Beyond Geek Returns to the Kinetic Grand Championship
The Hot Roddenberrys are back! Part update, part behind the scenes, Joe Gillis (Beyond Geek EP/Creator) and Odin Abbott (Beyond Geek/Odin Makes) take us through their experience as they join the Hot Roddenberrys’s new Mad Max inspired team in the Kinetic Grand Championship – a 3-day, 40+ mile race over land, sand, and water with kinetic art sculptures.
An update on our team and behind the scenes look at Beyond Geek – Kinetic Sculpture Racing
– I’m Joe Gillis, and this is Odin Abbott.
– And we just returned from the Kinetic Grand Championship, which is a race that combines art, engineering, fun, all into a three-day race in Humboldt County. It’s a race where, it’s basically a bunch of bikes that are big art sculptures. So you’re pedaling along for these 40-something miles over three days to get to the finish line, but what’s really cool is you’re not just going on, like a street. You’re going on sand.
– [Odin] You’re going upriver near a bay.
– Upriver near a bay, if you couldn’t understand what he said.
– (laughs) And then, on the third day, you cross another river. There’s a second water crossing on the third day.
– Yes. There’s two water crossings, if you didn’t get what he just said because he’s muffled. You know,
– What the hell?
– Yeah, well what’s amazing is he actually rode the first day of the race completely wearing this thing because Odin is insane. And you did, what, about half the race on the last day?
– [Joe] Half of the course?
– Maybe a little more.
– Maybe a little bit more? So he basically did probably about half the race wearing this thing.
– Ah, yup.
– Now, go ahead and pull it off, (Odin laughs) and let’s go ahead and just talk here.
– Are you sure?
– Well, you know.
– This probably doesn’t improve things a whole lot.
– Maybe not too much, but at least it will be not so much like (demonstrates mumbling). So we’ve done this before.
– We’ve done the race before. We did it in 2015 because we went out, you know, with Beyond Geek, did a two-part episode documenting the entire race following the Hot Roddenberries. So this last year, in 2018, they re-themed their same art car, made new art for it, called themselves Mad Plants – Beyond Thunderclone and the theme was a mashup between plants, Venus flytrap, and Mad Max. Everyone thought it was Little Shop of Horrors, but whatever, it was still carnivorous.
– [Joe] Well, it’s funny because Brent was adamant about it not being Little Shop of Horrors. But basically it was like Audrey 3.0.
– [Odin] Yeah, pretty much, yeah.
– And so, it was one of those things where it was like, I get you don’t wanna call it this, Brent, but.
– But. (both laugh)
– [Joe] When we were Hot Roddenberrys, we were just owning it. It’s like, part Star Trek, part Grease.
– [Odin] part whatever.
– [Joe] Yeah, so we actually gotta do it the first time but we actually didn’t join in the race and pedal so much. I technically was part of a bike. (Odin laughs)
– Yes, because the sound man was nice enough to haul your butt around for two and a half days, until the bike broke. (laughs)
– Yeah, he’s a trooper… Ivan Harder!
– Not in the episode, at all. Because that’s behind the scenes, we don’t show that.
– That’s sort of like how we did the race, and I was actually pulled along in the camera cart for the first two days. It actually broke down, when we went down Lolita Hill, where I would have died, if it would’ve happened only like a mile earlier when we were actually going down the hill.
– So you went down the hill in the cart.
– [Joe] I went down the hill in the cart, and that was actually pretty scary.
– [Odin] I’d imagine.
– [Joe] And so, we go down the hill in the cart, and then we turn the corner to head to the beach which is the end of day two. And the pole on it breaks and hits the ground and nearly throws me off.
– [Odin] Yes.
– [Joe] And for day three, I ended up throwing on like a Ronin sticking my head out of the top of, I think Ivan’s car, if I remember correctly.
– It was Ivan’s car.
– Putting my feet on his dashboard and on something behind me, propping myself up and pushing me out the sunroof, and that’s how I shot that, and then I walked the other areas. That might seem like an easy thing, but it was really uncomfortable. So like, riding a bike on day three, was much better for me this time. The rest of the stuff however, I was like, it would’ve been easier having Ivan pull me, but that’s cool. So this time, we decided to go ahead and actually do the race ourselves.
– [Odin] Now Ken and June brought the older stuff out because this was the 50th race, right?
– [Joe] It was.
– [Odin] This was race number 50.
– [Joe] The race actually began in 1969, when Hobart turned his son’s tricycle into the pentacycle. Yeah and so Justin used to leave his little tricycle out in front of his Dad’s shop, and people complained about so he decided to turn it in to a piece of art.
– So now you can’t complain, it’s art.
– Yeah, and all of the sudden his buddy Jack Mays saw it and he’s like, “I could build a better machine than that”. But of course, guys being guys, they’re like, “Hey, we should race them right?”.
– [Odin] Yes.
– [Joe] So it turned into this race, that started as, this fluke little thing between friends, and then that first race had like a dozen entries, and it’s grown from there. So, pretty much day one was just us peddling bikes.
– Pretty much day one was just us peddling bikes.
– Well except for we walked on the beach together.
– We walked on the beach together trying to catch up, because there’s a point when you stop and you have to take the street tires off the machine to put the sand tires on to the machine, and maybe a switch over to the sand gears. So you can take the machine how ever many miles up the beach. So Rachel’s coming along trying to get us some food, and we meet up with her, and by the time we come back, the machine’s gone. They got themselves together, and said, “Okay, let’s go!”, and off they went. And so, we spent the entire beach, walking it, trying to catch up to the machine. “Hey that’s it up there I think. Yeah, that’s it.”.
– And I ran it before, so I was like, “Let’s just chill and walk it, “we’ll hopefully catch up to it eventually.”.
– And this guy doesn’t run. (both laugh)
– So we got to walk the beach together, and then we headed up to June’s Dunes, and then at some point Scott was gonna actually have us go down Deadman’s, and we’re gonna do it a lot like we did in the episode where Dan actually got on the side, and was a counter weight. One of us was gonna do it.
– Oh, I was gonna do it.
– It was probably gonna be him.
– I was totally gonna do it.
– But then, Scott realized there’s no where on the machine to do it. So we just had to plunge down Deadman’s, and hope for the best. And it worked.
– [Odin] It plunged right down without a problem at all.
– [Joe] Yeah, it worked a lot better than last time. And so we did that and then day two is the fun day where you actually get to launch into the water.
– [Odin] Right.
– [Event Announcer] Going for speed! (crowd cheers)
– [Joe] Then that’s when we actually took over, is after it got back from the water.
– [Odin] Dropped the pontoons off of it, back to being roadworthy.
– [Joe] And so we actually got to pilot. This wasn’t the first time I actually piloted the machine.
– Right. You got to do the Hot Roddenberrys a tiny bit.
– Yes, yes. So when we were filming, because I knew I was gonna write the episode, I took and hopped into the machine, when we were heading to the river to actually test it out. So I peddled it for a couple miles there.
– I’m trying to remember, having edited the episode, I think one of the water launches on the test day, you’re piloting it.
– [Joe] Yes.
– [Odin] In one of the shots.
– [Joe] Yeah, I went in. Which I gotta say, a lot of people are scared to take these machines out on the water but it is hecka fun!
– [Odin] Oh, I’m sure it is.
– That’s the great thing with doing the show is a lot of times I get to jump in and actually do the stuff. Because really the show is, a bunch of stuff I like, that we’re covering.
– But then I don’t get to do it. So it’s sort of sucky. (Odin laughs)
– Yeah, but you get to watch it in a video forever.
– Yeah, yeah, I get to do all the hard work, you know? So I got to actually go out on it and I knew what I was getting into hopping on the machine. I sort of volunteered you to do it. I said, “Hey, Odin and I are gonna do this.”.
– Okay. Am I gonna fit in the machine? Can it handle me? I’m not exactly a little guy. Yeah, it was fine.
– It wasn’t too bad. I thought my legs were gonna be dead at the end of the day, and they didn’t feel as bad as I thought. It is a pretty tough little race.
– It is a pretty tough little race.
– From the point where you go to the next point which is really Lolita Hill, is where you’re heading towards. There’s this point where we did this drop and we come up the other side.
– [Odin] So the machine’s gotta go nose down and then come right back up again.
– [Joe] And then that’s also the cool point, is on day two you actually go along, and you’re on the freeways, and everything else like that. So that’s a little crazy because the cars really don’t slow down for you.
– Yeah, you’re actually on the 101 for a while.
– Yeah, and I remember this from the race because I’m being pulled in a cart and I’m down low, and these cars are the perfect height for a car just to take me out.
– Just take you right out, yeah.
– And I’m shooting and the cars are coming right at me and it was freaky. (sounds of cars rushing past) And I’m pointed right at ’em. At least this time I didn’t have to look at ’em, as they’re booking by me. And then we go to Lolita Hill which was awesome. And what was cool is, in the episode Dan goes down Lolita Hill with Brent. I actually got to down Lolita Hill with Brent. And so, Lolita Hill I wanted to actually just book down no brakes. Because Brent was in the episode he’s like, “You know, if we just cruise down it “we’re gonna go like 50 mph.”. And I’m like, “That sounds fun.”.
– That sounds fun.
And Brent’s like, “No, we’re gonna use brakes. “I’ll tell you when to break.”.
– And I’m like, “Okay, but we could just book down.”. (laughs) And I don’t know if it’s because of my excitement when we were going down. Woo, we’re going down Lolita Hill! But we didn’t break at all.
– [Odin] Not at all.
– And we just went down no brakes, and we were booking and it was fun. Day three, we left the park where we all stayed, which was right on the beach.
– [Odin] Right on the beach, right.
– We headed into basically-
– You go right to the first river crossing.
– [Joe] By the bridge.
– [Odin] It’s by the bridge. An awesome, old bridge.
– So basically the pilots are going across the river and Scott jumped on with Susie who was actually our Rutabaga Queen.
– [Odin] Right.
– Not in the episode you saw on TV, But I did a special edition that she was in. So they actually hop on the machine and cross with them, which is a little bit different than last time.
– These two found a spot to ride, pretty much right at the front of the fenders, where the windshield is. Like where the door would close, riding shotgun on either side of the machine. It was very cool.
– [Joe] Yeah, that looked like a lot of fun.
– [Odin] That did look like a lot of fun.
– [Joe] I wish I was on that. So then we get up and there’s actually a really steep hill that we helped push the machine. That was probably the point where I felt like I was gonna die.
– [Odin] Pretty much.
– [Joe] At some point, I think I saw my life flash before my eyes halfway up the hill. (Odin laughs) But it was like. (sighs)
– It’s not really a hill so much as a 10-foot embankment.
– Yeah. – Yeah. (chuckles)
– So we had to push the machine up that and then we you get up there, then it’s pretty much smooth sailing into Ferndale, and its beautiful country.
– [Odin] Oh yeah it is. Cuz you’re going through a huge pasture field for awhile. And then you hit the roads which are just, I swear it’s all dairy land and cattle land out there. And it’s awesome. It’s picturesque.
– [Joe] Yeah.
– [Odin] And then it’s just all flat, all the way into Ferndale.
– Ferndale. And we finished.
– And we finished.
– [Joe] For me it was great experience, even though it was tough. The art was awesome. It was great being able to see Ken and June and everybody that was involved that we knew from before. Part of our team was there. Some of the team that we had when did the race before was on the other teams, but it was great to actually see everybody again and you get to go out and do the race ourselves. Of course if you really want to get the full on experience of what happens, just watch the Beyond Geek episode. I mean, we take from beginning to end on it, and it’s pretty amazing. And you get to even see what goes into building these amazing pieces of art, because some of these sculptures are the size of a city block nearly.
– [Odin] Yes.
– [Joe] So, they’re massive art sculptures.
– They’re massive art sculptures, yeah. And also in the Beyond Geek episode there’s a lot of history.
– You get a lot of the Ken and June footage and then when they use their Kinetic machine to go from Humboldt to… Florida! (Joe chuckles)
– Basically. From the Pacific to the Atlantic. Took them a little while.
– Took them a little bit of time.
– Just a little bit of time. But they did it.
– They did it. And that’s the amazing thing about this. People see the challenges, but they’ll still go do it, and they love it, and people are passionate about it, and there’s nothing better doing something that people are passionate about.
– That’s why I created Beyond Geek. I wanted to have a show where we could showcase people’s passions, and everything that they love. And you really get a sense of that by diving in with them and actually doing it. And there’s races all over the country and in other parts of the world so, I’d say go do it if you haven’t done it.
– So anyway, thank you, this is Beyond Geek. If you haven’t already hit the button to subscribe, please do so. Leave a comment, and let us know how much of doofus we sound like as we sit here and babble on without script at all. And remember if there’s any complaints, address this guy. – Or go to Odin’s channel and leave the complaints there.
– Oh jeez, alright, fine. If you wanna do that too.
– Thanks for watching.
– Thanks for watching. (both laugh)
– So thank you very much, for watching this episode of Beyond Geek here on the web. If you want to see the full episode it’s actually available on Amazon. And if you haven’t hit the subscribe button, please do so. Because Beyond Geek, we will be making more stuff for the web very soon.