Published Somedays

The Brunswick Brawl - excuse-filled fun edition with video

(updated: Dec 3, 2012)

The Brunswick Brawl. Apparently it was a 3 hour and 6 hour mountain bike endurance race, but I was behind riders on road bikes with mini-knobbed tires, also known as cyclocross bikes. So I’m not sure about the mountain bike part. At one point I thought I was in a road race (I kinda blacked-out or fell asleep there for a while and came to on the road behind a dude hunched over a road-cyclo-cross-thingy bike and freaked out). Maybe we should just drop the word mountain and call it a bicycle endurance race (it has to at least say bicycle otherwise people on unicycles, trail runners, and kayakers will show up and then it will be all fun and games until someone gets the business end of a kayak up their butt).

So the race part was a lot of fun, but what about the brawl part? I saw no brawling there. A brawl is a large scale fist fight usually involving multiple participants. I don’t think there was even an elbow thrown or a grab-the-other-guys-front-brake tactic used. And heck I didn’t even wear gloves, so I wasn’t prepared anyway. Next year maybe we could call it the Brunswick sing-a-long, or the Brunswick swamp-foot festival because they have about as much to do with bicycle racing as does brawling.

All kidding aside, I had a very difficult time with this event. Not due to lack of fitness, but rather lack of any planning, leveraging of experience, or basically using any of my dwindling brainpower at all. I am competitive yet don’t take things too seriously. I just like to have fun. However, when you decide to ride a new bike that’s been ridden three times, with baloney-skin tires that you just set up tubeless the night before (can someone say, Stan booger baloney burrito?), you’re making what my brother called, “A classic rookie mistake”. If you want to have fun, then you should at least get your equipment working reliably, so you don’t end up yelling at your bike and throwing it into the woods during the race (I may or may not have done that, I don’t know, because I blacked out for at least half a lap or more. It's also called Sleepriding). I should know better, but I am an idiot.

Anyway, immediately after the start my rear tire starts going flat, so I halfway through the lap I stop to pump up my tire. By the start of the second lap it went flat again, at which point I realized I dropped my pump in the woods somewhere (recovered at the end of the race, thank you whoever picked it up, I owe you a beer), so I rode the entire second lap on a flat tire (you can hear the tire brap in the video). Then I stopped at my car to pump it up again. Third lap sweat got in my eye and my contact fell out. So I had to finish the race with blurred vision, which is not as bad as one might think because there are basically no obstacles on the course to worry about. Heck, there are some folks who could probably do BNP blindfolded (whereas I just sleepride).

I also had a problem with what I thought was the freehub locking up, but later I discovered that the chain had fallen off the lower derailleur pulley and gotten wedged between the pulley and the cage. It created a ton of resistance. No wonder I felt like I was pulling a sled full of lead during the race.
And let’s not forget the hematoma I received one week earlier.

All of these goings on really sapped my energy, such that I was a lost cause. Someone should have taken pity on me and shoved me into the swampy river to be eaten by alligators. You know, Pittsburgh Steeler’s head coach Mike Tomlin had a great quote a few weeks ago when he said, “Excuses are tools of the incompetent.” I think that fits here.

So enjoy the video. I was alone for a lot of the race, which I think it ironic considering the 100 or so riders on the trail at various times. Plus I forgot to turn the camera on and missed some stuff (due to aforementioned blacking-out part - which I'm not kidding about). It's a good thing I didn't do the 6 hr, otherwise I might have gone into a full-on coma.

If video above no longer works, click here.

Still shots

The start:
2012 Brunswick Brawl

What’s wrong with this picture? This is a mountain bike course. If you chop out the roots, these guys are gonna show up, like fruit flies when you leave bananas out too long. Leave the obstacles in the race. Smoothing out a mountain bike course makes about as much sense as randomly throwing bricks on a road race course until a mountain bike is faster. Plus, I just got a crabon bike, now I’m going to have to buy a cross bike. Don’t make me get a cross bike! Alright, I’m getting a cross bike.
2012 Brunswick Brawl

Closest thing to a crash I saw. It's the dude on the road bike! Better pack down the trails so I can ride my new cross bike on them (I think that might be something akin to pounding sand).
2012 Brunswick Brawl

Dude on Niner, a mountain bike:
2012 Brunswick Brawl

2012 Brunswick Brawl

What no gloves? Why yes I prefer blisters and raw skin.
2012 Brunswick Brawl

I believe the word you’re looking for is “groomed”. Like a little girl's pony.
2012 Brunswick Brawl

2012 Brunswick Brawl

Up to the right is the swamp they're going to throw me into next time:
2012 Brunswick Brawl

Lower derailleur pulley after I replaced the pulley. Note how thin the one I'm holding is, worn thin by the chain wedged between it and the cage during the race.
Derailleur pulley

Love, peace, and bike grease,


Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. Peter said...

The next event will have to be called the Blue Clay Cotillion. The buffoons are back at it chopping up the trail to make it rideable for a tricycle, unicycle, skateboard, road bike, roller blades, anything other than a mountain bike.
The trails are getting so groomed they might as well race in tutus.

Dec 11, 2012 @ 1:06 PM

2. Reason said...

It's a sad day for one who has nothing better to do with their time than frequent every site he is able to to bash, disrespect, and try to ridicule others. It appears a mature conversation as a reasonable adult to discuss differences and come to an agreement is incapable by this certain individual. How old are you man? Maybe seeking other hobbies should be in your future. The disgruntled mountain biker hobby is getting tired.

Dec 13, 2012 @ 2:16 PM

3. peter said...

Well reason. I applaud your comment. At the very least you had the cojones to respond. To answer your questions.
I'm 55. I am passionate about what I'm involved in, and that includes endeavours ranging from bouldering to flyfishing.
I am upset on the degranation of that particular loop.
The only reason for the occurrence was only to speed it up.
There weren't any erosion, water management or dangerous circumstances to promote such a downgrade. A bypass was built around it if those who didn't want a more aerobic or adventurous ride.
I am thru posting any more on this. It is what it is .
Obviously criticism doesn't set well with the majority.
Thank you for your response.

Dec 14, 2012 @ 12:43 PM

4. SBA said...

Maybe I should get a discussion forum going again. That was just loads of fun to manage.

Dec 14, 2012 @ 6:12 PM


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