All the Amazing Photos: The PhilPOD (Click on them for full glory)
It’s been a busy old year personally for many good reasons so my race organisation became somewhat concentrated post winter dual. I only put on one mates race series over the summer consisting of 7 races, however, that isn’t to say I didn’t miss it and my mates who attend. With the impending arrival of winter it seemed like we should have a bit of a get together to toast the successes of the Summer Series and fuck about on bikes. Since the outing of the ManWolfs I’ve wanted to do something similar again but those torn denim sleeves and ski masks feel somewhat sacred so I didn’t want to go there again (yet). However, mates, bikes, booze and movies is a heady combo and pretty simple to do.
I’d seen a video edit on Vital a couple of years back of a contest at a skate park that I’d always wanted to try. They called it Foot Down, it turned out Baybutt called it Edging Off. The BMX crew play it competitively each summer on their Southern French pilgrimage and the idea is very simple. Mark out an area on the floor, fill it full of lads on bikes and the last one standing wins. The only rule we imposed was keeping your feet on the pedals after my kicking got a bit ‘breakie’ in the trail run.
Earlier this year I’d chucked in $20 to a crowd funding project which got Shaun Palmers biographical DVD off the ground. This secured me a copy of the final cut and seemed ideal as post riding entertainment. The chosen venue was Hagglers corner in Sheffield, a fairly new enterprise full of workshops, yoga studios and freshly serving cafe. They had a large courtyard, a white wall in the cafe to project on and most importantly were up for the idea of 20 riders smashing the shit out of each other for fun. On seeing the proprietors BMX with 4 pegs and a newly fitted basket on the bars I suspected we’d come to the right place.
The evening rolled around soon enough and naturally, was wet and miserable. As the rabble arrived we assembled in the cafe and dried off, drank coffee and ate the freshly baked cakes. Once all the bikes were stacked and the beers cracked we donned our waterproofs ready for battle to commence.
It has to be said that sometimes I go to the Nth degree when planning mates race activities, other times its more just about the idea and the details tend to sort them self out. This was one of those times. My beautiful assistant, Rich Baybutt, had kindly taped out an area on the floor and we all approached tentatively. After a few minutes of circling around, track standing and few explorative rammings I called order and explained the rules. We were playing Bellend: each time you’re knocked out, that is put your footdown, you had to leave the ‘arena’ immediately and you got a letter. Once we’d played enough rounds and you’d spelt B.E.L.L.E.N.D., you were out. Simple.
We were 17 riders strong plus spectators so with a 3, 2, 1, the arena suddenly felt VERY small. What followed was about 30 seconds of pure chaos with rider smashing in to rider, bike in to bike, elbows out, shoulders charged and several folk on the floor. After this initial carnage what was left was about 3 or 4 riders circling around each other trying to figure out some kind of tactics that might give them an advantage. Once they’d realised they hadn’t got a clue what to do it came down to a ramming-trackstand off- with the odd pull, many saves and lots of kamikaze krashes.
This pattern repeated itself each round with that initial period just being amazing: There were many domino take outs (especially by the two metre Penis who was clipped in on his single speed road bike); Lots of hanging on post footdown to make sure you took someone else with you; wild tail whips which soon became band for bike damaging potential; so many entanglements of things that should not be tangleable; constant howls of laughter, pain and despair; and the growing realisation that the fucking trials riders were winning. Team Splatshop, consisting of Tim and Chris Pearson with their sponsored rider, Joe Spivy, were left standing each round. Chris cleaned up on the first round with the three of them battling it out and leaving the brothers fiercely facing off.
The next round we went back to the school yard. Our two team captains, the Pearsons naturally, singled us out one by one leaving the weakest and least confident behind to face the shame. I won’t be naming names. What followed was a mano-a-mano contest; a faceoff; a battle to the death. Each captain picked their best warrior and sent them in, whoever was left standing remained in the ring to face the next member of the opposite team. The last team in the ring was declared the victor. In the first round of this Rich Baybutt earned his nickname; Slayer. Second in the ring for our team he destroyed the whole of Chris’ squad on his own, almost down to Chris himself. However, The Pearson just survived and we had to rely on our own team captain to take him out. Not before I’d had my own go at him though. I attempted Baybutt’s run up and ram technique which left me with a flat tyre and a bent rotor after the front wheel collision. The noise that emanated was enough to stop me in my tracks, cause a very brief silence which was followed by screams of hilarity.
Chris took the overall in the Summer Series with a total of 185 Gnar Points, I was second with 177, with Timmy taking 3rd, Baybutt storming to 4th and Martin Baker roundedout the Podium. Contested over the best 6 of 7 rounds, it was a hell of a lot of fun and we covered many disciplines some of which were featured on the site (hopefully I’ll get chance to write up the rest). There’s a brief overview included in the animation below.
Post rum we settled down to watch The Miserable Champion, Shaun Palmers DVD. Everyone really enjoyed it despite the mountain bike content being minimal. Peaty had some brilliant cameos in it basically saying what a fool Palmer was for turning down some of his big money contracts. But it showed what a true champion Napalm was at any sport he chose to turn his hand to despite being pissed and just how destructive addiction can be, to anything. Its really worth a watch if you can get hold of a copy and I think Palm could do with the cash from the sounds of it.
All in all another great night at a great venue… but my bike will never be the same again.