Curto Dirto: Community, Camaraderie and some Thriller Riding in Stillwater, OK

by Mary Bardell

Curto Dirto: District Bicycles and Stillwater, OK are all about community. It’s why people come to them from all over for their bikes and races, but also why people drive 12 hours to ride 50 miles and raise a little scratch for a fellow member of the community.

I drove those 12 hours, and what I found at the end of the (seemingly endless) interstates and highways was a group of people that refuse to let bad things get them (or their friends) down. Our friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. Outside of the conversation about the bag of shit that is cancer (which others have done better than I ever could), our friend needed a congenial slap on the bottom and a little help grabbing the bootstraps. So the Stillwater bike community, with my friend Tyler [link] and the crew at District leading the way, showed how it is a community. They put out the call to everyone they knew in the bike industry (and beyond), “Can we get a little love to help our friend Curt?” And the answer, from international companies to one-man shops, was “Absofuckinglutely!” Complete bike builds, wheels, tires, headsets, bike bags, coffee makers, paintings, coasters, parties, Airbnbs, vacation home stays, if it could be donated, it was. And then, people bought raffle tickets. A lot of raffle tickets.

On the day of the Curto Dirto, We rode 50 miles of Oklahoma gravel goodness. People staked out aid stations every 10 miles. They were stoked, happy to help, and had big smiles all day. The route was fun, fast, challenging, chunky, red, and a little muddy, but not so much as to scare anyone coming back for the Land Run 100. The day ended with a raffle of all the goodies, and Tyler announcing that through his efforts and the collective love of a community, they had raised almost $69,000 for our friend Curt. Damn!

Overall, it was a cloudy but beautiful day, and hard sometimes. In these sorts of situations, hard can be just that, hard. But hard can also bring out the best in people, and see them choose to come together to do rad things for people they love. Or people they don’t even know that well, but choose to care enough about the community to pitch in anyway.

This whole cancer thing is dumb and frustrating and personal and also dumb. Curt, being Curt, is a badass about it and honest about it and biggest of all, positive about it. He inspires a whole community and far beyond. I thought a lot about him on the ride, and about how rad this whole event was. The power of a community is so amazing to watch. When the stuff really hits the fan, people circle the wagons, and the cycling community does it in a big way.

The fight rolls on, for Curt and so many others. Choose do what you can when you can, show a little more love, ride a few more miles. Choose to be badass and honest and positive.

You can donate, here, if that’s your thing.

To learn more about the riding and community in Stillwater, check out the 36 Hours in Kitsbow film: Wheels and Weddings here!

Photos by [] and [] and []