Monday, May 14, 2012

4th Annual Bike@Bays recap

Saturday we, the mountain bike club, held our 4th annual Bike@Bays. It's a small one day festival of sorts that celebrates all things bikes, mountain bikes mostly. It started off  a few years back as mostly a friendly competition amongst ourselves in the way of a 12 hour race and then down to a 6 hour race. After a couple of years we realized the need to plan a day around more than just racing, we needed to draw people in and create an event that would cater to the core of our area's riders, people who just enjoy riding for fun not racing. With that, Bike@Bays was born.

Every year we build on the event making it more fun and adding things to draw folks from all levels of riding, from the newest beginner to the guys who live for pure competition.


We saw a huge crowd turnout across the day with close to 100 people pre-registered.


We saw all kinds of bikes, very small bikes, Wal-Mart bikes, shop bikes, demo bikes & fat bikes.


One of our local shops brought out a first ever fat bike to our event, a Surly Pugsley. I wasted no time in jumping on it and hitting the trails. I've seen a couple here and there but had never had the chance to ride one much less on actual trails. That's the great thing about Bike@Bays, you can actually demo bikes from multiple retailers on actual singletrack, all for free.

The Pugsley surprised me but in all honestly I didn't know what to expect. It did take some finesse to make it dance through the tight singletrack but I was able to push it much faster than I thought I would. I may have pushed it a bit too hard when I railed a berm and hit some sand as I exited the turn and slid off the trail but thankfully I managed to slide between the trees and did no damage to myself or the bike. Not really having time to get it dialed in properly I opted to ride it with the flat pedals that were on it. It went smoother than I expected until I hit a small jump actually getting a wee bit of air and I remembered I was not secured in. My feet shifted on the pedals a bit but stayed in place, just enough to give me one of those "oh shit!" moments.

I wished I could've spent more time aboard it but I had an event to run and I didn't want to hog it all day. I regretfully turned the Pugsley back in where a line of folks were patiently waiting for their turn.


One of our newest events at Bike@Bays this year was the Tiny Bike Race. Adults racing around a set of cones on kids bikes has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. There was some serious competition going down with the first round of races pitting two racers against each other. The final showdown had the winners of each heat, all racing against each other in what was the most entertaining races of the day. There were crashes, elbows being thrown, a small amount of cheating and a final sprint at the end between two rider who almost took each other out in a cloud of dust and little pink bikes.

This year we brought back the Chainless Downhill Race which was definitely one of the highlights of the day. This year I threw my hat, or should I say sombrero into the ring. Costumes are encouraged and help those who choose to dress up make it a little farther down the hill than those who don't. I chose to go with a Mexican man outfit, complete with a sombrero, poncho fashioned from an old beach towel and a fake moustache.


Before we even got started with the race I had a bit of an issue. Rather than completely removing the chains from the bikes most were removing it from the front chainrings and ziptying the chain out of the way which actually worked very well. After I ziptied my chain to my chainstay I was handed a rather sharp knife to cut away the excess ziptie. That's when I made the dumbest move of the day, not paying attention I sliced a nice gash in the sidewall of my tire when the knife slipped. Needless to say it was much too large for the Stan's to have any chance. There were no 29" tubes to be found so with a $1 bill dipped in Stans and a 26" tube stretched around the rim we made it work.

It did hold but the bulge that appeared after 20 psi made me reluctant to run it in the race. Partly not wanting to ruin a rim at low pressure on the rocky downhill and partly not wanting to take the chance of flatting at high speed I took Josh up on his offer of riding his Trek Fuel. No doubt this fix would have gotten me out of the woods on a normal ride but I just didn't want to take the chance, the patch was still holding nicely the next morning.

The Sombrero wasn't the most aerodynamic hat to be wearing atop my helmet but I still managed to break into the top 3. Oley!

Video from the event to come soon, but first up my video from the Ribbon Trail in Grand Junction. It's uploading to Vimeo as I type this and will be posted up here tomorrow.

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