Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rockin' and Racin' - Singletrack Cycles Final

The full weekend of rock and racing has come to a close. I don't mean Rock Racing, I'm talking rock and racing as separate entities - though you can race and rock at the same time. Everybody knows that. I'm referring to actual live, loud rock; as in I hope you brought ear protection, 'cause you're gonna need it rock.

Pre-kids, years ago, I attended a fair amount of rock shows. Into the bar scene I was not, it was a necessary evil to witness local music however, so I'd be in/out as soon the show ended. It was about the music, not hanging around some scene - not that there's anything wrong with that. Once the kids arrived, time and interest for such festivities fell off the map. I still remain a rock fan and receive my usual dose via iPod action. Good enough for me.

Recently, one of my old Mackie Designs (and mountain biking pal) Brian picked up the guitar again. He joined forces with a few other ex-Mackiods and began jamming. The jamming has turned into official gig dates at local clubs, so I checked one out on Saturday night; along with yet another old Mackie friend, Rupp as we call him, sharing the drive down to Tacoma with me.

Brian's band is Powerhitter, a trio, just play super heavy metal type riffs - no vocals - with a bit of a groove though. First time I've been out like this in years, so it was fun and stupid loud. They put on a good show and I got a kick out of seeing an old pal on stage crunching out the riffs. Brian pictured above (minus beer) with drummer Kevin (with beer). Out of the multi-band line up, they were my favorite outta the bunch. Killer job.

Powerhitter hits the stage, captured via crappy cell phone camera. All other rock images of the night captured via borrowing Facebook posts from the unsuspecting.

Headlining the night at Hell's Kitchen, yes - Hell's Kitchen - was Blistered Earth, a Metallica tribute band fronted by yet another old school Mackoid; Brad Hull. Brad is known a bit from the Seattle metal scene and is a damn talented guitarist. I am somewhat a Metallica fan, but not really big on tribute bands, though these guys have it down. The crowd dug it for sure.

Blistered Earth cranks up the temperature in Hell's Kitchen. Family night out, this is not.

Here's Mr. Hull, mid head bang, hard at work.

After getting more then a night's worth of sonic blast, risking a cheeseburger from Hell's Kitchen itself, I called it a night at 1:00 AM leaving Blistered Earth in mid set. With an hour drive home, and Ian's mountain bike race just a few hours away - enough for me. It was great to see some old friends and revisit with my pal Rupp during the drive to and from the Rock-O-Thon. I wound up hitting the sack around 2:15 AM with the alarm set for 6:00 AM. Ouch. Drinking type I'm not, so no pain there - just the sheer pain of no sleep involved.

Time to shift gears, literally and figuratively, back to normal family life and yes, bike racing. You know it, you love it, you can't live without it. Being semi-smart, knowing I'd get home late, race supplies collected and piled earlier, ready for Sunday morning transport. I also copied the directions to the race site via Google, since we've never been to this location, near Maple Valley.

My alarm set for 6:00 AM, though Ian wakes me at 5:50 AM. Ouch. We're out the door and headed south with time to spare. As we get close to the race site, Google directions send me on a unplanned tour of rural Maple Valley. The directions are actually incorrect and we're officially lost. With the 9:00 AM race start looming, stress level begins to percolate. Not fun. I call home for assistance. Wife saves the day by cranking up the home computer and supplies the correct directions, via Mapquest. Man, we're cutting it close - we're talking minutes.

We arrive with barely enough time to unload bikes, register, suit up, and pee in the woods (as nature intended). Never mind warming up or pre-riding the course. I get Ian to the line about 1 minute before lift off. Good luck, have fun, see you at the finish.

Off they go. Due to the late line up, Ian hugging the edge of the gravel road, not exactly a great starting position. Considering we almost missed the race, we'll take it. Ian's U-12 class mixed in with other ages for a mass group start. The more the merrier.

Gidean once again grabs first place for boys, U-12. This kid is quick for 10 years old. I spent some time talking to his parents, nice folks. Two wheeled fanatics they all are. Dad races mountain bikes, 'cross, downhill and motocross. Mom also races and coaches one of the new high school racing teams. Cool, eh?

A few minutes later, Ian crosses the line in second place, complete with raised arms. Said this was the best course of the series. Also mentioned two tip overs due to clipless pedals learning curve in progress, plus one official crash with a nice shot to the groin. Doh! Still wants to use clipless pedals and race however. Yup, that's my boy.

Fellow JL Velo teammate Mike, rolls in with a second place finish in the 13-18 age class. Nice race for him as well.

A few other JL Velo juniors also raced. Here brothers Mitchell and Trey laugh about something with Mike - boys will be boys. About 30 juniors total ride for JL Velo - awesome.

With the second place finish today, Ian scored second overall for the series. Gidean nabs first overall, while his brother Titus pulls in for fourth overall. Third place kid appears to have cut out early. All these kids did a great job, hitting multiple races to accumulate points towards a bigger goal.

Teammate Mike parallels Ian in the 13-18 division. Second place for today and second overall for the series. Great riding and fun to watch the results.

Ian displaying the accolades of his work, pretending not to be freezing cold. We've had some freaky weather this spring, cold and wet. Some people mentioned seeing snow in their areas that morning.

Pretty cool looking trophy. Big kudos for Budu Racing, they post the results in minutes after each race, awards shortly after, then results posted online the same day. Fantastic job. Other race promoters could learn a few things from these folks. We'll be back next year for sure. Now that this race series is complete, I'll scan the calendar for future mountain bike events. Ian had a blast, learned a few things and is ready for more action. Me too - as in supporting Ian and getting my own ass out there.

Started this post with head banging metal, will end it with puppy cute bike fluff to even things out. This is our neighbor Corey, all of 5 years old, first time riding without assistance. Another cyclist emerges from the training wheels cocoon. The little Trek he's cruising has a bit of neighborhood history. It was Ian's first bike, then given to Aiden, Corey's older brother, to ride. Aiden outgrew in time for my daughter Amy to use it. Now Corey is putting more miles on the little Trek. When he's done with it, we'll see where it winds up next.

With that, I'm outta here. Rock on and ride on....


  1. Rock'n and Roll'n Power rock and bicycling are the best soul foods.
    Oh, and that picture of Ian with his hands raised crossing the finish line, priceless.

  2. @Mr Davey: Yup, that be true. Rock and bikes, all a boy really needs.

    The raised arm finish is pretty cool - think he caught that from watching the Tour. I still have blast riding and racing with him.