Mashed potatoes, peanut butter, jello-poo, communal suffering, hiking, dragging metal. What do all these words have in common? These are the words you might have used to describe the conditions at the 2009 Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race in Fayetteville, TN. Notice the lack of RIDING in that group. At lap’s end most bikes were easily weighing three times their original weight all due to the mud. If the wheels on the bike were not locked up from the mud pack, you might have been able to push the 70 lb sled.
BUMP was well represented as we sent 3 teams and 3 solo riders into a race few will forget. After getting rain all week, there was hope the course would dry out enough where the laps would be mostly rideable. That was anything but the case as an early shower to start the race turned a slick course into a type of mud that could only be described with explictives and adhesives. Lee Neal, Brendan Gibbs and Hardwick Gregg took on the challenge of racing solo. Each one managed two hard earned laps where they had major mechanical issues yet still persevered. The team of Stacey Davis and Mitch Moses also managed 2 laps. Mickie Powell, Linda Reimann, Mark Muro and George Mattison pedaled out a respectable 6th place finish in the 4 man team division. We had our friend Josh Musgrove team up with Frank Diaz from Florence to fight through mechanical problems galore to also hammer out 2 laps. You see the pattern here. We did make it to the podium as the 4 man singlespeed team of Corbin Camp, Chris Straynar, Chip Whitley and Matt Passino pedal, scraped and drank their way to a 3rd place finish. This marks the 3rd race endurance race in a row where we’ve had a team podium.
In the end, despite the bad conditions, the event was fun and is one we’ll be back to (we do have a streak to maintain). The slow lap pace allowed for some good times and some memorable moments. No one ever said getting dirty was going to be easy.