The Time I Won a Frame

The raw hot dog wiener hung down on the string swaying back and forth slightly, while the cheers and jeers of the crowd taunted me to take a bite. I took a brief moment to collect my thoughts and come up with a strategy. If I could ride up under it and do a track stand for long enough to get my head down I just might be able to take a bite and move on to the next round. I started pedalling slowly and paused on the bike when I was right below it. My mouth wide open, I tried to take a bite, but it bounced away. It felt as futile as trying to bite my own ear and after a few more failed attempts I lost my balance and put my foot down. That was it. I wouldn’t advance to the next round and my hopes of winning a custom Donkelope bike frame were dashed.

Trying to bite the elusive hot dog weiner
Trying to bite the elusive hot dog weiner. Photo courtesy of Cascade Cross

It wasn’t until midway through the cyclocross season last year that I learned of the contest. Any rider who completed all of the Cascade Cross races for the 2013/2014 season would be eligible to win a handmade frame by Greg Heath of Donkelope Bikes. The important part to note is that not only did you have to enter all races, but you had to cross the finish line. If you crashed out or bailed mid race because of a mechanical, you were out of the running.

I had already planned to attend all the races, but once I heard the announcement, I became determined to finish them all. I really wanted that frame. Without a proper pit bike, or even a spare set of wheels, my 15 year old mountain bike became my B bike. Thankfully I only had to use it once, at Lutherwood, where I nailed a root on my cx bike and my rear wheel became so warped that it would barely spin. With two laps to go and determined to stay in the contest, I ran to the pit, made the bike exchange, and took off, not considering the bad combination of flat pedals on my mountain bike and cleats on my shoes. Every time I pedalled hard, my feet slipped. After a half lap of struggling, I ditched the MTB back at the pit and finished the race on my warped wheel.

Testing my strength with the tractor pull.  Photo courtesy of Cascade Cross
Testing my strength with the tractor pull. Photo courtesy of Cascade Cross

With the end of each race in the series, the number of eligible contestants dwindled and by the end, only sixteen remained. On a frigid January evening, cross racers came together at Kulshan Brewery to toast a great season, collect awards for the series winners, and watch the feats of strength that Ryan and Greg had cooked up for the custom frame hopefuls. First up was the tractor pull: A wheel-less cart with an empty keg was rigged up to the back of a bike and contestants had to pull the keg across a marked line on the brewery floor. The fastest would advance, the slowest would be eliminated. This was much harder than it looked, but I managed to power through to the next round. Unfortunately, my success would stop there when in the next round I was not able to take a bite of that damn hanging wiener. I wasn’t the only one. Only two people succeeded in the seemingly impossible task. Drowning my sorrows in a pint of Kulshan beer, I watched from the sidelines as the final two contestants competed in a nail-biting game of Bear/Ninja/Cowboy to determine the winner. Just as the cheers went up for the winner, something amazing happened – maybe not amazing for the winner, but pretty awesome for the rest of us. The feats of strength were just a rouse. All the names went back into a draw, and my name was selected as the lucky winner.

The lucky winner.  Photo courtesy of Cascade Cross
The lucky winner. Photo courtesy of Cascade Cross

It was a great season of racing and I felt very fortunate to have my name selected. I spent the next few months stockpiling parts and anxiously awaiting the day I could build. The finished frame looks awesome and it is now all ready to race. A big thanks to Ryan Rickerts of Cascade Cross and Greg Heath of Donkelope bikes for putting together such a fun contest for the frame.

Hand built by Greg.  Bellingham, WA
Hand built by Greg. Bellingham, WA

CranksetShimano Cx-70, 40t Raceface CX narrow/wide
CassetteShimano Ultegra 10 Speed 11-28
Rear DerailleurShimano Ultegra 6700
HeadsetCane Creek 110
StemRitchey WCS 260
HandlebarsRitchey WCS Logic II
SeatpostRitchey WCS 1 bolt
ShiftersShimano 105 5700
ForkEnve carbon CX
WheelsMavic Reflex
TiresClement PDX tubular (not pictured)
Bottom BracketShimano 105
PedalsEggbeater 3

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