This Big Wheel Adventure with a huge surprise ending played out during he Beginning of the Season Bash (BOSB) weekend at Deals Gap (The Dragon) April 2009.
The BOSB is held each year at The Dragon and is sponsored by the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort and the East TN Riders. It is a big party and the evening is concluded by the infamous Big Wheel races.
The BW race is held late at night in the pitch dark and are run on The Dragon from the State line to the Store parking lot. The race is one mile down a 13% grade with a couple of switchbacks. Some Big Wheels have been known to reached 40 mph during these races.
There are two divisions for the Big Wheel: Stock and Modified. To compete in the stock class, you must have plastic wheels (no rubber). You are allow to beef up the suspension if you wish and still compete in the stock class. Modified BWs may have rubber wheels.
Our next door neighbor, Adam engineered some suspension upgrades to Paul’s stock class racing Big Wheel.
Intense concentration and dueling soul patches…
First test of the Big Wheel.
I think we may need a wheelie bar
A man and his Big Wheel.
And here she is, a real racing Big Wheel with a seat borrowed from Paul’s John Deere lawn tractor. It’s a perfect color match
Note the Wheelie bar.
One final touch (ala Seinfeld)
I tape two LCD flashlights to the handlebars. That will be the only light he has for the race.
So we headed down the TN/NC for the BOSB and the race.
Test trials on the Dragon. This is not the part of the road where the race will be. This area is not as steep.
Watch out for that edge… it’s 80 feet down to the bottom
Killboy on his modified class BW.
Paul with is MINI in background. He was having some front end issues with his BW that needed modified.
Luckily master mechanic Wheeler was available to help with some find tuning..
It’s now about 11 pm and time for the race to commence. Time to start loading up and head to the top of the hill.
Paul before the race having a bit of liquid courage.
Kelly ready to rock his little pink Big Wheel
How many Big Wheels and crazy men can you fit in a truck?
Now, I was quite worried for Paul because this was his first BW race and I was sure he would wreck.; everybody wrecks. This is why you must wear full head to foot riding gear for protection. The only thing that differs is you can wear another kind of boot, because the your feet are your brakes and the race eats up your footwear.
I fixed myself near the finish line with a good view up the road as well as the finish line. To my complete surprise the WB I saw coming out of the dark in second was Paul! I knew it was him because I taped the headlights on his BW in a distinctive staggered manner
Out of the dark…. here comes Paul!
Here I got so excited, like a little school girl, that I start clapping and yelling, “It’s Paul! It’s Paul!” and totally forgot to take photos of Paul’s second place finish. As Paul crossed the finish line he leaned back on his wheel bar and spread a 5 foot long line of sparks. At first people though he was having a problem but then quickly realized what he was doing and a whoop of approval spread though the crowd.
Paul exiting the track
Second & first place winners
Paul right after coming in second. Pumped up and wanting to go again. I was so very proud of him. It just goes to show me- I though for sure he would crash and instead he came in second.
Paul’s boots atfer the race= Flintstone brakes
The first thing he said to me was “That was fun I want to do it again.” Sadly he had wheel issues. He picked up the BW to load it in the truck and a rear wheel feel off because the axle hole melted!
The original axle hole was 3/8?; now the hole is over 2 1/2? wide!
Talkin’ Big Wheel racin’ with Darryl “Killboy” and last year’s winner.
Brave Big Wheel Warriors basking in their well deserved glory in the parking lot at The Store.
We hung around for awhile talking with my friends. Since most of my friends work on The Dragon as photographers or running The Store it is very hard to actually get them together in one place at the same time. Also for me it is normal to see Lori “Killgurl” with a camera, so I never though anything about seeing her holding one. Well, Paul called all my friends over and I though we were going to take a group photo with all of us. I turned to say something to Paul and .. WHA? … I have to look down because there he is on one knee. He then took my hand and proposed!
Paul was carrying my engagement ring (which was also my grandmother’s engagement ring, but that is another story) in his riding leather during the race! I sure am glad he didn’t crash. LOL
To my surprise, in front of all my friends, Paul proposed. How many people are lucky enough to capture this moment on camera?
Of course I said yes