Every town has that vacant lot that the kids build jumps in. In Driggs, Idaho, that lot happens to be an overgrown frisbee golf course behind the skatepark on 5th Street. Generations of riders have carved in jumps and singletrack, along with some big wooden features. The 5th Street Bike Park rides almost year-round, with groomed fat biking all winter, and XC and dirt jumps all summer. Until recently the 5th Street Bike Park was known to most locals as "that place the bad kids go to smoke the devil's lettuce." But local riders know there's a lot more to be seen there. So we asked the City of Driggs if we could hold a bike race. They said yes so we asked them if we could drink beer at it. They said yes to that too, so we gathered some sponsors and made this thing happen.
The concept was simple: tape off a course that represents the best riding at 5th Street, and then send a bunch of riders out to see who can do the most laps in an hour. Afterward, we can go hit jumps. And just to mix things up, we also ran a kids and costumes race, and a half-hour race.
The day dawned clear, with the predicted snowstorms nowhere to be seen. Fresh off the end of their NICA season the high school racers indulged in previously banned performance-enhancing drugs, mostly coffee.
The racing kicked off with the one-lap kids and costumes race. The parade of parents costumed youth trained out behind the official course marshal tiger, taking a quick lap.
Evil Knevil made an appearance
Along with a baby snow leopard
and some older riders getting warmed up
After a quick pre-ride and riders' meeting, the one-hour race kicked off under threatening storm clouds. The one hour race had a diverse field, from high-school riders hungry for a win, to local fast guys, to folks who just came to ride bikes and drink beer.
Lap times were fast right out of the gate. The .84 mile course has less than 50 feet of elevation gain throughout, but it's unrelenting, packed with technical sections that make it impossible to find a cadence or take a rest. Top riders were spinning lap times well under five minutes.
Eventual winner Trevor Garner battled with a small group of leaders for the first lap, before taking off and never looking back. He ended up cranking out 15 laps over the course of the hour.
Would it be a bike race without beer?
While plenty of folks came out with their game faces, Jay and Steve came ready to do battle for the people's championship. They punctuated each lap with a beer from the Melvin Hop Soda Aid Station, eventually finishing 10 laps.
Others just dipped into the Aid Station for a quick refresher.
Finally, as snow began to fall heavily, we made the "One Hour" call and started cutting off riders. Eric Welch handled the scoring like a mad man, and we held the awards ceremony as fast we could with the swiftly falling snow.
The Half Hour race podium was rife with middle schoolers...
...while the One Hour Women's podium featured a course marshal tiger who shed her coat to reveal a collegiate skin suit
If you've been to an Idaho NICA race there are some familiar faces up here
Nick Dunn took home the golden "Longest Wheelie" trophy
With the podiums and raffle out of the way, it was time to move to the Jump Jam. Local wrench and ripper Zach Klinger spent the last week manicuring the jump lines, figuring out new options, and preparing the hits.
Local all-around shredder, and high-schooler "Sick" Nick Dunn unleashed a deep bag of tricks on the jump line.
While Zach explored alternate lines with his clean style
By the end of the day, nearly everyone had hit a new jump, or removed a new appendage from the bike while airborne.
With the options on the main line exhausted, we moved to the "Road Gap of Death." Moms averted their eyes and rider after rider rolled into the sniper landing.
Meanwhile, with no parents present to give them permision to hit the road gap, the smaller sender brigade went rogue, crafting their own hit.
At the end of the day, Nick Dunn ran away with Best Trick, the riders nominated Zach Klinger for Best Style, and Grompage champions Cooper and Charlie took home the "Spirit of Send" award. Race director Cy Whitling would have won the "Biggest Case" award, but he didn't think ahead enough to make a trophy for that.
For an inaugural event, everything ran incredibly smoothly, thanks to our incredible volunteers and vendors.
A ridiculous number of awesome sponsors made this thing a party:
Mountain Bike the Tetons came through with insurance, gear, snacks, and a "decorate your own cowbell" station
Fitzgerald's Bikes made the raffle worth entering.
Habitat also sweetened the pot
FBJ Creations donated some awesome bike bags, and brought their bus to party
Alpine Air Coffee kept everyone energized.
Yeti's Post knows that grilled cheese tastes best in the snow
Teton Wrench LLC coaches a bunch of these kids, and fixes their bikes
Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation keeps them out of trouble all winter
Giant Bikes came through with some sweet prizes
Melvin Brewing doesn't just bring beer, they bring the party
And finally, Be More Stoked is just a hairy guy in Idaho who draws stuff and puts on races sometimes
Come ride with us next year!