The night before: Kits are ready. Bikes are prepped. Flags and arrows have been set. Strava routes have been uploaded. Eyes are glued to the weather app.
The morning of: Just a thin mist, this will be perfect! The crowd gathers in the parking lot. Waivers are signed. The excitement is palpable. “A double espresso!” cuts through the noise. Followed by another and another.
We gathered for the rollout instructions. An enthusiastic crowd of hooligans pours out of the parking lot. Unfortunately 10 minutes of heavy rain, 30 minutes prior, turned the top layer of dirt into thick peanut butter.
Towards the end of the first dirt section, this proved disastrous when bikes came to a halt, unable to roll due to birds nests of mud collecting in their frames.
We had about a 90% attrition rate, which was evident by the hordes of muddy cyclists rolling into the parking lot looking like they could use a beer.
Luckily Sufferfest came prepared and soon there was a merry sense of mutual adventure. The burgers and hot dogs came out, dirty bike photos and muddy selfies were taken, and everyone settled in.
First he seemed crazy, a single speed for 5.5k ft of climbing? Then his was one of the only bikes that worked in the mud. There's a method to the madness! #cycling #pedalersfork #omata #mud #mtb #singlespeed #gravelfondo #gravelgrinder #vsco #vscocam #vscocycling #calabasas #LAsucksforcycling #fullrigid
There was a brave 10% that persevered after a 45-minute hike-a-bike and another 20 miles of riding. They returned triumphant to a raucous, and slightly inebriated, applause.
At the end of the day everyone went home with a smile.
We’d like to thank our photographers, the true heroes of the day! Please give them some recognition for making you guys look so cool. Two of the easiest ways you can do this is, is to give them photo credit if you repost a photo, and to follow them on social media. Their profiles are embedded in this post. Go click em!
Natalie R. Starr