Big Bear Lake 2×12 Race and Mountain Fest Report

No 24 Hour race? No problem! Mark Schooley of Big Bear Lake stepped up to put on a Duo Team race to fill in the slot previously occupied by Granny Gears’ canceled 24 Hour race. At the pre-race meeting I was pleased to hear Mark say that he was committed to having an annual race at BBL on the second weekend in June, period. Perhaps Granny Gear will rebound and offer their 24-hour race in 2011? If not, then count on Mark filling the calendar slot with some home cooking.

And what Mark cooked up for 2010 was a blend of duo team racing on Saturday afternoon, spiced with post-race beer tasting and live bluegrass in the evening, topped off by a short stumble to your campsite after midnight. Perfect!

I opted to get my butt kicked in the “expert” class (with three laps each of the 12-mile course) rather than sandbag for two laps in the “sport” class. I liked the idea of riding three laps, versus two. No, I was not lured by the promise of the $1000 “winner take all” purse that Mark offered for expert classes, though many of the region’s top racers certainly found the cash too hard to resist. The starting list was chock full of local stars. The top three teams in each of the sport and expert classes also scored the coveted, hand-thrown mugs that are a tradition at BBL races. To get a closer look at the mug, visit Singlespeed champion Gerry Pflug’s blog.

All of my Dirt Rag office-mates were previously booked for the weekend, so I flashed the Bat-Signal on Facebook and found a teammate in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Meredith Erlewine of Athens Bicycle agreed to my stress-free, “have fun racing at your own pace” terms and conditions. I got pinged by USA Today cycling writer Sal Ruibal, and we made plans to camp/pit together and form a mini “journalist row” and flash our rock star credentials. Sal was racing with his pal Sam Wong. Sal’s friend Sharon Raboin rounded out the DC-area pit crew (thanks to Sharon for most of the photos used in this blog).

It rained, of course. Team Dirt Rag finished DFL in the expert field, of course. I had a great freaking time, of course. That’s why I race. Why do you race?

I’ll shut up now, and let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Click on thumbs to enlarge.


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