The first ever Atomic Bomb race was held a couple months back on May 14 & 15 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. If this place sounds familiar it’s most likely because Los Alamos is where the “Manhattan Project” took place back in the 1940s. The “Manhattan Project” was when a group of U.S., U.K., and Canadian backed scientists got together (super secretly) and created the first atomic bombs, the bombs that were subsequently dropped on Japan in WWII.
“Civilized History” aside, The Atomic Bomb race was the third and last event in the Southwest series—Buffalo Bill and Ditch Slap being the preceeding events, respectively.
Due to elevation sickness I slept through the whole first day of the Atomic Bomb race. By the time I made it up to the racecourse the following morning, I was feeling much better and the qualifying riders were hauling down the course.
The road the race is held on (Camp May Rd.) is pretty fast, with the added bonus of tar-snakes littering the entire stretch of the course—kinda sketchy actually. The snakes soften as the day progresses and as the sun grows hotter, making them pretty gnar to ride over at speed. There were more than a few sketchy moments of 50mph wobblers, but from what the racers told me, “all in all, no worries”. Camp May Rd. is a mixture of a few semi-critical turns and some fast straights; all back-dropped by rolling mountains littered with tall, tan grasses; cottonwood trees; and various conifers. Being that the race was held way up in this high country of northern New Mexico (elevation: 9,200ft), a high country that can quickly cause a gnarly sunburn, sunstroke, or in my case elevation sickness, this was one of those races where only the racers show up to the race. The high elevation, the lack of people, and the expansive views made you feel like you were really, really far from home. Basically, I just roamed around talking to the course workers and tried to get some interesting shots of the race. I also drank one beer and it was like I drank a six-pack. Good stuff.
The race was slow moving in general. I think there was only one shuttle for the hundred twenty plus racers? Maybe there was another—I dunno? Don’t get me wrong though, the racing itself was super fast and fun to watch, it was just that sometimes it took up to what seemed like an hour between seeing a skater on course. I didn’t mind, really; I used the time to scope the scenery and set up some “cool” shots—I needed a break anyway since the Sector 9 team I was traveling with raged way harder than I ever could and the toll of being on the road with a band of rowdy skaters had been paid in full. I was beat, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for the World.
The Atomic Bomb race ended as many races often do: The skaters that “wanted it” the most and were able to stay on their boards were the ones in the finals, and ultimately on the podium:
Mens: Zak Maytum, James Kelly, Joel Putrah
Womens: Christen Gregersen, Charile Daigneault, Alicia Fillback
When all’s said and done, I had a pretty rad time at the Atomic Bomb race. I am stoked to have captured the images shown here. Yeah, the race had some kinks and some gnarly shit happened that was out of our hands, but not everything proceeds as planned—such is life. Life is not about the trials and tribulations that present themselves in spite of our best efforts; Life is about how we as individuals, and as a community, deal with those relentless shitstorms. Glory to mother fuckin’ glory y’all!
In closing, we’d like to thank the dudes at Timeship Racing for organizing this event and for holding it down when shit got heavy. We’d also like to thank all the event sponsors: Altec-lansing, Landyachtz, Dregs, Surf-Rodz, Skatera, Sector 9, Predator Helmets, Gullwing, Loaded & Orangatang, and Abec 11.
[This article was supposed to be released a couple months back, but, due to a few particulars we held-off on releasing it until now. Basically it was a combination of a few things: 1.) The race happened at the tail end of a long trip, and I was personally pretty worn out, 2.) The elevation of the race (9,200ft to be exact) kicked my ass big time, and, sadly, 3.) A volunteer for the event died from a head injury he sustained after crashing while riding without a helmet into town. All of these things combined, required us to take pause in order to gain some perspective and time to regroup. We’re not going to get into the details surrounding the fallen skater except to say that our hearts go out to all of Graham Bultemeier’s friends and family. We also ask that you always wear your helmets, especially when bombing hills. If for some reason you decide not to wear a helmet, make sure you fully understand the level of risk you are undertaking. Your friends, family, and all of us at Wheelbase want to see you skate another day. Be safe, ride hard.]