We’re here, we’re small, get used to it
by Than Acuff
It’s getting harder and harder to be accepted in this extremely judgmental world of biking. With the advent of the 29-inch wheeled mountain bike (Wes Williams was the first to tout the benefits of the bigger wheel, by the way), and the subsequent 27.5-inch wheeled bikes, the 26-inch wheel is scoffed at and the 10-inch wheel? Well, there’s some downright hatred out there.
As a result, I took it upon myself to bring to light the issue of small wheel shaming at the 2016 Chainless World Championships; it’s high time people accept us for who we are.
We’re here, we’re small, get used to it!
And boy did it suck. I’m no Jordan Williford, a fellow small-wheeler. He takes it to a whole new level with his speed suit and aerodynamic hat.
I’m just a guy with small wheels, and you know what they say about a guy with small wheels—he makes up for it with his top tube.
Oh snap! That’s right, all you tourists reading this (if there are in fact tourists reading this) I just made a not so subtle reference to male junk.
Welcome to Crested Butte! Now give us your money! And when I am behind you in line at Camp 4, don’t you dare order anything soy, anything low fat, anything with the word macchiato or Frappuccino or cappuccino in it.
I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Get whatever you want. I’ll wait…
At any rate, two years ago I had a horrid experience on my modified Strider when the plumbing modification disintegrated. Though the athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner had a plumbing modification, speaking of stopping shaming, small wheelers and transgenders unite!
To be honest, my aforementioned debacle with my modified Strider almost resulted in an impromptu transgender surgical procedure.
Last year was a successful descent, but this year? Not so much.
This year straight up sucked, and not in a good way. While the Harlem Globetrotters, the Elvises, the Beatles, Tucker Roberts and his megalithic mystery machine, the Rasta Hairnets and everyone else were having a wonderful time, my front tire slowly disintegrated in the first mile and was rendered useless a mile and a half into the descent and I was left alone with my small wheels.
I was rolling strong and then I was wobbling horribly.
And while it is a chainless race, I was forced to rely on my chain to get me down the hill. Tiny wheels, tiny crank arms but a big heart and an American flag on my handlebars to inspire me.
Did George Washington stop crossing the Delaware River because of a leaky boat?
Was I going to keep on pedaling to get to the finish line?
In the immortal words of Aine Falter, “Hells yeah.”
And boy did it suck, five and a half miles of suck.
I was going so slow that the flag on my handlebars was actually blowing downhill. I was going so slow that a tractor passed me. What a tractor was doing on Kebler Pass Road I have no idea but it passed me. Tourists heading into town drove by me, paused, took pictures and drove off laughing.
Can’t wait to Google image search it, just be careful what you type in because Google image searches can take you down a dark and disturbing rabbit hole.
The light at the end of the five and a half mile long sucky tunnel hit me when I could just barely hear the sweet sounds of Dave Ochs’ voice at the finish line.
I was going to make it and I did and was welcomed at the finish line by our esteemed Red Lady waving a tiny rainbow flag. And, I hit three of my four personal goals on the day.
1. Start the race.
2. Finish the race.
3. Don’t be last.
4. Put an end to small wheel shaming
I wasn’t a DNS, I wasn’t a DNF and I wasn’t DFL. Not only that but I hit the podium in the small-wheel class coming in third, though I don’t recall getting called up on the podium… HATERS!
As for number four, my effort may have backfired as plenty of people were laughing at me and not with me during the race.
Sure, it may have been foolish, actually it was. And I may be dumb, but at least I’m not voting for Donald Trump.