California Outlaw Series Recap #1 With Andrew Medeiros: Autobahn
“We were literally raised on this, because this is how we got to be where we are now. Coming to all the outlaws and going fuckin’ ham on some backwoods road”. – Max Capps
Under canopies of trees that interlock like hands to shield the wet ground from the sun, three Bay kids fall out of a silver pickup truck onto the Sonoma mud. Just as the Spin Doctors tribute to Hendrix CD became too much for ears to bare, it was finally time to step into the muddy Sonoma earth.
I got a ride up with some of my favorite friends from the Bay to a classically backwoods race. As Bently, Miles and I plop out of the silver truck, we spot our crew: The U-haul and the homies.
“Hey FISH YOU BOOLIN”
A dedicated team, the Sac-town kids are some of the realest ones out here. Little brother Jake Knudsen always likes to greet me swinging. A tiny guy, he’s a year younger than me and has a great warming cackle whenever we meet up.
“YO! You got ten minutes to change wheels and shit, then this u-haul is starting!”
Event organizer and Maté guzzler, Brendan Reid-Naughton is making this outlaw feel legal. Monitoring the walkie-talkies, a U-haul and a plethora of Guayaki cans. After I finish my hellos, the low rumble of the U-haul engine crescendos, acting as a warning that we should already be inside. As we all clamor in the back, trying to find something or someone to hold onto for balance, we hear it. The sound echoes through the metal roof.
“Oh it’s RAINING BOYS”
I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know what to expect when urethane touched the wet, broken asphalt. The solitary incandescent bulbs in the sides of the cavernous U-haul put a hazy yellow-orange glow over our helmets. One thin moment before we deploy our skills on this wild course like a battalion before the attack.
To skate this course on a sunny Sonoma day by myself would be a cruise, but a lonely one, lacking in energy. To skate it with a pack is worth a few more runs, I can smile from the kick- off to the swooping shutdown slide. But it’s worth all of me to skate this on Cali’s rare rainy day with my de facto family. At the top of the hill without shelter from the rain, we huddle together and watch the U-haul rocket down the hill. Pros and groms alike, waiting to take their best shot at a course that can steal anyone’s control without hesitation. Times like these are leveling.
I definitely drank way too much Yerba. I can’t tell if I am shaking from the caffeine or the cold. In a hesitant blur, I move from the starting line into the puddles. As my wheels start their battle against hydroplaning, I immediately feel that my half-shell helmet was a horrible choice. But I committed to this run, no easy route out now. I blinked fast, out of necessity. I could barely see the road. The one thing I saw for sure was the rider next to me decided to take the short way down; off the cliff.
As I clear the first sweeping corners, I scream jubilantly. This is the kind of race where my fingers never interlocked for a speed tuck. Both stiff arms are fully extended and shaking like I am crucified. I clear the final right bend without taking a mud bath. I thanked the road moss for keeping me upright on my board.
My last run of the day was met with a toothy smile from Raggie. Toting coast medals for the finalists, he seems glad that Californians can skate in the rain too. With so many of the thickest roots of our scene still thriving, I turn optimistic for the next wave of riders. There is no rulebook for where we go next, a blessing and a curse. But whenever they come, we will be here. Keeping our family together.
As the scaffolding for the regrowth of underground outlaws begin, I hope this is the start of a more unified scene. Creating a competitive race circuit without relinquishing the inherent free fun of downhill skateboarding. From the days of Eli Smouse and Patrick Rizzo, outlaws are the fertilizer of Norcal roots. They provide the space for new growth, sprouting youth from the cracks in the pavement. The grass is growing, but we cannot stop watering it now.
Check for the next events and more information at https://www.facebook.com/californiaoutlawseries/
We’ll see you on the hill!
Good luck out there,