On a rim and a prayer 

The fifth annual Rock Creek Summer Bike Olympics took place this past weekend at the residence of Rob “Rez” Rusignola, bike enthusiast and illustrator for the Independent. Missoula’s finest riders convened at Rusignola’s on Friday evening, each bearing the requisite entry fee of a case of beer for the ceremonial opening event: a long night of competitive partying. With each passing hour, a successfully consumed drink came to be worth double its original point value. Said Rusignola, “A lot of people conk out early. I pace myself for the later hours.”

Saturday’s first event was the “Fast Track,” a sprint around the three-quarter-mile wooden roller coaster of a bike course that Rusignola has constructed in the woods behind his house. The course includes many different obstacles and routes, and riders rarely take the same path twice.

The “Beer Sprint” was a race to the end of Rusignola’s driveway, where each biker had to swiftly and neatly chug a beer before riding back to the starting line. The Olympics’ third event, the “Beer Slalom,” was all about finesse: Competitors rode a treadless road bike around nine empty Pabst cans on loose gravel while holding a full beer with one hand. Upon completion of the slalom, the held beer was chugged.

The fourth and final event, the “Hot Dog Race,” was a true test of endurance. Bikers ran the course three times, scarfing down a hot dog before each round. Imagine drinking for two days, stuffing three franks in your mouth, and riding a roller coaster. The contest’s official stance on regurgitation is that “Responsible puking is encouraged.” At day’s end awards were given out to the Champion, the People’s Champion, the Booziest Drinker, and the Slowest Rider.

The Olympics were once a three-day event, but “the prolonged competitive drinking was just too grueling,” according to Rusignola. If you missed this Summer’s Olympics, don’t worry: Competitors are already in training for the Winter Olympics, which will take place in about six months.

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