Friday, May 22, 2015
It was about this time of year in 2008 when I was about to go race Pikes Peak for the first time. I was ready for something new. I had raced the Baja 1000 the two prior years and felt like I had exhausted my off road enthusiasm. I had no idea what Pikes Peak was. I had only seen it on tv as a kid and figured I was more than up to racing flat out on a gravel road. I had been doing a lot of it on my Xr650. It was right about this time of year when 9 time Pikes Peak winner and western Colorado resident and Local legend Chuck Lee herd about my entry into the race and stopped by the shop where I worked to see if I had any questions. He immediately set me straight on needing some 19 inch dirt track tires. I laced an old hub I had to an old stop sign shaped rear rim. Getting Dirt track tires was another story. It seems until recently they were more hard to come by than patchouli oil at a Slayer concert. I finally found them and gave my credit card the biggest shwack I had ever done. I had them drop shipped to the Lone Duck campground. The Lone Duck was another Chuck Lee recommendation. Chuck was a local sort of hill billie legend. He had lost his drivers license so many times that I am sure it is still missing. He was known for leading cops on the longest dirt bike chase known to the western slope. They caught him when he finally ran out of gas zig zagging dirt allies in town. So I thought the Lone Duck was going to be some anarchistic biker party. I was given a camp on the other side of the duck pond and surprised at the solitude of the camp while I spooned on my new tires. The first day of practice was on the only asphalt, the bottom section. It scared the holy living shit out of me. I was ready to pack it up and go home. Luckily Chuck told me I needed to move my camp over to his crew. His fellow long hare indian blooded brother was racing and he had plenty of his specialty home brew moon shine. Chuck's son was racing and he was so wild he never made it to race day. His daughter was married to another racer who also had a racing brother and His old gray haired dad was straight out of a biker movie. Even Chuck's girlfriend was racing. The Lone Duck campground became my happy place. Real Good Nice People. I remember rain that night and every one dancing around like whooping savages. Day two of practice I found out why. The decomposed granet pea gravel on dirt track tires was unlike any joy I had ever experienced. I was done. Line hook and sinker. Since then I have watched the hill get paved over bit by bit and become fair skilled on the tarmac. I became a faith full racer of the dirt ovals (Still on the same stop sign shaped front wheel; It provides a good excuse for my crashes). In 2012 I built a purpose specific Pikes Peak bike and won the 450 class. This year for the first time ever I will be racing a bike built and prepared by others. A true no expense spared race machine. I will be competing in the heavy weight class with the big dogs.