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Stupor is as Stupor Does

There are a few things that happen in Minneapolis that I like to classify as “Minnesota as Fuck”. In no particular order, this list includes:

  • Walleye sandwiches.
  • Watching hockey.
  • Drinking beer while watching hockey on a frozen lake.
  • Riding fatbikes across a frozen lake to drink beer and watch hockey on a frozen lake.
  • The Stupor Bowl.

The Stupor Bowl happens every year the Saturday before the “Super Bowl,” regardless of the thick and fickle Minnesota weather. I’ve ridden a few of these in my time here, and the weather has ranged everywhere from sub-zero and windy, to mid-thirties and sunny. No matter the temperature, though, people show up. People ride. People get down. And, people get weird. Costumes happen, or they don't. This year, my personal forecast was 40 percent chance of fuzzy, with a slight chance of yard sale.

Like every year (least since I’ve been doing it) the hoards meet at the venerable One on One Bicycle Studio in downtown Minneapolis for race registration, manifests, and pre-game sports drinks. The crowd this year was one of the largest I’ve ever seen, with the entirety of the back alleyway of One on One choked with racers from all over the country shuffling around and strategizing prior to lift off.

Manifests we’re distributed, we rode to the start, and we were off. My race partner (and better half) and I formed a team rolling deep on some single speed mountain bikes. Hers – “Cookie”, the Karate Monkey, and mine “Trail Boss, The 1x1”. We figured these bikes were most likely to keep the rubber side down through all the days' efforts. We were attempting the “Speed Race” - two extra stops and no required drinking stops.

The miles unwound as the day rolled on. The weather was probably the best I’ve seen at the Stupor Bowl, and we ended the day back in Uptown for the final stop, the James Ballentine VFW.

When all was said and done, we made 13 stops, two back alley pee breaks, met one doggo pet (lovely to meet you, Juniper!), consumed 10,000 beers, and returned home - two happy racers going bananas on some left over take-out.

This was Stupor done right as I see it. The attitude surrounding this race is fantastic. Everyone is welcome, but no one is safe from the rigors of learning the ropes at Stupor. This is a bike-commuters'-commuter race, a messenger's messenger race, and an alley cat's alley cat. This year there was also an added focus on WTF (women-trans-femme), making those awards for speed and stupor the highlight of the awards ceremony.

Most people don’t finish this race - maybe not because it’s too difficult, but maybe because most people are having too much damn fun to care. My teammate and I scored DFL. We rode in to the last checkpoint at the VFW exactly one minute before close. She even won DFL rookie. For a first-timer and a vet like myself, we shared the perfect day of riding with ALL of our bike friends. We may only see them individually once a month or so as our paths cross; commuting across the city running errands. But this day, we got to ride with all our homies - and it was bad ass.

I’m already thinking about my costume for next year. I’m thinking, Jason “Enduro Bro” Vorheese.

Stay safe out there, check your six before you cross that line.

Fritzenheimer's avatar

About Fritzenheimer

Aaron is Surly’s man on the ground, meaning he mostly drives around listening to metal in a large van full of our demo bikes. You might be thinking, “hey that sounds like a pretty cool job, how can I get a job like that?” And the answer is that you can’t because we just told you that’s Aaron’s job. We actually don’t see him that often but we really like it when we do. He can usually be found with drumsticks in his hands — sometimes percussion, sometimes poultry.

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