I have 20lbs of stuff strapped to my bike, but I was also carrying the thought of competing and winning, in addition to the weight of not letting down the DC. Now those 50 mini whiskey bottles all stuffed into my bikepacking saddle bag were taking on a life of their own. The whiskey baby had been conceived. As I left my hotel room, fully loaded, down toward the starting line, just making it there seemed like a challenge.
As I roll to the starting line I can see my whiskey baby is gonna make for an interesting trip. I also have to bear the burden that I cannot share my sweet cargo until I reach the top. It’s hard wearing a jersey that says DrunkCyclist with a bottle of Fireball sticking outta your backpack and having to tell fellow riders they can’t have any whiskey yet. I know I can persevere through these hard times, though. I just need that gun to go off so that the whiskey baby and I can get on the road. BANG! We’re off! Thru town. Up the road. Fans cheering. Cops leering. Whiskey baby not having fun. It won’t let me stand to pedal. No matter how hard I tighten the straps, stiff bottles full of whiskey are just not meant for a saddle bag. Just need to sit down, keep pedaling, and get this fine cargo to its people—the climbers, the sufferers, the crampers, anyone on a bike that needs it. That’s why I packed it. I just gotta plug along and make it there; I have to do it for them. The DrunkCyclist.
I spend the next few hours fighting with whiskey baby, cursing it, dreaming of it, using it as motivation to keep riding, until I see it. The Blackburn aid station. As I roll up, I can see there are already some in need of the fine drink I have slogged up here for them. I check in, get on the clock, and start to work. I immediately crack open the Fireball to help those cramping around me. It goes down smooth and is a great companion drink to compliment the Red Vines I have. Once the poor souls laying on the ground cramping are tended to, I tear into my saddle bag and extract the whiskey baby from its womb. I get busy handing it out. Along with the Blackburn rule of 30 minutes to hand the items out, I add a few more of my own.
- All riders wearing a DrunkCyclist Jersey were required to stop and drink Fireball.
- All Single Speeders were required to stop and drink Fireball.
- If you were walking your bike, Fireball was mandatory.
- If a rider was complaining about cramps, Fireball and Redvines were a must.
This definitely helped speed up the process and also helped a wide range of riders get their fill of whiskey. Also as my 30 minutes ticked I handed out, slid in pockets, and put into backpacks or passing riders as many mini bottles of whiskey as I could. It was a blast. Everyone was loving it. Even the celebrity riders like Kurt Refsnider who probably though they had seen it all in the bikepacking world were having a blast. A rolling DC aide station is probably the greatest thing to hit mountain biking since Lance won Leadville.
After my 30 minutes were up I took stock of what was left. A quarter pound of Redvines and roughly half a bottle of Fireball. I felt bad packing it up and heading back with it, but I had accolades to win and podium girls to grope so I knew I better get my move on. There was no way I was letting a 60yr old lady carrying nickels catch me. I bet she wouldn’t even know the proper way to grope a podium girl so she didn’t deserve the title of winner. Just as I start to leave, though, I see the perfect person to bestow the last remaining ounce of Fireball upon. Someone who had just rode her bike all the way from town up a jeep road with Dirty. I happily placed the bottle into her hands said my goodbyes and started my descent to victory.
I spent the last 12 miles of the day thinking back on my journey with the whiskey baby, how much joy it had brought to everyone, arguing with old dudes that apparently just bought themselves egg beaters the week before the race and thought it would be the perfect time to learn how, and drinking ice cold beer handed out on the side of the trail. I crossed the finish line a winner.
First time ever in first place. Probably only time but with a great seed planted in my brain. I need to have another whiskey baby, and maybe need to keep having them. I realized, when I crossed that finish line, that I had made such a good mother to it and was able to see the joy in letting it go when the time had come. Maybe the racing thing isn’t for me but this motherhood thing seems to be very fitting. It’s only a few months away until the next Epic Rides event and I think I am already ready for it. The rolling whiskey baby DC aide station may need to be a permanent fixture in my life and I don’t see a better place for it than the awesome races Epic Rides puts on.
Bigworm gets it. Good on you man. Cheers everyone to a good end of the week and much ride biking and drink beering. Go get ’em.by