Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Dead Baby Downhill - Northwest bikers meet, network, party their freaking arses off

The Dead Baby Downhill - one part downhill all-bike-class (from mini to tall, fixie to tourer, 10 speed to chopper - you name it) race, one part show (bands, bands, bands, performances by the oh so lovely (did I say lovely, I mean freaking HOT and inspirational) B:C:Clettes and Portland's own equally freaking hot and inspirational Sprockettes), one part bicycle skill competition (mini and tall bike jousting, bunny hops, skid comp, ect) one part chance to meet and network with bikers from vancouver to portland, and all parts PARTY. Sound like a good time? It is. This year among the some two dozen (!) vancouverites traveling down to the downhill were at least three distinct crews down acting in ambassadorial capacity - the 'Clettes, MC3 (Vancouver's venerable and legendary chopper collective), and a fresh faced pack of kids repping the Midnight Crew - Tim, Kati, Sascha, and Mark all proved themselves hardcore riding down there, while I (hey, I'm wounded ok?) took the cushy route and snagged a ride with some of the other Vancouverites driving down.

Friday morning, bright and early, we rise and roll our tired asses down to the pedal depot where we meet up and organize our automotive seating plans for the ride down:

With surprisingly few delays (a first for vancouverites!) we were on the road and at the border in no time. Jack, who had been denied entry once before (insufficiant ties and equities... yeah, right, like any of us would want to sneak into your country to STAY. get real) used a combination of smooth talking and impressively organized doccumentation to get us past the boder guards and then it was onwards to Seattle - with a quick pitstop by one of our teams to pick up a couple of canadians we'd linked up with who are on the first leg of a tour to Tiajuana. Damn.

We arived in town with plenty of time for chillin out. MASSIVE, MASSIVE thanks to dead baby Soren for providing us with a beautiful place to call home base (a nice top-of-an-awesome-old-house apartment with a eye-popping bike workshop), as well as guiding our clueless foreigner asses around!

- soren's workshop... there were some crazy and beautiful bikes in there -

-long car rides to funny things to bikers...-

-refreshments upon arrival-

Apparently there was some kind of airshow on that weekend, but we kept getting buzzed by jets all afternoon - fighters like these ones, but also big transports that said Navy on them. I suppose the rationale was that they were warming up for/ advertising the airshow - but all that flying around over the city really made me wonder if it was intentional for other reasons. "Remember! we are at war! don't worry though, we're in control - we're badass! our army is invincible. Just keep quiet and let us handle things and it will all be all right..."
Or maybe I'm just cynnical.

After recharghing our batteries it was onto the downhill:

-Chris B, Sascha, and Cowboy Tim after checking in for the race ($20 transforms itself into a t-shirt with your race number and a dead baby bikes waterbottle that is good for as much beer as you can drink at the kegs at the bottom of the race)-

-sascha and his fixie - the next day he proved how crazy he is by buying a chainring twice that size. okay, well thats obviously an exaggeration - but not much of one.

-the cowboy tooling up his mini, getting ready to take on the zoobombers

The 'Clettes/MC3's charming and mystirous Nix - and our good friend Sparks!

-Mark Reverse (how does he do those backwards cicrles?) repping the Midnight crew-

-James and Sara, of Portland's sprockettes-

-redsara, and in the background portland's Gabe aka Captain Fun-

and then we race.
and if you come next year
you'll find out what that part is like.

At the bottom, the babies have provided us with a full on party.

Kati and Nina at the bottom of the race

pedal powered rides!(!)

Soon it was time for Vancouver's velovixens, the B:C:Clettes--

-Damn. Our city is an exciting place with some amazing people in it. These women rock.

Then it was time for the Sprockettes - the mothers of the synchromized dance movement..

The footdown derby followed. If you've never been in a derby before, the rules are simple. Ride in a circle. don't put your foot on the ground - if you do, you're out. pretty much everything else goes - checking, shoving, sliding, bumping - whatever you think you can pull off. the crowd moves in and shrinks the arena as time goes on. We did 3 - I made final 4 in one of them on my road bike, which I think is pretty good, but Ifny showed her mini skill by winning a a round, and competing in the sudden death final:

Then onto the tallbike jousting. Unfortunately, no pictures of the event survived, as the free beer was flowing pretty heavily at that point. However, Cowboy Tim - in his first ever tallbike joust (first ever tallbike ride? correct me tim) won several matches handily, and Vancouver's own Tall Paul made it right to the final fight against legendary tallbike jouster Dead Baby Ken. Alas, ken took home the trophy. Looks like we'll have to train up. I might be crazy, but its also possible that that was Tall Paul's first joust. If so, watch out Seattle, we're coming for you.

From there we partied late into the night - ending eventually at Denny's at about 4 am where I had an item on the menu called the 'Heartland Scramble' which consisted of a large portion of scrambled eggs (which scrambled into them, had bacon, potatoes, cheese, onions, and green pepers), a side of hashbrowns, two strips of bacon, two sausages, and three pancakes. This was one menu item. I was reminded once again that we were in the USA.

The following day we went out for breakfast at a great little brunch joint called the Globe with some crazy ass and varied menu choices, before being led by Soren on a fun little tour/ freak bike parade (I love traveling with MC3 - their bikes and personalities never fail to attract positive attention from all sides) of Seattle before heading to the park to check in on the Seattle bike polo players, who were in a bit of a throwdown with the Portland kids.


Alas, all good things come to an end. Eventually the last of us car folk put our tourers from Montreal and Saskatchwean in touch with the Reverend Phil and some of the other portland kids and packed our weary asses up with much tiredness and a little more regret. Tim, Chris, Sascha and Kati stayed the night and are likely en route back to Vancouver right now.
Another sucessful ambassadorial, and we leave with the ties that bind these three cities a little tighter. Its one culture - if we pedal hard enough, we can make the border dissapear.

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