Leave it to the Langin’s – Bobby Sr. & Jr. and family to throw the mother of all bike events with their annual Langtown Cyclocross race held at their home in Thousand Oaks, CA. The bedroom community with ranch-style homes that would otherwise be just another Southern California neighborhood gets transformed for one day into Bike Racing and Beer Drinking HQ.
I discovered Langtown just last year and am eternally grateful that I managed to stumble upon this. 2010 however finds me on crutches with a bum knee from a roadie wreck, so I am relegated to non-racing status this year. Even still, on pain meds and crutches and the chance that I may twist my knee into even worse shape, I wouldn’t miss it for all the chai in Tina.
The races are open class; CX, MTB, BMX, gears, singlespeed, fixed… run what ya brung. Register in the Langin’s garage, sign a waiver, get a number, drink a pre-race beer.
The first race is the “Elite” race, riders taking themselves and their results entirely too seriously with no sight of a beer hand-up. Eyes on the prize as it were. They may indeed be in full costume on a singlespeed ‘cross bike, but there’s no denying the underlying feeling of competition. Racers stage on the paved driveway that runs from the street along side the house to the backyard. The backyard that has been meticulously crafted into an amazing sweeping, pumping, jumping, step-upping dirt shortrack. Due to complaints from the neighbors about the shocking amount of mud that was strewn about the streets last year, this year’s event was dry and mud-free, saving most riders from stopping at the DIY carwash on the way home to uncover their bike’s true color from the layers of mud. I have to say honestly – the mud was missed this year.
The second race is where the shit hits the fan. Four laps with a mandatory beer stop during each lap. Cute red party cup full of beer, shotgun a can, or grab one of several pre-loaded beer bongs. Your call. Gladly enabling your intoxication will be one of two beer wenches, serving up beer with a smile. If you’re (un)lucky enough you may even get a beer handed to you that’s been spiked with tequila by none other than Langin Jr. That realization will probably hit you just as you’re dismounting your bike to hump it up the steep climb up to the bridge that crosses the track. Or perhaps you’ve already thrown up by now.
Stage 3: The Beer Mile. A foot race around the neighborhood and dirt track with nary a bike in sight. Stage yourself with a full can of beer on your head, drink it down then get to running! This race is four laps as well, with four mandatory cans of beer being consumed in the duration. If you’ve somehow managed to race all three races and are still standing, congratulations! You may find yourself on the podium for this year’s Langtown. And you will probably find yourself in Bobby’s Azalea bush the next morning.
In between races, feel free to recover with your rendition of MJ’s “I Wanna Rock With You” on the karaoke machine, grill some fine meats on the red-hot grill or grab a cold one and chat up some of the many interesting people that are drawn to this event.
The race takes place only once a year. I whole-heartily recommend that you beg, borrow or steal your way to SoCal this time next year to participate.
Some images from 2010 (click to enlarge):