more words on the 2009 Liberty Jamboree

it is time for me to hit PUBLISH AND POST
this write up has been brewing but not building
the actions of this day are pretty much a distant memory
the 2009 Liberty Jamboree has come and gone and my focus is on other things

yet... even with my focus elsewhere
I feel this needs one more glance... more more look... and maybe a few more words... then things will be tucked onto the page never to be read

did I offer proper thanks to our hosts?
this summer highlight would not happen without Jim Casey and Jim's wife Amy and her parents... Amy's parents who offer up all sorts of support before, after, and during the event
thanks so much for inviting us to your house and making us feel like family


WUSS: Washington Underground SingleSpeed Society

the key to the Liberty Jamboree is to RIDE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT!
the day long event is comprised of many short stages
points are earned on each stage to the top five finishers as well as points gained by finding an OUTLAW FLYER hung/hidden in the woods
the points earned through the course of the day are used for one hand of Black Jack
the person with the most points after this one hand of Black Jack is the winner of the day!
that person walks away with THE YELLOW

The Yellow Jersey and Bragging Rights!

this same yellow jersey has been used each year
the yellow jersey is worn on the opening stage by the winner of the previous year's Liberty Jamboree
then throughout the day the winner of each stage gets to wear the jersey for the following stage
it is forbidden to wash the yellow jersey

Joe Whitehair had to serve a fixed geared penance for wearing the Yellow Jersey into the reservoir one year
I am not positive by I think he was sent to ride the C&O Canal in a day on a fixed gear

but I can not confirm


the competition is stiff... winning the yellow jersey is not so easy
the scent of the jersey is such that landing second can be just as sweet
by some preferred

with this background information... let me see what I typed down before this moment

it was a colorful collection of cyclists
the Single Speed Outlaws were well represented

there was no shortage of The Pedal Shop Crew as well as some people from The Bike Lane
Cargo Mike and I represented DCMTB and The District

some people were missing... some people were missed
others were in attendance displaying other colors representing other teams and other parts of the DC Metropolitan area

the Liberty Jamboree is as much a family day as it is a mountain bike stage race among friends
this year offered an alternate ride for the women... while women were still invited to race/ride the main event
Becky was the only woman to ride the full event... while a few other women rode a few stages before peeling off and attending the alternate ride in the woods
the day is long so I set things up such that Lisa arrives with Dean and Grant roughly around the time
we finish racing
the events following the race are as much a part of the day as the race itself

I have brought the family to this event each year I have attended and it has proven to be a summer hi
ghlight for me and the family each year
there is food and fun for all
bike riding in the woods... splashing in the reservoir and of course good eating and good people

in the no so early AM Cargo Mike arrived at my house and we loaded my bike on his car and threw my bags in the back seat

we drove out and fueled our bodies along the way
going into the event I was not so sure how I felt

coffee was consumed to try and set things right
my body was feeling a little off
my mind was not sure what it wanted from
the day as it can be tough to mix the social aspects of the day with the intense effort of each stage
hard to turn the engine on and off like that


was it last week?
was it only last week?
it seems like longer... but I now remember the soreness I felt in my legs when I chased Cargo Mike in the woods on Wednesday afternoon
not unlike my effort to chase Cargo Mike
through the woods just a few days before that

the Liberty Jamboree works a nice mix of competition and camaraderie
familiar faces that have become friends
a good gathering of good people
the stages are arranged stuff to take away the tone of a straight up race
things are not so clear... the distance of the stages is not always knows... the turns on the stages are not always known
there is one stage where the racers run to the bikes only to be forced to grab a bicycle other than the
ir own
while there are several stages where racers are given options on which trail to
without letting the racers know which trail gets them to their destination more quickly

each stage starts with a little confusion
the shout of GO usually takes everyone by surprise
yapping about this and that gets interrupted by an awkward effort to slap cleats in the pedals and start spinning forward

it is a fun gathering... but it is still racing

for me each stage is approached with RED LINE intensity
I ride each stage with the same level of energy... I ride it like I stole it
well... I tried to back things off... but it does not work... all or none
and well... I am there... so I usually just try to hit it with ALL!

on the first stage there is a teardrop loop that offers
racer the option to go left or right
each year I have gone left while the majority of racers go right
halfway through the teardrop I start approaching racers head on
I scream loudly as I head around the bend with a limited sight line
my pace suffers due to the fear of meeting an oxygen deprived racer/rider head on
it all pays off... I exit the tear drop a few bike lengths behind Cargo Mike
then chase him to the end of the first stage to earn points for second

I try to soft pedal the second stage... then decide to race all stages
the third stage mixed things up with putting the bikes at the base of the hill

after walking up everyone runs down the hill at the sound of the words go
everyone runs down the hill and grabs a bike other than their own
then runs/rides up that same hill
head onto some of the racers still coming down
I grabbed one of the Clayman Brother's bikes with matching Time pedals
someone gets stuck with RiderX's Fixed Gear


my ambition sends me far ahead in first
the small gear on this single speed set for the hills of Charlottesville has me reeled with the finish in sight
third place is good enough... another stage finished... another heart pounding stage comes to a close

the day goes along like this
I work hard to score points in the top five for each stage
each stage I fight the desire to quit
each stage I fight the urge to soft pedal the bike
it hurts to ride this hard

the day starts to wind down and people on their bikes start to worry about families arriving back at the farm

rather than have the riders parade their way up a long road section that climbs its way out of the valley race organizer Jim Casey randomly divided the racers into groups for a team time trial
to our surprise the team that I was on finished in first by over ten seconds
to a mixture of emotions I was offered to wear the Yellow Jersey after this stage

it was a mixture of emotions because I had to balance the pride of starting the final stage in yellow with the fact that I was wearing a sweat soaked jersey that had not been washed since it was first selected as the leaders jersey several years ago

each stage follows the same pattern
the group parades to a point in the woods and waits at the start for an allotted time while several course marshals roll on ahead

the marshals stand at various points on the course to direct the oxygen deprived racers which way to go

I lost steam
not sure if this will ever get finished
guess I will just hit PUBLISH and POST
too much time has passed to try and tie this together

I had wanted to write up something about my effort to hold the yellow jersey on the last and final stage
how I had it and botched it....
was strong in the lead
all I had to do was soft pedal it down to the water
when I feared I missed the turn and dismounted and started running with my bike through the trees
then I saw the bikes passing on my right
I had not missed the final turn to the water
I had not reached the final turn to the water

glory crumbled before me

Words from the 2008 Liberty Jamboree may fill in the blank
2008 Shenandoah Mountain 100 for Kids!

Photos By Donna

Photos by AL Santos

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