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BikeProvo Rides With; Fun Fun Underground Forest Race

There are a lot of rides going on and a lot of people putting in hard work so that you have something to do no your bicycle even if it is getting a little chilly. We here at BikeProvo are going to be riding along and reporting on all the weekly happenings in Provo so you are in the know and the how.

                (On the Salsa in Costume)

As we reported on in the last post the Fun Fun Underground Forest Race (FFUFR) has been going on all summer long and has been a great success. They claim that the race is all about fun with no stress on entry fees, or any of those other barriers/concerns you get with a more conventional race. Having been to the race (and helped with some organization) multiple times throughout the season I can attest to this fact, and this last race of the season was no exception. The field was pretty sparse, there were only 8 racers but everyone of them was happy to be there and happy to race for a little bit of glory.

To offset the cold there was a group who brought hot water, chocolate mix, marshmallows, tea, and all the things you need to consume a wonderful warm beverage on a brisk day. Having fueled/warmed up the first heat was ready to go. This heat was comprised of mostly new racers which would take a two lapped shorter version of the track. There was a BMX bike (Suzy), 80’s Schwinn beach cruiser/mountain bike (Parker), beater mountain bike (Jordan), and a Salsa Mukluk (no shifting only rear brake; Dylan), which raced this first heat. The race was very close with Parker and Dylan battling it out for first place. On their first lap through both Parker and Dylan slid out on a slick bridge and crashed. They regained their focus quick and kept on pushing through the twisty bumpy forest track. In the end Parker eeked out a win over Dylan with Jordan coming in a close third, and Suzy spinning her 20″ wheels after him. Once the beginners heat came to an end it was time for the advanced heat to begin.

                     (First Group or Racers)

I ended up in the advance heat with Brian (80’s Schwinn again) and Mike (awesome beach cruiser). I think the only reason I ended up in this heat was because there was no one else who wanted to race against these guys. Both Brian and Mike have podiumed at the race multiple times. As a result of being in this group I took every advantage that I could and rode the Salsa. At the start we were all poised to go. 1, 2, 3….. GO, and we were off! Immediately Brian boxed me out of the small single track course with Mike breathing down my neck, but right as we slipped between a grove of trees something happened to Bryan’s bike and he went down. As a result I was in the lead and decided to give this thing my all.

(Brian on the Ground)

The only problem was that I still had a full two laps left. I turned off my brain and spun the pedals like there was no tomorrow. I realized pretty quickly that I had picked too high of a gear and was spinning like a mad man to keep moving. As I rolled through technical spots and ducked under trees I figured that I would be over taken any moment. “Just keep pedaling, Just keep pedaling. Ignore the fire in your legs and butt and just keep pedaling.” This was my montra and I stuck to it. First lap down and I was still in front this gave me a little extra burst and I buried my self even more into the pedals to keep the lead that I had. Then, sure enough, I heard the whizz of a freewheel behind me and knew that my number was up and that Brian would be passing me soon, but it never happened. Once I dared look back I realized that no one was behind me! This just stoked my fires even more, and due to the speed I almost went head over heels into the river. Luckily the Salsa was very forgiving. As I crossed the finish line I could not believe I had won my heat, and could not believe how much my legs and butt hurt from the poorly chosen gear I had raced in. Right after I collapsed off my bike dizzy and happy all at the same time both Brian and Mike sped into the finish. As it turned out they were both held up with Brian’s crash providing me with the win (the freewheel noise that I heard was actually a stick stuck in my spokes :)).I was ecstatic about my win until I realized it meant another two laps against the best of the best.

(Brian and Mike Going For It)

Since Brian crashed right out of the gate we all decided that anyone who wanted a second shot at the final race could race a one lap, winner takes all, heat to qualify (again this is more about fun than egos or points). So, once again Brian and Mike lined up to determine who would ride in the final race. They were both off like a shot, and while they were neck and neck throughout the whole course Brian swung in first with Mike right on his rear wheel.

(Some Spectators Warming up and Chatting)

With the final round being determined as Brian, Parker, and myself, and Brian deserving a rest before the final race, we all loaded our cups up with wonderful warm beverages and talked about bikes, and each of our laps, not to mention that everyone took the Salsa for a spin and dreamed about how awesome it would be if one of us could actually own it (it was a demo bike). It was great standing around just hanging out with other bike nerds. Aside from talking about the slippery bridge, and how technical the course was we also talked about how to jimmy rig fenders to your bike, as well as some of techniques everyone uses for riding in the snow/cold.

With Brian all rested we lined up for the final race. My little girl Karen got to do the count down, and we were off. Somehow I got out of the trees first, and once again decided to give these two laps my all. In the Tour De France they have a saying, “Once your in Yellow you ride with the strength of two men.” In other words once you are winning you do not want to lose, and on this wonderful fall day in October I finally understood what that meant. I gave the pedals everything I had and then some. I did not see trees, rivers, bumps, or turns I simply saw a line from start to finish, in essence I was floating, or ‘in the zone’. In the end I squeaked by in first place with Brian hot on my wheel and Parker chasing down Brian. As I came across the finish I was too out of breath to really celebrate but, as the oxygen came back to my head I was very excited about my win, and super excited about the race in general.

(Half the first place trophy was missing)

The trophies were presented with Parker taking a space holder trophy until the third place trophy could be delivered (the trophies float from winner to winner and the third place from last race forgot to drop off the trophy for transfer). On top of the the top three finishers getting trophies everyone who showed up got an awesome sticker compliments of UrbanDownfall. The stickers read “I’M A HARDCORE MOTHA FFUFR”, or, “HARDCORE MOTHA FFUFR.” I took one of each and each will find a place on two of my bicycles. Needless to say everyone was happy with the outcomes, and the stickers; and I was pleasantly surprised with my own effort. In the true bicycling spirit of camaraderie most every one ended up at Rice King together to celebrate.

Even if I had not placed at all this event would have been a ton of fun. Everyone who came was just looking to have a good time and ride bikes. The whole thing felt like we were 8 year old kids on the block jumping our BMX bikes off some home made ramp. Some of us would jump big, some of us would not jump at all, but we were all there having fun because of the bicycle. While this was the last FFUFR of the season it was announced that there would be one race this winter called, “The Worst Race of The Year”, in which any one who comes out to race will ride the same course once there was about two feet of snow on the ground. You can bet we will keep you updated on when that race rolls around. The normal FFUFR is going to fire back up again next year with the return of the sun. So that means you need to hunt down an old beach cruiser or mountain bike strip it down to one gear, and get ready for fun, friends, and bicycles. Thanks for the great summer FFUFR, and all those who have raced and watched. We will see you next year.

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