Saturday, the 24th of January, greeted racers and spectators of the 2015 Stomach Churn with a warm sun and a damp track. The short-track style mountain bike race offered a 1 hour race and a 30 minute race along with a kid’s race and the Humboldt premiere of an event called crailing.
As the remainder of the morning fog was melted by the sun, racers registered for their events, greeted fellow cyclist friends, and caught a few warm-up laps on the track. The course was about a 5 minute loop that led riders over roots, up steep ascents, down grassy hillsides, and into the main field where the start and finish would be. All the while weaving in and out of dark wooded areas into sunny openings. Race director, Justin Graves, put thoughtful effort into allowing opportunities for various line choices throughout the course, which encouraged strategic racing.
The hour long race brought over 30 racers which allowed a consistent flow of riders through the main event area during the race, providing spectators with the opportunity to ring their cowbells and heckle their friends on course for most of the hour. As the riders settled into their paces, Steven Pearl held his lead with a comfortable gap in front of second place. Pearl finished the race with a gold and a rightfully earned PBR offered by some wild spectators caught tempting racers with refreshments in an unofficially designated feed zone. Dylan Wright of Revolution Bicycles (Revo) settled into second place followed by Chris Johnson (AE) in third, all three of which completing a total of 11 laps within the hour. Kaydee Raths (Revo) used her super human powers to hold off her competitors for the duration of the race, bringing in a well deserved win and completely a grueling 10 laps.
Following the hour long race was the kids’ churn, a miniature version of the main race track that still offered much of the notorious flavor those woods offered. The racers faced one or two laps depending on their age and enjoyed the challenge of the course. All finishers were awarded with a tasty treat from Arcata Scoop.
As the kids rode their post-race highs, racers now prepared for the 30 minute race. The sun was high in the sky and Tim Daniels had an awesome selection of food prepared along with a keg of home-brew, and a keg of Mad River Steelhead XP donated by Revolution Bicycle Repair. As spectators sipped beer and enjoyed tri-tip sandwiches and veggie chili, the 30 minute racers charged down the start lane and onto the course. Stakes were high as some of the racers on course were competing for most laps in the day and had already raced the hour long course. When riders first came around the timers booth to begin their second lap, the gaps between racers were small, leaving good chance for placement changes. However, by lap three Maceo Gienger, of Whitethorn, CA, still had some energy on reserve as he pulled away from his competition and remained in the lead. Steve Pearl was on course for his second race of the day, finishing in 5th for the 30 minute but in first for most laps of the day, completing a total of 16 laps! Kaydee Raths (revo) won the female title of the day finishing 15 laps for the day, and kicking most of her male competitors’ butts too.
Post race socializing had those who could stick around in good spirits. Bryan Buswell and Dan Trout had coordinated with Graves in creating Humboldts first ever crailing competition. The race consisted of a twisty course leading into a short straight away, spanning about 60 yards. The course featured a series of hand constructed obstacles including a teeter-totter, a skinny log which riders had to ride the length of, a rock garden, a suspension bridge, and even a “mustache ride”! Riders were then asked to attempt their slowest run without taking their feet of the pedals and never allowing their wheels to stop turning. Crailing stands for trail crawling, so you essentially get the point. Buswell and Trout created a masterpiece course, and riders had a fun time struggling with the skill required to ride at a sluggishly slow pace and still manage to overcome awkward obstacles. The results of the crailing competition are featured below.
Overall, the event was a success. The course required a lot of time leading up to race day, and those who worked on it feel satisfied with the end result. Big thank you to RCMBA for the food and sponsorship, Revolution Bicycles for their support, to Arcata Scoop for providing the kids with sugary prizes, Los Bagels for the bagel and coffee donation, Bryan Buswell for the artwork, and Dean with Miranda’s Rescue for his encouraging support and for the awesome work he is doing at his and his partners no-kill animal shelter. Also, thank you to Justin Graves for organizing such a fun event!
Photos and Results listed below: