Slender James Classic Enduro 2021
Photos by Peyton Stasiak
Words by Karl Mesedahl
Every once in a while a joke gets wildly out of hand at Cedaero. Maybe it's the fact that sewing packs day after day in close proximity with good friends tends to create a sort of hive mind. Maybe it's the fact that production sewing provides space to day dream. Maybe we just have too much fun.
Whatever the factors, this particular joke began way back in the 80's when an unassuming beach towel was made, purchased, then well-loved for the next four decades. In the year 2020 the towel was upcycled into shop rags, but call it destiny or fate, the universe had a greater plan. That's the juncture where we met Slender James, or perhaps more appropriately, Slender James revealed themselves to us.
What can one say about such an encounter, except that it is always unexpected and rarely involves cats exercising within the confines of a beach towel. But somehow ours did, and that was the first of many miracles that Slender James has bestowed upon us. We've met new friends because of this encounter. New music has been inspired. Short films have been produced. Days have been brightened. Old bikes have been raced with abandon.
These small things that we often spurn as childish have a tendency to bring us back to the wonderment many of us have traded for more "adult" ways. And once in awhile, one of these childish wonders slips through the carefully curated shell and just keeps going like a ten hour vaporwave compilation. The concept started innocently enough - run a low-key enduro race on old bikes. Having no offical sponsor meant we'd just be a bunch of friends on a group ride if anyone questioned why we were having illegal amounts of fun. Thus, Slender James was elected to direct our race, as a piece of a beach towel can't be blamed for much, and certainly can't be taken too seriously.
Well, word travelled fast and city officials heard rumblings. Questions were asked. Phones rang. We introspected. And that's how we ended up running a fully-above-board race, directed by said exercising cat on a piece of beach towel. It felt so right and looked so.. slenderous? The spirit of Slender James was indeed working and drew a small crowd of converts to the start on race day. There were expensive bikes and dumpster Huffy's. Someone wore a hotdog costume. Another was wearing 6" heels and a pirate hat. It also seemed appropriate that Duluth's newest gnarr gnarr enduro trail would be christened in such a manner. Old bikes can go really fast if your brakes don't work!
It turns out Huffy's CAN FLY if you really want them to, and the newest plastic carbon fibre bladdiii blaaa doesn't always guarantee more fun, but riding bikes with friends always does.