A MAGICAL SCREAMER WEEKEND
THE DARKSIDE IS GROWING,
AN EPIC BATTLE ON THE HDT,
THE LEVI EFFECT, “GALLUP MAGIC”
& PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED
We just had an amazing – even historic – weekend in Gallup during which Levi Leipheimer raced the High Desert Screamer, joined us for a charity dinner and helped break in the new Brickyard Bike Park . . . and we have some catching up to do. A report:
DIRK’S DARKSIDE CLASSIC. Over a month ago (We’ll talk about the reason for the delay in this blog report later), Dirk did an absolutely masterful job of putting on a grassroots darkside race up to McGaffey and back. He recruited the riders, selected the course and came up with a cool team competition format that added spice to the race. Here are some memories:
Scott attacking just before the turnoff to McGaffey and precipitating a wild series of counterattacks,
Chuck letting Scott and Dirk go with the false hope that he and Kevin (whose training for the 24 Hour Championships is now paying big dividends) would be able to close the gap,
The Fab Five’s (Lloyd, Tim, Chad, Brian & Alan) wild finish that was taken by Tim after Chad attacked at Tim’s suggestion and blew up (Welcome to the darkside Chad!) and Lloyd sailed past the finish turnoff without turning.
Jenn dropping Bob – who was shamelessly trying to draft her – and then adding insult to injury by later trash talking him (Note to Jenn: Be careful about trashing talking thin-skinned-blog-reporters who like to dish it out, but can’t take it).
Nate being so jazzed that all he could talk about was getting a road bike. (Nate he has since completely sold his soul to the darkside. More on this developing story to come in future blogs.)
EPIC BATTLE ON THE HDT. Wow!!! What a race!!! Levi, who was in town to help us raise money to pursue designation as an IMBA Ride Center (and spend time with his old training buddy, Scott), came up short by a bike length against Damien Calvert in an epic battle (Damien pulled away and got a 20 second gap as Michael McCalla blocked Levi. Levi finally got around McCalla and dug deep to get back on Damien’s wheel with a mile to go, but could never get around him. Chuck dominated Cat 1 – even on a bad day. Peter took first in Cat 1 50+. Scottie (riding a Pugsly) and Jenn flatted out. Levi’s quote: “I see why you call it the Screamer. That course is fast!!!!!”
THE LEVI EFFECT. After the race, almost every age group medalist attended the awards ceremony to get a photo with Levi and then . . . Saturday night a crowd of 140 filled the Stronghold Church for a $100 dollar a plate dinner at which Levi and Scott took the stage to share a conversation about cycling with Gallup dignitaries and cyclists. The night ended when Chuck (who had just gone down in flames trying to get Levi to renounce the darkside with a loaded question from the floor) led a throng of Gallup cyclists onto the stage to give Levi a Rez Dog jersey as a thank you.
“GALLUP MAGIC.” Several days before the Grand Opening of the Brickyard Bike Park, Nat Lopes (our exceptional bike park designer) sent out an email that talked about an obstacle being overcome and added, “. . . . but once again the Gallup magic is in full effect”. Nat is right on. Over the last few months the Bike Park has overcome some obstacles and come together magically - far exceeding any reasonable expectations (both in terms of design and the interest it has generated in Gallup’s kids – and adults). At the Grand Opening, the ribbon cutting ceremony was shortened by a downpour – and nobody left. Everyone stayed until the thunderstorm passed, shook themselves off like a mangy rez dogs, and watched the magic: a throng of kids careening around the pump track; Gallup teenagers sailing over the freeride courses and collegians, Levi, Alan, Dirk and Chad competing on the time trail course. Tell me where else on the planet you would see a contrast like Tour de France veteran, Levi - as giddy as a teenager – getting ready to take another lap on the free ride course while less than 50 feet away, one of Greg’s toddlers is on a pedal-less bike cruising the tiny kids circle proudly exclaiming, “Watch this!”?
A CONCLUDING QUESTION
(PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED): So what took the blog so long to report on Dirk’s Darkside Classic? We’ll answer that by sharing a verbatim transcript of a conversation overheard between this blog reporter and an unnamed Rez Dog that took place two or three days after the Darkside race:
Unnamed Rez Dog: “Have you ever seen Dirk so jazzed up?”
Blog Reporter: “No. He’s definitely stoked.”
Unnamed Rez Dog: “What do you think he’s happiest about? The race being so cool or beating Chuck?”
Blog Reporter: “All of the above.”
Unnamed Rez Dog: “Do you think that he’s still sporting wood?.”
Blog Reporter: “No doubt! I think I’ll wait to write it up until he’s done pitching a tent - even if it takes a month or two.”