My brother is crazy. It's something I've mostly learned to accept over the years. Nothing I say or do can change who he is and, since I like him and love him, I have to live with the fact that's he's a little loco.
He's not crazy in all areas -- it's just that he seems to have the idea that for something to be fun, it has to be a little dangerous. So every June we head up Weber Canyon, to Croydon, to watch him compete in the Widowmaker Hill Climb.
The Widowmaker Hill Climb gives dirt bikers the chance to see who can ride straight up the face of a mountain the fastest. There are several "hills" to climb at Widowmaker: Trophy Hill, which riders tackle to win a trophy, is the shortest and has the least incline. The Champion Hill, according to past press releases, is a 1,000-foot climb at a 76 percent grade. The qualifying hill, known to riders as "Moe's Hill," is a steep climb of about 500 feet.
The 2012 Widowmaker got under way Thursday night, June 21, with more divisions running the first night than in the past. I think it's a good change. Last year, there were so many riders signed up in some divisions that they were going to run out of daylight, so they shifted some of them from Moe's Hill to Trophy Hill -- it wasn't what the riders signed up for, and they weren't happy. Running some divisions on Thursday should take care of that problem.
While waiting for my brother to climb, we watched a teen girl ride to the top of Moe's Hill -- the announcer said she was the first girl to ever make it. Yeah!
My brother also made it to the top of Moe's Hill, but was disappointed. Most years, the hill is rutted and rocky, making it a challenge to reach the top. This year, he said, it was too easy -- that makes it more of a speed race than a skill race. He's a fairly tall, muscular guy, so it's hard to compete with lightweight guys in an uphill drag race. Oh well, he has two more divisions to try today.
If you plan to go to Widowmaker, here are some tips: Bring your own shade, chairs and cash, and wear closed-toe shoes. Audiences sit in a field at the bottom of the hill. There aren't any trees, so most families set up canopies to keep out of the sun. You can spread a blanket to sit on, but I've noticed in past years that there is a big population of daddy-longlegs spiders, so I'm more comfortable higher off the ground. This year, there are also a lot of semi-fresh cow pies on the ground -- another reason to use a chair instead of a blanket, and to not wear flip-flops.
Signs at Widowmaker say no coolers, so you may want to buy food and drinks from vendors. There isn't a lot of variety, but you can get a decent burger or a slice of pizza, and I saw a sign for smoothies.
The Widowmaker Hill Climb website has unavailable this morning "due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit," but according to the Morgan Valley Polaris website, ticket prices are $25 for the weekend, $15 for Friday, and $20 for Saturday. Kids, age 5-12, get in for $5.