We won the 5-person mixed-team category, which was actually a really tight race with one of our other SLO teams, Team Severed Head. When we realized we totally had it and were going to emerge victorious, our final rider, John, donned the gorilla suit and rode the final stretch dressed like this:
But I think the most impressive part of our win was not the whole part about winning 1st place and forever going down in the annals of victory for 25 hour mt. bike racing. Internet, we WON THE RACE FOR TEAM THAT DRANK THE MOST. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. That's why I put it in all caps. See, we had our own competition, our 15-person SLO group. Because we were like--who cares if you win a 25 hour bike race? It doesn't mean anything unless you can do it while drinking. Which led to the next thought: We needed to have our own competition, a race within the race, if you will, to determine which team was able to drink the most. But, because most of my teammates have engineering backgrounds, they were like, that won't quite work. Because then one of the teams could just sit around drinking for 25 hours. So we devised this formula.
I myself am not mathematically inclined, so I had one of the guys explain it to me.
Number of beers x number of laps = winner.
It was a really close race in that competition, too. I realized that those 2 beers I threw down with my breakfast pancakes really counted for something! We won the drinking race by exactly 2 beers. All in all, those sturdy boys on my team put down 73 beers, and I put down 7. That's an approximation, actually, though our team total really was 80. But I'm pretty sure that the boys pulled a lot more of the weight than I did in the drinking competition. But I totally offered moral support and made sure they threw their tabs in our team cup so they could be tallied at the end.
So, for the first lap, which began at noon on Saturday, everyone was all gung ho and proudly donned some sort of costume.
But as the race wore on, we pretty much just walked around in whatever.
Chris and John, two of my teammates, are also DJ extraordinares. These two have an amazing collection of reggaeton, cumbia, and electonica-ish type stuff that we blasted the whole time. It did get a bit annoying, at like 3 a.m. when some of us tried to sleep between laps, but all in all, it added to the collective vibe. There was one point, I think it was around 4 a.m., when Fred (really his name), from my team, hooked his iPod up and blasted really awful pop-rap and Eurotrash dance music. But, because the kid also rode really fast laps, entertained us with handless cartwheels, and has such a superstar liver, we totally let it slide.
The race was held in the Santa Ynez valley, on this huge ranch. That valley, in case you've never been, is truly one of the most stunning places on this earth. However, in the Fall, it's also a place of extreme temperature fluctuations. Because doing a 25 hour mt. bike race is not hard enough. It got up to 90 during the day, and it hit the low 30s at night. But no matter! It's not like we planned on sleeping anyway--not with the Europop blaring, the beer competition in a heated race, or teammates coming in to tell us it was our turn to get our freezing asses on the bike. AND MAKE IT A FAST ONE. So basically, we huddled around the fire all night and secretly hoped our teammates would take their sweet time out there.
The 4 a.m. lap was definitely my slowest. My legs actually felt pretty good, but trying to focus on the narrow swath of light my NightRider was throwing out, coupled with the fact that it was 4 a.m., led to this brief moment of my life where I couldn't balance on singletrack.
My last lap, at 8 a.m., was my favorite. With the sun up, brilliantly showcasing the vineyard-bedecked fields around us, it was like a whole new race. I could balance on singletrack again! I had pancakes and beer waiting for me when I got back! I very quickly forgot about that time period between midnight and 6 a.m. where I was seriously questioning the merits of racing in 30 degree weather, in the dark, with no sleep, and a slight hangover.
There are so many other stories I could share with you, but most of them were "you had to be there" type moments. However, I do believe you'll find some of the pictures entertaining.
We had our very own Laker Girl.
The Whole SLO Crew.
Below: Team Tecates Not Trainers. We won. Oh, yes. We did.And this was our prize for drinking the most. More to drink.
I wasn't sure if there would be water obstacles along the course. You should always pack water wings.
- Joanna, Team TNT, Tecates not Trainers