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Pirate Racing Calendar?

April 7, 2010

So I’ve been doing some racing this season, and it’s been great (more on that later).  But It’s also been expensive.

So far I’ve raced one sanctioned crit, a sanctioned road race, and two unsanctioned “Tuesday night” time trials.  I’ve registered for another road race this weekend and an endurance MTB race in July.  I’ve also purchased a racing license from my local governing body.

That’s $225 for five weeks of racing, not to mention the gas money, or the new tires/cables/housing/bar tape for Der Eisentraut, or the thousands of calories of food that go into “training” 10+ hours a week and racing.

Working leisurely afternoon/night shifts at the coffee shop affords me much time to ride a bike, but it doesn’t leave me much money to blow on racing.  So that’s why I want to put together a:

Pirate Racing Calendar

Unsanctioned races are awesome!  You won’t get any upgrade points, and you probably won’t have neutral support, but you will have shitloads of fun for very little money.

Unsanctioned races oftentimes use absurd courses that no legitimately-insured promoter would dream of using.  And since these races happen on open roads, organizers can use roadways that might be exceedingly difficult to get a permit for.

But hey, who needs a permit?  We’re just out on a bike ride, officer.  All thirty two of us.  As fast as we can go. Doing everything in our abilities to beat the guy next to us.

Another thing I love about unsanctioned racing is the camaraderie.  Sure, you can bro out to some degree at a road race.  But secretly (not-so-secretly for some) everyone is your enemy at a road race – everyone could be the guy standing between you and the podium.  Unsanctioned racing involves a lot more merriment, I think.  This is due to a combination of the knowledge that it isn’t a “real” race, the “we’re all in this one together” mentality of doing something vaguely illegal, and the fact that everyone probably knows each other already.

I’ve already heard tell of a few such events:

Gravel World Championship

photo "courtesy" of the Pirate Cycling League

Saturday, August 21st in Lincoln, NE.  The Gravel Worlds course is 150 miles of gravel roads, using a system of checkpoints where racers purchase Nebraska Powerball Lottery Tickets in several small towns.  “5,000 to 8,000 feet of elevation gain,” they say.  The course is fully self-supported and unmarked.

It sounds pretty perfect to me.

Except how the race is full.  But, like organizer Cornbread of the Pirate Cycling League said,

“I will say this, I can’t stop anyone from going for a bike ride. So if someone were to show up at the start of the event and wanted to ride their bike in the same direction as everyone else, well….I can’t stop that, now can I?”

Check out the Pirate Cycling League website for more info and more events.  It looks like these guys are doing some fun things on dirt roads around Lincoln.

Southwest Endurance Series

photo stolen from Arizona Endurance Series

The SWES is “a collection of the finest, self-supported, back country mountain bike endurance events in the south west portion of the United Stated of America!” according to the website.  “There are no fees, no prizes, but all attempts will be made to record your finish time in comparision to others (please cooperate here!).”

Under the SWES umbrella are the Colorado Endurance Series, the Arizona Endurance Series, and the New Mexico Endurance Series.  The series already started in January in Arizona and March in New Mexico.  The first events in Colorado happen in July.  In total, there are something like 20 events in the SWES series.

Most of the rides are centuries, sometimes with a long or short option.  They’re all self-supported.  Participants are responsible for figuring out the route using maps (no taped-off hundred-mile singletrack courses in a free event) and recording their mileage.  Registration is done in the comments section of the respective blog.

This is some real shit!  All praise be to the Bike Gods for endurance mountain biking!  All praise be to the Most High Internet for making these kinds of phenomena possible!

One Speed Open

strongman Erick Carlson issuing some bike hipster a one-way ticket to Offbackistan (photo courtesy of Summit Studios)

The One Speed Open is a mostly-gravel single-speed race in some town called “Fort” “Collins,” Colorado.  The race costs somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen bucks, but it all goes to a needy, upstart nonprofit organization every year.

My sources inform me that the One Speed Open uses a new 30-mileish course every year, usually at least 2/3 gravel.  It could flat you out three years in a row, one source indicates.  Another source hinted that former World Champion track champ/celebrity bicycle blogger Sarah Uhl will probably be there (and will probably beat you, so stay home if you’re afraid of getting beaten by a girl).  Speaking of getting beaten by track racers, sources advised bringing a box of kleenex to wipe away your tears after being punished by the heavily favored Former Collegiate National Track Champion Dan Lionberg of 400 Smith Racing.

Apparently, the dude who organizes the race announces it a few weeks in advance, and it could happen anytime between June and August.

I Need Your Help!

Surely, there is more similarly-awesome stuff out there, and I’d personally love to drive a few hours to race something like this in another town with a bunch of freaks I’ve never met before – the only problem is I am more-or-less clueless about these kinds of races on towns other that the one I live in.

If you know of a race like this and you don’t think it’d be a half-bad idea to publish it to the interwebs, please email or comment.  If I get more info, I’ll put together a calendar.  If not, good luck to us all in our pursuit of upgrade points this season.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Robinson permalink
    April 7, 2010 2:25 pm

    Number One!

  2. Tom Robinson permalink
    April 7, 2010 2:54 pm

    Seriously, though, there’s that Urban Assault ride that’s going on in a bunch of cities. It’s 30 bucks, but you do get some goodies, some beer, a raffle ticket, and some money get donated to charity. Seems like it might be fun.

    Alleycats. Madison, WI(where I live) has one coming up this month.

    Riverwest 24: Awesome 24-hour race in Milwaukee.

    There’s tons of this stuff in Minneapolis. Stupor Bowl is a huge winter race. There’s an upcoming gravel race called the Westside Dirty Benjamin.

    Here’s the “RACES” listing from MPLS Bike Love:

    Come to think of it, Jeff from Bike Jerks should organize a Twin Cities “pirate” calendar.

  3. April 7, 2010 3:45 pm

    Big thanks for making me aware of the One Speed Open

  4. Tom Robinson permalink
    April 7, 2010 3:49 pm

    Just found this. Last one, I promise.

    TransWisconsin, 550 miles of dirt. “No Entry Fee, No Prizes, Absolutely No Support!”

    • bikefag permalink*
      April 7, 2010 4:20 pm

      AWESOME! Thanks, Tom How could I forget the Riverwest 24?! I’ll check the other ones and add a few. Keep ’em coming, net-tards!

  5. chris permalink
    April 7, 2010 4:23 pm

    Maybe Velonews can send Leonard Zinn round to see how the bikes get set-up for ‘gravel’ , are there early season gravel classics yet ? I love the idea of ‘Pirate racing’ , seems a bit like the Cannonball Run type of spirit .

    • bikefag permalink*
      April 7, 2010 4:36 pm

      Yeah, Koppenberg was last weekend and Boulder-Roubaix is this weekend. A lot of strongmen were out on cyclocross bikes with road tubulars on their CX wheelsets (you know you’re bummed when you’re racing dudes in elite CX team kits in the cat 4s).

      My guess is that Leonard Zinn either will or already has written somehting about how to not get a flat at Boulder-Roubaix.

  6. April 7, 2010 5:34 pm

    I don’t much, but I DID just drive to Ohio to do a no-frills 50 mile ride for breast cancer. So yeah, I’m willing to drive a bit for some cycling myself!

    If you want to do anything fun and cheap in Colorado, let me know, I’m usually game.

    Just getting into all this cycling stuff…

  7. knarg permalink
    April 7, 2010 5:42 pm

    Paskenta Race Ride, annual ride on Super Bowl Sunday in February, 100+ miles, 4 miles of gravel:

  8. April 19, 2010 3:30 am

    yes sir I spent soo much money on entry fees last year.. not including USAT and USAC memberships. I guess its like training you train for 5 months for 2hrs of fun

  9. April 21, 2010 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout. Hope to see you guys make it out west for some of the events.

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