Tour des Suds shows creativity in beautiful, boozy bike race
Costumed riders drink beer, race
September 20, 2017
"How can I tie my tail on, Ali? Would you put my tail on?" Michelle Bowden, wearing a helmet with a unicorn horn and a flowing rainbow mane, asked her friend, Alison Godlewski, dressed as a squirrel.
"I think you don't want it too long," Godlewski said. "You don't want it to get in the way. Or do you want it long?"
Bowden told her to keep it short.
"I can see it getting caught in my chain and then I'd crash," she said.
Godlewski pinned the bouquet of rainbow streamers to Bowden's pants. "I don't think that's too long," Godlewski said. "I think that's a good tail."
Whether you know, or care, or not, it's fashion week in the western world. Last week was New York, this week is London, then Milan followed by Paris.
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It was also a good time to think about appearances in Park City, which was celebrating (roughly) the 37th Tour des Suds weekend.
On Sunday, mountain bikers donned their best and/or worst outfits for the seven-mile uphill race and prowled City Park.
Park-goers dressed as everything salvageable from the exotic and squalid corners of twisted biking minds: Elmos, Big Birds, Vikings, Alice (lost in a new wonderland), a man with a blow-up doll in tow, grown men in My Little Pony outfits, women as slinky skeletons and power rangers, as Pink Ladies and moose, roamed the park. Not to mention men cross-dressing as everything from The Little Mermaid to nuns.
There was also a turd, played by Mountain Trails' builder-in-chief, Rick Fournier.
"This little ensemble was thrown together last minute," Fournier said. He sported a poop emoji hat and a brown onesie with plastic poop pick-up bags pinned to the front.
"There was a post on our Facebook page about people leaving their poop on the edge of the trail and not putting it in the trashcan, so that's what got the blood flowing and encouraged this costume," he said.
His costume was a new(ish) take on the perennial theme of trail maintenance.
Officially, there is no poop fairy — Mountain Trails posts disclaimers that say so, encouraging people to pick up after their pets. Unofficially, poop fairies, and fairies in general, are well-represented each year. "Sometimes, I think you need to mix it up a bit," Fournier said. "But hey, we're never going to knock a poop fairy."
Wendell Brown was also milling around the park. He had left no detail unattended in his Lion King costume (think king of the lions, not Simba the cub).
His helmet, barnacled with a sequin-blazoned cap, was a kitsch crown, ("That was the piece de resistance!"). It was underpinned by his sunglasses' leopard-print temples while a giant big-cat themed shirt and a leopard print cape tied the costume together. "It's all about style, baby," Brown said. He had spent "hours and hours," searching this year's theme. He said he had worked with someone at a consignment store to perfect the look.
Godlweski, the squirrel, said that those who wear costumes typically race better than those who do not, regardless of extra drag. And, indeed, after the 350-odd racers (more than ever before), flocked through Park Avenue and up the single-track paths, it was Sam Sweetser who first sprinted out into the clearing above Guardsman Pass.
Sweetser wore a long, blonde wig, red spandex pants and an American flag tank top. "I haven't busted it out too often," he said. "Wedding night, one time here, twice here now," he said.
It only came out for "classy events," Sweetser said: "Weddings and Tour des Suds."
The costume was, in some circles, high couture.