FM24 2009! Faster Mustache Urban Bicycle Rally Recap

Faster Mustache
Last weekend was the Faster Mustache 24 Hour Urban Bicycle Rally, of which I was a participant. I was introduced to this particular race last year by David Tyberg (a.k.a Professor Dimitri von Stadberg of The Extraordinary Contraptions, playing Thursday at the EARL!) and got roped into it this summer.

The race concept was simple. For 24 hours, from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, teams of riders biked a circuit through downtown Atlanta (and surroundings) making stops at five checkpoints each lap. Teams consisted of four to six people, or you could opt to go solo and be a crazy person. The checkpoints were, in order:

  1. Elliot Street Pub (Home Base)
  2. The Gear Revival
  3. The Nook
  4. Outback Bikes
  5. No Brakes

Here’s a map of the Suggested Race Route™.

View Larger Map
The suggested race route was just that: a suggestion. You could feel free to use whatever roads/trails/sidewalks/MARTA you care to, as long as you did it with your bike. I deviated somewhat from this route, but not a whole lot. 14th Street was a popular choice, over 10th Street, and there were a lot of other ways to optimize the route.

At each checkpoint you swiped an RFID badge which was the confirmation that you’d been there. The organizers of the race had a sweetly tricked out setup for registering everyone’s laps in real time and posting to the race tracker.
Angel on Handoff

The lap-basis of the race was easy in concept. The Missions were something else. Missions were new for this year and a part of their NINJA competition. A list of missions was published on Friday night before the race and include things like: Chug a Beer at The Gear Revival; Deliver the best breakfast to the race organizers; win the sprint competition; deliver a dead rat; deliver a bag full of dog poo; and numerous others.
Stay Left

We knew we weren’t going to be competitive on laps, so we headed out for points on the missions while teammates out of the course. I say “we” but I really should say, “David, Sharon and Patrick” who did the lion’s share of the mission tagging. Patrick contributed the most permanent points mission with a brand new FM 24 commemorative tattoo. I forgot to get a picture. David went all the way to Stone Mountain and climbed the rock to get a picture.

He's Ready

Through the fantastic effort by the team, we managed to come in fourth in points, only 12 points out of third. Next year we’re going to freaking stomp the points competition. We also completed 24 laps for an approximate distance of 300 miles (I’m figuring our average lap was 12.5 miles. I’m sure other people did it shorter or longer). I personally completed five laps before declaring a mechanical because of my rear wheel and deraileur. Sharon completed six laps making her the Queen of the Team for most laps completed.

Sharon heading Out

There were numerous awards given out, but the ones that are the most bad-ass are:

  • Most Laps: Smack That Ass with 40, which puts them at about 500 miles or 20.8 mph average
  • Most Laps (solo man): Nathan Smith with 32. That’s 400 miles by himself! Averaging 16.7 mph. My best lap was about that.
  • Most Laps (solo woman): Emily Brock with 26. That is 325 miles, solo, averaging 13.5 mph.

Those guys all rock.


  • Insufficient preparation in case of rain: Simply stated, if it had rained, I for one would have been screwed and I don’t think the rest of the team would have fared well either. I don’t own bike rain gear, but I will by next year you can be sure. Also, we need to plan things out, in case of rain. Leaving people sitting around in the wet is a good way to get people sick and generally demoralize them. I can envision different plans for different weather conditions.
  • Check lists!: I packed in a rush and forgot a few simple things like bike gloves (necessary!) and my biking jacket (not necessary this year, luckily).
  • Base Camp setup: We weren’t very organized with how we set up the tent and the area where we just sat around. This wasn’t a big deal, but it got a bit messy and disorganized by the day’s end. Some plan is better than no plan
  • Preparation: We need a good communications plan, in case of unforeseen contingencies. Phone trees, etc.
  • Route Checking: Really need to scout the route better next year. I learned a few things from people I was following along the way. While these little tricks might only save minutes per lap, that could add up to two or three extra laps, plus less energy expenditure. Plus, the route could change depending on the time of day. For example there was a continuing debate about the Carrol Street vs. Boulevard vs. Memorial Drive route to get to No Brakes. I think the answer is “all of the above, depending on the hour”.
  • Additional Clothing: It wasn’t a huge deal, but changing back into my damp, sweaty, smelly bike kit for my turn on the route was just depressing. I need to bring more pairs of bike shorts and jerseys. Especially for the early morning routes where the weather had cooled off and I spend the whole lap on the cool side of comfortable due to wind chill.
  • Commitment: I admit that I was not fully committed to this race when I showed up. I’ve got the Florida Ironman in seven weeks so I was avoiding (what I considered) unnecessary mileage on my legs, especially having to do with Missions. Next year, that will not be the case; I won’t care if I’m laid up for a week with calf cramps. Plus I just wasn’t mentally prepared for the Missions when I showed up. Next year, I will be.
  • It was a super time. I’m glad I did it and that I’ll probably get invited to do it again next year. Patrick and Drew were fun to hang with. David and Sharon are entertaining. Sharon slept for about two hours with her feet out the tent door, making her look like the dead witch from the Wizard of Oz.

    Casualties of the race include one rear bike light (smashed to flinders because of the cobbles on Broad street and Martin L King Jr Drive) and one rear wheel (because of same, I think). The wheel is still rideable, but it has a noticeable dent and I had to get it trued today. I’ll be replacing it after I buy a wetsuit for the Ironman.

    Our sister team, Team Blitzkrieg, shared our spot with us and I’d be happy to hang with them at a bike event again.
    Team Blitzkrieg

    In case you’re wondering, our team name, Die Fligenden Elvises (a.k.a. The Flying Elvises) was derived from an RPI D-League hockey team. Let’s Go Red!
    Die Fligenden Elvises!

    All of my Flickr images are at the new FM 24 Flickr set, and you can compare them to the 2008 FM 24 Flickr images.

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