“I’ve got gas in the tank and cash in the bank.” even better, “If I only had one helmet I’d give it to you, give it to you.”
Where to start on this one? Holy shit, what a weekend. From saving a life to riding in the worst conditions possible we experienced it all. The highs and the lows of 24 hour mountain bike racing. Team FSU represented for sure.
For those who do not know Team FSU stands for Team Fuck Shit Up! Team FSU has made some appearances throughout the years at various endurance events, but none like this trip. In the past when we did a 24 hour mountain bike race in Moab we partied the entire way down, and then the second the gun went off we got serious…too serious. Sucked the fun out of it. This time around we set out to have fun the entire time no matter what, so there you have it. The premise for the weekend was to have a fun end-of-year race and just enjoy ourselves with as little suffering as possible.
Pre-ride at 3PM. That was the plan anyways, but somehow registration took a little longer then expected. I will squash any rumors now that the reason may have been because the registration was located a couple of blocks from a brewery….it was absolutely the reason! After registering at Wheaton’s Bike Shop in Kalispell – an awesome bike shop btw – we all headed over to the Kalispell Brewery to hydrate before our ride. One of the members of the team had purchased a growler holder for his 29+ so we had to stop to fill his growler, and drink our limit of delicious Cream Ales before heading up to the trailhead. I will say this about Team FSU; every time we roll into an event we like to make an entrance and this time was no exception. The Baker boys rolled into the parking lot in their 1976 Brave motorhome doing doughnuts with the stereo cranking Downtown.
Interestingly enough in the parking lot were a group of concerned citizens, so our entrance was not as well received as we would have liked. We were all standing around the motorhome, beer in hand, and getting our bikes ready. The music was loud and we were clearly having a great time. Which is why this next part still perplexes me. An older gentlemen who had just got done riding on the trails – quick side note, he was not riding the trails like we ride the trails this guy had a mustache and was full spandex, clearly not Team FSU material – so this guy comes up and proceeds to tell us about how there is a horse running around without a rider. There were emergency people running around the forrest looking for this rider. According to this “concerned citizen” he knew exactly where the rider was, and he was trying to tell us where exactly that was. Now, I don’t know if was the fact that we were drinking and having a blast, but we had zero fucks to give about what this guy was saying. It is not that we didn’t care about the injured rider, we just couldn’t figure out why someone would walk up to a bunch of dudes drinking, partying, and clearly from Great Falls (inside joke for all Montanans) and try to tell us where this person was at. Why didn’t this guy just go up and find her? He is the asshole in this situation as far as we were concerned so we responded as such. Stay classy Great Falls, stay classy.
Now fast forward about 90 minutes later and we are riding up a climb. Tom has the growler strapped to his 29+ single speed, and the rest of us have several beers in our backpacks. I have my music playing loudly so we can all enjoy my Hall & Oats Greatest Hits when Tom and Matt decide to take off up the hill. Casey, Jason and I thought it best to “save it for the race assholes!” A few seconds later I swear I hear “help! Help!” Casey must have heard it too because he looked back at me. Just as he, or I, were about to say “Did you hear that?” Casey bales off his bike and takes off running down the side of the mountain. I was only about half a second behind him. I knew instantly what was going on, he had spotted the injured rider. There she was laying under a tree. An elderly lady in her riding gear just lying there. She explained to us that she broke her hip, and despite Casey’s offer to fireman carry her up the hill she decided to stay put and wait for the “professionals.” This was probably a wise decision on her part.
Casey stayed with her to keep her calm while Jason and I flagged down the emergency personal. Ironically Jason flew down the mountain to grab the ambulance and ride back up. The reason this is ironic is because Jason was suffering from AIDS or some shit and was extremely sick. Looking back I am glad it was him because all of us now have AIDS – what happens in the Winnie stays in the Winnie. Everyone arrived and sprang to action. They put an IV in her and loaded her on the body board to carry her to the ambulance. The only really interesting part about this was that the five of us were the ones holding the IV bag, moving her to the board, and loading her in the ambulance! The two paramedics that were there would never have gotten her in there. One had a fucking cast on her arm! At some point during the long process of duct taping this lady to the body board we decided it was a good time for a beer break and a selfie in front of the ambulance:
I am not sure if the people standing around us were too impressed with this, but we could care less about what they thought. We were heroes as far as we were concerned! We finished the pre-ride had a few beers then got ready for the race which was to begin at 10AM the next day.