Introducing: The Nashville Dirty Birds #24HOP #Beercamp2020


24 Hours of Old Pueblo happened

#24HOP.

I’ll get to that momentarily, but first, #Beercamp

A collection of close friends who vacation from Nashville’s stubborn winter, always with bikes; road bikes, mountain bikes, hiking shoes, sometimes with the chilns, sometimes with Fievel.

Historically, #beercamps happen following a bike ride and with the requisite post-ride recovery drink beer. A conversation usually finds its way to adventuring and doing epic shit. If when the Tequila Fairy materializes, she sprinkles her magic agave dust throughout the room. The results are impressive.

Wars have been won (the domestic kind) and children consummated because of a little magic agave dust. The Tequila Fairy is both revered and scowled (Cooper) in the same room.

Great moments in #Beercamp history include,

  • the Fig in Santa Barbara,  playground for the climbers as two heavyweights grappled back and forth and Uncle Rico’s benadryl cocktail.
  • There was the Big Sassy dehydrated death march in the borrego desert
  • and most recently, the infamous 2018 #Breckepic, where Fievel’s shoes exploded at elevation.

So it seems fitting that this #Beercamp edition would take us back to Tucson, where it all kinda started (scratches head).

Before I blow thru this sucka, the back story on the 24 HOP and the Nashville Dirty Birds….this is also a long one, so, if you’re looking for something to do while sheltering, you my friend are in luck!

Let us begin:

I do remember, this one did not start with a visit from the Tequila Fairy. Actually, about as far along on the other end of the spectrum as you could imagine. No alcohol involved (truth). This was pure spontaneous creativity, probably some donuts.

I recall being in a hotel somewhere for work, Boston, I think. Oct. 1st, 2019 was the date. I know this from the registration (and Outlook calendar says I was at the Boston waterfront Marriott for work)…it was very early in the morning…early even for my old ass.

My phone rang.

Answers: “……why are you calling me this early, Shitass?”

On the other end, I could hear the sound of donuts being wiped away from his face, and in a very serious tone, Lord Muffintop, covertly whispered:

“Registration opens in 1hr”

And in that beautiful, frantic, spontaneous moment, our registration was confirmed for what is known as the burning man of mountain biking events, the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.

And thus, the Nashville Dirty Birds were born.

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Some of my non-cycling friends (5) might be wondering what in the hell exactly is 24 Hours of Old Pueblo, or 24 Hour Town.

24HOP is billed as the longest-running 24-hour mountain bike event in America, filling to capacity within minutes of registration opening, and attracting more than 3,500 participants annually to the Sonoran Desert northwest of Tuscon, Arizona. Considered the ‘Burning Man of Bike Races’, the 24 Hours has become as much a colourful celebration of community as it is an endurance mountain bike event. 

and for those visual learners, from the cockpit of pro shredder, Josh Tostado, who smashed this year’s event with 20 laps in 24 hours!

Back to the Dirty Birds…because this is important funny context you need.

We registered our team without any of our friends knowing, or, rather asking them….LOL.

And now we were gonna have to inform our friends, who had no clue, that they were registered for a 24hr mtb team relay (tbh this wasn’t even on my radar that morning).

There might would be significant blowback.

The rest is a partially true, loose recreation of what happened next.

Real time as the drama unfolded:

Lord Muffintop mumbling calling out names, “yeah yeah yeah, put his fatass in there, he’ll go” followed by what sounded like an apparition hissing thru the phone. A single ghostly howl, like a shrieking banshee in the dark:

Shorty“nooooooooooo, you shitassss, I AM NOT IN!”

Followed by what sounded like something crashing against a wall.

A door slammed, loudly.

I’ll be honest with you. I gotta give it to ‘Ol Saddlebag Lovehandles, he shook off Shorty’s weak attempt to frag his ass with a coffee cup-grenade and immediately returned to his barely audible covert whisper:

“its cool, Man…she gone, she had to get these chillns to school…

(sound of slurping coffee)….register her ass, she can do all the night laps”.

Un-wavered in his vision of assembling an elite team of spandex clad beer drinking micro-watt bombers, Lord Muffintop handled it like a world tour pro. Shorty was just collateral damage.

Halfway across the country and just a few hours later, via a Boston phone call to the mothership, SWG, was not digesting the news much better.

I tried to casually drop it in the morning discussion, “how’s the pig, she sleep well?, oh, by the way, we’re registered for 24 Hours of Old Pueblo with the rest of the crew…”

Immediately, I knew I was screwed, that this had not gone as smoothly as I had hoped.

Quite the opposite in fact, and I could now sense real heat on my ass now.

SWG made it clear that she needed to be part of these decisions. I did make an honest effort to explain it away, that thousands of people signed up and that registration closed in a record 54 minutes, and that thousands more didn’t get in; this was the Burning Man of Mountain Biking, for Pete’s sake. Looking back, I should have never tried having this conversation in the morning (duh).

There were some loud words coming in over the phone. NO Huuuuney. More strong language from the Skinny White Girl, language that should not be repeated here, this is, after all, a story to share with families.

My mind racing, I waited for the moment when she would have re-load her lungs with precious oxygen before the next sonic wave, then I sprung into action.

Like Pan with his flute, I dangled the sweet carrots of Feb. mtb rides in balmy desert temperatures while singing the magical song of all you could eat tacos, and all you can drink margaritas. 

67% of the time, works every time. Slightly charred, smoke coming off my ass, I had survived. SWG (Skinny White Girl) was in.

Back in Nashville, and what was probably many weeks later,Captain Destructo chose arguably the most effective way of informing his aforementioned Tequila Fairy.

He didn’t.

Worked great, and for a really long time too, and then when the shit did hit the fan he executed his second best option, masterfully:

He blamed it on Lord Muffintop.

Stable genius.

*Sadly, the wheels fell off his magic carpet ride before it ever got started.

Evidently you can not tell your wife and survive, but you can not not tell your employer.

Ratfart.

**We did our best impressions of Lord Fupa and the TequilaFairy, trying to invoke their spirit daily, shredding the gnar and chugging copious margaritas in the desert. Sadly, the absence of breaking random bike stuff was a void we just could not fill.

Your absence was most notable in that Big Sassy actually stayed hydrated.

One final person to inform of registration.

Bateman, our resident vakay partner.

I think I called him sometime after the rest. TBH, I don’t recall a reaction at all, really. Some modest, cool, comment, about an opportunity to beta his current side hustle, an endurance training book he has been working on for years now:

“Couch to doing Epic Shit, by Eric Bateman”.

He was in.

And there you have it, that’s how to register friends for a 24 hour mtb event,  and the creation of the world’s most dysfunctional #24HOP relay team, the Nashville Dirty Birds.

All that remains now is a collage of bad photos, a few ride descriptions, and mostly made up stuff about Big Sassy.

I would recommend leaving now if you have to get back to work, or, just close your browser, the writing only gets worse from here (sips beer).

Welcome to the #24HOP and #Beercamp2020  

The following are some of the highlights.

Arrivals:

The trip out went smooth. We landed, immediately consuming 54 tacos and 17 margaritas before heading off to pick-up our mtb rentals and the ghetto cruiser that would serve as base camp at 24HOP.

We rented mtbs from a company called Spartan Rides.  and can’t recommend them enough, great rates, better customer service and solid bikes (Niner Jet-rkt, Evil super-tank for Coop). They also delivered the bikes, meeting us in nearby Mesa, AZ, where SWG got to see her Aunt and Lord Muffintop was collecting his luxurious rental vehicle.

Introducing: Lord Muffintop’s Millennium Falcon.

“She’s a real beaut, Clark”

The trick, would be getting this fine piece of equipment up into 24 Hour Town, at night.

Challenge Accepted! If it has a steering wheel, Lord Muffintop can drive it. X1tQZ9mZTqucrYtsSRft6A

24 Hour Town at sunrise.

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That’s us in the center of this photo with the blue tent (that’s where I slept). Jena bailed on me after Friday night and opted to sleep thru her 3rd lap in the luxurious GMC Seqouia rental truck (bottom right). Muffintop and Shorty took the presidential sweet and Bateman went full roost in the loft of the Falcon. Everyone was snug as a bug. Tri-tip steak sammys and methane kept me from freezing my ass off in that damn blue tent.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the #Beercamp spectrum, Thunderass and Sassy were settling in for some Netflix and chill. Deedah and Ash were in tow, doing their best to translate the good energy into the world from buttchugging all the sun.

The cool thing about being bi-coastal for rental homes (camper/air bnb) is you get to drop shit everywhere and ride all the bikes.

We went to the rental house after we dropped the Falcon. Folks showered, took down some more hydration and after a long day tucked in for some zzzs.

Friday morning, we hit up a quick greenway spin with Lord Thunderass, Big Sassy & a time machine blast from the past, our old team mate, Baaaaaawwwwett. 

To the best of my recollection, SWG and I cut the greenway ride short to head back to the house. 24 hour town was close, maybe an hour’s drive and the Dirty Birds were intent on heading out to the desert Friday afternoon for a last minute preview of the course.

This also afforded us the precious opportunity to get settled, relax, rest, to prepare properly for a 24 mtb race.

Which, naturally, went out the door as we proceeded to drink 3 days of beer in the next 6 hours. The conversation was full of laughs. Freebird air guitars were out, followed by some wicked beer drinking game to the tune of ACDC’s Thunderstruck (drink!). All of which had us spiraling toward the late evening abyss known as the Goat Show.

I’m not 100% on this but I think it was Shorty who called out “let’s go to the show!”

The Goat Show is a couple of dudes who’ve been collecting interesting and fun items along their journey on this ball of dirt.

You can’t miss them as you’re coming into 24 Hour Town, they’ve set up mannequin bar tables and post up the coolest green neon cactus in front of their rigs. Complete with fitness center, they even have repurposed a trailer with sides that roll open up to present a stripper pole, for those who need their early morning calisthenics.

Dudes like to have a hella good time.

The price to enter the goat show:  free (oh, but there’s always a price).

Anyone can enter as long as you are (a)ready to have fun, (b) are respective of the 24 Hour Town neighbors and (c) really important requirement here, you have to sign their door before you enter.

SWG left our indelible mark.

They also do stamp tattoos of the Goat Show that are kinda cool, I dunno, I mean, if you’re into stamps.

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Right – let’s move on from this part of the story.. We managed to find our way back to camp. No clue what time.

Everyone woke-up, mildy hungover.

Even though we slept in our jackets and clothes and in a cold weather bag, SWG and I froze our asses of in the tent.  I swear she was shivering all night. Amazing she didn’t get in the truck (that was Sat. night).

Sat, 8:30am. Groggy and looking for coffee, we found our way down to the 24 Hour town center for breakfast burritos and fresh coffee. We knew there was a decision to make but food and coffee first.

The race started at noon, so as we ate and sat around sipping coffee, there was a general feeling of folks conspiring to see who would do the stressful first lap, or at least, first 20 minute of the first lap. “You wanna go first, that’s cool if you do” type of talk.

The original plan was to send Captain Destructo out first. We figured this strategic move was bomb-proof for the crazy LeMans start:

(1)his giant self would have enough in his tank to get out in front of the horde of cyclists and (2) no one was gonna try to pass that big bastard unless he collapsed his bike folding it like a lawn chair, or, pulled over to eat at mile 2.

Sadly, that plan went to pot when his shifts weren’t covered at the ER.

Bugger.

Plan B.

Shorty wasn’t interested, Muffinstuffer was hungover af and not making eye contact with anyone other than his breakfast burrito, and no way was Jena gonna do it. I gave it some serious consideration and got everyone to agree,

send Bateman out.

Worked like a charm too, Duder straight off the couch went out and smashed a 1:24!

Oh too be young and fearless.

The Whiskey Tree

One important ordinance not posted in 24 Hour Town, was the requirement of the patron to pull their vehicle over to the right and come to a complete stop before accepting the gift of whiskey.

Whiskey Tree

You can imagine the ire of the whiskey magistrate when MLP executed to perfection the traditional cross hand-up – speed into the corner, recognized the offering, took the foot off gas pedal and coasted with speed while extending a hand for a textbook hand-up of liquid gold. A perfect 3/4 swig followed by the off-hand extension of the offering back to the magistrate.

One teeeny problem. He expected me to stop. At this point, I could only hear the poor sot behind me somewhere huffing “slow down slow down” and finally screaming out “just drop it, Man”.

Which I did, and then proceed to smashing the gas pedal again.

This was a serious offense, recorded by chance, from the innocent by standing SWG, who conveniently and immediately turned into a desert cactus as the whiskey magistrate and his minions fumed over such an offensive traffic violation (overheard: “why’d he do that, Man, that’s not cool“). Oops.

Meanwhile, Pony took that rocket fuel to fire off a 1:19:51 lap. Now, for my tanksass, that’s smoking fast, and even though it was early in the 24 hours,I had put down a good solid effort for the fastest lap of the day for the birds.

Sadly, I didn’t get to bask in any glory as Muffinnibbler immediately went out and teabagged my effort posting a 1:19:45. 

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I mean, GAWDMMYT. If I hadn’t taken that hand-up. LOL

Following Bateman, SWG went out for her first lap in the afternoon sun and with the exception of punching a cholla cactus, was a fairly vanilla lap. I’ll come back to her 3rd lap in a moment (which was anything but).

Shorty, bless her heart. Damn. I’m not sure what time she went out, around 10:30pm or so. We had created a list of laps/times etc, and then after recovery beers, starting exchanging laps (naturally). I think SWG and I switched times, and maybe Chunky Brewster, I honestly cannot recall who and when.

What I do recall is being in the tent, trying to catch some zs, freezing my ass off. I knew Shorty was out there. It occurred to me that she was probably really cold…at some point I heard some tires roll up and some teeth chattering. I mumbled out in the dark “you okay??” and heard back something to the effect of “yeah, just freezing”.

I was not inspired to get up for my 4:30am lap…but I did. I staggered down to 24 Hour town for a breakfast burrito and coffee and quickly returned to get ready. It was really cold, the desert sky at night be beautiful but damn it’s colder than a well digger’s ass.

As I left, I could see SWG ferreting around her makeshift GMC Seqouia campground, she would be after me, the 7am dawn patrol lap. I gave her the other half of my breakfast burrito and reminded her to start getting her stuff ready.

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Bateman calls this: “Hobo eating breakfast burrito in the desert at 4am”

My 3rd lap, was understandably slower. A combination of cold, tired, and the words of encouragement from the team, if we slowed our times, there might not have to be a 4th lap.

I rolled into the exchange tent with a chilly 1:34. SWG was not in the staging area. The official asked me where my teammate was…”one moment”

I dug my phone out of my pack, and cold fingers tapping thru, dialed

SWG answers: “CUSS WORDS! Be right there”

The official laughed and offered me some coffee.

SWG showed up for her 3rd lap 20 min later…

and then went off, ripping off a sunrise 1:24.

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Shorty closed us out, we celebrated properly, wrapping up her final lap at the whiskey tree. We encouraged her (read: instructed her) to wait outside the main tent until high noon, ensuring that no one would have to go out for a 4th lap #EUROPROAF

The rest is semantics.

We said goodbye to Captain Teabag, drank some more beer, ate one more tri-tip sammy and then packed up camp. Thunderass, Big Sassy and Mt. Lemmon were waiting for the back half of #BeerCamp2020. {That chapter is stuck in editing and may take a bit longer}.

It was time to head back to the mothership for much needed showers and sleep.

Wrapping-up.

We had an amazing time in 24 Hour Town. A lot has happened in the world since that early Feb. weekend…as such, I tried to make up as much of this as possible to help pass the rona-time. I hope you enjoyed the adventure.

I do know this for a certainty, we cannot wait for 24 Hours in Old Pueblo, 2021. Elite squad, tbd.

Thanks for reading, MLP

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#NashvilleDirtyBirds #24HOP #24HoursOldPueblo #CaptainTeabag #KittySong #LordMuffintop #Shorty #SWG #Nashvilleontherocks #MLP #CaptainDestructo #LordFupa #LordThunderass #BigSassy #DeedahwithaH

 

 

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