Standard Deluxe Dirt Road Century bike race is not your average bike race. There are different types of races such as road or mountain biking, but this race mixes a bit of both on mostly dirt and gravel roads. Participants can choose between 100, 60 or 30 mile races depending on experience or preference.
The second-annual bike race will be held Saturday, Oct. 21 in Waverly, Alabama.
“So many races out there, are just that, they are races," said Colt Fetters, one of the race directors. "People get out there, and it is really cutthroat. People don their spandex outfits and go as fast as they can. What we tried to do with this route is to make it as fun an event as possible. You can make it competitive if you want to, but we have tried to add different types of tweaks to make it exciting for those who do not want to take it as serious.”
Some of these tweaks are a mustache competition, groovy music and hidden beers along each trail.
After competitors finish the race the party starts with live music and the grills fired up.
“The part after the race is honestly the most fun, Fetters said. "You are euphoric because you just burned off all the sugar in your system so your brain doesn’t quite work, then you can hang out with your friends and drink too many beers while listening to music.”
Dirt Road Century is sponsored by the Terra Firma bike team, which Fetters is a member of. The money raised is used for other races as well as sponsoring bikers so they can cycle the money back into the community.
When a buddy of Fetters found the route in Waverly, Alabama, they were amazed that more people were not riding it. After exploring the area, they were shocked it was only 15 miles from Auburn and thought more cyclists should hear about it.
“What better way than to combine the Standard Deluxe, one of our favorite music venues, with a bike race and have a whole event,” Fetters said.
At last year’s race there were 65 participants and a good amount of spectators. All the races started at the same time, but this year they will end around the same time so that they can have a better celebration. For the 100-mile race, the fastest might finish in six hours, the slowest might finish in 10. With staggered starts they hope to make the event more enjoyable.
“We made some slight variations on the route from last year to make the route flow better with eight stations throughout the route where people can get food and water,” said Fetters. About half the people are going out there to race as fast as they can, while others are going out there just to finish it and have fun with friends.
There are maps on the website of each route with an elevation chart to give bikers an idea of what is to be expected.
“It’s a good course, there are better courses out there because we are in Eastern Alabama, but the culture surrounding the ride is the most important part, which is promoted by the mustache competition,” said Fetters.
The mustache competition is a fun activity that everyone can enjoy even if they aren't the fastest racers. Because all mustaches are different, they decided to judge them based on categories. Last year the categories were the most volume, best style and the character. So just because someone cannot grow a huge mustache, they don't have to count themselves out. Fetters said, “A winner last year had shaved his mustache and beard into the shape of a huge mustache that stretched ear to ear. There are also lots of weird mustaches that are trying to be serious mustaches, and those are even better.”
There is also camping available the night before and the night after.
“Feeling accomplished at the end so you are able to indulge, and then you can camp there that night so you do not have to drive home,” Fetters said.
“To be best prepared I would get some saddle time. I would not say this is about being fast, but if you are used to sitting on a bike for a long time that is the number one key. Some padded shorts and maybe some shammy cream which goes a long way to not chaffing."
The culture of the race is to have fun and not take it too seriously so that all types of people can feel comfortable.
AJ Hudson, senior in nursing, said he's been biking a lot to prepare for the race and grooming to prepare for the mustache competition.
"I'm excited to see if I can actually bike 30 miles without dying," Hudson said. "And I'm stoked to spend time biking with all my friends and to crack a cold one at the end."