Friday, August 27, 2010

...what happens in west virginia...

...doesn't happen many other places.

The long promised second post from the Big Bear Ultra race weekend.  Three highlights from a cultural environment that just can't be replicated east of West Virginia. 

1) Shots at registration
On-site reg. was cheaper than on-line reg.  So we showed up with a check in hand.  Pulled through the guard gate and up to about two cars with mountain bikes on 'em.  A family picnic was happening - is there really a race here tomorrow?  A tent was up - oh, look, some waivers to sign.  We get to chatting with the promoter/registration volunteer/course marking guy/aid station master (yes, one guy, all those things).  Seems it's his birthday.  We're signing our lives away.  His family is bringing him the first of several rounds of shots in plastic cups.  They offered us some - we declined.  His birthday cake had boobs on it - big enough that they couldn't just be made from icing - there were real cake mounds in there.  A two year old may have been pumping the keg.  Welcome to West Virginia.

2) Golf carts with fat tires
Next to registration, is a golf cart.  Or four.  The shifter knob on one is a Miller Lite tap.  No, it doesn't actually dispense beer anymore.  We're chatting with the birthday-promoter about the golf carts - he says there are like 1200 of them in the campgrounds on site.  I find this remarkable.  He goes on to tell me that many of them are worth more than my two best bikes combined.  Who knew.

Someone's grandma toddles by.  She overhears our conversation about off-road golf carts"See that blue one over there?  It's mine.  It only has a little lift kit - just enough to get me in trouble."  She keeps walking past our rather incredulous looks.

3) Fireworks and telephone poles
I knew from some blogs online that there was a fairly good party scene to be had post-race.  We hung with some other guys from PA who race the MASS circuit before venturing over to the big campfire.   Well into the second keg of the night, the group is just getting going.  The drunkest guy remarks that he's probably not driving home.  Several others agree. 

Drunkest guy gets another beer and a stick.  Shea remarks It's always the drunkest guys who want to play with the fire.  We look over 20 minutes later.  Something is emitting greenish sparks.  Hmm.... there's a ceramic insulator.  And that's an old telephone pole it's attached to.  Not your ordinary firewood - those guys come prepared.  Sparks fly near their tents and sleeping pads.  They must have good karma - nothing went up in flames while we watched.

The fireworks had started at 11pm and randomly a few went off around 6am that morning.  Somehow, I thought this vagabond group of mountain bikers might be out of fireworks.  But no, they had a whole 30 gallon Rubbermaid container full.  The MO - pick one out, light it right there (over the bin) and aim it in some random direction.  Toward the port-a-potties.  Toward their cars, tents, each other, the field.  Oh, wait, there's a hollow log in the fire.  A big one - it's making a semi-TeePee with the short telephone pole.  Drunkest guy has an idea.... drop a bottle rocket into the hollow log.  Not trusting my own karma, we wandered back to our own campsite.  Fireworks continued for most of the night.

No doubt, I felt like yuppy cityfolk for part of the weekend.  Until I was telling someone about candle bombs - a campfire trick I know thanks to some Utah friends from Pennsylvania.  Maybe next year I'll see if my Pennsyltucky side comes prepared... probably not with telephone poles, though.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great story!!! Oh how I miss the state and the "state" of West Virginia. I am glad you didn't show the drunk guy at the fire a candle bomb, he doesn't need the power of flames and fireworks.