The Grumpa Grass Slalom is building esteem and a solid following each year in Squamish, and 2013 was no different. Early in the summer, and continuing throughout, people would approach the organizers asking if and when it was happening, desperate not to miss their opportunity to slide down a course that consists of nothing more than a grass pitch and some buttons. It’s the simplest of simple, set up in a matter of 5 mins, give or take. However, the course really develops over the period of a couple hours, as an endless stream of riders repeatedly rips to the bottom, further developing two brown strips down the hillside.
Competition was fierce, as is the case with many grass roots events, but this one is a little different. Squamish mountain bikers tend to be an ultra competitive bunch, no-one really knows why, but its serious business! The grass slalom with no prizing whatsoever, sees people doing anything they can for that competitive advantage. Its not uncommon for riders to swap out the street tires on their dirt jump bikes for Wet Screams, but this year it went to a whole new level. A number of riders opted to spend the evening prior, drilling drywall screws into their already tacky Schwalbe tires. The things looked beastly, straight deadly, and while having witnessed this before in the snow, we never thought we would see it at a friendly grass slalom event.
Watching the spikes on course was a treat, with grass flying everywhere (as is normal), and an aggressive, literally on rails riding technique adopted. It wasn’t long before the turf was so chewed up in a number of places that the tires actually began to be a problem, losing traction in an incredibly unpredictable manner! Despite the seemingly invincible traction, the rest of the field took it to them, making it incredibly difficult for the studded riders, regardless of their velcro traction. In the end, it was a young rider on a bone stock, borrowed bike that took the win, with the runner up on a slightly modified (Wet Scream tires), old school Brodie.
Good times had, heckling done, a couple of drinks down and another wicked day spent doing skids with friends. The Grumpa Grass Slalom remains a local favourite.