The van was loaded, coffee was procured and we were off to Tennessee to the second running of Dirt, Sweat and Gears. Justin and Karl attended last year’s event and had much good to say about it, I was happy to be traveling to ride/race in a new event.

SSUSA started off the event with 3 stages off SS mayhem, a 2 lap XC course, hill climb, and the finals took place on an inflatable American Gladiators style jousting pit.

The main 12 hour event started a noon Saturday. An early morning thunderstorm made for a frustrating first lap for most racers, the trails was covered with a layer of super tacky clay based mud which stuck to almost everything. You know it’s bad when singlespeeders are on the side of the trail cleaning their drivetrains.

The second lap was improved and by lap three the course was over 90% rideable. The weather was perfect, partly sunny, a bit breezy, not too hot. The race rolled on throughout the day, folks stopped by the Dirt Rag booth and hung out and renewed subscriptions, kegs were tapped and the evening snuck up on us. Soon I was strapping on a light for our final lap, and soon after was settled in with beer from Yazoo and a big plate of pasta Karl had thoughtfully prepared for the end of the race.

10 o’clock started the awards ceremony with numerous raffles, auctions and door prizes being announced also. I even caught a glimpse of one of those giant checks for some of the winners.

After another night under the stars we packed up and headed home. A solid event by a pair of solid promoters, Clay and Grant. Good course, good competitors and good folks to hang with, the trifecta of mountain bike racing.

See more images in Justin and Karl’s gallery. Results for the 12 hour race and lap by lap break downs are here. Offial race website with more photos is here.