Report: Mini-Bike Steeplechase

[This ride report was written by BikePortland intern J.R. For more like this, see our full Pedalpalooza 2009 coverage.]

The winners take the podium (Photo by Coach Dan)

Wednesday evening brought cooler, breezy weather to the top of Washington Park where ten daring mini-bike racers gathered for the 4th Annual Mini-Bike Steeple Chase. A spectator or two and a team of race volunteers stood by, prepared to crown the rider who bombed the mystery course AND cleared the three challenge hurdles: Emotional, Physical and Mental.

Rudimentary directions were given at the starting line and racers knew only that three challenges awaited along the dark and vaguely indicated trail. Several riders reportedly missed upper sections of the intended route but found their way to the first challenge stage where they were to stop, dismount and express sentiments so romantic to their waiting judge that she was compelled to give the competitor a kiss on the cheek — their passport to continue racing.

Onward through the forested darkness to sounds of frogs, crickets and buzzing freewheels the competitors raced to the Physical Challenge stage. This required dismounting again and running several laps of an obstacle course involving children’s playground equipment and culminating in the requirement of physically tackling their imposing judge, not once but three times, whereupon steeple chasers were handed their paper pass to the Mental Challenge stage awaiting at the bottom of the hill.

Most were winded by this point and seemed glad to snatch the paper and hop back on their elfin steeds to catch their breath on the final paved segment. Riders were well separated by this time and a couple were disqualified already for blowing by the challenge stages entirely. One is missing in action. (So if anyone has seen Allen…)

The finish line was drawn, not on the asphalt but on the piece of paper collected at the previous stop. Riders reaching the end of the route now had a chance to examine the paper which presented them with a diabolical mental challenge of …LONG DIVISION?!? Brutal.

Some racers dove right in with pen, paper and headlamps while others knew the game was lost. Some dug for electronic assistance, some called for tech support. One rider derived the leet-like answer without even looking at the math puzzle, relying solely on his knowledge of the evil event planner’s mindworks.

In the end, a first time steeplechaser with the skills to romance, to throw down and to divide very large numbers on paper won the glory and the Chainring Chalice. Valiant second and third place finishers received coupons for a free burrito from Laughing Planet.

Congratulations to the winners: Zack, Johnny, and Turbo

BikePortland reader bonus! The final Mental Challenge question was: 40401861376 / 2012

Please try this on paper, in the dark while wearing a helmet.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments