Riders include 71-year-old Long Beach Millikan High grad and Trikke rider Larry Mehlmauer.
They came from near and far, Pasadena, Las Vegas, Oregon. They ranged, in age, from 10 to 71. Their common joy: Trikke riding, which is why, for the second consecutive year, they descended on Long Beach, California over Thanksgiving weekend — to follow up Turkey Day and retail’s Black Friday with “Carve Off” Saturday.
All told, 33 Trikke riders participated in what was also the club So Cal Carvers‘ Last Saturday of the Month Ride, aka, the LSM Ride, which, in November, is also called the Carve Off, as in, carve all that dessert and stuffing off [a certain body part].
The attendance was nearly double the 17 riders who showed up for last year’s event. Among this years participants: the de facto guest of honor, Larry Mehlmauer, the senior carver whose video testimonial won him a Trikke T12 and the hearts of many in the Trikke world.
Normally a solo rider in Medford, Oregon, Mehlmauer graduated from Millikan High in Long Beach and was in town for the holidays visiting family and friends (some of whom also attended Millikan). [Also on hand Saturday were Trikke riders and Millikan grads Jim Goodrich and Jim Kennedy.]
“This is the highlight of my trip,” said Mehlmauer of what was his first-ever group Trikke ride. “It’s very hard to describe, it’s that much fun.”
His reaction evokes the same kind of enthusiasm on display in his prize-winning video, where he credits his Trikke with saving his life, despite a variety of physical challenges, including open heart surgery.
“He’s motivation for me,” said So Cal Carver Rich Goff, standing arm in arm with Mehlmauer during a break at Belmont Pier. “If Larry, who’s 71, can do it, I can do it at 63. It’s great to have him riding with us.”
See full Lighthouse Uphill Challenge 3 results at the end of this story.
The “Carve Off” began in the Belmont Shore area with a special riding workshop conducted by Fred Welch, director of the Trikke Academy (along with Trikke Trainers Debbie Bumgardner and Martin Vasilevski). For many of the 20-some riders, the ninety-minute training session represented their first formal Trikke riding lesson.
“I definitely improved my technique with Fred’s tips, especially when it comes to hill climbing!” said Jason Hilton, a Long Beach resident who discovered the joy of Trikke last summer (after owning one but not riding it for seven long years).
Following the workshop, as many as 30 riders carved up the long, Long Beach bike path, some eight miles (roundtrip) of oceanfront pathway from Belmont Shore to Shoreline Village.
At Rainbow Lagoon, a detour was made (2-4 miles roundtrip) to the ever-popular Long Beach Lighthouse, where the third-ever Lighthouse Uphill Challenge, aka LUC, was held.
Nine riders participated in LUC 3, while the remaining Trikke fans spectated from the circular clearing high atop the hill. And in between spectators and competitors: a spiraling, uphill pathway that carvers must circumnavigate, each rider getting a lone, timed solo-trek.
“I saw several people make it to the top for the first time,” noted Bumgardner via Facebook. “It was great, watching as the look on their faces turned from exhausted determination to triumph as they made those last turns to the top.”
And the aforementioned Jason Hilton, Long Beach resident who had never before carved his way to the top? To quote his comment on Facebook:
“I conquered the lighthouse, baby!”
The overall winner of LUC 3 was no surprise: Quincy Jeffries bested all comers to become the three-time defending LUC champion, doing it — for extra style points — on three different Trikkes (T12, T6 and a T8 on Saturday).
Fred Welch, Academy director competing in his first LUC, had the second fastest time, followed by Vasilevski, who has now competed in three LUCs and finished 3rd twice and 4th once. [See full Lighthouse Uphill Challenge results at the end of this story.]
After descending Lighthouse, the Carve Off returned to and ended at Belmont Pier, where roughly 25 Trikke riders rode their Trikkes to nearby Round Table Pizza for a pizza party in their outdoor patio under sunny skies.
By all accounts, this the first time in recent history that a group Trikke ride in Long Beach has started and finished in the Belmont Shore area (as opposed to Shoreline Village, where Trikke riders have been known to eat and drink 30 strong at Tequila Jack’s restaurant on many a Saturdays).
“It was really nice, doing a different approach to a route that is already familiar. It keeps things interesting!” said Jenard de Castro, who helped in planning the day’s events.
“I just loved the pizza joint and how we occupied the tables outside,” said Vasilevski, an Orange County resident.
Either way you slice it, the winner is the city of Long Beach and its already positive reputation among Southern California Trikke riders.
“As much as I love the South Bay,” said South Bay resident Niki Marks Akbik, “Long Beach is a great place to ride! There’s a lot to do and see and the bike path never seems crowded, even on weekends.”
Postscript: For some on Saturday, once was not enough. Four riders — Cornell Barna, Angjelko “Angel” Pancevski, Mimoza Lazarevska and Martin Vasilevski — departed Long Beach and had a second helping of LSM carving at twilight on the Newport Back Back Trail in Orange County. Apparently the four of them had more to carve off than most.
Lighthouse Uphill Challenge 3 Results
(Trikke model in parenthesis)
1. Quincy Jeffries (T8) ……… 39.9 (seconds)
2. Fred Welch (T12) ………… 46.4
3. Martin Vasilevski (T12) ….. 49.1
4. Dan Marazon (T12) ……… 53.3
5. Randy Boyd (T12) ……….. 56.4
6. Wilson Wong (T12)………. 58.0
7. Basem A. (T8) ………….. 1:09.4
8. Angel Pancevski (T8)…… 1:12:7
9. Jason Hilton (T8) ……….. 1:13:3
Images from the LSM Carve Off
(Photos courtesy Mimoza Lazarevska, Mary Kavanaugh Corp, Niki Marks Akbik and Randy Boyd)
Disclosure: The So Cal LSM Ride is hosted by the So Cal Carvers Trikke club, which is sponsored by TrikkeWorld and SouthBay Trikke.