SSUSA 2011 – Notes from the Underbelly

Quick thanks to the 439 people that read my Choda Fire” blog preceding this.  Wow. You must be BORED.  SUCKAS!!!  thanks to all the new subscriptions, and to the people who emailed me asking how to subscribe… I think there’s a subscription widget up to the right of this page…

Now… My first SSUSA experience is over.  Frickin L, John.  Bryan, Jake and Sarai sure know how to throw a wicked party, and put together a sweetazz hike-a-bike heavy, flowin descent packed, singletrack heaven of a race, too 🙂  Where to start… hmmm… ok, here’s how it went down.  Show up to Scott Carpenter Park, Friday 6pm.  Meet on top of a grassy knoll, back and to the left, JFK style.  74 Single Speed lunatics in one spot- where was Al Queda?

Grassy knoll, first meeting of the S.S. Minnow

Sweetazz Sweet.  After some bullhorn mumbo jumbo, we mount up and cruise the Boulder Creek Path towards downtown.  Mobbing the scene, pissing off a few, vibing love with the masses.  We stop along the route for “Hosting Competition Part 1″: Tube Boulder Creek in Your Skivvys”.  Bring ya to speed- The location of the 2012 SSUSA is determined by the 2011 hosts, and they decide based on the outcome of the “Hosting Competition”, where hopefuls compete for the honor… kind of like the Olympics, except these involve partial nudity, lots of alcohol, intoxication, inebriation, bike skills, super soaker accuracy, and hang time.  The states vying for the honor:  Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New York, and Vermont.  Let the games begin:

Hosting Competition #1 – Tubing Boulder Creek in Your Skivvys – Click to see VIDEO

Yeah, the SSUSA folks raided the kids section at the local thrift shop for some underoos, and handed them out to the would-be 2012 hosts.  Separate the men (and women p.c. fo sho) from the boys, you might say.  “Here’s a tube, go race down these freezing rapids with 70 people watching yo package – yee hah!! Watch the video.  My buddy George, from Bike 29 in Vermont was serious about bringing SSUSA to his town next year- and recruited me to be on his team of 4.  Each event uses 2 team members.  For this one, George and Melissa went for the chilly swim in the coldazz mountain crick wata.  Shrinkage and raisin farming was in full effect like Bel Biv Devoe.

Dream Team - George & Mel after the Tubing Incident

Tim from Arizona killed it, beat everbody by a mile… but Melissa came in strong 3rd-ish, and hit a second set of rapids that nobody else did.  My boy George (pun intended) flew by the other George (from NY) at the last minute to avoid DFL.  Not the best start to the competition, but the ice was broken, and it was game on!

Okee dokes, once that went down, back on the bikes, SS Mafia-style, rollin and patrollin – next stop: Shooters Grill & Bar.  This is where we had packet pickup and race registration over a couple brews.  Got directions to the “secret spot” of where to be for the race.  And found out the bare minimum about the course.  Lots of climbing, then more climbing, then flowy descents, then more climbing.  Oh yeah, there’s a mechanical bull in the middle of this joint… leads me to:

Hosting Competition #2- Pound A Beer and Ride a Bull

Yup.  After everybody was good and liquored up, the next part of the contest began. Somehow I got wrangled into the bull-riding portion of the contest- mainly because I bullshitted George that I had some skills (that’s how I got my first job as a photographer when I barely could use a camera, and now I’m lucky enough to be shooting peeps like Steve Carell and Keira Knightley… maybe there’s something to the art of… but I digress).

my eyepiece

I broke my thumb on a mechanical bull in Ketchum, Idaho few years ago while shooting a segment for The Buried Life on MTV.  But I was pretty decent at it, and figured screw it, lets go.  Robin, from Vertical Sandbox, who was documenting everything for Niner Bikes, put a helmet with a GoProHD on my head.  (Unfortunately, as I write this, the video isn’t done- but if you follow my blog, I’ll post it as soon as it’s up).  A few people went before me, and I had my Ergon bike gloves in my back pocket… I decided going Michael Jackson might help with grip, so I rocked one.  Boom, downed the PBR like water.  Can smash.  Fist pump.  Tamed that little bully like one of my farm sheep- Baahahhah!!.  In fact it never did buck me off completely.  I held on until I was just plain bored and the guy running the bull stopped trying.  So yeah- nobody was gonna beat my time.

I stole this photo from Michele- like I said, that bull was my biatch

To add to it, Dejay Birtch rode for “Team Vermont” after me.  He downed a pint in 1.7 seconds (cuz they ran out of PBR cans) and threw some sick style points on the bull with hat swinging, gun holstering, crowd surfing, etc… all skillz that are helping him on the Tour Divide right now!- and rocked our “Team Ergon” MJ glove as well.  Suffice it to say, “Team Vermont” killed the Bullriding portion of the contest.  Mojo yo.

Back on the bikes- down Pearl St. to the Sundown Saloon.  No more competition for the evening.  A few more pitchers, lots of fellowship and fun, and it was 2am.  Time to ride back to the motel (remember that N2Deep song… comedy), and get ready for the big race at 9am.  Yes, that’s how SSUSA rolls.  You must be able to party harder than you ride, and you’ve gotta ride perty dang HARD.  See below:


We were all hurting from the escapades of the night before.  My groin, inner thighs, and arse  were super sore from taming that beast.  And the bull riding took it’s toll as well 🙂  Anyhoo, the PURPLE CORDS came out… with the matching boa for aerodynamics.

Michele and I before the race (photo stolen from Michele) - NICE ERGON GLOVES!

So yeah, the race was only about 23 miles all in all.  6 miles of a neutral roll out with about 600′ gradual climbing, then 17 miles and 3,400′ climbing – no joke kids, especially with one gear and cord friction between the legs.  Unfortunately, some haters took down all the trail markers the night before, so Bryan struggled to re-mark the course at 6am.  Somehow, it still got messed up, and just about everybody got lost at some point.  Bummer.  I felt great, living the dream.  Wound up hanging with Melissa Liebling (who got 2nd for the women).  We scorched through the best 5 mile section of the course, hootin and hollerin through this flowy luge-like section of singletrack through an open aspen grove with the snow-covered rockies in the background- EPIC!!!  We hit the aid station at mile 17- she kept on, with eyes on the podium.  I was nowhere near podium contention, and saw Fuzzy drinking a coke, so I bid Mel fairwell.  I had a quick cola, sucked a pickle, and unbuckled my Corona belt buckle which was stabbing me in the stomach.  After a couple minutes I headed back on course.  Long story short, I got lost with a few other riders – wound up meeting up with Dejay, Tim and a few other leaders, and we were all lost and baffled as to where it went wrong.  We passed around a beer, and tried to get back on track.  I had a small mechanical, lost air in my front tire, but the Stan’s sealed it right up and a little blast of CO2 from my Genuine Innovationsunit, and I was back on course in 1 minute.  Luckily Dax came rolling by, and showed me the next turn to get back on course towards the final 3 mile climb.  So stoked he came by, or I never would’ve seen the turn!!  Anyhoo, finally finished… probably around 25th of 74?? No official results that I’ve seen… and when I got in I saw a bunch of people that I either led from the start, passed early on, or left at the aid station… and they were already boozin without me!!

Fuzzy after a nice warm bath. We're rockin our Dale's Pimp Chains- photo stolen from Shawn Lortie/ Mountain Flyer- :

I found out later that the group I was with wound up climbing a hill twice and making an extra mini loop… oops.  Somehow I wound up finishing before Dejay and a handful of other strong riders who should’ve won the race (probably the only time I’ll ever finish ahead of those pimps)… so in a nutshell, the results are all jacked up… but one thing is for sure… after pouring some out for Biggie and Tupac, the results really don’t matter at SSUSA.  It was fun as could be, great riding, great comraderie, super memorable experience.  Hung out at the finish line to cheer in the lone Unicycle rider (yes, one guy finished the course on a unicycle, mad props) and the DFL race.

photo stolen from - he captured some great images

The final 3 came down together doing trackstands trying not to cross the line…

Sam aka Numb Taint winning DFL as Michele touches down (photo stolen from someone)

In the end, the girl dressed like a referree with an afro wig dabbed first… then Michele Z, my homeslice/ partner in crime at Topeak-Ergon Camp in Sedona, cramped up and had to put a foot down, giving Sam aka Numb Taint aka drunk dude who grabbed Donna’s ass and almost got KTFO’d the DFL (dead f’in last) award… Good Times!!!

Post Race Party & Hosting Competition Finals

Saturday night after the race, we reunited at 303 Distillery (great local Boulder, CO Vodka) for the Podium Ceremony, more drinking, and more craziness.  After everybody was a little tipsy, the final hosting competition started:

Hosting Competition #3: Longest Skid Mark (In your shorts, kidding) – WATCH THE VIDEO

This was rad.  By this point, it was down to Michigan, New York, and Vermont- Jake kicked out Colorado and Arizona since they’ve already hosted.  Luckily, Dejay Birtch was on “Team Vermont”.  Nobody even came close to his skid.  He wound up in the next time zone, and it was all over.  Single Speed USA 2012 will be held in VERMONT!!!

Again, this was my first experience at SSUSA.  Suffice it to say- Angela, Lucy & I will be eatin some nice cheddar this time next year… Follow Bike 29 on Facebook to stay in the mix for 2012.  As Justin Timberlake once said.  “Why you all up in my Kool-Aid?  You don’t even know the flavor.”

–Dirty Teeth.

ps.  read the Mountain Flyer Article here.  Check out Michele’s SSUSA blog here.  Check Bike29’s SSUSA blog here.  Another SSUSA blog post by Cameron Chambers here.  Photos by Barry Reese and Shawn Lortie.  Check Dicky’s blog about his TSE race here, because he takes time to photoshop big helmets on my head.  We’s just getting cookin.

This entry was posted in MTB Racing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.