1. 2011 Chainless World Championship Bike Race: Crested Butte, Colorado -------- elliotscrossroads.com


    from elliot siff / Added

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    Its true, Crested Butte is home to the World Championships of downhill chainless bicycle racing. The race is a highlight of bike week and is of the many events ranging the 24 Hr Townie event to Pro races. I had heard about the chainless race many years ago but had never been in CB for bike week. One thing I did know was that the locals in CB know very well how to work hard, party hard and play hard. This event seems to combine those strengths into a tradition that is classic. Shuttles leave town for a couple of hours, piling bicycles of all sorts on a trailer and toting riders up to the top of the pass. I was on the last bus and when we arrived we were greeted by an onslaught of snowballs. The crowd of riders is fantastic. It seemed like there were at least 300 participants sporting wacky outfits and a variety of bikes. Bright colors, wigs, frakenbikes and pleanty of PBR consumption. A Lemond style start is organized. This is where everyone lays their bike on the road, goes back about 100 yards to await start and sprint to get on. I wasn't sure what it would feel like to jump on and not be able to pedal, it was weird! So off to a slow coast, along with everyone else a bit wobbly. I pass a rigged chariot and do my best not to hit anyone or my brakes- gotta keep the momentum. It was great to see the variety of folks as they passed me, turns out my ride was slow for this type of event. There are custom bikes galore. One serious competitor for the title welded his frame out of a steel beam, another rider managed to bring his entire Italian Ice food cart-bike. Riders coast for miles on a mix of dirt and pavement down the curvy pass dodging each other and generally just having a great time. Yes, it does get a bit reckless. Especially the surprising final 1/4 mile section of extremely loose gravel. As I said earlier, my mountain bike was slow for this type of thing with its big tires and lightweight frame. In confusion regarding my slow speed I decided to detach my front brake. I thought it may have been rubbing the rim a bit. Come the gravel section this did not pay off for me. I was sort of skiing at first but it felt the way it does when your car loses its grip on a patch of ice. I pulled it together, made some passes and made it to Main Street greeted to town by cowbells and hundreds of fans lining to coarse cheering and laughing as participants come sliding, showboating, crashing and cruising around the final 90 degree turn. After the ride down riders let loose in the beautiful Colorado afternoon sun, keeping hydrated with beer and listening to Paa Kow's By All Means Band. The Chainless World Championship is a truly unique event and tradition that captures the spirit of Crested Butte's extreme attitude and fun high mountain living. Check it out if you can. This and so much more at my website: www.elliotscrossroads.com Chainless World Championships Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Crested-Buttes-Chainless-World-Championships-Bike-Race/105659272804990

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