Who Was the Biggest Winner at the Sea Otter?
But the big Sea Otter news on everyone’s mind was who won the weekend’s biggest value purse: Singletrack Jungle’s Inaugural Annual, by Special Invitation Only, Bike Sumo.
All photos by Phil Strong
The Bike Sumo winner pocketed a round-trip, all expenses paid, for two trip to ride the trails of the world class eco/adventure ocean front resort that I am helping to design and build in beautiful, lush, “No Artificial Ingredients Added” Costa Rica! I think the winner of the three hour rain slogged cross country race won 500 bucks and a water bottle.
Second place for the Bike Sumo was a waffle iron. Also for two people, it was equipped with dual skillets, integral grease drains and featured an automatic timer shut off.
How does a Bike Sumo work you might have asked yourself a few sentences back?
We handed out Special Invitations to hundreds of random VIPs who were sauntering aimlessly through the expo site, and then we hoped it wouldn’t rain.
On the appointed hour, under blue Saturday skies, at our Singletrack Jungle booth, the keg of beer arrived. Shortly thereafter, so did the crowds. Around the sumo ring thronged a hopeful circle 20 deep, their invitations in one hand, Sierra Nevada in the other. Before the mob became too unruly, Our Master of Ceremony, King Kahuna Phillip Novotny pulled from the ceremonial fishbowl 16 names, who were instantly trans-substantiated into Sumo Bikers!
The first Rule of Bike Sumo is always broken. That rule is, “Tell no one about Bike Sumo”. It’s a dumb rule. So we all break it. But, there are only three more rules and they are all pretty simple. Keep your hands on the bars, your feet on the pedals, and knock the other guy out of the ring. You sort of awkwardly ride into each other and try to maintain your balance and self dignity, as the crowd cheers and jeers as though they could do any better.
It’s a lot of fun.
The drummers were banging their skins. Phillip was vamping on his double megaphones. The appointed at last minute because she was pretty scorekeeper stood at the ready with a dry erase marker and a bewildered look. And on borrowed beat-up BMX bikes from Wally’s in SLO, entered the ring Gale Dahlager from Sport Legs looking strong and smooth and advanced a couple rounds. Fox Shox’s Alayna Caldwell was out after two very controversial calls by the hyperglycemic referee. A ringer from Gravy Wheels escaped a few tight spots. As did a bearded, heavily tattoo’ed guy riding as a platonic champion for the bike industry’s most bombshell mover and shaker, Kelly Turcott.
Finally we were down to two.
Randy, Sumo’ing under the nom de plume, “Bike Betty” a small bike company in Longmont, CO, emerged victorious having fought a drawn out tactical battle against an environmental engineer with ripped calves whose name escaped me shortly after he slumped out of the ring in abject shame.
At least he had a waffle iron under his arm.