Several RAD dudes from B.P.R. AZ raced some bikes.
words by Frog, the Polliwog, B.P.R. AZ
The Fourth of July is an annual celebration of the roots of mountain biking at the Back of the Pack. This most recent patriotic pillaging party, marked the 20th anniversary of a time honored, underground downhill coaster brake race in Flagstaff, AZ known as Cruizer Nation. For twenty years Bryce Wright and his tribe in the north country have been rolling downhill at suicidal speeds to celebrate the freedom that ‘merica provides to its sons and daughters. Gnarly Marley baptized Joey and yours truly, Frog the Polliwog, at last year’s event, which until this year was the greatest bike race that I had ever raced.
I picked Joey up from his abode in Cave Creek bright and early so that we could win the race to the race. We were well prepared as Joey is the proud owner of Shadetree Bikes and had tuned our carefully crafted race machines to withstand the beating we were about to unleash. He even made my Worksman cycles custom klunker, Rolo, somewhat rideable by donating a seat that I could actually sit on. Amazing. We nearly lost the race to the race to Gnarly Marley but we were able to pass him and James as they succumbed to the culinary calling of Mike and Rhonda’s in Flagstaff. Sayonara Route 66, hello dirt church.
Early birds get the choice parking spot and EZ up rights and we set up camp accordingly. Gnarly rolled in just a few minutes after us and the rest of this motley crew slowly assembled. Loads of coaster brake klunkers and solo brake singlespeeds were unloaded and readied and the slow ascent to the starting line began. I would like to note that arriving to this spot near Lower Moto would be the only time that I have been able to beat Gnarly to this location. And I was driving my truck.
Cruizer Nation rules are pretty simple. One brake and fastest one to the bottom wins. Run what you brung. Coaster brakes are the most terrifying and fun way to get to the finish. Joey, however, found the sickest drum brake to run on his klunker that I had ever seen. It worked like a champ until the hail decided to make the race a little more interesting. Slippery when wet, fo sho. We braved the downpour, parked our bikes in a row and got ready. Bryce starts the race by stacking some cans between us and our bikes. First one to take them out with a rock and the race begins. You must walk to your bike (which is fine with BPR ‘cause we don’t run) or get hit with rocks and then head down the hill. I got to Rolo and got my game on.
Gnarly was probably close to finishing by the time I hit the trail. I was just super psyched to play in the mud and know that I wasn’t going to smoke my coaster. Everything was going fine until Joey decided to get rad on the inside of a turn and almost put me into a Ponderosa pine. That definitely stoked the fire and I started dropping a few hammers to catch up. I eventually caught him at the suicidal rock carnage area and edged on by. The course is not an easy one to remember and I had to use some creative navigating to get back, as did Joey and a bunch of other riders. We finally made it back and started adding our bikes to the stack. First one down the hill lays his bike down and everyone else dog piles their bikes on top until the last one is in.Back of the Pack was far from dead last at this race. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Gnarly ran the greatest race of his life by his own account. Joey and I had a pretty great time battling it out but I was able to pedal by him at the end. Rob “Fig” Naughton won his first Cruiser Nation, which is a little surprising because that guy wins all the time. Such a great event won by such a nice dude. Everybody truly wins at this race because it is too bitchin’ for words. Seriously, I haven’t done this race justice. Best bike event with awesome peeps.
Cruiser Nation 2015. Be there or be square.
|Brethren of the Klunk|
|Frog, The Polliwog|