May 18, 2014 was the 12 hour extreme mountain bike race in Salmon. Masochists from all over converged on the foothills to punish themselves on a grueling single-track course called “Disco”. The course is just over 8 miles long with 1100 feet in elevation changes. Individuals competed for cash prizes as singles, duos, or teams of four. Some wore tutus and may or may not have ridden in the race.
THE HUB OF SALMON, IDAHO
Max, at The Hub of Salmon, Idaho is responsible for the race. He is the primary organizer and promoter of the now annual endurance race. Proceeds from the entry fees go to the Youth Employment Program. The Hub is all about pizza, bikes, and beer. Although, not necessarily in that order.
Sporting my 80s era bike shorts, I stretched my hamstrings (shoelaces to the non-biker) in preparation for my event. No! Not the endurance bike race; I’m not quite at that level yet. Indentured servitude in the “wiener wagon” is what I was facing on race day. My wife owns an event concession business, and because of the little known small print on the marriage license, I work there.
I don’t have a glamorous job like food preparation or serving clientele. I am charged with “all associated unpleasant tasks” (this is actually written up in my wife’s business plan). So, if it involves crawling under the trailer, heavy lifting or caustic chemicals…I’m your man. Oh, I’m also in charge of the roving tsunami that is my 4 year old daughter.
AND…THE CHASE IS ON
Athletes often carb-load before an event. My daughter and I enjoyed potato chips and lemonade to prepare for our day. She was content for about 17 seconds before she wanted a pickle…and a hotdog…and some hot chocolate because it was cold. It wasn’t really cold, but she thinks you have to be cold before hot cocoa is an acceptable beverage.
It was soon apparent that the confines of the trailer weren’t going to accommodate my wife, my oldest daughter, my youngest daughter and myself. Deleya kept climbing on a cooler so she could speak to the customers. “What do you want?” she would ask, “Do you want a pickle? Maybe two pickles?” Chances are she was clutching a pickle in her hands at the moment. When my wife began to produce as much heat as the wiener steamer, I knew it was time for a walk.
I took the youngest out of the trailer every chance I could. We checked on the generators. We took pictures of the race. We found a large mud puddle (a pond to Deleya) to throw rocks in. Once we went by Search and Rescue’s tent; Deleya charmed them out of some potato chips. I had my own endurance race keeping up with her.
THE WHUPPIN’ SPOON
We were set up at the heart of the important events: Live music and the beer garden. There were bales of hay laid out for spectators to sit on in the area in front of our serving counter. Eventually, we just sent Deleya out front to play and listen to the music. I told her to stay where we could see her.
First, she rolled around in the dirt for awhile, and talked to everyone who came up to the window. She soon wandered over to where people were gathering together in chairs and on the hay bales. She would sit down next to someone and start talking to them. She speaks very well, but she is four and sometimes difficult to understand. I felt a little bad for the polite people straining to hear her over the loud music.
A short while later a lady came over laughing. She asked if that was our daughter. My wife said, “That depends…what did she do?” Well, Deleya had discovered a bright yellow baby spoon lying somewhere in the dirt. She asked the lady if it was hers. The lady said, “No”. Deleya peeked around her at her mother and asked, “Do you think it’s a whuppin’ spoon?” I can only imagine what she thinks we do to that poor child.
It is unclear whether costumes were encouraged or some racers took the opportunity to express their individuality. There were wigs, and tutus and brightly colored tights. The overall winner was a biker dressed as a bull fighter, complete with cape and head gear. He was actually awarded a prize at the closing ceremony.
Deleya was a little miffed when she started seeing the costumes; she sports a tutu for nearly any occasion (or no occasion at all). There is always next year. She can compete in the costume competition, and I can put those bike shorts to their intended use.
My oldest daughter thought I should have won the contest. Guess she didn’t approve of the button up western shirt I had tucked into my lime green and black spandex shorts. Go figure. My style may suck, but Idaho doesn’t!