At the Battle Creek group ride (Every Wed. at 5 & 6pm) we were discussing how we have never seen anyone climb the Wall of Death trail with no dabs. So we decided to put a bounty of a case of beer… People are always looking for more technical trail features, well here you go.
After a few weeks of discussion, the idea of scheduling an informal competition emerged and an informal contest announcement thread was launched, announcing a date and miscellaneous rules and rewards. My suggestion to include a go-slow competition riding down the Wall of Death (WOD) was adopted.
Yesterday at 1 pm, crew of BC Dirt Bosses and volunteers (including Tom Gehring, Travis Miller, Brett Swenson, Paul Thorsgaard) got things rolling for the ten competitors, including yours truly.
For the hill climb, they had 7 flags spaced out from the bottom to top for markers to indicate climb level. If you dabbed between marker 3 and 4, then 3 was your score for that run. But the ultimate criteria for the winner, like any hill climb, was fastest to the top with no dabs. Next criteria was furthest up without dabbing.
The champion: Heath Weisbrod. He went much higher than anyone else without dabbing on both his 2nd and 3rd runs. Here’s my video of his 3rd run in which he gets his front wheel over the final timber before dabbing:
Ray Brown took second and Troy Lawrence third.
Hill climb results (points using the scoring system)
1st: Heath Weisbrod (furthest up without dabbing)
2nd: Ray Brown: 12
3rd: Troy Lawrence: 11
4th (tie): Mike Andert: 8
4th (tie): Brett Swenson: 8
4th (tie): Griff Wigley: 8
7th (tie): Chip Bennard: 4
7th (tie): Jose Diaz: 4
7th (tie): Larry Marx: 4
7th (tie): Tony Marx: 4
The go-slow downhill competition was to see who could take the longest time to descend the Wall of Death. If you dabbed, you were eliminated.
Mike Andert won easily. He was the last rider of the competition and after demonstrating his prowess at balancing, he graciously rode to the end when it was clear he’d beaten Heath’s time. He could have balanced there all afternoon.
Go-Slow competition results (seconds elapsed)
1st: Mike Andert: 33.71
2nd: Heath Weisbrod: 19.9
3rd: Ray Brown: 18.59
4th: Griff Wigley: 17.9
5th: Tony Marx: 15.1
6th: Jose Diaz: 10.1
7th: Troy Lawrence: 9.0 (dab)
8th: Larry Marx: 8.72
9th: Brett Swenson: 5.0
10th: Chip Bennard: DNS
RESULTS OF BOTH COMPETITIONS:
Props to the Battle Creek Dirt Bosses for hosting this unique, um, group ride. As a geezer, I’m happy to just be participating in any competition so I was pleased with my two 4th place finishes. Plus, I got a chance to meet a bunch of riders for the first time, people I’d only known from the MORC forums.
We only had an hour or so to ride but we tackled several of the area’s tougher hill climbs. And if we didn’t make a climb the first time, we kept at it till we did. As I blogged a couple months ago, I love sessioning, so it’s cool to find two more guys who do, too.
Tim Larson took several runs at this long, narrow, dusty climb and finally made it. I think he was happy.
One common complaint with this trail is that there is no one right way to ride it. This leads to confusion on the part of people who are not familiar with the trail. It also causes some scary near misses by bikers bombing around blind corners not expecting to see people coming the other way.
I got lucky, though: five other guys showed up at the Battle Creek Community Center parking lot at the same time and they let me join them. L to R: Tim Larson, David Gavin, Eric Marr and Dan Malecha. Not pictured: Tim Brinkmann.
I’m not exactly sure where we went, but one of the guys said we covered 17 miles. Looking at the map (jpg) of the area, I’m guessing we covered 50% or better, including sections called “Jesus Saves,” the “Wall of Death,” and “The Luge.”
The trails were 90% dry, with just an occasional muddy spot. Despite the warms temps, “The Luge” (a series of big berms) was a combination of ice and frozen dirt as it’s well-shaded. Still, it had surprisingly good traction.
There weren’t any technical areas, though there were a few walls and downed trees for some skinny riding.
Given the two-way traffic on these trails, I’m likely to only ride here in the early spring and late fall when the lack of leaves makes for better visibility. Oh yeah, warm and dry winters, too.