Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cheq 09 is in the Books & The Scam Has Been Revealed

Photo: Brett Morgan
I really don't even know how to put this whole event into words. Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival is the largest or one of the largest mountain bike events in the United States. It's a "Happening" not just another mountain bike race. Those who experience it are taking part in something that is very unique. It's a mass gathering of mountain bikers and the tools of our trade. Whether it be 26", 29", geared, single (my preference), steel, aluminum, full carbon, tandem, team, individual, experienced, inexperienced...the list goes on. The fact of the matter is, once you've experienced there is no turning back.

Last Saturday proved to be the best day I have ever had on a mountain bike. Even with cramping after the 30 mile mark, I was still able to take thirty minutes off my time from last year. The key I believe is the single-speed 29r and of course a hell of a lot of training on the single-speed. My time for the hilly 40 mile course was 3:06 and I believe that a sub three hour was definitely a possibility. Next years plans have already been made and I'll be shooting for 2:55 or under.

Our whole experience turned out to be a typical "Amigo" adventure with some additional bonuses thrown in for good measure.

Photo: Brett Morgan
This sign was located about half way up Fire Tower Hill. May I have another?? The last eight miles would bring on one hill after another until the forest trail opens up onto the ski hill at Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI.

Photo Courtesy of Skinny Ski

These scalawags pictured here at the start would be on the trail later, handing out shots of rum to any racers who dared. One of their flags said..."The Beatings Won't Stop Until Morale Improves."
Grasshopper and I participating in the post race celebration of drinking a few a cold ones and having some laughs with the rest of our cycling friends.

Jay's son who is pictured with us here participated in his first ever Chequamegon. He rode the short course and no doubt will be back in the future to tackle the 40 miler.

My favorite image of the day is our Amigo Kenny bringing it home after a really tough morning in the saddle. Notice how he has caught the eyes of a couple of female spectators. True "Amigo" style.

Of course it wouldn't be Chequamegon without a bit of a saga. Months ago in the cold of winter the Amigos got together at a local pub to plan their summer. When the Chequamegon lottery opened we sent our registrations in with a prayer to cycling gods that we would all get in. Unfortunately none of us got in and we were faced with the possibility of having to write an essay. It would have to be a good one.

As the weeks passed and we began our spring road rides Matt and Bob brought to Kenny's and my attention that they could get in with two free passes from Trek that were offered to them by a local bike shop. They shared this news with Kenny and I with heavy hearts and feelings of guilt, knowing that we would be reduced to only being spectators drinking beer and shaking our cowbells along the side of the trail.

The three or four of you that follow this may recall an earlier post I made taking about the sadness that I felt about not getting in through the lottery and also having our essay rejected. Well, needless to say it was a scam. A shameful one at that. Kenny put together a marvelous photo essay which of course got us in. Of course we were not about to let our friends know. You see Kenny and I had told Matt and Bob that because they let us down by taking the free passes they would now have to buy us beer whenever we met for happy hour or went for a ride. It was a marvelous scheme. Some of you knew of this plot and more than likely did not think too highly of it, but forty beers later...Kenny and I were pretty damn proud of ourselves. Someone asked me how long we planned on carrying on with this whole scheme and my reply was right up until we pick up our race packets the night before.

I can't tell the rest of this story because of legal matters (bullshit), but I can say that Matt did kind of throw a wrench into our plans and actually got Kenny and I into the race...not knowing of course that we were in all along. I know...this is very confusing and it will have to remain that way.

So it was the night before and we going into the Telemark Ski Lodge to pick up our packets that we gave each of our friends an envelop containing our original essay along with a letter explaining the whole thing.

Matt... upon finding out that he had been scammed all along. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words. What made it even better is that there were about 20+ other people who had knowledge of this for quite some time and none of them let on. After the race on Saturday Matt and Bob truly found out how far our little plan had gone. Everyone got a great laugh out of it.

Guess who's buying the beer now...

And so...Another Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival is in the books. Ahhhh! What wonderful memories we create for ourselves.


Ali B. said...

I thoroughly enjoy a good scam... you guys were brilliant & that picture is priceless! I am motivated to do this race next year & already have an essay idea - JUST in case I need it!

Enjoy the fall riding season,

grasshopper said...

that was a perfect weekend scam and all.
Bill watch you back, paybacks are a bitch

Kenny said...

Nice job, Bill! I know that with your "single" mindedness, you'll no doubt break 3:00 next year. As far as the scam goes, it was a wonderful thing. The pic of Matt is priceless!