225: More Rally
We should talk about anything but bike racing at this moment. That is my feeling anyway. We have been sitting in the back of a vehicle talking about Flandis/L'armstrong all day. And then we took a break for 10 minutes to buy the biggest sandwiches I have ever seen, and then went back to talking about the situation. The one thing that I will say, that was the most honest thing I have seen all day came from Mr. Joe Staples when he said (and I am paraphrasing here) that he was simply going to take bicycle racing for face value from now on — "performance art." And really when you get down to brass tacks (and think about football, basketball, soccer, and baseball) that is really what we are doing anyway, just watching some pretty intense performance art. Ok, that is it, I am done. For now.
Moving on. If you get the chance to see some Rally Racing this summer you should do that. This past weekend Joe and I went out to PIR to watch the opening night of the Oregon Trail Race that happens in Oregon every year. Was particularly interested because Adam Craig and Carl Decker were taking a minute out of their World Cup Mountain Biking careers to put the pedal to the metal (so to speak.)
Cindy Lewellen was the one that introduced Joe and I to these two. Well, Adam and I met at Nationals last year, but that is another story. Any tension that might have been in the air was quickly dispersed by the bubbly personality that is their Pit Crew and takes the shape of the ever vivacious Tina Brubaker (surprise!). Who knew that not only is Tina a bike racer extraordinaire, but that she also runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to results handling, making sure that they are at their car when the race is about to start, and just generally keeping people amped? I will let you in on a little secret, it involves drinking lots of NOS energy drink, and I implore you - stay well away from that stuff. It is the devil's juice.
Now, my only experience with these races has been in a smattering of Youtube videos curated by one Kyle. Apparently he has more experience in the ways of these things than myself, so I jumped at the chance to not only check out this other world, but to see how two Mountain Bikers handle themselves in this realm. And really, they do handle themselves quite well, because despite not having the best equipment in the game. Note the year of their car in the screengrab below, now compare it to the others on the page. Yet, these two still manage to hold their own when it comes to these other super charged NOS-mobiles(I think that they have a dual purpose for this liquid - to burn holes in stomachs and fuel cars). And my guess is that is has something to do with how well they not only work together, but their drive to compete, no pun intended.
It is hard to discern really how they got into this game. Carl because of his father, who taught most of the State Troopers in Oregon how to defensively handle their cars when on the chase. Adam because, well, the best answer I could get was that he was not too tall and did not get car sick when shouting out directions to Carl in a 120 mph car racing through the desert. Which seems like a good enough reason for me. And not to mention that he spent a good amount of time perusing what looked to be literally hundreds of pages of notes on turns.
The scene itself is one that is worth noting I would think. It is something like a mix of Belgian Cyclocross and American Motocross (also something that I have no experience with - apparently there is something called Vintage Motocross as well) the smell of what I imagined to be fuel mixed with burning tires and brake fluid permeated everything and lingered in the nostrils long after we left and I was left sitting in front of the computer looking at photos and hearing the racing somewhere deep in my ears.
The funniest scenario of the night was when Joe grabbed the poster of Ken Block and held it up so that I could shoot it with the actual car in the background. A guy saw this happen and needed one for himself. The funny thing was that he made his child work his camera phone so that he (the adult in the situation) could get a photo of himself. He was very pleased. Not sure if the son was or not? But I figured the right thing to do was to take a photo.