Sunday Morning, just like Saturday morning, I sleepily emerged from my room around 7 am to find Eric Nicoletti beaming in the hall. Drinking coffee and hanging out with his 5 year old before another big day of events. Just another test of the Most Bad Ass Mountain Biker in the World - Who can get their ass out of bed after a late and long night of dancing, dodge ball, derby and drinking.
Arriving only a little late, we found the folks who didn’t hang the night before were at the trailhead doing laps getting ready to throw down on this uphill. This trail’s a favorite downhill ride - fast, straight and steep. As a climb it was steady, rideable and painful, yet short. At 12:26:00 riders started the climb. Finishing the climb at 12:49:03, Marshall came in just ahead of Will Black, who, word on the street has it, that either he let Marshall win, or he didn’t really know where he was going. Either way, these are the finishing times we got.
Uphill Race (start 12:26:00)
1. Marshall 12:49:03
2. Will Black 12:49:06
3. Denny MF Stevenson 12:50:27
4. Adam Winston 12:51:02
5. Ian Baldwin 12:51:41
Two bikes allowed each this year meant more bikes to carry.
Kyley and Laura had sprinted up the hill ahead of racers, to set up for timing. I cruised with first aid kit, watch and Jesse to the finish of the downhill. After waiting for what felt like an eternity, Marshall pops out of the woods to report on how intense the trail felt, “it felt like my bike was flexing all over underneath me, but it was really the trail moving.” A scary downhill, but oh so much fun! Suddenly rider number 2 pops out – Otto. Marshall knew instantly that Otto had gone faster by only a few seconds. No surprise that Justin came in third on his Maverick, he definitely wanted it enough. But then wait.. It’s Eric Nicoletti!, who had NEVER ridden this trail, EVER. Wow! It’s not an easy descent, and he really nailed it.
1. Otto 3:52
2. Marshall 3:59
3. Jut 4:17
4. Eric Nicoletti 4:18
5. Ian Baldwin 4:19
From here we emerged from the woods and were on our way to the finale at John Caldwell’s Compound. Just days before, I.R.L. Construction Cooperative had secured the lake jump, but still more work had to be done to make it safe.
We needed to line it with shingles, test the water depth, then test the jump. Callum Robertson, of I.R.L. Construction, didn’t hesitate for a second before jumping in the algae covered lake to confirm that it was definitely safe. And before we chopped off the top foot of the jump, Callum was the first to launch off. Meanwhile, I am sucked in to a computer, compiling times and places, and converting them to scores.
It was time to get the short track downhill started, but the scene was just not safe. Friends and riders helped fix that. Lines were set up, areas cleared, and the 30+ second short track downhill formed. It ran through garden dirt jumps, huge step-downs, through a small clan of folks barbecuing, road gap, mega monster log pile, to a sprint finish by the lake where I recorded the stop time. With a crude walkie-talkie and stop watch timing mechanism, Laura and I attempted to properly record, very short times that came down to the hundredths. Everyone had two runs, and after the first run it looked like John Caldwell might take it with the home court advantage. However, seriously amazing bad ass Kevin Burkehead was clearing the road gap and saving seconds with mad skills. Otto, winner of the mornings downhill race, nabbed second, with Caldwell barley beating Mike Mooney on a Tall Bike or really, what we might call a Monster Bike.
Short Track Downhill
1. Kevin Burkhead 0:30.34
2. Otto 0:30.83
3. Caldwell 0:31.02
4. Mooney 0:31.87
5. Jut 0:31.91
It was time for the event I had been dreading the most and was the moat excited about – The Lake Jump. Knowing that it was going to be safe really eased minds and then it was just a matter of who was going to hit this thing. 7 people stepped up to the competition: Callum, Kevin Burkhead, Mooney, Winston, Denny MF Stevenson, Eric Nicoletti, and Justin. With hound dog Walter yelping his heart out with every lake jump, the crowd cheered and the judges judged, from the banks of the lake to the bass fishing boat. Three or four judges averaged their scores on a 1-10 scale based on wow factor, style, effort and other things that I don’t know at all because I wasn’t judging. I was running the downhill course over and over again, having missed out on all the spectation of this event, it was nice to at least get some runs in.
As Dunn and Massey caught fish and Bryan Bloebaum made history with his wicked shots of lake jumpers. Pictures tell many more words here.
What was likely the winning jump - #1 Callum Robertson launched off in a cork screw rotation with serious speed and awesome overall enthusiasm.
Second place lake jumper Kevin hit the top of the ramp so hard the front wheel tacoed and shot the tube out of the tire (look closely).
3rd - Mike Mooney with absolute showmanship
Denny Muthafckin’ Stevenson
After the last lake jump, we commenced to the lawn and enjoyed a classic southern home cooked bbq. Points were added, and the final winners were announced.
Eric Nicoletti with 119 points, stood out at the MBAMBW. A total stranger to the area, finds our totally cryptic blog post, gets in touch with us and shows up to crash on my Flint St. floor with his very pregnant wife, her friend and their kid. Wow. With full participation, his event placing broke down as follows: XC (5th), Skinnies (6th), Trials (3rd), Wheelie (2nd), Dirt Sprint (6th), Pumptrack (2nd), derby (5th), Party (4th), Uphill (7th), downhill (4th), Short Track DH (6th), Lake Jump (6th). Never winning any one event, but having so much overall talent and tenacity. If we had been as lax with passing out bonus points as we were last year, or as arbitrary with how they added up, he would have surely received serious bonus points for showing up and pulling it all off in all of the ways that he did. Thank You Eric Nicoleti. Hope we can do it all again next year.
Final Scores (number of events participated in)
1 eric nicoletti 119 (12)
2 Winston 102 (12)
3 Jut 100 (12)
4 Denny MF Stevenson 87 (12)
5 John Massey 77 (11)
6 Otto Meinert 74 (7)
7 Marshall 72 (5)
8 Greg Dunn 71 (9)
9 Kevin Burkhead 67 (6)
10 Gabe 56 (8)
11 Travis Nevill 54 (6)
12 Ryan Taylor 52 (4)
13 Callum 44 (5)
14 Matt Johnson 35 (4)
15 Mike Brown 34 (6)
16 Troy Foster 31 (11)
17 Mac 28 (6)
Major thanks to - All of the rest of the people that raced and played along.
Justin Mitchell for coming up with the whole idea, for his determination in seeing the lake jump come to fruition and for graciously passing the title.
Kyley Cross for racing to the top of trace ridge Sunday morning, dragging multiple racers around from point to point, taking pictures, record keeping, having fun and a bunch of other things.
Jeff Zimmerman and Bryan Bloebaum, Phil Shaw for catching mad air and classic bicycle shots.
John Caldwell and Nicole for hosting the afternoon’s festivities. Your place was beautiful and the bbq was unreal!
Lela Stephens and everyone else that I didn’t notice because my head was in a computer, who brought and cooked other excellent food. It was a long weekend, we were hungry.
Pisgah Brewing for providing a Keg of James Brown and Lori Diehl for her love for us at Pisgah.
Industry Nine and Jeff for letting us create a huge liability in your back yard while we do amazing things on your wheels.
Jeff Moredith for the Kenilworth Pumptrack.
Lara Lustig, Laura Goetz, and Kelly Cowan for hanging and helping and general shenanigans! And Lara you will be more in charge of scoring next year, fyi.
Chris Bennett for his incredible cookies and help at Industry Nine.
And to Ian and Melissa for not kicking us to the curb after the party.
I hope we can make it all happen again next year. The sooner you let us know that you are interested in participation, the sooner you will find out the ever so important "Save the Date". Otherwise you might not hear about it at all.
-- Beth Roberts