This is why it takes me days to put something up. I’ve been off the train for four hours and I’ve got nothing to say but huh. Or heh.
Even when I leave for the train early I end up rushing. But Matt and I both made the train, and promptly set up shop in the dining car. Sit with the savages in coach? Please. Although we had a very interesting sleazebag across from us. Hitting on the high school girls and polishing off a four pack of Seagrams Peach Fuzzy Navel before passing out for the remainder of the trip. Needless to say, we were pumped to finally be riding in Seattle.
Originally we were scheduled to qualify around 11am, but our train arrived at noon. Lucky for us we knew the jerks handling the affair and we set off around 1. In each wave of qualification, around 6- 8 riders would take off on the course, the top four of which would go on to qualify. Well Team Better-Late-Than-Never only had two racers. Accompanying us were our friend Dan and Collin, the latter being a photographer for Bike. Sweet.
I think the average qualifying time was around 45 minutes. We took 2.5 hours. A quick stop to pay for new Cthulhu shirts, and halfway up the greenbelt I flatted. Not being anywhere near a bike shop, and having brought no tools whatsoever, we raided Sally’s house for a wrench to remove my rear wheel. Case found some beers in the fridge, and a Lucha mask. We were pleased.
Moving on to the first checkpoint I flatted again. We found the pinch in the first go around, and the second time was a large piece of glass. But we were not dismayed. We pressed on, stopping frequently for photo ops with Collin. At first we thought he’d get tired of taking pictures of us doing stupid things, but he kept pressing us for more. It was the best qualifier I’ve ever experienced.
Being the last group out on course, the checkpoints were relieved to see us finally come through. The rain wasn’t very serious on Saturday, and the spirits were still high.
Moving on we found an abandoned checkpoint and cleaned up. A foam hand type thing, and some race ribbon took a ride with us back to the start.
By the time we got back to the finish, the event was mostly torn down. But thanks to our natural talents and dashing good looks we qualified. We felt a little bad for the folks that tried but didn’t succeed. Then that faded.
Having spent enough time in the south end, we found our way through downtown and had a stop for food at the Athenian. With extra time to kill, we moved on towards Shorties. And after a while we headed to the post qualifier party. Finally putting the bags down for a couple hours was a nice relief. The party was great. Except for the shit talking on my fair town of Portland. But have no fear, we stood up for Stumptown. Then some people rode stationary bikes and we took some liberties with the unsupervised belts.
At some point, Cory and I were sufficiently annoyed with the party and we found our way home. In the morning, the sun came through the windows and I was wide awake. For a few minutes there is was touch and go, but after a short walk for coffee and a pastry that solid feeling came right back. We watched the Steelers barely eek out a win, drank expensive Bud Lights and watched the sky open up on the city. Finally around 1 we felt fully prepared. Justin picked us up at the bar, and after the race he even dropped us at the bar. Justin, you made our weekend!
Torrential downpour. Absolutely gnarly amounts of water fell on the highway as we headed towards Kent. Within 100 feet of exiting the car, every article of clothing was completely soaked. The mud was like soup. The 45 minutes before the race was wet and very cold.
And then there was the race. That thing we came up to Seattle for in the first place. We lined up, sort of, and then we were off. The course was twisty, tight, fast, and always on. The run ups were perfect. The barriers were a foot and a half high. There were six of them after the gravel run up. The whoops were steep and air was had. There was beer everywhere. The start of the race was a hill climb. It was wonderful. Justin all the race photos, Thanks again!
One of my favorite styles of barriers, the over-under was steep and fast. It dropped right to the track crossing, the sides of which were fun for hopping.
I’m not much of a fixed gear fan, but my crappy 6 year old Iro was awesome. Great gear choice, complete commuter style with the front disc brake, rear fender, and blinking lights made the race not only fast, but fun for the haters.
Every time I passed the finish I was amazed they weren’t pulling me. Low and behold I didn’t get lapped and I completed as many laps as the winners. The last two laps were getting faster, and my group of racers was getting hot. There was a Yakima Vigilante trading spaces with me for most of the race, and finally I pulled away from him and took my middle pack placing. Results aren’t up yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
After saying our goodbyes Justin took us back to Seattle. Matt and I met up with Cory and watched Favre throw to the Packers all night. For reasons you don’t need to know, I ended up walking up Queen Anne, and the rest of the night floated away. Cory and I had some beers at the house, shared some laughs and the alarm came much too quickly.
So thanks for the fun times Seattle. I’m not sure why the rest of Portland couldn’t make it up, they missed out on a great time. The course was one of the best I’ve ridden, the support was top notch, the organizers were having a great time, and I managed to come home with a bunch of extra crap. At this point, San Francisco feels a long ways off, but we’ll see what happens.
I think it’s time for a nap.