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Brrr...started out cold and foggy at the starting line. The Chester is tuned and ready for action. Glad to see that tandems are ahead of us in their own class. Not really in good shape this year, just want to finish mid-pack and not get hurt. Haven't been on the mtn bike in months actually, although I've got some good road miles in. Lots of new faces this year. I don't recognize too many riders from years past. The bell rings and we're off. Seemed like a really big field this year. I didn't punch it too hard out of the gate. I need to preserve energy. I hit the dirt about mid-pack, and the madness begins. Crazy mud, fast ruts, super fast sections, and more technical than in years past. I'm motoring along pretty comfortably up to Hurl Hill. Doing some passing and getting passed by some. Then I start to pass the geared age groupers and notice a couple of the industry cup riders passing our class. The single track is in great shape, there is some mud in sections. I catch Francis right around the first hike-a-bike section. We briefly confirm that we are both suffering. We keep hammering, sandy sections almost send me skidding, the single track is pretty overgrown and fun. I get down to the lack and get some water and a cytomax bottle. Glad to get some water since I wasn't carrying any. More technical sections than I remember and more hike-a-bikes. The steep climbs are really hurting me since I have done any good singlespeeding in a long time. I decide to scale it back a bit and walk some of the steeper sections. I don't want to bonk early just because I'm trying to clear a little hill. Francis passes me on some steep hills. He's riding and I'm walking. Finally we get to the bottom of the fireroad and everyone seems to be resting and drinking water. I pass Francis and turn it up a notch. He grabs my wheel. I seem to be pulling a ss train up the fireroad. It's windy and drafting seems to help. We pass dozens of geared riders, some single speeds. I'm glad I saved some energy for this climb. As we approach the top I notice they don't have us going over the very top this year, so I stand up and hammer the last bit. Francis drops back near the top and I pass two more ss riders just before the crest. The last dirt right turn onto the track nearly sends me flying but I recover and roll onto the pavement. I'm not much for flat sprinting so I wait for some gearies to come around me and draft my way to the finish. 31st place. 1:35. 10 minutes back from the winner. I'm very happy with the result, had a great race, love that course and glad to be racing ss again. Good to see the MTBR group madness and get some good Monterey riding in. I was surprised the sun hadn't come out yet so I bolted for the car, some warm clothes, and drove back to the bay area with Tam Jam. Stopped in Watsonville for a nice breakfast burrito.

Good race, everyone!
 

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First of many reports I hope

Thanks, I have been checking for any Sea Otter news all day. It sound like you had a real good ride. I had planned to be there, but my broken ankle kept me home. I hope to hear more and see some good pics over the next few days.
 

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Good job on your race. I saw lots of people at the start line but I did not know any of Them. I think I saw Shiggy on his crazy ass bike. I saw the guy that builds the Jones bikes on the starting line too. Well I guess I did recognize some people. I got 5th with a time of 1:26. I was in third for a while but these other 2 guys that I was dicing it up with smashed on me twards the end of the long hill. I was cramping so out of the saddle was minimal for me.
 

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Ahh, you finished right before me. I took 34th with a time of 01:35:38.2

I picked off Francis right at the top of the Long Climb Home, said hi to him at the bottom of the course. I know I saw Shiggy at some point in the race, just noticed really bright colors and knew it was him.

The course is awesome! My friend Tony and I plan to go down one weekend and ride it for fun. The woops all along the singletrack were so much fun! I also don't think I've ever climbed so fast in my life up the long climb home, passed more people than I thought possible. Definitely about the most fun I've had on a race course!

Here is what I was looking at for the last 11 miles.....I was racing down some singletrack trying to catch a few industry cup guys on FS bikes, took a nice digger when a sand pile washed out the front wheel. Anyone know of some good bars?

The Ito

P.S. I was the kid on the Surly Karate Monkey, I think I was the youngest of the SS crowd? Anyhow, it was great racing with everyone, I loved how friendly everyone was. The industry cup guys were a bit nutty and passing people in the turns and screaming "no brakes, no brakes!", but that just added to the fun. I'm still grinning :D :D
 

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34N 118W
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few pics

nice report DAS, and sorry I missed a photo of you on the last climb out. I saw you ride by but no pic.

1) Shiggy gets on it in the Santa Cruz woods.
2) Jeff Jones grunts out the final climb of the XC race.
3) Raffle madness at the MTBR booth.

More pics Monday. Good time!
HW
 

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try driving your car less
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Hollywood said:
3) Raffle madness at the MTBR booth.

More pics Monday. Good time!
HW
in my experience, those raffles bring out the worst in people. people with plenty of money grabbing for T shirts and other small stuff.

how was this one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More...

Terminaut: Sorry you couldn't make it this year. Would have been great to have you mix it up with me and Francis in the mid-pack, bike-collector, 30-something with babies at home crew. Yeah, that single paragraph with no proofreading post of mine is an indication of what life is like with a baby in the house. Free time is very limited.

I did see Andy at the MTBR madness. Giving away gear for the best chicken noises. Classic!

I forgot to mention how impressed I was with all the rigid fork riders. Very macho. And for anyone who did the Expert race with two laps. VERY macho. That's 40 miles of arse kicking in the wind! Over 3 hours of race pace riding? Not me. But, wow, you guys are Tuff that is for sure.

Didn't see the Webcyclery guys. Were they there?
 

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My first race, SS or otherwise

I was riding in about tenth when a flat descending after hurl hill derailled any hope for a good placing. I was that kid with the red Santa Cruz Chamelean fixing a flat next to the port-a-potty about halfway down the fire road. But I did have a spare tube on me, so less than ten minutes later, after the entire field passed me, I was back on. It was an otherwise great ride, I loved the course, and finished sixty something in 1:43. Now I can't wait for my next race. It was so much fun.

Francis: Good thing I got that flat... I would've destroyed you!!!! muhuhaha
 

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Another report

If that course wasn't so fun I dunno that I'd be in for that torture year after year. ;)

Lined up at 1:30 or so, running a little late finishing up my warm-up so I was towards the back of the pack. Still had a jacket on 'cause I didn't want to get chilled while warming up, and was expecting to see some friends of mine at the start that I could hand it off to. Didn't see them, but I did see Aosty who was kind enough to take it off my hands.

Sometimes I'm apt to complain about the lumping together of pros and experts in singlespeed classes, but not at Sea Otter. Where else do you get to race alongside the likes of Travis Brown, and Marla Streb (Yeah, they start the girls with the guys in the SS class. They get their own results though.)? Ok, not exactly "alongside", but I did catch a glimpse of Travis Brown as he came around me like I was standing still while I was hammering (Or what I *thought* was hammering.) up the last bit of steep pavement trying to get a good position leading into the singletrack. I think he even rode my wheel for a bit.

Managed to be 14th or 15th onto the singletrack and from there it was just all about suffering for a good three hours or so, and trying to maintain pace.

Another cool thing about Sea Otter is that if you're used to racing in a small singlespeed class, you often find yourself alone in races, regardless of where you are in the pack. At Sea Otter I was battling with, passing, and getting passed by, other singlespeeders the whole way. Makes for a fun race when you've always got someone up ahead to chase down and/or someone behind breathing down your neck.

At the start of the second lap I started feeling the twinges of a cramp, and started kneading and punching my legs, but other than that I still felt reasonably strong. Strong enough to climb Hurl Hill on both laps, and only had to walk the steepest part of the top of the three *****es, and a short section before the hike-a-bike. I actually felt stronger on the last climb of the second lap then I did first time around.

Got to the fire road climb out at the end of the second lap and spotted Gary Fisher/Subaru rider from Arizona, Dejay Birtch up ahead. I was surprised to be within striking distance of him, but was more than happy to sit on his wheel for a while. We traded wheels back and forth and pretty soon had reeled in a Jericho rider who I'd been battling back and forth with the whole race. All three of us tempo'd up the climb (There may have been a little mini-attack here and there, but mostly we were wheel-to-wheel.) and hit the track all together.

The Jericho rider had the misfortune of hitting the track first, and no one wanted to attack that early, so Dejay and I sat on his wheel. There was one little attack, I don't remember who initiated it, towards the climbing part of the track and I ended up second wheel to the Jericho rider after it. It was probably a mistake to take that position, as prior to that I had been in the back. Arguably, the best position while approaching the finish.

Dejay took advantage of his new position and attacked hard right at the bottom of the downhill turn. It was a little earlier than I was expecting, and he had more left in his legs than I did. I went out hard trying to get on his wheel, but couldn't reel him in. Some days you just don't have it in you. Pretty frustrating when there's only 100 yards or so, but no matter how hard you spin the gap doesn't close any.

After a couple more hard efforts to attempt to close the gap, and realizing it just wasn't gonna happen, I backed off and tempo'd in to the finish about 8 seconds behind Dejay. All the while checking behind me for the Jericho rider. Think we must've used him up sitting on his wheel around half of the track, 'cause he wasn't within closing distance. We had a pretty good battle going for most of the 2nd lap, and at one point he probably had a minute or more on me, so even if DeJay whooped me, it felt good to catch one guy I'd been battling with.

I came across in 15th. My goal going in was top 20, so I was pretty happy with that finish. Especially considering the near-cramps at the beginning of the 2nd lap that I was worried just might end my race.

The results actually had me in 14th, but Travis Brown wasn't listed. Anyone know what happened there? Did he just duck out and head back to the pits before crossing the finish? Maybe he bailed out early for a beer ;).

-Trevor
 

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Mysterious Mr. Brown

T-

I raced in your race and saw Travis also, I am not sure, but I don't recall seing a number plate on his bike. I think he poached the race. =) Maybe that explains the black T-Shirt and baggies, and not wanting to raise his hand when the announcer was looking for him... Chuky saw him cross the finish line about 5 minutes or more ahead of Yakaitus.

You did a good race! This was my first SS race (and first ATB race in years) and it was hard! (duh) I was cramped like a fiend for the whole second lap, but it was still fun. I was really glad to see that there were so many fast guys out there. There were 10 or 15 singles within 10 minutes of me (I was 24th or 25th) and it was fun to be mixing it up constantly. Beer in the feedzone indeed! You fastmen were taking names.

JMH

TrevorInSoCal said:
If that course wasn't so fun I dunno that I'd be in for that torture year after year. ;)

Lined up at 1:30 or so, running a little late finishing up my warm-up so I was towards the back of the pack. Still had a jacket on 'cause I didn't want to get chilled while warming up, and was expecting to see some friends of mine at the start that I could hand it off to. Didn't see them, but I did see Aosty who was kind enough to take it off my hands.

Sometimes I'm apt to complain about the lumping together of pros and experts in singlespeed classes, but not at Sea Otter. Where else do you get to race alongside the likes of Travis Brown, and Marla Streb (Yeah, they start the girls with the guys in the SS class. They get their own results though.)? Ok, not exactly "alongside", but I did catch a glimpse of Travis Brown as he came around me like I was standing still while I was hammering (Or what I *thought* was hammering.) up the last bit of steep pavement trying to get a good position leading into the singletrack. I think he even rode my wheel for a bit.

Managed to be 14th or 15th onto the singletrack and from there it was just all about suffering for a good three hours or so, and trying to maintain pace.

Another cool thing about Sea Otter is that if you're used to racing in a small singlespeed class, you often find yourself alone in races, regardless of where you are in the pack. At Sea Otter I was battling with, passing, and getting passed by, other singlespeeders the whole way. Makes for a fun race when you've always got someone up ahead to chase down and/or someone behind breathing down your neck.

At the start of the second lap I started feeling the twinges of a cramp, and started kneading and punching my legs, but other than that I still felt reasonably strong. Strong enough to climb Hurl Hill on both laps, and only had to walk the steepest part of the top of the three *****es, and a short section before the hike-a-bike. I actually felt stronger on the last climb of the second lap then I did first time around.

Got to the fire road climb out at the end of the second lap and spotted Gary Fisher/Subaru rider from Arizona, Dejay Birtch up ahead. I was surprised to be within striking distance of him, but was more than happy to sit on his wheel for a while. We traded wheels back and forth and pretty soon had reeled in a Jericho rider who I'd been battling back and forth with the whole race. All three of us tempo'd up the climb (There may have been a little mini-attack here and there, but mostly we were wheel-to-wheel.) and hit the track all together.

The Jericho rider had the misfortune of hitting the track first, and no one wanted to attack that early, so Dejay and I sat on his wheel. There was one little attack, I don't remember who initiated it, towards the climbing part of the track and I ended up second wheel to the Jericho rider after it. It was probably a mistake to take that position, as prior to that I had been in the back. Arguably, the best position while approaching the finish.

Dejay took advantage of his new position and attacked hard right at the bottom of the downhill turn. It was a little earlier than I was expecting, and he had more left in his legs than I did. I went out hard trying to get on his wheel, but couldn't reel him in. Some days you just don't have it in you. Pretty frustrating when there's only 100 yards or so, but no matter how hard you spin the gap doesn't close any.

After a couple more hard efforts to attempt to close the gap, and realizing it just wasn't gonna happen, I backed off and tempo'd in to the finish about 8 seconds behind Dejay. All the while checking behind me for the Jericho rider. Think we must've used him up sitting on his wheel around half of the track, 'cause he wasn't within closing distance. We had a pretty good battle going for most of the 2nd lap, and at one point he probably had a minute or more on me, so even if DeJay whooped me, it felt good to catch one guy I'd been battling with.

I came across in 15th. My goal going in was top 20, so I was pretty happy with that finish. Especially considering the near-cramps at the beginning of the 2nd lap that I was worried just might end my race.

The results actually had me in 14th, but Travis Brown wasn't listed. Anyone know what happened there? Did he just duck out and head back to the pits before crossing the finish? Maybe he bailed out early for a beer ;).

-Trevor
 

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Hollywood said:
looks like I found a pic of you after all (I think). Not a great shot, think I was shooting the Chester when I saw it go by :)
Yeah. that was my view of the whole race. DAS passed me like 15 times! This is the point where he left me for dead.

francois
 

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Menso said:
I was riding in about tenth when a flat descending after hurl hill derailled any hope for a good placing. I was that kid with the red Santa Cruz Chamelean fixing a flat next to the port-a-potty about halfway down the fire road. But I did have a spare tube on me, so less than ten minutes later, after the entire field passed me, I was back on. It was an otherwise great ride, I loved the course, and finished sixty something in 1:43. Now I can't wait for my next race. It was so much fun.

Francis: Good thing I got that flat... I would've destroyed you!!!! muhuhaha
Doood, I passed you like you were standing still. Man, you looked disappointed. Awesome spirit though to fix the flat and finish the race.

That was one hard race start! Where do all these fast SSers come from?

fc
 

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1 YAKAITIS, DAVID OAKLAND, CA WTB 02:44:18.9
2 PRENZLOW, BRENT CARLSBAD, CA TREK SD/CLIF BAR/SUTTON 02:48:33.9
3 KERELUK, AARON SOQUEL, CA 02:50:22.7
4SUN, RICKSON PALO ALTO, CA 02:50:51
5FANT, GLENN SANTA ROSA, CA 02:52:17.6

The guy who won your class, Dave Yakaitas is a friend. All I can say is I knew him when... He's a fairly big and heavy guy and has transformed himself into an SS monster. He won by 4 minutes and he beat the great Glenn Fant by 8 minutes!!!!



fc
 

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terminaut said:
Take a breath there buddy! :D

Nice writeup. Too bad I couldn't make it there to join in the fun as I'm sure I could have sprinted ahead to lay down a puke-patch for you and Francis to slide-out on! Yuk yuk...
Hey Slacker!! I had a present for you. I gave it to Rut instead. 'Must be present to win'. It was these bad boys. I didn't think he'd get any use out of it but I saw his new Seven bike and the guy is now just a bling whore like one of us.

Next time!!

fc
 

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A view from the rear

I was so impressed by all the riders this year. You guys are freaking fast. I raced, er, rode the course, and was not fast by any means, but here is my story, especially for any slow people out there....
*********
SeaOtter represents milestones for me. Two years ago I went on the fun ride on a fluke and got hooked on singletrack. It was my first time. One year ago I raced women's beginner and did pretty well in my age category. This year I have been riding SS and decided to enter the SS race. Looking at the times of last year's beginner/sport singlespeed women I knew I would be last in my class. But I still wanted to do it anyway.

Sunday was race day! Aosty and I got up super early and got to the venue. It was really foggy and cold. I'm still getting over my cold and I was hacking up phlegm. Blah. I was glad I had my wool jersey and arm warmers on. We warmed up a bit and all of a sudden it was about time so we got to the starting line. I'm looking around and feeling very intimidated - because there are a hundred guys and only a handful of girls. Literally a handful, I can only see 5. They all look 25. I am intimidated because I am considerably older. We start chatting and they are all talking gear ratios and they are all running higher gears than I. I'm more intimidated. I see Aosty over on the other side of the pack and realize that he has the hammergel. Ut oh. I can't get to him now. I wanted to eat some before the start but it is too late.

The gun goes off and off we go. I don't hammer up the hill full speed because I'm afraid I will get a bad asthma attack with all this phlegmy stuff I'm coughing up. Last
year I got a terrible asthma attack in the beginning and it was very scary. I'm looking at others who are all speeding away from me and realize that my gearing is going to
be too low to be competitive. (As if I was competitive anyway). My cadence is the same but I'm not going as fast. So by the time I hit the singletrack, I'm only with a
few stragglers at the back of the pack. No women anywhere. That's ok, I just need to finish the race. I'm breathing hard, I see endoverendo and he calls out and gets a picture of me. That gives me a boost. I soon realize that there is one advantage to being in the rear - I have no obstacles or slow riders on the singletrack to get stuck behind. All the fast
people (which at this point is pretty much everyone in the race except me!) are gone.

I am going along, trying to alternately conserve and push. I had no idea how hard racing a SS would be. I am so used to recovering after sprints during regular rides, and
I never "trained" and this is suddenly very apparant. I begin to doubt my ability to finish this race, or do the long climb out. I am really hurting. I definitely walk the
steep hills - it's not a matter of choice, I am just pushing so much harder than usual that I just can't make it up them. Legs are burning! I have a lot of company in
pushing though, so that's ok. I actually pass one girl on hurl hill. She catches me a short while longer on the flats - her higher gear is impossible to keep up with. We
leapfrog for a while - I catch her on the steep stuff and she takes off on the flatter and downhill stuff.

My asthma does decide to kick up along the "goat trail". I can taste a little blood (this happened last year too). At least I can more or less breathe, it is not a
terrible attack, although it is tough. I am blowing snot rockets everywhere. I see my friend Linny, who is on courseside paramedic duty and he eggs me on. "just a steep
uphill and then lots of downhill and an aid station". I look at the uphill and just blow up. I can't even begin to clean it. I need GU, I need water, I need rest! I push
the bike up it and catch that girl again, then we take off down some singletrack. Oh thank god. Downhill. Although I'm not exactly resting, I'm standing to absorb all
the bumps as I fly down as fast as I can and my thighs are burning here too. This is no geared full suspension race! I get to the aid station and grab some cytomax on the fly. Back onto singletrack, more climbing. Ugh. I am not going fast. I'm so slow, I can't believe I'm going this slow in a race. I'm only halfway finished. I keep on though. There is a hike a bike and I actually do pretty well on it, I remember the good line and run up it relatively easily. THere is a very sandy section that I have to walk, but catch and pass one guy on a SS. I should mention that the speedies from the classes behind us (gearies) are passing me up now rather regularly. I kind of fleetingly wish I had gears. Wow am I hurting.

I lose that girl (for good) on a fireroad section - she takes off and I never see her again. I am doing ok now, I am stil hurting and I am not going fast but I know that
the major climbs left are just the 3 b!tches, and then I'm home free (well except for the 2.5 miles climb out). I might be able to finish. I clean this rocky section I
had trouble with in the pre-ride and feel very encouraged. I catch a guy who is in the 60+ group and we egg each other on for a few moments. I am inspired and woo here is
the the 1st b!tch. I don't clean it but I get up a good ways and run the rest. Same with the 2nd - I must be tired, this one I usually make. The third I can't get far up
at all because there are too many people walking up it, and I join them. I am excited at the top, thats the last time I will be walking, I hope! Down a steep section,
through the tight fast twisty singletrack. I note that I am a little slower than on the pre-ride - I'm tired and am afraid I will crash. My legs are so tired even on this
descent and then its over and its just a climb out. Pedal pedal pedal. Hmm, no aid station - thought there was one here. I'm actaully doing ok on this part. I'm not able to stand as much as I would like, but as I go up the looooooooooooong road and get closer to the top I see a group of spectators. Wow, nothing inspires you more than knowing a friend is up there. I see Hollywood and he runs along side me, snapping pictures. This makes me laugh. People are starting to cheer, I hear the women. One says "Cool a chick on a singlespeed!" and I am encouraged. I am charged by this crowd and I am getting delirious. I start yelling "Yay i'm almost done!" A little farther up are some friends. They always have a beer handoff here and when they see me coming they run over and hand me some guiness. I take a swig and I can see the top of the hill! I am so close! I am so excited! Now I get my second wind and I stand, and people are cheering the riders on. I make the final little climb and try not to crash on the to the paved racecourse finish. I am on the pavement and man it's hard, I am spinning so fast to try and finish. It is a lot farther than I remember it being when I had gears. I get passed by a tandem and I spin like crazy to draft them. It works and I am able to get some good speed down the descent. They break away and I am spinning spinning spinning I can hear the crowd I can see the finish line I am spinning legs want to cramps they are so tired but I am spinning as fast as I can and I finally make the finish line.

I am smiling. I know I'm the last woman, I figure I am also the last singlespeeder. But I did it. Aosty and two friends whose names totally escape me were waiting at the end and I was very happy to see them. One said something really nice - he said "People like you are really inspirational to my daughter" and I got all verklempt.

So guess what. There were only 5 women, and there were 5 medals. And that is how I got on the podium despite being last in my class. :)

PS: I was not the last SSer, (mechanicals I figure) even though there were 100+ people faster, so how about that. :)
 

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I opted out of the Beg/Sprt SS lot this year...it was 200 riders most of whom were machines.... I figured I might have more fun with a twist...
So I signed up for Beg Clydesdale and brought the SS along for some fun.
The start had about 50 or so meatheads standing around in various age levels of 200lb +.
The Beg version went through 50 years old I think...
Whistle went off and I started the grunt...took the left up the steep grade on the race track and saw the large portion of the crew take off...I knew that this was the best place to pass many riders at once...I downshifted and hammered past at least have the field and dropped in comfy like amidst the back of the lead group as we entered the singletrack...
The next 1:42 was spent picking off various riders as I good...many of the clyde gearies found it lovely to drop me on the flats after I would drop them on the climbs...they got a kick out of it...I got to pass about 8 more riders on Hurl Hill...then about 5 more on the first b&tch and many more from various fields/classes on that nasty steep off camber left hill...I thought I was struggling....but was having a blast....
the fireroad out was good...i was motoring along and felt something funny..only to look around to see a little tiny VelloBella girl drafting me....I looked back and she said..."come on clyde...i'm letting you pull me all the way!" I hit the race track and began furiously spinning my gear all the way to the finish....
A while later I was checking the results and became frustruted that my name didn't show up on the list...I checked every line..or so I thought....and was ready to go protest when a friend of mine said..,"dude...you're on there...you won!"
Who knew?
I was able to beat out 21 other clydes, all of whom were on gears....fun on the SS!
 
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