Thursday, May 31, 2012


Things at Chimborazo had gotten a little hectic on Saturday, particularly when someone made off with the all the keys to the rush hour manifests. Volunteers had no idea what packages they were supposed to be accepting, so we all just had to go with the flow. Sunday things were so much easier.
Everyone met up at Shockoe Expresso for breakfast on the house, then rode off to Legend Brewery for the race start.
Headquarters was set up at Shockoe Expresso, where there was an alley entrance to the back end of the was perfect for bombing racers with water balloons. There are so many great photos of HQ on Julie Hunter's dad's facebook. I think you have to be logged into facebook to view the album, but they're public.
Ellie rode on the back of a scooter for most of the weekend and snapped a bajillion naccc pics too. Hers really show some Chimborazo sufferin'.

As soon as riders were off to Legend to start, we lit out to our stop at Kanawha Plaza.

armed with a boombox, TONS of water this time, and good friends, we actually even nailed down some shady seating.

It was a great stop. The fountain, or players club, was spewing hobo bath water, and only one hot racer jumped in to cool off. Incidentally, he was originally from LA and in a moped gang there, so he knew the Hells Satans movies and jumped in so he could experience the players club, which is shouted out as a group of people ride by in one of our films. It was funny to see him put two and two together.

The race started off with a sprint across the Manchester Bridge. The finish would come down to a sprint across this same bridge. As the riders got into the city from the southside, they poured past us and had to go to their first stop which was a climb up the 7th street hill. That shit is BRUTAL. Everytime a rider would come through and realized that they had to go BACK up that hill they were SO BUMMED. Austin made it across the bridge first, pulling everyone in. We ran out to the median to cheer everyone on.

Riders continued to pour across the bridge and drag themselves up the hill toward Travellers Alley and the Egyptian Building.

Racers started coming to us shortly thereafter. All fifty qualifiers were riding...each manifest they got culled off the last few riders that came in. Starting with an initial heat of 50, the next manifest only allowed 40 in, then 35, then 30, then 25, then 15, then 10, then 5.

It wasn't as hot as Saturday and everyone seemed like they were just in a better mood. Plus, a stop in the shade by a misting fountain was probably a real nice change from climbing steep hills and then descending on cobbles.

At one point a truckful of firefighters drove by slowly, and being naturally stupid, I waved at them in a "thanks for protecting america from fires!" kind of way. They pulled over and all came over to us. I thought for sure I had gotten us busted at our stop and we were gonna get kicked out.
After a brief round of questions (what are you doing? is this like an organized thing? whats in the packages? srsly the packages are empty, no cookies even?), they revealed that they were just bored and were wondering what we were doing.

Out of nowhere, Kate and Fred rolled up for our checkpoint. The firefighters started cheering and clapping for them as they got their stamp then rode off. It was awesome.
Again the riders were given a mailbin that they had to tote stop to stop, filled full of packages to deliver. Tough times.
We had bike theives on the course all weekend (in this case, the guy just riding on the sidewalk was busy patrolling for unlocked bikes), that was pretty awesome. All manifests and the handbook stated over and over to lock up your bike (as well as wear a helmet) and a couple guys were patrolling like pirhana all weekend...moving unlocked bikes around corners, running away with them, so on. Most folks were able to laugh it off, but you could tell a couple guys got sore about it.
Whatevs. Shoulda locked up!

As the riders whittled down to smaller groups, we could see the consistent top five or so always coming became real clear who the finals were gonna be between.
The last five were given their manifests and dispatched. Luke and Matt (locals) hit us up first, and we knew it would cost them time. Chas hit us up, third through the stop, then cut across the road and went on the "wrong way" side of the bridge. He'd gotten a tip from another rider that riding on the opposite side of the bridge to legend cut out an exit ramp that you had to take if you went on the right side, also shearing a few blocks off the finish. Literally moments behind him was Austin, who went the "right way" with traffic across the bridge. We knew that Chas had it....Luke and Matt rolled back through and blasted past us....Jim (originally a local but now a Cali transplant) made us his last stop then lit out across the bridge as well.
Apparently the finish at legends was amazing, and I believe it. Chas came in hot, a downhill finish, and dismounted, put a foot down and slipped....slid into the finish on his butt. Austin came blasting in right behind him and almost ran into Stu...chestbumped him! That little tip about the bridge paid off, Chas took first.

We were all set up to party at Legends but got a little screwed last minute....we'd made Legends the party spot based on the agreement that they'd donate two kegs of beer to us. When we arrived, there was nothing free...beers were 5$ each and food was also a charge. We hemmed and hawed, had a good amount of cash we were planning on spending at Legends but also realized the potential for a much better party....especially since we were left with a VERY sour taste after they took back their agreement.

We rounded everyone up and moved everyone to Holly Street park...literally just as simple as that. Hey guys, keep it quiet and polite, the party is moving to Holly Street park in thirty minutes. Settle your tabs. See you there for free food and beer. Thats the richmond spirit!!!

I loaded the podium into my car with the prize table and prizes, Stu took the rest of prizes in his Jetta, Eric took some other gear, and another helpful guy took all the Redbull coolers. Julie and Crystal split with cash to buy beer and cookout supplies.

Folks started riding up and we put em to work. Unloaded cars, set up the podium, and started arranging prizes.

Seriously, remember that time we moved a whole party of 130+ people across town seamlessly? Yeah, that just happened. Sean and Stu got the chance to chill finally, have some beers, and hug it out.

Shotgun a beer? Don't mind if I do...

Julie and Crystal arrived with a TON of beer and food, dragged it over to the grills and fired em up. There was a family in the park currently enjoying their memorial day weekend, they had the fountain cut on (which was AWESOME for hot sweaty racers) and the restrooms unlocked. Total coincidence, in the best possible way. They were happy to have free beer and food in exchange for leaving the fountain on and restrooms unlocked. One of the racers lived nearby and actually had keys himself, so we were able to shut things back down at the end of the night.

The kids continued to play for the duration of the afternoon.

The open forum started up, followed by a vote for the following years NACCC host city. Bringin it back to the midwest, looks like everyone can meet in the middle next year.

There was a totally hilarious quick lock compitetion, and as it started to get dark, winners were announced and prizes passed out. It was a perfect end to a great event....the cops even came and gave everyone a time deadline to leave. Easy breezy.

The podium was awesome, Chas took first dude, Carrie took first lady, Austin second, and Matt Kuhn (local) third. What a great race....everyone rode off to Empire for the final dance party of the weekend, happy, full, and stoked.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

two days later, lots of water, electrolytes, sleep, real food, and air conditioning, i finally feel like a human being again. well, closer to human, anyway.
the NACCCs were awesome, so much work and sweat and so little sleep, but it was really fun and everyone that came seemed like they had a great time. i know i posted about thursday night already, so no need to post pictures from then.
Friday I worked all day, then ran straight to Carytown bikes to pick up a shipment from South Boston Bikes and a tent for Saturday. Headed direct to Lamplighter, where Julie had been set up since 3pm registering people that were still arriving to town. There was also a little goods market going on, so the patio was no less than totally chaotic.
The excel spreadsheet for registrants was acting a fool, tripling or doubling entries, so Julie tried to move to an area of solitude so she could focus and not make mistakes.
this basically meant hiding in the back corner of the enclosed patio room beside the main building. Crystal had been helping and was passing out the schwag packets that all racers were getting. So much to tell people upon resgistering! Met a super sweet lady named Beth who needed someone to tag along with while her boyfriend raced the alleycat. Since I was working a checkpoint, as soon as racers started to pile their bikes in the designated lock up area to race, we jumped into my subaru and hit it to geometry park.
Some of the cutthroats had beat us there, which was good because as I pulled up and parked, a hoarde of riders rolled up for signatures. Those guys had it on lock, and we sat at the checkpoint for the remainder of the time shooting the shit and catching up, passing out manifest signatures as racers rolled through.
Left geometry park and hit up Strawberry Street Market, Julie was running solely on sugar and needed treats to keep her going and alive at the warehouse party. Picked up some mexican coke and chocolate for her, snacks for myself, and Beth and I were off to the warehouse in Scotts Addition. There was an office in the back of the building where Julie and Crystal set registration back up, it was due to close at midnight so Julie could get some hangout time.
Racers continued to trickle in, with the final tally of participants closing in upward of 130. The warehouse party was pretty fun...TrashHawk played a good set.
There were races on adult sized bigwheel bikes, and Brad D and Conrad (DJ Dirtyfinger) bumped dancin jams.
And this guy, the local favorite, made his rounds and won the favor of pretty much anyone with any responsibility for the race. I believe Fred walked away with a pretty nice prize for "best all around rad dude"
He didn't change his clothes the entire time, even when he stayed at Stu and Julies on Monday night to fly back to Seattle on Tuesday. He was a solid dude and seriously, everyone here loved him. Shawn tallied manifests and announced the winners, and everyone continuted to party way into the night. Since I really hadn't gotten sleep since Tuesday night, I left around 2am and headed home. I knew Saturday was going to be intense and I was gonna need my rest. Tried to down lots of water, Saturday at Chimborazo was all outdoors, the forecast was for wide open sun and 90 degrees, and my checkpoint was going to be in the middle of a field, no trees, full on sun. Being there all day would possibly kill me...
Woke up at 730 am to tend to the dogs before I was gone all day. Julie called and needed help getting doughnuts, so I ran out to Country Style on my way to Chimbo and picked up four dozen. I'd been thinking all night about the best way to make a tent for the field checkpoint, and I ended up grabbing a long pvc pole and a tarp and a bunch of twine from the garage. It would allow airflow on the sides while still providing shade.
Made it to Chimbo and jumped right into setup.
Racers started to trickle in as the race time of 9:30 drew closer.
I think everyone definitely needed the coffee and doughnuts, and as the morning gave way pretty quickly to 90 degrees and humid, the water was a hot commodity too.
Stu marked out checkpoints on a map and taped it to the table, drew up a list of organized heats lettered A thru I. Dudes were put on "stand by" until their heat, and mostly ended up watching from a series of vantage points at Chimborazo. Its really a great spectator park in so many ways. I hustled down to the field shortly thereafter, I needed to get my tent set up so I wouldn't die all day. This was the view from my spot:

When the heats of racers would come at us, we'd be bombarded by sweaty running dudes (and ladies) for about thirty minutes off and on. Basically, at the top of the first hill where you can see a slight line or break in the vegetation(between the gazebo way up top and us way down low) there was a bike rack, a trash can, a road and a parking lot. You had to lock your bike up and run down the stairs or hill to get to my checkpoint then Chads, which was literally through a poison ivy path in the woods. Terrible!
It was so brutal and hot that a lot of folks ended up walking it. There were definitely some folks straight up GOING FOR IT, running full throttle the whole time, and those guys definitely qualified high for Sundays finals.
I didn't get any photos of folks on the hill, simply because I was hustling manifests, stamps, and handing out packages. The whole race was organized so that people would drop off a package to you that they would later pick up, so the packages recycled themselves and we never really ran out. That makes my brain explode, but it worked.

here is a great video i found of it. the race was truly intense, the sun and heat definitely added a tough factor to the course.
after the initial heats, it was time for the rush hour championships. The top couple guys from each heat had the option to race Rush Hour, which was basically just a prize payout race. 25 Races in this heat, the guys picked up a mailbin at my stop that was filled with eight packages. after hitting one or two checkpoints, they came to me, got the big saran-wrapped mailbin, and had to make a fast mental plan of the best way to deliver all eight packages as fast as possible. the race was very smartly done, with lots of room for fast time if someone was quick to think on their feet. most of the manifests were labeled "pick up in order, drop off in any order" so the work could really be mapped and done quickly.
After the rush hour championship, we shut it down. it was 630pm, I was sweaty and sunburned and tired and hungry. we were all totally fried. I helped cleanup the park as best I could, but was so sunburned and dehydrated (even though i drank 2 two liters of water) that my hands were cramping up as I drove home. I got a solid meal, a cold shower, and went to bed, thankful that Sundays finals were a little later in the day.
A full report on Sunday is in the works...

Friday, May 25, 2012

i can't stop looking out the window of my house and smiling. right now we have the best driveway, EVER. i'm sure the neighbors are starting to panic, though with Arizona tags still on the Travco, maybe they just think she's visiting.
we need to finish media blasting the exhaust manifolds for the Brave, then paint them with hi-temp like we'd planned, then reinstall with new gaskets. then back to the inspection station for a pass. trying to caravan for my birthday weekend, lets go ride mountainbikes in the shenandoah! swim in freezing cold lakes, sit outside by a campfire all night, and enjoy life.
the NACCCs finally and officially kicked off last night. i ran to gallery 5 to help julie with registration right after work, 60 or so folks arrived and picked up their packets for the weekend's races.
it rained on and off all day in a somehow refreshing way. definitely sticky humid outside, but the little bouts of sprinkles made it pretty nice.
the first race was a little here and back deal, called art attack, where racers went back and forth to different spots, picking up packets that contained pieces of art. they had to go to each checkpoint to get all the pieces, which were assembled at the finish to create large photographs from previous races and events cycling related, courier specific.
the sunset looked awesome, we're gearing up for a partly cloudy weekend in the 90s. should be a really fun weekend. i'll be at work today all day, then off to work a checkpoint for the first set of qualifiers tonight. stoked!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Well after five days on the road, lots of tears, stress, tons of small mechanical failures, three hitchhikers/travelers, and a little robbery, Estelle called us last night, in Richmond, ready to meet us and give us her baby.
Met her at a shopping center right off the interstate, she was super emotional to let go of her long time home and adventure mobile. Lots of hugs and tears later, she was grabbing andrews beard and hair, calling him a hippy, and the smiles started from there. She'd picked up a traveling companion back in Texas that turned out to be a mechanic...he wasn't even hitch hiking necessarily, he was just walking down the road. She pulled over and hollered at him, taken aback by her upfrontness, he took her up on the offer to go to Virginia. Good thing he did, cause he helped her replace the points, tune the carb roadside, install a new muffler and more, but his biggest contribution came in the form of emotional support and company for the long drive.
We took em the house to drop off the RV and meet the dogs. Regrouped, then we took em out for a good meal of their! Estelle had been livin hard and lean, for the trip they bought a loaf of bread and deli meats for their meals, they kept it in a little styrofoam cooler that didn't do a good job keeping anything cold. as the ice melted, it soaked the bread and meat, and they kept eating it on the trip because it was all they could afford. soggy sandwiches, a joke that kept coming up all night. we got em some good beers and bellytimber pizza, filled em up. i've never dined with anyone that salted AND peppered their beers...the waiter at bellytimber was clearly put off by their appearance, but whatever. the traveling friend had a huge weed leaf tattooed on his hand, and hardly any other visible tattoos, i can understand being taken a little aback. haha. put em up in a hotel so they could shower and sleep in a real bed before they embarked on their journey back home. Estelle wanted to travel home with her new friend, so they decided to bus it together. We hung out long into the night before we said our goodbyes. Definitely sending her some postcards in the future, this was a week I'll never forget and the same can be said for her and her friend. Sometimes things just work out, we looked at a lot of travcos here on the east cost and they all kind of sucked. Rotten, hacked up with years of poorly done repairs, damaged name it, we saw it. The right one came along, in the exact size we really wanted, and it worked out. I really wasn't believing it, I refused to even hardly talk about it until it was in the driveway. Well, here she is, she made it nearly cross country safe and sound. A testament to her condition.
This morning I found the original owners manual in it, a very awesome suprise.
Three ring binder/history book. Feels like striking gold.